Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January Secret Agent #5

TITLE: THE CARDINAL SIGN
GENRE: YA/Urban Fantasy

The cardinal saved me. That blur of red, so out of place in a sea of metal and asphalt. I hesitated and watched him fly into the trees before I ran into the high school parking lot.

The referee’s whistle and shouts from fans echoed from the stadium. I’d gone a few steps when I heard the towering light creak. I looked up and threw my arms over my head just as it crashed in front of me, a spray of glass. I jumped back, shards crunching under my boots. Had I been a couple of steps ahead the light would’ve crushed me.

But Fate had other plans.

* * *

I leaned against the rail and let out a whoop. Of course, where I stood I knew my backside would get some attention. Not everyone goes to games for the football, which is why I showed up in the second quarter. The crowd rose to its feet, stamping the bleachers when my boyfriend, Dylan, ran the ball in for a touchdown. I waited for him to blow me a kiss or wave or something, but he just high-fived his teammates. Typical.

“Kenzie, he’s awesome. You are so lucky,” my best friend Angela said.

I lifted a shoulder and smiled. “He’s pretty great.”

“Hey, Kenzie. You ready for the halftime announcement?” Jeremy Goode called from halfway up the stairs.

I walked along the front of the bleachers, giving little waves and smiles to people as I passed.

“Cute hat, Kenzie,” someone yelled.



7 comments:

Ryan Hancock said...

Although the juxtaposition of the two scenes threw me, after a second reading I was thoroughly hooked. I have to admit it was the second paragraph that did it. The self-assured female who knows she's got a nice backside is flawed and very interesting. Mostly because I have no idea what it would feel like to be popular in high school. :)

Katrina S. Forest said...

I like the second part; the MC's voice feels authentic to me. I confess, I was confused by the first part. It wasn't clear when she got from the parking lot to the stadium and I expected to see what had actually caused the light to break revealed, possibly with it having some effect on the next scene, but it didn't. I think it's a good choice to start with a bit of action and put the MC in some danger. But I think it should have more connection to what comes next, even if it's just a fleeting thought that she's happy to be alive.

Barbara said...

I liked the first half more than the second half, and would have liked to have seen the entire scene as it happened, rather than having her tell how it happened. A more detailed description of the cardinal against all the metal and asphalt could make for a very interesting opening.

As is, I don't think it works because it comes off as a tease. It's only there to get our attention. There's no follow-up. We don't know what the bird did to get her attention. We don't know how long ago it happened in relation to the following scene, or even if the following scene is the showing of the first scene. We don't know the consequences of that light falling. She wasn't hurt, but were others? Why did the light fall? Certainly, you don't have get all this info in, but there should be something in that second half that relates to the first half.

P.D. Pabst said...

I'm agreeing with Barbara on this one. The first half lured me in and I felt the second half was disconnected from the scene. You need a transition, of sorts.

However, I get that she felt the cardinal saved her because she "hesitated" watching it, that it stuck out like a soar thumb with all the metal and asphalt. But I would have liked the scene elaborated with the light falling. How did it make her feel to almost be squashed?

Hope this helps! Good luck!

luv2eatreadwrite said...

I liked all of it. The second part flowed because of what the author offered in the first. This have me hook. I want to know more. Thanks :D

Wendy Qualls said...

My nitpicks:

- no context for what the "towering light" is. A streetlight? A lighthouse? Some sort of sci-fi beacon thing?

- "I knew my backside would get some attention" - ambiguous whether this meant "people would stare" or was a lead-in to explaining how someone groped/slapped/spanked/etc. the MC's rear in what I assumed would be an embarrassing way.

Secret Agent said...

I like the description of the cardinal in the first section, but I don’t think we get deep enough into this scene to understand any lingering impact on, or connection to, the second scene. There was a pretty big disconnect for me here, and the abrupt transition left me more disoriented than hooked.