Monday, May 12, 2014

One Death at a Time


Week Two Final Task

Turn on the radio and take note of the first thing that is mentioned. Use it as the basis for a story of no more than 500 words. Imagine a character, someone who is central to what the story is about. Try to use clear, vivid language so that your reader can see the character. Use some of the characterisation techniques we have talked about so far:

*physical description
*thoughts and inner life
*where the character is located
*the character’s back story
*how the character acts in the world.

You might not wish to include all of these various aspects in your story but you might like to know something about them nonetheless.


An irritatingly persistent rain flooded the streets of New York for several days. Natasha was tense, restless.

Although she was in her mid-thirties, she looked considerably younger. Of average height and normal build, she wore her long straight black hair in a braid, the sides of her head neatly shaved. Black nail polish, black jeans, black t-shirt, and black combat boots, only added to the belligerent look Sean found irresistible.

He met her at a bar the night before. She was by herself. He invited her for a drink. She hinted that she would prefer a quieter place “to talk”. Dangerous looking women always awoke in him a thrill for careless lust. They ended up at his place doing everything but drinking.

The talking happened the next morning. 

“Why?” asked Sean, hugging Natasha, his chin on her right shoulder, both looking outside the window of his posh downtown apartment.

Between them and the window lay a small telephone table. While aligning all the elements, a notepad, a pen, a mail holder, a key dish, and a letter opener, Natasha talked about her life. 

She grew up in a family of abusive parents, dodgy cousins and blurred recollections of vaguely inappropriate situations. She became a nomad. She ran from her family, her small town life, her past. Above all, she ran from herself, but this she never told Sean. She never told him about the feverish need to exorcise that feeling of powerlessness.

“The memory of him keeps me alive,” whispered Natasha in her deep pitched voice.

“Him?” asked Sean, his lips in a childish pout. 

Natasha rambled on and on about a mysterious biker she hooked up with who roamed the highway during the night, committing terrible crimes. She had perfected the art of rambling. Sentences, apparently meaningless, were patched together, gradually shaping an invisible web.

“I’ve never heard of any…” started Sean.

Natasha interrupted him. “Yes…” and tilted her head, revealing the side of her neck. 

He felt this intense desire to kiss her. He turned her around towards him, but for a split second, he couldn’t comprehend what was happening.

“Why, you asked. This is why.” And she plunged the letter opener in his neck, and stepped back, watching the blood gushing out ruthlessly.

Then, Natasha took a long sensuous shower. That always coaxed her back to a certain sense of joy, cleansing her body of those pesky red stains and purging, even if temporarily, her catacomb-like soul filled with unspoken secrets. 

She stepped out of the apartment building. It rained, still. The rain didn’t bother her, not anymore, not as much as it did the day before, this morning or even just an hour ago. She felt calm. She had appeased that hunger and had recovered her self-assurance.

It was now time to buy food for her cat, a black, slim, yellow-eyed trustworthy companion. He too needed to be fed.


  1. wow Lizzie, tales from the dark side indeed!! Fascinating, Chilling!!!

    1. It's all CNN's fault! "A death at a time" was the first sentence I heard when I tuned in! On a side note, it was so much fun meeting you in-world earlier today :)