A Chapter by Jooolie


              The patterned flicker of the red light caught his attention as the distant sound of the last wailing sirens echoed among the buildings and through his torn window screen. He let out a cough as he adjusted his black-rimmed glasses and ran a hand through his blonde hair, then reached out to tweak the camera’s angle. The tripod was settled in the middle of his small apartment and his blinds were opened so as to let the perfect amount of fading sunlight shine into the room. In his beaten-down recliner, he sat directly in front of the camera and behind him, stuck to the cold brick wall, were pictures.
One Polaroid snapshot included a group of six young men and women, laughing and embracing each other as their smiles were illuminated by the flash of a bar’s neon sign. To the right of the photo was a newspaper clipping of a politician during a public speech. An intense gaze loomed on the man’s determined face, and his outstretched arms were raised above his podium. Two more glossy photos were set up below; one, an unfocused image of a gaunt, dark-haired man waving casually to the photographer and the other, a middle-aged woman smiling patiently at the camera. 
He rose from his seat and stepped away from the photographs as he slowly crept through the small opening beneath his plastic window frame and onto the fire escape. He had once been comforted when standing there; it helped him clear his mind from the built-up stress of law school. The lights from the distant Manhattan skyline usually calmed him, but this time was much different. 
The city had once held a lively feeling, an attribute he loved most about the area. Most days, walking through the large crowds and gazing up at the looming architecture made him feel unreal, as if he was not truly there but simply observing it all from a film. Now its urban feeling was gone. The sense of humanity had vanished. 
He looked down onto the street below him and noticed the usual sidewalks, the usual buildings, the usual essence he had known for the past three years. The sight of a homeless man captured his attention and a feeling of shock crossed his mind as he observed the hunched, limp posture of the beggar, still grasping a small bottle of liquor in his hand. It was a common image to his part of town but this time, he knew the man was not just unconscious from a typical drunken stupor; this man was dead. The lifeless, glazed eyes stared out, as if examining the surrounding pavement, while a slight breeze silently drifted a single page of newspaper across the concrete.
The brief piece of comfort he had momentarily received from the skyline vanished, and he decided to return to his apartment after one last farewell to his sacred city view. He once again sat back in the recliner, his hands clenched together as he hunched limply and stared at the floor below him. He was finally ready, he thought. This would be it. The small, blinking red light again caught his eye as it flashed from the side of the camera, and he focused his gaze on the lens. The city streets became silent as he let out a sigh and reached out to press down on the button labeled “record.”

© 2011 Jooolie

My Review

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Very intriguing intro. I actually read this a while back but for some reason didn't review back then. Anyway I love this prologue. It abounds with mystery. What secrets does he have to tell and who is he recording it for? The world? A friend or lover? Very good start

Posted 11 Years Ago

Pretty good stuff here. Only real issue I had was that some of the sentences felt a bit long and dragged out. Some of them seemed to be crammed with a lot of information.
"He looked down onto the street below him and noticed the usual sidewalks, the usual buildings, the usual essence he had known for the past three years."
Maybe try something like:
"He looked down onto the street below him and noticed the usual. The sidewalks. The usual buildings The usual essence he had known for the past three years."
Just an idea I noticed.

Posted 13 Years Ago

For some reason from the first paragraph I got the impression that 'he' was an old man, so law school kind of threw me. I'm not sure what it is in your style that gives the air of old man, but it was there. That being said, it was an interesting introduction to the story, and I will certainly continue reading it.

Posted 13 Years Ago

Interesting...leads with a fine thread.

Posted 13 Years Ago

I think this is very decent as an intro:)

Posted 13 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Added on September 19, 2010
Last Updated on March 18, 2011



The city with the water tower, IA

I'm a sophomore in Journalism/Mass Communication and in the process of some sweet novel-writing. I thoroughly enjoy show tunes and I don't care who knows. I really like reading short stories an.. more..

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