10/19/07

Scare-Your-Pants-Off #2

She had lived in the old wooden house two months. The sounds the wood made had been charming and even funny but after time she had begun to notice that the creaks weren't under foot so much as roughly a yard behind her. When she walked through the intricate double doors into the dining room she heard the wood under her as it spoke in its language about weight and pressure and manner and permission to pass through. Along behind her came the slighter sound of another weight, another pressure, an altogether different manner. That this other had as much authority as she to walk these floors and halls was as disconcerting as the mere admission that another entity might be there at all. Once when she was going upstairs she started slightly at the sound of a tread on the stair just three steps below her. Out of the corner of her eye she glimpsed the merest flicker of a shadow of movement like branches in a breeze where there is no wind. Clutching her warm laundry to her chest, she fled the rest of the way to her room.

4 comments:

Josi said...

Definitely creepy and great use of words. I'd have liked to have it be more of a showing moment--maybe the moment she catches the glimpse of her follower rather than so much telling. You can often put a scene in a showing mode and work in the telling moments to the extent that the reader doesn't notice any telling at all. the writer shows that they have the grasp of words and imagery enough to have done it that way. Creepy though--makes me glad I don't live in a wooden house.

Anonymous said...

I vote for this one.

It's not a totally original concept (floorboards creaking, an unseen presence), but I liked the slow, somber way the situation is presented. My favorite bit was her discomfort at the sense that the "other" had as much authority as she did to be there.

Lora said...

Not totally original, but maybe just old fashioned. I also kind of threw it together because I sooo wanted to be in on this contest. What fun! I once lived in an old Victorian house where the wood talked and the closets swung open by themselves.
And yeah, I do sometimes tell rather than show. I get pretty wordy, too. Have to watch out for that.

LDS Publisher said...

You've got a pretty high creep factor here, but you need to tighten the writing. The slower pace definitely contributed to the mood. Liked the idea that the "other" had a right to be there.

This is not one smooth paragraph. You'd do better breaking it into two and adding more depth to both. I also had a little difficulty determining time--you start by describing the past in general, then go to "once"--a specific past event, but then your last sentence seems to bring it into the present. Watch out for that.

There also was more telling when I'd like to see more showing.

Your very best image was "like branches in a breeze where there is no wind." I also liked the statement in your comment, "where the wood talked and the closets swung open by themselves." Work that into it somewhere.

If this were a submission, I'd ask you to rewrite and resubmit.