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Fiction Sprint #3

Short story prequel

Inspired by Chris Fox, I started daily writing sprints on Thurs., Jan. 18. After 35 days, I'm up to 133,310 words, targeting 3,000 words per day over three, 30-minute sprints for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I finished a lean rough draft of Book 1 of a new fiction series on Jan. 31. Earlier this week I wrapped a lean rough draft of Book 2. Since then, I've been playing around with a short-story prequel. The sample below was from tonight's dinner sprint.

PREQUEL SHORT STORY SPRINT

Dom’s head was spinning again. He had no idea where he was. The last thing he remembered was sitting in Commander Weisman’s office. They were going through some paperwork for a commendation he was prepping for Dom. He heard the door click behind him but then things went black.

“Someone’s waking up,” said a voice in the darkness. Dom didn’t recognize it, but it wasn’t like he could see anything. He was awake, but there was a black cloth bag over this head. He knew something wasn’t right, but he felt fine. Just a bit sleepy, but his head was spinning, though probably from the lack of caffeine.

He’d met with Weisman earlier that morning but hadn’t had a chance to drink the fresh cup of coffee he poured him. Except for one sip. Damn! he thought. Weisman must be in on this. He spiked my coffee.

Dom wasn’t sure, but it made sense to account for his now descent into limbo land with a splitting headache.

“Can I get some water? Or a grande mochaccino whip with three shots of espresso? Whichever is easiest?”

“I’ll get you some water,” said the voice. So it’s a dude, Dom thought, but he didn’t recognize the voice. He guessed that it was the strange man in black that everyone had said they’d seen around campus, the same man in black they said was looking for him.

“Well, I guess that’s a start,” Dom said. “It looks like you found me but I have no idea what’s going on.”

He could hear the man running water in the sink. OK, so I’m in some house somewhere with running water. He couldn’t smell anything unusual. No fresh baked breads or apple pies. So I’m guessing I’m in a hotel suite? It smelled stale like one that hadn’t had the windows opened in a while. Nor has it had the door opened for very long. So he must have gotten in and out quickly and not stopped to feed the meters.

Dom impressed himself with his powers of observation. He’d heard that if you take any one sense, your others heightened. Since he couldn't see maybe his sense of smell and hearing would be better than before.

He heard a dog bark outside. Maybe it was a wolf? No, it was definitely a dog. A big dog. Malamute big, but not a Great Dane, English wolfhound, or Shetland sheepdog big. Yeah, St. Bernard big, the ones with the whiskey barrel under their necks that help rescue stranded skiers in avalanches. He was a thousand miles from the nearest mountain so that probably wasn’t the case.

“Where am I?” Dom asked. It seemed like a simple question, but it wasn’t getting him anywhere.

The man held a water glass to his mouth and told him to drink through the cloth. The least he could have done was slide the mask up a bit more off his mouth. But that would let a glint of light in, and that couldn’t happen.

Dom sipped the water through the cloth. It was poly-cotton, about 12 ounces, relatively heavy for such cheap fabric. Mostly opaque but this guy shopped at the softer side of Sears rather than anything luxury from Zegna.

He wobbled back and forth in the chair. It creaked. I’m definitely in a cheap motel.

The air-conditioner kicked in, and Dom jumped. It was as loud as a jet engine and over and behind his left shoulder. More than likely his back was to the window. Good call since he wouldn’t be bothered to look out the window. That gave the man the drop on seeing outside and watching the door from where he was.

Guessing he’s on the bed. Dom held his leg out in front, stretching his foot as best he could. There wasn’t anything there, but he sensed he was in a larger room. He had a sink so a suite would do it, but how many motels have suites? Suites are for hotels. This didn’t seem like a hotel. He couldn’t hear anything in the hallway, though he could hear the outside through the door. It wasn’t like he was in a hotel. There was definitely something outside in the open on the other side of the door.

The man didn’t say anything. He let Dom sit and ponder, trying to figure out his surroundings.

“OK, so I’m in the parlor with a candlestick and you're the butler going to kill me.”

“I’m not going to kill you, Mr. Wagner,” the man said.

“So formal. My name’s Dom.”

“I know that, Mr. Wagner, I know all about you.”

“Still too formal,” Dom said. “You sound like my first-grade teacher when she was getting ready to kick our butts for being rowdy at recess.”

That didn’t seem to get Dom anywhere, so he let it go. His stomach growled, echoing throughout the room.

“Sorry about that,” Dom said. “You kidnapped me before breakfast, so I’m kinda hungry. But am I lunchtime hungry or dinnertime hungry? You tell me.”

“It’s dinnertime, but we’ll get to that later. Sorry to inconvenience you Mr. Wagner, but I’m waiting for one of my associates to arrive. We’ll have dinner after that.”

“Great, something to look forward to while I sit and ponder under the weight of this black mask.”

Dom didn’t know what else to say, so he began to whistle. He started with a tune his grandfather taught him years ago. He never bothered to ask what it was, but his grandfather did it quite a bit while they were driving around aimlessly when he was a kid. It fit the current mood of wasting time waiting for someone else to show up.

“You can stop now, Mr. Wagner,” the man said. “There’s no need for that. I can turn on the radio if you’d like some background noise.” Suddenly the room was filled with static, weird AM radio tuning static. If Dom listened carefully, he could almost make out alien languages.

“Aww, that’s my favorite station!” he said. “The Aliens taught me that one when they picked me up a few years ago in the middle of the night.”

The man didn’t laugh. Dom thought he was funny bringing up aliens. It had been quite the topic of discussion around the dinner table one night years back. A silent beam hovered over the Bean downtown on Michigan Avenue. It was the coolest lightning display they’d ever seen.

Copyright © 2018 Chad V. Holtkamp.

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