Hello all to the mad dash of writing that November brings. Yes it is that time of year again where everyone pumps out words – Nanowrimo!
Although I always fail at actually hitting the 50,000 words to ‘succeed’ at Nano, I always enter. I’m too busy and a wonderful procrastinator. Last year I wrote a shade over 1000 words for Nano. Urg. Last year I was still suffering from the largest writers block ever know to mankind. I got over it using this technique.
This year I don’t have writers block and I’ve already hit over 2600 words. So what I’me going to post today is a scene from a novel I’ve been meaning to write for years. Nano is helping me flesh it out. This scene is a flashback that is showing the main character Anna and her first awareness of the strange ability that’s twisted her life:
1632 words, urban fantasy/fiction/light horror
Anna looked at her hands, short, pudgy and filthy. She’d been playing in the soil, scooping it up and dumping it onto the path then pushing it back into the garden making swishing noises. She looked over at her mother. She was still sat on a white plastic deckchair, one of the folding types with wheels. Anna thought it was pretty cool. Her mother had been reading for a while as Anna played in the back garden.
Every now and then their eyes met as Rachael checked on Anna and Anna made sure her mother was still where she’d seen her last. They both smiled each time this happened. It was sunny, and pretty hot for the end of summer. Her mother was in a black bikini, Anna played in a red t-shirt and yellow shorts, a large, once-white sunhat perched atop her head. The grass needed cutting. Rachael had no intention of doing that however, she planned to ask Steven when he got home.
“Shoo, shoo, shoo! Oh, bee!” Anna flapped her hands, but not too close to the bee. She knew bees could hurt and had no desire to find out just how much.
“What’s up, honey?”
“A bee is buzzing at me.”
“Then come away from the flowers and do something else for a minute.” Anna thought about this for a moment: her mom was neither telling her off nor stopping her from doing something. It parsed as all right in her four year old brain.
“OK!” She squeaked with a bounce, and went to get her wheelbarrow. The small plastic wheelbarrow with an oversized front wheel, had been a gift from her mother on her last birthday. Earlier she’d loaded it to the brim with stuffies from her bedroom. Pride of place going to her giant rabbit, dressed today as a pirate with a patch and tricorn hat. Hand-me-down accessories from her male cousins seemed to work just fine for Anna.
She picked up errant toys and pressed them hard back into the wheelbarrow. Anna stomped back down the garden with the little wheelbarrow bouncing in front of her. The tall fence surrounding the garden was made from slatted and stained wood. It was safe to let Anna wander as long as the gate was latched. Rachael looked up from her book and checked on her daughter. She was heading back to her picnic cloth, a colourful beach towel the family had somehow acquired, though no-one recalled how.
Rachael’s book was much less riveting than when she had started it. The action, tension and sex had degenerated to a long piece of exposition about breakfast foods. Reading about how many bugs could be in cereal and a discourse on the effect of wheat on the human body, while interesting from an intellectual point of view, was not as good as the chase through the warehouse, or subsequent wild outdoor sex, had been in the first few chapters. She hoped the book would get back to adventure soon, with fewer obvious insertions of the author’s interests.
The latched clicked and the gate creaked loudly. Rachael placed the book down, spine up, and turned.
“Hey, Rachael, up to anything? Hope you don’t mind me coming in, I tried the front.” Donnie worked with Steven, they’d known him for a few years. He dropped around occasionally, to drink and talk shop with Steven.
“Donnie, hi. Yeah, no bother, the doorbell’s out of batteries so no one’s getting an answer to that.” Donnie smiled.
“OK. Is Steven around?”
“No, he’s up at his mother’s place, won’t be back for a while.” Donnie grunted with a nod.
He liked Rachael. Her smile was amazing, her body still great even after having a kid. Her tits even better in fact, they stayed a size larger. If it wasn’t for Steven … Even with Steven, Donnie tried less than subtle come ons with Rachael. It did nothing but make her uncomfortable. Donnie, in his own limited way, was starting to get the impression she wasn’t interested and he didn’t like that. Maybe one day he’d do something about it.
“That’s cool,” Donnie said with a smile that only touched his mouth. “Just reading?” Her tits were showing quite nicely around the bikini top. Donnie was getting happier.
“Yes, and watching the little one.” Rachael nodded down the garden at Anna, who had just turned and noticed the new arrival. She screwed up her face, Rachael thought she was trying to remember Donnie, she’d met him some months ago, maybe she remembered.
Anna didn’t remember, she looked at the man near her mother. Something was wrong. Very wrong. She screwed up her face then rubbed her eyes. The man seemed at first glance quite unremarkable. Dark blue jeans, like her dads, a dark grey t-shirt with some words on it. She had no idea what they meant. What made no sense to Anna wasn’t his body, it was what was around him, rolling off him in waves and tendrils that undulated across the ground, sought the air only to dissipate as they travelled a little way from his body. He looked like he was surrounded by smoke.
She knew about fire, kindergarten had done simple, limited fire drills, drop stop and roll. This wasn’t fire, he wasn’t yellow or flickering, he just had that blackness roiling off him. From his toes to his hair, he was encased in something Anna had never seen and it was fascinating. She’d never seen anything like it, she stood open mouthed as they adults looked at her. Whatever it was, Anna’s stomach clenched, always a sign something was wrong.
“Anna, do you remember Donnie?” Rachael called. Anna shook her head slowly.
“You met him at dinner a while back.” Anna kept shaking her head in a slow rhythm. Donnie had forgotten her name, it was hardly important. He vaguely remembered her at the dinner, she got tired and went to bed part way through. Whatever. He waved at her in what he hoped was a non-threatening manner.
Anna watched him wave, blackness trailed after his arm movement in the strangest way. Then he was walking toward her, saying something, she didn’t listen though. That blackness, the moving mass of dense smoke, was reaching for her as he came.
“Hi Anna, what are you playing with?” Donnie had no real interest in kids, but he knew to be friendly to them, at least at first. Nothing turns a mom off faster than not getting along with the kids. Rachael leaned over to see past Donnie as he walked toward Anna. She didn’t look right. It was as though she was hypnotised. She put her book down and started to get up.
As the first wisps of blackness reached Anna she became cold. It was bad, he was bad, he was going to be bad. The coldness spread across her.
“Having a picnic?” Donnie tried again, the little girl was just not responding, just staring at him with huge still eyes. She was creeping him out and he was getting tempted to whack her one. He was close now, it wasn’t just the dissipating ends touching her, the darkness enveloped her. Anna choked – breathing was hard. She rocked back, almost fell and screamed. She breathed in to scream again but couldn’t. The garden grew small, then dark, and Anna passed out.
“Anna!” Rachael yelled. She was already on the move towards her daughter, her walk breaking into a run as she saw her daughter stumble and collapse.
“She all right?” Donnie asked, not sure just how serious this was. He was becoming annoyed that things might not go the way he had hoped. Rachael reached her and picked her up. Cradling her, she ran back toward the house.
“She’s really cold! I don’t know what’s happening.” Rachael got her inside the house, placing her on the couch, her breathing was still shallow and she didn’t respond.
“Oh my god,” Rachael breathed, “what’s going on?!” Anna’s breathing was slightly improved, but still not right. For a few moments, Rachael was sure that Anna hadn’t been breathing at all. As she’d ran up the garden, Anna had started breathing again with a little cough.
“Are her lips going blue?” Donnie hung around the doorway, he wanted to be out of here but couldn’t think of a good way of doing it.
“Call an ambulance, Donnie. Now.”
“Sure, phone’s in the kitchen?”
“Yes.” Rachael replied, still looking at Anna, brushing the hair from her face. She heard Donnie start talking from the other room.
“Mom?” Anna whispered, her breathing stronger. She was feeling warmer to Rachael’s touch.
“Anna! Oh, Anna. How are you feeling?”
“He’s scary. I don’t like it.” This was such a different answer than any Rachael had expected she took a moment to respond.
“What? Donnie?” Anna nodded in response. Rachael almost replied with ‘don’t be silly’ or ‘it’s your imagination’ but Donnie always had seemed a little creepy to her as well. He always seemed to come around when Steven wasn’t home. Some part of her intuition told her to listen.
“Ambulance is on the way.” Donnie said from the doorway.
“Thanks. I think she needs rest now, Donnie. I appreciate the help.”
“Should I go? Don’t need anything else?” He even shuffled toward the door and Rachael realized how eager he was to leave.
“We’re fine. Thanks.” Rachael tried to sound reassuring and firm, forcing a slight smile.
“I’ll call later.” He waved and left. Even as he climbed into his pick up Anna began to look better. A few minutes after he’d left she seemed back to normal. Rachael sighed in relief just as she heard the sound of a quickly approaching siren.
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