Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (All Clear)

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Happy Father’s Day to anyone who fills that role for someone!

Green Balloon


Last week, a flashback hit our wereduck hero Tom, offering a hint about what happened to his unit in Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, he’s armed.

His friend Turner (who is also one of the few survivors from that unit), is talking him down.

Lawn Photo

I moved to get line of sight but he moved with me. “What are you—Grant is still—we have to—”

“Kyle got him out of there,” he said.  He’s safe, Donald; we’re all safe.”

Wolves,” I said, but the fog was starting to lift and the desert night slowly bloomed into green grass in the summer sun.

“Only two, both friendly.”

“You’re sure?” I asked, trying to remember why that last part didn’t ring true.

“Hey,” he said, lightly clasping my elbow, “I’m only human.”

That phrase was his all-clear, so I handed him the Glock, sank to my knees beside the overturned lawn chair, and practiced breathing for a couple minutes.


Thus endeth the panic attack.  Let the familial guilt begin!

Donald is a nickname, in case that confused anyone—Turner has used it in previous chapters and is using it here to get Tom to believe him.   The use of the all-clear phrases is also established earlier, when Tom speaks with Grant.

It’s really easy to double-check things like that in Scrivener, by the way.  Just saying.


47 thoughts on “Weekend Writing Warriors: Odd Duck (All Clear)

  1. Donald? Donald Duck? Why didn’t I catch this before? LOL Great snippet and great way to bring someone back to the present from a PTSD attack. Nicely done, Sarah. 🙂

  2. “…but the fog was starting to lift and the desert night slowly bloomed into green grass in the summer sun.”
    I love that line!

    Great snippet, you capture all the emotion and panic really well.

  3. Daelyn stole my line. I love that same line and now I have to go pick another favorite and there are too many of them in that snippet. I loved the bit about “practicing breathing.” Poor Tom!

    • Awww, thanks, Paula. That Facebook page you suggested helped a lot, so thank you for that, too. 🙂

      I hate making Tom suffer . . . but not enough to stop.

  4. I used to have to tell my walking DSM ex to breathe after one of his panic attacks. Sadly, it seems his agoraphobia and 101 other disorders have only continued getting worse, not better.

    I love that Tom’s nickname is Donald. It makes me think of my fifth grade teacher, who was so obsessed with Donald he held a birthday party for him every June.

    • Oh, dear. I guess there’s some things breathing can’t fix . . .

      I didn’t want to bring Howard the Duck into things, so Donald it was! 😀

  5. I like the way you made the shift slow and gradual. With Tom being so on-edge like that, I suspect a sudden change would be a spark that would ignite everything.

  6. I love the way Turner’s voice is so steady, no feeding the panic Tom is already experiencing. Very tense and realistic scene. Well done.

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