Now Write Exercise Two – Jule Selbo
- Pick the clear genre (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or thriller – I picked horror)
- The first scene needs to make it clear and also introduce the character
- List possible sub-genres to support your story (I picked paranormal)
- Frame the story in the overriding genre
** So I didn’t feel like this really gave me an “exercise to work with so I incorporated the last one a little bit with the random image generator to give me a jump off point. Image 1 – Lighthouse Image 2 – Woman on the roof in the rain **
Elysia stood under the cover of the captain’s cabin and stared ahead of the ship with a squint against the pounding rain. The silhouette of the lighthouse was barely visible, but it was there. A thin smile spread across her lips and she turned back to the others in the cabin.
Jim and Oliver huddled over the map in the corner and their captain, Alexander, kept his eyes on the window and his hands on the wheel.
“We’re nearly there,” Elysia said, and Jim and Oliver looked up.
“Are you sure this is the place?” Jim said. His fingers traced their route on the page, and then he slumped back in his chair. “I can’t tell anymore. I feel like the storm has turned us around eight times.”
“This is the place. Go look for yourself.” Elysia perched on the edge of the table and waved towards the door.
The men stood and inched across the unstable floor to look out into the night. They stared for a long time before they came back over to Elysia.
“Okay. So, it’s the place.” Jim scratched his stubbly chin and frowned. “But is it really here?”
“He’s here,” Elysia said simply.
The men exchanged a look. They hadn’t gotten on board with calling it he… but Elysia never wavered in her resolve. Her research told her all she needed to know, and it all pointed to this spot. All of her wildest dreams were about to be realized. Or that was the plan, anyway.
“Approaching the dock,” Alexander said without turning to look at them. “It’s going to be a little rough. Go ready the rope.”
Jim and Oliver stood and donned their raincoats before they disappeared out onto the deck. Once they’d left, Alexander glanced back at Elysia.
“How long do you think you will take in there?” He asked.
Elysia stood and came to stand next to him in the window. Her eyes lit up when she saw the lighthouse right outside, larger than she had imagined and just as magnificent.
“If I my research is correct, the tomb is at the top. If there’s nothing guarding it, shouldn’t take long. But you never know.”
“Who would be out here guarding a lighthouse?” Alexander asked.
“Not who, what. Curses, most likely. Or maybe simple booby traps. They never thought anyone would figure it out.”
“Hmm…” Alexander steered the boat up against the dock and there was a thud of metal against wood.
They watched Jim and Oliver throw the rope over the pole nearest them and pull the knot tight. They added two more for good measure against the rough water and then waved for Elysia to come out.
“If we’re not back in an hour, or if you don’t see us up at the top by then… we’re probably dead and you’re free to leave.” Elysia patted Alexander on the arm and then handed him a slip of paper. “The rest of your funds are here for you when you get back. Thank you for making the trip.”
“Of course. I’ll give you two hours, though. The storm will blow out eventually, and I’d rather wait for calmer skies before I journey back.”
Elysia tugged on her raincoat and stepped out onto the deck.
The three of them walked up the dock and climbed the uneven rock face of the island towards the door in the lighthouse’s base. None of them spoke until they’d gotten inside and out of the rain.
Oliver turned on his headlamp and the others followed suit. He looked around, found the staircase and walked up a few steps. Jim moved to follow, and Elysia tugged his arm to keep him next to her. She watched with a grin on her face.
Oliver looked back over his shoulder when he realized he was alone and frowned down at them. Then his face fell. “Shit,” he muttered.
“Keep going,” Elysia said, the manic gleam twinkling in her eyes.
Oliver gulped and did as she said. He went up three more stairs before the wall moved. He didn’t have time to scream before the shadow enveloped him and he disappeared.
“Run,” Elysia shoved Jim ahead of her and they sprinted up the steps to pass by where Oliver had vanished.
Jim didn’t let himself think about how he was in front now and he would be the next sacrifice. He knew what he’d signed up for. Seven steps after Oliver’s last one, the ground shook. But he kept moving. Elysia paused on that stair and watched.
Jim made it almost to the top before the bottom fell out and he tumbled forward into another shadowy figure. She heard him yell in shock more than in fear, and then she dashed up to the top and leapt to the landing. She clutched the doorframe to steady herself and took a deep breath.
This was it.
She opened the door and stepped into the illuminated room. She kept to the edge and inched around so that Alexander could see her through the window, but she didn’t turn to look out. Her eyes were on the casket under the light source.
Ancient runes were etched into the sides and chains wrapped the entire thing to keep it closed. With her two sacrifices gone, she steeled herself to the task at hand. She knelt down and crawled to the box and then pulled her lock picking kit from her bag.
She worked for several long minutes before she heard the click. The coffin shook under her hands and she sprang back against the wall and watched with terrified fascination.
The chains fell away, and the lid vibrated; unearthly light seeped out through the cracks and burned her eyes, but she couldn’t look away.
“Who has woken me?” A deep voice boomed through Elysia’s head and shook the windows behind her.
“I am Elysia,” She said in a firm voice. She was determined to not show her fear. Not now.
The lid slid to the side and the light shot out and around the room. Elysia had to cover her face to avoid being blinded. The hairs on her arms stood up, and a breeze lifted her hair off her shoulders.
“What do you want?” the voice still thundered through the room, but putrid breath wafted up her nostrils.
Fear bubbled in her at the idea of him being inches from her face, but she forced herself to open her eyes and look.
The skeletal face of her dreams was there, his skin stretched over the bones and the lips peeled back in a grin. But the eyes drew her in. They were silver pits, and they gleamed.
“I’m your granddaughter.”
A noise of disbelief came out of the creature’s mouth and the stench filled her nose again, but she held her ground.
“Great, great, great granddaughter.”
“Hmm…” he swooped backwards, and the shadows cloaked his figure. Once he was visible again, he was less of a skeleton and more of a man. “Stand.”
Elysia got to her feet at once and watched him move around the room.
“Who is out there?”
“Ship captain that brought me here.”
He waved a hand, and Elysia watched the ropes snap from the dock and the boat flew backwards. She gasped when a wave nearly capsized it, but it remained upright, and she knew Alexander could keep it steady to save himself.
“How will we get back?” she said before she’d considered the words.
“We?” He scoffed.
In a blink, he stood in front of her again and she had to crane her neck to look up into his face.
“Now,” he said, “What do you want?”
“Power,” she whispered.
The light in his eyes twinkled, and a ghost of a grin tweaked the corner of his lips.
The smile was there now, and he took her hand. “Let’s go.”
With a wave, the glass fell away from the window frames and he pulled her up into the sky behind him. A moment of panic spread through her before the weightlessness settled in and she felt the pure freedom of flying through the rain. They flew back towards the mainland and she knew she would have what was rightfully hers.