Limping to the end of Story-a-Day May

I’m too tired to even find a picture.

I’ve been writing all day, and I don’t want to share much of anything. I felt this way yesterday too. But in the spirit of things, I’m sharing one paragraph.

She wanted to get away from him, and she was about to turn and walk, no, run the other way when a voice came to her. The voice sounded like her grandmother whispering in her ear, and it told her what to say. “The more you believe in a curse, the more it works,” she said to him.

Now, I’m going to go recover from a word overdose.

Thanks for reading.

Story-a-Day May Snippet

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I spent a long time today working on one scene for the novel in progress, and now that I really need to rest my weary head, I don’t want to share. Well, I want to share a little because I’m obsessive like that, but I’m only posting a few unedited lines.

Thanks for reading!

Deva leaned her head against the car window. She had the paintbrush. She could change things and she could talk to the dead. Why should she be afraid of her mother anymore?

Linnie took the next few turns too hard. “It’s great, actually. Mom won’t yell at me near as much if you’re around.”

“Promise me something,” Deva said. A terrible thought had come to her as she watched Linnie navigate the Ford Taurus through the early morning streets.

“Unending alibis for late night adventures and ghost rendezvous?”

“Sure, that. And that you won’t die.”

Linnie blinked and drove too fast into the apartment complex parking lot. “Not until I’m 97. How’s that?”

“I guess it will have to do.”

Story-a-Day Wishing

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I wish I could get more writing done. But what writer doesn’t want that?

I wasted a lot of time, but I scribbled down something. Yay! Something!

Deva told Linnie to drive to the lake where Hutton had drowned. They walked to the beach. Enough moonlight glowed on the water. Sounds of frogs, crickets, and waves hitting sand filled the night around them. The croak of an alligator echoed from behind the cattails.

The girls stood on the narrow beach. Deva, her arms wrapped around herself, stared out over the dark lake. “I didn’t want him to die.”

“Not even a little bit?” Linnie asked, standing a few feet away. She kept looking out at the lake and back over her shoulder at the woods. It was four in the morning.

“You can’t die a little bit.”

“You know what I mean.” Deva pulled strands of hair away from her face. The wind carried the strands back over her cheeks. It was warm, but she shivered.
Linnie moved a step closer to her friend. “Why are we here?”

“I dreamed I should come here.” The white of the sand reflected like snow, albeit snow littered with shells and broken, browned, shards of reeds. She walked closer to the water and squatted down close enough to touch the water.

“I said I wanted him dead and then he died in this water.”

“You didn’t make anyone die,” Linnie said. “Other people have died in this lake. It’s the water, not you.”

Deva touched the water. It was warm, and a wave came up to her shoes. “What was he going to tell me? You know, at the funeral home. I think he was going to confess something.”

“That boy had too many confessions to fit in one chat in a funeral home parking lot.”

But the wild look in Hutton’s eye that last afternoon stayed with her. If only she’d listened. “Sorry, Lin.” Deva stood. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. We shouldn’t have come here.”

Linnie gave her half a smile. Moonlight glinted on the curls of her hair. “Whatever you need to do, we’ll do.”

“Let’s go to the woods.”

“What?” Linnie’s body stiffened. “The woods?” She looked back at the dark trees. “Okay. Sure. They’re just trees.”

“I want to go where they found them. You know. The little clearing.”

Linnie rolled back on her heels and nodded. She let her friend stomp by on the sand to the brackish grass. “A tour of the dead,” she muttered once Deva was a few yards away. “Sounds delightful.”

They left the car on the dirt road and walked. They were two girls walking down a dirt road after four in the morning. Enough silver of the half-moon lit the way. They felt far away from everything and very alone. But they were wrong.

Story-a-Day. Again, finally.

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I’m disappointed I missed a couple of days. Sunday, I was at the roller rink all day for my kiddo’s skate competition. Monday was another day of races, and when they were over, the weather had gone insane done here. I spent the evening watching flood warnings. I sat with my laptop for a while, but my brain couldn’t function.

It’s debatable whether my brain is functioning today. But I wrote a new scene anyway for what it’s worth. Mostly, I wrote out of a determination to write something before another day went by. So, should this novel ever see the light of day, I should say that this is slightly spoilery. But if this is ever published, you’ll probably have forgotten this by then. Right? Of course.

Happy Story-a-Day and thanks for reading!

Linnie didn’t ask her mother for permission to take the car. Her brother had fallen back asleep on his sofa, the TV on, some 70s horror flick accompanying his dreams at full volume. One thing she, her brother, and her mother had in common was an ability to sleep through the racket of the world’s end.

Linnie dressed quickly, and she found the car keys on the floor by the door. She almost always looked on the floor first since her mother seemed incapable of bothering with the hook on the wall above the light switch. Her mother only managed the hook if she were in a very good mood.

The apartment parking lot greeted Linnie with silence. An earlier light dusting of rain had left a damp sheen to the night. Linnie scanned her surroundings and judging them safe, dashed to the car. As she feared, the gas gauge neared E. Of course. Her mother lived on the edge of empty.
While Linnie drove, she contemplated what bee had gotten caught in Deva’s bonnet. In spite of the directive to hurry, Deva hadn’t sounded panicked. She’d sounded determined. Linnie knew that sound well. More than anything, she hoped Deva’s late night impulse had nothing to do with Hutton Redge.

But with every mile that went by, she failed to find any other reason. Damn him. She smacked the steering wheel. Dying like the fool he was. She’d whipped up so much hatred for him, and now she’d have to be sorry and feel sympathy and hear the school talk about grief counselors and be lectured on lake safety. Already in homeroom that morning, she had to read and sign a list of facts about drowning. Not to mention the upcoming school assembly to talk about the recent deaths.

The thought of it made Linnie want hit her head against the steering wheel. Who was going to listen to the administration lecture about making better choices? Everyone was whispering about the real reason Hutton was dead, and it had little to do with his missing out on the drowning myths fact sheet.

Linnie cut the headlights and parked across the street from Deva’s house. She waited for Deva to come out of the house. Hutton’s death, she reassured herself, was just a coincidence. Her friend didn’t really have the power to curse anyone.

She smacked the steering again. Damn it. Believing the rumors wasn’t going to do anyone any good. But a few minutes later when, Deva emerged from the house, dressed all in black, her black army boots untied, Linnie flinched. Who else had her friend cursed? She shook her head. “Curses aren’t real,” she whispered to herself and reached over to unlock the car door.

A Story-a-Day Moment

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I am not home. But I jotted down a short scene this afternoon before I packed and headed out of town. It’s not much, but I wrote something! I don’t know what will happen tomorrow since I’ve got to spend all day at a skate competition. Well, I’ll at least think about writing.

Deva dreamed of the dead that night. She woke with her sheet wound around her and her pillow on the floor. After staring at her ceiling a good while, she called Linnie.

It was 3 in the morning.

Linnie’s brother cussed when he answered the phone, but he got off the sofa to pull his sister out of bed.

“Dev, what the hell?” Linnie asked, her voice thick with sleep.

“Can you borrow your mom’s car?” Deva asked.

“Seriously? Why don’t you borrow your mom’s car for a change?” She paused. “Oh never mind. I know. Fine. When?”

“Like now.”

Linnie didn’t reply immediately. “What’s going on, Dev? What can’t wait til sunrise?”

“My sanity.”

“Oh that. And what does your sanity need in the middle of the night?”

Deva took a deep breath. Her dream had been clear, but the more time passed, the foggier it seemed. By daylight, the entire dream would be gone. She was as certain of that as she was of anything. “The Red Moon.”

Thanks for reading!

Story-a-Day Flashback!

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I’ve been working on my current manuscript as much as possible today. I had physical therapy and family time, but then I got to stare a lot at my novel and doubt my ability to pull everything together.

For a change of pace, I pulled up an manuscript-in-progress waiting for my love and attention. I hadn’t looked at this story in years, and it was fun to scroll through the scenes and be reminded of what I wrote ages ago. Some parts, I remembered. Other parts I have no memory of at all. It’s nice to be surprised by your own writing!

In any event, I went over a short scene and I’m going to post it here. I do plan to go back to this (after I finish Drowning Karma and The Fairy Tale Asylum–so, you know, in no time at all!).

Evan crawled through the window. He had forgotten his key, or lost it, in some bushes somewhere along the street, but he couldn’t be sure, because he was too drunk. But he did at least remember that the side window was cracked open, and he managed to push it open.

He landed with a thud on the wood floor, where he stayed a few minutes, thinking about sleep and the softness of bed. The sound of the dog padding down the hall made him stir but not get out of way. Alley’s nose nudged his face, his paws dug in his side. Evan moaned, rolled over onto his back and tried to push Alley away when the dog licked his forehead. “Go away,” he whispered, sitting up, with one hand on his forehead. The whir and click of the refrigerator reminded him that he was home, and that he needed to get to bed before his parents found him. He took off his shoes before standing up to slip across the floor and into the living room.

If his parents heard him, he knew what would happen, but he didn’t want to think about why he took such risks when the fun and rebellion he wanted were rarely worth the punishment. A smarter man, he thought, followed the rules or whatever it took to make life easier. He, however, sought his father’s wrath out. The bathroom door creaked and Evan wished he’d taken a leak outside, but he might as well make the hangover pay for itself by being sure his parents knew he’d been drinking.

The house was cold, especially in the dark. It was always cold no matter the heat outside, as if the confines of the house had long ago wrung out any warmth there’d been in the living spaces. Nothing in the house gave warmth, not even the people. Only the dog and the stove offered any heat at all, and the stove Evan had learned to stay from. He had a faint scar across his hand from when his parents had taught him the dangers of heat. Evan wished he could move out. He was old enough, but every time he talked about leaving, saved some money, and found a friend share a place with, his parents came back at him with reasons to stay, they needed his help, the friend wasn’t trustworthy, and his pathetic income rightfully theirs for all that they did for him. After all, they said, they didn’t ask for rent, his mother cooked all his meals, but nothing in life came free and he wasn’t ready to be on his own. “You must pay for what you take,” his father liked to say, “and you take a lot.”

Now in his room, Evan tossed his shoes on a pile of clothes and flopped on the bed, telling himself that he should make it look like he’d gone to bed at a decent hour in his pajamas, but he laid there, staring out into the darkness of his room. The red numbers of the clock read three in the morning. His mind drifted. He thought about the friends he’d been hanging out with that night. They weren’t really friends because it was hard to be friends with people you kept secrets from and couldn’t bring home. He thought about Celia, the one person he didn’t keep secrets from, not yet anyway, and wondered what she was doing.

She was so far away—he tried to figure out the time where she was, but in the alcohol soup of his mind, he didn’t know which way the clock should go—she was either eating breakfast, or finishing dinner or…. He wondered who she had breakfast with and if she thought about or missed him at all. When she’d left, her fingers had tapped the clasp on her purse and her expression told him to please make this farewell brief. He had said he’d wait for her. Celia said that wasn’t realistic—two years was a long time. He promised to wait. How could he not wait for someone who would save him?

Story-a-Day…or Plotting?

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Yesterday after I got home from work, I wrote on notecards one-sentence summaries of each scene in my work-in-progress. I jotted down the date of each, too. I’m following a method a friend of mine directed me to here. It took my entire evening, and I didn’t write anything new yesterday. I hate missing another day, but I am glad to have these cards done. And it was writing…of a sort.

When I was an elementary school girl, I used to wish for different parents. I’d day dream about a car pulling up to the school and two wonderful adults getting out to announce they were my real parents, they’d been searching for me all this time, and now they were going to fix everything!

One time when my mother was angry with me, she said (okay, maybe she shouted) that I couldn’t wait from someone else to come along and fix things. I had to do the hard work myself.

Sometimes I still wish that the Magical Someone from the Mystical Land of Everything Works Out is going to waltz in, look at my manuscript, take one look at my manuscript, and say, “Ah-ha! This is what you to do. Right here!” This Magical Someone will know which scenes work and what scenes to add. Then before leaving, this Magical Someone will write my synopsis and cover letter while I take a nap.

Sigh. I think I hear my mother yelling at me…

Thanks for reading.