Dabbling In Words

Sometimes I like to write words & post them here. Nothing here is edited.

Category: NaNoWriMo

The Inevitable Encroachment Of Anxiety

Three days until November, and the start of NaNoWriMo. I have vague general ideas about where I want the plot to go, but an actual beginning, middle, end? And things like plot points? No idea at all.

Doubt begins to creep at me…

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Prompt of the Day: Overprecise

24 Minutes, 576 Words

“Two point three four seven nine one six five oh four percent.” answered the voice, monotonous as ever.
“That’s a little overprecise, don’tcha think?” retorted Frank. “And it was a rhetorical question, anyway.”
Frank scrambled back to his feet and spat blood. That latest injury was what had prompted the question. Francisco Sinclair — Frank, to most people — had survived the first three “tests,” but was not looking forward to the remaining seven. The so-called tests were, predictably, increasing in difficulty. So Frank had, after being knocked to the floor, asked aloud what his chances of surving the “testing procedure” were. He had meant it rhetorically, but the computer had answered automatically. The monotonous AI voice telling him, in exact terms, that he was rather unlikely to live through this.
And the answer had come without hesitation. Part of Frank’s mind wondered if that was due to a fast processor in the computer, or because the numbers had already been run. Probably some of the sick bastards taking bets on the tests subjects.
Frank looked up at the video camera that had been following him the most. “So what are the chances of you calling off these euphemistic tests and letting me out of here?”
“Zero.” came the automated reply. Frank hadn’t really expected anything else. “Test Four begins now.”
Frank’s head snapped back down at the rumbling sound from across the chamber. A series of metallic rollers appeared out of an opening that had suddenly popped up. The rollers were the width of the room, and were barreling across the room towards Frank much faster than he was comfortable with. Frank didn’t know how much the rollers weighed, but he was sure it was enough to kill him. He looked up at the bar above him, left over from test #2, and sighed. Waiting until the last possible moment, he jumped up and grabbed the bar, yelling in agony. A mild electric current still ran through the bar, making it painful to hold onto both because of the voltage, and because the current heated the metal bar. As he desperately hung onto the bar, he swung his legs up and held them as high as he could. While the rollers passed under him, he wondered if he cut the cord running from his back to the wall if that would unground him and at least make the current not affect him. He wondered briefly if that was part of one of the tests that he had missed. The constant danger avoidance hadn’t left him much time for thinking. It was act-or-die in these tests.
The rollers gone, Frank released his grip and slammed to the ground. His entire body ached.
“Test Five beg…” the computer started, but stopped, mid-word. “Warning, security breach,” said the voice, and claxons sounded, presumably throughout the entire compund.
“Took them long enough,” mumbled Frank. For years they’d worked for this. The whold underground movment, finding and training the most likely person to be selected for testing, the implanting of the GPS tracker, the detailed background cover they’d created, all to track down and destroy the testing center. And Frank had survived long enough to know that his friends had breached the security. It was over, for him, and for the others still in the pens awaiting “processing.”
“You can take your two point three whatever percent and choke on it,” Frank groaned.
This time, the computer did not respond.

The Strange Case of Mr. Charles Dumont

Prompt for today on the NaNoWriMo forums was “Ineffable,” so here’s my practice story for the day:

Charles Dumont awoke to the sound of rain, which was confusing, especially in the early-morning numbness of his mind. Charles’ confusion stemmed from the fact that it was not, in fact, raining. His brain registered the fact that something was unusual right away, but his consciousness didn’t figure out what, exactly it was. Charles swung his legs over the side of his bed and sat up. A moment later, he realized the problem. He heard rain outside, but it was not raining. He thought it was odd, and said so. The empty room did not respond. Rationalizing that he must be hearing thing, or that there must be a broken pipe, or someone in the apartment next door was playing one of those nature sound relaxation CDs very loud, Charles tuned out the sound and pushed it from his mind. He had other things to think about. Getting ready for work being chief among them.
He’d awoken a few minutes before his alarm sounded, and he didn’t want it to go off while he showered, so Charles turned off the unit, hoping he’d remember to turn it back on before he went to bed that night. He stood, walked to the bathroom, and began his morning routine. Once the morning ritual was completed, Charles grabbed his coffee & bagel, and left his apartment.
Charles walked down the three flights of stairs to the lobby of the apartment building, and headed for the door. There was a girl at the door, and he wondered where Eddie, the regular doorman was. Eddie rarely took off, but when he did, there was usually a temp called in.
“Good morning, Mr. Dumont,” the girl said, smiling. “No umbrella?”
Charles looked at her quizzically. He’d never seen her before. As he walked by, her comment about an umbrella registered with him. He looked out the glass doors, looked up at the clear blue sky and the bright August sun. He could still hear the rain. He turned back toward the girl, and nearly dropped his coffee.
“You okay, Charlie?” asked Eddie the doorman.
“I . . .” Charles started, but had nothing to say. “Yeah, I’m okay. I think. See you tonight, Ed.”
“Okay, you have a good one.” answered Eddie, and waved Charles off.
Charles walked out of the apartment building, and walked to the curb, and hailed a passing cab. He was most definately not alright. Charles wondered if he was losing his mind. He felt . . . wet. He glanced down at his clothes as the cab pulled up. He was soaked, drenched in fact. And as he thought about it, he could swear he felt raindrops hitting him.
The cab driver looked at Charles as he opened the door.
“Geez, mister, what happened to you? You’re all wet. Aw, hey buddy, here’s a towel to sit on.” The cabby pulled a towel off the front seat, and handed it to Charles. Charles took the towel and laid it on the seat absentmindedly. He was trying to figure out why he was, apparantly, caught in a rainstorm that didn’t exist, or perhaps halucinating it into existence. Neither scenario fit wellinto his worldview.
Charles, almost in a trance, sat down on the towel. The taxi driver turned to ask his destination, but Charles barely heard his words, as a horrible pain shot through his body. Charles screamed in agony, feeling like a brick wall had been throw at his back. He heard his bones shatter, his eyes flashed red, and then the world went black.
The color drained from the cab driver’s face as he watched his passenger fade away. Open-mouthed, he stared at the back seat of his cab, empty save for a towel soaked in water and blood.

Jessie sobbed as she told the police officer what she had seen.
“I-I watched him. I saw the truck, but I couldn’t get him to stop. I tried; I yelled at him to stop, but he didn’t . . . he didn’t stop. I . . .” her voice trailed off.
“It’s al right, take a breath.” the officer reassured her. “Did you know the victim? Can you tell me his name?”
Jessie nodded. “Charles,” she said, “Charles Dumont. He lives here,” she nodded at the building. “I work the door here. He lives … lived … in 4-B. I talk to him every day.” She sobbed again. “He forgot his umbrella…” her voice trailed off as she started crying.
The officer looked down at the body of Charles Dumont, lying in the pouring rain. All the witnesses had seen the same thing. The man had walked out of the front door of the Chestnut Tree Apartments, waited at the curb for a moment, and then just stepped into the middle of the street and sat down. The truck driver hadn’t had a chance to stop in time.
Then the officer cocked his head to the side. It was the oddest thing. He could see the raindrops hitting the body, but he could swear the dead man was completely dry.
“Ineffiable,” the policeman muttered under his breath.

35 minutes, 855 words