Thursday, September 25, 2008

Friday Fiction for September 26th, 2008

“Precocious by Design” is a story I’ve had in work for a little while, though it’s been on a back-burner while I’ve done some other things. This story has some similar themes to the Pod stories, though my intention is not to connect it to the other books. My main character is Detective Lloyd Timmons, and the story will follow the investigation of a murder, and the odd circumstances surrounding it. This, so far, has been one of the most difficult stories I’ve tried to write, because the subject matter is much darker than my preferred fare. I think, before I go much further with it, I want to do some more research on forensic and investigation techniques, to help lend more authenticity to the story.

This excerpt is from chapter 4, and I offer it for this week’s Friday Fiction just because I like the way it helped me get into the character’s mind.

Ilsa’s Voice
From “Precocious by Design”
By Rick Higginson

He stopped at the break room on his way back to his desk, and studied the options in the snack machine. His favorite candy bar had been stocked by the concession vendor that morning, but had two bars that he didn’t care for in front of them. He selected a package of cookies instead, and waited to eat the first one until he was leaning back in his chair.

Ilsa stared out from the photograph at him as he bit into the second chocolate chip cookie. You pretended to be a child, Ilsa. What kinds of things did you really like when you were just being yourself? Why the charade? You got off the train and left with some guy; did you know him? Did he know you weren’t what you appeared to be? I wonder how many more questions your case is going to raise before I find the answers.

People thought his job was about catching murderers; it wasn’t about that at all. His job was about asking the right questions and finding the answers which would lead him to the murderer. All too often, catching the perpetrator of a crime was the easy part. Proving a suspect was guilty was the difficult task, and his job was to provide the District Attorney’s Office with sufficient evidence to prove that he had, indeed, apprehended the guilty party.

In the midst of that, he had to keep his sanity intact. There were voices that went with each case, and even those he had never heard in life would whisper to him in the quiet moments. It wasn’t just the victims, either; their families and friends would speak to him in words of anger or anguish, demanding some kind of answers that would make sense of the tragedies and restore balance to their worlds.

Ilsa Levitsky had a voice to go with her face and her name, though her whispering was still indistinct. Hers was a shy voice, uncertain whether to invite him closer or to keep him away from her secrets, and he closed his eyes to imagine her standing in front of him. Conversing with her in his mind, he worked to persuade her to trust him, in much the same way he’d tried to persuade frightened children in life to trust him. The eyes that looked back at him, though, were those of a woman who had outgrown the optimism of her youth.

You wish to know me, detective? The girl in his daydream said. She drew close to his face, bringing her eyes right to his to meet his gaze in bold defiance. Neither of them blinked, even as the once-youthful eyes began to glaze over and cloud. The skin lost its color, becoming the dirt-covered gray of the cadaver in the field as her stare lost all traces of the soul behind it. Be careful what you wish for.

An involuntary shiver ran down his spine as he opened his eyes. His pastor had told him once that such mental exercises were probably not healthy for either his mind or his spirit, and as the filthy corpse floated in his memory, he wondered if the reverend had been right about that.

Tearing the page with Dorothy Hensel’s number and office location from the notepad, he logged himself out of the office for the follow-up interview. That was the official reason, at least. At that moment, he also wanted the warm afternoon sunshine to banish the dark feelings, and the drive to the University Main Campus would offer plenty of chances to soak up the rays.


Sheila said...

Well, you've got me hooked. This is my first time participating in Fiction Friday. You all are obviously talented writers! My husband is a detective in our city's police department and we both enjoy a good mystery.

Have a great weekend

Dee Yoder said...

Wow, I'd sure like to read the rest of this! This is a great lead up to the book. I'm partial to mysteries and this seems like a good one.

Joanne Sher said...

Oh, you're GOOD. I could learn a lot from you about characterization (and maybe I will LOL). I was absolutelly engaged!

Yvonne Blake said...

Interesting... this was quite a teaser. Now, we have to read the book! Well done!

Anonymous said...

Of course, I have to finish writing the book before anyone can read it!

Julie Arduini said...

Definitely left me wanting to read more!

AJ said...

Yes! Come over to the dark side >:D

Patty Wysong said...

That gave me shivers. brrrrr. I'd want some sunshine after that, too!!