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Is the phrase "Once upon a time..."
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Monthly Writing Prompt
For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

Writing Tip
Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 Search for Silent - Chpt 6

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Number of posts : 1287
Age : 58
Location : Ringgold, Louisiana
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Registration date : 2008-07-21

PostSubject: Search for Silent - Chpt 6   August 28th 2009, 9:07 am

The Search for Silent
Chapter Six

Part 1

Stacy finally felt something give, and with another exertion of her already drained muscles managed to dislodge something enabling her to have the room to squeeze her body into a new position. She felt relieved simply able to breathe. Memories of some rather restrictive undergarments had kept her sane, but no longer fearing being trapped she felt able to think clearly. Not really considering herself actually safe, she worked her muscles again as soon as a minor amount of recuperation came in order to finally climb out of what tried to become her tomb.

Her first thought was to get back to her contact point and regain contact with Silent. Looking around her, she quickly remembered some facts from before having destruction erupt around her. Understanding her predicament, she forgot about letting anyone know of her existence. Not caring of the debris around her, Stacy lied down and worked her mind over recent events.

With help from Silent she had realized that there was a way down into the secret factory. Stacy remembered being the one that stated the fact, but it really had not sunk into her until attempting to relate things to her distant contact. Instead of building a large amount of ducts, which would be recognized as a sign of underground activity by those who watch from the skies, those that constructed the factory had simply left a break between the 'walls' and the 'ceiling.' This gave a way for air to blow in and out, as well as create a moat to prevent others from safely entering except by manned walkways. Those not scared of a fall however could simply drop down. Being that it was night, it had been possible for Stacy to reach the break in the surface without being seen.

She had no idea what would be encountered on the inside, but was glad to find herself in a restroom. The break in the ceiling also allowed for precipitation to flow along with the air, so rooms where major cleanliness was not required, however much it might be wanted, were placed. Stacy had used the facility and checked her appearance until another lady appeared. There was relief in knowing that the proper room had been fallen into, so her presence was not one of being considered out of place. Stacy did not know what she would encounter outside the room, but felt that exposing herself would not be a complete risk.

The area beyond was a factory creating the very parts she was interested in finding. They were not bombs, but assemblies for bombs. What Stacy wanted to find, the pieces that would fit the connections on the plane she and Silent had stolen, were present in abundance.

She slowly moved to a safe position, and watched enough to realize that there were two types of construction lines. Truthfully, the people only worked along one set of tables, but a rare set of fixtures were brought to another set of tables where a few people worked with electronic parts. Stacy felt a strong need to discover the purpose of the alternate assembly, and studied her surroundings to determine a way to sate her curiosity.

Attempting to understand her situation, the first concern turned to those who worked in the factory. What had alerted Stacy to this base had been her sighting of people being brought in without any indication of there being an increase in personnel. She studied those she could see to ascertain their quality of health, and concluded that they were not being abused. They might be in a place they did not want to be doing a job they would rather not be doing, but no mistreatment or hazardous conditions existed. Stacy did not know under what circumstances the people had been recruited, but had to allow that this work might not be punishment for some type of crime.

There were other guards, but they stood back attempting to not be seen just as Stacy was doing. They were however wearing a different type of uniform, so she did not feel safe. The need to get her duty done and get out returned to her, along with a memory of Silent telling her she had thirty-five minutes. Stacy thus looked to her surroundings to consider what options she had. Seeing a guard move to answer a phone she hoped provided a workable answer.

She thought that the door would be a janitor's closet. It was on the outside, so she did not expect it to contain anything that would be harmed by being subjected to the weather. She was thus surprised to find a kitchen whose once cleaned surfaces were now showing a patina of dust and dirt. The stove and sink did reflect light from having surfaces that were regularly cleaned, and the stove had a large pot on it with a fire underneath. Stacked around the room were boxes of MREs. While Stacy considered it good that the people were being well fed, she felt sorry for them that they were not being better fed. She moved into the room considering that a kitchen did give her possibilities, and began to look around.

While MREs tended to be full meals, they did require water. Stacy had noted that the sink was clean, and moved to it to reveal that it was also clear of items enabling it to be used without problem. Moving to the stove revealed the pot to contain water. While MREs did have a chemical heater for water, she agreed that it did not have the charm of water heated regularly. She however noticed a large jug near the stove in which were large tea bags, and it suddenly came to her that the water was not for the MREs.

Suspecting that someone would be coming soon to finish preparing the tea, Stacy looked for a way to cause a disturbance that might work to her advantage. A canister of sugar was set out, but she opened cabinets looking for other supplies. Knowing that many countries drank milk with their tea, Stacy turned looking for refrigerator, then stopped as an idea came to her. She went to the canister of sugar and poured it out into the sink. A large box of salt was then removed from a cabinet, and the contents were poured into the sugar container. Seeing the water boiling told Stacy that she needed to hide before someone entered, she quickly moved to a position behind some of the MRE boxes.

It took longer than she expected, but two soldiers eventually entered. Stacy heard them make jokes about drinking the tea, but she did not look out in fear of being seen. Something about the way they spoke did make her suspicious that she was not the only one doing something covertly, but felt that any additional surprises would only help her achieve her objective.

When the soldiers left, Stacy stayed in her position believing that there would be a quick return to the kitchen. She did hear some loud complaints, but just as she was about to come out and check the situation outside was when the explosion happened. Stacy had never heard anyone mention that MREs could be used as effective armor against shrapnel, but while they had entombed her they had not allowed her to be harmed. She laid down on the pile being glad to be alive.

Looking at her surroundings, she saw that the explosion had been rather destructive. There was no longer a door, and not much of a wall. It had been pieces of the metal over the MRE packages that had provided the weight working to entomb her. Stacy thus moved carefully not to cut herself on a shard, be spotted by a survivor, or simply make a mistake. There was pleasure to find the items she was looking for. She considered it strange that their stacks were disturbed, but not sufficiently to actually ruin all the pieces.

Her curiosity of her situation increased as she went to handle one of the parts. They were not still in a stack because of careful placement, but because the arrangement set on a web of metal that had been locked in place. She did have lockpicks on her person, but did not reach for them. Her eyes instead darted across the room to where the pieces with the special electronic parts rested.

As she moved across the room, a body lifted and pointed at her as it said, "You, you…"

The horrid blackened skin unnerved her, but Stacy worked to keep her voice even. "I cannot save you. I am hoping that I can save myself."

"No, you. Are you the one that put the salt instead of the sugar?"

"Yes, as I needed a diversion."

"The tea was poisoned to kill us quietly. Because of the salt, we rebelled and did not drink more than a sip. When they called for permission to shoot, that is when the explosion occurred. Something about what we were doing, they did not want others to know. Let people know."

Stacy froze in shock for a moment as she tried to consider some words of thanks, but the horrid appearance of the speaker forced her to say, "Rest in peace, as that is entirely my intention."

The person collapsed back down to the ground, then said, "Sometimes spies are good."

"God bless you, and I promise that I will try to give honor to those words."

Suddenly, another person shot up and raced for the stairwell up. Stacy thought to shoot, but the smoke and shredded metal had her decide not to chance the shot. She instead moved faster to the other stack of objects. As she reached it and noticed that they were also locked into place, the sound of weapon fire was heard above. The low level of moans in the room ceased as all realized that those above did not want any information about what had happened below.

Stacy did not feel capable of picking the lock in the dusty darkness, so started checking bodies for one that would have the key to the lock. It was disgusting work. The bomb had been more incendiary than concussion, so the bodies, whether they were already dead or dying, had sections of burned flesh tear as they were moved. She felt grateful that the keys were quickly gained, as she did not know how much longer she could keep her stomach from heaving.

Using the key caused a metal grill to spring up, but only enough to declare that the lock no longer held it. The blast had treated the metal network roughly, so Stacy found the device she desired to still not be obtainable. It took working her fingers around thin metal lengths, then pulling to give an object enough freedom to come out into her hands.

What she held was heavy, and did not look like anything she could immediately place. An inner sense told her that she should be able to place the device. She had spent decades studying planes, and could discuss mechanics with the most experienced engineers. Stacy however looked at the part unable to have a purpose or name for it come to the forefront of her mind. All she could do was lug it back to the other racks of similar devices.

Stacy freed one of the regular objects, then lugged it and the other into the kitchen. She looked up towards the break in the ceiling determining her chances of escaping with her two pieces of evidence. What she heard and saw did not prevent her from moving some items in a manner giving her some height. It was hard seeing through the dust and dark, but the movement of lights along with sounds told her that the soldiers above were focusing on the normal exits. Stacy thus worked to climb out the kitchen along with her two objects.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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Number of posts : 1287
Age : 58
Location : Ringgold, Louisiana
Current Mood :
Registration date : 2008-07-21

PostSubject: Part 2   September 2nd 2009, 7:11 am

The Search for Silent
Chapter Six

Part 2

A truck had already been chosen as the best possible method of escape. While she still wore her uniform, she moved with a large degree of caution. It helped that the soldiers had their attention drawn by the aftermath of the explosion, so her encumbered movement to the truck did not get registered. She set the devices in the bed, then moved to disable the computer connection used to contact Silent before returning to her room.

With her uniform and makeup checked, Stacy returned to the truck well before daybreak. She watched as a number of troops marched around the moat, so noticed that they did not look to the internal area. While a number saw her standing near the truck, nobody bothered her as she quietly waited for the driver.

He did not deny that he saw her, "What do you want?"

"I would like a ride, assuming you are going somewhere away from here."

"We need some weapons and ammo, so heading to get some."

"I need to get back to my unit. I am grateful for the food and a bed, but I do have a duty, and it is not here."

He studied her uniform before saying, "Ride in the back, at least until we get away from here."

"No need to slow down on my account."

The drive was slow, bumpy, and hot, but Stacy did not complain. After about an hour of driving, the driver did stop. He made certain that she had something to drink, although seeing that she had a canteen only had him talk for a time before returning to the cab of his truck. Stacy did not consider him handsome, but the fact that her skin was not naturally tanned or her hair naturally dark had her fear him seeing certain parts of her body. While she suspected that the man was a regular soldier, she had no choice but to mark him as expendable. Hearing some words of his wife and children brought her relief when he returned to his job.

He did stop to drop off Stacy before moving through the city. The explanation that she would stay on the road to seek another ride sounded reasonable. It helped that she had couched her request in an explanation of her job as running between cities looking for elicit traffic. He thus considered that she would be returning to her normal duties if not immediately returning to her unit.

Stacy waited for the truck to move off before lifting her satchel. It was quite heavy with the two objects inside. She had dropped it to the ground as the truck came to a stop, so the driver never had a reason to consider it abnormally heavy. Once he had gone, she then knelt and worked it to her back before again standing and trudging towards the city.

It helped that no one knew what the devices were. All considered it odd that a lady with what appeared to be a perfectly legal cargo would want them placed in a crate with guns, but Stacy understood that it would only take a legal payment to get her request fulfilled. Smiles greeted her when a certain piece of plastic gained approval. While guns were not exactly proper, she had picked a shop owner that had a respectable front business that could handle international deliveries. One invoice not only got her devices packed with her other items, but gained her a ticket to fly on the plane with them. That was what she wanted.

It was a relief to see people in suits arrive at the plane with a few soldiers of the local country. Stacy knew that shipping weapons would send a number of flags, but she wanted to be taken away and questioned. She also did not want her package to be inspected by normal agents. She thus smiled when the officials requested that she come with them.

Stacy was used to the bureaucracy, and handled it with a relaxed attitude. The local officials knew the lady was involved with something more important than the story they heard, but found no way to get her to reveal any ulterior motives. A few had taken a moment to inspect her cargo, but they also could not recognize the devices placed beneath the weapons. While Stacy did supply an answer, she avoided letting out the truth that she did not know what the items were either, because she knew that those questioning her would not believe that answer.

Finally, the door opened and a couple of Air Force enlisted men stepped in accompanied by a man in a suit who identified himself as an agent of the FBI. Stacy simply pointed at the local bureaucrat who still sat in a chair. The United States federal agent understood that he needed to clear the room before she would talk.

With the military policemen guarding the door, the FBI man said, "Colonel Terrell, it has been assumed that you were killed."

"Silent should have known better. He knew that I knew he had set the destruction sequence."

"He claimed that he did not trigger it."

"He didn't, but I am not going to explain to you. I don't care what you do with the guns, but the devices need to return to the states with me."

The FBI agent paused for a moment to think before saying, "What if we simply put you on a carrier with people who are cleared to listen to what you have to say?"

"If Silent thinks that I am dead, I need to return to him."

"Well, I am not authorized to make such a decision, or knowledgeable of the situation to even know what type of options are available. I need you to stay here for a while."

"While you are talking to people, let them know that I need a proper uniform."

"Don't worry, Colonel Terrell, you will be taken care of. There are problems, but at least a missing piece is back on our side of the board. Relax, and let me see what hoops we both have to jump through."

Stacy moved her chair next to a wall, then leaned back hoping to relax if not actually drift off to sleep for a time. Thoughts of Silent however kept her awake. The young man was not dangerous, but if set on a mission he could break down barriers to accomplish the goal. She was thus worried about what Silent had done upon thinking she had been killed. Instead of relaxing, her body jerked with tension when the door finally opened again.

It helped that her body was eager to move, as she was escorted at a quick pace back out to the concrete slab of the airport where a military helicopter waited for her. No one complained when she refused to go aboard without her devices. A soldier assured her that they were already stored, and allowed her to verify the cargo before giving the signal for the pilot to lift off.

As soon as she disembarked from the helicopter, the captain of the carrier greeted her and said, "Colonel Terrell, the general of the Air Force is on a secure line waiting to speak to you. It seems that you mentioned Silent to the FBI agent."

"Yes, Captain Thurston, I hope that he has not done anything stupid."

"Not anything that I know of, Colonel. I was told that my help was appreciated, but this was a matter between the Air Force and Army. I am thus taking you to a private room."

"Thank you, Captain. Could you have a private room with a bath and a change of clothes once I am finished?"

"And a good meal. You are pretty lady, Stacy, so I hope to see you soon at your best."

She smiled in acknowledgement that this was not the first time the captain had picked her up at the end of one of her missions. While the two of them were not good friends, they did show an interest in each other's careers. Stacy knew that Captain Thurston was a busy man, but hoped that he could make good on his promise to spend some time with her while she was aboard his ship.

With the door to a conference room closed, Stacy picked up the phone resting there. A secretary responded to the lady's voice, and promised her that the general would be speaking to her shortly. Stacy looked at her clothes feeling that she was not worthy to speak to the leader of her branch of service, but calmed herself knowing that he could not see her.

Finally a deep voice spoke, "Stacy, it had been reported that you were killed."

"That is a story, General, but one that started when Silent and I stole a plane and has not yet finished. I thus am worried about Silent."

"I do not know the exact situation, but Silent is still going through boot with the Army. Sergeant Andrews and General Bethany both worked on Silent, and seemed to have come to some agreement. I don't want you interfering."

Wondering if any plans had changed, Stacy said, "But, General, I am to be Silent's CO."

"No, Stacy, you are to be Silent's partner, or the other way around. I don't want to get into that. You have skills, and so has he. Each of you seem to be quite adept at your area of expertise. The point is that we had trouble getting his cooperation, then almost lost it. Silent is completing the first part of his agreement, and I want him to finish it on his own. You can be there to get him afterwards."

"Well, okay, I guess that I will busy anyway. I have some toys that we need to learn how to play with."

"There are a number of other matters that we need you to concentrate on as well. Stacy, your stunt to leave the UN delegation has been a major concern. While you are back with us, the UN team you left behind is still in the country being used as leverage."

"Something more than airplanes were being developed, General. I believe that I brought back some proof."

"It had better be something worth the lives of several people."

"I am seriously believing that we are discussing something involving the lives of more than several people, General. That explosion that should have killed me did kill several people. What is worse, they were going to die anyway."

"Okay, Stacy, I am taking you at your word. I assume that you need a team to examine your devices. You also need a superior to properly debrief you. Do you have any requests?"

Stacy hung up the phone wanting to cry. She was glad to know that Silent was still going through boot. There was no doubt that he had taken it hard when he thought she had died, and had to give his superiors credit for managing to bring him back into line. Stacy remembered a time on their second mission together when he had seen people killed for the first time. It hit him hard, but she remembered that it gave him the understanding of the risks she was taking. His concern for her had thus increased and he had a better attitude of the job that he provided to her. Stacy thus felt that he deserved to know that he had again acted at the top of form, but cried knowing that he presently felt himself having failed.

She cried more thinking of the people who had died in the explosion. The memory of being thanked for putting the salt in place of the sugar rushed back to her. It hurt to have such a rewarding memory being accompanied by the stench and horror of people burned beyond the point of their bodies being able to heal the damage. Only after she felt herself able to control her emotions did she leave the room to regain her life.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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Search for Silent - Chpt 6
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