Friday, June 4, 2010

TGIF! and a Blogfest

The lovely Amalia T. is hosting her Dream Sequence Blogfest today. Click here to read the other wonderful entries by some really great writers. As for mine? It's part of a bigger something written a while ago. Anyway, happy Friday. Enjoy the blogfest and your weekend.

Your hand wraps the gearshift and your foot flexes against the accelerator as you slip through the sleeping city.

“John, John, John…”

Green lights stretch out in front of you, beacons in the pitch black that presses in on you. Dark, dull buildings stand silent sentry, and a line of parking meters and naked trees mark your passing.

“What’s the matter Harve? You don’t like the ride?”

“On the contrary, John, I love the ride and I love riding shotgun.” A long arm reaches out and a forefinger stabs random buttons, surfing late night FM stations again. “It’s such a beautiful night.” He settles back against the leather seat and sighs. “The sky is as black as Zoë’s hair. You should really…”

“No, no, no, no, no.” You force your fingers to relax, give up their death grip on the steering wheel. “You do not get to talk to me about Zoë.”

His slow, Southern drawl hangs in the space between you. “She walks in beauty like the night…”

“Give it up, freak.” You bank your irritation, let it ride. “You have no idea…”

“Which way, John? Right or left?”


“There’s a fork in the road up ahead.” Harvey waves a dismissive hand. “Which way? Right or left?

You pull the car gently to the right as he opens the glovebox and begins going through the contents.

“Someone has to make you see.”

“Let me guess.” You keep your eyes on the road, your voice flat. “That someone would be you?”

“You really should pay more attention to her, John. And to what you’re doing.” He shifts in his seat, cocks a thumb and forefinger at you. “I’m not your enemy.”

“Tell me the truth, Harve.” You slide a sideways glance at him. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“You know I’m only here to protect you.” Mirror-flat eyes lock you in their line of sight. “Among other things.”

“Don’t worry about me, Harve.” You flick your eyes forward and stare hard, navigating by the spill of light from streetlamps. “I’ve got it covered.”

“Right or left, John?”


“Right or left?”

Another turn off and the car drifts to the left. Suddenly you’re on the parkway.

“All roads lead to Zoë.”

“I’ve told you before.” You turn and give him your best double-barreled glare. “You do not get to talk to me about Zoë.”

“Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right…” He drums a back beat on the dashboard. “And there she is, stuck in the middle with you.”

“I know what you’re doing.” The cold in the pit of your stomach claws its way up and out, sets up camp in your chest. “It’s not going to work.”

“You know that I’m only trying to protect you.” He jabs a long, strong finger into your shoulder. “Among other things.”

“Haven’t you learned? You…are mistaken.” You roll tight shoulders, crack your neck, and blow out a harsh, jagged breath. “I don’t need your protection. Or your help.”

“Yes, John. I do learn from my mistakes.” The unpleasant smile curving his lips doesn’t reach his eyes. “Unlike you.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“So much you misunderstand about me.” The observation is friendly, almost. “As if I didn’t know what Zoë is to you. If I wanted to…”

“You stay away from her, you freakazoid son-of-a-bitch.” You think the growl you hear is you, your self-control slipping.

“Right or left?” Harvey points forward at the orange barrels almost immediately in front of you.

“Shit.” The sibilant hiss hangs in the sudden silence as you pull the car hard to the right, pissed because the freak next to you is settled comfortably riding shotgun while you’re sweating bullets and lost on an endless looping freeway.

“Champagne dreams, John. Reality escapes you.”

“I’m sorry you’re so disappointed.” You dig deep and find some control again. “What did you expect of me?”

“You to see reason. To be reasonable and to see the truth.”

“What truth would that be?”

“You can’t protect her, you know. You can’t be her savior.”

You wait a beat, try to breathe. “Fuck you.”

“Right or left?” Harvey shrugs and points again, forcing your attention forward.

The concrete divider is coming up fast.

The car veers sharply to the left and suddenly your heart is in your throat and your stomach is in knots as you hear and feel the sickening crunch of the body meeting the front end.

You see it launch in the headlights and come to rest as your foot tries to go through the floorboard on top of the brake and your arms lock in a wrestling match with the steering wheel.

The car fishtails and spins wildly to a halt at the side of the road and you are out of it and moving before conscious thought has returned.

“Oh god, oh god, oh god.”

You skid to your knees at the side of the mangled body, unaware of the blood pooling beneath it and staining your pants. Shaking with adrenaline and fear, brushing the long twisted hair from the join of neck and shoulders you reach out gently place two fingers at what should be the pulse point.

There is nothing.

Oh god, oh god, oh god. The refrain runs like a freight train through your head.

“John, John, John.” Harvey’s voice cuts through the white noise and screaming in your head. “You only see the curve, not the road ahead.”


“You can’t protect her. You can’t be her savior.”

Your gut is sending a message your brain won’t accept as you reach trembling hands out to gather the broken and bloody body to you. Cradling the twisted and bent form against your chest, you reach up to gently brush the eerily familiar hair from an obscured face.

You wake drenched in sweat, cold and clammy, pulse roaring in your ears as you jackknife to a sitting position.



  1. What is it with you and killing people at 6am?
    I loved this! I even had a cup of caffeine first so I could follow.

    How do you write like that? I'm always in awe of your POV choices. I've tried it and I always end up back in third.

    I LOVED the ending. Very dramatic.

  2. Wow is this what I'm in for?! I'm excited to get around to all the others who joined in on the fun for this blogfest! I'm with Piedmont Writer, what a way to start the day off with killing people, I normally like to wait to read those in the afternoon! You've certainly woken me up!

    Your writing style is awesome, I love your voice, it's so strong. The ending was powerful, loved it!

  3. LOVE this, SJ. You've been having fun with that POV, and you work it well.

  4. Very intense dream! My favorite line was:

    “All roads lead to Zoë.”

    Love it!

  5. Wow, what a lot of emotion and ambiance you packed into such a short piece. Well done!

  6. Whoa!

    I love the line 'all roads lead to Zoe'!

    Great stuff, even if my heart is beating a bit too fast right now!

  7. oooohhh love the point of view!!! the ending really grabs you.

    I love this SJ!!! Wonderful dialogue and what a pace!!

    Great entry! ;o)

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

  8. Yikes! Such action and intensity! (BTW: This would take me about a year to write.)

    Great job.

  9. Wow, that was surreal, great job! I did get a little confused at who was speaking once or twice, but caught up by the end.

    I loved the foreshadowing with "all roads lead to Zoe." Very nice!

  10. Nicely done. I like the juxtaposition of the metaphorical road and the real road. I always love your 2nd person voice as well. And you've also inspired me to re-work something I've written to try to jump into this blogfest...if it's not too late.

  11. I like the tightness of this, and the power. There's always a temptation here to ask for more weirdness, given that it's a dream, but I like the way you make the more realistic sort work.

  12. All those forks in the road, and Harvey so comfortable. What a dream - nightmare, actually. You are such a vivid writer, and second person too.

    Well done.


  13. You truly are an artist! I've never thought to write in 2nd person. Great job, I love it!!! Thanks for visiting my blogfest! :)

  14. Cliche line, but I LOVE IT: "... the freak next to you is settled comfortably riding shotgun while you’re sweating bullets ..."

    - Eric

  15. In dreams it all seems real. "You only see the curves, not the road." Great dialogue between the two.

    Makes me wonder and worry for Zoe. You caught me up and me care. Thanks for sharing, Roland

  16. You write the best dialogue. I enjoyed this. After writing for 20 years and trying to retire, it's great to read other authors.

  17. I like the symbolism of the fork in the road. The speeding towards tragedy made for great tension as well. Great job.

  18. Seems a bit too real for a dream, and the 2nd-person voice was distracting.
    Red or blue pill? :)
    Interesting stuff though.

  19. The excitement and the tension build so well: I was even reading more quickly towards the end. Very real, very scary. The road ahead drawing them on.

  20. Isn't it the point of a dream sequence, to make it seem too real? That was a fantastic bit of writing. The symbolism is subtle and ominous. Love it!

  21. Anne, hee! I love killing people at 6 AM. :) I'm thrilled you liked this and I was having a cup of coffee at the same time. I'm glad you loved the ending. I did, too. :)

    Jen, thanks for the warm, generous feedback. I'm excited about reading the other entries, too. :)

    Hi, Lola. Thank you and yes I am. I love working with different POVs. :)

    Aubrie and Talli, Thanks so much for letting me know you liked this. And I think that might be my favorite line, too. :)

    India, thank yo so much. High praise indeed. :)

    Hey, Courtney. Thanks for the kind words. I do love the POV myself. I'm glad that, the dialogue and pacing worked for you. :)

  22. “The sky is as black as Zoë’s hair.” - I love that line! And then all roads lead to her... this is a great bit of writing you have there!!

  23. Wow! You have great control and I love your dialogue. There's so much going on here I'm going to go back and read it again...

  24. That was definitely different than most of the other blogfest scenes I've read today. The POV is bold choice, but it works for this dream sequence. Haunting. Kudo's to you SJ!

  25. Hi, Betty. Thanks. I doubt this would take you a year to write. :) You are much too talented.

    Charity, thank you. I like the surreal and foreshadowing, too. I'm glad that worked for you.

    Eva, how cool is that? I think and hope you can get something in. I'd love to read it. :)

    Stu, thank you. I think the more realy a dream, the scarier it is. I'm glad you think I made that work.

    Hey, Donna. Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate them a lot. :)

    Elizabeth, thank you for the warm, generous words. High praise indeed. :)

  26. Great visuals and tension. That POV is hard to pull off, but you definitely did. What a freaky dream!

  27. Eric, hee! Thanks, I love making things work. :)

    Roland, thank you for the very kind words.

    Mary, thank you for stopping by and for reading. I'm thrilled you like the dialogue. I love writing dialogue. :)

    Raquel, thank you so much. I'm glad you appreiciate the symbolism. :)

    Andrew, thanks.

    Elaine, I'm so glad this worked for you. Thanks for letting me know. :)

    sharongerlach, exactly. :) And thank you for noticing. I really appreciate that.

  28. Wow... Amazing, truly. I want to read the whole story. I want to know everything.

    <3 Kelsey Leigh

  29. WOW! Great stuff SJ. You had my blood pulsing.

  30. I think my favorite line was "you’re sweating bullets and lost on an endless looping freeway."

    That and seeing the curves and not the road.

    Intense scene. Great entry.

  31. Tessa, thank you very much. I love those lines, too. :)

    Laura, thank you and welcome. Going back to read again is one of the nicest things you can say to a writer. :)

    DL, thanks so much for everything. I'm glad this worked for you.

    EJ, thanks. I thought it was pretty freaky myself.

    Kelsey, hee! Thank you so much for your enthusiasm. Maybe one day I'll get the whole story up. :)

    Ann, thank you so much for the very kind words.

    Amber, thank you. I like those lines, too. :)

  32. I thought the second person was a neat change, although having the character called John took me out of that mode a bit. Something more nebulous might have worked better, I don't know. I also found the middle a bit lengthy but was definitely tense throughout, so nice work. And of course, the ending was great.

  33. Second person is a real challenge but I think you pulled it off! You are a lot braver than I for trying! I think the end was the strongest part of this sequence, and I really liked the wake up finish and the italicized Zoe. It really was the perfect emphasis, there.

    Thanks so much for participating!!

  34. I could vividly see the curves in the road. Nicely done and thanks for sharing!

  35. Wow. I would have thought it reality for most of the scene since it's written so realistic. Brave to write it in second person. Normally that irks me but I didn't find it too bad but it didn't make too many assumptions about what my views on subjects are, which helps. Nice work with the challenge.