S10 – Just Once

For this assignment I chose to re-write Derek and Elinor’s argument after the air raid (chapter four) from Derek’s point of view.  I cheated a little bit and just copied and pasted the section from chapter four and then replaced the “Elinor narrative” with “Derek narrative”, so it isn’t really a whole lot of new words.  I even left some of the original part that seemed point-of-view-neutral.  The interesting part about doing it this way was realizing how little it actually took to shift the point of view.  Just a little bit here and there (well, a more at the beginning and less at the end) made all the difference in the viewpoint.  Not as fun as last week’s assignment, but quite interesting.

Just Once

Derek sat with the others in the blank darkness, waiting for silence to triumph over the hideous crash of bombs and the sound of Elinor’s cheerful, monotone fairy tale.  Ashamed of the cold sweat that trickled down his neck, Derek wondered if this was what Ethan felt like, huddled in a trench in North Africa.  Wondered whether he would have the courage to sit in a foxhole surrounded by bombs and then get up and hold someone’s life in the curl of his finger around the trigger.

“…and the prince and the princess were married and all the people of the land rejoiced greatly.  And they lived happily ever after.  The end.”  It seemed so odd to listen to Elinor retell the old story of the prince and the dragon while airplanes roared wildly overhead, spewing destruction wherever they went.  As Elinor ended, they heard a high-pitched whine.  This time it was quite close.  There was an enormous blast and the ground shuddered violently beneath them.  Another whine, this time without the fulfillment of violence.  And then all was still.

“Is…is it over, Elinor?”

Elinor didn’t answer.  After all the noise the silence felt too heavy.

“I don’t know, Polly,” said Derek.  The revolver felt large and cold in his palm and he stuck it into waistband instead.  “I’ll go see.”

“No!  No, don’t go out, Derek.  We…we should wait.”


“Because…well, what if they…just five minutes, Derek.  And then if they don’t come back, we can go out.”

“I’m not saying we should go out, Elinor.  I’m saying I will.”

“No, you will not.  It’s still too dangerous.  And I want you to wait for five more minutes.  Please, Derek?” she added.

“You can’t tell me—”

“Well, why do you want to go so much anyway?”

I don’t want to.  But I have to.  I need to protect you – for my sake.  Can’t you see? “Elinor, haven’t you read the newspapers?  Looting is going on all over England – and it usually happens within the first few minutes after an air raid!  All I’m going to—”


He winced as she turned the light full into his face.  Elinor, you know I’m right.  You just don’t want to admit it. Just let me be…let me be a man.  Just once.

“It’s been about five minutes, Derek,” she whispered finally.

He didn’t answer.  He banged the door open and ran through the slippery mud and the rain which had settled into a fine, voluminous mist.

~c. a.


2 thoughts on “S10 – Just Once

  1. Interesting. I could accuse you of cheating since all the dialogue is the same…but I’m not going to because it makes perfect sense to do it that way =).

    The 100% best part of this whole thing, in my mind, was the phrase “hold someone’s life in the curl of his finger around the trigger”. Astonishingly powerful imagery. Derek’s internal dialogue was great as well.

    Speaking of last week’s sandbox, now I feel bad because I went around lecturing you about how Mike wouldn’t lose his temper at Scott and look what I put in my chapter 6. My only vindication is that it was a slightly different kind of fight. I’m actually relieved/surprised that you didn’t call me on that. And yes–while it is on my mind–according to multiple sources, it is legal for deaf people to drive (researched by consulting the “ubiquitous Google” of course lol). Finding that actually surprised me. Your brother’s answer was great, though. I know I tend to do that to my younger bro all the time when I’m reading or watching something hehe.

    1. Actually, I did catch that, but I also realized that it was a slightly different scenario and, like you said, a different kind of fight. Plus I figured that you are the expert so if you thought yours was ok and mine wasn’t, well, that’s your right as Mike’s creator. =)

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