The Encounter at Elsie's

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Daily Deviation
Daily Deviation
July 12, 2011
"For such a short scene, The Encounter at Elsie's by ~demonsweat does a fantastic job of conveying the events and characters--all without the sense of hearing!"
Featured by nycterent
Suggested by neurotype
demonsweat's avatar

Literature Text

It's a rough hand at my shoulder and I'm being dragged, thrown really, out the front door.  

Right away I recognize her pet.  The cloth over his mouth moves, but the blast was too close and I shake my head, pointing to my ear.  He understands.  He grips my arm with a hand of ice, firm and clinical, doing his job as ordered; and drags me to the side of the establishment with an urgency that has little to do with my preservation.  I can't hide my amusement at that fact, dire as our situation may be.  Abruptly I am thrown, shoved too hard into the shadows and against the wall, my vertebrae snapping to attention with the impact.  Must remember to thank my 'hero' for that one later.  He presses a forearm against my chest, leaving it there just an extra moment: stay here.

He disappears.  I shudder at the cold as a wave of goose bumps rips over my skin.  My eyes dart to and fro, nervous that Leske's men might be creeping up at any moment.  Seconds later a vibration rocks the wooden panels at my back.  Careful not to lean too far, I catch a glimpse of the glass blowing forward into the street, the light of the single, dim streetlamp creating a shimmering rain before the shards disappear forever into the snow.  Just as I'm beginning to wonder whether or not I should remain so close to the party, the world around me erupts in silent chaos, tossing me along with it.

The initial shock is the cold.  It grinds into my cheek and hands, a mix of gravel and snow, leaving hot scrapes across my skin.   Instinctively I try to shove myself upwards, but something is in the way.  I struggle to throw off the debris pinning me, more aware now of the pain crushing through my chest and back.   I can't breathe.  I yell out, hoping I'm loud enough for someone to hear.   The smell of burnt fuel cells is overwhelming.  Too overwhelming, I realize, and know that something isn't right.  I have to get out of here!  With every bit of strength I grind my hands into the frozen ground and try again, but it is no use.

Thankfully, my panic is cut short.  As the weight lifts I immediately suck in huge, frigid gasps of air, ignoring the cold burn on my throat.  I see crimson and it is her; she drags me upwards, her lips moving – and does she look relieved?  I spare a look at her partner and yes – his sour look is too good to ignore.

The orange glow is unmistakable even without the heat at my back.  Leske's men are all dead, I know that already, or my benefactors wouldn't be standing here.  I watch a second, as the flames erase their bodies and the rest, noting the sign out front – Elsie's, it says – blackening and popping out of existence.  Sorry Elsie.  Hope you had insurance.
Entry for the :iconwriters-workshop: Distorted Perception Workshop wherein we eliminate one sense and describe the scene through use of the other senses.


The missing sense is hearing, if it wasn’t obvious; only temporary for the character in this instance due to an explosion. I thought it might be cool to describe not only the environment around the character, but also dip into how one would communicate with other people, especially with no experience in the matter (as opposed to someone who uses sign language, for instance). 

As for the scene itself:
This is a piece of a scene I’ve had kicking around in my head for a while. It’s from a little sci-fi story featuring three of my characters, a female merc, her buddy and brother-in-arms, and our main character here – a guy whose work gets him into some sticky situations, hence the need for bodyguards. Our main character has history with these two, a couple who are not really a couple, per se…but our man’s picked up on some of the sexual tension between them and delights in taunting the male half of the duo at every opportunity, usually by flirting shamelessly with the female half. So you're getting a little taste of that rivalry here. :D

Word count: 499! Made it! (whew)

Daily Deviation status! Thanks guys!! :D
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Vinnythefox's avatar
Well written and filled with detail in a such a short story.

keep it up!
demonsweat's avatar
Thanks! I will. :D
Taeral's avatar
redcarstudios's avatar
Love this! :D You did a great job conveying the scene, and exploring the loss of hearing. Most of all, you created a narrative that sucked me in and wanted me to read more, even though it was under 500 words.
demonsweat's avatar
Awesome, that's what I set out to do. :D Thanks!
redcarstudios's avatar
*sucked me in and made me want to read more
Jenihenpen's avatar
Ooh very well done! I like the way the choas just erupts all around without the noise, I felt it gave the situation an even more dramatic effect :nod:
demonsweat's avatar
Ah, hello there! :tmnt1:

Thanks, happy you liked it! See ya around. ;)
ninjababy's avatar
Yay! Grats on the DD! :D
demonsweat's avatar
Whoo-hoo! Thanks, fellow ninja! :ninja:

(Also, for anyone reading through the comments, I suggest checking out ninjababy's entry here - it's a very well-written piece for the same workshop.)
ninjababy's avatar
Woot, ninjas! Right now, though, I think this: :ninjaeat: is a more accurate representation of me. ;P

#Writers-Workshop represent! :D
angelStained's avatar
This intensity portrayed in lack of hearing is very impressive.
demonsweat's avatar
Thank you, I'm happy you thought so. :bow:
mapelie's avatar
AwwOOww!!! That's my name!!! Congrats for DD!!!
demonsweat's avatar
Thank you! It's a very pretty name. :D
mapelie's avatar
You're welcome ^,^
Lit-Twitter's avatar
Chirp, congrats on the DD, it's been twittered. [link] :)
demonsweat's avatar
Awesome, thanks! :D
neurotype's avatar
I think this scene may be the most gorgeously written one I've read. Way to make use of the fact that he can't hear to really emphasize the visual descriptions--not to mention the sense of touch. (Also, way to fit it in within the word limit :giggle:)

There definitely seems to be a strong undercurrent of a more complicated story and character relationships. Your great use of body language to convey the missing words drives that home. There are a couple of points where it goes almost a little too far for a short scene (mainly, what "party"?), but overall the events are clear enough. I guess the sexual tension isn't super obvious here--that guy just seems generally like an angry person--but hey, can't have everything in less than 500 words. :)

Thanks for participating!
demonsweat's avatar
I hear ya. I think one of my problems is that I always want to tell too much story. It makes the revision process a nightmare for me and boy, do I ever struggle to meet word requirements. :D I knew a lot of it was vague but I'm glad enough came through to make it work as a short piece. (Oh, and for the record, 'party' is slang, as in 'too close to the action'. It's just the way that character talks.) :shrug:

I had originally written in some more banter between the characters but had to cut it - it wasn't the focus of the workshop, after all. But I wanted to explain the rivalry a little so that the reader wouldn't be left with the question of why the one character was rescuing the other, when it didn't seem as if they were very friendly. I guess it's not really necessary, but as I said -- too much story in my head. :D On a side note, I think it's really funny that you see the man from the first paragraph as angry. He not typically like that - but the main character here definitely brings it out. It got me thinking more on their interactions, so yeah - that's some good feedback.

Thanks so much for the kind words, and for hosting a kickass workshop! I had a lot of fun. :D

Take care!
- ds
neurotype's avatar
haha, same here :D (the word limit was to keep things like plot and character development to a minimum...but it's so hard to resist sometimes.) --His tone seems formal enough where I wouldn't expect any colloquialisms to pop in, but that makes sense. :O

Sure! :happybounce:
LadybugScribbles's avatar
This was really neat. I enjoyed how vivid it was. I felt like I couldn't hear just as the character couldn't hear.
demonsweat's avatar
Thank you, I appreciate the feedback! :D
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