Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Secret Agent #31

TITLE: Threads of Light

The rusty hinges creak when the Sheriff closes the door of my cell. He has to push hard--these doors haven't moved in a hundred years. He twists the big iron skeleton key and the lock slides into place. Then he flips the key into the air. It veers toward his neck and snaps in place, sticking like a refrigerator magnet. Weird.

"Don't be thinking about escape," he says in his metallic voice. "Don't" comes out as "doan" and "thinking" as if he never pronounced a "g" in his life. Or, I should say, in the life of the dead cowboy that lives in his mind.

He touches the brim of his hat in a sort of salute. "I'll be back for y'all tonight." The six-pointed badge on his leather vest glimmers in the dim light.

The Sheriff glances across the hall, seems satisfied, and walks away.

My step-mom, Lynda, lies prone on the cot in the cell across from mine. Her tears have dried, leaving streaks in the dust on her cheeks. She looks asleep, but I can tell from the big knot on her head that she's unconscious. There's a fist-sized hole in the wall behind her. I recognize the telltale burn marks on the rim of the perfect circle and thank God they only knocked her out.

The Sheriff promised two nooses at the midnight hanging. I hope Lynda
regains consciousness before then so I can tell her, one last time,
that I love her.


  1. I like the writing, but I'm a little confused at what's going on or why I should care about the MC since I don't know her yet.

    I would read a few more pages before deciding if I was hooked or not...

    Good luck with SA!

  2. Hooked. Great scene, great voice. It does seem that there's more to this than meets the eye, though. If it has fantastical elements, you might want to call it YA fantasy, just so agents know what they're getting.

    Nice job. (I also like how the step-mother isn't of the wicked variety.) I'd definitely read on.

  3. I thought we had a regular ole' western until the key flew to his throat. Pretty weird goings on.

    I like the voice here, but I'm really confused at this point. Lots going on with an unconscious woman, alien using a dead cowboy's body for his own, lasers or whatever burning holes in walls, and a double hanging. All in the first 250 words. Wow!

    Can't really find anything I don't particularly like, though. Just a lot to think about.

    Good luck.

  4. I'm intrigued. It is a little out there, but I'd be willing to hang in a while longer to find out what's up. I love the one-word sentence, "Weird," because that's exactly what I was thinking and it made me laugh. Was it supposed to? If so, that's awesome.

  5. Semi-hooked. The beginning paragraph leads me to believe that this is more contemporary, in a sort of bad-boy-with-a-sense-of-humor-gets-arrested-in-a-small-country-town kind of way, which I really liked. I get a little lost with all the quotation marks in the second paragraph. The tension picks back up again after that, but the problem (at least for me) is that the last half of this piece seems to change in tone. The beginning had this quirky tension, while the end is more grave sounding. Maybe I'm the only one with this issue, but something didn't jive for me.

    That said, I'd read on to find out why the heck people are getting hanged.

  6. I really liked this and would definitely read on. The only thing that confused me was the knot in the woman's head. I couldn't picture that somehow. Was it a bump?

    I'm hooked though. I loved the voice. Good luck.

  7. Hooked! There's so much here to wonder about and read on for. And giving it a western angle is brilliant. It is certainly going to be unique!

  8. Hooked. Definitely. I love the way you've shown rather than told. I'd read on for sure.

  9. I like the voice but I think opening with so much about the Sheriff takes away from the MC. I'd change the beginning to get the MC in there more. I need to care about the MC before I care what happens to her. I'm assuming the MC is female.

  10. Definitely hooked. Feels like it could use a little more polish, but dang, I liked. :)

  11. I would read on before passing judgement. I'm interested in what's going on, and why, but also confused. I need more explanation about the fist-sized hole with tell-tale burn marks.

  12. I'm hooked! This seems really different and fresh to me. I'd like to know more about the MC--male or female?--but that might be in your next 10 words for all I know.

  13. Seems like there might be something promising here, but a few things would give me reservations. The first is the MC calling her mother Lynda. She loves her so much but refers to her as Lynda? The second is the paragraph where you have the sheriff speak in a grammatically correct, or phonetically correct, manner, BUT then you explain how it sounds in the following sentences. Why? Just write it as it sounds. That's the stuff creative writing is made of. Make us hear the words as they're spoken. You shouldn't need to double up the dialogue with an explanation of the dialect.

  14. Great voice but having a little trouble pinpointing if this is a historical or futuristic MS. A few areas could be tightened for smoother reading, but overall interesting enough to keep me reading.