Friday, June 10, 2011

Jeanette Unravels

Jeanette sawed on the ropes with the emory board that was now nothing more than limp cardboard. She kept at it though, working her wrist raw straining against her bindings. In the dark as she was, it was easy to focus on this task alone. In her mind’s eye she saw each individual fiber as it snapped relinquishing its hold and knew she was closer to escaping. Her diligence paid off. She could not pull her hand free altogether but she had loosened it enough to push her arm through further. Straining her fingers to their most outstretched they slid first over the edge of her pocket. She curled her fingers back finding the edge again, this time slipping them inside and touching the smooth plastic surface of salvation. Fingertips stretching deeper into her pocket, she visualized the Iphone. Thankful to find it business side up, she began working a series of maneuvers she was a little surprised to find her hand knew quite well. Soon she heard faint ringing followed by her friend Kate’s voice answering in the distance. The joy and triumph in this moment was so tremendous that it needed to be expressed but of course high fives were out of the question. The height of Jeanette’s joy quickly plummeted to the equal depth of her despair when her whole body burst with laughter that only muffled into her forgotten gag.

Jeanette might have sat there and cried were she not fit to be tied and the fact that she already was, only served to make her madder. She wanted to scream but she knew it would do her no good. So she focused her fury on her confines. She no longer felt the pain when she yanked her arms against the ropes. She pumped back and forth, lunging forward then pulling back like a girl on a swing pumping to go higher. She felt the chair rock and she built a rhythm with each tug. The front legs cleared. She now understood the exhilaration a foolish schoolboy feels balancing his desk for attention. Upon settling back she leaned forward bringing the back legs up. She was rocking now and when she arced backwards again she twisted with all her might, balancing briefly on one rear leg before toppling over sideways. The crash slapped her head to the floor and dazed her a bit. It also loosened the arm of her wooden prison. The ropes had gone slack and she was able to work her hand free. Triumph may have been postponed but it was only sweeter for the delay. Before even freeing her other hand she yanked the gag from her mouth and pushed the blindfold up from her eyes. Even without the blindfold it was too dark to make sense of her surroundings, the only illumination a horizontal slit of light below what she knew must be a door. As she struggled to free herself completely, she focused on this sliver of light. Her passage out. Her escape.

As Jeanette untied the last rope from her ankle, her beacon blinked out, only to be replaced by a new vertical and widening strip of light. This time Jeanette did scream.

Jeanette’s scream was not one of fear but more a release of pent up rage, only further exasperated by this ill-timed reappearance of her tormenter. A body could take only so much disappointment before snapping. There was no crying in her war-cry and no hesitation in her actions when she seized the wooden chair by the arm and hurled it at the figure silhouetted in the doorway. There was no weeping and there was to be no mercy when she charged and tackled her stunned and stumbling jailer. She scrambled on top of him and grabbing an ear in each hand, began bashing his head on the cold concrete floor. Each time she pulled his head up she hammered her knee home between his legs. She was fighting for her life, and once again she'd found her rhythm.


  1. WOO HOO! That was an awesome rollercoaster of a ride! Go, Jeanette, go!
    Harry, this was a great one! The excitement is palpable. The details, excellent. And loved her rage at the end. One of my Sanderford favourites!

  2. Rhythm is good, but without maintained control, the music quickly misses the beat. Here's to hoping that Jeanette finishes this song still in control!

    A good story, Harry.

  3. That opening paragraph ought to have driven her rhythm deep inside of her. Now that she's got it, I hope she just gets the heck away.

  4. Absolute fantastic detail in this Harry, making me feel I was right there with her, (and I found myself on the edge of my seat trying to help her along). Superb work!

  5. Hi there Harry -- great journey through a nail-biting escape. Loved the highs and lows, the 'right there' detail, and Jeanette's explosive attempt to get away at the very end. Hope she makes it.


  6. Hoo-ee. That was exciting. A white knuckle ride from start to finish.

  7. Seems like the rhythm he deseves to be dancin' to.

    Great writin' Harry

  8. I was with Jeanette all the way Harry.

    Quite the ride.


  9. Hey there ... sure sounds like a cliffhanger of a scene out of THE PRINTS AND THE POPPER to me -- You always dangled a cliffhanger right to the end of its rope, Har -- and kept me, as I recall from tyin' Ms Jeanette to the railroad tracks.

    "I SEE THE LIGHT" -- Epic*sode 6 of a murder-mystery phenomenon -- AT THE BIJOU --

    ~ Absolutely*Kate

  10. That was a great suspenseful build-up, Harry. You can feel her disappointment and understand her rage when she attacks her captor. A part II to this one?

  11. Come'on Har! Tell the wondering Alan and these mighty fine flash o'fiction folks that THE WHOLE STORY is alive and well and kickin' up murder, mystery, mayhem in a matinee going on (and on). Tell 'em your tight taut turn of tied-up phrasings will cheer and jeer 'em up all the more as this wee bit of your scintillating scribing has stirred.


    Folks, you've just glimpsed into a turning point of Epic'sode 6 ~ "I SEE THE LIGHT" in the murdery mystery matinee where the local constabulary are still uncopacetically confounded in THE PRINTS AND THE POPPER ... playing into page-burners of book form ~ AT THE BIJOU.

    Harry is a tough story-teller so be prepared to clutch your popcorny boxes a little tighter. That could be hot drippy butter or blood you feel on your leg -- you never know in the dark.

    ~ Absolutely*Kate, ever proud to write adventurously with this slick surfer-cowboy:

    (Here's a multitude more of this epic'sode, with links to the before and apres) ~

  12. Thanks everyone!
    Jeanette Cheezum was the inspiration and namesake for this character who has become one of my favorites to write. This is really several segments from a longer piece (which A.K. has pointed out)that I wanted to try putting together as a flash. Jeanette has been having a heck of a go of it and she is not out of the frying pan yet. She is however, resourceful, determined and pissed off.