Story Excerpts

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample

A whip cracked. Horse hooves clacked on the cobblestones. The cart moved away, and Charles lost his footing.
The rope tightened. Like a python around his throat, it squeezed without mercy, crushing his windpipe. Choking, he grasped at the rope, his body swaying back and forth. Back and forth. Time stopped.
“. . . him down!” The shout rose over the crowd’s wild cheers, accompanied by a horse’s neigh. “. . . papers signed . . . into my custody. . .”
“Comte de la . . .”
“Cut him . . . !”
Anxious voices and cheers jumbled and mixed, morphing into a roaring hum. His vision blurred, then faded. Evil. Darkness. It surrounded him. Taunting. Waiting.
The python's bruising grip relaxed. Charles' legs, chest and face smacked against the cobblestones, but he barely felt it. He opened his mouth, his face heating as he strained for air. His lungs wouldn't expand. Tears dripped down the sides of his face. The crowd booed. Voices argued above him.
“These papers have been signed by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and the bailli of Nord-Pas de Calais,” someone said in surprise. “Has this man been proven innocent?”
“Monsieur, it matters not whether he is innocent or guilty,” came a familiar baritone. “It is the will of the king’s administration that matters.”
Uncle? No doubt he came to gloat. Perhaps Father was there too, celebrating with him. Starting to intake air, Charles turned his face toward the voice, coughing and gasping.
Comte de la Motte-Piquet was decked out in a polished, spotless uniform that announced his rank as Lieuntant General of the Naval Armies. He looked down his nose at Charles with his usual condescending sneer, as if Charles was an annoying little bug he had but to squash with the heel of his boot. “Salut, Nephew. I should have let you die the death you deserve, but ironically, someone thinks you're useful. I’ve come to take you home.”
Charles growled weakly, unable to respond.

18 comments:

Sandy Nachlinger said...

You did a really good job of staying in Charles's point of view and yet showing his failing consciousness. Good writing and not easy to do. Lots of tension here too. I enjoyed the scene.

Loree Huebner said...

Tense scene. Nicely done!

J. Gunnar Grey said...

Oh. Em. Gee. That took the bottom right out of my guts.

Rissi said...

Cool! Another Saturday sample. =)

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Thanks for noticing my effort with Charles' POV, Sandy :-) It was a challenge. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Thanks Loree! :-)


Hi Gunnar! I guess that's the response I was shooting for...lol


Hi Rissi! When I started blogging in July of last year, I shied away from posting regular articles, and instead shared chapters of my WIP. Now that I do write a regular blog, I can't seem to stop sharing bits and pieces of my stories. It's just fun!

elaine cantrell said...

Saved in the nick of time.

Gwendolyn Gage said...

He certainly was, Elaine :-)

Lindsay said...

beautiful description and the beginning and ending with a great hook

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Thanks Lindsay!

Leah said...

Oh, man! I was wondering how you were going to get him out of that! Well done. :)

Sarah Ballance said...

Really fantastic job of showing the POV of a hanging man. A difficult scene beautifully written!

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Thanks Leah! I was wondering myself :-)


Thanks Sarah! It was a difficult scene to pull off, but I love a good writing challenge. :-)

Elizabeth Young said...

An excellent short vignette here Gwendolyn. I always tend to be long winded and am amazed that someone can get so much into such a short episode! Very well done.

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Thanks, Elizabeth! When writing action, I try to keep the sentences short and everything moving quickly. The key is to keep telling sentences and backstory out of it, something I'm just starting to get the hang of. :-)

Carrie-Anne said...

Very nice descriptions of Charles's thoughts and feelings!

Patricia Kiyono said...

Wow. That was an unexpected rescue. I wonder who interceded on Charles' behalf?

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Thanks Carrie-Anne!


Hi Patricia, I'm glad I got you wondering about that. ;-)