Action Verbs

For Round 8 of our contest, we asked you to send us original works of fiction that begin with this sentence: "She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door." Our winner was "Rainy Wedding."

Books on a table. i
iStockphoto.com
Books on a table.
iStockphoto.com

She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door.

No, that can't be right. Panda alert.

And, finally, decided to walk through the door.

Not happy about the finally decided. Had she been waffling? Does she have to sit around and think about it, or can't she just act? Three verbs: action, action, action.

And, finally, got up to walk through the door.

And she's not a ghost, not really. OUT the door?

And, finally, got up to walk out the door.

Bumpity bumpity thump. That does it for her. Wow. Could she be more boring? At least she hadn't heaved a wistful sigh as she closed the well-loved volume and drawn her slender fingers lightly across its age-softened leather binding, or gazed out the window at the meadows of wildflowers washed into a misty and indistinct pastel painting by the silent rain and perhaps a trembling unshed tear.

Yep, it could certainly be worse. A whole lot worse. Gurk. Why can't my heroine finally do something fabulous? Or at least express an honest emotion?

She slammed the book shut, fired it across the room, and stormed out of the room.

She closed the book, placed it quietly on the table, smoothed the cover, pressing the book flat, looked up after a moment with a hint of a smile, and finally got up to walk out the door.

She placed the precious slip of paper between the pages, closed the book, placed it on the table in plain sight, and, finally, made up her mind to walk through the door.

She slapped the book shut on the table, muttered something between gritted teeth, clenched her fists, rose slowly from her chair and stalked out the door.

No. Not nearly thrilling enough. Not cinematic, not action-packed, not dramatic, theatrical, heart-pumping, blood-thumping, laser-light, bass-driven, strobe-flashing, wet-leather, I don't know, you know, adventurous. That's because I'm really not exciting. She's not. Oh damn.

No sound but her soft, regular breathing. Her dark eyes took in every detail of the room while they appeared to focus on the words on the page. Any change in the balance of light and shadow outside the window, any alteration in air pressure would instantly have registered with her, although to an outsider she would have seemed entirely relaxed and absorbed in her reading, indeed, barely conscious. A blink of the eyes betrayed her awareness. She closed the book, placed it gently on the table, and walked silently as a great cat to the door. In one smooth movement, she pulled back the door and snapped up her right palm in a potentially lethal attack. Just as quickly, a large masculine hand shot out from behind the door to grip her by the wrist. The whiplash of her thwarted motion loosed her shining black hair to cascade down her back. A familiar, infuriating baritone voice laughed, "Up to your old tricks, my dear?"

Aaargh. Hackneyed, much? And not exactly finis.

She let the book fall shut. For a while she napped, fading in and out of sleep, until the afternoon heat covered her with sweat and she awoke. She lay there and debated turning on the fan over the bed, taking the dog for a walk, going for a swim, making a phone call, checking email, taking a pill. She even considered having another crack at the book, but it seemed way too much trouble for the few felicitous phrases. Finally, she decided to walk to the fridge for a drink of water. Nah, too far away.

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