Tuesday, November 01, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 - The Beginning


NaNoWriMo starts today. I probably won't post the whole thing on here but here's what's done so far. 
"I'll fix it." Steve slammed the phone onto the table and then flipped it over to look at the screen and make sure he hadn't broken it like he had his last one. "I swear they're stupid on purpose!" He pushed himself away from the table and stalked into the living room leaving his family sitting at the table in silence.
His wife, Julie frowned down at her plate before sighing and taking a drink of water and looking to Sandy their sixteen year old daughter and asking, "How did you do on your English paper? Have you heard yet?"
"What?" Sandy looked across the old oak table at her younger brother, younger by minutes but those minutes count to older twins, "We're going to pretend that didn't just happen?"
"What didn't just happen?" her mom asked.
"Not only did he answer the phone at the table he got up and left. We can't do that! How is that even fair?" Sandy had lost her phone for a week only two days prior when she'd answered it at the table during dinner. The fact that it had been her brother who had pocket dialed her, entirely by accident he insisted didn't do anything to change her mom's mind about the punishment. She'd been a complete jerk in Sandy's opinion since she started watching all those Nanny 911 shows on TV.
“Don't start Sandy. He has to take calls from work. It's not like it's one of your little friends.”
Jim closed his eyes at the phrase “little friends.” He heard his sister's fork clatter against her plate.
“May I be excused. I've got homework to do.”
Jim opened his eyes and looked at his sister in surprise. Her lips were thin, and she stared at him, not looking at anything else in the room. He tried to smile back but he knew she wasn't seeing him. She was waiting for permission to leave and just beneath her frozen face was an explosion waiting to happen if it wasn't given.
His dad walked in then, took in the scene and said, quickly, hoping to be out before the explosion he could see building happened. “I have to run to the office. I'll be back shortly. I can't remote in, they upgraded the firewall and it's locked everybody out. You can update it remotely evidently but you can't get through to manage it once you do.” He talked his way across the room and out the door.
“Fine! Might as well.” His mom's voice was exasperated. “Just try and have a nice family dinner and off he goes to do God knows what with a computer and his family sits here waiting.” Nobody was listening though. Her litany of complaints had gotten longer lately and had become a sort of background noise they lived their lives surrounded by. Sandy left the table and went up to her room, stomping her way up the stairs as if she were trying to drive her heels through the floor. Jim finished his hot ham and cheese sandwich and stood up. Dinner obviously over. He cleared his and his sister's dishes, leaving his dad's unfinished plate sitting across from his mom.
It sat there accusingly as she stared at it, unmoving before she pushed herself to her feet and cleaned up after dinner, throwing the food away and loading the dishes in the dishwasher. She'd seen families on TV that had sit-down dinners. She'd grown up with sit-down dinners where the whole family gathered around and talked about their day. She'd wanted that. She'd been trying for that but she was doing something wrong because it kept not working. She stood with her hands on the edge of the sink and stared out into the spring  evening. The sky was orange and pink. She started when she felt Jim's hands on her shoulders. “Thanks for supper. It was good.”
She turned around and he was smiling at her weakly.
She nodded. “Thank you.”
“Can I go to Josh's?” He asked her.
“Did you just compliment my cooking to get me to agree to go to Josh's house?”
“Did it work?” He asked still smiling.
“How're you getting there?” She asked.
“I'll take my bike. It's got gas.”
“I don't like you riding that thing after dark. They're dangerous enough in the day time.”
“Mom.” His voice was whiny and he knew it, “I'm an excellent rider. I'll wear my helmet. I'll stop at stop signs, even the dumb ones. I'll call when I get there and when I leave to come back.”
“OK. No racing, and no passengers.”
“Deal... and Mom?”
“What do you want?”
“Supper really was good.”
“Go. You're just being smooth.”
“I can't help it. I try but there's just so much charm it leaks out.” Jim said as he went through the door connecting the kitchen to the garage. He pulled on his riding jacket with it's kevlar armor built into the back and arms. His gloves were in his helmet and he pulled those on as well. He'd seen road rash from motorcycle accidents and would rather have too much protection than not enough even if what he was going to be riding was only a scooter.
When he hit the remote to open the garage door and walked his bike out with his helmet on already his sister was standing there waiting for him, wearing her helmet. “Take me to Chris' house.”
“You're grounded,” Jim pushed his face shield up and looked up at the open window over the garage's roof. “Did you jump off the roof?”
“Yeah. I know I'm grounded. Take me to Chris'. If you don't I'll just walk.”
“I thought you two broke up.” He was sure they'd broken up after an argument over whether or not he could decide who she hung out with. Chris was a controlling asshole and Jim didn't like him at all, and hadn't liked him since they'd been in 4th grade together and Chris had kissed his sister at a football game behind the concession stand.
“We're not going to date. I'm just going over to get some stuff I left over there. I'll be back before you and before Mom notices I'm gone.”
The black scooter,  bounced and settled as she climbed on putting her hands on his shoulders. He started  and left, turning right so he wouldn't pass in view of the front of the house. It was longer that way but if his mom saw him with a passenger, especially his grounded sister after sunset he'd be lucky to leave the house for a month. His parents were stricter than most and part of him knew he was only as grounded as he let them make him. But the idea of ignoring them seemed so foreign to him he couldn't believe it when he'd see his friends talk back to their parents or ignore them. Three blocks later he pulled to a stop in front of the brick ranch style house and his sister climbed off and handed him her helmet. “Thanks for the ride.”
“Be careful with him. He's an ass.”
“He just comes across that way. He's really not.”
“That's what ass means! It's how a person comes across. You either are an ass or you're not, and he's an ass.” He clipped her helmet to the back of the seat using a caribiner and a bungie cord. “Seriously. Be careful. Call if you need anything.”
“I'm on phone restriction remember?”
“Yeah you're not. There's either a pay-as-you-go phone in your pocket or you've started smoking and I don't think it's a pack of cigarettes. I'd smell it on you.”
“By mom. Quit worrying.”
He gave her the finger and a smile as she walked up the drive. When the door opened and she went inside he pulled away from the curb, an uneasy feeling in his stomach. As he came up to a four way stop and slowed down, half a block ahead of a truck, he looked, saw that he would make it as they slowed for the sign, and gave the bike gas. The truck didn't stop, or even slow down for the sign and blared it's horn as it passed within a foot of his rear tire. In his panic he gripped the right handle of the bike, the throttle, and the bike shot forward and up a driveway onto the sidewalk. If he had been a more experienced motorcyclist he would have released the throttle or squeezed the clutch. Instead he steered as best he could, riding the length of the block on the sidewalk before he dropped off the curb into the street, crossing the light traffic causing horns to blare and into the entrance to St. Paul's Cemetery where he hit a patch of gravel and dumped the bike. Finally he let go of the throttle and rolled across the grass, coming up short smacking his helmet on a headstone.
He lay there afraid to move, trying to tell without moving if anything were broken. Nothing felt broken but he wondered if he were in shock if he would know. He'd seen too many videos on youtube of ankles broken and feet pointing the wrong way or bones sticking out of legs to want to see that on himself. He opened his eyes slowly and saw, in the reflection of his helmet's face shield what looked like a tv screen, small, distant, and faint, his sister sitting on a bed talking to Josh. He couldn't hear them but he could see them, as he lay there watching wondering if he had brain damage causing a hallucination, the picture got bigger, filling the face shield completely, but still faint, as if reflected. He could see the night sky over his head, the dark blue of the sky in the fading light and the black of the tree branches over his head  the dark blue of the sky in the fading light and the black of the tree branches over his head.
Sandy was angry. She'd done the thin-lipped look again. She stood up suddenly and crossed to the window, the window that Jim's point of view indicated he was watching through. When she looked down he could see that a car was backing out of the drive as a pick up truck, the one that had almost hit him pulled up beside the car. Two of Chris' friend's from school, Steve and Rob got out, laughing. He could see them laughing but couldn't hear anything. He looked back at Sandy and saw her pushing past Chris towards the door. He stepped towards the door, blocking it with his body so she couldn't open it.
His smile was phony, even through the reflection. Jill's anger wasn't though. Jim pushed himself up to a seated position and felt dizzy, the weird reflected vision was gone now and around him the cemetery seemed to sway back and forth in front of him. He couldn't see his bike and the sky overhead wasn't dark blue any more. It seemed more silver or gray like a fog was settling down on him. He rolled over and tried to push himself up on all fours to pull himself up using the headstone he had crashed against. He saw, coming out of the grass and ground wisps of fog coming up. The air was cooling fast. He pulled himself up and stood unsteadily looking for his bike. He was only a few blocks from Chris' house.
Two unsteady steps back the way he had come and he was overcome with vertigo. He reached out and put his hand on a tall headstone. He pulled his helmet off and dropped it on the ground. It crunched in the gravel. He looked down at it confused momentarily. In the face plate he saw another reflection, not his sister this time. It looked like his mom in the master bathroom and someone, how could he see through walls? How could he see any of this? Someone was coming in through the garage into the kitchen. He hadn't shut the garage as he'd left and she hadn't either. She was running a bath and someone was in the house. “MOM!” Jim's voice filled the silence. He turned, looking for the gate he had come through. The entrance to the cemetery was a wrought iron arch. He should be able to see it even in the fog. If he followed the gravel of the path he would get there. He looked at the faceplate again and the image was gone, showing just the silvery reflection of the thick fog he was walking through. The crunch of his feet in the gravel the only sound in the night except for the occasional wzzzzt of his sleeve moving against the body of the jacket. No sounds of traffic. Nothing but the muffled silence of the fog and his footsteps.
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