Thursday, August 26, 2010
The Thrill of the Chase: A Glimpse of Shadow Walkers
A good chase scene can raise the adrenaline of the reader. The most affective chase scenes occur on the big screen in movie land. The reason they make an exciting impact is because of the musical score which enhances the action. Unfortunately, writers don’t have the luxury of including music with their work, although technology is making strides in that area. Perhaps one day a fancy computer will create computer generated characters to automatically follow our stories. Characters loosely based on our descriptions will act out the action in the settings we create. We’ll even have the ability to suggest what music plays in the background. In other words, the skill of reading prose may erode to the point that video will rule.
For anyone who loves words like I do, the above scenario is a complete nightmare. While it’s always fun to see actors perform in a world we create, there’s no replacing the art of showing a scene through words. Yes I know that pictures are worth a thousand words, but I’m a purist and many would agree that certain movies failed to entertain as much as the novels they were based on.
Now there are two basic choices for the point of view in a chase scene. Some writers may opt to write from the character being chased. The adrenaline rush brought on by extreme fear may be an initial focus point. How the character reacts to his surroundings, including how he deals with obstacles, other character reactions, rough terrain, among other things is crucial to creating a good chase scene.
Another point of view could be through the hunter’s eyes. Sure adrenaline will kick in, but most importantly, what motivates the hunter to catch his prey? Let’s create a small example of the thrill of the chase through one of my fictional characters. Keep in mind, like a magician I love to use sleight of hand.
Sometimes the chase doesn’t have to be fast or rushed as evident with my character, Hunter Colby. Hunter’s an ex-FBI agent following what he thinks is a terrorist into the New York City subways.
Excerpt of Chapter 1 of my unfinished book, Shadow Walkers
From a safe distance, I studied the stranger’s deliberate movements. For a man of average height and portly build, he moved with uncanny stealth. I had to utilize my skills as a hunter not to lose him again because he had a knack for disappearing in a blink of an eye.
For hours, I shadowed the terrorist as he roamed the subways in search of the innocent. His pale complexion indicated he preferred nightlife which undoubtedly allowed him to escape the attention of peacekeepers like myself.
The night air chilled everything in its path, turning the subway into a meat locker. I studied the bomber while he eyed a petite beauty. As the express train roared by, a glimpse of drool fell off his chin. No, not drool, but blood; from biting his lips. His demeanor exuded confidence. He walked with his chin up, shoulders straight, and never did he look behind.
He bowed to the female and said something inaudible from my position. I could tell by the way she leaned toward him, that the scoundrel possessed convincing oratory skills. Taking into account what I knew about relationships, there was no way the older man could be her type. Nevertheless, the terrorist entertained the girl, her short spiky hair, crimson, alluring, outright sexy. She laughed at his advances but her gaiety soon changed to hypnotic wonder.
I admired the predator’s style, but found it difficult to erase a smirk from my face as he gestured for her to accompany him to a spot where darkness ruled. Recalling my own attempts at dating, her apparent interest in the stranger left me stunned. Was she letting his fine gold jewelry blind her from his sly smile? My jaw dropped upon witnessing the ease in which she hooked her hand through his arm and walked off with him.
Careful to maintain a safe distance behind the odd couple, I wondered why a well dressed man needed to get cheap thrills in such a rancid environment. Didn’t he have the resources to take the broad to a motel?
I ventured into uncharted territory, reaching deep into the tunnel. Yellow spotlights scattered throughout the darkness providing a gloomy glow which lasted ten paces until a vast void extinguished the light. Time appeared to stop as I walked for hours in that tunnel of death, yet somehow; the pair had eluded me. My sudden isolation, accompanied by a stiff breeze, tightened a knot in my stomach. Just when I was about to give up and return to the safe haven of the crowded station, my eyes, already adjusted to the darkness, spotted the terrorist standing before me. He gestured to his left. Another yellow light lifted a veil of despair creating the illusion of a halo surrounding the young lady. She sat slumped against a wall. Her eyes were closed, prompting me to withdraw my Glock nine millimeter pistol.
"Why are you following me?" His voice, not what I expected, echoed an ancient tone, powerful and eloquent. "What do you want?" he asked.
"The bombing, a couple of nights ago, are you responsible for it?”
His dark hypnotic eyes stopped time. He stared at me, much like a toddler studies a cockroach before he eats it.
With only my hunting skills as a child to fall back on, I declared, "I know what you are."
Instead of concern, he sighed as though relieved.
I continued, "I know you're a terrorist."
He grinned and said, "Look again."
Afraid to take my eyes off the stranger, my sweaty palms made gripping the firearm a challenge. It took great effort to maintain the weapon steady. My heart pounded as I stared into his ebony pools of menace. The wind which had earlier cut through my skin, abandoned the tunnel, leaving us standing in a vortex of humidity. I glimpsed back at the girl. My eyes watered when she reminded me of hunted prey.
"Open your mind to me." His voice beckoned though his lips did not move.
In a flash, images of his attack on the girl bombarded my mind revealing her willingness to be taken.
Out of sheer necessity, I squeezed off one, two, three rounds, but when the smoke cleared, he had not flinched. The terrorist opened his mouth, revealed his true identity, and towered over me. His thick vampire lips caressed my bare neck, followed by pure darkness.
Strange chase scene, since the one doing the chasing was actually the victim. I hope you enjoyed one of my versions of a chase scene.
See you on the dark side.