The awesome Rachael Harrie, crusade organiser and Rach Writes blogger, has issued the third and final challenge for the authors’ platform-building crusade. The challenge is to write a passage in 300 words or less that shows (rather than tells) the following:
- you’re scared and hungry
- it’s dusk
- you think someone is following you
- and just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: shimmer, saccadic, substance, and salt.
Yep, pretty tricky! Here’s my response.
I crouch in the long grass behind a Scribbly Gum and try to calm my breath so I can listen for footsteps.
Shit. There they are. Off to the right. I thought I’d lost them, but obviously not.
The footsteps come closer. If they get much nearer, they’ll hear my rasping lungs for sure.
The footsteps stop.
Silence. Painful silence.
My eyes make saccadic movements as they try to peer around the tree. But the rest of me stays perfectly still, and I force my eyes to stare at the scribbles on the tree trunk until my vision shimmers and blurs.
Whispers of conversation make their way through the trees to me. No substance. Just sound. But their tone seems relaxed. Maybe they’ve stopped looking – for now.
Then, the unmistakable smell of food. Sandwiches. With cheese and some kind of salty meat.
Ham. Definitely ham.
Those bastards. They must know I haven’t eaten for days. I try to imagine how the ham would taste, but the bitter tang of blood in my mouth overwhelms my imagination.
Would now be a good time to escape, while they’re distracted by their dinner? Or should I stay here for another hour until the lingering sunlight has disappeared? Once night falls, it will be so much harder for them to find me. But what do I do in the meantime? Stay here like a rabbit waiting to be hunted down?
I touch my swollen, blood-caked lip and pain shoots through my face. Decision made. I can’t wait here for them to catch me. I’d rather be shot trying to run than found cowering in the bushes.