Extract: Midpoint, Exploratory Scene
The steady rhythm of rain on the tin roof grew louder and louder until it was a palpable presence in the silent space where they stood. Thanh had his arms around his crying sister-in-law, widowed at the hands of VJ. Mildred couldn’t shake that thought from her mind. No matter how far removed he was from his crimes in his sanitised, comfortable estate, here, in this small shack were his very real victims- grieving the loss of a husband, brother, father, long after the transaction of a measly month’s wages in exchange for something infinitely more valuable, available to the highest bidder wanting to stall their own fate.
The little girl pried the framed photograph of her father from her mother’s hand. Probably too young to understand, Mildred thought, but those brown eyes widened, looking at the absent smiling face, and then at her mother, who’s expression was strained into an agonised, silent display of pain. Placing the photograph gently on the floor that was made homely with a rug fashioned from reused rice sacks, the girl buried her head in her mother’s skirt and began to cry. The rain slowed to a slight trickle from the skies, rolling along the corrugations like the tears finding their paths across the woman’s cheeks. It was with this change in cadence that Mildred felt the cavity in her chest tighten until there was no space at all, forcing her to exhale as she was reminded of the recurring dream she’d had as a child. The sound of gentle but steady rain on the roof had provided the soundtrack for that ill-fated night she’d relived in her sleep, her imagination filling the missing pieces of the puzzle that was the father she never met. Their roof had been tiled, but in her dreams, it was a tin roof he’d stood on, lending itself to an unmistakable tat tat tat tat tat as the god of stormy nights exchanged his life for hers, with a serving of guilt that remained hers, even with the benefit of an adult’s rationale.
‘’So, will you help us?’’ Thanh asked, his voice squeezing through the space consumed by the unceasing rain.
Mildred nodded with a forced a smile, in an attempt to keep the tears at bay, not taking her eyes off the little girl. No matter what the cost, and with VJ there was sure to be a cost, she’d have to help them bring him to justice.
This is an extract from an exploratory scene I wrote as I prepare to structure the turning point into sequences, steps and then scenes- breaking down the action into discrete units of dramatic questions and character arcs. I have slightly modified it to avoid a spoiler. At this point of my story (the fourth turning point, or midpoint), my character makes a committed decision and transitions from the learner/wanderer archetype to the warrior archetype that sees her fight for her goal as she faces a range of moral conflicts and challenges, with much at stake emotionally, physically, spiritually, and philosophically (let’s hope she has an ally in there!).