Friday, February 10, 2012

Write On Edge: Pick A Number Challenge

Red Writing Hood Prompts is revisiting an old prompt from its Red Dress Club days. The rules are as follows:

Word limit is 500.

Pick four numbers, each between 1 and 10.
Write them down so you remember.
The first number will be for your character, the second your setting, the third the time and the fourth will be the situation.
Then take the four elements and combine them into a short story.
All four you picked MUST be your main elements, but you can add in other characters, settings, times and situations.
  • Character
1. A new mother
2. An actress
3. A recent high school graduate
4. A waitress
5. An alien
6. A homeless man
7. An elderly woman
8. A freshman in high school
9. A college student
10. A musician
  • Setting
1. The woods
2. A wedding reception
3. A party
4. A restaurant
5. A mall
6. A park
7. A beach
8. A lake
9. A baseball game
10. A seminar
  • Time
1. Winter
2. During a thunderstorm
3. The morning after prom
4. Spring
5. December
6. Midnight or around midnight
7. Summer
8. In the middle of a fire
9. In the middle of a snowstorm
10. The afternoon
  • Situation
1. A death
2. Secret needs to be told
3. Someone has or will hurt someone
4. A crime has occurred or is about to
5. Someone has lost/found something
6. Someone is falling in love
7. Reminiscing on how things change
8. There has been a family emergency
9. Something embarrassing happened
10. Someone has just gone to the doctor.

I had so much fun with this and I'm extremely grateful for the 500 word limit. Here's what I chose:
6,1,2,4. (A homeless man, the woods, a thunderstorm, and a crime) I am continuing the story of The Penitent with this challenge. William leSaber is my homeless man as established from my earlier posts.

I offer the following: The Penitent: The Ambush

Dark, violent clouds collided to form a mass that threatened to consume the southern sky. The train of seven caravans moved at a sketchy pace, with draft horses pulling hard against the brutal winds. Yven fought to stave off cold and sleep as he drove the tanner’s wagon behind the fuller’s. He arched his back in a stretch and shifted his weight in his seat, attempting for the eightieth time to achieve a better level of comfort. Finally, the signal to set up camp reached him and he urged the mare to settle into position. The underbrush of the woods jostled the axles, causing him to wince. The tanner would surely retaliate for the disturbance.

On cue, his master called out from the depths of the bed, “Boy, why have we stopped?”

“The train is just seeking refuge from the storm,” he replied hastily.

Without warning, a bolt splintered the wooden frame near his head. Yven blinked, unsure what was transpiring. Shouts of panic ricocheted through the ash and pine as distinct clash of clamoring swords rivaled an explosion of thunder. “What’s…Whose,” the tanner stammered.

Still affixed to his driving bench, the apprentice replied fearfully, “I think we’re under attack.”

A strong arm reached up and tossed him from the carriage. Yven landed haphazardly on the unyielding ground, feeling a sharp sting of pain as something, a rock maybe, tore into his chin. Disoriented, he rolled to his knees. Staggering to rise, he was kicked back down. Behind him, his boisterous master stopped yelling abruptly. That’s it, he thought. I’m done for.

He felt a knee grind into his spine and a powerful hand pushed his face into the earth. His lungs burned for air as soil compacted into his nose. Finally, his body struggled, pushing back against the brute force that had him pinned.

Suddenly, the attacker was gone. Yven coughed and bolted to his feet, fight surging through his being. He spun about looking for a target in time to catch a glimpse of a stranger sinking his blade into one brigand, followed by a precise knife throw into the neck of another. When a burst of thunder resounded and subsided, the ordeal was over. Terrified merchants clustered together to assess the damage and lick their wounds.

Rain began to pelt the ransacked caravans. Yven approached the tanner’s wagon with caution to calm the screaming, panicked steed still attached to the yolk. The black beast reared twice before she relaxed, snorting her complaints with emphasis. The apprentice looked at his master then, draped unnaturally over the bench, eyes wide and lifeless.

“Are you injured, Lad?” the stranger asked. His tabard and mail were dripping with blood.

Yven dislodged some more dirt from his throat. “My master is dead,” he coughed, numbness creeping over his soul. “What happened?”

“Bandits attacked, Lad,” he replied grimly. “I was nearby and heard the commotion.”

“Yven Dubois. We are in your debt, Monsieur,” he said gratefully.

“William leSaber,” he stated in kind.


  1. Great scene - It's so vivid. my only concrit would be the use of the word "fixated". It's more used to describe an obsessive train of thought, and I'd have thought 'fixed in his seat' or 'frozen in his seat' would make more sense, since he would probably have liked to move, but couldn't.

    1. Gosh, missed that in my edit. Thanks for pointing that out. I've corrected it.

      Thanks for stopping by! Cheers!

  2. What I love about this is that you didn't spend a lot of time on the actual fight. Scenes like this can get very bogged down in too many details about swords and such. But this had just enough. Yven is a very likable underdog character... I hope he fares well in later installments. Great stuff!!

    1. I get lost in fight scenes also, especially when I'm the one writing the scene. I'm glad this worked. I wanted the danger to strike and be over before Yven really knew what was going on.

      I adore Yven as well, and he is definitely destined for accidental greatness.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

    2. I agree with Venus completely. I love an underdog and feel like you focused on the right amount of action. I felt this character was an ally even without a ton of character development!

    3. Thanks for stopping by and providing feedback! I'm thrilled to see that I was able to portray Yven the way he appears in my mind. He's won a pivotal role so I'm glad he doesn't disappoint!

      Thanks again!

  3. I really liked Yven. The imagery was great. Made me a little nervous during the attack which means I was feeling it in you writing.

    1. Yea! I'm so glad I was able to pull it off. Thanks a bunch for stopping by!

  4. very well crafted fight scene. I felt the kick to the ground, the soil in my nose, the startled relief it was over.

    and now I want to know more!

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you stopped by. Next scene is a spit-polish away, so please stay tuned. Cheers!

  5. I like that this is rushed, frantic, and all about feeling and emotions while in the midst of the fight. Just like a real one.

    I agree...visceral, with just the right touch.

    1. Thanks! I labored for a while over the phrasing for this and it really helps to know I went the right direction. As always, I appreciate you stopping by! :)

  6. This an excellent fight sequence. I really like the focused area rather than trying to describe the whole scene.
    And Yven could have his own spin off I think.

    1. Hey thanks for stopping by. I didn't think of Yven in terms of a spinoff, but I can see potential there. He's young, with a bit to learn yet. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll have to see where he goes.

  7. Wonderful imagery! The entire scene was perfectly depicted. For whatever reason I enjoyed the phrase, "sketchy pace." Can't wait to read more!