"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Primal Scream Blogfest

The lovely Raquel Byrnes is hosting the Primal Scream Blogfest.

Here are the instructions as listed on her blog:
I've decided to host a A Primal Scream Blogfest in honor of the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. In the spirit of that gutsy, hard-won battle, I challenge you to post the most exhilarating, teeth-grinding, blow-them-out-of-the-water scene from your latest WIP.

The scene can be the inciting incident, the climax, or anything in between. It can be an emotional blowout, or something more concrete. It just has to be your own.

I don't have any real battles in the sense of physical fighting, but I do have some pretty heavy emotional ones that have physical repercussions. I really debated between two excerpts, but I think this one is closer to the idea of the Primal Scream.

So this is a scene from my Christian dystopian novella, Pearl. Part of the series I'm coauthoring with Naomi :)

Quick background to get you into the scene. Rizzelle and Neville are being held, basically for treasonous activity. They were put into the same cell in order to try to trip them up, but instead they became friends and then more. Rizzelle has been undergoing interrogation as they try to get her to divulge the names of the other "traitors" she knows.


This couldn’t be happening. They couldn’t mean what I thought they meant. Then I looked at Neville and I knew it had to be true. There was no other reason they would have brought him in with me. Ignoring the other people in the room, Neville met my gaze firmly and gave a short nod.

Hyden and Officer Bantly unconsciously leaned forward in anticipation. I guess they thought that his nod meant I should tell what I knew. However, I knew that the nod meant that I had to stay strong and that he was ready for whatever they chose to do.

It felt as though my heart was breaking. How could they make me decide between Neville, the love of my life, husband of my heart, and the other Jewels? I had no real choice and it made me want to curl into a ball and die.

Turning back to Hyden I shook my head. “I have nothing to say.”

There was a brief moment of surprise from Hyden, but it was very brief. Then he stepped out from behind the desk and came to stand in front of Neville. He lifted the gun and pointed it at Neville’s head. “You’re sure?” he asked.

Neville kept his eyes on me, radiating understanding, support, comfort. I felt as though I were about to collapse. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t be the cause of his death. But when I opened my mouth a small inner voice reminded me that I would be condemning each person I named to an even more painful, more agonizing death and as much as my heart broke to do it, I closed my mouth again. Tears streamed down my face.

Hyden’s face twisted and he lowered the pistol slightly, squeezing the trigger. The explosion ricocheted in my ears as blood began to leak from the ragged hole in Neville’s arm. His cry of pain was mirrored by my own. I couldn’t breathe.

“Now you see we’re serious,” Officer Bantly said, his voice still so maddeningly even. In that moment I think I hated him more than Hyden. I hated how emotionless he was. Hyden I could at least relate to in some way. He reacted with rage, irritation, even a sick pleasure, but Bantly had no humanity. No emotion.

Hyden raised the pistol again and the words were on my lips, ready to fly out of my mouth when Neville caught my gaze again. His face was twisted with pain and his chest jerked as he gasped for air, the stress closing his airways. But his eyes were clear and his stare drilled into me. I knew that he would never want me to give in, no matter what happened. He winked and I wrinkled my nose, each of us saying, for what would probably be the last time, I love you.

“Take him into the next room.” Bantly had been watching us and guessed, correctly, that we were gaining strength from each other. The guards pulled Neville up by the arms and he grunted as his wound was stretched. The door was still open and I could hear them in the next room, seating him in another chair.

Hyden grabbed my face and forced my chin up so I would look him in the eye. “Just remember,” he said. “Whatever you’re imagining is nothing compared to what is actually happening.” He nodded at one of the guards behind me. There was some kind of signal and I heard the horrific sound of flesh striking flesh. Neville was doing his best to stay quiet for my sake, but I could hear his muffled groans and they tore at me.

“Give us one name and we’ll stop,” Bantly said.

“My Lord, help us,” I cried and Hyden slapped me. I didn’t care what they did to me, if they would only leave Neville alone.

“One name,” Bantly repeated. When my mouth stayed closed he nodded at Hyden. I could hear Hyden’s boots cross the floor, leave the room, enter Neville’s. There was another shot and Neville’s scream of pain made me writhe.

“That was his leg,” Bantly said.

“You won’t kill him,” I choked past my sobs, though I wasn’t really sure.

“There would be no need for this if you would simply cooperate.”

Hot anger sparked in my chest and I shook tears from my face. “Don’t you dare try to blame this on me,” I said. “I’m not the one doing this, you are. I have a clear conscience. You’re going to have to live with the guilt, not only of Neville but of every other innocent person you’ve hurt in your brainless focus on your dictated mission. At least I still have a soul.”

Bantly clapped slowly. “Well said. Do you feel better having gotten that off your chest?” His tone was derisive. Finally there was a crack in that thick armor. “It changes nothing. This is in fact your final chance today. Answer or you will return to your cell. Alone.”

Tears flooded my face and I closed my eyes. How could I do this? How could I not do this? Trading my life for the other Jewels was one thing, trading Neville’s was something entirely different. Yet, somehow I kept myself from saying anything. I squeezed my eyes closed so I wouldn’t have to see that final nod, wouldn’t have to see the anger or satisfaction or whatever emotion might flit across Officer Bantly’s composed face.

Nothing could block out the sound, though. Someone struck Neville again. Then came the final shot, the sound of his body slumping to the floor. I screamed in agony as my heart ripped in two.


Well, there you have it. Make sure you check out the other participants of the challenge! It's sure to be a rip-roaring good time :)


Charity Bradford said...

Oh! wow, I don't even know what to say other than well done. I could feel her agony all the way through. I don't think I would be strong enough.

Mia said...

0.0 WOW! I wanted to jump in there and save Neville myself! Very well done1

It's possible that by the end of today I may be a nervous wreck because of all these entries ;~)

Tara said...

This kept me on the edge of my seat. Good job.

Mary McDonald said...

Okay, where can I buy this book? You paced it perfectly and the writing was INTENSE. Great job.

aLmYbNeNr said...

Wow. Intense, suspenseful. I was lost in the story. And now I need MORE! I want to know what happens NEXT!

Grammy said...

Hey, I would like to know more about you and I have tagged you.
check out my blog.
Great story!
Best regards to you,

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

@Charity: I don't know if I would be either. Thanks :)

@Mia: I know, right!? These entries are amazing! And I have the biggest crush on Neville.

@Tara: Thanks. Glad to know it worked.

@Mary: haha! My sis and I are working on it. She's written one and I wrote this one and we're each working on 2 more each and then one final one together to tie it all up, but they're too short so we're thinking maybe self-publishing.

@aLmYbNeNr: Glad to know I've got you hooked. I think I'm going to post another snippet for the Internal Conflict Blogfest. But I'm still considering.

@Grammy: Thanks, I'll go check it out!

Iapetus999 said...

Whoa...now that's Primal.
She made the right choice...they would have shot him anyways. At least now his death means something...assuming she lives too.
Good job!

Falen said...

ooh. exciting.
Also i'm intrigued by the idea of a christian dystopian story.

Kierah Jane Reilly said...

This was amazing! Pacing was perfect, really emotional, intense. Great job! I want to know more about the Jewels.

Joan Crawford said...

That was great!!! I loved it - she did it! Hot damn, she actually did what she was supposed to do! She didn't chicken out or muddle it up with wimpy "girly" emotions. Great job, you guys! Now that was a love story.

Raquel Byrnes said...

That was indeed a teeth grinding scene...I loved this. The emotion and the conflict were heart wrenching. The thing that really sent my throat aching was the silent I love you's...the nose wrinkle, the wink...oh man!

You are a talent. Hope this hits the shelves. Thank you so much for participating!

Just Another Sarah said...

Oh! How tragic! I could definitely feel that in the pit of my stomach!

Watery Tart said...

What a horrible position to put your heroine in! (what I mean by that is WELL DONE!--because torturing characters makes gripping reading)--loved the emotional tension and impossible situation!

Anonymous said...

This was well written and very intense. Your MC is one tough woman! I want to read more.

sarahjayne smythe said...

Wow, wow, wow. Intense. This just kept getting better. :)

VR Barkowski said...

Extraordinary dialogue. And what an awful position to be in! It's sad how making our characters miserable results in such a compelling story. Superb job!

Ashley Ladd said...

Did Neville live? I want to know more. Great hook/last line.

Palindrome said...

you produced an actual physical reaction out of me...i twiched and jumped a few times. It was realistic and raw and no wimpy whiney girls so that's always a plus. Needless to say, I loved it.

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

Oh goodness, did I really forget to comment on half of your comments! I've been such a blog slacker :)

@iapetus 999: Thanks. She does live, but there is an interesting twist that I shall not reveal, because I really do want to publish these :)

@Falen: It's funny, 'cause we've been working on these, but I didn't know what genre - I was always just like, umm... some sort of futurey thing where the government has taken over and Christians have to go underground. Then I learned what Dystopian was and I was like... Yeah! That's what we're writing! haha :)

@Kiereh: Thanks. This scene evokes emotion in me every time I go over it, 'cause I'm so attached to these characters, especially Neville :(

@Joan: I am SO glad that you liked it. Your comment made me happy :)

@Raquel: I'm glad those silent "love" signals worked for you. That's the only thing in this scene that I have been eh about, trying to figure out if it was good.

@JA Sarah: thanks. It's so encouraging to hear it affected people.

@Watery Tart: I know, I'm so mean!

@Catherine: It's funny, I guess she is tough, but throughout the book she doesn't always come off that way. One of the things I'll work on in revision.

@sarahjayne: Thank you so much :)

@VR Barkowski: Thanks for the comment about the dialogue. I really appreciate all of the kind words.

@Ashley: mwa hahaha! I shall leave you hanging :)

@Palindrome: Yeah! Now I can say it's Palindrome-approved :P I think you need a stamp or something. But seriously I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for the comment.