Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secret Agent #24

GENRE: Adult General fiction

Tarvis Phillip James crouched against the rough rubber mat, balling himself into a tight human fist. Making himself small, and invisible. Well, it was too late for that. He was fucked. They could see him, and worse, they could smell him and the vomit and stench of the detention center. Game over, and it could only get worse from here on out. He was now the property of the Alpha Juvenile Prison system.  

He rose up, careful not to make a sound, and peered out the side window of the van. A grey cinder block building squatted among the palm trees at the end of a long drive.  No windows in the place, not an opening in sight. Only one way in, he could see, and certainly no way out.

The van screeched to a halt in front of metal double doors. Tarvis’s knees shook. His insides were screaming.

No welcome sign.

The window of the van was open an inch, and the quiet-- except for the crackle of palms in a light wind--was unnerving.

What if I just bust out this door and make a run for it? What would they do? Shoot me? That might be good

The double doors blasted open. Six deputies in green tumbled out of the darkness, shiny metal objects jangling at their waists. To Tarvis, it seemed like some damn alien movie.


  1. wow. I already feel connected to Tarvis and definitely feel his conflict and tension. (You got a tear to start already so that is good writing in my book;) A couple things with setting, bc I at first thought he was in the cell or a room on a mat. I don't *think* (tho don't know) that he would be on a floor of a van being transported. Not as a juvenile. Also I am not clear who 'them' is that he is avoiding. Other boys? Guards?
    I think the line about aliens would be best as his thought, not narration. That gives us a good sense of him entering a strange world. Good start :) Good luck!!

  2. The only suggestion I'd make here is to let us know right away that he's in the van. I imagined him in a cell, or maybe the shower room of a prison. Let us know the setting as soon as possible.

    Other than that, this pulled me in. I'd read more.

  3. I too was confused as to the setting. He's in the van? I didn't get that. Also, just fyi from the writer's conference I recently attended: don't use swear words within the first 50 pages, I was told. The reason is librarians are less keen to carry and promote those books. Whether or not that's truly the case and everywhere, I'm not sure. Just maybe something to look into. Also, the shiny metal objects jangling--handcuffs, right? Why wouldn't he just call them handcuffs? He would certainly know what they're called. Maybe mention something else they have--something they'd use to keep prisoners in line. Those sticks have a name that's escaping me at the moment... Intriguing start nonetheless.

  4. Great job getting the setting up the atmosphere. Character motivation, situational awareness, even smells--I'm definitely pulled into this story already, even though we don't know what's unique about this *particular* character's story.

    I really liked the description of him as crouched into a tight human fist on the rubber mat and the mention of the stench of the detention center, but I was a little confused as to why he'd be in that position if he was in a transport van (not sure that's the right term).