You can start at the end, and then lead us straight back to a traditionally ordered sequence of events (it worked for Citizen Kane). Or you can give us the full Memento treatment and take us backward one step at a time to the very origin of your story. Whatever works: just hook your readers with a powerful conclusion (that comes first!), and then captivate them with the story of how it came to pass.
This story was based on a discovery where I live. The Skull
I was preparing to go to bed. There was a storm outside. I awoke to a clap of thunder and lightning and there he was, sitting on my bed, sort of semi transparent.
“Who-who-who are you?”
“Me? I suppose a ghost.”
“You know the one they dug up today outside where they are building that house.”
I remembered, there was quite a performance. Whilst digging the foundations they had uncovered a severed skull, the rest of the bones were scattered around. The newspaper men were there, the town archeologists, and it was discovered that many years ago the beheading block was in our village for the local criminals and villains.
“You are the skull they found?”
“Yes, that’s right Miss, at last. I had been waiting a few hundred years for a bit of freedom and stretching my legs. The place looks different to when I knew it: all these strange houses. To my time it was a hill with a chopping block at the top surrounded by fields, cows and the like. I had better be going, have a few hundred years to catch up with, although it is nice and cosy here.”
I became curious. “I would offer you something to drink and eat, but I suppose ghosts do not eat or drink. Before you go, tell me what happened.”
“You really want to know, well nothing special, but this is what happened” and he commenced.
“Yes, that’s me although I wasn’t dressed in my best at the time. When you are beheaded you have to wear what they give you. I was a good looker in my time and the ladies knew it. Unfortunately that was my downfall and one of the reasons for my early demise.
I was caught red handed I suppose you could say, but it was a little embarrassing, for Lady Von Kappeler and for me. Of course my hands were not red, they were the colour of my skin, but so was the rest of me and the Lady? There was no mistake, she certainly looked like a lady wearing what she brought into the world. Lord Von Kappeler, her husband, was supposed to be in town with his colleagues, probably doing the same as I was, but not with someone’s wife, just visiting the local ladies. I had paid Maggie to keep him occupied all night, so that her ladyship and I could have fun together, but Maggie was greedy and wanted more money for her services to his Lordship. They had a little argument, his lordship decided why pay for it when it is all free at home and was off.
Now if it was like today when you all have these iPhones and mobile things, Maggie would have warned me that he was on his way, but in the eighteenth century when the Lord had a horse, there was no escaping. So me and her ladyship were having fun, my ears were only open to her squeels of delight and pleasure and not to the sound of hooves on the cobblestones in the courtyard. I didn’t even have a chance to cover my private bits, the door opened and there he stood, the husband, the Lord.
There was a little argument, her ladyship telling him that I had forced her to do what she was doing. Now that was a joke. She could never get enough, but what is the word of a highwayman and thief against that of a lady, so I had no chance.
“I should challenge you to a duel” said his Lordship “to rescue my honour”.
I laughed. “When they know that you were spending the evening with Maggie at the local brothel I think your honour might be questionable” was my answer while I wrapped the sheet around myself – it was cold in that castle bedroom I can tell you.
“Guards, seize this intruder” he shouted and I had no chance with six of his men grabbing me. They pulled me down to the cellar. He was a crafty bloke that Lord. He even had some of his gold and silver deposited in my abode, which was a wooden hut at the edge of the forest. My place was searched from the town guards and they found it all. What was I to say. Of course I denied it all, but even Maggie held evidence against me at the trial. Yes the Lord had paid her and Maggie did everything for money.
Lady Von Kappeler gave me the rest, telling how I had climbed through the bedroom window and forced myself upon her. She had no chance, she said, with tears in her eyes (did I smell onions). I escaped a duel with the Lord which was a good thing as he was one of the best gunmen in the town and he would have certainly killed me with the first shot. I was condemned to a beheading. Now I was a pretty fellow really and I treasured my head above all. Unfortunately the law did not find this was the case and so it was up the hill on the beheading block and there I was since, until they dug me up.”
With that he took a bow and walked through the wall. I never saw him again. I wondered, shall I call the newspaper, but I somehow think they would not believe my story.
Some Backward Pingbacks
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward – The Funeral | SERENDIPITY
- Weekly Writing Challenge; Backward | terry1954
- Galactic Dreams…..(weekly prompt wp) | Daily Observations
- Love & Hope Through the Darkness | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
- Weekly writing challenge: Backwards, The last conversation | Life of a Fallen Angel
- move lungs beating heart | The Seminary of Praying Mantis
- There Was No Escape From His Father’s Words | The Seeker’s Dungeon
- Oh the horror! | mostlytrueramblings
- Shattered | To Write With a Broken Pencil is Pointless
- International Phone At A London Post Office | Jaye’s Brain
- Cataclysm (part one) | Master Of Disaster
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward | imaginations
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward | Dead Again | mattsden101
- How I Became a Library Delinquent | NobsLyfe
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Backward | MKG- Memories-Keepsakes-Gifts
- New shores | André from Holland
- the UNCATEGORISED | WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE: the Big House | the TRASH BASH
- It’s been 323 days. | thanks for letting me autograph your cat
- staying grounded | Musings of a Random Mind
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward: Heart’s Desire | MythRider
- A Departure | Goodbye Whoopee Pie
- Forty Fifty | A Modest Affair
- Backwards: Surprise Me | Musical Chairs
- How I dramatised this mobile photo for Instagram | We Live In A Flat
- Don’t Press That Button | rarasaur
- Pretender una sociedad sana con una base corrompida | El Panfleto
- Child of the Shadows | Legends of Lorata
- Backward Twisting Kahani | મન ની વાત
- But I’ll never let you go | beautify inside and out
- i didn’t mean to | wannabepoet
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward | ღ UrbanDrella ღ
- A Short Story: The Porcelain Bear | I Hope You’re Taking Notes
- Where it began, I can’t begin to knowin’ . . . | Hippie Cahier
- Trippin’ In Graceland | Good2begone
- Inapoi | Photos on the wall
- Pressed Freshly For Ben | An Upturned Soul
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward | Stevie’s Words
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Writing Backward – Old Man | Raivenne-lations
- Into the Guard Rail, short story | Reinvention of Mama
- Too little, too late | My OCD Diaries
- Delivered to your door… | Vampire Maman
- Red shoeprints (DP challenge) | Tim’s Talk
- “I Guess You Could Call It A Blighted Ovum”- The Story Of My Miscarriage | momasteblog
- A Chance Meeting | Winding Road
- Crustaceans Backwards | The Silver Leaf Journal
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward | Four Parts of the One
- Cataclysm (part two) | Master Of Disaster
- Dear King of Hearts: | 67steffen
- Green…Black…Frank | Mary J Melange
- Here Comes The Rooster | This Is My Corn
- Waiting for and Ending | A Girl Divided
- (go down, build up) | y
- WWC: Remember, you only have one left! | Simple Heart Girl
- How NOT to Cook Chicken Broth | Little Bliss Book
- Vonn Vs. The Trombone! (Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV) (Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward) | The San Francisco Scene–Seen!
- An Impasse | Hey, Miss Adventures!
- Hastily Proceeding and The Idiots Stone | A’A IN PARADISE
- that man | why tiara
- Highly Impractical and Completely Unanticipated | melanielynngriffin
- Exposed | Welshalterego
- We didn’t get arrested in Thailand. | My BF turned me into a lesbian…in Japan
- S is for Sardonic (aka the Nudist Rock Band Story) | Anecdote Love
- I am Shattered Pottery | Lily Mugford
- One More Class: Why A Teacher Always Goes Back To A Classroom | ~xoxo, msL
- Backward | The Day After
- Little Growing Pains | The Lover I Never Had
- Dance | Little Talks
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward | A Blog’s Life
- 691 Words Plus A Sentence. | as long as i’m singing
- Cataclysm (part three) | Master Of Disaster
- Sideways/Backwards | Cold Coffee Curse
- Zigzag Routes.. | Journey Called Life …
- Liathara – The Lord, His Army and the Dragon | Jake Kuyser
- Turbulence | Silent Soliloquy
- In the Absence of Time | The Writingwolf: Words and Wonders
- Processing the life | Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward | Words We Women Write