It’s Friday again, and because I’m participating in the Absolute Write NaNo Excerpt Blog Chain that means another excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, Hollow Children (which I think I’m going to re-title. Possibly to just ‘Hollow’). This section has a whole whack of issues, but I promised myself I wouldn’t start editing before the first draft was done, so I’m swallowing my ego and sharing it warts and all.
Running helps. As long as Morgan keeps her eyes straight, her right shoulder to the old prison and focuses all her attention on the sound of her shoes on the sidewalk, running helps.
It’s quiet. The only sounds are her feet hitting the pavement, her breathing loud in her ears and an occasional bird. The sound of traffic is a dull hum in the background but she hasn’t seen a moving vehicle in several minutes while she’s run laps around the four city blocks that contain the decrepit prison. It’s getting late enough that the sky is bruising and the streetlights are coming on, but their light is dim and there’s still more than enough sunlight to see without them.
The leaves are still on the trees but she can smell autumn’s bite in the air. She’s too warmed up from her exertions to feel it though. Her hoodie is tied around her waist and its hem slaps against the back of her knees as she runs.
Her body knows what to do, the movements are automatic and her mind is empty but for the one-two count of her feet on the sidewalk. One-two, one-two, left-right, left-right. She focuses on those numbers like she never does in math class, letting each one grow to fill her mind and push everything else out.
Usually she doesn’t have to count. Usually she just has to run. Usually, but not today. Today she walked in on her mother crying, so if she stops counting, Morgan knows the birdsong around her will be lost in the remembered sounds of twisted metal, screams and shattered glass.
As she rounds the northwest corner of the prison grounds something penetrates the barrier she’s put up around her thoughts. A voice. A very specific voice. Barry’s voice.
“Shit,” she whispers as her eyes flick one way and then the other, trying to discern where it’s coming from. Acoustics are weird around the prison grounds, the old prison and its outbuildings catch them and toss them around like a SOMETHING, and to make things worse the wind has chosen that precise moment to pick up and rattle the leaves in the trees.
The last thing in the world she wants is to have to deal with Barry. Especially f he’s with his friends, and if he isn’t, why would he be talking?
Finally she catches sight of him, he and his friends. They’ve just turned the corner and are walking toward her. That leaves her two choices. She can turn around and run back the way she’s just come from, or she can keep going and hope they leave her alone. She anticipates no joy from either choice. If she runs away they will know she is avoiding them and as soon as they sense any weakness they will be like a shark with chum in the water. History has shown her that. Still, the chances of them ignoring her as she runs straight at them are slim to none.
Well, if you’ve gotta go down, go down fighting.
The novel is going okay. It was really, really fighting me at first, but I feel like it’s developed a little bit of momentum. Which is good, I’m going to need it heading into week two since I don’t have a buffer like I usually do. Also, I haven’t written yet today, so I really ought to get on that…