RWWP – Act One

Warning: The following writing fails. It fails so hard, I want to print it out so I can rip the paper to shreds, burn it, and spread the ashes across the train tracks outside my window. It’s also only half the scene, as the full scene was too long. Even half the scene is rather long, but it’s mostly dialogue so it goes fast. It’s just terrible.

Act One – second half of Scene Five

Pounding on the door interrupted the maid’s protest. The door opened before either woman could react.

“What are you doing here? The lady is hardly ready for an audience,” the maid said to the man inviting himself into the room.

“Doing my job, Maid,” he answered. His voice was smooth and reeked of deeper meaning. “And it’s time you did your job, as well. Elsewhere.”

“Hmph, well don’t blame me if the Master is unhappy with her appearance.” the maid sauntered out of the room.

The man shut the door behind her. Eva heard it lock. She took a step backwards.

“Why don’t we have a seat?” he asked, gesturing to the chairs at the other end of the room.

“Who are you?” Eva asked, still backing away from the man. He didn’t look particularly menacing. He wore a robe of sorts, open slightly in the front to show hints of what he wore underneath. Eva could see the glint of a gold pocket watch chain beneath the robe.

“Apologies, my lady,” he bowed his head slightly, “I am what the Ministry calls a Leger.”

Leger? Ministry? Eva’s head spun. Why had he referred to her as “my lady” when he was clearly the older one?

“I’m sure you have questions, so why don’t we sit down and talk?” he placed his hand on Eva’s arm and lead her to the fainting couch. She sat, not sure what else she could do, and the Leger sat in the chair across from her. His robe opened more, revealing the black trousers beneath. The pad of paper and pen he took out next did nothing to help Eva relax.

“Now,” he began, “You are Miss Evalise Beaumont, are you not?” Eva’s name flowed from his lips as if he’d said it many times before.

“I am.”

“Do you remember how you got here?”

The image of her bathroom flashed in her mind. “I was kidnapped.”

“Ah,” the Leger leaned forward as if confiding in her, “And do you know who kidnapped you?”

Eva leaned back, the Leger’s icy gray eyes making her nervous. They held a certain kind of confidence. He wasn’t here to get information because he already had it. He was here to see how little Eva knew. She thought about his question and the memories came back. The tub, the hand over her mouth…

“I didn’t see his face,” she told him. She wondered if this Leger was indeed her kidnapper. He seemed the type, but why would he kidnap her to interview her?

“Quite unfortunate,” he said as he leaned back, scribbling something on his notepad.

Unfortunate for whom? Eva wanted to ask. For her, clearly. She swallowed, noticing how dry her mouth had become.

“Your father is in the Guard, is he not?” His voice held the cadence of an experienced public speaker. He would hand you poison and convince you it was candy.

“Yes,” Eva answered.

“Admirable position. Your mother however…”

“Dead.” Eva’s response made his pen stop moving. At least she could throw him off balance.

“By curious circumstances, as well.”

“They say she missed my father so much, she could no longer bare to be without him.” Eva’s heart raced. He already knew what Eva was. He was looking for proof now, a confession.

“That would be your father in the Guard, correct?” he didn’t look away.

“I don’t know any other,” Eva shrugged.

The Leger nodded and continued writing. He knew. He knew everything. He knew and could ruin her. He was teasing her now, like how a cat toys with its prey before devouring it.

“Why am I here?” she blurted before deciding to ask.

“Because it is safe,” he didn’t even look up from his writing to answer.

“And my home wasn’t?”

“We had reason to believe Zephaniah was after you. We brought you here in secret to keep you safe.”

“Zephaniah? That’s why I’m here?” Eva’s memory went back to Adair, Clara, and the piece of paper she had tucked in her boots.

He kept writing.

“Who is ‘we?'” her heart was racing now. What if they found that piece of paper and followed the address?

“The Ministry, of course.”

“What reason does the ministry have to suggest Zephaniah wants me?”

“The Ministry has eyes everywhere, Lady Evalise.” Lady again. “Now if you don’t mind me, I must be off.” He closed his notebook and tucked it and his pen away before standing up.

“You’re leaving?” Eva stood up with him.

“I’ve other matters to attend to.” He made for the door.

“What about me? What am I supposed to do?” Eva followed.

“I believe the Master wishes to see you for dinner.” He opened the door.

“That’s not what I meant. You can’t just keep me here!” Eva moved to follow him out of her cell.

Without warning, the Leger spun around and grabbed Eva by the arm.

“The Ministry does whatever is necessary to keep the city safe.” He leaned over her and stared directly into her eyes. His fingers dug into her arm. “You will stay here because the Ministry deems you must. Leaving here would put not only you, but your entire family at danger. Is that what you want? Is it?”

Immobilized with fear, Eva found it in herself she shake her head, not losing eye contact with the Leger.

“So you will stay here and be a grateful guest until the Ministry deems it safe for you to leave, understood?”

Eva opened her mouth, but no words would come.

“Understood?” He pulled on her arm.

“Yes.” She winced at the pain.

“Good.” He released her arm, pushing her backward in the process.

Eva stumbled backward and fell to the ground. She looked up in time to see the door shut and lock behind the Leger.

The tears came now. One after another they fell down her cheeks, congregating at her chin until their combined mass was enough for gravity to take over. Still on the floor with her back against the bed, Eva pulled her knees to her chest and cried.

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About Squishy

Writer, dancer, gamer, and admirer of all that is beautiful.

Posted on January 14, 2011, in Ishy Writes! and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. It’s not terrible. (And no, I’m not just being nice. I promise.) It’s intriguing and makes me curious about the rest of the story.

    Now, for my reviewer disclaimer. Some of the questions/comments/etc. may sound silly due to my ignorance of the rest of the story. For that, I apologize.

    Some thoughts on technique….

    The way you use the Leger’s “icy gray eyes” to give physical description as well as insight into his character (his confidence), his affects on her (making her nervous), and his intentions (to see what she remembered) works well. The reader learns a great deal of valuable information very quickly and learns a little bit of his physical appearance without slowing the scene and just describing his features.

    Your use of shorter sentences that punctuate tense moments gives more tension to the scene. (Ones that worked well for me for instance…. He kept writing…. The tub, the hand over her mouth….)

    Some questions….

    Her wondering if the Leger is the one who kidnapped her brought up a whole flurry of questions in my own mind. Does she have any more questions? I don’t know what else she knows/remembers/thinks about the kidnapping, but if she doesn’t know who did it or why, I would imagine at least a few more questions would race into her mind. Did she have any ideas about who did it before this scene? Did she have any other ideas of the purpose of her capture? How long has she been captured? (Doesn’t feel like it’s been very long at all, especially since she didn’t remember what happened before.)

    What is this ministry? I didn’t catch any hints in this scene about their function in society or her feelings towards them.

    What exactly drives her to break down at the end? I understand crying because of distress–I do it myself more often than I would like to admit–but is there some specific reason? Is she worried for her friends? Herself? The people at the address in her boot? Zephaniah? Is she upset that Zephaniah might be a threat to her? If there is a particular reason, it might be a great moment to give the reader more insight into her mind, personality, and the situation on the whole.

    I’m going to keep pondering, but these are my initial thoughts. I’m looking forward to seeing more!

  2. The writing is really not too bad in my opinion. The writing and dialogue is crisp, and I want to keep reading because of the questions I have. Although I do find it hard to give a full opinion at this moment, as the scene is obviously just a setup for the true story ahead.

    The thing I wonder about is whether you are not introducing too many unknown elements into the story at once, also considering the earlier scenes you’ve written. Like EverydayEpic I have a lot of unanswered questions in my head. It’s always good of course to leave your readers with questions so he/she will come back for more, but you might be overdoing it.

    To make a very, very general comparison with LOTR (even though I know it’s completely different): there are also a lot of unknowns throughout the story. Saruman’s motives, Aragorn’s origins, Gollum true nature, etc. etc., but you are not bombarded by them from the start. The story starts with the One Ring, and the other elements come along as the story proceeds. Perhaps “proceeds” is the right word here, as you do have a sense in LOTR that every word you read might bring you a step closer to the answers and new questions. And here I don’t get the feeling that the story is moving along. Things just happen, characters are introduced out of nowhere, and Evalise is passively undergoing it all. And I, the reader, is starting to feel as helpless as Eva does.

    Of course, this could change depending on how the next few scenes play out. In the next scene, will we see Eva dry her tears and sit up in defiance while doing her best to figure a way out of her predicament? Or does she still have other secrets of her own? Will she start to play mind games with her captors as well? A game of cat and mouse ensues, but who is the cat and who is the mouse…

    Well, I’m still very curious about the questions you have brought up, so I hope to read more of this story in the future! 🙂

  1. Pingback: Resplendent Winter Writing Project — Now Live! « Resplendence

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