CW: A Girl from the Apple Orchard (3/12)

Previously, in Part 1:

We meet Laura on a Saturday, deep in thought in her home office where Roy thinks she is writing her book. Instead, we learn that she is trying to write a letter explaining why she is about to leave. Her thoughts take her far away, and only a loud noise brings her out of the trance. Upon investigation, Laura learns that it was only wind slamming the previously open window shut. Relieved, she tries to write, but nothing satisfactory makes it onto the paper. A pile of discarded balls of paper surround the trash can. Roy returns home with groceries to make dinner. When Laura confesses she was not able to write anything, he comforts her by saying she will do better next time.

Previously, in Part 2:

Roy returns with groceries on another Saturday afternoon to a quiet home. Assuming that Laura is writing, as per usual, he unpacks the bags and begins to make plans for dinner. After a while, he grows slightly agitated and looks for Laura in her office. In the dark room, all he finds is what looks like a gift bag placed on the desk. In the meantime, we learn that Laura is on a moving train, but we are unsure of her immediate plans. Her fellow passenger – a young boy keeps swinging his legs and kicking her in the shins, but his mother does not even seem to care, excusing him as: “just a kid.” Laura gets up and walks out in search of a more peaceful seat. Then, we jump back to Roy who is finishing reading a letter from Laura. There is a teddy bear for Tommy in the gift bag. When Tommy runs into the room and tells Roy he is hungry, Roy puts the gift away and tells his son they will get pizza for dinner and watch TV. They leave the room, the letter, and the bear behind.

The moment Laura pulled the trigger, she knew she had made a mistake. A loud bang split the quiet, still air.

“Shit,” Laura cursed under her breath as she holstered her gun and began to run.

She wanted to search the guy and maybe grab some of his stuff for herself, but she knew she could not spare even a single second. No doubt the dead guy’s friends would swarm the area in no time. Although Laura knew that she should not have fired the way she did, she felt like she had no choice when she saw the enemy appear out of thin air in front of her. There was nowhere to hide, she was too far away from him to try hand-to-hand combat, and he was already lifting his weapon to aim at her. It was kill or be killed and Laura did not want to die.

Running down the hill, Laura tripped and tumbled down the remainder of the way. As soon as she came to a halt, Laura got up to her feet and set her sights on a forest she spotted on the horizon. Covered in dirt and scratches, she ran for her life. The yelling in the distance behind her reminded her that the woods were her only chance of survival. After all, she could not take on a group of armed rebels by herself. The forest seemed thousands of miles away and Laura began to tire. She wanted to turn around to assess the situation but she knew that would lose her precious seconds – time she could not afford to spare. The bullet that flew past her right ear reminded her of that.

“C’mon,” she whispered to motivate herself and then repeated the same command only louder.

It was as if that disconnected Laura’s brain from her body. She began to run faster and did not even feel some of the deeper cuts on her leg. Adrenaline does wonders. Laura, with her energy renewed, ran into the forest and weaved through the trees to confuse the men on her tail. She only stopped after she found a ravine and hid underneath a huge rock sticking out from the sides, which granted her temporary cover. Even though she still did not allow herself to feel the pain and exhaustion, she knew that she should not push her body any further without taking a break and assessing her injuries first.

Aside from a few superficial cuts and scrapes, there were only two areas of concern for Laura – a gash on the side of her thigh, with a metal fragment still in it, and a head wound. She disinfected both of them, applied a bandage to her head, and then sewed her leg wound shut.

It will heal before the wedding,” she giggled to herself as she peered around the rock.

The forest was noisy with the birds singing and the leaves rustling in the wind, but Laura did not hear a single sign of her enemies. She could breathe and relax, if only for a moment. Nestled tightly against the wall, Laura decided to take a few minutes to form a plan. Soon, her mind began to wander.

A man with his face against the floor lied in a pool of blood. There was so much blood everywhere. Her stained hands trembled, letting go of the hammer that hit her toes while falling to the ground.

Laura waved the fragmented thought away.

She should have just stayed home, playing house with Roy and Tommy and hoping that one day she would become a famous writer. Life would have been so much easier then. She should have but she could not. That was not her life. Laura was on a mission and she was not leaving without getting what she came here for. Jason warned her it was a suicide mission but he knew that once Laura made up her mind, there was no swaying her. She was so close, she could smell it.

Once she replenished her energy a little, she got up and walked out of the ravine and straight into an ambush. One man grabbed her from behind while another held his gun pointing at her head. They tied her hands and feet and the man that grabbed her threw her over his shoulder. There was no way out of this one. Laura hoped that wherever they were taking her she would have the ability to survive long enough to escape. The burlap sack made it harder for Laura to see where the two men were taking her but she knew the general direction in which they were traveling.

After a short walk and a horse ride that could have lasted anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes, they arrived at their destination. They only took the bag off Laura’s head after they walked her through a series of doors and thrusted her onto a stone cold floor. Immediately, Laura looked around to try and gather any information that could help her escape, but before she could do a full 360 sweep around the room, her eyes fixated on the woman sitting upon a throne.

***

“Write a story inspired by the word ‘fragment.'”
– prompt used for this CW piece.
[Source: BlogBattle]

***

P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!

Stay golden,

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***

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Stay golden,

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***

Did you enjoy reading this post?
Hit LIKE.
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Share in the COMMENTS.
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54 thoughts on “CW: A Girl from the Apple Orchard (3/12)

Add yours

  1. Well, this episode was certainly on a different track from the first two! I found the sudden change of direction a bit jarring as it dived into an action scenario from a scene setting scenario a bit too suddenly… I would have preferred more of a buildup where we are gradually introduced to the fact that Laura is not all she seems. Apart from the rushed pacing, it’s still an intriguing story but I’m hoping it doesn’t degenerate into a violent revenge thriller… I prefer your more subtle and clever plot twists! Looking forward to episode 4!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, Stuart!

      I can see how this installment felt sudden but I thought it would be best to just plunge Laura into a new environment. We already know that we don’t know much about her.

      Revenge thriller? I hope not. But stay tuned 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Stuart that when you put all the segments together and revise, it would benefit from more of a segue between episodes 2 and 3. However, taking only this installment into account, the narrative flowed well from points A to B to C, etc. The imagery was detailed and the narrative intense. So, go you. : )

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Well, when we last saw Laura, she was riding on a train, on a quest to find peace. Now we see her with a gun in her hand, having killed a man. You’ve skipped the action (scene) and gone straight to the aftermath (sequel).

        We need to see her get the gun, see the man converse with her, know why he’s an enemy, and then see the gun fire. Just an opinion, but since you’re at the draft stage, now’s the time to play with story elements.

        Also, do you want her to be this unlikeable? If not, some explanation as to why she ran off might help. Right now it seems like she left because she was bored. As a survivor of abandonment, I’m fine with any negative consequences happening to her. I want her to be unhappy. I’m even okay with her getting killed. So, unless that’s the result you’re aiming for, you might want to rethink your beginning as well. A lot of people aren’t going to sympathize with a person who would abandon her own young child. Again, just my opinion.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Also, please let me know if you don’t want critique like this, and I’ll keep it to only compliments in the future. It all depends on what you want. And people have done well with unlikeable characters before. So, just because it’s not to my story taste doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be written. : )

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I appreciate your feedback. I did omit a part in between the chapters because I plan to reveal it in later installments. But after going through your and other comments, I spent some time thinking and I definitely have some ideas to hopefully bridge the gap. Thank you for your concrete examples. I really appreciate it.

          And thank you for the opinion regarding Laura’s character. It is meant to be that way.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. That was a jump. It was jarring at first, but I find upon rereading, I quite enjoy it. I would like to know the scale of the jump: for instance, is this two months or two years on? I’m quite looking forward to more of Laura’s backstory and the parallel “home” developments. I definitely enjoy kickass heroines and can’t wait to see how this further unfolds.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You re-read it? What a phenomenal compliment. Thank you!

      As to the time-frame. Laura left Roy and Tommy, got on a train … and then she shot someone. It’s pretty linear. The only thing missing is “Did she stop somewhere on her way there?”

      “Home” development is planned for next month!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, that was unexpected. I suspect that was something of the point, though as others note, it may have been just a tad heavy on the jarring side, when compared to the other entries. That said, I look forward to what story you intend to paint with these two drastically different views of the same woman. I’m tempted to start guessing… Which is a good thing. 🙂

    There was one thing though, of the proofread variety: twice you use “access” or “accessing,” each in instances where I believe “assess/assessing” is what was meant. Unless… she’s not a robot, is she?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to admit that I’m quite surprised about the “jarring” comments. You start a book or a movie with a punch. But, now that I think about how I could have done this differently, I come up with some ideas. That’s why I enjoy all the feedback I get. So stimulating!

      It’s a very good thing to hear that you’re tempted to start guessing!

      It was early in the morning when I was typing that (and I had a technically challenging morning and a busy day in general), but I swear I corrected those as I went along! Thank you for your attention to detail!

      Is she a robot? I will keep that a secret for now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s very true, and it’s a trick I may be guilty of myself. I suppose the issue arises from viewing the whole thing as one book, rather than as several connected stories. It’s too easy to think of your writings in book form.

        “Technically challenging,” eh? I can understand that all too well…

        Secret? Oh no. It’s too late. You’ve tipped your hand. You’ve confirmed that all her “accessing” was merely a typo… And anyway, not many robots use disinfectant.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Quite a sudden turn of events! If this had been a stand-alone story, its narrative is certainly filled with action and tension that made it an intriguing piece. I did have some distraction at the beginning trying to determine if this was Laura’s reality or just some form of dream. A part in the beginning that certainly rang true was how Laura instantly knew she’d made a mistake upon pulling the trigger – it seems we always think ‘This might not be a good idea’ right at the moment of no return…! Plenty of mystery has been added to the story line that I’m looking forward to figuring out, including the fact the man she shot appeared out of thin air (making me think he ‘transported’ so we’re getting into high tech), yet she was hauled out of the woods by hand, on a horse, to place that seemed more ‘primitive.’ One typo alert: she weaved through the trees to evade the men on ‘hair’ trail. Yes, this part might benefit with a smoother transition, but I’m most certainly looking forward to what happens next!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for pointing out the typo. Corrected.

      It’s funny you mention the part about him appearing out of nowhere. I have to admit it’s a part I struggled the most with in this installment.

      Thank you for reading and your feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Such intrigue! I didn’t see this coming. I have lots of questions — most of them being, “What the hell’s going on?” Seems our heroine has a secret life. And who, pray tell, is this woman on a throne? I look forward to pt 4.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have just read all three chapters and I do agree that drastic change in story line threw me. I suspect it might be easier to deal with though if I had he whole book and could keep on reading instead of having to wait for installments. I also agree with Cathleen about the likeability of Laura. I can’t understand how a women could leave her child especially since there was no mention of her struggling to do so. and then the mention of “playing house” makes it seem as though she doesn’t see being a parent as a serious role. I also wondered how she could have the audacity to judge the woman on the train for ignoring her child when she had just walked out on her own child.
    I will definitely be waiting for the next installment because there are so many unanswered questions. “The Wedding?” “Jason?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like the part where you mention that Laura judged the mother on the train but didn’t see any fault in herself (or so we presume).

      Thank you for reading 🙂 Good point – it might feel different in a book when you could just keep going. I hope it will all make sense once all 12 installments are completed.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, I’m rather chuffed my previous ramblings touched on secret agent rather than selfish thingamy. Story arc aside this creates an alternative character POV. The reason she leaves indicating alternative employ or a revenge vendetta. Obviously she is firearm aware, but not so highly skilled to avoid detection. Not really a laser strike as it were so I’m assuming you’re not portraying black ops. Or it’s a wider event with a team we’re not privy to that’s messed up? Obviously this is more conjecture on my behalf haha.

    Story arc wise though I see where some comments are coming from. I touched on her personality last time as caught between wanting to see who she was that wasn’t evidencing self centred. Maybe the train would have been the more natural sequel to explore her POV? Why she left so suddenly, who does she work for or her own motivation to this point in the story. It feels like her domestic life is a lie. Unless Roy is aware of it, I which case it may explain his apparent acceptance rather than denial. Perhaps the note he has been expecting. If that’s true the plot depth is thicker. Could it be he now has to protect the child more than just raising him? Could it also have been him leaving a note if he also works in the same field outside of “normal?”

    I think with series a month apart people tend to see less. By that I mean in a book you’re onto the next part that might answer questions immediately. I saw some of this coming while rambling last time so it’s less of a jolt in the reading haha.

    However, I do think Laura is still detached from her readers. Maybe for later mark this as a scene insertion to give her more representation??

    As a stand alone though it holds up. Pace is right and it travels well from start to finish. Now what’s Roy up to haha.

    Obviously I can ramble less if it helps 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know, right? It was interesting to hear your feedback BEFORE the 3rd installment was posted. Kudos to you for thinking in that direction. Your speculations are definitely very valid. And yes, those questions will be answered.

      Hmmm… I get that comment about Laura not being a fan favorite, but is that really so bad? We are inclined to root for “good” characters and dislike the “bad” ones. I get that. But you know what is becoming apparent to me in this? That we are somewhat stereotypical, complaining about Laura leaving the kid and not being “motherly.” It gives me food for thought. I enjoy creating complex characters. That’s all that I will say in defence for now. As I’ve said before, I hope everything will make sense by the time we finish part 12.

      I appreciate your rambles so much!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, I’ve done that many times on AEB’s serialisation with IMP (AKA Deuce). I quite enjoy speculating even if it may annoy the writer! Maybe I should try crime novels 🤔

        It’s not that Laura isn’t on my fan list as such. More a case of having nothing to tune me into her. There’s no depth to her motivations at present as we’ve not seen her real personality. There’s also a duality in Roy. Either he doesn’t hold an emotive connection, ie he seemed to read the letter and pass it off as denial or acceptance. The former might lead to self recrimination after child is in bed, the latter might be he knows what’s going on. Currently we don’t actually know.

        With Laura, there’s no character reveal yet. We see her actions but can’t place reasoning to it. The logical assumption is not a fan favourite. That could be an unjust appraisal? Also wrt my scene insertion comment you may later want to consider why readers should root for good or bad. The usual tack is to get reader association going early. Get them invested in the good or bad. Much harder to care if that’s not happening. I think here folk are on board with Roy left with the child and Laura bored with home life. It creates that sense of selfish and, new thought, relief in Roy that part is done??

        Have to say none of the above is easy in prompt writing though as they demand faster pace. A sort of 12 chapters that may need another five to connect things properly maybe? Or… with the month slots readers aren’t seeing the big picture quickly?

        So much rambling and questions haha

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I see what you mean in terms of readers being invested in good or bad. Very valuable advise. Thank you.

          We will find out a bit about Roy in a week or two so hold tight.

          I think it might be because I really am going month by moth as the prompts arrive. Maybe, bu the time the year is done, I will redo the tale, being that much wiser. We shall see.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Talk about getting behind here! Busy month so many apologies. Re the advice I think it’s something to ensure gets built in when the first edit comes round maybe. As King says, one knows both characters and plot better at the end of the first draft! That ties with what you said…. BB prompts force words through the word count. It’s harder to be blend character development with action that pushes things along. Still if it were easy we’d just get bored as writers 😂😂

            Liked by 1 person

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Cathleen Townsend

Faerie Tales and Fantasy Worlds

Mark-Huntley-James

writing science-fiction and fantasy since tomorrow

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