Monday, October 25, 2010

Belly Flops and Flashes of Light - Cliffhanger Blogfest

Photograph by Corey Leopold
Brenda Drake Writes is having a Cliff Hanger Blogfest today.  I love reading a chapter, getting to the last word, and screaming...'.What Happened!?!'

I thought I'd enter a piece from my finished novel, Ruby Dawn. The two main characters, Ruby and Tom, are confronted by Antonio and Blaine who are drug dealers they've been tracking. Trapped on a boat with the two killers, Tom is tries to distract them long enough to get Ruby off the boat. 

Ruby is a doctor so when Antonio says 'Doc' he means her. Tom is DEA. Blaine is a doctor also, and the mastermind of the operation. Antonio was the muscle and street connection. The 'Jason and his sister' that Tom refers to are the other partners in the drug ring who've been arrested.

Ruby Dawn

Antonio looked back at me, his tongue darting out from between his pink lips. “Guess you ran out of that freaky luck, didn’t you, Doc?”
Tom’s eyes shot to Antonio, a strange look on his face then turned to Blaine. “We took Jason and his sister alive.”
“You don’t know that.” Blaine’s hand squeezed my arm painfully. I hissed in a sharp breath.
Tom eyes never left Blaine’s. “I was slipping him meth on the sly. The guy is over the edge.” Tom shouted to Antonio. “Isn’t that right?” Turning back to Blaine; “Bet you Jason was already talking on the ride over to the police station. He can’t evade questions, not in that condition, right doctor Blaine?”
“You said the DEA doesn’t have anything.” Blaine shouted.
“On you,” Tom clarified.
The boat rammed over some waves, and I cringed. What was Tom doing?
“What does that mean?” Antonio snapped from the wheel, a nervous look crossed his features.
Tom leaned back, his voice loud. “Who met with Jason? Who harassed the clinic? Whose face is all over the news right now as wanted in connection with Dakota’s murder and the clinic firebombing?”
Antonio’s face pulled into a grimace. “What?”
Blaine sat upright, his gun hand shaking. “Don’t listen to him Antonio. He’s just trying to—”
Blaine needed someone to pin things on if things went south, Antonio.” Tom’s voice never cracked, never wavered. “You’re wanted all over the city. Not Blaine, he kept everything at arms length. He set you up.”
“My face is what?” Antonio yelled from the driver seat. He turned and took the steering wheel with him sending the boat into a sideways lurch.
 “Shut up,” Blaine yelled. He jumped to his feet, his gun arcing toward us but Tom was faster. Arms shooting forward, he shoved Blaine to the floor, the gun going off.
I flinched, as the bulled pinged off the railing. Antonio dove to the floor, the boat careening wildly with no one at the wheel. Everyone pitched sideways, toppling to floor. Blaine’s gun skidded across the deck lodging under the tackle box.
Tom scrambled to his feet, speaking quickly to Antonio. “The hit on Ruby, the arson, everything is on you. Blaine gets away clean.”
“Don’t listen to him,” Blaine shouted and climbed to his feet. He pointed to Tom, his voice cracking. “He’s a liar. He’s paid to lie!”
The boat slowed, with no one pressing on the gas, we lolled in the water.
Antonio, leaning against the railing of the boat, pointed his gun at me and glared at Tom. “I should just kill all of you. Then the DEA won’t have anything. ”
I swallowed back the bile in my throat.
“We have DNA from your blood at the Sports Clinic,” Tom said quickly. “It proves you were there, that you attacked her. Whether or not Ruby testifies, we have you.”
Antonio’s face fell. Then his eyes went to Blaine, angry. “You sent me to kill her. I’m not going down for it alone. I got our phone conversations recorded.”
Blaine’s mouth contorted into a tortured grimace in the dim light and he yelled at Antonio, spittle flying from his lips. “You what?”
Tom’s body coiled with tension, his eyes watching their exchange.
Listing without power, the boat lolled, I clung to the canopy pole, almost going overboard when we hit a swell.
“You think I’m just a stupid gang-banger,” Antonio screamed. “You think you’re going to lay this all on me?” He screamed, his gun leveling at Blaine’s chest; the two of them squaring off.
Tom moved blazingly fast, his hand coming up and blinding cloud of light exploded from it, flash powder. Blaine staggered back screaming, his hands going to his face. Ramming into Antonio, he threw him to the deck.
“Go, Ruby, jump!” Tom yelled.
Seconds slowed to frantic snapshots of movement. Blaine lunged at me. His eyes watered, he couldn’t see.
I jumped out of his reach, bounding onto the bench seat and running along the back of the boat. To my right, the lights of an approaching vessel pierced the now dark sky.
“Tom!” I yelled, dodging Blaine’s grasp. I pointed to the lights. To help.
Blaine growled and swung at me again, but I hopped onto the back railing, teetering on it like a tightrope walker.
“Jump, Ruby!” Tom yelled again.
I couldn’t move. I couldn’t leave him.
Tom ripped himself from Antonio’s grasp, scrambling towards me. He elbowed Blaine to the side like a raging lineman.
“Dive down!” Tom yelled and slapped his palm into my back, launching me over the side of the boat.
A scream ripped from my lungs as I belly flopped into the dark water. Stunned, the frigid swells sucked me down and I kicked my legs, slicing deeper, putting distance between me and the surface. Overhead, a muffled popping sound warbled through the water as someone fired into the ocean after me.
Lungs burning, I surfaced, coughing. Almost fifty yards off, I saw the back lights of the boat pulling away. A flash of light from within the boat and the resounding crack of gunfire tore through the night.
I screamed, sobs ripping my heart open. “Tom!”

That is it for my cliff hanger entry. Check out some of the other blogs for some spine-tingling suspense! And until next time...Go Write!


Gabriela Lessa said...

Great post, Raquel! Very engaging! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope to see you around often!

Cheree said...

I liked this. It definitely keeps me wanting more.

JEFritz said...

Very nice writing. Your story flows well and is easy to get into. I'm definitely intrigued and want to read the rest of the book.

Justin W. Parente said...

Well done, Raquel. I can't remember if I've read other blogfest entries taken from Ruby Dawn, but this was just great. The emotional tug was nicely handled at the end.

Thanks for sharing.

In My Write Mind

Dawn Embers said...

I agree that the scene is engaging. The dialogue speaks volumes about the characters and provides a bit of the tension needed. Ending of it works well with the action and the last sentences. Well done.

E. Arroyo said...

I thought it was intense. I was a bit confused with the back and forth dialogue...probably just me. But overall I thought it was good.

Brenda Drake said...

Thanks for participating! We've judged your entry. o/\o *high five*

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I really want to know what happened next. You seized our minds with your riveting dialogue and dead-on descriptions. Great job.

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

Interesting conversational style.

Rachael Harrie said...

Great description, and very cliffhanging (hmm, is that even a word???) :)


Francine said...


Ooh, thrill-a-minute snippet of writing here: action-packed, emotions running high and good cliffhanger! ;)


J.C. Martin said...

Love the action! The boat, the cold water, the gunshot! Where's the next page?

Mara Nash said...

Nice job! I was a little confused with all the characters and back and forth, but it was action packed and definitely gripping!!

L'Aussie said...

Oh, poor you! Left gasping in the deep. Will you be saved? Great cliffhanger. Great sharp dialogue Raquel..:)

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Good stuff. Thanks for sharing!

gideon 86 said...

Really liked the end. You could feel her terror in the water.

Nikki said...

Fantastic tension. I really got into it.

Jessie said...

oh man, talk about a cliffhanger. poor Ruby! very well done.

Donna Hole said...

Excellent work. Yes, you drew me in with the characters, the circumstances, and the cliff hanger.


DLCurran said...

A gunshot definitely makes a cliffhanger! Wanted more. :)

Eric W. Trant said...

You know, Raquel (and sorry it took so long for me to head over here to check this out), I've said it before and I'll say it again: You are an impressive writer.

I mean that.

Your work sounds professional. It's crisp, clean, well-written with a solid voice.

I see in the other comments "nice writing" and "great post" but that's not what this is, not one little bit.

This is a fine piece of work, that's what this is.

I feel sometimes when I read your blog that I'm one of the only people who really ~sees~ how well you write, like it's a fine piece of furniture that everyone walks by and says, "That's nice," but they overlook the dovetails, the routing, the polishing, the jointing and joining (they're different, you know), and miss the fact that you assembled the whole thing without using screws or nails, held together with nothing but precise-fitting joins so tight you probably didn't even need glue, and nobody even noticed it's made of MAHOGANY!

Baby, hold me, please, this is beautiful. I need a moment.


That's what I see when I read your stuff.

It's good, Raquel, really good.

- Eric

Raquel Byrnes said...

Eric - That is the best comment I've ever received. Thank you so much!

My husband worked at his family's antique refinishing business before he became a teacher, so believe me, I truly appreciate the analogy! =)

My writing ego has taken a huge bruising this past few weeks and I had a lot of trouble shaking it off...I hadn't written for a while.

But, sometimes all it takes is a kind word and some encouragement.

So glad to be the nemesis of such a great guy. =)

Thank you again!