Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drop the Needle: HIGH EMOTION #19

TITLE: Damselfish
GENRE: Suspenseful Women's Fiction

The protagonist is jumped by skinheads who followed her into the wildflower preserve.

Within seconds three men in black ski masks sprang from the woods and herded me toward an SUV. Someone pushed my face into the back seat and climbed in after me, jamming me between himself and another man who smelled like body odor, who wore mud-spattered Doc Martens with steel toes. The one on my left, apparently the leader, uprighted me and yanked me head toward his. "I'm taking my hand away now, and if you scream or try to get away, my friend here will gut you with his hunting knife."

All of sudden, there was no air in the truck. I was smothering. Then my heart began pounding like it would burst through my chest. I was in the throes of a anxiety attack, which would become full-blown in seconds.

"Go, Junk Man!" the leader yelled.

Junk Man revved the engine, backed out of the parking area, and tore down the gravel lot, turning onto a country lane heading toward the abandoned quarry.

"What do you want?" I asked, barely able to voice my question.

"I know what I want," the goon to my right spewed and reached for my crotch.

"Keep it in your pants, a******," the leader said, knocking the other guy's hand away. Then he grabbed my chin and wrenched my face until it was inches from his. "Look at me."

Was he going to hurt me, rape me, kill me? Shoot me in the kneecaps? Cut off a finger? Scalp me? I locked eyes with the leader and held my breath and my bladder. If I wet myself, they'd know the extent of my fear and become ravenous for violence like all those who preyed on those weaker than themselves.

"I . . . can't breathe." I sucked in air, clutching my chest and wheezing, like I had croup.


  1. I find this too calm and too fast. Unless this happens to her every day, I would expect your first paragraph to take at least a page to describe. She needs to see them. React. Then they come after her and she reacts (tries to get away?) Then she realizes she can't when they push her in the truck. Then maybe someone says some to SHOW her who the leader is. Then maybe she begs or tries to scream or kick or something. I'm not saying you have to do all of these things...just slow it down and let us really see her freaking out, especially when they threaten to kill her and/or rape her.

  2. The last sentance of the second to last parg read a bit awkwardly. It seems like she should be too scared to think something like that (though I understand why she wants to hold her bladder).

  3. I thought there was virtualy no emotion here at all. Look at all the stuff that happens to her and she doesn't react to any of it. Three guys jump out the bushes and grab her and she . . . does nothing. They shove her in the back seat of the car and she . . . does nothing. They shove her between two guys, one of whom smells, and she doesn't even crinkle her nose.

    All she's doing is reporting what's happening, and she really needs to react to it all. Is she scared, angry, as blase as she seems? Does she fight back, think she's going to die, couldn't care less? Is her heart racing? Does she cry, plead for her life? Let her react and have emotions, as well as a thought or two. You might even let her speak. If she's not going to do anything, what's te point?