Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Murder in the Library

As I mentioned previously, I’m currently working on a murder mystery story.  For inspiration, I’ve also been working my way through the mystery novels in my TBR pile.  All of which has me thinking of both books and murders as this week comes to a close.

What better way to end the week (and kick off the weekend) than with a little murder mystery inspired Random Word Improv.

Care to join me?

Whether you’re a fan of mysteries, looking for a distraction, or just feel like playing with words, a few minutes of Random Word Improv are a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.  I’ve got a long day of meetings in my future, but as soon as they’re done I’ll be breaking out the notepad and pen and taking a stab at today’s words (oh, who am I kidding, I’ll probably be surreptitiously doing that *during* the meetings).

Ready to write?

For any of you new to Random Word Improv, here’s how we play:

  1. Pick as many words from the list as you want
  2. Write the first line(s) of a story incorporating your words
  3. Post your results in the comments section.

Okay, here is today’s list of murder-mystery themed random words:

worn             dusty                  hidden              shelves

volume         spine                  treasure           bloodstain

body              bookend            secret                telephone

drawer         compass            statue                envelope

Are you ready?  Go!

*whistling aimlessly while you are off being creative*

Ah, you’re back.  Kind of fun, right?  Can’t wait to see what you have come up with.

7 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Murder in the Library

  1. Well, this one should be right up my alley, with the Nicky O story in mind. Unfortunately, my story brain currently belongs to two other stories, and one of them really has me in its thrall, so a short Nick piece just isn’t coming to me.

    One of the side effects for me of being so deep in a story that I’d forgotten (because, sadly, it’s been that long since I was in this deep) is insomnia. I have only been sleeping 4-5 hours a night for a few weeks now. I’m feeling it in my workouts and probably looking a little haggard, but man, am I getting inside the heads of my characters and making progress! Ah, the glamour of the writing life :-).

    • Yay for getting inside the heads of your characters, but boo for the insomnia. Hope the later is only temporary and goes away soon. Glad to hear you are making progress; (im)patiently waiting to read the results.

  2. The Museum of Twentieth Century Technology was in a forgotten corner on the third floor of Morrill Hall in the state university. Half of the collection was donated on the understanding that the rooms would maintain a technology level approximating 1950, which must have seemed a good idea in 2045, but was getting harder and harder to maintain as the twenty-second century ended. There was an ancient generator that ran once a week for an hour on gasoline, which was all the endowment could afford. It was barely enough to charge the cell phones, and everyone knew that soon the objects of a long-gone century were destined to be lumps of plastic and heavy metals, only animated by scratched reels of projected images.

    If the MTCT (pronounced Mitzi-Tee) wasn’t a depressing enough place to work, Zelda hit rock bottom when she found the body of the curator of video arts facedown behind the dusty shelves of deadtree. Fred had been a difficult man, and someone had bludgeoned him with an old video camera. The bloodstain had soaked into the carpet, and looked like the birthmark of a Russian diplomat whose name slipped Zelda’s memory at the moment. She held her ear, trying to reach the emergency systems, and cursed as she remembered that none of the modern ‘waves could penetrate the rooms of the museum. She rushed into her favorite restroom, and urgently pulled on her ear again. “Emergency, emergency,” she whispered, until an online operator replied in her head, “What is the nature of your emergency?”

    “Fred’s dead and bleeding on the floor.”

    “You wish to report a medical emergency possible homicide at 14th and Vine. Is this correct?”

    “Yes, yes, it’s correct. Third floor!”

    “Third floor,” the automated voice intoned quite calmly. Zelda hated machines. They never mirrored the actual reality of existence, but lived in some cold, calm world of logic. “Please hold. We’ll connect you with a live counsellor momentarily.” Eerie space music filled her head, and would continue doing so until the counsellor replaced it. Zelda shivered and realized she didn’t want to talk with the counsellor, and she’d go insane if she had to hear 10 more seconds of this interstitial music. She needed to hear herself think. She walked back into to the museum, and blessed silence reigned in her head again as the buffers blocked out all the ‘waves. She heard a sobbing from the library, and reluctantly went back to the scene of the crime.

    “Mari, come away. I’ve called the police, and they should be here any moment.”

    “Zelda, who would do this to Fred?”

    Zelda could think of an easy dozen of possible suspects but she suspected it would only upset Mari. She awkwardly patted the secretary’s shoulder. “Now, now. They’ll check the security cameras at the front and see who came in. They’ll find out.”

    Mari pushed Fred suddenly, and which revealed a worn volume that had been mostly hidden by his body. She opened it, and out fell an envelope marked SECRET. “Oh,” she said, and grabbed it.

    “Mari, what are you doing?” The security cameras would surely see her tampering with evidence, and then Zelda remembered, there were no security cameras in here.

    “It’s nothing, Zelda. Now, I suggest you go outside and wait for the cops. They’ll never figure out the staircase unless you show them how to do it. Forget you saw anything. Fred deserves at least this little favor from you, after everything he’s done.”

    Everything he’d done? He’d driven the museum right into the ground is what he’d done, and blocked every one of Zelda’s attempts to bring the exhibits into the 22nd century. She had thought he was just a stodgy old historian, trying to recreate a fantasy land to play in. But now, the pieces were shifting, and she thought she saw half of the puzzle: where else in this day and age could one escape the ‘waves and cameras that tracked their every move? In this town, this inaccessible corner of Morrill Hall, was it, aside from the government offices, of course. Now, just what would Fred need that degree of privacy for? Looking into Mari’s stone-cold black eyes, Zelda didn’t think she wanted to know. She backed slowly out of the room. “Good idea, Mari. I’ll go down and wait for the police.” Mari’s eyes narrowed, and Zelda turned and fled.

    • Why did Fred need that degree of privacy? I’m guessing there are some interesting secrets here. Loved how you set the scene and the feeling of this piece and made Mari feel so threatening in so few words.

      • (-: I have no idea what Fred is up to, either. I originally wrote that he was a good man, and then . . . he turned into a guy with bad secrets! Discovery draft. I would have to write it out to find out what he was up to!

        • Maybe he’s being framed, or he could be a secret agent. I’d love to see him turn out to be a good guy who managed to right one last wrong before he was, regrettably, bludgeoned with that old video camera.

        • Could be. All I know is that Fred is in cahoots with Mari. It’s got to be something that connects to 20th century technology — maybe some sort of heavy metals smuggling ring? Or maybe there’s a famous author’s work in progress trapped in one of the tablets at the museum? Oh, I like that one. (-: Maybe it’s Jennifer Crusie’s Lost Opus, sitting in one of the Apples in the museum — encrusted with Coca-Cola and dog hair. And the heroes have to dig through some really great crochet pictures before they finally find the file with the Lost Opus. There’s much rejoicing in Academia, as the book takes its 63rd place in the Crusie Canon.

          (-: Now I’m getting funny ideas about a Lost Opus who happens to be a penguin . . . . Genre-mixing.

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