Monday, March 12, 2018

First paragraphs

Sometimes the first paragraph in a book is a short sentence, sometimes it's a longer paragraph. I've put together here all my first paragraphs.

HUSK

Labor Day weekend is always a good time to pick up students hitchhiking, but that wasn’t why I pulled into the rest stop on the Massachusetts Turnpike. While I had fourteen empty burlap sacks in the back of the van that needed to be filled before heading back home, along with more than
enough rope and gags to take care of things, I didn’t expect to be picking up any of them here. While there’s always the chance of finding a hitchhiker at a place like this, it’s a small one and I was expecting that most of the stragglers I’d be getting would be in cities off the Turnpike. Hartford, Bridgeport, and if need be, New Haven. For this trip I hoped to get mostly students. They were generally healthier and leaner than the usual types – the prostitutes, drifters, homeless, and other such stragglers that I’d often have to collect. Students also tended to carry more books, clothes, and money on them than those others, all of which was good to bring back to the homestead. If I ended up needing those others to fill up the back of the van, I would. But I was hoping for mostly students.

CRUEL written as Jacob Stone 

The rat grew frantic in its efforts to escape the trap, its front claws a blur as they scratched against the wire mesh. This one was older than the juveniles already collected, and showed the scars of a lifetime spent skulking through Los Angeles alleyways and sewers. Half of one ear had been torn off, its grayish-black fur matted, and a dozen wounds scabbed over. While the rat was larger than the others, it was still emaciated enough to be able to squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter. Rats like this one were crucial for what was coming.

EVERYTHING ENDS HERE

A wet, stickiness covers my right hand. I don’t want to look down at it, not yet anyway, and I squeeze my eyes closed instead. As I stand there in the shadows I try to remember how not too long ago I had a life. Fuck, I actually had work, a wife, a home, friends, even a future. And now look at me. My mind wanders as I find myself wondering how I arrived at this point. These thoughts are fleeting.

MALICIOUS written as Jacob Stone

The killer sat naked in front of the mirror and put in the cosmetic contact lenses to change his eyes
from brown to blue. Nine months ago, he’d shaved his head, and since then used a razor each week to keep up his bald appearance. He now carefully attached a hairpiece to his scalp that made him look as if he had neatly trimmed sandy brown hair. It was an expensive hairpiece, and the killer was pleased with the way it altered his appearance. After taking a moment to admire the hairpiece, he glued on a matching goatee. Earlier that morning he had shaved off his eyebrows, and he now glued on fake ones that were the same color as the hairpiece and goatee. He had other fake eyebrows that matched his natural hair color. Later when he removed his disguise, he would use those until his eyebrows grew back.

THE INTERLOPER

Dan Willis watched through a pair of binoculars as his target left his house through a side door to collect the morning newspaper. The target was one Brian Schoefield. Age thirty-seven, average height, and carrying an extra sixty pounds that made him appear soft with fat sausage-like arms and legs. He wore a bathrobe and slippers, both worn and tattered, and Willis could make out that Schoefield also wore a stained tee shirt under his robe. Probably boxers, too, but that was only a guess on Willis’s part. Overall, Schoefield had a pasty look about him.

CRAZED written as Jacob Stone
Griffin Bolling broke out laughing, partly from outrage, but mostly from the lunacy of what he was reading.

THE BOY WHO KILLED DEMONS

My name’s Henry Dudlow. I’m fifteen and a half, and I’m cursed. Or damned. Take your pick.

DERANGED written as Jacob Stone

As usual, Henry Pollard made sure that he was so gentle that he could’ve been cleaning dust off a dragonfly’s wing as he sponged the soap suds from his wife’s ruined body. He tried not to think about how much Sheila had physically deteriorated, but at times he’d let his guard down and his thoughts would absently drift to the subject, and it would stun him. The accident happened five years ago, back when his wife was only thirty-three. A robust woman brimming with strength and good health, and at five feet six inches and one hundred and forty-five pounds, she certainly wasn’t overweight, more buxom and full-figured. To Henry, she had been breathtakingly beautiful.

MONSTER

For far too many years Victor Frankenstein’s outrageous fabrication has stood unchallenged. I cannot blame Captain Walton for his role in this, for he was most likely an honorable man who was duped by Frankenstein’s egregious lies; lies told for no other reason than to save the reputation and name of a sinister and black-hearted man, a man who had willingly spent his life in the service of the devil. Nor can I blame Mary Shelley for further putting these lies to paper once they had found their way to her. The truth, though, is that Frankenstein was hardly the tragic figure that he so skillfully presented to Captain Walton, nor did he create his abomination out of a youthful, but misguided obsession. Instead, he was a man of a most depraved nature and spirit; his true intention being to create his own Hell on earth. I know all of this because I, Friedrich Hoffmann of Ingolstadt, am the very same abomination that Frankenstein brought forth into the world. And, despite my hardest efforts, I have not been able to leave it.

A KILLER'S ESSENCE

Back in 1972 I was seven years old and always tagging along after my older brother, Mike. This was before the attention you have today on child abductions and pedophiles—that evil existed, shit, it has probably always existed, but it wasn’t on TV or the news much, if at all. You didn’t have CNN and the Internet to focus on it twenty-four seven, and as a result a lot of parents didn’t think about it. Back then it wasn’t all that unusual for a seven year-old and a bunch of ten year-olds to spend their afternoons hanging around their Brooklyn neighborhood unsupervised. And that was what Mike and his friends and I used to do, at least when he and his friends couldn’t shake me, and I was a tough little bugger to shake back then, just as I am now.

BLOOD CRIMES
The Door’s Riders on the Storm was playing on the car radio and for a few blessed seconds Jim
closed his eyes and let the music roll over him.

THE CARETAKER OF LORNE FIELD

Jack Durkin let out a groan as his wife, Lydia, dropped a bowl of corn flakes in front of him.

JULIUS KATZ AND ARCHIE

“What do I want from you? Simple. Find out who’s planning to kill me.”

OUTSOURCED

The bar was mostly empty, which was typical for a Wednesday at two in the afternoon. Dan Wilson had the bartender pour him a Guinness Draft and a Harpoon IPA, and brought the beers back to a table in the corner where his companion, Shrinivas Kumar, sat waiting.

KILLER

“What if I gave them Salvatore Lombard?”

PARIAH

To Ed.: I was more than a bit rushed in writing this, as I’m sure you can tell from both what follows and all the newspaper accounts that must’ve come out since. All I had time for was one quick read through and scribbling a few notes. Feel free to use them as you wish. – K. N.

SMALL CRIMES

This was going to be our last game of checkers. Usually we played in my cell; this last game, though, we were playing in Morris’ office. Over the last seven years we had played tens of thousands of games. Every fourth or fifth game I’d win, the rest I’d let him beat me.

BAD THOUGHTS

The fingers on his right hand—the ones that had been broken and mangled when he was thirteen—were being squeezed hard, forcing him to move through the cold and darkness. He tried to fight it, tried to see who it was behind him, but the grip on his fingers tightened, heightening the pain. He gave up and let himself be pushed forward

BAD KARMA

Bill Shannon ran hard from his apartment to the juice and coffee shop on the eastern end of Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall where he was going to meet Eli Rosen. He did this partly to keep from being any later than the extra ten minutes Eli had given him, and partly as a challenge to see whether he could run a half mile in under three minutes. When he arrived at Juiced Up he leaned forward, resting his hands on his knees while trying to get his breathing under control. A quick look at his watch showed that he had made it in just over three minutes. His eyes wandered down his wrist to the stubs where his ring and middle fingers used to be. Five and a half years ago they were ripped from his hand. This was the first time since then that he had gone out in public with his damaged right hand exposed. He
straightened up and entered the shop.

FAST LANE

If I was lucky Debra Singer was still in Denver, and if she was, East Colfax would be a good bet. East Colfax was always a good bet for runaway teenagers.

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