Monday, October 12, 2009

Finish the Tale ...

by Santa Byrnes

There’s a strange little house I pass by every day that’s, well, caught my fancy. It’s a square red brick house set back from the road a bit. The bricks have lost their vibrant new brick color and have faded. Its façade is as non-sequential as its shape. Mirror image windows set on either side of a plain black door while above it a porch door opens onto nothingness.

Every day, like clockwork, a woman walks the perimeter of the yard to the left side of the house. The grey of her sweats matches the grey of the yard she walks in. She sets her pace along imaginary lines, her face hidden beneath the bill of a baseball cap pulled low over her eyes.

But then she disappeared as quickly as she appeared. Was it because the weather became warmer, negating the need for such heavy armor? No sooner had my writer’s mind set about continuing the story she’d started in my head, the building began. Truckloads of wood planks followed the delivery of tall metal posts set ten feet apart along the same perimeter she’d walked. Did the tread marks of her sneakers create a plum line for the builder?

The planks went up next, taller than any man, rivaling the height of the house next to it. Curtains in the windows on the left lifted, seeming to chance a sidelong glance at what was being done right in its own backyard.

So, my writer’s mind began to work out a story about that lady. Who was she? Why come out and walk the same pattern every day? And where did she disappear to? Why did a fence have to go up and why so high?

I thought it would be fun, as a group, to finish this lady’s story. Give me your take on the tale or piggyback on what the person before you has posted. Who’s game?

BIO:    My name is Santa Byrnes and I am a contemporary romance writer with one completed manuscript under my belt and one that I am working on at the present. When I am not wearing my writer’s tiara, you can find me at the wheel of my car chauffeuring my children heather and yon to their various activities. I write there. I don my deli diva tiara as co-owner and manager of my family’s gourmet food store. I also write there. As an ardent foodie, I get much of my inspiration for the current series I am working on. My heroines are chefs whose passions for the culinary arts rivals the passions they share with the heroes in their lives.


  1. I'm picking up the pen, Santa....

    She was a bad daughter, a bad sister.
    She heard it often enough that she no longer defended herself. She was bad. But the fence would be her saving grace.
    It was high enough, strong enough to keep them all in. For if they ever got out there would be hell to more ways than one.
    She was a bad daughter, a bad sister.

  2. Nice blog, Santa. I'm off today which means getting a ton of errands done so my brain is in a million other places. But I'll check in later and see if the imagination has kicked in.

    Though I can't help but think this woman is clearly a prisoner in her own home. I keep thinking of that movie Sleeping With The Enemy.


  3. She's a faded movie star, fallen into suburban obscurity. But she remembers that stalker, and has heard he's getting released. Will he find her again? Not with the electrified fence. If he does, he'll be one crispy critter.

  4. What fun!!! I'm going to piggyback with Maggie.

    She'd fallen for his lies and charms once before and thought his love was true. She'd thought he was the one man who say beyond the high dollar movie contracts and red carpets. But when the conspiracy to swindle her had been brought to her attention by the sexy FBI agent she hadn't listened to his protests of innocence.

    He's out now and still proclaiming his love for her. Who should she believe? The man she gave her heart and soul to or the agent who saved her life.

  5. Ooh, I like this! Who is this FBI Agent, anyhow?

    Seven years ago, detective Max Powers had been so starstruck by Lena Hampton's blonde cinematic beauty, he'd allowed his feelings to cloud his judgement. By the time he learned her stalker's identity, it was almost too late--he rescued her from the madman's clutches, but not before the stalker left his mark: a long scar down the side of her face, which ended Lena's movie career and served as Max's reminder that he must never again give into their forbidden attraction.

    But now, the stalker is about to be released from prison, and Lena once again needs his help. His task: defend the electrically-charged perimeter fence surrounding her home...without allowing her to breach the walls around his heart.

  6. Hi Santa!

    I LOVE how you write! this is so much fun. I wonder if I can talk you into letting me read your first book? hmm.

    As for the fence, and where she vanishes to? My paranormal mind has all sorts of ideas, and my dd's taste in TV have me thinking maybe she works with Perry the Platypus ;). ~Laura T

  7. Great idea for a blog post, Santa! I'm not in a creative enough frame of mind right now to add to the story, but I love everyone's contributions. And Tessa, you've got the start of a great novel there!


  8. Such fun, San!

    No wall is high enough to keep out the fear. It is insidious, a stalker more dangerous than the man who left her with the scar on her face, more tenacious than the man who left the scars on her heart. Lena can feel its chill fingers at the nape of her neck. It’s voice fills her days with terror and haunts her nights.

    “You are nothing,” the voice says. “A ruin fit only for the trash heap.” Sometimes the voice sounds like her father. Its thunder is louder than the noise of the outside world, louder than the beat of her pounding heart. “More bitter than death,” it says, “is the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap, whose hands are chains.”

    “More bitter,” Lena whispers.

  9. Oooh, these are all so good. Great blog, San!!

    I like the idea of the fence going up to keep something IN!!

  10. . ooo I want more! I am going to try: (sorry for the spelling... it's a busy day today lol I wrote inbetween a lot of crazy stuff LOL)

    I'm going to hop on Tessa's & Janga's since I didn't write a story:

    Max watched the prison gates. From inside his rented Toyota, the only thing that warmed him was his coffee and his anger. In cases like these, where the system failed, he wanted to be the one to fix it. Lena couldn't know he was about to call in a few favors, she couldn't know that he was going to be a permenant fixture in her life. Yet.

    He'd been assigned her case, and with the help of some of his FBI buddies, nothing would harm Lena again. But as long as she held onto the bitterness... he wasn't sure how he could get through to her heart.

    The gates opened, and out walked a man that incited such an anger in Max that he was more dangerous than any man in the prison.

    The paper coffee cup folded beneath the stength of his grip. Hot coffee spewed from it, covering his shirt and jeans. He looked away from the tiny waif like man, and swore at the coffe.

    Frustrated, he grabbed his running sweatshirt to sop up some of the mess, glanced back up to the gates, but Jason Hendrix had dissappeared

  11. I love where this is going! Much better than my family triangle idea. Let me think and I'll be back to jump in....someplace.

  12. She was safe here, Lena told herself. No one knew where she was, and she certainly didn't have to worry about the paparazzi ferreting her out. They'd lost interest a long time ago, but that was hardly surprising.

    Lena wasn't under any illusions that her acting skills had landed her on the cover of Vogue. She was -- had been -- a pretty face, nothing more. And when she'd lost her looks, the world had lost interest.

    A world that included Max Powers.

    Seven years should have been enough time for the hurt to fade. She'd been with other men who'd only wanted her for her looks, so why should he be any different? The man had saved her life, for chrissakes. She should be eternally grateful, not endlessly bitter that he'd broken off their affair as soon as he'd seen her scars.

    The scars on her face hadn't hurt nearly as badly as the ones his leaving had left on her heart.

  13. Ooh, great writing! I don't have anything to add. I've been writing all day and my brain is blank but if y'all ever decide to team up to write a book I'll be first in line to buy it. This is terrific!


  14. Hi, Santa here. I have to post as anonymous for some reason.

    Wow, you guys are amazing! I've been popping in from my Blackberry but, alas, could not figure out how to post from there to guys are amazing. I love where you've taken this story.

    Here's my spin on the next scene

    Lena paced within the confines of the fencing, her usual course blocked by the latest contraption her gardener had brought in. He'd said the wood chipper would come in handy. She touched the cool metal of flaming red around its engine. Lena craned her neck to follow the shaft up to the top where its neck seemed to peer over the fencing to the outside world.

    The outside world. She'd held reign over it all. At once tigress and kitten, she went in front of millions with nerves of steel and faced the nastiest papparazzi with the aplomb of a queen.

    Ah, yes, she'd been glorious then but she felt nauseous at the very idea of facing one single human being. And who would be the first person be since she built these infernal walls but Max. She tried to smile at the irony of it all but her lips only lifted half way, lanced in two by a razor's edge.

    And though the breath of his name sent shivers down her spine, she still fought to quell the lingering bitterness his leaving left in her mouth.

    From somewhere deep inside she found the resolve to steady her nerves and go back into the house to await his arrival. He said he had news. What news could he have after all these years?

    Any other takers? I'll pop by again in a little while. The night is still young for me.

  15. Great stuff, everyone. Don't have anything to add (brain drought), but I have loved reading all your answers.