Saturday, 26 March 2011

Light It Up

My very first post on a Saturday.

I feel oddly Dark Phoenix. Perhaps it's the warm Saturday air, or the fact that I don't have work and can get into all sorts of funky mischief, either way, today I'm gonna set the clubs on fire!

This is the new opening I devised per your critiques. I expanded on the cafe and polished it as best I could. In this scene, Valeous is hell-bent on enjoying an ordinary evening when weird things start happening. It's quite funny. It's more than a 250 word excerpt (750 to be exact), so I'll mark the spot with (*).

Nothing more I can say. Thank you ever so much for the comments, and I sincerely hope I did justice with your critiques.

Wish me luck.
Valeous Rex strolled down Westminster Avenue on the most ordinary night he had ever seen. The sky was black and as it should be: a silver moon and many stars; busy folks bustled along on their merry way; the cool June air swishing their cloaks.

Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Valeous turned into a crowded street and pushed a tinted glass door. A jumble of honks and pitter-patter rushed into the sound-proofed room. He released the door and walked on, as it closed a coin-sized fire ball whizzed past.

He surveyed the white linen tables scattered about and found one in the corner near the wall. Before he could loosen the last button on his black tux, a leggy waiter stepped beside him, took out a pad and asked what he would like to have...

"The usual," he replied.

“Very Well.” And the man left.

Valeous pulled the wooden chair and sat. He picked up a copy of the Daily Express near a tray of napkins, unfolded it and skimmed the headlines: London's Ailing Economy...Prince Harry Is A Bum…Almighty Hero Slays Boogeyman...

He blinked and read it again.

Almighty Hero Slays Boogeyman

Mr. Arthur Read is a psychologist and father of four. Despite his noble profession, he claims a Superhero saved him from the Boggeyman. What's more, Mr. Arthur says the Superhero is a boy.*
"He was a sixteen-year-old chap and about six feet with an athletic build. He had short brown hair that curved at the front, blue eyes and wore a black tux from the Armani collection."
Dapper in an Armani suit himself, Mr. Read describes the boy as almighty. In his own words: “The Boogeyman twisted into a massive red lizard, but the boy didn’t so much as flinch! He grabbed it by the toe, spun it around and flung that bugger into the sky! Then he created a shadow ball between his hands, shot it at the monster and -- BAM -- the lizard, I mean the Boogeyman, was blown to bits!”
When asked the identity of this Superhero, Mr. Read replied, "He said I could call him ‘V’."

A jostling of feet broke Valeous’s train of thought.

"Here you are, sir," said the waiter. He placed a steaming cup of Lipton and a silver tray of caramel biscuits on the table. "Anything else -- our delicious muffins, perhaps?"

"Oh god no -- I mean -- no thank you," Valeous said, forcing a smile.

The waiter pursed his lips. "Enjoy."

Valeous nodded and watched him leave.

He took a sip of the bitter-sweet tea while holding the paper in his left hand. Out of nowhere, a loud jumble of honks blared from behind. He turned to the door three tables away -- to the duo of middle-aged women sweeping into the cafe. A faint red glow squeezed through the crease as scraps of paper flew by. The door was left to close of its accord; the light shrank smaller and smaller...then vanished along with the noise.

"I’ve never seen a night sky so red, and that wind was awfully hot," he heard one of them say, walking past.

Red sky?... Hot wind?... Probably a thunderstorm, Valeous supposed, shrugging.

As the ladies settled into their seats, a sudden tremble caused the chandelier to flick the ambiance from gold to black; metal cutlery clinked a wavering tune; tables jumped slightly; and those standing stood very still. After a second or two, a blast of amber painted the room and Valeous, suspecting it was the weather, continued to read.

…It is understood that Superheroes only exist in comic books, but Mr. Arthur Read is convinced he saw one…

Ever so often a yelp of laughter startled his inner voice. Valeous looked over his paper (crazy old bats!) and took a sip of tea before ducking behind it. He vowed not to be disturbed again, and he indeed kept his promise. Soon, giggles turned into shrieks -- glass broke with a crash – chairs jostled and skid  – yet Valeous read on…

...Mr. Arthur Read insists he is not insane, after all he is a psychologist...

It wasn't until a man bumped his table en route to the door that he finally set the paper down.

Silence clung to every empty corner and chair; bits of glass littered the floor.

Valeous absorbed the scene for a moment, turning all sorts of reasons in his head, then came face to face with the culprits sitting in a chair.

"Those stupid muffins! Of course people will storm out -- they cost five hundred pounds and taste like ass!"

He was certain of their guilt -- no matter how silly it sounded.

"Tonight is completely normal and nothing could go wrong!"

Turning up his nose, he picked up the newspaper, ruffled it, and took a sip of tea; a salty, almost metallic taste sloshed on his tongue. He spat it across the white linen table and looked into the cup. It wasn't filled with a pool of brown Lipton...

It was blood.


Tony Benson said...

"Nothing could possibly go wrong" This is a great line to make it clear that something's just about to go wrong.

I like the way you set the scene with your opening. We get some idea about Valeous (great name!), but there's plenty of mystery. Surely he's the Almighty Hero - or is he :-)

I love the humour in the scene as he is trying to ignore all the stuff that's going on around him while he reads the paper - peering over the top of it and sipping his tea.

It's a very engaging opening. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Nicely done.

You really "showed" the scene. I like the twist at the end with the blood.

Good job, T. D.

Michael Offutt said...

I think your writing is exciting. Just like most guys, I like superheroes. I almost wish that this was a comic book so that I could see it even better with the coin-sized ball of light, etc.

Kelley Vitollo said...

This is well written, T.D. Good job.

T.D. McFrost said...

I'm so glad you guys liked it.

At first I was skeptical because, though adults will take the time to see where it goes, I was unsure if a child would be as curious.

I write for kids and I always have them in mind. There are some CRAZY and UBER EXCITING STUFF in here, but for them to get there they have to get past the first chapter.

I didn't put much of my voice in this piece because if I did the suspense would have been a tad childish. And it's a serious matter, though Valeous is trying his best to ignore it. LOL

Do you think this scene is intriguing enough to grab a child's interest? I would very much like to know.

Thanks so much and don't be afraid to point out any weaknesses.

Much love! :D

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Your thinking is right, T. D. You have to hook kids with the first paragraph. And Tony is dead-on. NOTHING COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG tells the reader to banten down the hatches, trouble is about to rain down on our hero. Great job at ensnaring the reader, Roland

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