06 July 2012

#fridayflash: just before all hell broke loose

Since I wrote a writing structure post this week about head hopping, I decided to do some in this week's Friday Flash. Further to what I said in the blog post: this story may well suck, but it won't suck just because the head-hopping is in it. That's the same logic as saying purple prose is evidence writers should never use adjectives.

just before all hell broke loose 

Jennifer found a seat to herself on the subway and sat down. She gave the rest of the people in the car a glance-over because she always did, and as usual it was a depressing sight. There was a man in falling-apart late middle age dozing next to the door. There were two teenage girls giggling over something a few seats away. There was a younger man knitting what looked like a sock, and a woman beside him and about the same age knitting something bigger. A sweater, maybe.

Jennifer looked at the window and watched the blackened cement walls whiz by. Humanity sucked. She could hardly wait for the coming of the Eldritch Old Ones, when she would be freed from her stupid human body and take her rightful place amongst the ancient gods again. All of these idiotic...

....teenagers could just shut up, thought Olof. He kept his eyes closed and let his head sway with the motion of the train. It never worked, but he always hoped people would shut up if they thought they were near someone who was asleep. There were plans to make, wheels within wheels. At least that Eldritch pawn sitting across the aisle from him hadn't seen through his disguise. He hadn't even had to open his eyes all the way to notice her fingernails and ears weren't quite human-standard. He didn't need to open his eyes at all to feel the gaze of Wei Li and Chandra. They giggled...

...looked away again, and pretended to be checking out downloaded photos of Justin Bieber on a cell phone. Really they were reviewing the ignition sequence for the bombs one more time. Chandra tapped out a caption for a photo. From more than half a metre away it looked like Bieber sitting on a motorbike, but from the right distance and angle it resolved to a wiring schematic.

Do you think we can tip off that paladin before it happens? she wrote.

"No way!" gasped Wei Li.

Too bad, he looks like he has a lot of experience, tapped Chandra. I hate collateral damage. Did you see him spot that Eldritch when she got on?

Wei Li giggled and nodded.

Chandra swiped the screen and changed to a photo of the bomb placement pattern under the subway car. From far away it looked like Bieber standing beside a split rail fence. Wei Li gave a pop-eyed gasp and Chandra said, "I know!" to cover up. Wei Li took the tablet from her and tapped, What about those two humans playing with the pointed sticks?

Chandra grinned. "What can I say? I think..."

"...I'm going to have to switch from double-pointed needles to circulars," said Ben. He and Lisa had set up their code to use knitting jargon. No-one paid any mind to knitters talking shop on a subway train. We're going to need more firepower than we originally planned.

"What, use the Magic Loop method?" said Lisa. Are there paladins here?

"I know, I know, following the crowd, but for this pattern I think it will help me get these done faster. I'm starting to get second sock syndrome." They are all engaged to attack the Eldritch. There are two sets of them. "How about you?"

"Almost done the neckband. Wish I'd darned in the ends as I'd gone along." The Eldritch is top pritority. Let's just keep it clean.

"At least it's stash reduction. Gotta support local yarn shops, but gotta reduce stash too." Getting rid of the Eldritch is good, but getting rid of the paladins and the Eldritch is even better.

"True," said Lisa. "I hope I brought a darning needle along." She reached into her knitting bag and pressed her thumb into a rune carved on a smooth black ball. The ball glowed red, then white. The light pulsed softly.

"I have a spare," said Ben. "Here." He reached into his own knitting bag and deftly palmed a short dagger whose handle was carved with more runes. Only the very tip of the blade showed past the end of his fingers as he dropped it into Lisa's knitting bag.

"Thank you," said Lisa. She pretended to inspect the sweater she was working on. "Three more rounds."


  1. I could imagine this being done on TV where we leap from one set of passengers to the other.

    It certainly doesn't suck btw! And the technique works for me. Feel a bit cheated not knowing what happens though...

    1. If I can figure out what happens, I'll write it.

  2. Ohmigod, I love this. And not just because I knit on public transport too.

    1. Glad you liked it! I would like to see more heros/villains knitting on public transit. It would help with the image thing knitting still has.

  3. Peter's imaginary television adaptation makes sense to me, too, as the deliberate cuts between people seem tele-style and the minimal characterization would benefit from seeing the actors and associating with their visual representations. I'm pro-headhopping in theory, though I'm not sure how I felt about it as the backbone of the piece. Liked Wel Li and Chandra, and thought closing on "more rounds" was funny!

    1. Yeah, to be honest I probably would have gone third-person omniscient except that I wanted something to go with the other blog post.

  4. A nice blend here.

    It certainly gives me the feeling that no matter what people look like, or what they appear to be, you never, ever, can be sure of what they are thinking.

  5. I get the feeling the narrator is schizophrenic.

    Laughing at Icy's comment. :)

    1. Ha! And what, the voices are telling the narrator all this is happening in the same setting?

  6. I'm with Peter too, I could see this as a tv image - I agree it certainly didn't suck! I think you handled it very well. ^_^

    1. Thank you! Friday Flash is so great for trying things out.

  7. Nice to meet you Katherine, and this story does not suck! It flows quite well, I think you put it together well.


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