This is the fourth, and final, installment of Trig Denton’s story — with a twist. You are Trig Denton. This writing exercise was called “Imperative.”
Write a fragment of a story that is made up entirely of imperative commands: Do this; do that. This exercise will be a sort of second-person narration (you is implied in the imperative). 500 words max.
Yes, you read that correctly. 500 words. Max. Our group’s guru, Brenda Moffitt, even bolded the word-limit because writers have a sneaky tendency to go over…. (What? Who? Me?)
I was going to rewrite the fourth part of Trig’s story so that it was in third person, which is my preferred writing style. But upon rereading it, I think the second person POV, combined with all-imperative commands, helps to build the scene’s intensity. I hope you agree, and that you like this ending (of sorts…):
You approach the nine-foot, blast-proof steel door that looms in front of you. You swipe the card you took from T’ien Jing, the engineer who lies motionless in the shadows of the tunnel off to the side. When the door beeps green you turn the handle and check your watch. Keeping your pulse steady, as you’ve been trained, you see that you have less than five minutes until the paralytic you injected into T’ien Jing wears off.
You stride into the concrete cavern that is the aeronautical fabrication center—the rocket room—with the knowledge that the security of the entire country is at stake. Your orders ring in your head: Get a count, get proof, get out, but what you see vaults you over the impenetrable wall on which the orders are written, with only slight queasiness at the knowledge that you are about to disobey them. You resist gulping to quash the oh-shit sensation at the apocalyptic vision of thousands of TRUE LOVE smart bombs before you. Bombs that the Chinese are already developing right under New York City.
You see dozens of employees—maybe fifty—working on an assembly line, and behind them a wall of completed products. You veer left and grab a clipboard that you pretend to examine as you continue to study the room, cognizant of the fact that, despite the disguise, you still do not look Chinese. Scratching the back of your neck, you adjust your ear-cam to make sure it’s recording. You puzzle at cables that run from each bomb into a central hub until you note ten offices along the right wall. You realize that the bombs are wired to a network, which is separate from the network in the rest of the building–the network you’ve already disabled with a virus.
You weigh your options: leave now and report back to Langley, knowing that by the time anyone else gets back in it will be too late. Or stay, cripple their systems, and probably die in the process. You smile, since this is an easy choice for a former Marine, and also because the floor manager is walking toward you, frowning.
Reaching your hand in your pocket, you extract a five and a half inch cylinder, pull the pin, and toss it on the assembly floor. In the tear-gas confusion, which you’ve been trained to withstand, you bolt across the space and into the first office. You draw your G26, put a single bullet through the head of the engineer, and then fish a flash drive from your pocket. You shove the drive into the nearest USB port and begin uploading a virus to the network.
Leaving the flash drive in the computer, you dash out the door and down the side-tunnel. You pass T’ien Jing, who is coming-to, and you pause to shove C4 and a remote-timer into a large crack. Once you’ve passed the exit, you detonate the plastic explosive. You had hoped to demo the tunnel, but instead you see that you’ve unleashed the Hudson, which rushes to fill the underground facility. You bolt up four flights of stairs, across the lobby, and out into the afternoon sunshine.
I’d be interested to hear which of the POVs explored in this four-part series (first person, third person, third person omniscient, or second person) was your favorite. Through which viewpoint did you like Trig the most?
Oh, also, I don’t know whether you’re interested, but before I left Kentucky I did one more writing exercise with Trig. It picked up shortly after the TRUE LOVE assignment ended. But then it exploded in my mind, and that writing exercise is now the first chapter of a story I’m currently working on. It fleshes-out Trig’s backstory, as he is jarred by present-day events that change everything…. 😉