I thought I’d try an exercise in writing serial fiction. My objective is to get an installment out on the last Sunday of every month. This isn’t going to be novel length – maybe four or five installments. I thought it would be interesting to see how a narrative develops in this format. So far, it looks like the story is leaning toward horror, or possibly Sci Fi, or maybe some combination of the two. I’m not quite sure how this is going to go. Questions and comments are always welcome.
It was not a dark and stormy night, and that was the scary part. If it had been, Jeremy could have chalked it up to an overactive imagination brought on by watching one too many paranormal videos on Youtube. As it turned out, it was a bright sunny day in mid autumn. There was no doubting his senses.
He was sitting on a bench outside Hannah Hall waiting for his sort-of-girlfriend, Chloe, to finish her French exam. He wasn’t sure if it was a date or not, but whatever it was, they were going to walk to the student union for a bite to eat. It was hard to get a read on her. She said she didn’t like to put labels on things, and Jeremy accepted that because she was very eccentric, and highly intelligent. She was also smokin’ hot, so he decided to wait awhile longer to see how things would play out.
Chloe came walking out of the building at about a quarter ‘til two. Jeremy realized she had finished her exam in fifteen minutes. He wondered how she ended up at a mediocre state university when she clearly had Ivy League brains. He wondered about a lot of things. She told him her parents split up when she was a kid, and she was shuffled between grandparents, aunts, uncles, and foster homes until she was eighteen. She said she had lived just about everywhere in the country, but she didn’t think of any place as home.
Chloe descended the stone stairs, looking quite stunning. She was tall and tan with dark hair, and blue eyes like glacial ice. A lot of people thought she wore colored contact lenses, but that wasn’t the case. It was just in her genes. And in her jeans, Jeremy chuckled to himself. He was an English major – always on the lookout for puns, especially bawdy ones.
He waved to her, and she waived back. He had a cheesy line he was going to say to her in French: Ça t’a fait mal quand tu es tombée du ciel ? He had practiced the pronunciation for a solid half hour, and he felt like he had it down fairly well. It translates to something like, Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven? He thought she’d get a kick out of it, or at least appreciate the effort. But what he saw next made him forget the line. In fact, it made him forget about his notions of reality.
Chloe began to blink on and off, as if phasing out of existence. Then, in mid-stride, she vanished completely. Jeremy wanted to scream out for her, but terror had crystallized in him. He was unable to move or think. A diffuse fog appeared in the space she had occupied. It collected in roughly human form, and drifted toward him. The fog seemed to gain density and opaqueness as it closed the distance, becoming less like a vapor and more like a syrupy liquid, then like sand, and finally, Chloe was restored in her entirety.
She plopped down on the bench next to him and said dramatically, “I’m so glad that exam is over. I think I got an A, or a high B at worst.”
Jeremy’s faculties were jolted back to life, and he stood abruptly and took a big step backward.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Chloe, what just happened?”
“I finished my exam, silly. Now we’re gonna get lunch.”
“Tell me what just happened.”
“I’m sorry, Jeremy. You weren’t supposed to see that. There are glitches, sometimes.”
“Tell me what just happened. Please.”
“Don’t pry,” she said.
“They have cameras all over campus. I’ll get the surveillance video.”
“Go home, Jeremy. Go out with your friends tonight. Forget about this.”