The First Kill is Always the Hardest

The First Kill is Always the Hardest

I still remember the first time I killed someone.death scene 2

Three years ago I was riding in my van on the way to the grocery store and the thought streaked through my mind. What if Mr. X died? My initial response: No! I didn’t want him to die. I liked him. I’d criticized other writers for being too sympathetic toward their characters. Now, here I was, doing the same thing 

death scene 4The thoughts persisted. And I resisted. The more I thought about it, though, the more a necessity it became. By the time I finished loading the groceries into my van, I was plotting his demise. death scene 1

It’s unpleasant to annihilate someone you care about. He’d been with me for two books and I was rather attached—and so was my protagonist. The scene happened to come over Christmas. I put off writing it. I already knew how he was going die, but the act of sitting down and doing it—writing out every detail, watching it through my protagonists eyes, suffering with him and her—was daunting. I decided it was best saved for after the holidays.death scene 3

So, three days after Christmas, I sat down with my computer and a box of tissues and pounded out the scene I’d been dreading. I wept, sobbed, accumulated a pile of waded tissues. I blubbered like sane people cry over real people who pass on. And then, he was gone. We held him as he died. We buried him—my protagonist and I.

I did what I had to do and the story is better for it.



The Haunted Caves Misadventure

Ah, Halloween memories. The Haunted Caves in my hometown of Hillsboro, Oregon was a tradition. I threw this together a few months ago during a ten minute free writing exercise. All fictional, of course. 😉 Enjoy!halloween

The Haunted Caves Misadventure

The conversation went back and forth all day at school on Halloween. “Are we going?”

“Yeah, we’re going.”

We set out together down the gravel shoulder of the highway. The Washington County Fairgrounds was only a short walk away. One of the event halls held the best thing to happen to Halloween since the individually wrapped peanut butter cup—The Haunted Caves.

“You know what I heard,” Krissy asked. All eyes turned to her. “There’s these guys working there that grope girls when they walk through.”

“Really? Groping?” I said.

“Yeah, Gemma Wallace said she went last night and got felt up by a guy in a goalie mask.”

I giggled. “But that’s Gemma. He probably brushed her shoulder or something. What would he be groping on Gemma—she’s got the chest of my twelve year old brother.”

Leah’s brow furrowed and wrinkled her nose. “Do you think we should still go?”

We all slowed and exchanged uneasy glances. I didn’t know about them, but I found the idea of being groped in the Haunted Caves mildly intriguing.

“Maybe they’re hot guys,” Krissy said.

I tugged on Leah’s arm. “It’ll be fine. We’ll slap them if they grope us. And we’ll stick together.”

Logic should’ve told us they weren’t hot guys. Hot guys could grope girls in broad daylight—they didn’t need to do it on the sly in the darkness of the caves. All the same, we were off to get groped by questionably hot guys wearing balaclavas and carrying bloody plastic knives. We kept walking.

We got to the caves, paid our fee, and waited in line. The first hints of that exhilarating thrill of fear  hit me when I heard the screams of other girls. Finally, it was our turn. We huddled together and shuffled through the black curtain.

And time’s up. How would you end the story?