Login   Sign Up 


Progression to Terror

by Mrbyte 

Posted: 20 October 2004
Word Count: 2425
Summary: An exercise, I decided to write something I wouldn't normally consider. I feel sometimes I can learn a lot from venturing outside of 'my' normal fare. WARNING This may be of disturbing subject matter to some, and contains sexual violence.

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

As she walked along the wet dimly lit street, her high heals clicked with rhythmic regularity. Cars hissed by, their head lights illuminating the drizzle as it fell.
Her skirt swung seductively from side to side, a hypnotic swaying that hinted at the treasures that lay behind its sharp pleats.
The girl couldn’t have been more than eighteen or nineteen. Her shoulder length blonde hair tied in a neat pony tail jolted with her every step. Her right hand rested on the shouldered handbag, relaxed and confident, while the left held aloft a simple red umbrella.
She walked past the side alley next to the cinema, not even glancing into the darkness that hid him.
The man emerged from the shadows and fell into step behind her, throwing an anxious glance up and down the street as he turned to follow her.
He knew where she was going he had seen her take this route before.
At the end of the street she would cross the road to the buss stop near the park. His breathing quickened in anticipation.
His long black trench coat glistened in the head lights of the passing cars. He dug his gloved hands deep into its pockets and leant forward against the elements, but his eyes never left her; they caressed her shapely figure and longed for more.

The girl took a brief look left and right then skipped off the curb and crossed to the bus stop on the other side of the road.
She entered the bus shelter and perched herself on the small plastic shelf that passed for a seat. Producing a mobile phone from her bag she began to cycle through the messages that appeared on the screen.
She flicked her eyes up from the phone as the man stepped under the shelter, he smiled and perched himself next to her, but not close enough for it to be uncomfortable.
“Filthy night” the man said his voice soft and uncertain.
The girl looked up again from her phone “yes”. She smiled at him almost dismissively then returned her gaze to the phone.
The man appeared to be in his mid thirties, thin faced and balding. He began to take off his glove, loosening the fingers one at a time, slowly as if preparing to perform some exquisite torture.
“Sorry” he said with a smile “do you know when the bus is due?”
There was no smile this time from the girl just an uninterested “any minute now”. She didn’t even look up from glowing screen she was so engrossed with.
“Thank you” The man whispered as he finally pulled the glove from his right hand.
His eyes slipped down from her face to her breasts, even hidden as they were beneath her short leather jacket, he could picture them, pert and round, the nipples pointing slightly upward.
Oh what exquisite torture this is, he thought.
The girl looked up and placed the phone quickly into her handbag as the bus turned the corner and sped the twenty yards toward the stop, its lights a beacon of warmth and security.
It came to a squeaking halt and the doors hissed open the girl jumped to her feet and in only two steps had mounted the bus. Flashing a pass to the driver and making her way down the isle to a seat at the back.
The man didn’t move shaking his head to the driver whose look enquired his intentions.
The door swished shut and the bus lurched away.
The man sat still. Only his hand moved, slowly, sliding along the green plastic shelf to wear the girl had sat. His finger tips sought the warmth that she had left behind, and as his fingers slipped over the place she had occupied he sucked in a deep breath savouring the thought that she had sat here only seconds ago the warmth a tempting reminder, a perfect sensation, a delicious gift.

The morning traffic was always bad, but this morning it was worse than Henry had ever seen it. He had sat on the bus for a good thirty minutes and it had hardly moved. He was going to be late.
Finally the bus had crawled past the obstruction, an accident, a woman pointing and screaming at an elderly gentleman whose meek and apologetic posture said it all. Their cars locked together in a twisted mess.
Henry looked with real heart felt sympathy for the abused old man. He knew how he felt.

Forty five minutes late, that evil bitch would make a meal of this. He slid in behind his desk and opened up a folder, may be she hadn’t noticed?
Lindsey watched Henry skulk into the office, late again she thought. It was getting a frequent thing with Henry. This was his forth time this month, though this was late even for him.
She massaged her temple as she considered her options. Since she had become the department manager he had been the problem child, there was always one. He seemed a nice enough man, just no energy, no drive. By rights this should have been his department long ago, but year on year he had been passed over by the powers that be. He seemed settled in his little niche.
She had tried to be a friend, tried to push him into some sort of action, but all to no avail he just seemed to resent her all the more she thought. She could understand to a certain extent, she was ten years his junior after all, that must rankle with him. Perhaps he had issues with having a woman as his superior; she considered this for a moment then decided that really was his problem not hers.
She stood up and walked over to his desk.
“Henry can I see you in conference one please?”
His eyes pleaded, but her body language left no doubt that she wouldn’t take excuses. Henry stood and meekly followed her into the room; he could feel the eyes of the others follow him as they savoured this latest humiliation.
The room featured one large table, twelve seats placed at perfect intervals around its perimeter. Henry filed past Lindsey as she stood holding the door open. He came to a stop with his back to her still facing the table.
“Take a seat Henry I think we better have a chat”
Henry pulled out the nearest chair and obediently sat down his head bowed and his hands clasped on his lap. He studied the polished sheen of the table top while he waited for the predictable diatribe to begin.
“You were late this morning?” Lindsey had pulled a chair out and placed it to his side at the head of the table only a couple of feet from him.
“It wasn’t my fault the bus was delayed. Some stupid woman had ran into a …”
“It never is your fault Henry”
Here we go, he thought, never mind the reason screaming at me will make it better.
Her lips were moving but his rage deafened him to their message. He just kept his eyes firmly fixed on the table nodding when it was necessary or required. He had all the experience he needed on how to weather this kind of storm, this was just like standing in the kitchen when mother would scream at him telling him how worthless he was…..
“You’re a waste of skin you stupid, stupid little shit” mothers’ face was twisted and angry as her hand would come flying down toward him. Mothers screaming stopped but Lindsey’s continued.
“Do you understand me Henry?” she said in a low calm tone “I cannot keep ignoring this. By rights I should have given you a verbal warning long ago” She lowered her head to meet his eyes with hers “This is your last chance….” There was a pause in the torrent of abuse, Henry thought what he could say to shut the witches mouth just for a second, but then she continued “Now those figures I asked you for, they are due on my desk tomorrow, they will be done won’t they?”
“Yes” Henry whispered back.
“Good, I knew you wouldn’t let me down”
“No, I won’t let you down. Thank you Lindsey”
bitch! Henry seethed his very being was trying to burst from him and place its hands round her neck and squeeze until she begged him for mercy. He closed his eyes to savour the scene a little longer and the exquisite sensations they gave him.
“Ok then we’ll say no more about this. You have a minute to compose yourself ok?”
She stood up and patted him awkwardly on the shoulder then left the room closing the door behind her.
She stood hands behind her holding the door handle letting out a deep breath slowly. Henry had always been a bit fragile, weird even, but she hadn’t expected him to start sobbing! Christ that had been awkward.
She looked over the room and raised her eyebrows to the smirking faces of the rest of the office; they all knew what she meant.

The figures the bitch wanted had took Henry a lot longer than he had thought they would, but he had still managed to get to the cinema in time, just.
He stood in the shadows of the alley waiting. Then from the street the familiar click of those heels. He smiled and edged closer to the mouth of the alleyway ready to follow.
The girl passed him, her attention fixed on her phone, thumb skipping across the keys as she typed some meaningless message. Henry stepped out behind her already the anticipation of their little game arousing him.
She crossed the road exactly fifteen paces in front of him; her skirt was shorter than ever Henry was sure he could see a hint of her white panties. Oh this was good this was the best it had ever been.
She took her seat at the end of the green plastic bench, just as Henry stepped off the curb and began to cross.
Her attention was still glued to the phone she held in her right hand, her thumb still flashing from one key to another with the adept skill that all the youth of today seemed to possess.
He smiled. The tease, she knew he was coming.
He had just reached the pavement when to his horror another man perched himself on the bench next to her. What was she doing? She knew the game, why isn’t she moving him on?
Henry sat down in the middle of the bench, the confusion and rage that he felt bottle up behind a calm exterior. He chanced a glance toward her, but she didn’t even look up at him, the betrayal complete he stood and walked off toward the park gate.

The woman walked the last fifty yards toward the park gate in a brisk pace; the full moon lit the path but did little to displace the eyrie atmosphere of the park at night. The silence was deafening, but the security of the road lay only yards away. Besides the short cut across the park grounds would enable her to catch the last bus and save a small fortune in taxi fares, so it was worth the two minutes of discomfort she felt.
Henry saw her pass by and stepped from the bushes quickly throwing his arm around her throat and pulling her hard backward toward the bushes he had just left.
She struggled hard, first trying to reach back to grab his hair or scratch at his eyes, then trying to stop herself being pulled into the bushes by grabbing wildly at the undergrowth. Her legs kicked and her heels scraped the earth as he dragged her deeper into the cover of the undergrowth. She was choking now unable to breathe or cry for help his forearm tight at her throat. With his second hand released from pushing the branches out of the way he brought it up to her chin and yanked her head violently round, once, twice, three times her face almost meeting his with every pull, and then a sickening crack and all resistance stopped. Her body suddenly became very heavy and he let her it drop to the floor.
Henry stood over her crumpled body, his breathing rapid and excited, quickly dropping to his knees he ripped open her coat and then tore at her blouse and bra until her breast lay exposed before him. He stopped for a second looking at them, feasting his eyes on them. Then he plunged both his gloved hands on to them, squeezing and rubbing as hard as he could in an excited frenzy of release. His spine tingled his groin ached with delight.
“How do you like that bitch?” he panted through gritted teeth. His eyes were fixed on hers; they stared back lifeless and empty.
His right hand groped down to her skirt and without taking his eyes off hers he hitched up her skirt, a smile creeping expectantly across his face.
“What about this?” he began to punch as hard as he could into her groin, a snarl with accompanied every punch. Even through his gloves he could feel her pelvis against his knuckles and he relished it.
After a while he stopped and stood up. He was breathless from his exertions, his mouth open and the cold night air racing over his teeth almost hurt.
She lay in an awkward, unnatural pose, lifeless, Henry again knelt and straightened her legs and pulled her pants down and off. He crumpled the bloody garment up and stuffed it into his coat pocket, a memento he thought.
Henry had never felt this good, this powerful, this ……satisfied.

He walked slowly back home contemplating the night.
The girl had betrayed him, but he knew she would they all do. Every woman he had ever known had looked down on him and treated him like so much dirt, then betrayed his love, and humiliated him. Now however it was different, now he knew how to be in charge. He would have liked to hear her beg him though, but it had all been so unplanned, the next one however….. He smiled at the thought and turned into his road fumbling for his house keys and finding the woman’s pants instead. He looked up at the sky and he felt the first drops of rain begin to fall, work tomorrow he thought and smiled.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

Nell at 09:34 on 21 October 2004  Report this post
Steve, welcome back. I had some hesitation in reading this, as horror writing generally does not appeal to me, and the subject you've chosen is one I'd normally avoid. The first section certainly built up the tension without being too explicit - we gain some sense of what's happening in his mind, although as yet he's a mysterious figure. I liked your eye for detail and some small yet telling phrases, especially “Filthy night” the man said his voice soft and uncertain... which seemed sensitive and exact.

During the first part of the second section, in which the reader learns the name of the man in the bus shelter, and something of his life, I found myself wondering if this was the same man, and and straining to collect clues to confirm this, which tended to make reading uncomfortable. Likewise, in the para. beginning The woman... I wondered for a while if it was the same girl or somebody else. You've made Henry a convincing character though; the flashback experience during the meeting with his boss where he regresses to being shouted at by his mother is convincingly done. I found the detail in the last section extremely uncomfortable, but that could just be me as I don't read any horror by choice, and introducing sexual details gives me the creeps. See what others think.

I haven't listed instances where punctuation needs adjustment (mostly commas needed, apostrophies added/removed) or spelling typos correcting, and hyphens are needed, as there are too many, but hopefully, with care you'll find them. Be careful too, of what you make eyes do in a piece of writing - the visual picture created in the reader's mind can sometimes be bizarre.

Hope this helps,


Mrbyte at 16:44 on 21 October 2004  Report this post
Hi Nell,
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I was surprised to see you call it 'horror', it had never occurred to me it was horror. I have never read horror fiction or in fact crime fiction to my recollection.

I was thrilled to see your comments on the tension building and the eye for detail. These were things I wanted to work on.

I'm guilty s charged with the punctuation, I'm afraid I am a very poor punctuator :) but it will improve with practice.

As I have said this was an exercise for me and I have no intention to do anymore with it, (to be honest I wouldn't want to, the subject matter is pretty awful and not to my taste) but I thought I would post it and get the groups feel of it.

Thanks again for taking the plunge into this.

Becca at 07:38 on 22 October 2004  Report this post
Hi Steve, as Nell and Ian have mentioned between them the grammar, which was better in the first half, did disappear in the second, especially commas. Sometimes if you read your writing aloud to yourself you can see where to put in the slight pauses, i.e. commas.
The POV that Ian mentioned is again another issue. Although it doesn't have to be the case, in short stories clarity is maintained by having just one POV, here I picked up more than two. The first POV change I noticed was at 'the man appeared to be in his mid thirties...' and the most definite change was Lindsay's.
What do you think about writing this story entirely through the eyes of the main character, your hunter of women? It'd help you to get inside your character's head better as well, because you can't write down anything he doesn't know, although you can write about the impressions an incident has on him. A single POV also tightens a story up. You have handled the tension well, but it'd be even better with one POV.
I think a good question to ask would be what were you aiming at in this piece? I know sometimes, as writers, it's not always clear what we're exploring. But when a thing is written, asking yourself that question can often show you if you've succeeded, or even throw up something else behind the story that you were more drawn to.

Heckyspice at 08:44 on 22 October 2004  Report this post

The change of perspective in the middle does make things sag, but the descent of Henry into violence was short and nasty. You cannot ignore the horror of his crime. In that respect, the story managed to regain it's lost tension.

Cheers to Ian for adding a link to Strunk's elements of style. (Cheaper than Amazon)


Nell at 09:29 on 22 October 2004  Report this post
Steve, you say that this was an exercise and that you have no intention of doing any more with it, but I think that you could learn a lot by editing and revising the piece re. the suggestions above. Afterwards you may still prefer the original version, but there's nothing like revising and rewriting to help our understanding of how successful writing works - the real mechanics of the business.


Mrbyte at 09:44 on 22 October 2004  Report this post
Hi all,
Thank you for the feed back.
I've obviously got to look at the POV error.
It stems from not reading with fresh eyes, but to be honest its a reoccuring problem for me. I write what I see in my minds eye and often it runs like a film so I write it as if viewed on screen.

A fair question Becca...what did I want from this?
Don't forget this was an exercise for me.
2500 words was the limit for this (not enough for a subject like this I soon discovered) What I wanted was to show Henry's final day as he slipped over the edge...
*My* main aims were to:
1. Get a beginning, middle and an end in the word limit.
2. To deal with subject matter I wouldn't normally touch with a long, long, long barge pole.
3. describe scenes better and give the reader a sence of being there. I wanted also to develope a complex and real character in the word limit.
4. Finally to explore a serial rapist/killers mind set/motives. (An interesting exercise in research for me)

not sure I succeeded in all of the above, but over all I felt pleased with the attempt.

Writing this from Henry's POV sounds interesting. It would have allowed me to develope things better, but I'm not sure I could have done it in the word limit.

I'll go back and do some editing on this see if I can't iron out some of the POV stuff and grammar.....;)

Thank you all this is very useful.

jdsharpe at 00:00 on 08 November 2004  Report this post
I liked this piece, it's a very well written piece of very dark material. I did feel a little confused when the focus shifted to Henry and found myself wondering who was who and where they all fitted in, like if the girl in the office was the same girl as the bus stop girl etc and also I was slightly confused about who was on the bench at the bus stop with the girl when it was revealed that is actually Henry following her. But it kept me reading and felt very tense towards the end.


To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .


Other work by Mrbyte:      ...view all work by Mrbyte