Monday, August 20, 2018

Talkin' Heads #15

TITLE: Invisible Me
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

(no lead-in provided)

“I wonder who that is.” Mom washed her hands and dried them on her apron as she headed to the door. “Oh.” She sounded confused. “Hello, officer.”
Officer? My stomach tightened and I slid off the barstool.
“Are you Mrs. Roberts?” a male voice said.
My eyes widened. Didn’t I know that voice?
“And is that your Volvo?”
I definitely knew that voice. What was he doing here?
“Yes, it’s the one my daughter uses for school. Why?”
“Was she driving it recently?”
“She only got home a few minutes ago. What’s this all about?”
“Well, Mrs. Roberts.” He drew in a breath. “The station received several complaints of that car in town, apparently driverless.”
What? But the raincoat. I was so careful.
I felt the top of my head. It was hot. Of course. I was sweating during that intense drive.
The sweat from my head must’ve gotten to the hood. What a fool I was. I pressed my hand against my throbbing chest.
Mom snorted. “You’re joking, right?”
“I’m afraid not, ma’am.”
“There must be some mistake. That’s impossible.”
“Whatever the case, I’d like to speak with your daughter.”
“Okay.” She sounded skeptical. “Let me get her for you. Ana.”
What do I do? He can’t see me. I tried to flatten my messy hair. But he literally can’t see me. I bolted up the back staircase just before Mom reached the kitchen.
I crept along the upstairs hallway and struggled to slow my breathing. I was about to press my sweaty palms against the wall behind me but stopped myself. It wouldn’t help matters if I made part of the house disappear.


  1. While I found the ending great (making part of the house disappear hooks me in) I was confused by the daughter's predicament. That said, the mom's and officer's voices were s a bit stiff and formal. "She only got home a few minutes ago" could be "Yeah, she just got home" or "Yes, she got home a few minutes ago." The 'oh' in the first sentence also struck me as something that I do -- it sounds natural on the page, but if I read it back outloud it doesn't work. The scene builds tension so moves things along nicely.

  2. Fun story line, though the snorted and skeptical tags didn't work for me. I'd rather see what they do when they are surprised or questioning...but I know we only had a few lines to present here). I'd shorten some of the dialogue snippets from the mother as suggested above. The formality of the cop work for me. Good luck.

  3. I like the premise of this story. Some of the dialog doesn't work for me. I would change 'complaints of' to 'calls about' and in "Let me get her for you. Ana." I would take out 'Ana', I assume she's shouting for her, but it doesn't read that way. She calls for her later on anyway. The mom's dialog sounds a little stilted, but otherwise ended well.

  4. In my opinion the descriptors and internal dialogue work better than the external dialogue between the officer and the mom. This is a very intriguing plot because I was definitely hooked by the last line, but I thought the conversation between the mom and officer seems too distant from the POV. Sure, we're not in their heads, but the use of dialogue can reveal a lot about character's feelings and motives. Don't just have each relay answers, but really take a look at the mom's relationship with Ana and the officer's motives for reporting the suspicious activity. Great work just needs some fine tuning!

  5. I think you've got a good balance between dialogue and internal thought here.

    One nitpick (sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine): she can't seem him "draw in a breath". She might be able to see him take a deep breath or gasp for breath (if she was close by which I'm not sure she is), but there's no way she can see him take a regular breath.

    Good luck!