Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Manuscript Draft Completed

It took about two years, but the draft of my new manuscript is done.  Sunday Night Support Group: A Suburban Confessional clocks in at 389 pages and about 77,000 words.  Here is a taste:


Don leaned forward slightly in his chair and looked down at the girl sprawled in front of him on the living room carpet.  She wasn't moving, as far as he could tell in the dim light of the street lamp shining through the window.  The shadows from the blind cut across her face in a way that obscured what he knew was a gash in her temple.  She hadn't made any noise for several minutes.
He got up out of the chair and stood over her.  He started to reach down, then stopped and stood upright again.  Then he crouched, bending over her until he had to support himself by placing his hand on the carpet.  Still, he couldn't tell if she was breathing or not.
Don exhaled out of puffed cheeks and pushed himself up.  His right hand was wet so he moved to the window to get a better look.  Holding it up in the amber light, he saw it was covered with some dark fluid.  He fumbled inside his jacket for a moment with his left hand before extracting a handkerchief.  After a few moments he had wiped most of the fluid off, but his had was still sticky.
I really could use some water, but nothing's turned on in this place.
There was a back window at the other side of the room, where the kitchen area was.  Don moved to that side of the building, carefully avoiding any contact with the girl, and tried to slide the window open.  He couldn't budge it.  Looking closer, he could see it had been painted shut, probably many times.  All he could do was watch the rain as it beat on the crud-encrusted glass.  The front window was entirely too risky to attempt to open or even raise the blind.
A few feet from the rear window was what would have been the rear door to the apartment.  It had been boarded up long ago, probably when the building had been condemned by the city.  But, even if he could have pried it open, venturing outside until help came was unthinkable. 

Don went back to the girl but still detected no signs of life.  He pursed his lips and exhaled forcefully through his nose.  Then he went back to the kitchen and leaned against a low shelf that divided the cooking area from where the dining table would have been.  Someone had left a pack of Marlboros and a lighter lying on the second shelf.
He picked them up and looked at them a moment, wondering whose they were.  He couldn't remember seeing anyone smoking that had been with him.  Then, he looked at the girl.  They must have been hers.
That's not like you, either, Brooke--or is it?
He stared at the girl for a long time, thinking.  She, of all people, shouldn't have been there--was the least expected of anyone he knew to be involved in the snafu he was engulfed in.  Three months was all it had taken.
I wish I had never gone to that damned meeting.

Don opened the box and lit one up.  He didn't smoke, but, as far as he could tell, now was a good time to start.