Starting Guns

Start points, inspirations, story openings, little scenes for you to use, build upon, and transform as you wish. For practice or to get you on the road with a new book, these are here for you. No strings and no attribution necessary.

I shall add to them as regularly as I can, so keep popping back to see what’s new.

Comments are always welcome and I’ll be genuinely interested to know what you do with them.

The Long Walk

There was no way to tell how many hours he’d walked. He surmised it was likely to be less than a day, given that the sun was still above the horizon, but without knowing what length the days were on this planet, he knew his guess was at best, inaccurate.At first, he tried to count the seconds and log the minutes, but lost his track the moment something distracted him. It also made him tired, the counting almost hypnotic to his traumatised mind.

His boot steps crunched softly, the surface beneath yielding at first, then firm and reminded him of the fresh winter snow fall back home that made a similar sound. The surface he now walked upon was definitely not snow, that much he knew the moment his ship crash landed. It was the wrong colour for a start, no snow he ever saw was grey. This was the grey of cold wood fires, wet concrete, and the walls of his Grandfather’s kitchen.

There wasn’t much worth salvaging from the escape pod that ensured his safe escape as his ship gasped its dying breaths. Three days emergency rations, six litres of water, an emergency comms beacon, knife, laser pistol with one full cell, and a basic med kit. Taking no more than five minutes to decide it wasn’t worth waiting at the pod for rescue, he spread his meagre possessions about his person, slung the water harness over his back and set out.

The sun was touching the horizon when the falling light allowed him to see it for the first time and he stopped in his tracks as he squinted into the distance. Just as he was about to assume he’d imagined it, the light came again, the tiniest flash in the far distance. Hope he had begun to think dead, flared into life within his breast as a gasp of relief escaped his parched throat.

His energy renewed by the sight of what could only mean intelligent life, he quickened his pace.

Hangman’s Corner

The lane always creeped him out on nights when the moon was full. Moonshadow Lane was well named, he mused as he made his way home to a warm fire and Millicent the cat. The shadows cast by the moonlight through the tall trees danced and leapt menacingly, and when an owl flew silently across in front of him, he almost pissed his pants in fright. As was his usual habit, he whistled as he walked in a bid to gain some confidence from the tune. How he wished he could afford to buy a car, he thought for the hundredth time.

Norman Hedges lived in Aylingsbury Meadows, a new development of twenty two modest semi detached homes set in the beautiful countryside surroundings of Catchlington Marsh. A modest windfall from an industrial injury he received five years previously while working as a fork list truck driver allowed him to pay off the mortgage on his previous home and sell it for three times what he originally paid. The buoyant market meant he got enough money to retire early and after a year lodging with his brother and sister and law whilst he waited for the housing market to sink a little, he bought number eight Aylingsbury Meadows for barely a third of his nest egg. The rest he invested wisely to allow him a decent living without needing to work, unless he wanted to of course. It hadn’t taken him long to decide to take a part time post in the village antique restorer’s workshop and enjoyed indulging what had been nothing more than a hobby before his accident. He often stayed late into the evenings and loved the smell of old wood and wax polish. The downside to this was his walk home up Moonshadow Lane.

Four tenths of a mile up the winding lane was the fork in the road from which Lynchman’s Lane wound down back to the village. A stone, crudely carved with the weathered words, Hangman’s Corner, stood sentinel at this intersection and marked, so the local legend said, the spot where a notorious highwayman, Jack McCann, was hanged. It was more than mere legend too, the local historical society had been thorough in its investigations and found irrefutable evidence that Jack had been known around the local area. The spurious tales of his ghostly form, glimpsed on moonlit nights, swinging gently from the creaking gallows, were a load of old rot, Norman decided.

The village below was beautiful and Norman stopped to get his breath at Hangman’s corner and re-light his pipe. He often looked at this scene and wished he could paint, it would make a striking piece of artwork, he mused to himself as he turned to continue up the lane.

The pipe fell from his lips as he saw it, his gasp of shock echoed along the lane, to be carried off on the gentle autumn night breeze.

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