Wednesday, November 02, 2011

30 day writing challenge, day 1!

I promised I'd post some of the writing challenge thingies I'm doing so here is the first one, please excuse the roughness of this piece it was mostly written in the middle of the night and not at all edited. It is short because I decided to keep them all under 1000 words which I guess makes the fiction ones flash fictions... Any suggestions on improvements/critiques are welcome!

Day 1 —Select a book at random in the room.  Find a novel or short story, copy down the last sentence and use this line as the first line of your new story.

The new rains will come down soon. I kick my heavy combat boots against the tufts of yellow grass sticking out of the sandy dirt, and I wonder if they feel as dry as they look. I’ve been standing, watching and waiting for something to happen for too long now. I watch the sky, the distant horizon, the land sits static and waiting for the water to give it new life, hope perhaps. I could do with a drink myself, but something a little stronger than water. I turn away from the distance and start heading back towards the rust coloured hills, watching them for movement for any sign of life in this desolate land. I’ve only been here a week, searching, waiting, jumping at every noise, every crackle of the fractured, hardened earth, every scavenger calling and every rattle of the snake’s tail. But I’m stuck, stuck waiting in the alone and empty place. It isn’t that hard of task for me, I’ve done it so many times before I hardly notice the emptiness, the silence, the fear, but it still overwhelms my senses– how alone I am out here. I’ve learned to suppress my emotions so deep I don’t even know where to find them any more. So I walk back each step is heavy and my feet feel hot inside the shoes. My faded blue truck sticks out against the hills, I could see why they choice this colour, no chance of losing this vehicle. The small trailer hitched on the back offers scant protection when your in a desert. I’m getting impatient here, running out of water, food, canned beans are all fine and dandy when your packing them, but when you get out there, where ever it is they’ve assigned you, those beans, they taste disgusting after the first couple of days, then again I guess anything would taste awful after 7 days straight of eating it, although I can't image ever getting sick of apples. Apples are always delicious.

So I wait and I wait and I wait and finally on the seventh day the man comes. I see him in the distance near mid-afternoon, but he doesn’t reach me until it’s almost dusk. He doesn’t speak to me, probably because he can’t. His jaunt is hindered by the presence of a large duffle back across his back, it appears to be heavy because he moves so slowly. When he finally reaches my encampment he doesn’t say a word, just walks up to the pick up truck and drops the duffle bag into the back. He then turns to me and gives me a nod, holds out the delivery slip, which isn’t a slip at all, but a device used for checking blood sugar levels, except this one has been modified to check and match DNA quickly and accurately without the help of an outside computer. I know it, I designed it myself. I stick my finger in the end he holds out for me, and wait to here the machine give a confirmatory beep. Nothing happens. I keep my finger in the socket and wait, but I know the reader should have finished by now and determined whether I was the correct person or not. It had to be malfunctioning, that was the only explanation. I inspect it with my eyes, attempting to see if something is amiss. I can see nothing wrong so I peel my eyes away from it only to look straight into the barrel of a gun, the old man winks clumsily at me and rolls his chapped lips together in anticipation of the kill.

Tense situations usually lead to irrational actions, but I’m lucky I’ve trained for this exact scenario my entire life. Before the old man can even begun to move his finger I lift my leg in a roundhouse kick and knock the gun to the ground causing a muffled clattering sound. It goes off into the desert. The old man jumps, his face pale, he knows he hasn't got a chance of killing me now. Before he can even scream I’ve got him pinned to the ground. I can feel his hot little body starting to gasp for breath under my weight. He struggles against my height, as I sit on top of him, but I don't budge. I can feel his lungs heaving and I know I don’t have a long time till he’s gone. I want to ask who sent him, why he thought he could kill me, if it was all a trap or a test? But I already know he can't sleep, his silent screams tell me all I will ever know. He stops struggling to breathe and goes limp, his body hot under mine. I can leave now, go to my next destination, kill my next assassin. I leave one last thing behind me, the take the large black bag out of the back of my pick-up and toss it next to the old man, I don't care what's in it, I can guess. I get in the truck and gun the engine outta there, when I'm about a mile away I look back to see the barren land exploding behind me.

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