**I haven’t done this exercise much since publishing it, but I still feel it is a great way to learn the tricks of the trade, as it were. Original

*Note: Just before Christmas I purchased a writing kit which, among other things, was filled with excellent suggestions on ways to make yourself a better writer. Some of those suggestions were to take the first and last sentence of your favorite short story and fill-in the story line in-between. Another was to copy, word-for-word and from beginning to end, your favorite short story to help you de-mystify the idea of a great writer. I have combined many these suggestions to try and re-write a scene from Stephen King and Peter Straub’s book The Talisman as a way to better my writing skills. I read this particular scene for the first time a few weeks back and felt this would be a great way to see how much I remembered and how much detail I could fill in on the parts that I don’t remember. Some of the names, characters, and number of characters have been changed because I either forgot some names and/or details, but also because I wanted to focus on the main part of the story, that being the death of Wolf and how he died saving Jack’s life.


ThudThud. Jack heard the distant noises as he slowly came too. Without opening his eyes he could tell he was in a closet or some other dark enclosed area, but where exactly within the emense structure that was The Sunlight Home for Wayward Boys he didn’t exactly know.

Thud. Thud. Came the noises again.

“I believe good ‘ol Jack might be awake, Reverand.” Jack heard a voice say in the adjacent room.

“Can’t be, I gave him enough sedative to keep a small horse asleep for hours.” Jack heard the voice of the Reverend, Sunlight Gardner say. “Keep on doing what you were doing. We need to get this done before my flight leaves in an hour.”

Just then Jack heard the sound of a door opening suddenly and then heavy breathing.

“Reverand, you need to come up stairs. Something is happening in the mess hall. It sounds like there is a wild dog, or something, lose in there.”

Wolf, Jack thought as he heard the breathless voice explain.

Coming out of the his groggy sleep, Jack struggled to sit upright. His hands were bound behind him and so were his feet. As the fog left his head he was able to wiggle his feet free and almost his hands as well, but not without first twisting his wrists almost to the point that it felt like they might snap.

Somebody needs to learn how to tie a knot, Jack thought as he crawled onto his hands and knees and peered out through the tiny slits that he came to realize were on the door of the closet in the Reverends personal study.

“You keep counting,” Jack saw the Reverend point to Justin Hildebrand, one of the Reverends many cronies.  “You come with me.”

Just then, the wooden door of the Reverends office seemed to explode inward in a shower of splintered wood. Without ducking or even protecting himself from the shower of wood fragments, Justin reached into the desk and pulled out a pistol, pointing it at the door, while the Reverend ducked for cover behind a ficus close to the doors entrance.

“No,” Jack whispered as he waited for the dust to clear. When it finally did Wolf stood in the doorway, on all fours, the features of the boy just a few years older then Jack were gone, replaced by hair and muscle and eyes that burned hotter then any fire. He was crouched on all fours and waiting for the dust to clear so he could pounce and see the fear and devastation in the eyes of his victim when he lunged, mouth gapping open wide ready to rip out their throats.

But before Wolf made any kind of move, Jack looked over at Justin who was pulling the hammer back on his gun, preparing to shoot.

“No!” Jack scream as he shot out through the door of the closet. Surprised, Justin shifted his aim towards Jack and fired two quick shots.

Wolf, smelling the sent of gun powder long before he even knocked down the door lunged in front of Jack just as Justin fired.

Shaken first by the loud clap of the gun shot, Jack closed his eyes in anticipation of the bullets that he imagined would tear through his chest. He only hoped the end would come quick.

But it didn’t come at all.

When he opened his eyes the first person he saw was Justin who had lowered his gun slightly and was staring at something on the floor in front of Jack. It was Wolf.

No! Jack yelled if only to himself after what seemed like eternity, his body frozen. The muscles in his legs finally began to work and he ran over to where Wolf laid motionless.

But just then the hairy form of Wolf stirred. The large muscles covered by large mats of hair rippled and then contracted as Wolf lifted himself up from off the ground. He stood on all fours, but he seemed to stand taller then any of the teenage boys in the room, and maybe even taller then the six foot one Reverend Gardner, himself.

Before Justin or any of the others had time to react Wolf pounced, first upon Justin, ripping open his throat which let forth a stream of gore. From there he moved onto the other boy that Jack now saw was Nathan Studdlemier. Then it was onto the Reverend, but he was gone, escaped out through the front door and down the hall even before Wolf was finished with Justin.

Slowly, and with movements that seemed to hurt and ache in every muscle of Wolf’s body, he moved towards the door that the Reverend had escaped through and peered out and down the hall.

There was nothing, he was already gone.

Turning back, Wolf walked through the exploded door of the Reverends office  and starred at Jack.

Jack had been afraid the first time Wolf had changed, now a month previous. But not now. As Wolf and Jack met eye-to-eye for the first time in Wolf’s altered state, Jack noticed that the fire that burned behind those eyes was dimmer then it had been when he first saw Wolf standing outside the Reverends office. They seemed tired, too.

He was dying, Jack came to understand and without thinking her ran over to Wolf, who still stood in the door-way, and kneeled down beside him as he lowered himself onto the linoleum floor.

“I . . . I.” Jack heard Wolf try and say as he rolled his immense form over to get a better look at the bullet wounds. Looking up Jack saw Wolf was starting to turn back, just like the werewolves in the movie. That part was true, Jack thought, even if the part about only being able to kill them with silver bullets was not.

“Don’t talk,” Jack whispered with tears filling his eyes as he went back to examining the bullet wound, frantically trying to think of what to do next, even though deep down he knew it was too late. “I’m going to get help.”

“The. . . heard safe?” Wolf was able to say, his face almost completely back to normal now. “Jack safe, Jason safe?”

“Yes, Jack safe.” Jack answered back, tears now freely sliding down his cheeks. “I’m sorry for getting you into this, Wolf. . . I’m sorry.”