He shivered against the cold. Nowhere in all his life had been as cold as this cell. The stones of the walls and floors seemed to hold the dampness
and iciness of a thousand years. The fact of never seeing sunlight. As if the stones themselves were sad to be in this place, and wept
He pulled again against the collar on his neck attached to the chain on the wall, enough slack on it only to allow him to lay on the floor. As
freezing and hard as it was, it provided relief from the pain in his legs of standing so long.
With no concept of day and night, it was hard to tell how long he had been here. But the food had been delivered 24 times if he had counted
right.Perhaps that meant 24 days.
The bringing of food was the only knowledge he had that there was still someone, anyone, outside the huge wooden door. He heard no sounds unless the
slot in the door was opened.
Though he had never seen her, he knows the sound of her small feet shuffling on the floor. The delicate look of her hands, and the scent of her that
lingers in the air as she walks away.As he picks up the bread and brings it to his lips he can smell her on it, and he devours it hungrily.
Her long hair brushes the floor as bends down to push the tray through the slot .She knows not who is behind this door.Only what she is told to do by
the Master. The Master who keeps her by his side unless she is doing her work. The Master who looms over her, his sheer size intimidating to her. His
booming voice as he orders her, and his huge hand as he strikes her.She is afraid. But in her thoughts she is free.The Master does not suspect her
thoughts, and she is safe in them if no where else.
Finishing her work, she walked softly, her bare feet on cold stone, up the long flight of stairs to the levels above.To the warm fires. Her clothing
barely kept her covered, and it was nothing to ward off the chill that never left the levels below. She shivered and hugged herself as a feeble effort
to gain warmth. Back to the level of sunlight.Back to the level of the Master.She was unsure, which level was worse.
The door rattled and opened with the creak of ancient hinges. The first glimpse of light was so blinding to him after so long that he winced and
moaned in pain. The very thing he had longed for, for days,now also was a source of pain.He wondered if this was the light he would see before death.
Death would be better than the eternal hell of being locked in here with only his thoughts for company.
The guard pulled him to his feet, while his companion unlocked the chain from his collar. The skin underneath so worn that it had calloused.
Both guards reeked of sweat , grime, and wine on their stale breath. Oh what he would do for one taste of that.Just one taste of wine. A thirst that
water alone could never quench.
His legs were so weak, and walking at first was more difficult than he imagined. Leaning on his captors, and occasionally stumbling, the three made
their way up the steps, to the higher level.
The warmth hit him as soon as he saw the daylight. But it was not from the sun, but the many fires lit throughout the various rooms as they passed by.
His body shook more at the welcoming of the warmth than it ever did from the cold, and he was aware of his urge to relieve himself from the new
feeling. But he held it in. To do so now would show fear to those who half dragged and half carried his weakened body to the Master.
He was slowly regaining his strength, as they walked from one long hallway to another. As if the Master wanted to be as far away from those kept below
as possible. Completely detached. Out of sight out of mind.
As they approached a huge set of double wooden doors, ornately carved with Lion's heads roaring, and gold handles, he was aware that he was now able
to hold his own weight on his legs and walk unaided. Yet the grip on him remained just as tight.
On the inside of the doors sat the Master. It was the only way he would accept being addressed. His true name long since forgotten by all. He was a
giant of a man by all standards. He looked down on the tallest of men from most of the surrounding villages, and it had always been that way. His body
showed the scars of many fights, all of which ended in the death of those who dared to try to knock him down. After a time..people stopped trying. It
was either do as he said, or die.
Beside the Master's feet, she sat on the red carpet. The leash of leather taut around her neck leading to his huge hand. She dare not move , else be
choked by his fierce pull. She was only a pet. An object for him to admire or use at his discretion.
The doors opened and in walked the guards with the prisoner from below. For the first time in weeks she sees the other man to whom she is a daily
There is no mistaking the attraction. Instant. Magnetic.Unbelievably real. She could not take her eyes off of him.And when he thought the Master was
not looking, he could not take his eyes off her. Her long dark hair flowing past her waist. Her breasts barely visible through the sheer white fabric
that covered her to her ankles. And when he looked up at her, she was blushing.
She was suddenly aware that she had stopped breathing.She could hear the Master's booming voice, but could not make out the words. The world around
was fuzzy and the only thing clear was him standing in front of her. A warm ache started in her stomach like she had never felt before.
To him she was like an angel. The most beautiful creature he had ever seen. He tried not to let the Master see he was looking at her. Quick glances
through the corner of his eye. Stolen glimpses. Hopefully enough to let her know.
The Master ordered the guards to take him back down below.He heard a small gasp come from her, then a choking scream as the Master pulled hard on her
He was dragged angrily back to the stone cell, but not chained to the wall.Whether the guards had forgotten, or just didn't care, it was at least a
relief to be able to walk around.
The image of her red lips, her dark hair,her green eyes, the way the fabric of her dress clung to her body, haunted his mind. He laid down on the damp
floor, and let his thoughts wander as he drifted off into sleep.
In the chamber of the Master,she laid quietly on her place on the floor. The Master sleeping on the huge bed beside her. The leash fell out of his
large rough hand and onto the floor beside her face. She was terrified at what she had planned, but it was now or never. The Master,passed out from
the wine that flowed into him from the now empty jug beside him, and the guards all too probably joined him in the sleep of drunkenness, provided her
with the one opportunity she needed. She got up off the floor and stepped quietly over to the door, listening for any sound of the
guards....nothing.She unhooked the leash from her neck and wrapped it around her wrist in case it was needed.
She opened the door only a crack, looking around, then far enough to slip through.She looked back to ensure the Master was still asleep, then crept
away, towards the levels below.
All the guards she saw were slumped over at their posts,empty jugs beside them.Woe be to all if they were to come under attack at this moment.
She took one step at a time. Listening, looking, incase she was spotted by a guard. She would be beaten by the Master for certain, or even killed.She
was just a pet, and easily replaced by another.
Hearing nothing, she continued.Onward and forward. To his cell.The door loomed in front of her. The iron slide lock keeping him inside.Fearful that
the lock would make too much noise, she spit on it, using her finger to rub it around,then again.To be sure she did the same with the hinges, and
hoped that it would work. Slowly she slid it open, carefully.There was no sound but her breathing.
He was laying on the floor. At first she thought him dead, and she rushed over to him.But he raised his head, his eyes barely open. He thought he was
dreaming, but the warmth of her hand on his face led him to believe he was not.She pulled him quickly to his feet.
"You must come with me..quickly, quietly."
The thought crossed his mind to hesitate.For getting caught would mean certain death for him and perhaps her as well. But she was insistent.
Cupping his face in her hands, she kissed him. The softest sweetest mouth ever to touch him. But it was over too fast. Time was of the essence, and
they must hurry to get out alive.
One level up, they made their way carefully.Down a long hallway towards the kitchen, the servants long since retired with their own wine, and would
not be up for hours. She was leading him to the back door of the kitchen, that led out into the courtyard and along a path to the stables.
Everything was dark outside. No stars, no moon. Dark clouds covered all, and thunder boomed in the distance. He could see well enough. His eyes had
become so accustomed to darkness now.
From the courtyard they could see the glow of a light coming from the stables, and a sound...whistling. Apparently the Master didn't think highly
enough of his stable hand to share his wine. They would somehow have to overtake him without waking the guards, so as to acquire a horse.
She whispered quietly in his ear, and unwrapped the leash from her wrist, handing it to him.She approached the front of the stable.Grabbing a few
loose stones from the ground, she threw them inside the door and hid around the corner.The stable hand looked up from the horse he was grooming..
"Eh? What? Who's roamin' about at this time o'night? Show the likes of ya!"
He walked towards the entrance, looking to the left of the doorway, not seeing his attacker approach from the right. In a split second the stable hand
had a leather leash wrapped around his neck, no air getting to his lungs,and the world fading to black. As lightning flashed in the distance, the last
image he saw was that of a long dark haired angel.
The two of them ran into the stable and grabbed the horse that was being groomed only minutes before. Mounting the chestnut brown mare, they rode her
out of the stable and into the courtyard.Slowly at first.Then as they approached the meadow before the forest, at full gallop. Trying to put as much
distance between them and the Master, they rode directly into the storm.
The wind was blowing her hair against his face, and raindrops were starting to fall on them.He held her close to him, her back against his chest.
Through the woods they had to slow the pace a bit. She let out a loud sigh and leaned into him more. He kissed her neck, so soft, so gentle.
But they needed to get further away.
Clearing the forest they came to a small river and followed it's bank for a long ways. They found no one, and saw no signs of being followed. It
would be morning before anyone noticed. With luck, they would be far enough away.
The rain poured harder, and the thunder and lightning were almost simultaneous.
They were in the thick of the storm and it was hard to see.They decided to stop briefly, hoping the rain would let up a bit soon. Tying the horse to a
large tree,they huddled together under the branches of a larger one nearby.Both shivering from the wetness of their clothes and the wind that
relentlessly blew through them to the bone.
He wrapped his arms around her and she leaned into him, looking up at his blue eyes. He kissed her then, with the thunder clapping and the lightning
If there was any doubt of the feelings between the two of them before, there was none now. There were on the run for their lives, and may not live to
see another day. The decision was made though not a word was spoken.To him she felt so warm after being cold for so long. To her she finally felt safe
in the hands of a man.
After a time, the rain subsided .Their tracks had long since been washed away.They climbed on the back of the horse and rode off, carefully watching
behind as morning approached.The Master would be out for vengeance, and he would not be denied.
Thanks Antar. I always love to hear your opinion.
I never did finish the story. I was, as always , inspired to write this based on a picture, which I cannot display here.
That's just the way my creative mind works. I spot an image, and I base a story around it.
The picture is by the artist Louis Royo,and it's called "The Caress".
Any search engine should find it for you.
I gave your story a star. Because your voice was so strong, sensual and reassuring. And it was like you were right here sitting next to me, talking to
It's a very sensual story. And it was a relief to read it. Your sensual style is addictive to me. And I didn't want the story to stop. But, it did.
I also find the tone of the narrative very reassuring.
Have you ever tried to tell a story just in dialog? ...without narration. In other words, written a play, or a screenplay.
I say that, not because I'm being Simon, but Paula.
Since your narrative is so golden, your dialog could be silver or chrome or blood.
To unlock your heart, let it speak. In words. Dialog is so speedy and efficient and so very economical, in describing feelings in a way that narrative
must labor to show. What?! Ouch! Ohhhhhhh. Damn him! Please, I'm begging you, don't kill him. Let him live. I'll do anything you ask. Well,
almost anything ...he still owes me a hundred bucks. Well, maybe go ahead and kill him anyway. I'm going shopping. I need a new dress. A black one.
Leather. From Victoria's Secret. Too bad it's not a secret, anymore. Well at least it is to me. Oh, don't kill him. Let me do it. I want my secret
back. You won't tell anyone, will you?
If you ever only read one book about "The Art of Dramatic Writing" -- there is a CLASSIC book I think you might enjoy that was used in the Writer's
& Actor's Workshop in New York for many years, by Lalos Egri, called: The Art of Dramatic
Writing. All tv and movies and sitcoms and soaps follow it's principles of characterization consciously or unconsciously. MOD --I just put
'Lalos Egri the art of dramatic writing in google and this youtube came up, honest (I see the title actually the wrong title is in a comment down the
list of comments under the video at youtube, so that's why it came up) but, I think the youtube is on thread, I mean, 'on-topic', because it tells
the story in dialog and visual narrative ... which is what this post is about.
Now this was on youtube and here it is. [[[[[NOTE TO MOD -- IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE VIDEO PLEASE REMOVE IT but please leave the rest of my reply
because it might be helpful. Thanks a million.]]]]]]
Then there's another one, THAT'S TOTALLY THE REVERSE that's a Hollywood standby (almost said, stand-in). While the first book is inspired, this one
is formula formula formula and isn't that nice ... especially if you read the first book about writing plays and then plug in into the 2nd book where
1 page equals 1 minute of a 120 minute movie: I think it was by Syd Field, here and since the one I'm trying to
find is I guess out of print I think this is the same one but revised,
calledScreenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
The Lalos Egri book is a must ... the only one that is, I think.
I have never written in dialog style.I always focussed on making the reader close their eyes and actually BE THERE.
I will take your suggestions to heart because I love to write, and am willing to experiment.
Glad you enjoyed it.
Good writting AD!! So many stories and so little time, but I wanted to make sure I took the time to comment upon your story here!
I like this one, dark and damp!
While myself I am having a bit of writters block, and cant seem to focus upon one single story line.. I started a couple stories here and there but
nothing to really post and share with the public.
As I am much like you.. I like what I post to be very well laided out and the story line with much strenght!
counterterrorist: I like it. It's what artists call very concrete and very plastic. It's concrete because the voice is authoritative and totally
reliable. And plastic because the reader can put in on, for example, like a latex body suit and wear the story and become the story.
AccessDenied: I have never written in dialog style.
counterterrorist: Once I never had, either. But the trick is in being yourself ... sometimes if it doesn't seem to be dialoging right, just spit out
what it is you want to say, or scream it out will usually simplify it in a graphic way that's direct and easy to convey.
AccessDenied: I always focused on making the reader close their eyes and actually BE THERE.
counterterrorist: I WAS THERE. That's why I gave you a shooting star, because your narrative is so visceral (if you run your palm on your bare
forearm, that's what 'visceral' is.
AccessDenied: I will take your suggestions to heart because I love to write, and am willing to experiment.
counterterrorist: I'm not at all saying to discard your narrative AT ALL. Just put it aside for a moment or two. And work your dialog. Look at your
favorite music videos ... you see what the camera sees is what your amazing and reassuring narrative is. Now listen to the words of the song
... you see, they tell another story. Watch the video with the volume off. Then, listen to the video without watching it. See the difference ...
different themes, same story.
(If the video doesn't come up, click at the bottom of the tv where it says: YouTubeLink)
The visuals (narrative) can be emotional. But, the words can be VERY emotional ... in fact, the words are supposed to make you cry, or laugh or
whatever feeling you want them to bring out (-- w/a crescendo in a climax. Normally in a short story the climax is at the end.) If you speak from your
heart, you'll find the reader hears them with their heart. If you cry, the reader will cry and so on. The whole goal is to elicit an emotional
response from yourself and from your reader with your dialog. And remember, it's just like you're talking to your best friends.
Watch a couple DVDs or videos of films (once plays) written by Tennessee Williams from your library or video store: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and, A
Streetcar Named Desire -- then read the Lalos Egri book and you'll then see each step on the staircase of the emotional conflicts between the
characters are orchestrated to the climax and reversal of character at the "end" of the story by the main character(s).
AccessDenied: Glad you enjoyed it.
counterterrorist: Me too. Here are the best underground poets in San Francisco, a few years ago. The
poemsstart halfway down. You'll see in the lower right hand corner of your monitor screen
there's a percentage box so you can set it at 110% or whatever so its easier to read. I used the writing name, at that time, of Alan Allen and got
Julia and David and Maura to help me pick the poems. Actually, they picked the poems, primarily. That's why it's such a good anthology.
I found, 'A Streetcar Named Desire' ... notice the dialog, okay? And as you hear them (the words), visualize them on the typed page every once in a
while, okay? Cause it's the dialog from a play -- all written in words. When actors read through a script, they sit around a table and read their
parts off the page. So just remember, the words are really on the page, they just look like they're coming out of the mouths of the actors. Notice
the change from scene to scene. Each scene is a new setting. Each setting has an atmostphere, in the beginning, not all of the scenes have climaxes,
but they all have implicit or explicit conflicts. As the scenes progress, the conflicts get more pronounced, leading up to the climax. To understand
the 'dramatic' structure, you'll need to read the Lalos book referenced earlier, The Fundamentals of Dramatic Structure -- to understand the
staircase of conflicts are all constructed to aid the change of the character usually the main character, from one personality trait to its opposite,
orchestrated each step of the way through conflict -- there is no conflict that doesn't illustrate a step, or force a step, in the transformation of
character from one trait to its opposite -- for example, a drama may be about a character moving from fear to courage, or love to hate, or hate to
love, or sanity to insanity -- getting the picture? There are only enough scenes to illustrate all of the changes from one character trait to its
opposite. Also, there's classically a premise that's proven as well by the existance or moral of the story that's illustrated, for example: "When
love is unchained it changes from accessdenied to accessgranted" ... gettin' it? You see the implied struggle and the staircase of (emotion) changes
leading from no access to full access?
fear > coldness,
coldness > questioning,
questioning > timid,
timid > courage,
courage > vulnerability,
vulnerability > reaching out,
reaching out > being unchained,
being unchained > flirting,
flirting > loving ---
-- and each change is orchestrated through conflict, all the minor characters exist only to represent the conflict the main character must struggle
through to get to the next step in order to grow in character from fear > love. Read Lalos Egri and you'll get it. In classical plays there are three
acts, usually with 3-6 scenes. Act 1 is intro, Act 2 is development, Act 3 is climax and ending. However, Bertolt Brecht changed the formula to no
acts but continuous scenes. The classical approach is, well, 'classical' ... and the continuous approach with continuous scenes and no acts (sorta
tv style) is 'avant guarde' -- it's been avant garde for the last 80 years since the 1930's anyway, when Brecht fled nazi germany to hollywood.
(Guess what ... I just found 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', too ... I'll put it at the end of 'A Streetcar Called Desire', okay?
But I just watched 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and it's a bit old fashioned and I'd prefer if you watched, 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', first
...okay? Then, if you can get into Streetcar, fine. It's worth it at the end, but the end won't matter if you don't see the whole thing ... because
it's a drama, and the end is the opposite of the beginning ... for at least one of the characters, maybe two.
'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' has Elizabeth Taylor when she was hot and Paul Newman, well, he was always pretty good -- and, they're both young.
Notice in Cat the opening conflict, the nature of the conflict, and how the conflict continues throughout the whole story, until the resolution.
Notice all the conflicts, because the characters are created to represent opposing sides of different conflicts of character. Enough said, if you skip
down to Cat -- and remember, this whole thing is just so you notice what can be done with dialog, in dramatic structure.
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