by thefourpartland

A tile clicked under Thia’s foot. She cursed, and held still, her eyes searching. A glint. She dropped, rolling off the edge of the roof.

The landing hurt, her ankles howling in pain. Thia ignored them and ran. A left, two rights, straight, then dive through a window. A thud sounded on the frame. Throwing knife.

She ran for the bathroom, diving into the open pit and the stream that washed it clean. Thia brought a knife to hand, and waited.

No sound.

A movement.


The knife flew. Someone grunted and died.

A whoosh, and the room above grew bright. Glassfire! Thia dropped into the water, letting the stream carry her away. If she was lucky, she’d find another cesspit before drowning. If not, well, it happened.


A thin glow.


Thia gasped, cursed, and ducked. A knife splashed into the water next to her.

They’d catch her here, or at the next pit. Still, she had to try.

The stream carried her as far as her lungs held.

Arms pulled her from the water, and her eyes showed Thia a ring of masks, most scarred. None carried visible weapons.

“You failed.”

Thia slumped, nodding.

A knife slipped under her chin, lifting her eyes to the mask in the centre.

“You aren’t good enough any more, big sister. I’m sorry.”

The world dimmed.


  1. Icy Sedgwick on 02.11.2011

    The short sentences really work to give this a frenetic, desperate pace.

  2. Deanna Schrayer on 02.11.2011

    I agree with Icy, James. You can feel her desperation and emphaize with her. Good job!

  3. Emma Newman on 02.11.2011

    Icy nailed it – punchy, pacey sentences work really well here :o)

  4. @lil_monmon on 02.11.2011

    Franetic. Icy picked a good word. Very nice. I always imagine I’ll meet my fate at the hand of my brother too.

  5. Adam B on 02.12.2011

    Like other commentators have said, the short, sharp structure give it pace and ends with a moment of stomach-turning despair.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  6. The Four Part Land on 02.12.2011

    I’m glad you all liked the short sentence structure. I was a little worried that I had overdone the use of them, given that they are almost the entire piece. I did want to create a story where very little information was shared, and where the story moved in a way that reflected the point of view.

    I had more in mind in the background as to what the main character was doing, but, as with many stories, I thought it was best to leave that to the reader.

    Thank you all

  7. TEC4_Cleveland on 02.12.2011

    I have to echo what everyone else said — the pacing and structure of this was really excellent. I was pulled into her fear, and eventually her resignation. Well done!

  8. Lara Dunning on 02.12.2011

    I agree with Icy, the frantic nature of the scene is really shown by the sentence structure and layout.

  9. The Four Part Land on 02.13.2011

    Thanks to the both of you, glad you liked it. I suppose I should play more with very short sentence structures.

  10. Aidan Fritz on 02.13.2011

    Great action sequence. I like the approach you took to leave the backdrop and history as thin threads behind the action. I created a rich world in my mind.

  11. The Four Part Land on 02.15.2011

    I’m wondering if I should try making a story where there is almost no background at all, and then ask the readers for their impressions as to what is happening. I think it would prove interesting.

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