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View Full Version : Prologue for Mile High Murder (Mild Profanity)



khanover
January 27th, 2014, 10:44 PM
The severe weather of an early Colorado summer was rearing its ugly head. The sky had turned black; a soft breeze was blowing through her hair as she walked down Colorado Boulevard to catch the bus home after work. Thunder cracked after a flash of lightening lit up the black, late afternoon sky; however a rain drop had yet to be seen. She flinched as the thunder exploded above her head and instinctively went to cover her head as she ducked down to hide from the storm.


Charlotte Marcelli was a beautiful young woman in her sophomore year of college. She held down a full time job at a jewelry store while also maintaining a 3.89 GPA at Metro State University in Downtown Denver. She was smart, outgoing and had a smile that made everyone instantly love her. Charlotte was tall with long, tan legs that matched the rest of her Italian olive skin complexion. Here eyes were piercing blue against her skin and contrasted with her wavy brown hair that flowed down her back.

Charlotte was very cognizant of what clothes she put on her body, always wanting to look put together, especially for work. Today she pulled on a pair of black flared trousers and paired it with a sleeveless sheer blouse, layered on top of a white camisole. A pair of black wedge heels completed the professional look she was striving for.


She walked quickly to the bus stop that was a quarter mile down the street and across busy Colorado Boulevard from the jewelry store after her shift. She stood at the bus stop that was exposed to the elements, hoping it wouldn't rain. She looked towards the south in the northbound lanes of traffic to see if the bus was approaching her stop yet; seeing nothing she turned her eyes to her watch for the time.


She decided that she had enough time before the bus showed up to go to the gas station at the same corner and grab a bottle of water. Even though the sun was hidden by the mischievous thunderheads it was still blistering hot outside and she needed to quench her thirst. She quickly walked up to the entrance of the gas station and inside the cool air conditioned store. The station was at a busy intersection and the bell on the door was ringing fiercely with customers walking in before the expected downpour.



Charlotte quickly went to the back of the store where the refrigerators were located and grabbed a cold bottle of water and then walked back to the front of the store and got in line to pay behind two other people. She was staring mindlessly in front of her at the cigarette display behind the counter. The older, short, portly, balding man with a thinning mustache in front of her had about a half dozen lottery tickets that he wanted to check if they were the next big winner.



The only clerk behind the counter put the first two tickets in the machine. The screen facing away from the counter told the over-weight man that these tickets were not winners. The clerk put the third ticket in and a robotic voice came from the machine, "Congratulations, you are a winner," the screen showing he had won five dollars.



The talking machine had snapped Charlotte from her thoughts of her day and what she needed to do when she got home. She looked down at her watch, then to her left and out the front door towards the bus stop. There was her bus, doors open, inviting her to sit down after a long work day. She threw the bottle of water on the display of candy and gum behind her and sprinted out the door towards the bus. Charlotte threw the doors to the gas station open almost hitting a twelve year old kid parking his bike in front of the store. As she was running from the store the doors to the public transit monster closed and started its descent. The bus took off northbound without her on it, now heading for her home. "Shit!" she screamed in the parking lot next to gas pump number six.



At gas pump number four there was a large quad cab diesel pickup truck with heavily tinted windows. The truck was occupied by one male driver who watched Charlotte's every move as her misfortune was now his lucky day.




Charlotte pulled out her smart phone and called her mother to see if she was able to come pick her up. The phone ringing echoed in her left ear while her right index finger plugged her right ear in a failing attempt to drown out passing traffic.



"You've reached Carmella Marcelli," Charlotte pressed end on her phone before her mom's voice could finish.



She started walking southbound through the parking lot to Mexico Avenue and turned left to walk to another bus stop. This route would take longer to get home, but was still better than the alternative of waiting an hour for the next bus to show up.




The driver of the truck at the gas pup watcher her cross the parking lot and out of view onto Mexico Avenue before the truck moved again. He pulled the truck slightly out of the driveway of the parking lot. He had eyes on her; this was his chance as she was waiting along for the bus now on a side street. He turned left out of the driveway and onto the street he had just watched Charlotte walk down.




He slowly pulled up to Charlotte and rolled down his window, "Hey Charlotte, I thought that was you back there at the gas station, and it looked like you missed your bus. Did you want a ride to your mom's house?" He said this very matter of fact but his heart was beating out of his chest with excitement.




The hairs on the back of her neck stood up in fright as he had startled her. "Sure, thank you," she said as she walked around the large truck to the passenger side door. Once Charlotte got into the cab of the truck she struggled to make small talk with this familiar driver that saved her afternoon.



"So, how have you been? It's been a while since I have seen you."



Without answering her, the driver pulled the truck into the parking lot of a strip mall and kept driving to the back of the stores where it was desolate.



"What are you doing?" Charlotte had an uneasy feeling that her afternoon was about to get worse.



The driver threw the truck violently into park. The man in the driver's seat turned to Charlotte with a gun in one hand and handcuffs in the other with a large smile on his face. "Don't make this difficult. Cuff your right hand to the door. We are going on a little trip."

Pluralized
January 28th, 2014, 12:16 AM
I enjoyed this! I used to live right off Colorado Blvd and Louisiana Ave, in some crappy-ass apartments. It was a crazy part of town, and I saw lots of rather unpleasant stuff.

This is a great start to your story, but I wonder if it needs to be a prologue. Can't it just be the start of the story? Maybe that's just personal preference.

Overall, I think the thing this piece needs is a run-through to remove unnecessary stuff. What I mean by that is to remove details that don't serve the overall forward motion of the plot. Things like the detail of her walking to the back of the store where the refrigerators were located and getting in line behind two other people. You could move the pacing along more briskly if you got her in and out of there a bit smoother. Also when she puts the water bottle down on the candy and gum display. It just doesn't serve the overall purpose of the story and bloats it a bit.

This POV is a little too distant for me. Seems like you could get inside the character's head a bit more and really show us who we're dealing with. She is on the side of this wretchedly busy, loud, undoubtedly hot street and feeling dejected and gets abducted by this guy. Lots of opportunities to show us her internal reactions and help us feel what's at stake.

A couple of grammatical and spelling things, just the ones I noticed:


Thunder cracked after a flash of lightening lit up the black, late afternoon sky; however a rain drop had yet to be seen.Lightning ....... raindrop


Here eyes were piercing blue against her skin and contrasted with her wavy brown hair that flowed down her back.her eyes (also, this passage is pretty darn purple. Might tone that down just a wee bit)


She walked quickly to the bus stop that was a quarter mile down the street and across busy Colorado Boulevard from the jewelry store after her shift.There's a lot of motion and description here that could be jettisoned. You've already established in the first paragraph that she's on Colorado Boulevard, and the quarter mile could be a 'short ways' or some other distance. The end of this sentence 'after her shift' comes out of order. I don't like choosing people's words for them or inflecting my tone on others, but I think this sentence could be reworked and made to be clearer. What's really important is for her to get to the bus stop, right? Try it in less words - you might like it better.


The station was at a busy intersection and the bell on the door was ringing fiercely with customers walking in before the expected downpour.Just me, but 'ringing fiercely' is a bit over the top. I don't think shifting focus to the bell helps matters. Another opportunity to get in her head and let us know this character a bit better.

Hope something here helps, and I hope you'll share more. When he told her to handcuff herself to the door, that really piqued my interest. I'd read on, for sure.

khanover
January 28th, 2014, 01:23 AM
Thank you so much for the feedback! Exactly what I wanted. The reason that I have it as the prologue and that the POV is distant is because the POV of the rest of the story is not in her voice. It is in the person's voice that is looking for Charlotte. I wanted to sort of set the actual crime/abduction apart from the rest of the story because it is the why. It is the reason that the main character is looking for her and its the reason why she is on her journey. Does it make more sense with that information?

stephpend
January 29th, 2014, 01:29 AM
I definitely wanted to know the identity of the driver and what was going to happen after she handcuffed herself. While I think description is vital, I think some of it could be toned down. Who she was and what she did for a living could be introduced from the MC's POV. I think maybe less description of Charlotte and more of the truck or driver would smooth it out. Overall, I enjoyed the writing. Please continue the story!

stephpend
January 29th, 2014, 01:36 AM
(oops, double posted)

khanover
January 30th, 2014, 12:20 AM
Stephpend- Thank you so much for the feedback...I know that I can get wordy with descriptions and that is something that I am trying to tone down with a rewrite. I appreciate your thoughts.

thepancreas11
January 30th, 2014, 05:17 AM
I'm with Pluralized here: you're building a murder mystery, and yet, I don't feel any suspense. A lot of this stems from unnecessary descriptions like what she's wearing or the guy with the scratch-off tickets. Now, it might be that these things are handy later in the story, but maybe don't go into all the detail now. The more stuff you put in a sentence, the longer it takes to read, and generally, the longer it takes to read, the slower it goes. Slow pace is the killer of all things tension.

My advice would be to introduce some self-dialogue from Charlotte's point of view. Have her thinking or talking or maybe a little bit of both. That way, everything that you need to be put in this section can be introduced by her. Dialogue tends to be a much simpler explanation of things, and it helps limit exposition. It might also be a great idea to play up the killer more. I know that you want him to be mysterious, but right now, he is almost non-existent. From the moment he sees her, there should be this lusting. He can't think about anything else, or he can't possibly pass up the opportunity, or maybe he's in it for revenge. Whatever his motives are, we should get a strong whiff of them here.

I'm for this as a prologue according to your notes. I'm not normally a fan of prologues because I think they slow down the plot, but this reminds me a lot of the scene before the credits on a Law & Order episode. Murder mysteries are not easy things to write, but you've got a strong framework here. Tone the piece like you would tone your muscles: take just a little bit out so that the rest looks much better.

khanover
February 2nd, 2014, 06:31 PM
First of all... Thank you for all of the feedback thus far. I have done a rewrite and I think as a result of everyone's I put it does flow better. Tell me if you agree!

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The severe weather of an early Colorado summer was rearing its ugly head. The sky had turned black; a soft breeze blowing through her hair as she walked down Colorado Boulevard to catch her bus after work. Thunder cracked after a flash of lightning lit up the black, late afternoon sky; however a raindrop had yet to be seen.



Charlotte Marcelli was a beautiful young woman who held down a full time job at a chain restaurant while still maintaining a 3.89 GPA at Metro State University.




She walked quickly to the bus stop that was not too far from work. She stood , exposed to the elements, waiting for her bus to arrive and hoping that it wouldn’t rain before then. She looked south in the northbound lanes to see if her bus was approaching. Seeing nothing she looked at her watch for the time.





Charlotte had enough time before her bus showed up to run into the gas station at the corner of the same intersection and grab a cold bottle of water. Even though the sun was hidden by the mysterious thunderheads, it was still blistering hot and she needed to quench her thirst.





He pulled up to gas pump number six, the diesel engine of his quad cab pickup truck grumbled to a stop. His eyes followed the young straw haired woman across the parking lot and out of sight into the store. His palms were sweaty and multiple attempts at drying them on his jeans proved pointless. His heart was pounding in his chest with excitement, his mouth salivating at the prospect of finally giving Charlotte what she deserved.





Charlotte looked to her left out the doors of the gas station, this hiss of the bus’s air brakes catching her attention. She grabbed the water from the counter and swiped the change from her five dollar bill along with the receipt from the clerk’s hand. She threw the doors of the store open almost hitting a twelve year old kid parking his bike in front of the store. As she was running from the store the doors of the bus closed and slowly pulled away from the curb. She stopped running for the bus as it was now meaningless. “Shit!” she screamed amid the people refueling their cars outside of the station.



He pulled the brim of his baseball cap down over his eyes to hide them further, and he slid down slightly in his chair. The smile of her misfortune went from ear to ear. “This is my chance; fate has lined this up for me. Game time,” he thought out loud to himself. He started up his truck again, keeping it in park.




Charlotte pulled her iPhone out of her pocket to call her mom, hoping that she could come pick her up. The phone ringing echoed in her left ear as she plugged the right with her index finger in a failing attempt to drown out the noise of passing traffic. “You’ve reached Carmella Marcelli,” Charlotte pressed the red end button on her phone before the recording of her mom’s voice could finish. She started walking southbound through the parking lot to Mexico Avenue and turned left to walk to another bus stop. This route would take longer to get home, however it was better than the alternative of waiting an hour for the next bus to show up with a storm in the midst.



The driver of the truck watched her cross the parking lot and turn the corner out of view onto Mexico Avenue. He waited a couple of more minutes before putting his car into drive. He pulled the truck slightly out of the driveway of the parking lot. He sat in the driveway waiting with his left turn signal on, watching her approach the bus stop. This was his chance; he pulled his baseball cap off his head and wiped the sweat off his brow with the back of his hand.



The truck turned left and he slowly pulled up next to Charlotte at the bus stop and rolled his window down. “Hey Charlotte, I thought that was you back there at the gas station. It looked like you missed your bus and I wanted to make sure that you were okay. Would you want a lift to your mom’s house?” He tried to talk to her normally, but the excitement and stress made his voice crack like a pubescent teenage boy.



The hairs on the back of her neck stood up, she was startled by his voice. “Sure, that would be a lot better than waiting for the bus. I hope you’re not going out of your way,” she replied to the familiar face.




He audibly gulped, “No, not at all.” He was sure that once she got into the truck with him she would be able to hear his heart pounding out of his chest. Charlotte walked behind the truck quickly and climbed into the cab of the truck. Once inside she struggled to make small talk with the chummy face that now saved her afternoon. “So, how have you been? It’s been a little while since I have seen you around,” she said timidly.




Without acknowledging her, the driver pulled the truck into the parking lot of a strip mall and kept driving to the back of the stores where it was desolate. “What are you doing?” Charlotte asked in a higher than normal pitch. She had a feeling her bad afternoon was going to get worse.




The driver threw the truck violently into park. The man in the driver’s seat quickly reached underneath the seat and came back up with handcuffs in one hand and in the other a gun was pointed at Charlotte.




With a massive grin on his face and sweat dripping from his brow he said, “Charlotte don’t make this difficult. Cuff your right hand on the door, we’re going on a trip.”