Creative Writing: Trial Run

Monday, June 3, 2013
I recently posted on my blog's facebook page about the idea of my posting some excerpts from my own creative writing work (currently for my own entertainment, but hopefully to be published!) on my blog. A few people said they were interested, so I thought I'd give it a trial run today.

I won't make it part of my regular posts on Wednesdays and Sundays, as generally I have other stuff lined up for them, so if I have any creative writing I feel like sharing, I will post it on Mondays - as a kind of Mondayitis-buster. :D

Just a couple of things: This work is MY OWN. Please do not reproduce it in any form without asking me first. Please be respectful of my right to post my own work without having to worry about it being stolen. :)

Okay, so this piece was something I dreamt up when I (unexpectedly) accompanied Xin and a friend to a shooting range (forgive any ignorances on my behalf about terminology!). It is not complete. Be warned: it is a little dark, but a lot of my work tends toward that direction! XD It is unfinished and, currently, unedited. This is pretty much the rawest form of my writing.

"Barrel and Burn
I watched him through the window as he took aim and fired each bullet toward its target.
Despite being in the viewing room behind double-walled glass, I still put my fingers in my ears to stop the noise getting in. There was an extra layer to the sound that made my brain ache with shock. I still watched him, though. His face set as if in stone, his mouth a grim line of concentration that was white with the effort of holding himself together while the gun tried to pull him apart.
It seemed that, even though he was shooting away from himself, the gun would always damage something in him.
I thought back to the last time he had held a gun. He had looked so small. Like the gun had taken away a part of himself and locked it in a chamber with the magazine of remaining bullets. I remembered the smell of death, because that is the only label I could put on that cocktail of scents. The thumping of my heart seemed to have ceased entirely in that moment, and I felt nothing. I saw him crumple to the ground as if he was the one hit, but my eyes did not manage to convey this message straight to my brain. I saw, but I did not comprehend.
I came back to the present moment as he removed the empty magazine and called in his target sheet. The shots were erratic, as they always were these days. One hole was outside the target entirely, only just managing to hold on to the outer edge of the paper. Still holding the target sheet, he lowered his gaze to the floor near his shoes and closed his eyes briefly. He looked exhausted - worn by simply being here. I almost made a move to stand up and get him out of there, but I remained seated. It had to be a choice he made.
He shook himself off, attached white dots over the holes, and sent the sheet back out. He breathed deeply for a few moments and then reloaded his gun and lifted his arms once more.
I did not want to watch anymore. I wish I had asked the attendant at the front desk for some headphones. He had said I'd be fine in the viewing room, but he obviously hadn't accounted for a woman with a sound-sensitive brain. Some small part of me refused to give in and ask, for fear of it being deemed the problem of a 'fragile female'. Even though this result was only in my head, I still thought of the attendant as a bastard. He could easily have offered them to me 'just in case'. Shouldn't a institution that makes money from people coming to shoot guns be a bit more focused on safety and the welfare of all visitors? Guess it wasn't really my place to dictate to someone who knew their way around at least 50 different guns.
Off he went again, and my fingers found their way back to my ears. I looked down at a piece of lint stuck to my skirt and wondered about being able to remove it in between his shots. But they did not run on any sort of schedule - I'd rather not risk it. So I just stared at the piece of lint instead.
I remember staring at the pool of blood as it widened underneath the man. The body, I guess it was now. The blood was darker than I expected - I'd always watched a lot of those cop shows where they show the body while it's being examined by the forensic guys, and it always looked to be a brighter red. I remember feeling nauseous. Don't get me wrong, I have no issues with blood. Even that much of it on my dining room floor. It was the way it travelled. So slowly, like it was thick. I hadn't been able to stop watching, though. I could hear muffled sobs to the side of me, and could vaguely sense that I was kneeling on the ground, but nothing else had been able to get through at that moment.
A lot of people talk about how, in shock moments, things are blocked but then slowly come back to you. For me it was like someone had come up and slapped me over the back of the head, knocking all the cotton wool free from my eyes and ears, and even my nose. Every sense was completely bombarded with sensations. I tried to close my eyes and block my ears, but then my nose just filled with the scent of blood and what must be the smell of a recently fired gun. I gagged, forcing my hands to my mouth and my eyes to open. The blood had stopped moving and looked like it was forming a skin, like a rice pudding. The comparison had almost made me laugh out loud, but with my hands over my mouth it had just come out like some sort of maniacal squeak.
The sobbing had stopped, and I looked across. He had passed out, but I could see he was still breathing. It was like he had gone to sleep. A wave of nausea and exhaustion washed over me, but I knew I had to fight it. I wasn't sure I could trust my feet, so I crawled over to the phone (thankfully further away from the body) and I called for help. I thought about how I'd need to let everyone in and maybe I'd need to make tea for everyone, but then I remember that the body-formerly-a-man had broken down my door. So I stayed on the floor and stared blankly at a gap between two of my floor tiles. The grout had come away and so I picked at it, getting bits of grit and sand underneath my nail.
POP POP click click
I shook my head. I had completely lost myself in the memory again. I needed to stop doing that while I was around him. The reality was that my brother couldn’t remember anything about that day. After he had gone to sleep… we hadn’t been able to wake him up for a full week. The hospital staff had declared that he may never come out of the comatose state, and I was left to wonder how long it would be before his body would break down like his mind had.

A couple of months ago, he had surprised everyone by waking up and declaring that he was hungry and needed some food. I had arrived later that day to find my brother sitting up in bed. Like the day he had fallen asleep, I did not know how to react. I simply sat down and asked him how he was feeling. It turned out that he remembered me – remembered everything about his life, in fact, except for that one day. Whenever he tried to think about what had happened before he passed out, he experienced an intense headache and nausea. Naturally, he stopped trying to think about it."

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Constructive criticism only please - this is a huge step for me to be sharing my writing, as I tend to hold onto it quite tightly! :)


  1. My goodness baby, this is by far the most captivating piece of writing I've ever read of yours. Possibly of anyone's. I really need to find out more about what happened and why. This could easily develop into a fully fledged novel, or at least novella.

    Great writing. Really compelling stuff. I'm surprised you observed so much of the process of shooting, particularly the smell of gunpowder (if that is what it is). Did it travel through the door?

    1. Thank you! That's so wonderful of you to say. :) I always worry that my work is just... hmm. I don't know. That perhaps it won't be very well received? I always want more practice :) I will have to see about finishing this one. It started off as a short story, to be honest.

      The smell of gunpowder, to be honest, was a product of artistic license. XD The only thing I could smell in the viewing room was old carpet. XD

    2. Brilliant writing, just enough detail to draw you in and keep you there! Got to the end and thought "no! it can't be over! What happens now?!"
      Out of curiousity -and feel free not to answer if it's too personal- Is this something (or based on something) that actually happened?
      Again, really, really good!

    3. Hi Jonno,
      Thank you so much for your kind words! I will have to finish this one for people :D
      No worries about asking - the scenes in the shooting range are heavily drawn from personal experience, but the scenes relating to the suspected murder and hospital are drawn from my brain :) It is apparently a scary place in there! XD


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