Monday, May 08, 2006

Flashlight Tag, Part 1 (Fiction)

       "That's not the way we used to play it."
       "For Christ's sake, Stephen! Stop your damn complaining!"
       "I'm not complaining. I'm just saying. That's not the way I learned flashlight tag."
       "Expand your freaking horizons, then. You see this?"
       Craig swung his flashlight in a semi-circle past the gathered faces. The beam trickled on some undergrowth before the black woods pounced. Couldn't see much. Stephen didn't like that at all.
       "That's sixty acres, my friend. Hollows, holes, and hills. If we had only one person looking, we'd be here all night."
       "Think of it as hunting," Craig said. "The one who kills the most prey and drags it home wins!"
       "That's sick."
       "Oh, shut the fuck up."
       The others stood close in the darkness. Craig's lone flashlight cast a deranged light.
       "Come on, can we get going?" one said.
       "Yeah, let's rock and roll."
       "Okay, okay," Craig said. "Fire up your weapons."
       More beams flicked on. Stephen's too, but his light wilted to sad orange.
       "Hey, why do I get the crappy one?"
       Craig groaned. "Is your diaper wet or something? Here!"
       A brilliant LED slapped into his hand. Cool. Electronic. Stephen felt a little better.
       "Now remember what's off-limits. Stay away from the cottage. You go in there, and you'll fall through a rotten spot in the floor. Also, steer clear of the north side.
       Craig pointed the light in that direction.
       "That's a nasty ravine. If you loose your footing, it's a long way down."
       Craig grinned wickedly in the fractured light.
       "You have five minutes. Hide well. First one found pays a special penalty."
       Stephen shifted on his feet.
       "You didn't say anything about that."
       "What the hell are you worried about? You're one of the ones looking."
       True. But--
       "Everyone ready?"
       Heads nodded.
       Craig motioned, and the prey scurried off.

On to Part 2


Flood said...

I've been looking forward to this. Great set-up, can't wait for the next installement

Mark Pettus said...

My sons play "night tag" almost every night. I almost had to give up my Stephen King addiction when he turned me into a paranoid, overprotective parent (of my older children - during the 80s). Now you... arggh.

mermaid said...

"What the hell are you worried about? You're one of the ones looking."

Craig doesn't realize he is empowering Stephen with these words. Stephen is the one looking, questioning the darkness that is about to be cast out like a net to trap the frightened fish. Stephen sees that the net is Craig's creation.

We humans often trip ourselves.

I know I've said this before, but the unspoken words between your lines are why I keep coming back.

anne said...

Excellent start! I'm sooooo looking forward to Part Deux now. And I like how you misdirect the tension.
[not sure about this last sentence, but thank god, I know what I mean... ;)]

Scott said...

Great dialog Jason. If I didn't know the genre, I would say this is just a bunch of kids being kids, but this is going to get ugly!

Bernita said...

Great set-up, Jason.
The potentials are many.

Kara Alison said...

I'm already afraid of Craig. He sounds like a sicko. Why do people (Stephen) in scary stories never follow their instincts to run the other way?

Anonymous said...

Flood, your enthusiasm is great! Thanks for the motivation. :D

Mark, sorry about that. ;) I'll try not be too hard on these folks.

Mermaid, thank you. :) I like to weave in layers which you have to listen quietly to hear.

Anne, I got it. :D And you're very right. The obvious evils are not the most dangerous.

Scott, I should probably post genres, but I don't like discouraging readers who might not normally read a certain kind of story. This one is suspense/horror.

Bernita, thanks! I thought I'd try a dialog opening for a change.

Kara, at least Stephen isn't alone and choosing to walk into danger, LOL! He has to deal with the peer pressure of the moment.

* said...

hi jason....
really have to apology that I again come with this Sebald....
but let me know what you think of him once you read him? each time I come here the similarity strikes me. Similarity to the tombstonething and not to this story above I mean....

Anonymous said...

The dialogue works really well in this- fresh and crisp. You can feel the story building, sort of sneaking up on you....

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Really good start, Jason! I can already envision the creepy possibilities. =D

Melissa Amateis said...

This gave me a shiver, just thinking about the dark forest and all those creepy things that might be hanging around. I want to read more (as usual!).

Moncrief Speaks said...

Nice piece.

Anonymous said...

Antonia, I went into the bookstore last week with Sebald top on my list to buy. Nothing in stock. My next stop is Amazon!

Eileen, thanks! :) I usually don't open with dialog, but I wanted to give it a try.

Kelly, I appreciate the feedback! :D

Melissa, thanks for the encouragement! Shivers are golden in this genre. =)

Moncrief Speaks, welcome to my blog! Glad you're enjoying this story so far. Hope to see you back.

Linda said...

"Everyone ready?"
I am ready for more! Katirna took out our night light outside so I am always with the flashlight at night. Ya know it is quite dark in the woods with no other light around. Now I am curious to see what creepy things I can see or maybe not. LOL :)

Brian Farrey said...

"deranged light" I like that a lot.

* said...

hi jason, am sorry to hear is a shame actually that they dont have him in store...but sure they must have him at amazon, could recommend you 'The Rings of Saturn' or 'Austerlitz'...
hope you like it...

Ben O. said...

Pretty good stuff - I love the picture as well (I have to admit to being at least partially visual - I actually consider the cover of a book when deciding.)

Anyway - thanks for the insight . . . I enjoyed reading it and look forward to the next bit.

Ben O.

Terri said...

Methinks this game is not going to go well. Note to self: don't read Part 2 just before bedtime.

Anonymous said...

BeadinggalinMS, I hope this story doesn't end up messing with you. ;) I'm afraid you and the protagonist will be confronted with the same, um, opportunities.

Brian, thanks for stopping by and dropping the note. Hope to see you back!!

Antonia, I'll take your recommendations. Thanks!

Ben O., another new visitor! Very cool! Thanks for the comment on the picture. You can actually make out a double shadow of my face. I thought the whole effect was pretty creepy.

Terri, you can if plenty of lights are on. :D

ProducerClaire said...

I like it already! Of course, I was always a fan of flashlight tag when I was a kid. Running in my grandparents' backyard with my cousin before they mowed down the woods and put in a new subdivision...

Anonymous said...

Claire, flashlight tag was the best!! I too grew up in an area with woods that didn't last into my adulthood. We lose so much when those wild places get plowed under.

Anonymous said...

great writing, jason! wonderful dialog. love it!

Anonymous said...

Anne, much obliged for the feedback! Thanks. :D