The Secret in the Garden

Sorry, been short on inspiration and time but recently managed this:


The handball bounced high toward the tangled, draped fingers of ivy covering the dark green bushes near the fence-line of Bruce’s long backyard.

“I’ll get it!” cried eleven-year-old Matt, shoving his mate out of the way as he bolted after the ball.

Bruce, the same age, sprung after the ball and yelled, “No, you won’t, I will!” On the run, he practised a jumping side kick that sent Matt into the concrete near the house. Their very own makeshift “court”.

Matt leapt to his feet and ignored blooming red grazes on his leg as he tore after Bruce. “You cheater!”

Bruce stopped at the bushes to see the ball under them. He crouched low. His arm stretched through sticky cobwebs for the red ball but it lay a good yard away – just out of reach. With one hand-sweep, he pushed the cobwebs aside. With the other, he tried to reach in again. A growl stopped him mid-reach. His spine shuddered. He yanked his outstretched hand to his lap. Matt arrived him in time to hear the bushes rumble. The ball rolled out of sight.

“What’s that noise?” Matt asked in a small voice. He pushed his black-frame glasses over the bump of his once-broken nose.

“We need our ball. I’m going in,” said Bruce.

“Don’t. You don’t know what’s there,” countered Matt.

“You’re just saying that because I’m beating you,” said Bruce. “I want to win.” He reefed the vines aside. Then he got on all fours and crawled over the damp earth under the bushes by the back fence.

A distorted shadow slid in the space between Bruce and the ball. Bruce froze. His eyes remained planted on the shadow but he glimpsed a blur in his peripheral vision as Matt scooted for the back door, shoulders before his feet.

The darkness launched for Bruce and, in a split second, he contemplated running or staying to fight.

Bruce raised his arms ready to attack but the shadow had no respect for any civilized rules of engagement, something Bruce discovered the hard way. Bruce panicked. The shadow slipped through his guard and funneled up his nostrils while he gagged. A year of training had never prepared Bruce how to fight for possession of his body. Confusion engulfed him. After the evil gained control of his body, it turned to his soul.

With ease his consciousness was pushed aside, as though this thing was practiced at stealing body and soul, and inside Bruce’s mind he shrank from the invading evil. Terror filled Bruce in the portion of his mind he was cornered. The evil sought dominion of his mind until only a teeny portion of Bruce survived and the evil engorged him. A triumphant leech.

By the time possession of his body and soul was complete, the back fly screen burst open and Matt raced toward him with Bruce’s mum close behind.

Bit-by-bit a smile filled his face and the new-Bruce flexed his hands and ran them through his flaxen hair while blue eyes turned black with a pleasurable, evil twinkle. He picked up the ball, left the garden and yelled, “I have it!”

Sustenance, come to me.



Nasty habits

I’ve discovered one nasty habit in my current draft. I find I write things like: he “started to” walk, he “started to” jog, or he “began to” stroll. Thankfully, I find it easy with Scrivener to search these phrases and change the phrase to “he walked”, “he jogged” or “he strolled”. Not bad – around 20 times in 80000 words! Still, 20 times too much.

Another habit is using hear/heard too much. Often I find if I reevaluate the sentence where the hear/heard appears I realize the situation calls for “listen” instead.

I also use cliches without even realising it. Did you know “hands on” is a cliche? Without I wouldn’t even know I wrote with these nasty flaws but with it, I am able to see and eliminate these faults.

Hopefully, eliminating these faults will tighten my writing and help my voice shine. Obviously, with all faults, I make a judgement call whether eliminating the faults improves my story before I make changes.

Getting rid of adverbs

I use a program called Scrivener, and it highlights the problems in my writing. One of my weaknesses are adverbs. When I first write a scene, they help describe the scene. In a first draft that’s fine because as Terry Prachett said: “The first draft is just telling yourself the story”.

I find Scrivener highlights the adverbs in my writing enables to see the problem areas. Highlighted, the adverbs stand out. either, I replace the adverbs with a more apt description and stretch my imagination. A rewarding task. Or I can delete because to delete declutters my words and makes my intending meaning clear. Also, a rewarding task. Either way, I consider whether the adverb is essential. On the rare occasion, it stays.

A Character Sketch

This is a short character sketch. Heads up – if you think a secret affair, you’d be wrong!

Tristan smiled back, assured, at his co-worker and they parted ways in the crisp, white corridor. If only he knew the truth, there is no way he could smile a goodbye. He’d escort his twisted arse – blue scrubs and all – out the hospital doors … never to return. Instead, his mop-haired co-worker allowed his lanky bod go with an innocent, parting smile. Tristan turned, nudged the horn rimmed glasses he didn’t need in place and a slow, lazy grin brightened his face as he made his way to the emergency rooms rubbing the engraved disk at his neck. The Emergency Rooms were the perfect place to hide his true identity.

Last night satisfied him like never before – what had it been? Was last night sweeter because the woman was his co-worker’s wife? He wanted that satisfaction again.

Tristan arrived at the emergency rooms as nurses bustled to the urgent bidding of doctors behind curtains.

“Tristan, over here,” yelled a doctor. “Get a bag A+ blood. Set up a transfusion. Quickly.”

Every fibre of his being fought the mischief of setting up an O negative transfusion instead, but he resisted. He wasn’t throwing away all he’d worked for. He hadn’t travelled half way across this world in this body, in the prime of its life, to upset the rare, exhilarating moments like last night.

The memory of last night kept him steady and he set up the A+ transfusion as asked. If he did as asked, then he’d blend and despite having to behave going against his very nature. Besides, he feared to lose the gift he’d been given. If anyone guessed his true identity, he’d become a lab rat if she didn’t destroy him first. For now, his fun needed to remain in the shadows and seem unconnected to him. Life was a prison controlled by the disk sealed around his neck and her.