Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Primal Scream Blogfest - My Most Heart Pumping Scene

I'm using a scene from my most recent novel, Ruby Dawn.

To set up my scene, the main character, Ruby is having a turf war over her neighborhood with a member of La Eme - A mexican gang.  The gang member, Antonio, warned her to back off or he'd kill her.

Ruby and her love interest, Tom, are in her free clinic talking...and she just told him about the threat to her life. Ben is a cop who likes her.

Ruby Dawn
Chapter Eighteen

Tom’s faced changed. Anger flashed behind his green eyes. He put his hand on mine stopping me. “Antonio came to your work?”

I nodded. “He said he was going to give me one more chance to cooperate, and then he threatened me…oh, Tom. He said he’d put a bullet—”

Tom grabbed me, his expression hard. “He threatened you directly, and you didn’t tell me?”

My face heated up, confusion making my heart ram painfully. “I was so thrown by you showing up here and staying, and then the fight with Ben happened and it flew out of my head.” I gasped remembering Antonio’s face when he said he’d put a bullet in my brain. My hand went to the space between my eyes, and I felt the cold fingers of panic squeeze at my heart.

Tom grabbed me by my shoulders. His face strained, alarmed. “What did he say, exactly?”

“Uhm, he said that I was going to wish I had never been born, you know, standard evil guy threats.”

Tom looked at me, opened his mouth to say something, but his eyes snapped to the window. His face registered shock and then his eyes whipped back to mine, and I saw a peculiar orange glow in them before Tom threw us to the ground.

An explosion overhead sent shards of glass and liquid raining through the kitchen window. I screamed and tried to get up, but Tom wrapped himself around me covering me with his body. Flames spread across the floor like a molten wave crawling along the kitchen floor and counters in a flood of bright heat. Another crash and a bottle with a rag sticking out of it landed next to me, the end of the cloth on fire. Tom kicked it away and pulled me with him toward the back door. We got to our feet and he pushed me ahead of him, away from the fire. Heat seared my skin making it tight, and all around us the waving blur of superheated air burned my eyes.

“Go, Ruby!” He coughed. “The back door!”

I stumbled along the back hall gagging, struggling for breath. Overhead, the black smoke roiled up the walls and billowed along the ceiling. I heard another crash this time from my office. I turned in time to see the Molotov cocktail bottle fly through the window, smash into the opposite wall, and spew a sheet of liquid fire across my desk and files. The curtains went up with a whoosh. I kept running. Heart ramming in my chest, I reached for the back door and pulled. It wouldn’t budge.

Tom crashed into me, reached up to undo the lock, and together we yanked on the handle. It finally gave and slammed backwards into the room, knocking us down. Overhead, something hit the wall where my head had been. Debris flew out from the wall, and I realized that someone opened fire on the back door. If we hadn’t fallen, we’d be dead.

Tom pulled me to him. We took cover by the side of the back door. Feet from freedom, the hail of bullets overhead kept us from getting out of the burning house.

“We have to get out of here!” I screamed.

“Wait it out,” Tom said through clenched teeth. “Wait them out. We have time.”

His eyes flit behind us to the room engulfed in fire, and he squeezed me tighter to his body.

I nodded dumbly. Unable to open my mouth without screams ripping out of my chest, I clenched my eyes and wrapped my arms around Tom. The crackle and hiss of the building burning and breaking around us closed in on me and I coughed and choked. More gunfire split the door jam and then silence.

Tom moved next to me, and I looked to see him peering out of the doorway. “They’re gone,” he said.

He wrapped his arm around my waist, and we ran bent over to the wet grass.

I collapsed on the soft earth and took deep, gasping breaths. Lights flashed to my right as fire trucks and paramedics screeched to a stop in front of the building. Firefighters and paramedics ran toward the clinic shouting and pulling hoses.

Frightened, I flailed reaching for Tom.

He gathered me in his arms and held me tight. His ragged breaths in my hair, the only sound he made. He wouldn’t let me go.

“We have to warn Ben,” I coughed. “He’s the only other one who knows about this. He might be next.”

Tom, shaking and soot covered, finally stood and nodded. He helped me to my feet and wiped my face with his fingers.

“I’ll tell my boss to have Lilah picked up at her brother’s house, too.”

I walked with him down across the lawn to the front of the house. The paramedics spotted us and ran over covering us with oxygen masks and blankets. I pulled my mask off and tried to tell them about Ben, but they kept putting it back over my mouth. Neighbors gathered around us, and then I saw Ben. Surrounded by firemen, he strained against them trying to get to the clinic door.

“Ben!” I yelled and collapsed into a coughing fit. “Ben, over here!”

He turned at my voice, broke from the firemen, and ran over to us. One look at Tom and me, and he covered his mouth with both hands.

“I thought you were dead, Ruby,” he breathed, his face pulled into shocked worry. “I thought you were gone.”

Tom pulled his mask off and flashed Ben a brilliant smile made whiter by all the soot on his face. “I’m fine too, thanks.”

Ben looked at him and relief flooded his features as he laughed nervously. “Yeah,” he said. “What happened?”

I hope you enjoyed my selection...Be sure to visit the other entries located on the side bar --->

Photograph by redeye^, Uploaded on February 11, 2010.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

"I'm fine, too, thanks."

A very well-done intense scene perfectly capped with humor.

Thanks for hosting such a fun blogfest.

The only thing I might change is Ben covering his mouth with one hands. In my body language classes, all two of them, it was stated that men usually cover their mouth in concern with one hand, while women use both hands.

It's a guy thing. But then my professors might have been full of swiss cheese, too. Thanks, again, Roland

Kierah Jane Reilly said...

This was intense! Also loved the humor at the end, and the love triangle - perfect!

Iapetus999 said...

Thanks for hosting this!
It's been a lot of fun.

One of the most intense scenes I've read so far. Actually felt the fire coming at me. 8O

Nice job!

Eric W. Trant said...

Thanks for a wonderful blogfest! How fun!

Raquel, you sound and read like a professional. I mean that. Nothing immature or amateur about your writing style, pace, dialogue, nothing. An easy read.

There're probably some nitpicky things to say, but I'll leave that to your publisher and agent and editor.

- Eric

Mary McDonald said...

I absolutely loved this. The emotion and fear, along with the description. The whole scene kept building and building until I was on the edge of my seat. Awesome.

I also want to thank you for hosting this great blogfest. I think I've read at least a half-dozen so far (would have been more, but I'm at work and sneaking reads between rounds). Every one of them has been amazing. I love this kind of story though, so it's little wonder I'm enjoying the reads. I just wish they were all published so I could buy them.

Mary McDonald said...

Oh, just wanted to add, I read Roland's comment and want to second it. Not knowing who Ben was, I immediately thought he was girly. Otherwise, great stuff.

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

That was really intense. I felt like I could feel the heat on my face and the smoke encroaching on my lungs *cough cough*

One tiny thing. This line: Flames spread across the floor like a molten wave crawling along the kitchen floor

has floor in it really close together and it kind of pulled me out of the story for a second.

But other than that it was very heart-thumping :)

Thanks so much for hosting this blogfest! It's been such a blast. (no pun intended) (okay, tiny pun intended)

Mary Anne Gruen said...

Whew! What a great scene! Definitely heart pumping! Congratulations!

Thank you also for the blogfest!

Gregg said...

For better or worse you have been tagged with the 5 things about you 5 times. If you would like stop and you can see what I wrote! You are it!!

Myne Whitman said...

It sure got my heart pumping, well done. I liked the humor too, :)

Raquel Byrnes said...

Thanks you guys for being so encouraging and helpful...I shall change the girly hand gesture...and also the two "floor" words - that was a great catch.

I've read all of your entries and I was "Blown Away" but in a real, impressed guys rock!

VR Barkowski said...

Thank so much for the great blogfest, Raquel!

Love your scene, beautifully done. Incredible build-up of tension with the fire, followed by the mini HEA at the end. This is the first scene I've read that ended with me smiling. What a relief!

Watery Tart said...

I echo the thanks for hosting this--it's my first! It seems to be a great one, too!

Your scene was fabulous! I felt like I was there! All that physical stuff can be really hard to write, and I think you managed it perfectly.

Anonymous said...

This was so well written. In this selection I was able to get to know your characters very well and that's hard to accomplish. I like the change in emotion at the end, giving the reader some relief from the intense action.
Thanks for hosting this exciting blogfest.

sarahjayne smythe said...

You give really great description here. :) Nice touch of lightness at the end. Thanks so much for hosting this. It was a great idea. :)

Eric W. Trant said...

Raquel, I read through again and the only thing that threw me the first time threw me the second time, and that was the initial explosion.

I love how the flames lit up in his eyes, but I'm not clear on what happened. It sounds like an external explosion, but then some Molos start flying in.

That's my nit-pick. Otherwise, I second-third the floor-floor, and didn't notice the girly-guy.

I mean, lots of guys are sissies. In one of my latest pieces I wrote about a guy "sitting with his legs crossed in that way that made Conrad's balls ache looking at him."

And that was a SOLDIER, manly has hell. He just had a feminine cross to his legs.

Another of my dude characters in the first scene sat down to pee (because he was afraid he'd miss the bowl).

And manly-men aren't supposed to have Pomeranians, but my pop has three, and I have one in my lap right now, and I guaran-goddamned-tee you we're manly men, both of us.

Human. Let him be human.

- Eric

Tara said...

I somehow missed this blogfest!

But, I'm glad I found your piece. Loved the humor at the end. How like a guy to mark his territory even in a situation like this.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

"Feet from freedom, the hail of bullets overhead..." I love this line! It brings back those emotions we have in dreams when we're almost there (wherever that may be) but just can't quite make it. Very nice!

Lola Sharp said...

Nice job!

B. Miller said...

I really liked this excerpt a lot!! Thanks for hosting this challenge. I've posted my own entry in the Primal Scream Blogfest... I'm sorry it's a day late!

Ashley Ladd said...

Very heart pumping.

As far as what the others are saying about certain characteristics being manly and some not, my editor told me to watch for that, too. To make sure the men's dialogue and internal thoughts are shorter.

But then, each man is different. However, she must have meant the sterotypical male. Hm...