Fiction Friday – 5 September 2008 Quick change

This Week’s Theme: Pick a book of fiction you’d never read (e.g., if you read sci-fi, pick a romance). Open to a random page and read the last couple paragraphs of the page. DO NOT TURN THE PAGE. Now continue writing the story. Feel free to change the genre as you write.

The book I have picked is Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell. Yup. Chick lit. A genre I normally don’t go anywhere near. The text in red is from the book. This ought to be fun…

Then she stopped. She couldn’t leave. She had three children in the house.

A terrible thought occurred to her. They were sound asleep. She could run out, scream at Shane, and be back within thirty minutes. The children would never know.

She paused and looked down at her feet, the black canvas sneakers sticking out incongruously from the bottoms of her blue flannel pajamas. Shane was making her crazy. Leaving small children alone in the house was what poor people did. Poor people who felt they had no choice or were so beaten down by the ruthless pointlessness of life that they didn’t care. You read about them all the time in the New York Post. They left the children alone and something happened and the children died. It was usually the men who were responsible. The men always were. Men like Shane.

She shivvered, a biting wind blowing through the streets. She had to make a decision, she hadn’t dressed for standing outside, dawdling. When she had found out that Shane was back, and received the call that he was there, right now, just down the road…

She hadn’t thought about it. She had put the kids to bed a few hours before, and was just mixing up another bowlful of batter for pancakes the next day. Her kids loved them, and their friends were stopping by for breakfast on the way to school. She had taken the opportunity to change into pajamas and a thick sweatshirt, and settle down with a glass of rosé and some I Love Lucy reruns.

Then the call came. No caller ID. But a voice from the past.

“Cassandra. It’s Drew.”

“… What do you want?”

“I know you don’t want to hear from any of us again. But this is unfinished business. He’s back.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about Drew. I have a new life now. Goodbye.”

“Don’t hang up! It’s Shane…”

“… Shane’s dead.”

“Yeah, we thought so too. He’d be mighty surprised to find out he lives two blocks over from you.”

She didn’t need to ask, and Drew didn’t need any prompting. He gave her the address and hung up. No doubt she’d never hear from him again. She felt the surge of hate building in her, memories of a life that should have been buried. She forgot her children, her flimsy cotton nightclothes, she let the red mist descend and ran over to a picture on the wall. She ran her finger along one side, releasing the hidden catch, and it swung forward. Her hands shook as she spun the tumblers on the safe door, until the faintest click told her it was unlocked. She pulled on the iron door, reached in, and pulled out the box, before rushing outside.

It was the cold air that pulled her up, cooled her head, made her remember her children. Asleep. Innocent. Alone. She couldn’t leave them. What if she got caught? No, she wouldn’t get caught. 30 minutes, in and out. Besides, she was only going to give him a piece of her mind, rage at him for all that he had done, what he had cost her.

She couldn’t leave the kids alone. Only someone reckless would do that. Someone uncaring. Someone evil. Someone like Shane. Only thirty minutes, that’s all. She just wanted to talk. She opened the box and pulled out the heavy Glock 23, letting the box fall on the sidewalk. She checked the magazine, slipped the safety on, and tucked the gun into the front pouch of the sweatshirt.

A piece of her mind. This time, Shane would listen…

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5 thoughts on “Fiction Friday – 5 September 2008 Quick change”

  1. and who said you didn’t know the mind of a woman.. he he.. loved it.. go girl.. perhaps our next joint writing aught to be chicklit? ha ha ha

  2. Oh I want to know more. Do the children wake up? Does soemthing happen, or does she go and pull the trigger, return home to kiss her sleeping children and return to her life as if nothing was out of the ordinary? Nicely done.

  3. oooh lovely! I’m immediately assuming Cassie’s a now-retired assassin, once part of this covert group now disbanded as a direct result of something Shane did that compromised the entire outfit. Oh and of course Shane and her used to be an item, despite it being against company policy. Teeheehe 🙂

    Glad to read you again, I’ve been gone too long!


  4. Chick lit … so now we know your secret reading stash. I love the wide detour from what Candace Bushnell would ever have intended with Cassie out in the street looking for Shane (being a huge fan of Sex and the City!)

    I concur with Annie – you know the mind of a woman well – and that continual tug of maternity that always brings you back to your children. There was a really good flow of the short snappy one word sentences and the longer sentences,which give a good sense of Cassie oscillation between what she wants to do and what she should do.

    I wonder if she’s in witness protection?

  5. It was a tiny bit predicatable though, don’t you think? I mean come on, dark secrets and the potential for murder – like I’ve never done THAT before! 😉

    More seriously, glad you liked it – ~willow~ you nailed it, I had in my mind some sort of shadowy agent (maybe not an assassin), who has since retired and has a “normal” life, but there’s a history with Shane. I’m wondering if he’s the father of the children?

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