A little while ago I wrote a short story for the L. Ron Hubbard "Writers of the Future Contest". I did not win, and I know why, my story is really more horror than Science Fiction or Fantasy. But I decided that I will post each chapter here on my blog. There are 37 very short chapters, for a total of 15,000 words, about a fifth of a modern novel. Here is the start.
Allison was breathing, and for that Todd was grateful, but regardless he remained rattled. He held her, jostling her in his arms. Light phrases like, “Come on, Ali,” and “Please, Ali, please talk to me,” were repeated again and again until his phone rang. Todd clawed into his pocket for it, holding Allison to his chest with one arm, her head resting on his shoulder.
“Todd, this is Jenna with Hat Rack, we have some ideas for you. Is Allison with you?” Jenna had worked with Todd and Allison before. She was nice and knowledgeable, but really hated the hands-on work, so she dealt with the computers and phones.
Todd was slowly coming to grips with how he was sitting with a motionless colleague, talking to a distant source of help about a problem that was becoming all too real. “She’s here… mostly.”
“Allison came under some kind of attack or something," said Todd, biting his lip. "I don’t really know enough about her… powers to give a real assessment.”
“How bad does she look? Do you need an ambulance?” Jenna’s voice had the distinct creep of extreme worry and the sound of fingers moving across keys played in the background.
Todd looked at Allison’s limp form and realized that he had no idea what to do. “Yeah, you need to send one. I’ll call you back once we’re at the hospital.” He hung up.
“Todd wait-” Jenna had already been trying the local dispatch and couldn't get through. Jenna sent in the message to the local 911 dispatcher via email, phone, fax, and then slumped. She hit dial back to Todd and got nothing. She was out of contact.
A hand patted her shoulder, “Relax Jenna, he'll call back. Then we’ll give Todd some options, and things will begin to turn back in our favor. Everything will work out.” The man was slight and smart, he had the reassuring sound of experience in his voice, and so Jenna felt better.