It's time for the Power of Tension Blogfest, and here's what's required:
"Give us an excerpt (up to 300 words) from your manuscript or recently completed work (or just a random scene) that just drips with tension and will tie us up in knots wanting to know more. It doesn’t matter what the piece is about, as long as it screams tension." - Rachel Morgan & Cally Jackson
I'm going to share an excerpt from one of my Chrysalis stories. I'm sorry to say it's 12 words over the 300-word limit. I snipped what I could but I think I left the essentials. I could be wrong of course. :D Feedback is of course welcome!
The story was originally in past tense, but I switched this excerpt to present because I felt that would increase the "immediacy". I think I caught all the "need to switch that from past to present" moments.
Anyway, here goes:
I make it to the corner store with minutes to spare.
Rushing down the kitchen and bathroom aisle, I dart around the corner and see the storeroom door. Suppressing a yell of triumph and relief, I fly at the door and rattle the handle—it turns. I fall on it, push, slip inside. My breaths are harsh in my ears, but at least they’re still coming.
Time, time, so little time.
I begin to whimper as I lock myself in and throw my dusty backpack on the grimy white tiles. Sometimes I can’t help making those sounds. It’s been so long since I spoke to another human being. Talking to myself is a substitute. And when the words won’t come I just make sounds.
Human sounds, I think.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember.
Silent tears make tracks through the dust on my face as I kneel and rummage through my pack. Compulsively I check my stopwatch and nearly cry out.
Less than a minute to go.
The syringe is in my hand, but I can’t find the scarf. I curse and dig deeper, fingers scrabbling. Where the hell IS it?
I look around in mounting desperation, and see a bungee cord. I don’t even stop to wonder what that might have been used for originally. I snatch it up and wrap it around my arm, breath tearing in and out of my throat. My veins pop out under my skin, and I quickly fill the syringe with sleep syrup. Then I stick myself.
When it’s over and a tiny speck of blood is all the sign that I’ve made it in time, I pack away my materials and lean back against the door, eyes closed. Tears continue to bubble over, making my eyes sting even more. But I’ve made it in time. I’m sure I have.
Reality fades, and I play dead.