Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Secret Agent #11

GENRE: Fantasy

Kathryn Merlangton stared at the vase cradling the dying roses. Two red blooms bowed over the white sympathy card like mourners looking down upon a casket. She took deep breaths in an attempt not to cry and drew in the cloying smell of the flowers. A crash from outside drew her attention. Dargo, her mother's--her--timid Doberman, jumped to his feet with a whine.

If those damn Meyer twins tagged her car again, she'd make sure they'd clean it off with a toothbrush. Dargo trembled against her thigh and she leaned over him to grab the flashlight off the counter. With the sound of breaking glass just outside the garage door, Dargo bolted from the kitchen toward the living room.

Kathryn sucked in a breath and thrust the flashlight out like a weapon. When she heard Dargo's nails slide across the floor and then the rumble of his retreat up the stairs, she shook her head and lowered her pathetic weapon.

"My hero."

She grabbed the cordless phone from its cradle and pressed the speakerphone button. After dialing 911 and leaving it on the counter, she withdrew a French knife from the block of wood her father claimed was a homemade knife holder. With the flashlight in one hand and the knife in the other, she walked over and cracked open the door, shining the flashlight into the garage.

"911. What is your emergency?"

The garage was gone. An impenetrable blackness lurked outside the door.


  1. Nice. I like the way you've packed in a lot of info for us without it feeling like an info-dump. Intriguing bit at the end about the garage - I'd read on :)

  2. Fantastic! I really have nothing to add or suggest here since this entry is perfect! Good luck!

  3. Great ending! And I loved how you told us who died, without actually saying it.

    The piece could use a bit of emotion. We get some anger when she imagines it's the local kids causing mayhem, but then she grabs a knife and calls 911, so is she afraid? And how does she feel about her mother's death? You don't have to give us a lot. Maybe work her feelings in as she describes the card and flowers and then move on. But working some in will help create mood and tone.

    With the sound of breaking glass -- let us hear the glass shattering. Generally, starting a sentence with a propositional phrase (As, when, with) will give you a passive sentence. Yours are active for the most part, but you might want to rephrase those that aren't.

    And a small thing. You open with the vase, as if it's the important thing in the sentence/parg., and then describe the flowers. You might omit the vase in that sentence and just say she stared at the dying flowers, then mention the vase in the next sentence.

  4. I thought the garage being gone was just odd and jerky. I didn't feel like I could be in a fantasy and so the reality of it just didn't work with the fantasy element. Try forshadowing the magical event with something more since it is so right up front. a reaction from her, something classic even, would work. just something to transition. the last sentence in the first para. needs reworking. besides that the flow was awesome, the voice stood out to me and I would read on, weird garage or not.

  5. I'm a little confused here, actually. This may sound nit-picky, but if Kathryn's car is in the garage, then how would they Meyer twins get to it? And if the car's not in the garage, then why is she shining her flashlight on the garage right away?

    This makes it seem to me like her thinking it's the Meyers is a tool to get her to look at the garage. I think it would be more effective if she heard something outside, went to look, and the garage was gone.

    It seems like this has potential--you do a great job of showing Kathryn's mother's death and not telling us about it--but make sure all the facts line up. In fantasy especially, where you need to create a realistic world, little details are everything.