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My Writing

Road to Array

I decided to make Mondays- Mystery Monday! I’ll be posting teasers of my mystery stories. I’m excited about this. Hopefully it will give me the kick I need to start revisions on completed stories and maybe write those stories that have been on hold for a while.
Since it’s the first day, I’m giving 2 versions of the same teaser. Here it goes.

Version 1


The boy wore a pensive frown as he swung his legs over the bed, cramming more belongings into his huge backpack. The lanky teen was wearing a navy blue muscle shirt and similar blue pants. His short blond hair was accompanied by large bangs that hung down in front of his dark blue eyes.

Still frowning, he stared wistfully at his posters, the surfboard propped up against the wall next to a soccer ball. His gaze moved to the corner of the room where a bookshelf was crammed with books and dirt bike racing magazines. Stepping over the clothes lying around the floor, he placed his hand on the doorknob.

He needed to think, and he couldn’t do it in this place where the memories were almost oppressive. There was something else he had to do before he left. Shaking his head as he noticed the laces that had somehow gotten undone again, he pushed the rope edges into his trainers. Swinging his backpack on to his shoulder, he shrugged to distribute its weight before he gave his bedroom one last glance and shut the door behind him.

The forest behind his wooden home was at best a complicated maze. His mom had cautioned him not to fool around in the forest with his friends. It was dangerous, she warned, and he could get lost or worse. He remembered that after Mom’s rant about the forest, Dad would wink at him when she wasn’t looking. Now, the boy trampled though the forest easily, avoiding the potholes and swamps he had learned to recognize after his many trips to the forest he had kept hidden from both his parents.

Finally, he arrived at his destination, an abandoned tree house that was once a large oak tree. Climbing up the stairs, he moved slowly to his hiding place and took out the box. Opening the box, he gently cradled the object he placed there in his hand. His dad had given him the antique watch. “My grandfather gave my father this watch on his fourteenth birthday. My dad did the same for me and now I’m giving this to you. It’s a tradition,” his dad had said before they hugged, lightly pounding each other on the back.

Breaking from his reverie, the boy clasped the gift on his wrist and returned the box back to its hidden place before rushing out of the tree house. In his hurry, he didn’t hear the rustling sound in the bushes behind him. He didn’t notice the eyes. They watched him through the green leaves. Waiting.

The boy, satisfied that he had everything, started to make his way back through the woods to the open street. “Oomph,” he cried out, startled as he felt a cloth placed over his mouth and nose. Struggling, he scratched at his assailant’s hand and heard a loud yelp. He recognized the voice as a man’s before the cloth was pressed over his nose again with renewed force. He wrinkled his nose at the funny smell coming from the cloth. The dark blue eyes on his tanned face widened with shock and then understanding.

Holding in his breath, he stomped hard on the man’s foot, but this time, the man didn’t flinch. The boy felt his strength fading slowly and began to panic. He flailed his legs, kicking up the damp earth underneath his feet.

Mere seconds later, the boy’s body was limp and motionless. The assailant hoisted him on a shoulder and carried him to the nearby vehicle, driving away from the forest. In the path left behind, a loosely laced shoe lay forgotten where it had fallen off and landed with a soft thud.

Version 2

Ian crammed more belongings into his suitcase wondering for a brief moment whether he was doing the right thing. Then he reminded himself a whole week had passed since the funeral and his mom hadn’t come home. If that didn’t mean she didn’t give a damn about anyone but herself, he didn’t know what did. He made a sound in his throat, not believing he tried to defend her actions to his dad’s parents. They gave her until today, the end of the school year, to return. Now they were going to file for custody.

“Your mother thinks she is out saving the world but if she wanted to save anything, she should have started with us.”

That was his dad’s anthem. Sometimes Ian believed him. Other times, Ian remembered vividly when his mom spoiled him rotten and he in turn did everything she asked him to. He forced haggis down his throat so he didn’t hurt her feelings. He couldn’t believe she chose work over family. He had seen her once since the last fight. That was a year ago and he’d grown almost three inches since then.

With a pensive frown, he gave one last look at his room, staring at his posters, and his desk crowded with soccer magazines. Lifting his backpack from the floor, he swung it on to his shoulder shrugging to distribute its weight before turning the knob and shutting the door behind him.

“Hey!” Ian called out downstairs to where he knew his bodyguard was waiting. He couldn’t stand the officer left behind to watch over him. Hey, he tried to be nice but the man made sure Ian knew he thought this was nothing more than a glorified babysitting job. A job he was assigned because he was a rookie.

“Hey” Ian called out again with less gusto as he lifted his suitcase and carried it down the stairs.

The living room was empty. Ian shook his head puzzled. The rookie wasn’t happy with watching over him but he was serious about his job and wouldn’t have gone out without telling Ian. Array was a small close-knit town and the Sheriff hadn’t minded sending someone down to take him to his grandparents.  They were expecting him within the hour.

 Ian took a harried step towards the window and tripped, the weight from his backpack pushing him forward and he landed on his knees. He smothered a lengthy curse, glaring at the laces that  somehow got undone as usual. Frustrated, he pushed the rope edges into his trainers and grimaced as he stood up. His knees throbbed but he ignored it continuing on to the window.

Peering out, he saw no signs of the car or the rookie who sometimes stepped out for a smoke. He groaned, pushing back the bangs from his forehead. The rookie more than likely took off to teach him a lesson.  Leaving his suitcase behind in the living room, he headed out the back door. He had one more thing to do. It didn’t matter if they got to his grandparents’ place a bit late.

The forest behind his wooden home was a complicated maze but Ian trampled through the forest easily, avoiding the potholes and swamps. He learned to recognize them after his many trips through the woods that he kept hidden from both his parents. Ian smiled. It was one of the few times they agreed on anything. They wanted him to stay away from the woods. There was always something on the news about kids being found, shaken up, and dehydrated days after getting lost in the woods.

He climbed up the ladder to the abandoned tree house picking up the extra cash from his hiding place along with the antique watch his father gave him on his birthday. Gulping air, he fought the tightening in his chest and wiped the tears that followed.  Shit.  Lucky no one could see him now. .Taking a deep settling breath, he clasped his dad’s watch on his wrist and reached into his pocket for his cell phone.

No signal. He might have missed a call from the rookie. He had to head back. Leaving the tree house, he started to make his way out of the clearing. A rustling sound seemed to come from the bushes. The woods tended to be quiet and Ian paused mid-step.

“What the—” He staggered as someone grabbed him from behind, crying out as a cloth was placed over his mouth and nose. Struggling, he pushed his arm back to elbow his assailant but met empty air. Whoever it was dodged his move. Ian closed his eyes with a grimace and bit into the hand covering his mouth. He heard a loud curse. The voice belonged to man and Ian didn’t recognize it.

The cloth was pressed over his mouth again with renewed force jarring his teeth. Ian thought he tasted blood, he must have bit his lip. Then he smelled the funny odor on the damp cloth and held his breath.

The man growled. His other hand squeezed at Ian’s throat. Ian gasped and inhaled. The substance on the cloth acted quickly. His stomach churned and his eyes refused to stay open.

He continued to fight back. Squirming. Punching. Kicking. It was useless. His strength was fading, his muscles became limp and then there was darkness.

Please comment



2 thoughts on “Road to Array

  1. This is a fun idea! The two versions are interesting because they’re the same story, and yet the differences are already huge. For one, the protagonist in the first strikes me as a younger boy, maybe ten or twelve while in the second he seems older, sixteen or seventeen. There are more details about his family life in the second, which clarifies the situation a lot more. We may not know why exactly he’s being kidnapped in either of them, but in the second it’s better presented because one: he has that body guard assigned to him, and two: he’s been warned about the woods because of past disappearances. There’s already a precedent, and that gives the second version a bigger backstory already.

    I like the details about the protag in both though, about the room, the bookshelf, and his shoelaces. The first is a little too heavy on the looks right away, it’s too immediate and in your face this-is-what-he-looks-like-so-you-know. But I really love the bit about the shoelaces, I think that’s a far better way to characterize him without falling back on overused traits or phrases. 😉


    Posted by arcanii | March 15, 2011, 7:21 PM
    • Thanks so much for leaving a comment 🙂
      I’m glad you liked the Mystery Monday idea and I need to be hounded to keep up with it.
      Also glad that you saw the huge difference between version I and version II capturing the difference between draft 1 (version 1) and version 2 which is my latest draft (4 or maybe 5 Im not sure)

      I did make Ian older. He was 12 in the first draft and now he’s 15 🙂

      I cracked up when you talked about the first version being heavy on the looks. I was completely obsessed with Cloud in FFVII (still am) but I remember when thinking about what to make Ian look like I originally thought of a younger version of Cloud. Now, Ian is just … Ian.

      Yay shoelaces 😀


      Posted by mdirvine | March 15, 2011, 10:15 PM

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