The Alley

This is Madison’s Story, and picks up where the “Stood Up” cliffhanger left off. I recommend reading it first.

Continued from “Stood Up”

My captor’s arm was steel around my stomach, trapping both of my arms at my side. “Easy. I’m not going to hurt you.”

I wanted to laugh through my fear at the clichéd line.

If you’re overpowered, the best way to escape is to fake surrender. Make them believe they’ve won. John’s words echoed from a lesson taught long ago.

I ceased my kicks, pretending the words soothed me. The kidnapper dragged me deeper into the darkness and I counted to ten, forcing my racing heart to calm and my muscles to relax.

Go limp.

I imagined my body a wet noodle.

Be patient. Their guard will drop.

I waited.

The arms slackened almost imperceptibly.

Attack. Quickly. Without hesitation. The eye, the nose, or the groin.

I thrust my head backwards with as much force as I could muster, hoping to break the nose.

It thudded somewhere on the shoulder, missing the face completely.

Laughter, dark and deep, echoed. “Your aim still sucks.”

I froze.

“We’re going to have to work on that, Mav.” The arms released me and spun me around.

Black clothing covered all but his head, and he blended perfectly into the alleyway. The whites of his eyes floated in the black, the only part lacking camouflage.

“What, no hug for the dead guy?”

The words snapped my paralysis as I channeled my frustrations, fears, and anger into my right arm. My palm collided with his face, the loud smack sending reverberations through the alley.

His silhouette twisted with the ricochet before facing me again. “So a kiss is out of the question?”

“You asshole!” I exploded, my fingers clenched as I pounded his chest and abdomen, seeking a weak spot. “I thought you were dead!”

He stood silent as my fists flew, my hands already aching from the blows.

“I went to your funeral! I cried for you!”

“I’m sorry, Mav.”

His pet name opened an old wound. “My name is Madison. Not Mav.”

“You’ll always be Mav to me.”

“I should shove your cryptic postcard down your throat. I’m supposed to b-be having s-s-sex right now.” My words transformed into sobs as my energy died.

“I can fix that problem.”

“Don’t make me laugh. I’m pissed at you.”

“I wasn’t joking. I have very fond memories of this alleyway.”

The cool brick pressed into my exposed back. My skirt twisted around my waist as my legs wrapped around his, the delicious smells of Guido’s traveling out the back door.

The same smells danced in the air, the night teasing us. “I wouldn’t mind revisiting a few.” He leaned closer. “I’ve missed you, Mav.”

His lips were hot against mine, consuming my protest.

I savored his familiar taste for moment, drinking in my youth before jerking my knee up.

He shifted at the last moment and I barely grazed him, earning me a string of curses as he stumbled away, instead of dropping to the ground as planned. “Jesus, Mav! What the hell!”

“I have a life, John. A boyfriend. I’m happy. I don’t hear from you except for phone calls and emails for five years. Five damn years. You cannot just swoop in here and have me dropping my pants five minutes after kidnapping me off the damn street!”

“Mav, I -”

“You decided to end us. You left me here. Then you have a heart attack and die. I go to your funeral and say good-bye forever. Forever! A week later your damn unspecific postcard shows up and I drop everything because I think you might be in serious trouble. I lie to my boyfriend because you said tell no one, and then you stand me up! I label myself all kinds of idiot and leave, only to have you scare the hell out of me by kidnapping me!”

“Look, I di-”

“Tell me what the fuck is going on, John.” The cloak of night brought the courage I needed.

“I never sent you a postcard.”

A Red Dress Club writing prompt


This week, we want fightin’ words.

Write a piece about a fight. What happened? Why? Who “won”? What were the repercussions?

Show us. Use emotion. Description. If it’s a fist fight, what did it feel like to hit someone – or be hit? What does it feel like to be screamed at – or get the silent treatment?

This can be fiction or non-fiction. Your choice. Word limit is 600 words.

This is still a little rough. A constantly waking sick 19 month has caused a bit of sleep deprivation. Concrit welcomed!


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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31 Responses to The Alley

  1. Carina says:

    OH MY GOD! You can’t do this AGAIN! What is with the cliffhangers? Seriously….

    So you’ve got me hooked again. I’m going along with her self defense classes and how she plans to attack. I thought you could have added a little more about how it felt to actually be trying these moves instead of just learning them (how it felt to hit his shoulder, the tension right before you hit someone, the pain in your hand after you do).

    Other than that – I felt it was right on target.

    • I wanted to describe more of the physical sensations. Word count issues. I might flesh it out more later, but this was written in 1-2 minute bursts between running upstairs (between 11 PM and 2:30 AM) to soothe my daughter as the evil cough kept waking her up for the 4th night this week. I may have even nodded off while writing it, so I wasn’t even sure it was coherent.

      Thanks so much.

  2. Galit Breen says:

    I adored how fast paced this was- I was right there with Mav, feeling her fear, hearing her thoughts.

    I loved the back and forth in her mind, the memories, the confusion, the fear.

    My favorite line: “He stood silent as my fists flew, my hands already aching from the blows.” I like the contrast, the feeling, the sound.

  3. That kept me on the edge of my seat. I could feel her fear, her anger, her frustration. Can you please finish this series already? 🙂

    • I don’t know about finish it. I like Mav. I’m thinking of trying to flesh out an actual novel over this story… Who knows.

      Glad it had the tension I was going for. One simply cannot tell when delirious.

  4. Frelle says:

    YAY!! well done, nice and complex and believable.. and a cliffhanger! MORE!

  5. Leighann says:

    Ack!! Another cliffhanger! I need more!
    This is fantastic!
    Great job.

  6. melissa says:

    i’m hooked. off to read the first part!

  7. Carrie says:

    I love the pacing and the twist at the end was awesome!

    I would have liked to see a bit more physical reactions. She was pissed at him, I would have loved to see her lose it and just start swinging, even if none of them landed 🙂

    • I wanted more. I wanted to describe the ineffective beating she did on his chest in more detail. It came down to a word count issues. I was hoping for 700 again, not 600. And I’m already over, I was too delirious to cut last night. I need to tighten it up further. Assuming my daughter even naps again (damn cough).

      Thank you for the input!

  8. Ilana says:

    You, my dear, are getting better and better. I LOVE THIS STORY. You had me hanging on every word. The struggle, the realization, the sexual tension, the anger— so palpable and so so GOOD. You would never have guessed that you were writing from two separate prompts— the story was seamless. Can’t wait for the next installment!

    • Really? Not was I was expecting as I wrote/read it with delirious eyes. I was certain it lacked punch and fell flat and needed serious editing.

      Proof that once again, I cannot critique my own writing, so your comment is most appreciated.

      This prompt screamed to complete the scene, but I found it very challenging to make the transition seamless while not losing any potential new readers.

      Maybe Mav has a book about her after all.

      Thank you, my friend.

  9. Your dialogue is really well done! Jealous!! I’m dying for the next installment…don’t wait for another promp. Keep going 🙂

    • I’d love to keep writing. My children have other ideas. The prompts force me to shove excuses to the side and write, so for now, they are a good way to progress. After all, these characters wouldn’t exist if not for a prompt.

      Thank you for your words. I wasn’t sure about the dialogue this time. I still think it needs work, to make it better. I need more than 5 hours of sleep a night to look at it….

  10. CDG says:


    That’s exactly the end. For now.


  11. angela says:

    The transition between prompts is seamless. The tension is so wonderfully written, her waiting for her opportunity to fight, her futile attempts, the sexual tension between them.

    And the cliffhanger? I want to know who sent the postcard, and what he is doing there if he didn’t send it!

  12. You did it. This was wonderful.
    I read through your comments too. Makes me think you should always write in this delirious state.
    2 things I would change, one being a word choice: “damn unspecific postcard.”…I would have used “vague’ or another word. Unspecific is too calm, too dispassionate.
    And “cloak of darkness” is cliche (although I’m sure I would have used it too, writing at 3 am!)

    Well done, my friend!

  13. kir says:

    Wow! I never saw the end coming…amazing.

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  15. Trish Loye Elliott says:

    LOVED this! Great work again Kelly! I can’t wait to read the next installment. I liked how you flipped back and forth between memories and the present. I happened to love ‘The cloak of night brought the courage I needed.’ And I looove the cliffhanger. Good work,especially since you’re working on so little sleep. Gotta get back to my editing now.

  16. Whoa… holy crap. This is amazing… If that was the short prologue at the beginning of a book in the impulse lane? I WOULD SO BUY IT!

    I do agree with the postcard comment – vague rather than unspecific definitely.. or since she’s so mad, maybe it could even be just a confusing piece of shit postcard. 😉

    Cloak of night… maybe would just be better as the coverage of night.. cloak seems somehow pretentious and this story most definitely is not that!

    And being the editing/typo freak that I am? I had to point this one out, where an “a” is needed. “I savored his familiar taste for moment.”

    5 hours of sleep. I know it well. Insanely good job!

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  18. Frume Sarah says:

    Not certain I can add anything to the complimentary statements here.

    One grammatical point: Their guard will drop caused me to start again and see if there was a second attacker.

    Otherwise, a well-written continuation with a a great zinger at the end. Looking forward to the next installment.

  19. Ack! WHO sent the postcard??!! Kelly, you *are* going to continue this, yes?? I was picturing her in the alley, thinking through the escape scenarios, feeling the push and pull between them (physically, sexually, emotionally).

    “The whites of his eyes floated in the black…”
    “The cloak of night brought the courage I needed.”

  20. Wait! I just went back to Stood Up (yes, I’m commenting in reverse, though I did read them in order!) and reread that she stared at the familiar handwriting for the thousandth time (might be a direct quote? trying to remember it exactly). So whoever wrote it took the time to forge his writing?? Now, my curiosity is burning all the more!

  21. Oh my god, who sent the postcard? I wanna know more!

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