Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blogfest Weekend (Part One)

Happy Saturday and welcome to the first day of Blogfest Weekend. That's right. Two days of blogfest awesomeness. Here's my humble 700 word entry for the Murder Scene Blogfest hosted by the lovely Anne Riley. Don't forget to head over and check out the rest of these killer entries when you're finished.

Outside, the heavy press of humidity, darkening skies, and a shift in the whisper of wind announced the coming storm.

Inside, the clock in the corner of the screen counted down the time left in the quarter.

Jake dropped boneless onto the couch, tossed a beer without looking across the room. "I call this one right and it's a hundred bucks in the pool."

Eyes on the big screen, Sam shifted in the recliner, snagged the can mid-air.

The ref’s whistle stopped the clock, and a quiet voice floated behind them.

"Who's playing?"

Two heads snapped in unison.

Jake came off the couch. "What the fuck..."

The snarl died before he pulled up short at the sight of the man standing statue-still ten feet away.

"Stop right there.” A huge, steady hand leveled the Berretta; ice blue eyes pinned its target in place. “Sit down."

The matte black silencer twitched toward the big screen. "Thought you wanted to watch the game."

Hands up, palms out, Jake folded himself back into his seat, eyes never leaving the barrel of the gun pointed at him. "Who the hell are you?"

"Nobody you know." A spasm rippled across a tight jaw line and bloodless lips pulled back in a feral smile. "Just some guy in from out of town for a little while.” He jerked his head toward the TV. “Who's playing?"


Predatory eyes narrowed, targeted the man on the couch. "What's your name?"


The Berretta shifted to target the man in the chair. "You?"

"Sam." He blew out the word on an explosive exhale.

Jake shifted on the couch. "What the hell..."

The Berretta twitched again. Jake's eyes snapped wide open as it pointed right at him.

"Who's playing?" The voice went low and dangerous.

"Who are you?" Sam croaked.

"Green Bay and...Minnesota." Jake brought his hands up, forefingers pointed at the pistol. "You might wanna take it easy with that thing."

"Don't worry, I got it under control." He snorted a laugh. "We're just gonna have a little talk."

Beads of sweat gathered along Sam’s hairline, his upper lip. "Put that thing down and we'll talk."

"I don't think so.” The voice was soft, almost lilting. “Not yet. We have some unfinished business."

Jake inhaled a careful breath, ran a dry tongue around parched lips. "We don't know you."

"No, you don't." Mirror-flat eyes locked Jake in their line of sight. "But you've met a friend of mine."

Sam breathed deep; the smell of his own fear sharp in his nostrils, in his throat, choked him. "Who?"

"Pretty girl, about this tall." The gunman’s free hand up came up close to his left eye. "Thin, beautiful face, beautiful black hair..."

"Last night." Shaking now, Sam closed his eyes, mumbled something that might have been a prayer.

"Yeah, last night." Cold, dead eyes examined their target. "You like to hurt them? Mess them up? That the only way you can get any?"

"Man, I don't know what you're talking about." Jake took one rasping breath and the words came faster, running off his tongue. "Just take it easy. Don't do anything stupid. Put the gun down. We didn't do anything..."

A flatline smile bled across tight lips. "You drugged her and then you raped her."

"No, man, I swear. It wasn't like that." Jake’s hands came up in supplication and his eyes widened, flicked between the pistol and the cold, calm face of the man holding it.

Breathing hard, Sam felt wet warmth pool beneath him. "Don't do this, please."

"And then you left her...lying in a back alley to die." The words hummed with focused fury.

"We didn't know she was so messed up..." Jake tasted copper in his mouth.

Sam strained for air. "Please don't do this."

"Shut the fuck up."

The finger on the trigger tightened. There was a snick almost like an electrical spark.

The body on the couch jerked back and then crumbled as the Berretta slid a quarter turn to the side and fired again. The body on the recliner twitched and then stilled, arms and legs splayed.

He reached for the remote and turned off the game on his way out the back door.


  1. AH!

    Loved it! In particular, the phrase 'mirror-flat eyes'.

    Enjoyed reading this; thanks for posting.

    Have a great wekeend!

  2. You know how to kill'em don't you. At least he shut the tv off. Why waste electricity?
    Nice job as always. It was like reading a movie.

  3. Great scene, Sarah Jayne! The tension was delicious, and I loved how you unfurled the plot. I assumed the gunman was the bad guy when he entered the scene, and was frightened for Jake and Sam. When I realized the two meat heads were the ones who'd done something violent and criminal, I shifted sides and began rooting for the stranger. Brilliant!

    I wasn't sure who the POV was. Rereading it, I guess it was omniscient, because Sam smells his own fear and feels himself wet his britches (loved that!) and Jake tasted copper in his mouth. It felt third person limited, though, which is why Jake's internal thought stood out for me.

    My favorite description line was this one: "Sam." He blew out the word on an explosive exhale. I could hear him! Awesome line.

    Thanks for sharing your work. This scene was excellent!

  4. Very suspenseful! Believable dialogue and you did a good job giving the emotions through visual cues. "Jake tasted copper in his mouth." I was scared reading it.

    My advice would be to take out the first paragraph. I've come across agent/editor blogs that warn against beginning with weather. Besides, it doesn't add to the inside of the house.

    I like the TV shutting off touch too.

  5. Nice suspense, tension and setting! I enjoyed the fact that they actually say who is playing ;o)

    Wonderful murder post!

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

  6. Wow, there's a lot of tension in this scene! Interesting that the murdered shuts off the TV. Does he not like who's playing? Or is it more of a metaphor for their lives being turned off?

  7. Great job, Sarah Jayne! Another murder scene turned on its head! I love vigilante justice. :-)

    And I agree w/ all the others--turning off the TV is a great touch.

  8. Great post! I love the suspense - the whole "Who's playing?" was a great touch, made me think it was a bet gone bad!

  9. Yikes! The tension here is incredible!

  10. I really like the twist you put in this, so we change teams, as it were. Good suspense, and turning off the TV is a murderous touch.

  11. Talli, thanks. I like that phrase, too. Enjoy your weekend. :)

    Anne, hee! I love killing 'em off. What can I say? And thanks. I love the way you express it as reading a movie. That rocks. And so do you. :)

    Nicole, thanks. I'm glad you appreciated the shift. And poor Sam. He really does have a hard time of it right up until he's dead. :)

    Theresa, thanks. I've heard that about weather. It's one of the rules we're supposed to follow. :) I'm glad you liked the end.

    Courtney, thanks. I'm a big fan of Green Bay. :)

    Aubrie, thanks. Hee! I think he's just kinda cold and finishing off business. Dead guys. Dead TV. :)

    Summer, thanks. I loved that he turned off the TV. And yay!vigilante jsutice. :)

    Harley, thanks. I'm glad that worked for you. :)

  12. Oh my! What a journey in such a brief space of time and words!
    From the mundane image of two friends watching a game, to intrusion, to cold-blooded (and well deserved!) revenge.

    There is a sense of breathlessness in the progressive tightening of the circle around the two men, the sense of inevitable outcome that runs the full spectrum and takes you from simpathy toward the 'victims' to approval for the 'killer'.

    You surely know how to play us! :-)

    SJ, you *rock*!!

  13. Oh gosh, how creepy! But how cool! Definitely a memorable murder scene. Great job, very well written!

  14. Hunting scumbags like this (sorta) is what Kasia will eventually do for a living ;) Unfortunately she can't kill them, well she isn't supposed to, but...

    This is just wow. The dialogue is spot on, tension just right. And the twist, suuuweeet!

  15. I'll have to study this, since I have no clue on how to kill anybody. Great suspense!

  16. Wow, that really took a bad turn! They're just watching TV and drinking beer, "don't mind us," then all of a sudden people are getting killed. But it seems like he got what he deserved so...awesome. Nice job with some beautiful imagery.

  17. Betty, thanks. And happy weekend to you. :)

    Tricia, hee! Changing teams indeed. And thanks. I like that phrase ‘murderous touch’. :)

    Nym, thanks so much. As usual, you are far too kind to me. I’m glad this worked for you. :)

    Shelley, thanks. Cool and creepy is good. I’m glad that you liked it.

    Hi, Tara. Thanks. As you know, I already love Kasia.

    lakeviewer, thanks. And good luck with the studying. :)

    Heather, hee! Yep, just another Sunday afternoon; guys, football, and a gun. :)

  18. Oh my, great tension in this scene. I also am dying to know what actually happened the night previous. Did they actually hurt that girl? Was the guy mistaken? Or were they seriously awful guys watching that game. Great job--you've hooked the reader.

  19. I love the way your short paragraphs kept us moving forward. Revenge is my kind of murder, especially for such crimes as these two seem to be capable of of.

  20. Yeah girl! Way to go! This was awesome. You're a wonderful writer and I'm so glad you were a part of this today!

  21. This was definitely tense! Great pacing and momentum! I'm interested in what happened to lead up to this, too. Good work!

  22. I really like the way you describe the killer's facial expressions! And I agree with Tricia on "changing teams." Nicely done!

  23. Carol, thanks. I'm glad you feel hooked. :) Maybe if the right blogfest or contest comes along I'll be able to put up that scene. Thanks for wanting to read it.

    Charity, thanks. I'm with you on the revenge thing. :)

    Anne, thank you. And thank you for hosting this blogfest. You rock. :)

    Amalia, thanks. Maybe I will get to put that scene up. Thank you for asking for it. :)

    Jordan, thank you. And yay!for changing teams! :)

  24. This was a brilliant murder! (if there is such a thing ;~)....)

    I especially loved how he switched the TV off afterwards too. It made him seem all the more cold-hearted and out for one purpose. Loved it!

  25. You have great action beats in all of your dialogue. "Jake inhaled a careful breath, ran a dry tongue around parched lips." Makes the scenes more real. Great job.

  26. I loved this!!! I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I like the twist that the guys we started out with at the beginning of the story were the bad guys.

    I wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog as well (this is Anna from bounce bounce splat, for some reason my OpenID isn't cooperating) :) cheers!

  27. Anne was right. This was like a movie. And the twist was excellent. You have a real way with dialogue. And you snare the reader and don't let him/her go until the turning off the lives and the TV.

    Thanks for dropping by my entry, too. Roland

  28. I think now of maybe locking door before turning on the game from now on..very nice

  29. The tension was well done, and you have a way with imagery. Good job!

  30. Outstanding scene, Sarahjayne!. Great build up of tension. Excellent pacing. I could visualize everything from start to finish, feel the fear and the anger.

    The line: "A flatline smile bled across tight lips" took my breath away.

  31. Mia, thanks. Yep, he is cold. :)

    Raquel, thanks for noticing that. I’m not a big fan of tags in dialogue so I’m glad that worked for you.

    Anna, thank you. I’m glad you liked the twist.

    Roland, thank you so much. You’re far too kind to me.

    Dave, hee! Thank you and yep, always lock the door. :)

    Embee, thank you.

    VR, thanks. I’m glad you like this. And I love that line myself. :)

  32. I love your writing style!

    That's all I have to say :)

  33. Intriguing; you build tension well. This flowed so well; every paragraph adding something more to the impending event. The bit of backstory was just enough make me sympathetic with the killer.

    Very realistic. I liked that he didn't debate the issue; told them why he was there and shot them.


  34. Hi, Wendy. Thank you. :)

    Courtney, welcome and thank you. :)

    Donna, thanks. I'm glad this worked for you. And I'm glad you found some smypathy for the killer. I kinda like him. :)

  35. Very tense scene. The realization that the victims had been the bad guys first was a good twist.

  36. I love your ability to write men! Wish I could.

  37. This was awesome, SJS! I like your killer's style.

    Great job.

  38. Loved that Sam wet himself. Such a realistic, visceral and human reaction. Great pacing and the tension in the scene is electric.

  39. Lovely post! Some great fast-paced dialogue.

  40. This was amazing!!! Typically I don't read murder type stuff, but i had to check out your blog :) And wow, you had me sucked right in!! Your use of detail is excellent, not too much just right. Excellent job!!!! Really, truly great :)

  41. I love this scene. Like a few others said, it's a great twist. The reader believes Sam and Jake to be the "good guys". There's a definite moral relativism here that I can appreciate. And of course the detail is excellent.

    I really liked that last bit about turning off the TV as well--it was like "Job. Done."

  42. Oh, yeah. I did enjoy that twist... we think it's just a contract killing at first, then we realize the bums on the couch have it coming. So gratifying.

    And your rapid-fire prose works very well here. Nicely done, good lady!

  43. layinda, thank you very much. :)

    Amy, thanks. I love the way you write. :)

    Lola, hee! I thought you might. :) And thanks.

    EJ, thanks. It really is the small details. :)

    Erika, thank you. ;)

    Crystal, hee! I'm glad you decided to read. Thanks. :)

    Eva, hee! I'm all about the moral relativism in my characters. And I admit I love that last line about the TV.

    Simon, thank you. I thought you might appreciate that. :)

  44. Holy crap! Wait to go! I definitely wouldn't want piss this guy off!!

  45. This was CHILLING. Holy cow, I have goosebumps - that's how good it was. I could feel the tension, the fear,and the dark intent. Lovely, lovely writing.

  46. Lilah, hee! Thanks. I think you might be right. :)

    Hi, Julie. Thank you. I'm glad this worked for you. :)