The Ink Well Contest: Week One Draft - Walk

in The Ink Well3 months ago (edited)


This is my entry to The Ink Well community Two-Weeks Short story contest.

Every story submitted to the contest has to be based on one of 50 loglines. Logline I have chosen as an inspiration is:

A man walks into a bar… in a ghost town; bizarrely, the place is packed and the atmosphere is hostile.


A man walks into a bar in a ghost town. Bizarrely, the place is packed and the atmosphere is hostile. The air is stuffy from the strong smell of cheap cigarettes and drinks. Winding pillars of cigarettes smoke rise from the tables, forming a large cloud beneath the ceiling. Must be the people at this place don't take care of their outfit. They are worn, messy, unshaved... Judging by the holes in their mouth, they don't take care even of their teeth. They give him the stink eye while he walks towards the bar. He reminds of the words of ancient wise men: " If it is certain that there will be a fight, hit first and hit strong."

"Whiskey," he says as he elbows against the bar.

The barman put a glass before him and pour whiskey in the.

"Cheers!" He raises the glass to the people and takes a sip.

"Fuck you!" A man with a chuckhole hat points at him. "We know who are you and why you're here."

"Really?!" He exclaims. "That's great! I just asked myself how to explain my situation and ask someone for help."

"You won't get help here," chuckhole says. "You better get out of here and commission to the company..."

"Take it easy, Dex," some guy cut off the speech. "Don't be so rude to the stranger."

"I didn't finish, Joe!" Dex says.

He turns towards Dex and sees Gottfried sitting with his company at one table. There is one empty chair at Gottfried's table. So, Joe is Gottfried's man.

"Slow down, slow down, Dex!" Joe put his hand on his shoulder. "We have a stranger in trouble here. We need to help him!" There's a kind of sarcasm in Joe's voice.

Some people around laugh as Joe speaks to him.

"Sorry, I didn't introduce myself," He offered his hand. "Johannes, friends call me Joe!"

"Wyd," he says while shaking Joe's hand.

"Well, Wyd," Joe says. "As I can conclude, you lost your way. But don't worry, we can help you to find your way. But, at first, you have to tell me something. Do you know the face that was looking to the blue star for a while from here?"

"I do," Wyd says. "A shadow play."

People around are silent as they expect Joe to say something funny.

"We can help you to find the shadowy way to hell!" Joe laughs out loud.

Wyd grabs Joe by the collar, pulls him over, and then pushes him back as strong as he rolls over the table behind. Several people stand up for the fight, but Wyd ignores them and takes the glass. There is some powder-like mattery in the whiskey that doesn't melt well. Dex looks at him like a child caught with a finger in a cake.

"Drink it!" Wyd pushes the glass over the bar towards Dex. "Pour another one. Dex hands me a drink."

Dex pushes the glass aside, shortly nodes to the barman, and he pours another glass of whiskey for Wyd. People who want to fight Wyd are stunned by his behavior, so they don't know what to do.

"Why did you cut, Dex, if I've heard your name well?" He says. "He said that he already knows what kind of help I need."

"Dex, have we miss him through fists?" Someone says.

"Leave him alone!" Joe stands up. "That guy is skilled as hell. But he's not a company's mole."

"How can you be so sure?" Someone is distrustful.

"No mole strikes first, nor gives a reason for the trouble," Joe says.

Wyd drinks the whiskey and walks out. Now, he needs to take the best position to observe the bar. There's a dark corner in the next street. Near enough to take a detailed view of the bar. And far enough to be unnoticed. He puts a locator at the building doorway and walks to the dark across.

Someone is moving into the backyard of the bar. The soft light of the device in the hands is a clear sign. There's a mole, and sniffed something suspicious at Wyd. A drone flies from somewhere. It stands for a while before the doorway and flies further. The mole walks towards the building doorway where the locator is. Wyd steps back to the deeper dark. Now, Wyd's hypothesis comes true. The powder in the whiskey was a drug that company intelligence uses to extort pieces of information nonviolently. Dex is the mole.

Dex warily walks to the entrance taking an electric stick from the pocket. Suddenly jumps into the doorway. Wyd runs to him from behind and touches him with a shocking teaser. Dex falls unconscious. Wyd takes his arms and tows him to the dark corner. After he finished, he took the locator, set it to interfere with drones to recognize human bodies. There is nothing interesting in Dex's pockets. Just a little tablet device that moles use for operative work. Wyd won't take it. He lays it on Dex's chest. It will be enough to uncover him. Surely, someone in the bar is looking for Dex now. According to the way Dex left the bar, it must be he slipped through the small window in the toilet. People will walk out to look for him. And, when they find Dex together with his device... Dex will probably wake up from unconsciousness. No chance to give a good excuse for the spying device.

It's time for Wyd to check the paper that Joe put in his pocket a second before he was dropped to the table. Rebellions have well-trained methods for communication that avoid the company's control systems. They communicate in the way people communicated once upon a time on the Earth, with paper and pencil. No messages via wireless electronic devices, even if frequencies are protected. Every protection can be broken. Wyd unwraps the piece of paper. There's handwriting:


Although the town has been abandoned, tables with street names are still in their places. Wyd learned the town map before he came here, so he knows the streets like his pocket. He puts the cap with the drone interfering device on the head and walks to the address assigned in the code.

"Is that code he got from Joe right?" Wyd is thinking. "Joe was the first person who intervened in Dex's accusation. Does Joe work together with Dex? It can be they are a team, Dex accuses somebody, and Joe estimates if the accused is a rebellion or not. Then, Joe gives the information about the rebellions' base. But the base is a mousetrap. Am I going to the mousetrap? Is Aurora there?"

Wyd comes to the finish line, 72 Chipset Avenue. The of the old building is open. His footsteps echoing in the hallway. He goes downstairs to the basement. He stops to listen to any sound in some of the apartments. Nothing. Just a deaf silence. He opens the door of apartment number three. A woman sits at the table in the living room.

"Do you know the face that was looking to the blue star for a while from here?" She says.

"I do," Wyd says. "A shadow play."

"Stand before the mirror, please."

Wyd walks to the big wall mirror. He looks like a recluse after all his way to here.

"Welcome, Wyd," the known female voice says.

He turns aside. Aurora stands at the room door.

"Come this way," she says. "I'll take you to the base. The crew is waiting for you. All is ready, you just have to write the basic code."

"Let the Blue Star be with us," Wyd says. "Hope this is the first step to freedom."


Hello @vasigo ,
Unfortunately, the deadline for Week 1,first draft submission was July 25

Post the story to The Ink Well community by July 25.

We did informally allow a grace period of one day, but yesterday was it. This is two days late. In order to be fair, we have to hold everyone to the same rules.

Please feel free to write for the community in the future.

Thank you!

Hi @vasigo. This is an intriguing story. While you weren’t able to join our contest, I appreciate that you posted this imaginative tale in our community!

It is definitely in “first draft” state. I encourage you to improve the story for future readers. There are some words missing and misspelled. But it’s a good story in the making! If you do decide to revise it, think about how much information you reveal to the reader and when.

It feels as though we are left in the dark. We are never told who Aurora is, what the shadow play is, or really why the protagonist is on this mission. Those would be important details to include.

Thanks for encouragement suggestions, @jayna. You're right, I left you in the dark. Know why? Because I cut the story due to words count. But I dint't want to reveal the words count because it would disturb the idea of gradual development of the characters and conflicts. I continue the story and provide more information about the protagonist's mission and Aurora.

And, yes. I have to take care of misspelling and vocabulary.

If you want to know what the shadow play is, here the answer. Check the image source link to read the explanation of the image.


image source

Ah, interesting. Thanks for that link to the NASA site, @vasigo. I went to the link and read about it. That's really cool! But there's nothing there that says "shadow play."

I really like that haunting term in your story. I just think it needs to be explained within the story's context. Even one sentence would do!

I didn't see your second draft come through. It's too late to post the final draft now, as the deadline has passed, but you're welcome to edit the original draft if you choose.