WD: Writing Challenge

This is a writing challenge from the Writer’s Digest website.

Directions: In 25 words or fewer, write the opening sentence to a story incorporating these three words: fresh, hair and tangled.

I really felt the desire to write, so I decided to finish the story. The opening sentence is in bold, and the rest of the story follows. (I initially aimed for 500 words, then 750 words, then 1,000 words, then I said “screw it, just write!”)
Opening sentence: 25 words
Total words: 1,567 words

The smell of fresh blood filled my nose as I yanked my tangled hair from the gate, wondering: how’d I get into this mess again?

Truth or Dare? I hated playing that game with a passion. The few friends that I hung out with loved it, especially on Friday nights. There wasn’t much to do in a small town, so we’re always left to entertain ourselves the best way we knew how. Personally, I could think of better things to do on a Friday night. But in order to hang with the group, I had to succumb to their wants. Damn me for always wanting to fit in!

Why we always played in Forest Hill Cemetery, I don’t know why. I guess it added to the excitement somehow. The game always started slow with stupid, unrevealing questions: who did you kiss last?; who do you want to kiss next?; are you a virgin? Blah-blah-blah. And the dares weren’t much better: I dare you to kiss so-and-so; I dare you grab so-and-so’s whatever; I dare you to lift up your shirt. Childish.It was usually easy stuff though. Of course, the guys liked it when they dared one of us girls to kiss another girl. That always excited them.

Now I’m certainly no saint, but I’m no slutty tramp neither. Although, I have had my modest share of promiscuous encounters with certain guys in town—most of them in secret with the full story unknown to my friends. They knew I would never fess up the juicy details, so I guess this game was their way of trying to get it out of me. The only problem was I’d stay away from the Truth and always picked the Dare. Sometimes afterwards, I’d think the dare ended up worse than if I’d picked the truth.

The game got a little more enticing after everyone had a few beers in them: the questions got extremely personal, and the dares got … well, riskier. That’s when my luck would run out, and something would always go wrong.

Everyone in my group knew that I liked this guy Nathan—which was also in the group. I developed a crush on him a couple years ago when I first met him and unlike any of my other crushes, this one did not go away. It actually got stronger as time went by. The more I saw him the more I wanted him. Unfortunately during all this time, he has never made any indication of liking me back. I think I’ve done everything short of jumping his bones and ripping his clothes off. I knew he wasn’t gay; he definitely liked girls. I don’t know … maybe he just didn’t like me.

My two best friends, Tina and Mandy, tried to help me out with Nathan. Whenever it was their turn to give me a dare, it usually included Nathan in some way. C’mon dude, you gotta be picking up the obvious signals here, right? Hell, even the other guys in the group would try to help out and dare Nathan and me to do something … anything. Either that, or they just wanted to see some guy score with me. Douchebags, but I still loved ‘em.

Finally, a dare came up and it was a good one—or so I thought. Nathan and I were suppose to go into the cemetery’s lone mausoleum—nice, secluded, and private—and make out for at least ten minutes. I tried to keep my excitement in check, which was not easy. Nathan, on the other hand, looked like he was asked to go to the drug store to buy tampons for his sister. This did nothing to help my confidence at all. We slowly made our way across the cemetery, sidestepping head stones and apparently avoiding any small talk. God, this guy really does not want me, does he?

The mausoleum was made of dark marble throughout and very spacious. I think you can fit my bedroom inside here. The only light came from the moon which leaked in from the openings on each end. Whatever excitement I had at the beginning of this dare was gone by now. I thought we’ll probably just stand in here in an awkward silence for ten minutes and then leave and say we did something. Damn, I’m such a loser! Why can’t I just tell him how—

My thoughts were interrupted when I felt a set of hands firmly grip my waist from behind. In a continuous motion, I was directed towards the closest wall with Nathan right behind me. As I reached the wall, my hands flew up to stop my momentum and just as quickly, the hands that were on my waist shot up and grabbed my wrists, pinning them to the wall. I could feel him press his chest to my back, his pelvis to my waist, then his mouth to my neck. I wished him—wanted him—to say something, anything. But all I got was a low, warm moan that caused a shudder in my body and goose bumps to erupt along my arms. His hands moved over mine, intertwining our fingers from behind. As he pressed against me more, I felt something hard bulging from his pants. Yes! He does want me! It’s finally going to happen!

“What the hell are you kids doing in there?” growled someone from the opening we came in. “Get out of here!” A bright beam of light hit me in the face blinding me from seeing who the voice belonged to.

Nathan slid off me and bolted for the opposite door, his trailing hand grabbing mine and pulling me right behind him. We were both in a full sprint, heading towards the west gate dodging head stones and newly dug graves in the process. The man was chasing us but losing ground against our younger legs and better stamina. I could see the beam of his light bouncing past us, getting dimmer as we kept running.

When we reached the west gate, we saw that is was locked. Nathan released my hand and without hesitation, climbed the gate to the top. I thought he was going to keep going and leave me behind, but no. Somehow, he perched himself on top of the gate, turned and leaned down, and offered his hand. Ah, how sweet.

Now, I may be a girl, and I may like girly things, but I’m no stranger to scaling fences. I made it to the top in less movements than it took Nathan. It looked effortless. I assumed my perch at the top and gave him a it-was-nothing smile. He nodded and gave me an I’m-very-impressed grin. He jumped down and turned and waited on me. Knowing the man in pursuit would never make it over the gate, I took my time and enjoyed the moment, feeling so full of myself. Mistake!

I hopped off in a nonchalant manner; my little way of showing off. My descent was abruptly halted when my hair caught on the broken metal rods at the top of the gate, hanging me two above the ground. The initial jolt of pain was excruciating. It felt like half my scalp was ripped off. I was dangling above the ground like the rabbit that was pulled out of a magician’s hat by its ears.

Nathan ran back to me, wrapped his arms around my legs, and hoisted me up. I tried reaching up and freeing my hair with my hands but had no luck. My hair must have gotten really tangled in the rods as I hung there, kicking and twisting in circles. The man in pursuit was still giving chase and getting closer, his beam of light getting brighter.

I started yanking on my hair to get it free, trying to ignore the pain as I did. Sometimes I yanked so hard, I got a sudden whiff of fresh blood and metal. I remembered how the guys on the football team would tell me about that: whenever their helmets clashed against each other really hard and sudden, they’d get this quick smell of blood and metal. I always shrugged and dismissed them as being full of it. Now I know what they meant.

There was no way my hair was getting free from its entanglement. The only way I was going to get out of there was to be cut loose. Nathan must have thought the same thing. While holding me up with one arm around my legs, he pulled out a long hunting knife with his free hand. The knife sliced through my hair like it was butter, and I was free. He slid the knife back into pants—wherever it was—and took my hand once again and led me off down the street, escaping the clutches of the gate and our lone pursuer.

Once we got a few blocks from the cemetery, we slowed down to a walk. We kept walking, not looking at each and not uttering a word. With half my hair still hanging on that gate, the other half in an awkward slant on my head, and the throbbing pain on my scalp, there was only one thought that circled in my mind: was he really that excited to have me back in there, or was it just the knife that was poking me?

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About HandHeldWriter

Fiction writer. Vinyl collector. Coffee drinker. Book reader. Music lover. Neat freak. Bookworm. Introvert. Thinker. Poet. ISTJ. View all posts by HandHeldWriter

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