Chain Reaction

It was Paul's first ever story. He didn't have a clue how good it was. He'd put it up on his website and with a bit of luck, he'd get some feedback. But for the moment, he was just happy to have made a coherent whole out of one of the ideas which flooded into his mind the moment he found the role of film in the dresser. This was precisely the stimulation he needed. He'd been toying around with writing for months, and knew all about 'using your imagination' and asking yourself 'what if?' But finding the roll of film was a godsend.

His first reaction had been to get the film developed. He soon thought better of it. It was unlikely to be of any earth-shattering importance. Besides, there would always be time enough for that later. No, if he wanted to write, he couldn't be burdened by the truth. No, if his imagination was to be allowed to run riot, then it had to be free of any clutter reality might bring.

He sat down at his desk and started sketching out the two characters that impressed himself on his mind. Lovers, secret lovers. So secret, that neither knew of the other's love. Too many obstacles existed for any sort of declaration yet. But their love would hold true and one day...

He took long walks with his hero learning to look and think like as he did. Patrick, his name was, and as they walked together through the hills that surrounded the West Wales countryside, Paul felt he was slowly getting to grips with him. Patrick was not what you would call a handsome man. Tall, at nearly six feet with earthy, brown hair and a freckled face. He was a quiet man, not given to many words, but day Paul visited his small cottage he instantly found the window into his soul.

Trying to capture Isabella's essence was a different matter. Decorum and a touch of shyness would not permit him to take long walks, even imaginative ones, with her as he did with Patrick. And so Isabella remained a distant creature, which only served to add to the aura she emitted, fuelled by her ravishing looks and her more than mysterious background. What was obvious, however, was Patrick's love for the mysterious orphan girl he'd grown up with; an unusual match in the eyes of most of the

Scene by scene Paul composed his story in bold, broad strokes, adding in just a touch of detail here and there when it proved necessary. But the penultimate scene, however, needed much more care. This was to be the climax of his narrative and Paul ran it through in his mind's eye a hundred different times, before he felt he was getting near to what he wanted. Every detail had to be exactly right: Patrick tiptoeing through the great hall of Webberly mansion, the roll of film in his hand; the burst of laughter coming from the dining hall which told him Isabella's dinner party was not yet over. He pictured Patrick carefully taping the roll to the underside of the small dresser before slipping out of the side door and vanishing into the darkness just as snow began to fall. But all Patrick's care not to be seen was in vain. The moment he reached the yard one of the lodge dogs started barking, attracting Isabella's attention. Patrick scurried away into the shadows. He didn't want to be seen; that would spoil everything. He'd have to explain and he'd never been a one for words. His only hope was for Isabella to discover the film; the photos would speak a far clearer message than he ever would.

Patrick was too late however. But the moment Isabella saw him, she needed no further explanation. She understood. And her heart melted. And so we leave our reader with this one last picture of a woman battling her way through the gathering snow along the path to true love.

And the roll of film with the tell-tale photographs. It was quite simple forgotten in the ecstasy of new-found love. Forgotten that is until one day, a prompt appeared on the Write Stuff website and Paul wondered how he could turn this prompt into a story he could put up on his blog.


What a wonderful tale. I love the way you've woven it all together and the way you describe the creation and fleshing out of the characters.

25 April 2008 at 15:30  

Beautiful! The roll of film becomes a classic McGuffin - we don't need to know anything more about it, other than it brings us into Patrick and Isabella's world, via the (fictional) Paul's imagination (itself the imagination of the real Paul).

Very clever use of the prompt there.

26 April 2008 at 01:21  

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