Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writer's Digest - Weekly Writing Prompt

I think I'm going to start doing the weekly Writer's Digest prompts more often. It's good for my writing, as well as the mind, body and soul. The topic for this week:

You get a message, it is obviously for you, but it is scrawled in lipstick on a mirror in a public restroom. It’s unexpected, but now you know exactly where the killer is hiding. It’s time to find him and, hopefully, your friend (and hopefully your friend is still alive). Write this scene. (500 words or fewer)

I know it needs a lot of love and care, but I think it's ok for right now. And for 500 words. 

Also, it hasn't been posted yet for whatever reason so I guess this can be considered a "sneak peak" of it.

The air, laden with sweat and cigarette smoke, enveloped my senses and burned my eyes. Wiping away a salty tear from my cheek while simultaneously smearing my mascara, I weaved through the crowd of twentysomethings to the bathroom. Might as well fix my makeup and see how Clarissa’s doing.
None of the stalls were occupied. Odd. Didn’t Clarissa say she’d be right back after she went to the bathroom?
I applied eye drops and blinked to clear my vision before looking in the mirror. It had a message written in smeared lipstick: never odd or even.
It was in her favorite shade – pink popcorn. The shade she wore tonight. My fingers massaged my temples. Ok, think. The killer knew we were here, at the club. The message was meant for me, and it was in code.
I traced the message with my fingertips; it was still wet. They must have left right before I entered the bathroom. What could it mean? I stopped pacing.
It was a palindrome.
Clarissa loved them, and so did her ex-boyfriend. We used to play word games together. Boggle. Scrabble. Even Apples to Apples. That’s all in the past.
But why that particular one? I bit my lower lip and walked the perimeter of the bathroom, my heels clacking against the floors.
Fourteen. There were fourteen letters in that palindrome. 1441. Neither an area code nor a date. Address?
There were two restaurants and a car dealership at that address. Cars? Clarissa hates cars, why would the killer bring her there?
Never odd or even. Clarissa was a math teacher – it made perfect sense. Infinity is a mathematical concept and can never be odd or even because infinity never ends. Infinity. Infiniti. Another play on words.
Suddenly thankful I was the designated driver, I ran to my car and sped to the dealership, not caring that I had just received a ticket last week. I gripped the steering wheel, knuckles white.
The roads were empty. All the lights green.
Screeching to a halt, I killed the engine and leapt out, screaming, “CLARISSA! CLARISSA!”
I exhaled, my air ragged like shredded clothing. I started to check the cars. The red 2012 convertible. The black 2011 sedan. Nothing underneath the cars. Nothing on top of the cars. Where? Where would he take her?
Then everything around her seemed to slow. Seconds dissolved into minutes.
There were no lights. My eyes adjusted soon enough.
The back door was ajar.
Taking a deep breath, I pushed the door open and peered around the corner. Goosebumps raised on my arms.
Tires screeched and a car sped away. The killer’s car. Panic coursed through me – was I too late?
A muffled yell.
She was thrown into a closet, an afterthought. I untied her hands and removed the cloth from her mouth and we cried in each other’s arms.
There was a lipstick message next to us: next time.


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