Chapter 3

Written by: Mzpete

    “Are you stupid?”  

     Alex slapped Dawson.  It stung Rick’s stubble shadowed cheek, burning his cold skin like she’d set it on fire.  
    “He's left for base camp, you idiot! And  you stole  his food supply!”  She snatched the candy from him. His face became fixed and angry. He didn’t care where the old fool went.  He had left them on the mountain to die.  He raised his arms to protect his head from another furious barrage of slaps.  Then Alex’s fist sank deep into his stomach.  He sputtered chocolate on the snow in a crooked brown fan.  
    “Marshall went to get us rescue."
    “Stop hitting me, dammit!”  he shouted, sinking onto a rock which was black against the snow. Alex marchedt to the snow cave and sat. Rick's gaze followed her.

    His every bone and muscle throbbed from Marshall’s fancy balloon crash.  Let’s take a balloon to the peak! That would be exciting, he’d gushed during the one meeting Rick had attended.  All the others had been exclusive.  Just Marshall and Alex making all the plans, and sharing night caps by a fire, he assumed.
    Night caps with Alex was a tantalizing idea, even without a fire.  She had convinced him that archaeology was his life’s dream, after all.  He’d only wanted to escape his stifling father for a few years.  Dad’s plan was that Rick assume a vice-presidency in the company after he earned his business degree.  Kramer Dawson possessed literal boat loads of money gleaned from a luxury line of European cruise ships.  College in Alaska sounded remote enough to Rick, and he had hopped on the family jet.
    At the registration desk, when Alex stole all of his attention, he’d changed his major on the spot.  “Archaeology,” he declared, and fixed his schedule to mirror hers.  He hadn’t told his parents yet.
    After a couple of months Rick admitted his mistake to himself. Archaeology was a dry, sleepy subject.  Professor Marshall yammered through long lectures, assigning far too many old, dusty books.  He was a bore, but when Alex explained his teaching while they studied it all came to life for him.  She made it possible to get his homework done, and he amazed himself with excellent grades.  The only one better than himself was Alex.
    For a year and a half he’d tried to make her notice him.  All she saw was a study partner. Then she’d asked him to go on this expedition.
   “It’ll be just the three of us,” she promised.  
    Rick was elated, at first.  Then Marshall asked him on the sly for a “contribution” to the trip.  Rick wrote a hefty check and found himself soaring over Europe in a balloon.
    He looked over to Alex, who sat on the snow inside their little cave.  Tears had frozen on her lovely face.  Her heart will mend.  Rick kept his hands to himself, not wanting to alarm her.  When Marshall was dead... then she would let him comfort her.  He smiled.

Alex Petersen, USA


This means too much clolour.  Keep ieach sentence short and clear to help the story move on.  As a reader I don't need to know each thought and action.  I am more interested in the story.  If 500 words is the limit then a lot more story could be added to each chapter.  This 3rd chapter had some action eg a slap which I liked.  More action is needed to keep it rolling along.  
in the firsrt couple of sentences.  I always put that down to sausage fingers on a key board
Excellent job cementing Dawson as the villain in the piece so far! Murder meant may not be murder managed, but we'll see as things unfold. Great work giving us Dawson's story as well. It might be a little more backstory than necessary in one gulp - but it gives those of us behind you something to sink our teeth into. Money and unrequited love are wonderful plot devices.  
 I appreciated the background provided to anchor the story.
I'm all for the description because I'm a junky for it. I thought it was good. I would love to see Rick get his in a spectacular way. Don't you just hate him? (I love the character and would love to kill him off). Just a couple of points. I think there should have been a new para starting with, 'His face became fixed....' and a question of continuity. They were inside the cave when she found out about the chocolate. You had them outside. I think this is moving along okay. We need to know the characters to understand their motives for doing what they do when we reach the climax of the story. Great chapter.