Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Purple Shadows" Contest: Katie McCurdy


Several days ago, I came across a very original blog contest,
in which participants were supposed to write
a romantic suspense scene
that had to incorporate the phrase "purple shadows".
Titled "The Purple Shadows Romantic Suspense Writing Contest", 
it was held from April 12th to May 5th of this year,
and was hosted by Peg, at Go Ahead and Wear the Purple,
a blog dedicated to Christian fiction,
with wonderful reviews, guest blogs, and fab contests!

I'd like to hightlight one of the entries, written by Katie McCurdy,
whose own blog, Legacy of a Writer,
is also dedicated to Christian fiction, offering great reviews,
author interviews, and fantastic giveaways!
While she did not win the contest, I thought her story was excellent,
so I'm posting it here!

Sara had never known utter fear until that moment. Now it consumed her, wedging itself into every crevice of her body. Her breath came in short, erratic gasps. A glance downward showed her fists twitching despite her efforts to remain calm. Her knees gave way and she slid downward against the packing crates.

Get a grip, Sara!

But how? The enormity of the situation overwhelmed her. How could this happen? Everything she heard…it just couldn’t be true. No. It had to be a misunderstanding. Her father wouldn’t be involved in something like this. He couldn’t be.

A forgotten scene flashed. Dad on the phone in the garden. She’d only been able to hear wisps of the conversation, but she remembered two words very clearly—purple shadows. She’d always assumed he had been talking about the beautiful hybrid flower they’d created together. Now she knew different.
She bit down on her lip to muffle a groan. Why did she begin to have doubts concerning her father’s business? What had possessed her to sneak into this warehouse after him? Oh, that’s right—Seth. Her detective-wannabe friend. If only she had ignored his questions…

But, no. She couldn’t be that selfish. That naïve.

People were dying.

Sara forced her fist to relax and stared at the small flash drive in her palm. She couldn’t believe they’d left it behind in the computer. It had been too easy to sneak into the room and grab it, undetected. Now she had to act; had to show it to somebody. But who?


This was all his fault, anyway. He would know what to do. Sara blinked back hard tears as she rose. Her knees wobbled.

Okay. Just sneak out the way you came in and then get the heck out of here. Everything is going to be fine. It has to be.

A door banged open somewhere. Sara nearly jumped out of her skin. She pressed a hand tightly over her mouth to withhold a scream as she strained to hear. Footsteps!

Oh man, oh man. They’re coming this way!

She whirled around and saw a small space between crates. She bolted for it. Turning sideways, she shimmied through until she reached the other side, where more boxes and crates formed a long, narrow hallway that disappeared in both directions. Sara took a step to the right, praying it would lead her out.

“Sara. We know you’re in here.”

The blood drained from her face as her father’s voice echoed off the walls of the warehouse.

No. No. No! This is really, really bad!

She released a breath she didn’t realized she’d been holding. She was afraid to breath. Afraid to move. Afraid to do anything!

God, I need to get outta here! One of your guardian angels would sure be handy right now!

Sara felt body heat behind her a split second before a rough arm wrapped around her, pinning her arms to her side. A hand covered her mouth and kept back the scream of surprise and fear from escaping her throat. She was pushed against a large crate without a sound, her legs spread and held in place by her captors own thick legs. She squirmed in the hold, but barely moved. Just great! One of Dad’s creepy hulks found me.

Thinking it best to cooperate, she relaxed her tensed muscles. The man dipped his face into the curve of her neck and murmured, “Don’t say anything. Stay still.”

Her hammering heart escaladed. It was Seth! Good thing he had a hand over her mouth or she would’ve given him a tongue-lashing for freaking her out.

The footsteps drew closer and then stopped abruptly on the other side of the crate. “Sara, you can’t hide forever.” She squeezed her eyes shut, swallowing the bile that rose in her throat. What had happened to the fun-loving father who raised her? Heavy breathing sounded only a few feet from their hiding spot. Her heart rate climbed.

Oh Lord, get me outta here or I’ll go down in history as the first seventeen-year-old to die of a massive heart attack!

As if on cue, the footsteps continued on down the isle of shipping crates. Sara sagged in Seth’s arms. Slowly, cautiously, he easy away from the crates and removed his hand, allowing fresh air to travel freely to her lungs.
Inhaling a shaky breath she turned in his grasp. “Seth Mavvis!” It took every ounce of her resolve not to scream his name at the top of her lungs. “You scared the crap outta me. What are you doing here?”

“Keep your voice down! You want them to find us?” His voice was barely above a whisper, his mouth hovering mere inches from her ear. “I followed you.”

Sara didn’t try to squelch the burning glare she gave him.

He quirked an eyebrow and grinned. “What? You think I would tell you to go investigate if your father really is the top hit-man in the city by yourself? I’ve been behind you the whole time.”

Sara felt a blush creep up her neck when she realized he still had an arm around her. In one move she broke from his hold and took a step back. “I-if you were, the least you could’ve done was let me know.

Like the infuriating man that he was, Seth only shrugged. “Sorry. Smooth move, though—swiping the flash drive.”

The flash drive! She looked down at her hand briefly to ensure she still had it.

“We need to get out of here!”

“Excellent advice. Let’s go.” He grabbed her hand and pulled her along the isle of crates.

Sara tried to imitate his silent walk—toe first—as she cast wary glances behind them. Her heart rate had still not slowed down. “Do you know where you are going?”

Seth only nodded and put a finger to his lips before making an abrupt right turn, dragging her along after him. She felt frustration rising. Since when did Seth take over? She didn’t ask for his help.

She released a sigh. She should be grateful. No way would she be able to make it out of the warehouse by herself. There must be at least twenty men crawling around this warehouse. It was only by a miracle that she’d been able to sneak inside—and she couldn’t expect a miracle to happen twice in one day. Their zigzagged journey among the large crates seemed endless. Every once in a while she heard her father yell her name along with a string of threats when they caught her. She shivered. Who was this monster that had morphed from her father’s body?

Seth ducked behind a pile of dilapidated, broken, wooden boxes thrown carelessly in a pile. They were at the far corner of the warehouse. She prayed no one was within hearing. “Here we are.”

Sara peered around his shoulder. There, hidden behind the pile, was a rusted, rotted section of the wall that had been widened—no doubt by Seth’s hand—into a hole large enough to slip through.

Her mouth dropped open. “You mean to tell me that you watched me risk my life by sneaking through the front door when you had a back entrance already??” She knew her whisper was shrill and probably too loud, but she didn’t care.

Seth shrugged. “I didn’t think you would be stupid enough to try that!”

Stupid enough—”

He held up a hand. “Can we just go now before we are discovered?”
Good thing he cut her off—she might’ve ended up knocking out his perfect teeth.

Once outside, she crossed her arms and huffed. “Now what, O smart and mighty one, since I am evidently stupid enough to walk to the front of this warehouse and ask my daddy to drive me home.”

Seth rolled his eyes. “Now Sara—”

“Since you asked so nicely, I believe I will.”

Sara yelped as she spun toward the voice.

Her father stood a few feet away with three macho men behind them. The blood chilled in her veins as she took a cautious step backwards, toward Seth.

He took her hand and squeezed.

“I believe you have something that doesn’t belong to you, sweetheart.” Her father’s voice was stone cold. His endearment sounded taunting. “Haven’t I taught you not to take things that are not yours?”

Sara felt her chin raise a notch. “According to you, this”—she held up the flash drive—“is just a “purple shadow”. So if I use your twisted mindset, I could say I’m just taking what is mine. Won’t the police be happy to see what other flowers can be found in here?”

Seth squeezed her hand—hard. She’d said too much. One look at her father’s confirmed it.

His face described “murderous glare” to a tee.

When would she learn to hold her tongue? Not waiting to hear his response, Seth spun her in the direction of the nearby trees and gave her a push.


She didn’t need the prodding. Sara bolted ahead of him like a scarred rabbit. As she gained the safety of the woods, a pistol went off behind her, striking a tree nearby.

Not good.

“Don’t stop!” Seth panted beside her.

“No worries!” She gasped, running deeper into the forest. The sun had disappeared over the horizon, filling the woods with dark shadows.

How are we going to get outta here?

The ground suddenly dropped from underneath her. She tumbled down a steep incline, her body battered against the forest floor. When she finally skidded to a halt at the bottom of the little valley, she inhaled deeply to stop her spinning vision.


She jerked her gaze up to where Seth stared down at her in disbelief. “I-I’m okay,” she managed to shout, though her voice warbled.

“Hang on, I’m coming!”

Another shot echoed in the forest. Seth cried out and grabbed his arm, blood spurting from the wound. Sara felt a scream rip from her throat.


Her father and his three cronies ran down the trail, closing the short distance between them and Seth. “Seth, run!” Even as she screamed her desperate plea, she knew that he couldn’t escape in time.

“No, you run! Run, Sara. Go! Get—” The three macho men tackled him to the ground and she screamed in denial.

No! This can’t be happening! God, they’ll kill him!

“Go, Sara!” Seth grunted, punching one of the men off him and daring a glance in her direction.

Her father started looking for a safe way down the cliff. She had to move. Even though every bone in her body protested against leaving him, she had to escape or they would both be dead. A sob burned in her chest as she sprinted away, going the only direction that might promise deliverance—away.

Turning a corner, she was hidden from their view. But the breeze carried the sounds of Seth’s beating. Tears ran down her face as she covered her ears, wanting to shut out the awful sounds.

I’ve gotta get away. Have to escape. I can bring help!

\Evening shadows continued to descend around her. In a few minutes the entire forest would be pitch black. She paused in her mad dash and did a tight circle, viewing the woods around her.

She was lost.

In the dark.

And Seth was back there somewhere, dying if not already dead.

Things couldn’t get any worse.

Here's some further information about Katie.

I am 18 years old, and am third eldest in a large family - there are 12 of us total, including parents.  I have published my first book Journey of Faith with Outskirts Press. While the sequel to this book is currently on the back burner, I am working on a medieval romantic suspense, The Princess' Assassin, as well as another biblical historical fiction I am writing with a friend, Scattered Tears.


  1. Thanks so much for posting about this, Maria. This contest was so much fun to participate in, even if I didn't win. :-)

    ~ Katie (a.k.a. Katy)

  2. Hi, Katy (Katie)!!

    You're very welcome! Yes, it was indeed a GREAT contest! And I think you should have won, since your suspense scene is TERRIFIC!!! : )


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