Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Primal Scream Blogfest Entry for May 5

This will be my third Blogfest. I'm so glad I found out about them! This one is called Primal Scream. It is being hosted by Raquel Byrnes. Click on over there where you can find the other contestants' links to read and enjoy some great writing.

My entry is from a completed manuscript called The Trouble Next Door. The MC, Kaci, is almost 12. This might be a bit longer than it should be, but I wanted to do the whole capture scene.

Behind me I could hear Sam’s footsteps thudding after me. “Gardiner! Get her!”

I rounded the corner at full speed and plowed into something solid. It knocked me flat on my back.

“What tha’?” Gardiner just stood there holding plants in both arms.

I started yelling as I struggled to get up but Sam came barreling around the corner and immediately jumped on me. He clasped his hand over my mouth and held me on the ground with his knees.

“She’s the one we heard in the house. She’s been spying on us.”

Gardiner dropped the plants and reached down and grabbed my legs. “Hold her head and keep her mouth closed. We’re taking her to the cellar.”

I kicked and squirmed as hard as I could when Sam got off of me. I tried desperately to scream but my sounds were muffled. My parents were on the other side of the wall not four feet from me.

“Here, shove this in her mouth!” Gardiner passed a handkerchief to Sam. He shoved the whole thing in my mouth and clamped his hand over it.

I was gagging from the dry wad in my mouth. Sam had a good grip on my mouth from behind and his other arm was wrapped under my arms. Gardiner grabbed my legs and lifted. I was beginning to choke on my own saliva. It was getting hard to draw in air from my nose. Waves of fear washed over me. The two men carried me into the greenhouse.

“The gag will come out as soon as you settle down!” Gardiner must have heard the choking sounds I was making.

“Hurry, I’m about to drop her!” Sam yelled.

When they reached the cellar door they shoved me inside and I tumbled down the steps. At the bottom I pulled out the wad and gulped air. In seconds they were standing over me.

 “It’s that brat from next door,” said Gardiner. “Kaci, right?”

I nodded—too scared to speak.

“What do you know about what’s going on here?” Gardiner squatted down and grabbed a fistful of my hair, jerking my head back.

“Ow! N-Nothing, I was just checking the house when I heard someone come in. I-I got scared and hid. I didn’t know it was you. Why are you doing this to me?”

“You don’t have a key and no one asked you to check the house,” Gardiner said, letting go of my hair. “How’d you get in?”

“Clara’s my friend; I came in through the kitchen window. I was just trying to help.”

“The kitchen window is locked,” Gardiner argued, standing.

“Not when I looked,” I said, rubbing the back of my head. “Someone left it open.” Maybe I could lie my way out of this. They didn’t look quite as mad any more even though they towered over me.

“I didn’t know this cellar was here…” I said looking around as if I'd never seen it before. Neither one stopped me as I got to my feet. I was sore but nothing was broken. “Are those new kinds of plants that Clara is growing,” I said pointing. “They’re really pretty.”

“Yeah, new kinds of pretty plants.” Sam laughed in a scornful tone.

“Hush!” Gardiner ordered. He was squinting at me like he wasn’t sure if I was telling the truth or not. “Those plants are secret plants that Clara doesn’t want anyone to know about. That’s why they’re down here and we come at night to give them special care.”

“Gee, I’m sorry, Mr. Hamilton, you must have thought I was another thief like that teenager who got caught last night.”

“What teenager?” Gardiner’s jaw tensed.

“What are you talking about?” Sam asked.

“Last night the police caught some kid trying to break into homes to steal money for drugs, they caught him a few houses down,” I told them. If I kept them talking maybe they’d let me go.

“I didn’t hear about it,” Gardiner said.

“Look, I’m really sorry about all this and you don’t have to worry about me. I can keep Clara’s secrets. She’s shown me lots of new plants that she’s created and I have never told anyone about them.” They just had to believe me!

Sam and Gardiner kept looking at me without saying anything. I tried to look at them like a wide eyed toddler. Gardiner gave Sam a shove. “Go on upstairs. Wait for me.” Sam turned without a word and climbed the stairs. I watched him go, panic was rising, and I didn’t want to be alone with Gardiner. Waves of fear coursed through me and my knees felt weak. I fought down the urge to run for it. Gardiner could hurt me and no one would know.

“What are you going to do with me?” I managed to ask in a quivering voice. I felt nauseated and my whole body was beginning to shake.

“I haven’t decided yet,” Gardiner said very slowly. “For now, you’re going to have to stay down here until I decide whether to call the police or not.”


“No buts!” Gardiner suddenly yelled at the top of his voice. His face turned into such a grotesque expression I shrank from him; stepping further back into the shadows until my back hit the concrete wall.

“You had no business around here and now you can just suffer for it, maybe it will make you think twice!” He raised his fist at me then he stormed up the stairs.

The door slammed shut but I was actually glad I was alone in the cellar. Gardiner was yelling and soon I heard the two men dragging heavy objects onto the flat door. Tears welled up in my eyes and I cried. My knees buckled and I fell in a heap. They were piling potted plants on the door! The door would be hidden from people looking for me and it would be too heavy for me to lift. I was trapped!


  1. This passage really hooked me, Catherine. I want to know what happens to Kaci! And thanks for posting the info about the blogfest--I'm going to check it out & see if it's too late to join in.

  2. Thanks, Ruth, yes go over and sign up. I think this is going to be "Primal!" Your comment took me by surprise, I was still editing my entry because of errors in font, etc. When I finished there was a comment! It was a nice surprise.

  3. Poor Kaci! Thanks for sharing, Catherine!

  4. I'm glad you stopped by, Myrna. Why don't you enter, it's not too late!

  5. Oh dear. Kaci has gotten herself in a bit of trouble there. Wow. I loved the way she kept her wits about herself and fought back and tried to keep them talking.

  6. Kaci is a quick thinker. Now I'm wondering what is really going on and how she's going to get out.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. You had us rooting for Kaci from the very start. Not an easy thing to do. You sucked into her mind, her fears, and her quick thinking.

    Excellent job Catherine. And thanks for the outstanding and helpful comments on my entry. Would you believe it was a baby Elk? A midget Elk? No, didn't think so. Thanks for spotting that for me. Don't be a stranger, and I won't either. Roland

  8. Rebecca, Charity, thanks for the comments. Roland--you made me laugh out loud. A midget Elk--well you did write fiction...

  9. That was very heart-pumping indeed. I wish you'd included more in the beginning though, not quite sure how things got started. The plants seem so benign compared to the scene's violence.

    Great job...thanks for participating!

  10. No fair leaving Kaci stuck down in the cellar and us poor readers having to worry about her. ;-) Seriously, excellent job.

  11. I think this is great! I think this is the first middle grade (you're thinking 9-13 maybe?) of this primal scream, and it is a little different art, isn't it? I love your heroine, trying to play smart and outthink the thugs--sort of works... at least she buys time. But for the audience, has to stop at brutality--the down the stairs push was just right for that balance.

    Very nice!

  12. I like Kaci a lot! She's a very smart and spunky girl. So...what kind of plants are they growing???

  13. Thanks for the kudos everyone!

    Raquel: There is so much more involved before this scene, way too much, so I decided to just let it stand on it's own.

    Mary-she manages to get herself out of this mess without cheating the reader.

    Watery Tart-I'm glad you enjoyed the change to a juvenile mystery. Yes, the target audience is 9-13.

    Mary- the plants in the cellar below the greenhouse are marijuana plants. In the greenhouse Clara grows her flowers, etc. She didn't know what her grown nephew was doing down there. (her husband had built a huge storm cellar below the greenhouse) When she found out he threatened her. She's also now in a hospital, at his mercy, about to be sent to a nursing home. Kaci is out to gather evidence against him.

  14. Great job pulling us in and making us care about Kaci. And I want to know more about the plants that are being grown.

  15. Nice job of getting Kaci trapped in the celler. Now please get her out. I like her and if I were in her place, I'd be so terrified. In other words, you made me care. Well done, Catherine!

  16. Thanks, everyone, this has been another great blogfest. I appreciate all the comments and loved reading all the entries from all of you talented writers.

  17. Wow! What a great hook. I want to read on.

    Good pacing. I like how you write.

  18. Ooh...I want to know what happens next! Great job on this, very exciting. :)

  19. This is terrific! Children's stories are not my forte, but they are definately yours. Well done! I think this kind of writing takes a very special gift.

  20. Thanks, Ingrid, I enjoy it. Glad you stopped by.