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To see a map of the setting and find out more about the characters, READ THIS PAGE.
(Comments will be turned off for each NaNoWriMo excerpt that appears this month, not because I don’t value your feedback, but because I can’t afford to get distracted with details at this point. Thank you for understanding).
She closed her eyes and concentrated on her breathing. She would remain calm. She wouldn’t give the son-of-a-bitch the satisfaction of seeing her fear.
“Darrell …” she gulped down her emotions and tried again. “Darrell. I just wanted to say, before we die, that …”
She allowed the rest of her sentence to trail off as a sound in the distance caught her attention.
It was a siren – several sirens, actually.
She laughed in relief, looked up at the floor of the car and said, “Thank you God. Thank you very much.”
A tapping sounded in her ear again and she looked over. She was no longer afraid. They were going to be rescued; they were going to live.
“Can you hear me?” A voice shouted from outside.
Charlene flashed a lopsided grin and shouted back, “Perfectly!”
“Great. Look. We’re going to have to pry this thing apart, and it will take a little while, but I want you to know that we will get you out of there, okay?”
“What’s your name?”
“Is there anyone else in there with you?”
“Yes! My …” she paused. Her what? What exactly was Darrell to her, anyway? “My neighbor,” she finally yelled back.
“What’s your neighbor’s name?”
“Is he hurt?”
“I’m not sure. He’s not moving and he hasn’t said anything since I regained consciousness!”
“Are you hurt?”
“I can’t feel my left arm, but other than that, I think I’m still in one piece!”
“What’s your situation in there?”
“I’m trapped. Darrell is on top of me!”
“Right. Okay, the firemen are here with the Jaws of Life. Hang tight and we’ll get you out of there.”
“I’m not going anywhere!”
She could hear the man outside her window chuckle before moving away. She then heard several male voices after that and she relaxed. They were going to be all right.
Forty minutes later, she was lying in an ambulance.
“Does this hurt?”
“Yes. And if you do it again, I’m going to punch you in the face.”
The paramedic laughed and nodded. “Fair enough. From what I can tell, you’ve broken your arm. Everything else seems to be in fair working order.”
She gritted her teeth and concentrated on not fainting. “Fair? Are you trying to tell me I could be in better shape?”
The man laughed again and simply shook his head. “I’m going to give you a little morphine to help with the pain and stabilize your arm, but I can’t do much more until they x-ray you.”
Charlene nodded and shifted her eyes toward the back of the ambulance. “My … friend. Is he …?”
The paramedic shook his head. “I’m sorry …”
Charlene gasped and blinked back tears.
“ … I don’t know what sort of condition your friend is in.”
She expelled a sigh of relief. There was still a chance that Darrell was all right.
“Yes?” She looked toward the police officer that had appeared in the doorway.
“Do you feel up to a few questions?”
“Do you have a more pressing engagement?”
She smirked and rolled her eyes. “Swell. I get stuck with the wannabe comedian.”
The police officer chuckled before heaving his big body into the back of the ambulance.
“How is Darrell?”
“Darrell?” the officer asked as he sat down on her left.
“Darrell Rowe, the man who was trapped with me in the car.”
“I …” the officer shifted his eyes away from her. “I don’t know.”
He was lying. She could tell. “Please tell me. Is he okay? Was he hurt? Is he alive?”
The officer chose to focus on the last question. “The last time I checked, he was alive. But he has sustained serious injuries.”
“How is she?” the officer addressed the paramedic, ignoring her.
She allowed him to dodge her question … for now.
“In surprisingly good shape,” the paramedic answered.
“I better be. I spend enough time exercising,” Charlene mumbled under her breath.
“Well, that too,” the paramedic chuckled. “Her left arm is broken from the shoulder down and she might have a slight concussion judging by the size of her pupils, but considering she was trapped in a car in the shape of a slinky for several hours in this bitter cold, she’s doing surprisingly well.”
The officer nodded. “Thanks.” He turned his attention back to Charlene. “So, Mrs. Kidder, what happened?”
“That’s a good question.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, we’ve been trying to figure out what the hell happened for the past eight days now.”
“Eight days?” The officer tilted his head to one side in confusion. “You were in the car for eight days?”
“No. We were only in the car for about,” she shrugged. “I honestly don’t know how long we were in there. The past 24-hours are sort of a blur. It could have been under an hour, it could have been several hours, I honestly don’t know.”
“Wait, back up. You said eight days.”
“Eight days ago … what?”
The police officer sighed and looked toward the paramedic as if he could supply the coherent answers he needed.
“She’s doped up.”
“You gave her something?” the officer asked, annoyed.
“Well, yeah. She was in pain. She broke her arm.”
“And I asked him real nice,” Charlene slurred and grinned like a monkey hoping to charm the zoo keeper out of an extra banana or two. “I’m not feeling any pain now, though.”
“That’s apparent,” the officer said under his breath. “Okay, stay with me. What happened eight days ago.”
Charlene sputtered a laugh and gave the officer an incredulous look. “Have you been out of town?”
The officer, not finding her amusing in the least, continued to stare at her, stone faced.
She released a long-suffering sigh and said slowly, “The ice storm.”
“The ice storm from hell,” she mumbled.
“I know about the ice storm, Mrs. Kidder. I’ve been working double shifts ever since the fucker started.”
Charlene gave an overly exaggerated wince. “Such language!”
The officer expelled a sigh and tried a different tactic. “What caused the accident?”
“A shadow caused the accident?”
“Not A shadow, THE shadow.”
“I’m not following.”
“Can you clarify what exactly THE shadow is for me, Mrs. Kidder?”
“I wish I could, officer. We’ve been trying to figure that out for the past eight days.”
“Back to the eight days thing again, eh?”
She gave a few enthusiastic nods and the officer ran a hand over his face.
“I’m not going to get any straight answers out of her, am I” the officer asked the paramedic.
“Probably not until the morphine wears off.”
“Fine.” The officer stood and crouched over Charlene. “We’ll talk more about this later.”
“Sounds good to me,” Charlene replied. “Oh hey, before we talk again, you need to make a trip to Fox Court.”
The officer hopped off the back of the vehicle and turned to look at Charlene. “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”
“There are four dead bodies over there.”
The paramedic shrugged at the officer’s confusion and shut the ambulance doors.
(This excerpt is directly from my draft and has not been edited).
Fellow blogger and gal pal Kailani, from An Island Life, has started this fun Friday meme. Here’s a little bit about the meme and how it works:
Aloha Friday is a very popular term used in Hawaii. It’s basically a day where we take it easy and look forward to the upcoming weekend - kind of like T.G.I.F. I’ll be posting a simple question or topic of conversation and then opening up the comments to you. If you’d like to join me, just post something on your blog with your own question and then sign the Mr. Linky below. Then we can all go around and visit each other.
So, if you would like to play along, visit Kailani’s blog, answer her question, and then visit, and answer everyone else’s questions! If you feel inclined to answer my question, please post your answer in the comment section. Sound fun? Of course it does!
(Please feel free to answer the question below, even if you’re not playing Aloha Friday!)
Aside from your health, job, and family, name one thing that you’re really, really thankful for.
Okay, my word count is now 1,843 words. I would have written more, but as you can see, I got sidetracked with character sketches.
I’m excited. The prologue turned out better than I thought it would and I think it sets the tone for the rest of the story nicely. We’ll see how the next section goes.
Thanks for your encouraging words!
Here’s an excerpt of my NaNoWriMo 2007 project entitled: Broken Silence
How well do you know your neighbors?
When a major ice storm cripples, and traps, the residents of Fox Court, they are forced to leave the solace of their homes, forego creature comforts and interact with their strange, and dangerous, neighbors. Fear and doubt escalate when people die, children disappear and a strange presence materializes in the ravine. Soon, it becomes apparent that they must not only survive the inclement weather, they must also survive each other and live to tell the world what happened at Fox Court.
To see a map of the setting and find out more about the characters, READ THIS PAGE.
(Comments will be turned off for each NaNoWriMo excerpt that appears this month, not because I don’t value your feedback, but because I can’t afford to get distracted with details at this point. Thank you for understanding).
“Are we dead?”
Charlene Kidder slowly opened her eyes and blinked in the darkness. Why was it so dark? She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
It hurt to breathe.
She opened her eyes once more and tried to blink in what was happening. Something heavy was lying on top of her and her head was pressed against something firm, but pliable. She took a few moments to test various extremities – first her toes and then her fingers.
She couldn’t wiggle the fingers on her left hand. In fact, she couldn’t even feel her left arm at all.
An injection of pure fear shot through her body and she tried to sit up, only she couldn’t because of the object on top of her. She fought back an overwhelming urge to scream and swallowed her claustrophobia. She forced herself to calm down and focus on exactly what was happening.
She turned her head, as much as the confinement allowed, and noted she was in a car – an SUV of some sort.
She also noted that she was looking up at the floorboard; her head was resting on the roof of the car.
Confused and more than a little frightened, she tried to move again.
Her body refused to cooperate.
“This is bad. This is very bad.”
A groan sounded above her and the timbre vibrated throughout her body.
She gasped. She suddenly remembered.
“Oh my God, Darrell??”
She shifted under Darrell’s weight hoping that the movement would stir him to consciousness. “Can you hear me? Darrell?”
The man groaned again, only this time the sound was barely above a whisper.
“Are you hurt?”
She bit her lip and fought the urge to cry. Sobbing her eyes out wouldn’t get them out of this situation. She needed to think. She wiggled her toes again and took comfort in the fact that her legs appeared to be working. Now, if she could only get Darrell off of her.
“Darrell. I’m going to assume you can hear me. I need you to scoot over so I can slip out from underneath you. I’m,” she gave a little wiggle and winced at the spear of pain that snaked through her left arm, “quite stuck.”
She paused and waited for Darrell to move.
He did not move.
“Darrell?” her voice was squeaky and unsure. She cleared her throat and assumed a more authoritative voice. “Come on, Rowe. Move your ass. We need to get out of here.”
The silence was unbearably loud.
Darrell’s prone body was deathly still. Charlene’s lower lip began to quiver as she realized their situation was more serious than she thought.
She took a shaky breath and forced a steeliness in her voice she was far from feeling. “Now you listen to me, Darrell Rowe. We have come too far and been through too much for you to die on me now. We were close, we ARE close, to escaping that hellhole once and for all. Now we need to move, and fast, or The Shadow will find us and you know what that …”
A rustling outside the vehicle drew her attention and she abruptly stopped talking. Her heart skipped a beat and her bladder felt unbearably tight as she listened to someone approaching the car. The soft sound of crunching footsteps was very close to the window beside her.
She slowly turned her head toward the window … and screamed.
A pale face was staring back at her. She tried to blink the blurry features into focus but it was no use, it was like trying to make out a bad reception on an old television.
The face peered closer and she screamed again when she heard a soft tapping on the window – the window mere inches from her nose.
This was it. She was going to die. She was going to die and it was going to be painful and gruesome, just like all the others.
(By the way, this is straight from my draft and has not been edited)
GULFPORT, Fla. (AP) — Investigators arrested a 14-year-old boy who apparently dialed a really, really wrong number. Authorities said the boy offered to sell drugs to the person on the other end, who happened to be a police detective….
JAIPUR, India (AP) — A 73-year-old man who failed his 10th grade high school exams for the 39th time vowed Friday to try again next year in the hopes that an education will improve his job and marriage prospects….
BEIJING (AP) — Doctors in southern China were planning to perform surgery on a 1-year-old boy whose parents took him to a hospital because he had been unusually fussy and learned he had six sewing needles in his body, newspapers reported Monday….
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Juliet Lee, a 107-pound salon manager from Maryland, demolished the competition in the 5th Annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest by downing 26 franks and buns in 12 minutes….
UPPER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Why did the turtle cross the road? We’ll never know, but it sure caused one heck of an accident. A woman who swerved to avoid hitting the reptile as it crawled across the northbound lanes of the Garden State Parkway Tuesday afternoon lost control of her car, crashed through a guardrail and tumbled down an embankment before the car flipped over onto its roof….
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The hagfish is a bottom feeder so repulsive it had a cameo on TV’s “Fear Factor.” It slimes its enemies, has rows of teeth on its tongue, and feeds on the innards of rotting fish by penetrating any orifice. But cooked and served on a plate, it is considered an aphrodisiac in South Korea….
EDINBURG, Texas (AP) — Firefighters who spent half an hour fighting a blaze in which 2,000 pounds of marijuana went up in smoke breathed so much of it that they would have failed a drug test, a fire chief said….
This will be my last 3WW until December. I must concentrate on my BOOK. Yeehaw!!
Here’s what I came up with:
Something’s Blowing In
“So. What did you think about Kathy’s new hair color? Wasn’t it hideous?”
“Absolutely. What was she thinking? I swear, with the sun beating down on her head it looked green. Then again,” Ellen examined her lipstick in the hallway mirror, “it goes with her jealous streak.”
The voice on the end of the line cackled in glee. “God, I love your wicked sense of humor, Ellen.”
Ellen smiled at her reflection and moved into the formal dining room. “Tell me it’s not true.”
“Oh, it’s true all right. You can’t look at the woman before she starts spouting off some nonsense about how her husband is the head honcho for this project and did you hear about his big raise? Blahblahblah. I am so sick of that woman.”
“Yeah well. Hang in there. Soccer season will be over soon and then you won’t have to deal with her.”
“Speak for yourself. Basketball season is coming up and Lonnie is determined to make the team.”
“Ah. Basketball season. I’d forgotten about that.” Ellen walked around her expensive oak dining room table, her fingers trailing along the glossy surface. “You know if Lonnie makes the team and Kathy’s son, Stephen, doesn’t, we’ll never hear the end of it, right?”
The woman’s giggle brought a smile to Ellen’s face. “Is it mean to hope that happens?”
“A little.” Both women laughed.
“She deserves it,” the woman continued. “She’s so two-faced.”
“Tell me about it. She was over for coffee last week and gushed over how she absolutely loved what I had done with the kitchen. And then I heard, not two days later, how she was telling everyone it was the ugliest kitchen she had ever seen.”
Again, both women giggled like schoolgirls.
Ellen walked back into her kitchen and lifted the lid off the crockpot. She began stirring the contents within.
“What’s for dinner tonight?”
Ellen grinned into the phone. “Sometimes it scares me how well you know me, Abby.”
“Well, I do know you pretty well, but I heard you lift the lid.”
“Santa Fe chicken.”
“Sounds yum. Where did you get the recipe?”
Before Ellen could respond to her friend’s question, the phone beeped three times. “Oh, hang on Abby. Someone’s on the other line.”
“Maybe it’s Kathy wanting to get the name of that color you painted your kitchen walls with.”
“Oh, shut up, you.” Ellen chuckled and clicked over to the other line.
“You’ve got mail.”
Ellen paused stirring dinner and looked up. “Excuse me?”
“You’ve got mail.” The voice sounded male, but she couldn’t be sure. It was low and husky but sounded mechanical in nature. A finger of dread crept up her brain stem.
“Who is this?”
“Someone you don’t want to piss off. Check your mailbox, now.”
Before Ellen could respond, the line went dead. She slowly removed the wooden spoon from the chicken concoction, laid it on the countertop and replaced the glass lid.
“What was that all about?” She was startled at the sound of her voice. The tone sounded foreign to her ear.
Replacing the receiver on the table, she moved toward the front door. She stumbled over a bump in the floor mat and cursed softly under her breath. Even though she was trying hard to pretend the mysterious phone call was nothing, she knew in her heart, it was definitely going to be something.
She placed her hand on the doorknob and swallowed her anxiety. She would deal with whatever was in that mailbox. She had to. She had worked too hard to make her life perfect for everything to crumble around her now.
She began turning the handle and stopped. Perhaps the stranger was still out there? She closed one eye and leaned toward the peephole to look out on her front porch.
Holding her breath, she opened the door.
And was nearly thrown against the far wall from a sudden gust of wind.
She regained her balance, smoothed her hair back behind her ears and began walking toward their mailbox located just on the outskirts of their property. She swore softly under her breath at the windy weather. She would have to spend precious time putting her hair back in order before meeting Matt for their weekly lunch date.
Ellen finally reached the mailbox. She put her hand on the metal clasp.
A horn beeped two times in rapid succession. It was Mr. Carter, her neighbor. She lifted a hand and forced a semi-friendly smile. The man waved back and zoomed past her.
The old coot. He always drove too fast on their road and Ellen was afraid he would end up hitting one of the neighborhood children one of these days.
She opened the mailbox and reached inside.
Her fingers grazed something hard and she drew back immediately. She looked up and down the street but didn’t see any of her other neighbors out and about. She bent forward and squinted inside.
It was one of those hard, cardboard envelopes that you mail photographs in. She dipped her hand inside and removed the envelope with some difficulty. It had been crammed inside the small box with some force.
She closed the lid and quickly walked back into her house. She shut the door behind her and leaned back against the wood. Her heart was racing and she was finding it hard to breathe.
Please God. Please don’t let this be what she thought it might be.
After long moments, when her heart rate slowed down and she was able to breathe normally again, she slit the envelope open and removed the contents.
There was one lone picture inside. An 8x10 color photograph of her and her long-time lover in a very compromising position.
A small slip of paper fluttered to the ground. She bent down to pick it up and read it as she straightened.
“I know what you’ve been doing.”
Ellen sputtered a cry and clamped a hand over her mouth in horror.
This is it, we’re down to the final hours. NaNo starts at midnight tonight. Of course, I won’t be up at that time, but the challenge officially starts. Just to forewarn you now, posts will be different this next month. I usually try and post three times a day, it’s unlikely that trend will continue every day. I do plan on posting periodic videos of my NaNoWriMo progress, and of course, I’ll post excerpts (with the comments turned off. Not because I don’t value your feedback, but because I can’t afford to feed my self-doubt and entertain my inner editor to stop and rewrite anything), but I’m not sure how much “real life” posting I’ll get to.
I have pre-posted a TON of posts though, so things shouldn’t be TOO different around here. And there are some pretty monumental moments in November - GD’s AND the hubs’ birthday (they share the same birthday), and of course Thanksgiving (which will be fun considering we’re hosting the dinner this year for my husband’s family so I’m REALLY going to be pressed for time), so hopefully, I’ll be able to talk a bit about those things. So please, be patient with me - I’ll try and continue a somewhat normal schedule, but I can’t make any promises at this point, it really depends on how smoothly my writing goes.
Keep an eye on the NaNo gauge in the sidebar. *points to word count widget at top of sidebar* I also plan on posting a cute cartoon (like the one below) that shows my progress, too. If you don’t see the graph steadily inching upwards over the next weeks, email me and ask me why the heck not?? Tease me, torment me, goad me into finishing. You see that nifty NaNoWriMo 2007 participant graphic in the right-hand column? I want one that says WINNER. And you can only get one of those IF you submit 50,000 words or more by the end of November.
Do I have any idea what I’m going to write about? Yes, I have a tentative outline that will guide me for the first several chapters, after that, well, I’ll let the characters take control and see where they take me.
So, consider this “official” notice - this blog will have a slightly different format in the coming weeks. I’ll try to write a word here and there and let you know how I’m doing but really, the gauge will say it all.
In the meantime, in following the Halloween tradition, I stumbled on this GREAT link. It’s scary, creepy and it gave me goosebumps when I watched it so I wouldn’t recommend watching it in front of little children. Shoo them out of the room, dim the lights, turn your speakers waaaay up and enjoy. If you get a chance, browse around the rest of the site. There’s quite a few creepy stories to watch and read. Happy Halloween!
I’m off to mentally prepare for the next 30 days of intense writing.
And here we go … yet another off-the-wall giveaway.
Or should I say, on-the-desk?
I went to the mall yesterday (I can’t really tell you WHY I was there because a certain someone *ahem* reads this blog and I’ve been sworn to secrecy) and while there, I ran across a calendar kiosk. And while looking around, I saw that the 2008 calendar was out for my favorite comic strip of all time:
So of course, I had to pick one up. I’ve had a Baby Blues calendar on my desk for the past three years. And every evening, as I’m winding things down for the day and am turning off my computer, I pick up my calendar, tear off the top page and read the comic for the next day.
And it never fails to make me smile.
If you’re unfamiliar with Baby Blues, it’s a comic strip by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott. They’ve been drawing Baby Blues since 1997 and I remember when they first became syndicated - I was so happy to see a couple of funny, good-old fashioned family men make it to the big time.
But anyway, back to the purpose behind this post. As I was cuddling examining my 2008 Baby Blues box (because I have a thing about not opening my calendars until January 1st) I had a thought.
Well, I had more than one thought, but that’s beside the point.
The thought that concerned you guys was:
“Wouldn’t it be fun to give a 2008 Baby Blue desk calendar away for no apparent reason?”
And then I answered myself,
“Why yes. It WOULD be fun.”
So, fun desk calendar + desire to give things away = fun opportunity for you!
If you would like a chance to win the 2008 Baby Blues desk calendar, come back Monday, November 5th (mark it - mark it now or you’ll forget!) and tell me what makes you laugh. Leave one comment, leave twenty comments - it doesn’t matter how often you enter, just tell me something different that makes you laugh each and every time. The more times you enter, the better chance you have of winning.
Then, on November 9th (my birthday! Why yes! I’m giving YOU the gift), I’ll pick one lucky commentor and he/she will win a 2008 Baby Blues desk calendar!
Pst … did you mark your calendars? November 5th. That’s Monday. This coming Monday. I’ll be checking to see if you marked it later.
A couple was invited to a swanky masked Halloween party. She got a terrible headache and told her husband to go to the party alone. He, being a devoted husband, protested, but she argued and said she was going to take some aspirin and go to bed, and there was no need for his good time to be spoiled by not going. So he took his costume and away he went.
The wife, after sleeping soundly for about an hour, awakened without pain, and, as it was still early, decided to go to the party. In as much as her husband did not know what her costume was, she thought she would have some fun by watching her husband to see how he acted when she was not with him.
She joined the party and soon spotted her husband cavorting around on the dance floor, dancing with every nice chick he could and copping a little feel here and a little kiss there. His wife went up to him and being a rather seductive babe herself, he left his partner high and dry and devoted his time to the new stuff that had just arrived.
She let him go as far as he wished, naturally, since he was her husband. Finally he whispered a little proposition in her ear and she agreed, so off they went to one of the cars and had a good time. Just before unmasking at midnight, she slipped away and went home and put the costume away and got into bed, wondering what kind of explanation he would make for his behavior.
She was sitting up reading when he came in and asked what kind of a time he had. He said, “Oh, the same old thing. You know I never have a good time when you’re not there.” Then she asked, “Did you dance much?”
He replied, “I’ll tell you, I never even danced one dance. When I got there, I met Pete, Bill Brown and some other guys, so we went into the den and played poker all evening. But you’re not going to believe what happened to the guy I loaned my costume to!”
It’s official. We now have a tropical bathroom. We found this picture, and two others, at Hobby Lobby over the weekend. We really like how the colors pop against the mushroom-colored (oh yes, you read that correctly, mushroom) paint.
The hubs put the white trim up as well and I must admit, I’m liking it a lot better. I have finally decided what to put on the wall by the mirror - a basket full of tropical foilage with one large orange flower and one large red flower to offset the pictures we just hung.
My in-laws came over for pizza Saturday night and I could tell by my MIL’s reaction, she truly liked what we had done. This made me feel a tad better about where we were going with this bathroom and I have to admit, it IS different.
I think I can live with this mushroom-colored bathroom - at least, until we host the next Thanksgiving dinner.
So folks I’m curious - what did you do this past weekend? Do you have a picture? Let’s see it!
Clarke studied her for long moments before responding slowly. “Y … yes, someone was hurt. Pretty badly.”
“Who? Oh my God! Was it Mr. Garrison? What about Diane? Her kids didn’t get hurt, did they? I would never forgive myself if I caused a child to die. Am I under arrest? Oh God, am I going to jail?”
Clarke shifted uneasily. “Ms. Foster … uh … who are Mr. Garrison and Diane?”
Brenna blinked owlishly at him. “The people in my apartment building,” she spoke slowly, her expression transforming from apprehensive to confusion.
“The people in your …” he paused. “Ms. Foster, what is today’s date?”
She blinked at him again. “Uh … well,” she whet her lips nervously. “How long have I been in here?” She gestured toward the hospital room.
“Three days? For second-degree burns? That … that doesn’t sound right. I mean, second-degree burns are serious but … three days serious?”
“What is today’s date, Ms. Foster.” Clarke continued to watch her.
“Well, if I’ve been in here for three days … and geez,” a nervous chuckle escaped, “that seems weird for burns, then that would make it … Tuesday (1).”
“The date. What’s the date?”
She shot him an impatient look. “November 3rd.”
“Right, November 3rd. What year?”
She laughed. “You don’t know what year it is?”
He frowned. “Just answer the question, please.”
She shrugged. “Two thousand five.”
“Shit,” he muttered under his breath. “I’ll be right back.” He straightened from the bed so fast the railing rattled.
What was the big deal? She thought. Why was he acting so weird? And where was he going? She watched him walk to the door and peer around the corner. She heard the timbre of his voice but she couldn’t make out what he was saying.
He came back moments later with Dr. Donnelly trailing him. He looked grave.
“What’s wrong?” She felt panic bubble up in her gut but she refused to give in to the feeling.
Dr. Donnelly took out a penlight from his pocket and shined it into her eyes.
“Okay, what’s going on you guys, you’re freaking me out.”
Dr. Donnelly placed both his hands on her head and began to examine her skull. His expression was concentrated and serious.
“Ow!” She pulled back as he touched on a bruised area just above her left ear.
“That’s sensitive?” Donnelly asked in absent tones. He left her and reached for the chart hanging from the end of the bed.
“Yeah, it’s a little sensitive.”
“Do you have a headache right now?”
“What do you mean sort of.”
“I mean, it hurts but I’ve had worse. What the hell is going on?”
Donnelly faced Clarke. “Did anything fall on her?”
Clarke whipped out his notebook and examined notes. “I … don’t have anything about that, but I can ask the fire chief. It all happened so quick and the were desperate to get her out of there …”
“Right, right.” Donnelly waved his explanation aside and turned toward Brenna again. This time he appeared more relaxed and he smiled. “Well little lady, it appears you’ve had a head trauma.”
“Okay …” she said slowly. “What does that have to do with him asking me …” she stopped. “What IS the date?”
Clarke looked to the doctor for permission to proceed.
He nodded, his mouth set in grim lines.
“November 3, 2006,” Clarke answered her.
“Never mind,” Brenna held up a hand to stop him. “I heard you the first time.” She turned toward Donnelly. “Why do I think it’s 2005?”
“Why don’t you tell me what you remember,” Donnelly said.
“Well …” Brenna ran her knuckles across her lips while she considered the question. “The … last … thing … I remember …” She spoke slowly, distinctly. “Was watching TV and eating an apple.”
“What was on TV?” Clarke asked.
“Um … an episode of “Lost”, I think.”
“Season two or three?”
“There’s a season three all ready?” How could she have lost a year of her life? People lose shoes, car keys, even children, but they don’t lose time! Her heart began to beat faster and she was having trouble breathing.
“Whoa … it’s okay, Brenna. Relax,” Dr. Donnelly said as the machines by her bed began to beep. “Let’s slow down.” He continued to smile at her, but his command was aimed at Clarke.
“Right, sorry. Continue, please.”
“Um … well, I watching “Lost”, season TWO apparently,” she shot Clarke a disgusted look, “eating an apple, drinking bottled water … It had been a stressful day at work. Our clients, I’m an art director at Liberty Advertising,” she stated matter-of-factly, “didn’t like our proposal and were being difficult. I remember feeling depressed and so tired. I was even thinking about quitting – though it would never come to that. I’m always thinking about doing that.” She shrugged. “Marcus was supposed to come over later …”
“Who’s Marcus?” Clarke asked, pen poised above his notebook.
“Marcus Wa …” Clarke blinked at her. “Marcus Waters. He wouldn’t happen to be a lawyer would he?”
Brenna glanced between the two men. “Uh, yeah. How would you know that? Do you know Marcus?” She sat up straighter as a thought struck her. “He’s okay, right? He wasn’t hurt in the fire, was he?”
“No, no … it’s just that Marcus is …”
“It doesn’t matter right now, Brenna, please continue.” Donnelly said. He gave Clarke a warning look.
A frown line creased Brenna’s brow. She made a mental note to ask Clarke what he was going to say about Marcus later. “I was … smoking a cigarette.” She blushed. She had always been ashamed of the habit but it helped soothed her nerves, especially after stressful days. They were all stressful days, now that she thought about it. “And … and I guess I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I know, I’m here and you guys are looking at me like some weird science experiment gone horribly wrong.”
The men were quiet. Dr. Donnelly continued to study her while Clarke made notes in his pad.
“I … didn’t cause the fire, did I?” She swallowed. If she were responsible for the fire, or worse, responsible for having someone get hurt, she would never forgive herself.
Thanks for reading, everyone! This was the last excerpt I planned on posting from my 2006 project. The next NaNoWriMo excerpt that’s posted will be from my 2007 project (tentatively entitled: Broken Silence) Stay tuned!
1. Prepare the pudding according to the package directions. For each eye, fit a jelly bean into the center of a LifeSavers Gummies candy and place it in a plastic egg half.
2. Fill the egg cup with the pudding, then place the egg halves in an egg carton in the freezer until they’re firm (about 3 hours).
3. Remove the egg halves from the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for about 3 to 5 minutes.
4. With the back of a fork, gently press down on the edge of the pudding, rolling the frozen ball out of the egg cup. If you’re not serving them right away, place the eyes in a freezer-safe dish in the freezer until you’re ready.
Most kids won’t eat a worm unless that worm is gummy. So we put them in this “rotten” punch to make it extra yummy.
Apple cider (adjust the amount for the number of people you plan to serve; we suggest at least 1 gallon)
Five 1/2-cup containers (we used Pyrex glass dishes; other small containers or cups will also work)
Red and green food coloring
10 to 15 gummy worms
1. Pour apple cider into all 5 small dishes, stopping about 1/2 inch from the top. Add 2 drops of red and 1 drop of green food coloring to each dish and stir until the colors have blended.
2. Hang 2 or 3 gummy worms around the edge of each dish and place the dishes in the freezer. If you use more than 3 worms, the rotten apples won’t float as well. Freeze until the rotten apples are solid.
3. Just before serving, slip the frozen wormy apples out of the dishes by setting them briefly in a few inches of warm water in your sink.
4. Float the rotten apples in a large punch bowl filled with untinted cider. For added creepiness, drape the gummy worms over the edges of your serving bowl.
5. Tip: Do steps 1 and 2 the day before serving the punch.
1. The last good thing that came in the mail was my oldest son’s coat from Lands End.
The black one.
Even though the boy refuses to wear a coat to school (mainly because it’s not “cool” - exactly who decides this stuff??), what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t buy him a coat?
2. This week I’m grateful for new business.
I had a meeting with a high school yesterday about their website. It went very well and I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into the project. I love my job!
3. Chocolate is the most delicious thing ever.
Especially when you have deprived yourself of having any in a while. Hello?! YUMSVILLE!
4. Other people’s secrets inspire me.
5. I’m most happy when I have my family around me.
I always walk on pins and needles when GD is at his school, MK is at his is school and the hubs is at work. I actually jump when the phone rings.
6. And all the roads we have to walk along are the result of choices we’ve made.
So choose wisely, grasshopper.
7. As for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to watching “Next” with my husband , tomorrow my plans include scanning and choosing family pictures to put in frames and Sunday, I want to get this bathroom together so I don’t have to think about it anymore !
However, my sister and her husband went to Graceland a few years ago and took a picture of Elvis’ “pink” room, so luckily … I was saved from posting a picture of Pepto-Bismol. Actually, this room sort of looks like the inside of a Pepto-Bismol bottle.
Care to elaborate? Why did you vote the way you did?
Me? Thanks for asking. I voted no. I think this is a situation where all parties involved agree to disagree. Just because your son/daughter disagrees with you doesn’t mean you need to compromise your beliefs in order to please your offspring. In fact, what sort of message are you sending to your son/daughter if you give in? That’s it’s okay to crumble under pressure and conform? My husband and I are fully prepared to disagree with any future choice our sons might make. They know our beliefs; they know our opinions. If they choose to follow a path we can’t endorse, then that’s certainly their prerogative. And they will need to respect our right to disagree with them. The trick is to disagree peacefully so that it doesn’t damage our relationship. Hopefully, we won’t have to work through any issues like that.
This is from the electronic genre. I have a “thing” for dance music. It soothes me and sort of blends into my background so that I can concentrate on other things. It also energizes me when I’m feeling sluggish.
I like this one. It’s exotic and sounds mysterious.
Song of the Week:
An electronic album with an exotic and sensual flavor. A film score without the movie. Somewhere between Enigma and Prodigy.
Hospitals are strange, wondrous and sometimes scary places. They’re almost magical when you think about them. There are medicines that can cure, humans that are trained to fix our problems, and miracles happen every time a new baby is born. People’s lives are transformed whenever you visit a hospital.
You go in a certain way; you come out different.
You might go in broken and come out fixed.
You might go in healthy, you might leave sick.
I have a love/hate relationship with hospitals. I love that they were able to extend my mother’s life for two more years, but I hate how they couldn’t completely fix her; she died last month.
At least the doctors were able to drug her into a blessed void.
Hospitals are designed to take your physical pain away, but what about your emotional pain? How can hospitals take away the anguish, the worry, the despair, the utter devastation when someone close to us expires?
I should have been able to help my mother. I was in a position where I should have been able to make the doctors work a bit harder, to make the staff care about her a bit more. Why did this have to happen? We’re in an amazing age – we are making incredible medical discoveries each and every day – why couldn’t any of this wonderful technology save my mother?
I can’t handle dashing people’s hopes anymore. I’m not strong enough to look grief in the face and dodge it’s ugly accusations. I should stop and simply walk away. I would, if only I hadn’t promised my mother that I would do everything in my power, everything that was humanly possible, to help save just one more life from the cancer that took her away from me.
“Denise, are you all right?”
I didn’t bother to glance up. Was I all right? I didn’t feel all right. In fact, I felt pretty lousy. How were we expected to go on when so many around us were suffering? Something bobbed to the surface of my stomach and my heart began to flutter. I swallowed it back down my throat and forced a smile.
“You don’t look all right. Have you taken your …”
“I don’t need pills. I just need to,” I closed my eyes hoping that by doing so I could ignore the guilt that had attached itself to my soul, “deal with all of this.”
I sensed, rather than saw, Stacy’s nod of agreement. No one knew what to say around me anymore. I didn’t know what I wanted them to say anymore.
“Why don’t you go take a break.”
“I just had a break.”
“Go take another one.”
I opened my eyes and made the mistake of looking at my co-worker. This was the person I had trained under. She was my mentor. She was wise and well meaning, but suddenly, I hated her simple life and her caring demeanor.
“I’m fine,” I replied and I was quite proud of myself, for though my voice was strong, I knew, deep in my heart, I was not.
Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.
“I’m making my rounds. If Dr. Wilson shows up in the next ten minutes, please let me know.”
“Right.” Stacy nodded and transformed her face into a mask of professional indifference.
I returned her brusque nod and fed off her stolidity. We were trained, from the very beginning, to assume an impersonal persona when it came to dealing with patients. We weren’t allowed to become personally involved. For if we gave our hearts and sympathies to each and every patient, then we would simply not have any left over to live our lives.
I began walking down the corridor. I had been employed with this particular hospital for the past fifteen years, but had only started walking down this specific corridor for the past three years. I resented the fact that I had to frequent this wing of the hospital at all and I would have continued to avoid it – if it hadn’t been for my mother.
“Oh nurse. I’m so glad to see you.”
I stopped myself, just in the nick of time, from snarling at the young, worried looking woman standing by the bedside.
“My father,” she gestured helplessly to the pale, shrunken man in the bed beside her. “He’s in so much pain. Can you please give him something?”
My eyes shifted toward the man in the bed. He was the latest cancer patient. He had been admitted only that morning and I knew, just by looking at him, he was in the last stages of the disease. The chemotherapy hadn’t worked – the cancer was winning.
“I’m sorry. I can’t administer medication without the doctor’s approval.” Is what I found myself saying. “And it wouldn’t do any good anyway. He’s too far gone. The medicine won’t affect him at this point.” Is what I thought to myself. I knew this. I had experienced this stage with my mother and though every fiber of my being knew I needed to comfort this young woman, I simply couldn’t bring myself to do it.
No one was there to comfort me.
The woman began to cry. The only sound she made was a small, pathetic whimper; her eyes began to blacken as mascara bled down her cheeks. She looked so lost, so forlorn and though it was my job to reassure her, I simply couldn’t do it. I had nothing left in my hopeful reserves to offer.