The title I’ve settled on for my new short story is “Deletions from the Cloud.” It opens with the narrator, Nick, in a state of panic as he tries to decipher a voice-mail from Audrey. She’s missing.
When I started this story, I didn’t have all the details worked out. Audrey’s missing. Nick’s freaked out. I left things vague. The story shifts as the character of Emerson, the cabbie, is introduced. Emerson helps Nick, and tries to keep him from having a further breakdown.
My original idea is that at the end of the story, Audrey gets in the can, and Nick realizes she’s not what he was looking for. He’s found something else along the way. They share this moment in silence. Does she recognize him or not? He drops her off. It’s over.
Then, I thought it’d be cool if Audrey wasn’t missing, but that Nick was and he doesn’t know it. This would require some major rewriting, but it could be cool. Well, maybe not a ton, but it would need some shifting. In this version, Nick has had some kind of incident where things are confused. He thinks Audrey is missing and is frantic about it. At the end, she gets in the cab, finds him, it’s a happy ending for everyone.
Where I ended up going is different though. Audrey’s not missing. Nick has blocked out something. At the end, he picks her up in the cab. She tells him, “I was never the one who was lost,” and leaves.
But now there are details that need filling in. I’ve done some of it, but am not really happy with it. What is Emerson’s relationship with Nick? I’ve added a scene makes it seem like they were friends before. Not sure I want that now. Do people do things out of goodness? What could be Emerson’s motives for befriending Nick?
What really happened between Audrey and Nick? I even thought, maybe she could be dead, and Nick has blocked that out. That would involve a different kind of ending though.