Wednesday, November 4, 2009

33 Secret Agent

TITLE: The Memory Of Henry Franks
GENRE: Suspense

His index finger, the skin a shade or two darker than the rest of his hand, scratched at the heavy line crossing his left wrist.

“They itch?” Dr. Saville asked.

“Always,” Henry said, then curled his mismatched fingers into a fist to stop the motion. Sweat beaded on his skin, pooling in the scars.

Four thousand, three hundred and seventeen stitches, his father always told him. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men had put Henry Franks back together again.

“Why don’t I remember?” he asked.

“It’s a process, Henry, the act of remembering. The accident, before; the memories are there. It’s only been a year.” She pointed to the photograph on the table between them, Henry and his parents, bright smiles and wind-blown hair. “Have you had the dream again?”

“No,” Henry closed his eyes, his discolored finger came to rest on the scar around his neck and he lowered his head to try to hide the movement and the thin white line. “A new one.”

“Want to talk about it?”

“There’s a girl.” He opened his eyes and looked out the window, anywhere but at the Doctor. The heat lay heavy on the drooping palm fronds outside the window, a haze shimmering off the white pathway through the trees.

“You’ve met someone at school?”

“No,” he said, his voice rougher than he’d intended, “no. She’s a child, with pigtails.”

“Someone you know?”

“I can’t remember,” he whispered.


  1. I like this. You set a very interesting tone and have a solid opening scene.

    I was, however, slightly drawn away by the heavy description in the conversation.

  2. I'm hooked.

    At this point, the discolored finger throws me off. Is it a different color because it came from someone else, it has something wrong...???

    It pulled me from the story you were trying to pull me toward. I can see why for some, it might make them curious to read more, but for me it threw me off.

    Also, at the begining I'm feeling like he's an adult, so that confused me for a minute when it said he was in school.

    But these are picky points. I really liked it and I would keep reading.

  3. I do like this quite a bit. I enjoy the description and already have a lot of questions that I'm guessing the first few pages will help answer! Nice voice! Good luck!

  4. Left a lot of questions to be answered, but it seems to me the reader's in the same boat as the main character!

    Tiny thought on grammar, not sure if I'm right or not. In the 5th paragraph from the end of this section, I think you'd say 'the doctor' (no capitalization) since you're not naming her directly.

  5. I agree with the others. You've set up a lot of questions and tantalized us with a few answers, but nothing terribly specific, which is a good thing. The discolored finger had me thinking some sort of skin condition, not scarring, so you might want to tighten that up a bit.

    The dialogue is very conversational, yet it's relevant to the story (I'm guessing, but it seems relevant). Overall, I'm hooked.

  6. I like the hook -- which I assumed meant he had two transplanted hands. (I'm gonna be disappointed if it turns out to be something else.) And I want to know who the girl in the pigtails is. But I didn't understand one thing: where is this scene taking place? In his home? Doctor's office (in which case why is there a photo of his parents)? Hospital (in which case how could he have met someone at school)?

    Doctor should definitely not be capitalized in para 9.

  7. Hooked too but agree with Julie that there was just something about that discolored finger that threw me off. I'd still keep reading.

  8. I agree with the repeated comments.

    The different colored skin threw me off, but after seeing Travener's comment, I totally get it -- if he's right -- so it's ok.

    Was also confused about location and age of protag, but looking back, it appears it's a therapist and makes more sense. Perhaps a detail to make that clear immediately would help.

    But in spite of these things, I'm totally hooked. The story premise is fairly clear from the gate, and it sounds fascinating.

  9. Hooked, and I liked the two-toned hands. I love the Humpty Dumpty reference but had a hiccup when you said, "his father always" - "always" sounds like his father has been saying that for almost the protagonist's entire life - but the accident was only a year ago, right? Maybe change to "liked to remind him" or something like that.
    When he said, "there'a a girl" and the doc said, "you've met someone at school?" it seemed a bit off, since clearly he was talking about a new dream. Seemed like the doc would know that.
    I really want to know what happens here, and what caused that accident.

  10. Totally hooked. I want to know what happened to your MC. The discolored finger was disturbing, yet I knew it was important. I really want to read more. Who attacked him? Why? Who's the girl? A lot to think about from 250 words

  11. beware of independent body parts like index fingers...maybe Henry Franks scratched at his wrist.

    Unless it's crucial to the story that one finger is a shade or two (waffling) darker and that there's a heavy line crossing his left wrist.

  12. I agree with the other comments. I'd read on.

    Actually, I doubled checked the genre and was more hooked when I discovered that it wasn't fantasy.

  13. The reference to all the stitches and humpty dumpty are enough to hook me. I'd want to know this character's story.

  14. What's with two entries in a row featuring boys with amnesia? (I'm reading these backwards.)

    Oh, yes, and I'm hooked.

  15. I can't believe I missed this one last night.

    Totally hooked. Love the stitches, love the voice.

    I don't like to be scared too much. I hope the main character is a good guy, but I'm afraid he's going to be blamed for being a Frankenstein. The little girl with pigtails worries me. I'm sure he didn't hurt her...

    Great opening. Loved the heat and the droopy palms. Nice mood-setting.

  16. I'm hooked. You've opened with a really strong hook and you immediately want to know about this character. I love the Humpty Dumpty reference. I would definitely read on.

  17. Totally hooked. I immediately thought his finger and one had had been a transplant. The Humpty Dumpty comment confirmed it.

  18. Very hooked, I want to know WHY they bothered to put him back together again.
    This is the kind of story that converted me from being a strictly SciFi/Fan reader.
    Very Nice!

  19. I liked this. The writing and the voice drew me in and I want to know more.

    Is his finger mismatched because it came from someone else? Reminds me a bit of Unwind if that's the case. Especially since the Humpty Dumpty references are in that book, too.