Friday, October 17, 2008

Science Fiction Teaser

I want in! After reading the delightful first-scene-teases that Anthony and others posted, I thought, "Cool." After I thought some more, I thought, "Hey, wait. Can I do that? Legally?" Then I realized that I had already done so with that "first paragraph" thing a while back. Oddly, this just doesn't feel as scary. Hmmm...thoughts to ponder. Anyway, this is the first scene exerpt from a science fiction piece. Feel free to comment on whatever strikes you. I'm always up for improvement.

Hunched over his steering wheel, brandy fumes clouding the windshield, Dr. Macau steadily ignored the rain, wiper, and intermittently working defrost. Instead, he clutched at the double yellow line, the lifeline that would lead him home. Even so, he caught the stagger of pedestrian on the shoulder, the heavy rain almost blotting out the motion. He gripped the steering wheel, focusing on slipping through the tunnel of yellow and blurred movement.

The first explosion slammed against the jeep, blowing him back against his seat before his foot jerked down on the brakes. The jeep bucked, tires gripping momentarily, then floated on the water-dense road. Thrown into a slide, Macau wrenched the wheel, brain shutting down beyond the focus of staying on the road. The second explosion propelled the body across his vision and onto the highway, a crumpled wad of limbs and clothing. Macau could only stare, his right foot working the brake in mounting horror. Shuddering to a halt, the jeep sputtered, then died. The wipers kept up their steady rhythm, the headlights staring blindly into the narrow arroyo that skirted the highway.

Flipping out his cell, he punched 911 as he kicked open the door, hurrying into the rain and towards the motionless body. Adult male, age 18-25, athletic build. Crew cut, possibly a Marine from the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station. Unknown explosion, with unknown injuries. Help on the way, he sank down and began to check for vitals. The dark shirt hung in ribbons, and his hands came away sticky with blood. The man was unresponsive. Training took over, steadying his hands and slowing his heart rate. Even through the rain, the heavy stench of burning rubble hung unmistakable, but he filed it for later use and focused on the victim.

Flashing lights heralded the arrival of the ambulance service. Macau turned the man over to the EMTs, then dialed police dispatch. “Macau, here. Victim is being transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center. Have the officer on duty call my cell if he needs me. I’m not waiting in the rain.” He closed the phone, climbed into the jeep, and continued the drive home, for the first time realizing that he had recognized the man. Instant rage boiled through his veins, and for the second time that night, he almost slid off the road.


Anthony said...


Anthony said...

With that said, I think you should change the weather conditions.

While I am familiar with the flash flood in the desert--a windstorm, being mobbed by tumbleweeds (true story!), wretched fog and cold at night, etc., seem more applicable.

Amber Lynn Smith said...

I was trying to figure out if he had hit the pedestrian and then he exploded, or what. Kinda confusing. Also wondering about your POV. Seems like omni.
How does one clutch a rode?
Tunnel of yellow? What does that mean? Is he actually going through a tunnel (that's how it's written)?
I'm guessing by the way the guy thinks that he's a cop.

Nils said...

Mh. I have no written works I could tease, but maybe I could work something out anyway....

Nils said...

"He gripped the steering wheel, focusing on slipping through the tunnel of yellow and blurred movement."

Tunnel of yellow and blurred movement -> What Alex means, or how I read this, is that he's driving in the dark, through the icy rain, and what you get is this effect that you only see what's in your headlights. Everything else is in darkness, and it's pretty much the same as if you drove through a tunnel. Macau seems to be drunk, which probably heightens that perception.

POV is omni but seems to be attached to the character. Who knows, without a larger sample.

"Even through the rain, the heavy stench of burning rubble hung unmistakable, but he filed it for later use and focused on the victim."

File what for later use, the stench? Hum? I think I know what you mean but that may need some rewriting.

I'd also not abbreviate things, like "EMTs" or "cell" unless your target audience is used to the jargon (I'd use "medics" and "cell phone" except for direct speech. I am not sure how cellular phones are referred to in every day colloquial English.)

I do not get the impression that this is set in a desert, except for the "arroyo".

Sorry for criticizing, it is all meant to be constructive. Since I am not a writer, I probably have no idea what I am talking about, please feel free to ignore my opinion. :)