Thursday, January 12, 2012

Drop the Needle #11

TITLE: A Ripple in Time
GENRE: YA-Paranormal/Mystery

As part of a school carnival, 17-year-old Anna is hypnotized on stage with a group of students. As her boyfriend, Josh, watches from the crowd, Anna's subconscious veers off course and brings to life a recurring nightmare that unknowingly affects Josh as well.

My voice shook as I spoke, but I didn't try to hide it. “ I called out for you?”

“ Not my name, though,” he shook his head in confusion. “ But I know it was for me. You looked straight at me, almost as if you were pleading with me to help you. It took all my strength to not jump up on that stage. You kept saying Michael. Help me Michael. I can't swim anymore, Michael. And then you said the most jarring thing of all. You forgave me for being late. You forgave me. You crawled to the edge of the stage, panting for air, and addressed me saying, Michael, I forgive you. You were late, I forgive you. You freaked me out.”

As a personal cold front moved through the cafeteria, I shuddered and wrapped my arms around myself. The news was even more disconcerting than I initially imagined. “ I'm sorry,” I whispered, upset that I brought Josh into my dream world. Upset that my dream world put on a show for my school to witness.

“Don't say you're sorry. You addressing me didn't scare me. That's not what I want you to think. It's something different. Something about what you said is nagging at me.”

“About being late? I guess that would disturb someone who is perpetually on time,” I said with a breathy laugh, hoping to lighten the mood. It did little to remove the pain from his face.

“It's not what you said either, well, completely,” he began as he took my hands in his. “ It's, well, I remember it.”

6 comments:

Shiela Calderón Blankemeier said...

I love that last line! I acutally said, "Ooooo" when I read it :) That said, I think this is a bit wordy and can be tightend up to heighten the tension. For example, "Don't say you're sorry. You addressing me didn't scare me. That's not what I want you to think. It's something different. Something about what you said is nagging at me.” could be whittled down to: "Don't apologize. You didn't scare me, but something you said is eating at me." With a little tightening here and there, I think you have something really good. Best of luck!

Kirsten said...

I think I would feel the import more if you broke up Josh's big paragraph, so we could see some of her reactions while she listened to what he was saying.
Anna seems very sweet to seek to comfort him with a joke when she is so stressed herself.
I love the setting of a school carnival, too. So much chaos in one place!

writerlass said...

This is really good! And a really neat idea. I thought her reaction was an appropriate combination of disturbed and embarrassed.
There was an occasional instance of awkward wording here and there, though. "And then you said the most jarring thing of all." I think maybe jarring isn't the best choice here. For some reason I have a hard time imagining a teen boy using it in this context (but maybe that's just me.) "You addressing me didn't scare me." I think this too should maybe be phrased a little differently.
Wish I could read more :)

Laura H. said...

This is really neat! Very mysterious. Some of the wording is a little clunky, though: I'm not sure a teenage boy would use either the word "addressed" or "jarring". His recital is a little exposition-heavy, which makes it not quite feel like a real conversation. I would also cut out one of the "wells" from the last paragraph.

Their relationship seems cute and fairly well-adjusted, which is nice!

John Williams said...

Continuity:

My voice shook as I spoke, but I didn't try to hide it. “I called out for you?”
“Not my name, though,” ... "You kept saying Michael. Help me Michael. I can't swim anymore, Michael."

(So she was calling out his name, which contradicts the first line in his sentence.)

The set up and the scene entice me to want to read more, but I agree with the others, especially Shiela. The word choice doesn't feel natural and it could use some trimming to improve rhythm and tension.

Virginia said...

Hahaha! It's a good thing when my mouth makes a little 'o' while I'm reading. And even though I knew that last line was coming, I still said 'ooooo'!
Nicely done and I liked the voice, especially 'personal cold front' and 'my dream putting on a show for my school'.