Dying to Write

In my monthly newsletter we are running a writing competition – and it’s a bit like a game of consequences. I wrote the first paragraph of the story, and then asked newsletter readers (or blog readers!) to submit the next paragraph.

I am so pleased that so many of you took the time to turn in your rogue paragraph! I am also delighted that so many of them were so good. It has been difficult to choose just one for you all to carry on with but the writer at the front of the field on this occasion is Ryan Kaminski. Close runners up were Karen Turner and Jess Perry.

We’re now waiting for your inspiration for the next part of the story – so do send us your idea of how the story might continue, but please only use Ryan’s entry to take your story forward! Good luck! I’m already looking forward to the next batch of deadly beauties!

Opening Paragraph

Friday the 13th was the day that my world fell apart. I hadn’t been expecting it. I was happily splashing a lovely stone coloured emulsion onto the rough plastered walls of my tiny cottage, singing along to an old Take That tune on the radio, thinking how lucky I was to have found this wonderful home in the middle of nowhere, when the old bell hanging in the tiny front porch clanged. Somebody was outside my door – but who? I didn’t think anybody knew that I had moved here, and suddenly I knew I was in danger.

Winning entry for Paragraph 2 from Ryan Kaminski

Without making a sound, I crept toward the door while turning my attention to the nearest table. That was where I kept my gun. I hadn’t had to use it once in all my time out here, but that could all change now. I peered through the peephole and my heart plummeted to the bottom of my stomach. I unlocked the half dozen locks up and down the doorframe and opened the door. Almost everything about him was the same, from the badge on his belt, to the flakes of dandruff on the shoulders of his suit. The only difference was his eyes, they were puffy and his cheeks sagged, giving his face a tired and defeated look. Before I could form a single word, he looked me straight in the eye and said: “Julianne, there’s been an accident. The prison van transporting Danny drove off the road and crashed. He’s on the run. He’s on the run and we have every reason to believe he’s coming after you.”

The Story Continues

So where do you think the story would go from here? Write the next paragraph of the story to win a signed copy of any one of my books, and send it to newsletter@rachel-abbott.com

Runner-up: Karen Turner
For a moment I was paralysed by the sound of this unexpected intrusion, my thoughts racing back and forth. Panic , reason, then panic again. A sudden wave of nausea washed over me, a heady mix of late August heat and paint fumes making my head rush surely? But no, I knew this feeling well. This instinct I’d fought so desperately to deny for three years, that I’d sacrificed so much for, sleep, happiness and in my darkest days my sanity, was back. The bell rang again, the tiny ancient bell I’d loved so much when I’d first arrived, now my enemy. I stood motionless as if trying to stop time, willing the unwelcome sound away. The paint dripped from the brush onto my fingers, its cold stickiness jolting me. Through the open window the scent of wild honeysuckle drifted in on the breeze, sickly and intense. But the honeysuckle had died down by now? Still that perfume, so cloying and familiar brought such violent clarity that the bile rushed to my throat. The brush fell from my hand clattering on the floorboards. My head swam, my throat stung and though every part of my being screamed this could not be…I knew. Cora was here.

Runner-up: Jess Perry
My worst fears were coming true, my heart sank like an anchor when I saw his outline through the net curtain on the front door. It was definitely him. How does he know I live here? I slowly and quietly put my paint brush on the paint pot lid on the floor and thought about where I could hide when he looked though the windows. Seconds passed feeling like hours and I felt the adrenaline pumping through my veins. I lay down on the floor underneath the window in what was to be my bedroom. Would I ever get to sleep here now? I didn’t have much furniture in the cottage to hide underneath or behind, this was my only option. Sure enough I could hear footsteps on the gravel outside the front porch – he was on the move. The sunlight patterns were moving across the floorboards – then they paused. His body was obscuring the light coming through the window above me. I stopped breathing.