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He could see her from where he stood on the street below. She was halfway out of the tall window and though he couldn’t hear it she seemed to be screaming. What in God’s name was going on? Dodging traffic Pike crossed the street to see if he could get a better look. He wasn’t being nosy; he was just a journalist out looking for his next photo op. But now he didn’t have his camera loaded. The Nikon hung around his neck empty and useless. Pike patted his jean pockets and felt one familiar round canister against his leg. Well at least he had an extra roll, but did he have time to snap it into the camera before the girl disappeared? He’d have to try.



He pulled the canister from his pocket, popped the top with his thumb, clicked the button on the camera to open the film door and loaded it quickly. The lens was off and he had the view finder to his eye in a matter of seconds, head thrown back, searching the row of windows for the girl. They were empty. He let the camera hang back around his neck and sighed, maybe he should just keep walking. No, something about that girl didn’t feel right. But what could he do now that she was gone; he had no idea how to find her in such a large building. Then he heard a scream and his eyes darted back up the flight of windows. She was there, screaming and physically fighting with someone. Quickly Pike counted the floors and windows from the ground to her and was inside the building and taking the elevator to the seventeenth floor. His photo op forgotten Pike rushed through the elevator doors and into the hallway. He ran to his left, counting doors and praying he’d get there in time.



The brown doors and the grey walls paralleled Pike's flight as he ran down the
hallway. They blended together in his rush to create a melancholy tunnel who's light
was the door marked with the golden number eighty-five. He stopped at it abruptly and as he reached for the doorknob he paused to collect his thoughts. In his hurry he had completely neglected to think about what his course of action should be. Should he burst in the door? Should he knock? It occurred to him that as he sat there debating his next move the woman in
the building could be suffering. With the sudden motivation of a good Samaritan, he
angled his shoulder towards the door and threw himself into it with his full weight.
The door rang with a loud "smack!" as he hit it and fell to the floor.



"Damn!" cursed Pike from the brown carpet floor, "I did NOT think that door
would be so stubborn!" He sighed and lifted himself back up to face his opponent once
more. There was definitely someway to break these doors down, he had seen it done on
location at many police raids. The officers did it with such ease. He paused, preparing
to attack the door once again, when it occurred to him he heard no sound from inside.
Now aware of the opressive silence that surrounded him, Pike feared he was too late. He gently touched his ear to the door's surface and listened for movement. At first, there was not a single sound and then came a loud thump. Instantly, Pike pictured the woman falling to the ground in death's cold embrace. He stumbled backwards and reached for the closest thing he could to steady himself- the doorknob. His hand gave it a slight twist as he struggled not to fall. But, the laws of physics were not on his side and his weight shifted heavily into the door. The hinges creaked and the door slid open gracefully. Pike lost his grip on the doorknob and tumbled forward onto the brown carpet. This time, he lay sprawled in a darkened room.



Moaning, he picked his head up and glanced around him. The lights in the room
were off and the shades were drawn. Pike couldn't make out a single form in the
darkened abode. Confused, he lifted himself to his hands and knees so he could
investigate. As he crawled deeper into the seemingly deserted home Pike's eyes began
to adjusted to the deep, velvet-like black all around him. He could now make out the
shapes of chairs and tables. It occurred odd to him that they were all situated in
their correct positions, leaving absolutely no indication of a struggle. From the
living room he crawled into a hallway that branched off into two different rooms. The
one on the left was in the far back of the hallway with the door closed, Pike hoped he didn't have to make the journey all the way to that black hole. The door on the right was much closer and although he couldn't be sure, Pike thought the door was open. He scuffled along the rough carpet to the entryway and sure enough the door was wide open. He slid inside and immediately recognized a bed in the moonlight that creeped through the blinds. Pike's breath
caught in his throat. He could make out a form on the bed, it had to be the girl he had seen in the window! Hoping she wasn't hurt he reached up onto the bed and instantly felt moisture on the soft pastel bedcovers. Blood! Pike grimaced and felt his throat go dry. He was too obviuosly late. Mournfully, he stood up and walked over to thelight switch to illuminate the young woman. He flicked the switch wistfully and then gasped.



Pike's mind was reeling when he looked upon the bedroom scene. An old man laid
sprawled across the pastel pink mattress, breathing gently. His mouth was opened wide,
leaking his thick drool in a stream down his pillow and into a shallow pool on the
sheets. Pike looked down at his hand...no blood. He furrowed his eyebrows, deep in
thought and it dawned on him that the "blood" he had touched was in reality the old
man's saliva. He felt his stomach turn and stumbled backwards into the wall. Suddenly
the sleeping man snorted and opened his eyes. For an instant, drowsiness clouded his
sight and then he snapped out of it and sat up.



"Who the hell are you?!" his rough voice demanded. The old man's eyes turned
angry and he reached under his pillow. When his shaky hand came back from under the
pillow, he was holding a 45-caliber glock. Pike's jaw dropped and he threw his hands up
in the air, closed his eyes, and sunk to the floor.



"Please mister, don't shoot!" he screamed at the top of his lungs, tears
running anxiously down his cheeks. "I was just investigating, I...I...saw.." his voice
trailed off into a wave of sobs.



"You didn't see anything, you're a damned dirty drug dealer stealing from a man who's worked more in one year than you've ever..." the old man accused and leveled the glock at Pike's head. He was shaking, but his finger was braced steadily on the trigger. Five long moments of hesitation and fear spread out before them and then a loud knock broke the spell.



"Mr. Olsen? Are you okay in there?" a young woman's voice queried, followed by another loud knock on the door frame. "I heard screaming," she continued, voice getting closer to them as she entered. Her soft footsteps padded down the hall and then into the entryway of the room. For a moment she stood transfixed, framed like a fragile piece of artistry held in mock surprise. But that instant fled swiftly and she was alert once more. "What's going on?" she asked Mr. Olsen, glancing over at the young man leaning against the wall with his head in his hands. He seemed to be crying. She looked back over to Mr. Olsen's hands desperately clutching the gun, "put it down for me, sir...please? You know you're not supposed to have that in the building." She urged him softly and he complied although his eyes filled with resentment.



"This scum bag robbed me and was about to kill me in my sleep Susan!" he bellowed defensively.



"Wait," sobbed Pike, "that's not what happened at all!" He raised his head out of his hands to plead his case to his new judge. His misty eyes looked up to her face and suddenly his heart stopped. He recognized this girl. She was the girl from the window, dressed in a white t-shirt and sweat pants with her black hair tied up tightly in a ponytail. "You!" he gasped, "I saw you struggling with someone!" He held his camera up, "at first I tried to take a picture but then I saw you were really in trouble. But...but...I came here and I didn't find you..." Pike voice trailed off in exhaustion. Both Mr. Olsen and Susan looked at him in surprise. A smile appeared on the girl's face and slowly she began to chuckle.



"What's your name?" the girl asked still grinning.



"It's...Pike," he answered, confused as to why she was laughing at him.



"Well Pike," she said, "I think you must not realize that this is a community for the elderly," Mr. Olsen grimaced, "and those not able to care for themselves. We strive to maintain normalcy in our environment and so we all live together in this apartment. I'm the attendant for this floor, Susan Daniels. I live one room over." Pike frowned and bowed his head in embarrassment. He had broken into the wrong room and managed to disturb an innocent old man's sleep. He felt moronic at the very least.



"So who were you fighting in your room," he asked from his humbled position.



Susan chuckled again, "I had an appointment for my self-defense class, which is a requirement for the attendants here, but the class was small so a couple of the people and I came back to my place and started reenacting scenes from different action movies. It's good practice, really." She flashed Pike another grin, "you should try it sometime."



Pike let himself slouch further into the wall hoping he could disappear into it. As he looked down at the camera laying on his lap he realized for the first time in his life, he found a situation he would not want to capture in images and light.

------
"God grant me distraction."
-Zampano


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Comments

The following comments are for "Fools Rush In..."
by Darkshine Raven

Happy Trails...
to you... ;)

Good luck to you, also, Darkshine! Thanks for checking mine out. You did a great job. :)

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: November 12, 2003 )

Hmmm
I wish I wasn't in a morbid mood Darkshine, or you would have had this one. I liked it a lot, and it was very fast-paced. Also, that drool was real enough to be palpable (though I'm not sure if I should congratulate you for that).

There were, however, a few things I found off. Mostly just the grammar and typos, ie:
"It occurred odd to him that they were all situated in their correct positions..."
"He was too obviuosly late. Mournfully, he stood up and walked over to thelight switch..."

Also, I liked the ending. It was funny. But there's no need to include the last sentence, as it gives it a somber edge.

9/10

P.S: Why not the Great Sunday Night Write-Off? Why the Tuesday night one?

( Posted by: Washer [Member] On: November 12, 2003 )

ilikeit
it grabbed me, i was in a state of tension! good story

( Posted by: fastathanu [Member] On: November 13, 2003 )

"..."
Okay, my opinion: Interesting direction, but I have to agree that it just didn’t grab me. But, I can tell you why (Blame Elliott for his tutelage). (1) "Damn!" cursed Pike from the brown carpet floor, "I did NOT think that door would be so stubborn!" Do you think like this? It didn’t suit the writing style, and was an obvious break. (2) “Pike couldn't make out a single form in the darkened abode. Confused, he lifted himself to his hands and knees so he could investigate.” This has so many problems. The first is “Abode”…as diction, excellent, but way too overused. It’s become a cliché for people who try to sound profound. Second, it simply doesn’t flow. It’s unconnected from the introduction. (3) “…and sure enough the door was wide open” Did I expect it to be open? Was I supposed to? (4) “45-caliber glock” Again, over used, and might have been better said with “pistol” or “ handgun”. (5) “at the very least.” Didn’t fit.

Now, to what I liked? (1)” He flicked the switch wistfully and then gasped.” Wistfully - I like its usage here.

I have to admit, I’m not so good at giving critiques, but your opponent got my vote. His flowed much better with the introduction, and it was dramatic. Although I’m not into the horror genre, it was well written.

( Posted by: SOTA [Member] On: November 13, 2003 )

Oh Darkshine!
Nice story!!!! Kudos to you! Best of luck!!

( Posted by: Darkened Daylight [Member] On: November 14, 2003 )

a departure
Darkshine~

I must say I am pleasantly suprised with the direction you took with this piece. It's not often that you see a Write Off entry that could be placed in the humor category. You definately get props for that.

But, your prose is a bit looser than normal here, and you certain details seemed a bit incongrous. The fact that Pike notices the make and caliber of the old man's handgun is the most glaring. It seemed as if you were going for too specific a detail. A few descriptor's in place of a "name" would have worked better in my opinion. This one was a tough call, but I have to go with Elphaba this go around. As always thanks for helping make the Write Off a success again.

Bart

( Posted by: Bartleby [Member] On: November 14, 2003 )

Writeoff/DS
Very well written, but you know me, I am going to vote for the two of you. Looking for more of your write offs in the near future though.

Blessings

{{{Jeannie}}}

( Posted by: JEANNIE45 [Member] On: November 14, 2003 )

Elderly
I didn't get a through readthrough,so I will have to return for a better review. However, the first impressions of this piece were not terribly exciting. Old metaphors and unexciting prose took away from what was a highly original direction in this piece. Though I see development from the last write off short story of yours, there is a stronghold of old habits in your writing that tends to disturb your flow. Inner monologue is a good techinique, however it contrasted too highly with your action, slowing down your scenes and weighing on what should have been exciting and light. I also know that you've said you had a weakness about dialogue, and it showed somewhat this time around. Your interesting direction and intermittent original phrases were what saved the piece from being far too weighed down in the 'out of action' sequences. A good story, in spite of that, shows a talent blooming.
A more full review, if you so desire, I could do at a later date, for now, there's some first impressions.
-Kitten

( Posted by: Kitten Courna [Member] On: November 14, 2003 )

fyi
I'm not being quiet out of disrespect. I'm so incredibly thankful for all your comments, good and bad. However, this time around I'm gonna chose to kep my mouth shut until the contest is over. =D

Thank you guys again, this has probably been my favorite write-off so far. Why? You'll see...heehe.

( Posted by: Darkshine Raven [Member] On: November 14, 2003 )

Nice little story
An interesting story -- especially given the time constraints. I liked the little twist at the end (I suck at twists, so I admire those who can write 'em), and some amusing moments. I especially liked the stand-off. Funny stuff.

You know who I pictured when I was reading that part? The Ropers and Jack Tripper from Three's Company! Seemed to fit their characters (hey, come on! What do you want from me? I ain't deep).

Good work!

( Posted by: Boy Howdy [Member] On: November 15, 2003 )

good 1
Well I enjoyed it =D, captured the moment and piloted nicely. I liked the line, "framed like a fragile piece of artistry...". A nice blend of narrative and those talking bits, whatever they're called. My only critisim would be the fella crying so quickly, particularly a journalist....9.8 for the floor routine.....smithy

( Posted by: smithy [Member] On: November 15, 2003 )

flow.
When I talk of flow and rhythm, it's usually in relation to poetry, not stories. But I'm bringing it up here: To me, this story just didn't feel like it flowed smoothly.

I can see the humour you're trying for in places, but I didn't think it worked too well - it felt a bit slapstick in places, but the writing style felt more serious; it was as if the story wanted to be a thriller, but you wanted it to be a comedy, and I think that's why I found it jumpy.

Sorry... I'm not making it sound good! It does have it's moments though, and I did enjoy reading it.

Good effort, it gets a 7/10 from me.

( Posted by: Spudley [Member] On: November 15, 2003 )

Excellent Work !
Dear Darkshine,

I really loved your story. The way you had developed the plot was excellent.Including those twists.According to me your story is the winner.There was slight confussion in the middle. But it's ok. My rating 10/10. You story really deserves that.

( Posted by: g.s.vasukumar [Member] On: November 16, 2003 )

fools rush in
I loved it, I'm amazed at all the talent here.Its better then trying to find my library card in my junked up purse.
Your writing is great to me, twisters that keep me running ahead to see what's next....and the bit of dampness on the sheet , well I had three things pop in my head and that wasn't one of them it made me laugh....anyway I worked as a nurse many years..and in that time two places were apartments for the elderly...haha and the damn carpets were both an old shaggy brown..guess to hide stains..

( Posted by: coco [Member] On: November 18, 2003 )

And dah winnah is..!
Heh. Congratulations to you, DS, for a job well done! You wrote a good story with an excellent return rate! And now I sound like a stock broker or something.

Really, you should be very proud of yourself. You have a lot of talent, hon. This was a tremendous amount of fun, a good learning experience, and maybe our keyboards will meet again in the future. :)

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: November 19, 2003 )

oops, grammer is real!
So, I really think Elpha should have won this write-off. I have this habit of throwing caution to the wind and just writing, I forget that in the world of literature grammer and structure are a reality. I think I just write far too many poems...then the switch to story-writing is hard to make. Anyways...onward..

fast, DD, jeannie, BH, GS, coco, Washer- Thank you all for your kinda words. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that people enjoy my writing despite it's sloppiness. I can only hope that reading my writing encourages you to continue yours because I've read a bit of all of your work and I know you all to have talent. Makes your comments that much more meaningful...

Penelope- Yikes! Lotsa points you made here. You're right about the golden numbers, on a rereading of this I realized that was a pretty big mistake. There was originally a reason I talked about the colors, but I ended up scrapping that and never removing the description. I totally understand where you're coming from. =D

Bob- Yay, You finally voted for me in a write-off! =D I'm glad this story caught you, and I'm glad you liked the last line, I did too. =D

SOTA- Lotsa stuff here too, most of which I agree with to some extent. I definitely feel a re-write coming on...oh, and I included the glock because cliched or not it's my favorite weapon, not that I use guns!

Bart- I'm glad you liked my direction and here again I agree about the flow. I think I just rushed myself way too much. I want to thank you as well for holding these write-offs and making them work out. They're incredible oppurtunities for us writers. =D

Kitten- I see what you're saying about some of my bad habits. I'd love to hear this "full review" of yours if you'd oblige me, I think I could learn alot from what you have to say...

Spud- I think I mess my flow up in stories because I write alot of serious poetry and have a hard time switching gears. I know what you're saying about it being jumpy, hopefully I can fix that up. =D

Once again...thank you to everyone (especially Elpha). I've learned so much about myself through these write-offs and I couldn't do it without you guys. =D I plan to re-write this story and publish it here again, using your comments to guide me. Thanks again and I hope I get to do this again someday soon. =D



( Posted by: Darkshine Raven [Member] On: November 19, 2003 )

hmmm
cant say i liked this one very much.if she was practising self defense she wouldnt be anywhere near the window.the writing was good however, and with a little changes here and there this would make a nice little story.good job

( Posted by: northerain [Member] On: November 20, 2003 )

FOOLS RUSH IN
YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE A DESIRE TO WRITE STORIES ALTHOUGH PERSONALLY, I BELIEVE YOU NEED TO FIND THE THINGS YOU REALLY WANT TO WRITE ABOUT...NOT THE MOMENTARY THOUGHTS AND IDEAS YOU HAVE WHILST WATCHING A FILM OR LISTENING TO A COLLEGE LECTURE...SEARCH DEEPER AND READ MORE (TO GET A VARIED DEGREE OF STYLES AND FORMATS) AND I'M SURE YOU WILL CREATE THE THINGS YOU THINK YOU ARE ALREADY DOING, (THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A COMPLIMENT).AS FOR THE STORY - IT WASN'T A GOOD ONE BUT IT HAD STRONG METAPHORS...WHICH IS BETTER, IN MY OPINION.HOPE YOU GET MY ANGLE.STAY REAL.

( Posted by: LEDS [Member] On: November 28, 2003 )

northerain/LEDS
Northerain- Sorry this wasn't as much to your liking. The girl wasn't practicing self-defense, she was enacting movie scene with her friends. YOu know, just messing around. =P

LEDS- I'm not really sure what you're getting at. All I can say is that I'm offended by your suggestion that I should go beyond the "momentary" thoughts I have during lectures or films. That and your suggestion that I read more. I read quite a bit already, thanks. I wish you could be a bit more specific with what you're talking about here because I'm really not understanding what these comments have to do with the story...though I'd like to hear more about what you seem to think you know about my writing style. =D I don't think I did get your angle. Thanks though, and take care.

( Posted by: Darkshine Raven [Member] On: November 29, 2003 )

THOUGHTS/STYLES/ANGLES
I'M SORRY IF I CAME ACROSS AS SOMEONE WHO APPEARS TO BE A KNOW IT ALL...I AM NOT AND DON'T WANT TO BE.LET ME EXPLAIN.
FIRSTLY, IT WAS THE VERY FIRST STORY ON THIS SITE THAT I'VE READ (INTERESTINGLY - OR NOT - I HAVE ONLY READ YOUR WORK ON THIS SITE, NO ONE ELSE'S...CEPT THE OTHER PERSON IN THE WRITE OFF, OBVIOUSLEY.) AND SO I WAS LOOKING AT IT COMING FROM THE ANGLE OF SOMEONE WHO READS EVERYDAY AND WRITES AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. I SUPPOSE MY HEAD WENT UP MY ARSE AND I WAS JUST TRYING TO ACT LIKE A JUDGE AND GIVE THE OPINION I WOULD HAVE GIVEN IF I WAS, SAY FOR EXAMPLE, THE ONLY JUDGE IN THE WHOLE WORLD (SHINE EGO, SHINE!!). I HAVE BEEN JUDGED MY SELF, NOT JUST FOR WRITING, AND SOME TIMES THE JUDGES TALK CRAP...MAYBE I HAVE BEEN GUILTY OF THIS, MAYBE I HAVEN'T.I DON'T WANNA SOUND LIKE A COMPLETE L.S.D VICTIM BUT I WAS TRYING TO TUNE IN TO YOUR STYLE AND BASED MY JUDGEMENT OF YOUR STORY ON THAT FEELING THAT I GOT.
SECONDLY, I ONLY USED THE "COLLEGE LECTURE" EXAMPLE TO REFER TO THE TIMES WHEN WE HAVE IDEAS FOR STORIES OR CHARACTERS...WHEN I SAY SEARCH MORE, I MEAN REALLY GO BEYOUND WHAT IS EXPECTED OF YOU, PULL OUT THE STORIES THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW EXISTED, EVEN IF IT MEANS ALIENATED THOSE AROUND YOU THAT CALL THEMSELVES YOUR CONTEMPARIES...I DON'T MEAN TO SOUND LIKE I'M NOT REALLY MAKING A POINT, AND I DON'T WANT TO BLOW IT OUT OF PROPORTION BUT ALL I CAN SAY, HONESTLEY, IS THAT I WAS TRYING TO COMPLEMENT YOU WHILST AT THE SAME TIME CONSTRUCTIVELY CRITISISE YOU. THAT IS WHAT JUDGES DO, THAT IS THE POINT OF WRITE OFF'S (I THINK!).
THIRDLY, WHEN I SPOKE OF STYLE I WAS AGAIN TRYING TO TUNE INTO YOUR WRITING AND I GOT THE FEELING THAT YOU ARE A VERY OUT GOING PERSON, (ALTHOUGH SOME PEOPLE AROUND YOU MAY NOT THINK SO, OR SEE THAT SIDE OF YOU), YOU PROBABLY HAVE NO PROBLEMS IN OFFERING YOUR IDEAS TO PEOPLE OR GROUPS AND YOU HAVE A FAIR IDEA OF WHAT YOU WANT FROM LIFE (AGAIN, THIS MAY BE A GENERALISATION AND I WOULD BE ARROGANT TO ASSERT IT AS THE TRUTH). SO, HOPEFULLY YOU CAN SEE MY ANGLE...I GO ON THE VIBES I PICK UP FROM READING...THAT'S WHY I LOVE READING...IT HELPS ME TO SUSS OUT THE PEOPLE AND THE WORLD AROUND ME.
LASTLY, I SAID "READ MORE" ONLY TO HIGHLIGHT MY OWN BELIEF THAT YOU HAVEN'T YET BROKEN AWAY FROM THE STYLES OF WRITING THAT ARE INFLUENCING YOUR OWN WORK...IT'S A FACT OF LIFE FOR EVERY WRITER - MYSELF INCLUDED - AND IT ONLY REALLY GOES AWAY WHEN SOMEONE SAYS, "HEY, THAT'S F**KING BRILLIANT! YOUR STYLE IS SO UNIQUE!" I SUPPOSE THE TRICK IS TO BLEND THE INFLUENCES TO PRODUCE YOUR STYLE.
MAYBE I HAVE JUST TALKED COMPLETLEY OUT OF MY EARHOLE, MAYBE SOME OF IT MAKES SENSE...I SINCERELY HOPE NONE OF IT OFFENDS YOU AND I APOLOGISE FOR NOT MAKING MYSELF CLEARER THE FIRST TIME 'ROUND.STAY REAL.(AND DON'T HATE ME!:))

( Posted by: LEDS [Member] On: December 1, 2003 )





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