I’m going to be bold and share unedited excerpts each day of my NaNoWriMo manuscript in progress. This year’s working title is ONLY HUMAN. You can see more about the concept HERE, though it will morph and change (kind of an unintentional pun, given the theme) as the story emerges as any good NaNo novel should. I hope you enjoy this impromptu wild ride with me!
Any and all comments on these excerpts are welcome. I’ve been writing long enough to have a pretty thick skin, and I consider your feedback to be of great value in honing my skill and shaping the best possible works. Please let me know what you think!
(all following text on page is copyright Sheri J. Kennedy, please don’t re-blog, quote or print without permission. Thanks!)
NOV 2: (I know it’s the second day, but it’s the first day I wrote):
Cornelius looked at him with a twitch of his head to the left, like he did when he just didn’t understand where Jac was coming from in an argument. Apparently he saw John as a full-fledged man, not some kind of ghost, because he was signaling that Jac was confusing the hell out of him with his reaction.
“So where do we begin?” Jac didn’t care if he was rude or what, he just needed to hear the man talk. To make him substantial.
Cornelius demurred to his friend.
“Well, hello there, Jac, it’s been years. Corny’s raised you into a fine young man.” He stuck out his hand, very visible but a will o’the wisp to Jac’s psyche. He decided to shake it and see where it would take him. Maybe he could get a grip on things.
…But I always go to John when I have that feeling and don’t understand. Come to think of it. He makes me calm down inside too.” Corny’s one brow went up the way it always did when he considered something new.
“Oh right…And so he said that you were an extraordinary boy, and he’d sure like to see me have such a quality young ranch hand growing up at my side. And he said to be sure and bring you by any time.”
“The feeling of calm stayed with me on the way back home, so I suggested to your mom that she come on back to Wonder Ranch, and she looked like a cornered animal. I remembered that look. She would never survive here, and we both knew it.”
Jac’s mouth was set in a stern line. He broke it. “Kind of sick that she couldn’t survive here, and I couldn’t survive anywhere else.”
Corny nodded at the steering wheel. “Yeah, you know the next part only too well. Back to the apartment, hysterical child, exhausted mother, back to Wonder Ranch, happy child, restless mother, and so the cycle continued until she left you here for the good of everyone.”
“Left me. Yes…only too well.”
“I thought ‘the good of everyone’ was the key point.” Corny’s mouth twitched.
“So what about the Book? That’s the point, remember?”
When they got into the office, John reached for a weighty tome bound in black leather with no markings on the cover or spine. When he picked it up, he pushed it toward Jac with one hand and the young man caught the weight automatically in both of his. A white aura whirled around The Book and patterns of light zipped across its cover. Jac understood many things in an instant, and one of them was that he was not Jac anymore, or not who other people would know as Jac. That vessel was absorbed into the Tome and the hands holding the black Book when the light receded were John’s. Jac looked up and saw the smouldering white flames in his steely grey eyes reflected back in the glass of his framed law credentials.
“Not God, no, but now you see how I knew it was Corny’s time to go, yes?” the voice from John’s mouth said.
“One chicken-fried with extra mashed potatoes, just like you like, John.” Minnie winked as she set it down.
“Don’t blame me, that’s Johnny’s cooking you know.”
“Ah, but it’s all in the delivery.” John smiled.
The kitchen bell dinged and she turned on her heel for the next order.
Jac put up the wall again, wanting to think about the interaction without John’s yammering thoughts.
John wasn’t even fazed by her wink. She was giving him a signal, wasn’t she? He complimented her, but she didn’t coo or anything. Just where does this relationship stand? Oh my God! What if he takes her home. Or they have sex. Or…I’m a prisoner! Even if I put up the wall I will see and feel and…Oh my God!
Jac began to understand the depth of his mission and his fate. The only escape or control he had was transition, and he could only do that if there was physical contact. Sex hardly seemed like the opportune time to move to another person. He’d still be observing.
And I’d be the woman! Oh my God! You don’t suppose they expect me to be women too?!
“A little sugar with my next cup o’ coffee, Minnie, and I don’t mean the kind in these packets.” Beau shook the little white envelope at her.
Oh Lord. No imagination.
“I’m always sweet to you, Beau. I’ll go get you a little warm up.” Please. Just don’t touch me when I pour, that’s all I ask.
Jac put up the wall.
She had an affection for John, but not this guy. Minnie doesn’t like him and I believe her with…all her heart. I can feel it. Don’t you dare touch us you creep!
Jac was leaning psychologically away from Beau, trying to keep Minnie’s hand as far away as possible without spilling the coffee. Of course his effort was meaningless to change it, but Minnie was just as set on the avoidance of touch as he was. And it seemed she had lots of practice. The coffee dropped into the cup with an accompanying flash of smile and batting of eyes that drew Beau’s attention away from her vulnerable hand just long enough for her to withdraw as his big paw reached for it.
Ah, thank God she’s good!
Jac was full of glee and impressed with her slick skill. Her customer was happy and she was happy. Unruffled, even. Her pulse didn’t quicken in fear. She must’ve known all along she could out maneuver the oaf. It was fun to be a woman. Or at least this woman.
Nov 7: (No new words today, so going backwards a little.)
John was so intent on walking without a limp that little else was clear. Until a lilting voice caught their ears.
“Oh, John! Wait just a minute, honey. I have a little somethin’ for the road for you,” Minnie called.
A zing went through John and shocked Jac with its adolescent intensity. Hip-be-damned, he swung around like a college boy and all but loped back to the counter next to Beau and the other guy. The upswing of emotion lit Jac’s spirit to a level he rarely felt, and if he had control of John’s mouth it would’ve worn a cheezy, super-nova-bright smile. The elation made him miss the interaction and he was taken by surprise when a box smelling of pie was eased toward them by Millie with a sweet as pie smile and her hand brushed John’s as they accepted it. Jac had a rush of warm, generous feeling and saw John’s no longer white flaming eyes meet his own with a shy shine and drop to the pie box in his hands.
Aw, sweet man. If only pie could always bring such pleasure to a soul. Well worth giving up my tip to Johnny. Wish he’d just let me give it to him after all these years. I’ve earned it. How could two men with almost the same name be so different.
Jac threw up the wall, completely disoriented. And his psyche reeled when he felt Minnie brush her soft cheek with the back of her hand.
I’m Minnie. Oh God! It happened. I’m a woman.
As the night came to a close, Minnie collected her tips. Jac would’ve thought it was a nice chunk of money if he couldn’t have felt the sore feet and back, and if he hadn’t ridden the downward arc of mood as there just wasn’t any more energy left to lift the corners of her mouth. He was elated several times during the evening, and the spark of life she brought out in her customers was infectious, but the slump of her shoulders weighed on him. There was nothing left for her to take home. Waitressing was exhausting! He missed yawning.
He continued to have a meltdown until the overwhelming comfort of the bath on Minne’s emotions and body lulled him into submission. He checked in on her thoughts and found she was letting bits of memory from their evening run by her mind. Focusing on the nice things and moving right on if something negative presented itself to her.
What a talent to decompress like this. I wonder if she would’ve done it if her knee hadn’t gotten hurt. Oh, it feels good to relax. I need it so bad. What a day.
Jac let his thoughts run along, and he found a lot of good things to contemplate with a dove’s touch instead of swinging a hammer to try and nail everything down.
Jac was pulled from his reverie by an intense flood of light. Minnie had opened her eyes and he’d forgotten someone else could do that to him. The bathroom came into focus. He studied her body as it leaned forward to pull the plug from between its feet.
No wonder he was complaining; this sucks! If he feels like this sitting down, how does he walk? Mmm, these fries are great!
Minnie had come right back with the cheese fries and Bruce had dived right in. Jac noticed that Bruce’s line of vision had followed the fries and not Minnie. Jac found himself curious what she looked like from behind. He hadn’t made note when John looked at her. It was all so new then. It was frustrating not to be able to look where he wanted to look.
Oh yum! Man this guy’s sense of taste must be on steroids. I’ve never tasted anything so delicious in my life. No wonder he gets this every time he comes in. He loves it! It’s distracting. I wonder if he’s as fixated on them as I am?
John dropped the wall and tuned in to his new host.
“How you doin’ with Carol?” Bruce’s brow cocked at Arnie.
Arnie smacked Bruce playfully up side of the head.
Whoa, not again!
Jac was staring at Bruce’s mock threat of retaliation and laughing with Arnie’s mouth and voice.
Yikes! This guy is already kinda drunk.
The whooziness hit Jac but didn’t cloud his mind.
Weird, so I can feel his buzz but not be affected by it? This should be fun! Mmm, it’s a bit tough when his eyes swing too fast. I hope he doesn’t walk around.
“But seriously. Have you seen her?”
“Yeah, yeah. Seen her. I always see her. I’m a short drunk Bruce.”
Jac mentally winced for the jump of bodies as he saw Bruce’s paw come up to pat Benny on the back.
Nothing…what? Oh, I get it. Clothes. That’s why Minnie didn’t lose me when she bumped into Bruce by the door. It has to be skin to skin. Or hair, I guess. Human contact. Wow.
“Don’t take it so hard, Benny. You got a better chance than I do. At least you’re agile. And you’ve got a car.”
“Oh yeah, my sexy Taurus with one wrecked fender. That’ll win her over.” He guzzled the rest of his pint and wrestled a crumpled bill out of his pocket onto the counter. “Well, I just stopped in for a quick one. I’m on my way out to One Shot Charlies.”
“Okay. Drive safely, Benster.”
She set the drink down and Benny set his left hand on hers.
“Thank ya, darlin’” Jac heard him say and he was suddenly staring clearly at Benny’s lips.
He felt a flush of female pleasure as she said, “Anytime,” and winked into Benny’s shining eyes.
Benny gave her hand a little pat as she withdrew, and Jac watched her ass sidle away from the bar through a slightly skewed drunken blur.
Phew, I’m back in Benny. That was crazy! I’d hate to see what it’s like to play Patty Cake!
Benny threw back the rest of his whisky and, to Jac’s horror pulled his short height full up off the stool and shouted, “She’s coming home with me, Jenkins. You’re a day late and a dollar short!”
Jac put up the wall. He couldn’t stand the clamour of Benny’s fear and self-boulstering banter duking it out in his head.
Oh my god! He’s gonna get us hurt. I don’t wanna feel the…
“Oh yeah? Since when you been big enough to pick up anything, let alone a honey like my Carol.” Jenkin’s stood tall and his fists pulled in.
“She’s not your Carol. She’s not my Carol either. But I’m taking her home tonight. Not you.”
Idiot! Idiot! That’s an ultimatum. Now there’s no way out but a fight. I hope to god he’s not the violent type.
Since Benny was in full macho stance, Jac had plenty of time to look into Jenkins’ eyes in the classic stare down. He looked like a riled up rhino ready to charge.
“Oh shit!” Benny screeched.
Jac psychologically dodged, but he was stuck like a duck in a puddle of muck. He saw Jenkins’ fist grow until it covered his whole view and then felt the rush of adrenaline and pain in his hand as He saw Benny rock back away from him through Jenkins’ eyes. Jac felt Jenkins’ fury and amusement as a cocktail flaming through his drunken form.
“Stop! Stop it! Stop it! No!” Carol was screaming like a cornered rabbit and kicking like a deer.
Her ferocity shocked Jac and apparently Jenkins too. He dropped Benny’s collar and stumbled backwards with the pain in his legs where her boots pummeled flesh. And she just kept on coming when Benny was free. Her small form pushed up to Jenkins shaking a finger at his face.
“You leave us alone! I’m not yours and keep your damn hands to yourself!” She sealed it with a vigorous slap across his face and turned on her heel and stomped back to the car.
Benny hopped in behind the wheel and Jac looked out at Jenkins through Carol’s eyes as she buckled herself safely in the passenger seat and they left the parking lot. The big man was slinking away like a puppy from his piddle puddle.
Jac liked it here. And he liked occupying Carol. She was compassionate without feeling mushy, and she had fortitude. Even more than Minnie, she felt in control of her destiny. The only uncomfortable factor was her attraction to Benny. The emotions and physical sensations were building, and Jac had never felt anything like it before. Even as a man he hadn’t been this close to sex before, so it was really strange to feel it as a woman and not know how to sort it out.
This is going to ruin my psyche forever. I’m not going to know what to expect if I ever fall in love ’cause I’ll expect it to be like this and this might be completely girlie. Oh my god.
Carol sat down next to Benny and handed him the ice pack. When he put it to his cheek, he reached out his other hand and they entwined fingers.
Jac’s sensations abruptly changed. The sexual desire was far more keen and physically distracting. He couldn’t relax. Benny’s cheek throbbed even as the ice began to chill it, and Jac shared his horrendous headache. But Jac knew without having to check that the desire for sex would win over their pain if there was any chance to act on it. It was all consuming.
Jenkins must have had some sobriety left because he began to stir. A deep groan escaped him. Jac would’ve kicked him if he could.
Jerk! Get up and do something. And I don’t mean about Carol. Take your drunk ass home. Alone. How you apparently belong. Who’d want to be with you if you come and harass them in the middle of the night and don’t give them a choice. You don’t respect her at all! She doesn’t even like you… Okay, Jac. He can’t hear you… Oh my god, he feels awful!
Jenkins rolled on to his side, and Jac thought they were gonna be sick, but a few deep breaths and the big man held it together. His jaw hurt when he tucked his head down and struggled to a sitting position.
“Damn.” He worked his jaw open and closed like he had a bad taste in his mouth. “I’m gonna mash that little…Urgh!” He smashed his fist into his palm. His stomach did a flip in response and Jac really thought he was gonna lose it. Jenkins eased up and stood, or rather stumbled in an awkward circle gaining his equilibrium. When he was vertical enough to move in a single direction, he walked back toward Carol’s porch.
A pang went through Jac’s psyche when he thought of parents. Bitterness at his mom and an aversion at the reminder that Corny was gone.
I guess the old guy wasn’t so bad. Even if he did drive me crazy. I always knew beyond a doubt that he cared about me. He chose to keep me. It would’ve been bad to live with someone that told you to go away all the time. At least my mom got it over with once and for all. Maybe that’s why Kenny’s[Jenkin’s] so messed up. Although he did wallow in the fact that he chose his fate. But can you really choose when someone else messes you up before you get started? I didn’t even have a chance.
Jac’s thought was pulled from himself as a high-pitched scream pierced Carl’s ears. All eyes whipped to the child it had emerged from. At the admissions counter in front of them a bedraggled looking woman held a dirty little girl with snot running from her nose into her outraged bawling mouth. Jac was barraged with Carl’s emotion in pity for the child. And Carl’s eyes took in the woman too.
“Hi Caroline,” the woman at the desk looked at her without giving away her feelings, Jac noticed.
“So you’re here to see Jimmy? He’s not gonna be available. They’re moving him to State.”
Jac saw the tiniest hint of compassion after all. Not in her voice, but in her eye. He was starting to get this stuff.
“Yeah. When and where?” Caroline’s voice quavered.
Jac felt the sick in the pit of her stomach. Knowing and believing were apparently different.
If she was expecting this, why is she so ill. I would think she’d be like Kylie and just have resigned emotion about it. I mean it sucks but….wouldn’t you be prepared?
Jac remembered how he felt the day that Corny went down. He knew he was an old man. He had even seen him stand and breathe and take breaks in spaces that he never would have taken breaks before. Though his heart attack was sudden, Jac knew. But he hadn’t been prepared. Some things were unfathomable.
Maybe that’s how Caroline feels too. I can see why even a controlled and stoic man like Carl would cry for her. It’s the hardest thing of all when you know but won’t really believe and then there’s the Truth. Right smack across your face.
Caroline changed Kylie and washed her up. Jac was bounced back and forth between them like a yo-yo, but each touch was full of affection that went deep and wide. Both of them had a vibe that was even and at ease to a level Jac had never felt. It was remarkable. Because of that touch and connection they were okay when he knew their life was upside down with turmoil and that their future had nothing secure.
That’s it! Security. That’s what this feeling is. I’m not sure I’ve ever known it before. Corny was good to me, but I always felt like a cast off and that no place was home.
The bus to Cincinnati was pure hell, and Kylie’s mood proved it. Jac had been stuck in the toddler for the whole day. Apparently Caroline was too drained to deal with touching her child at all. She hadn’t even changed her for several hours. Jac felt frazzled in th
e brain with the constant whimper and cry. Nothing to latch on to. Tiredness beng a drain and his only reprieve, as once in awhile Kylie would half doze and forget her troubles for a few minutes at a time.
Auntie Margaret was willing to take them at least. Jac assumed it would be great compared to homelessness, but it wasn’t readable as such from Caroline. The only thing good about being in the vague and scrambled unhappy child is he didn’t have to feel Caroline’s guitar string tension leading up to their arrival.
At the station, Jac was blind as Kylie was passed out in sleep. Caroline tried to carry her luggage and the child, but she kept having to set down the heavy bag and rehoist Kylie on to her hip. It was a bumpy and disorienting ride for Jac.
Finally, Caroline bumped Kylie’s forehead against her cheek when she was rearranging yet again, and Jac occupied Caroline. The emotional tumult sucked but at least he could see. The old station was like a romantic film, but it must’ve been the scene where they just got dumped and their lover left on the midnight train just before they could chase him down.
Jac could tell by the way Caroline worked that she wasn’t the free-spirited, ne’er-do-well that Margaret had implied. Her efficiency on the cooking tasks was natural and practiced. She was the same in dealing with Kylie. This was not a woman that was used to or expected hand-outs. Jac suspected that she had been keeping their lives together by sheer grit and hard work for a long time. He was impressed and thought Margaret would have to acknowledge the woman’s worth too. At least eventually. He had no doubt that she would find a job and pay back every penny and make a way for herself. He hoped she wouldn’t find her way back to Jimmy, but he had felt the grief she had at his demise, and that grief was love. She was a capable person and didn’t need him to survive, so it must have been desire to be with him. Love was so complicated.
The steaming hot sandwich dripped in melted provolone and Jac felt Ben’s mouth water like it was in response to his own Pavlovian trigger. He could hardly wait for the first bite.
To Jac’s disappointment, the hulk of a dirty-blonde held up a bulbous hand waiting for a hearty bro handshake. Ben obliged, and although they switched to three different positions, their hands slid across each other or fingers stayed in contact so Jac stayed in his new host.
“Good to see you, Marcus.”
They moved away from Ben and the still steaming sandwich.
No fair! I didn’t even get a bite! This bloated loud-mouth better order one of those too. Although he’s not one bit hungry. Just my luck.
That was an amazing thing to feel Caroline’s protectiveness for Kylie. Carl felt it too, but in a whole different way. He felt sorry and wanted to make it easy and be a shield for them. But Caroline felt it in every fiber. Like every inth of her being would stand in front of ever cell and thought and feeling that Kylie had and fend off harm. She didn’t care about herself even half as much as her child. Maybe it would’ve helped if she did.
Jimmy must’ve been quite a case to rough those two up. And it was his real daughter too. It’ll be interesting if I end up in a good dad’s being to see what he is like compared to Caroline. And yup, I think she’s a good mom. No one could care about their child more. Even if she apparently made some mistakes. I just gotta think the love would really help. And she definitely took one in the shorts to go to Margaret, and it didn’t seem like she would’ve done it if it wasnt’ for Kylie.
Jac kept the old man’s rambling thoughts dampened and just watched him ready himself to lay down for a rest. He pulled back the covers himself and removed his slippers. He looked like he was right there in the same reality as Jac. He knew how to take care of himself. He thought he was eight. You know how to take a nap at eight.
Jac heard Charlotte withdraw and Mr. Graves started breathing deeply with sleep almost immediately. Jac connected that there was probably something in the tea to put him down. Since it was midday, Jac had plenty of mental energy, but he had nowhere to go.
Corny had a friend with Alzheimer’s and I remember him talking about how sad it was watching him lose his life one day at a time. Like he was unliving it. Going backwards and leaving memories behind drifting without the home he had built for them.
Jac admired her strength and the purity of her devotion. She seemed as though she couldn’t have done anything else, like it was part of life like making the bed in the morning, and yet it was hard for Jac to believe that she was comfortable or content. Did all the rest of the years make it smooth to accept these days? Did she still see the man he was and consider that it is still the man he is, even through the mist? In the scattered images, could she make their life whole? It seemed so. Her manner showed no stress or disappointment. Maybe the mildest amusement when his stories hit their most absurd. But she enjoyed them as if he’d told a joke he meant to tell. As if his wit and humor remained. And perhaps it did. In the very moments he grasped and shared, maybe there were glimpses of the man she married and the boy she had once dreamed of marrying one day.
He was pulled out of his moment by something unexpected. Charlotte had burst into tears. He dropped the wall.
Bullshit you don’t care about not being with Harry. Katy’s an anchor around your neck, bless her soul. She deserves me, but I don’t deserve to serve her and give up my whole life. Maybe Harry would be willing to live with us. But he’s got his own home too, and he’s been a bachelor for a long time. And when would we ever see each other—freely? We’d be at work, and then it would be a little time carved out and we’d be tied down with caring for Katy. What have I got to offer him?
I never should have kissed him. Even on the cheek. I’ve got nothing more to give.
She walked to the kitchen without hurry in her steps.
“How’s my li’l Katy-girl?!” she burst in with enthusiasm that Jac could feel was genuine.
“ughh,” came from the woman parked at the table in her wheel-chair. She was not ‘li’l’ nor was she a girl.
Charlotte bent to kiss her forehead and she waved at Sarah at the door.
“Goodnight! See you tomorrow!” Jac heard Sarah’s farewell through Katy’s ears.
There was nothing wrong with Katy’s hearing, but she was totally immobile. Jac was bowled over by the motion of her feelings, however.
Bye, Sarah! Oh and Charlotte’s home. I’m so happy. And we’ll have stew. It’s smelled good all day, and I thought I’d die every time Sarah tasted it and I wanted some so bad.
Jac put up the wall. Katy’s inner life was full of energy that he wasn’t ready for.
“I’m afraid we’d better wait a moment Miss Kate. This is just too hot to swallow. I don’t want to burn our tongues.”
Oh! I’m gonna expire if you keep that from me another minute now that I have it under my nose!
Jac put up the wall. He wanted to enjoy the smell and taste without her oozing commentary.
That does smell fantabulous though. But take it easy Katy. If you burn your tongue it’ll hurt me too!
What was that?!
When he wondered about it, she jumped again inside. He dropped the wall.
…like another voice! I know I go a little stir crazy sometimes, but I’ve never heard anything like that. Telling me what to do in my own head.
Jac put up the wall again.
You don’t suppose she can hear me?! That doesn’t make sense. CAN YOU HEAR ME, KATY?
He dropped the wall.
Yes, but I don’t like it. What do you mean ‘hear you’? I’m me. And I can’t afford to go crackers when I already can’t do anything but think. It’s all I got left.
He tried to put the wall up but still listen. He hadn’t really done that on purpose before, though any time he put it up he could hear at least a murmur, so it shouldn’t be too hard.
I know this is weird, Katy, and I don’t want you to be scared, but believe me, you’re not going crazy. You’re really hearing somebody else…in your mind.
Yeah, and that’s crazy! Voices in your head are crazy. I don’t get out much, but that I know.
You don’t miss a thing, do you?…Wha…
No, I don’t. All I have is observation. It tends to make you a bit sharp on the point you know.
Yes. Now that you mention it, I know exacty what you mean. Since I’ve lost the ability to act—to create my own destiny—I’m a lot more tuned into the details of how and why other people do what they do. It’s all I’ve got.
Yup. You get it. You’ve got to be an imaginary friend. No one else would understand me like you do.
The barrage of Katy’s thoughts paused.
I don’t believe you. My sister would never gamble.
Then why would you pause for so long? You must see some possibility in my point, or you wouldn’t have let it stump you.
For an imaginary friend, you’re not very friendly.
See, once again, support for my side. I’m Jac, a real Jackass. You wouldn’t have invented a Jac-ass for a friend if you just wanted someone to understand you would you?
Not likely. Although you’re a funny Jac-ass! I might have thought of that…maybe.
“And along with the final set, gentlemen, you would be in the best hands in the industry for construction for the tour. I’d like to introduce Ms. Madeline King.”
When they stood up and gave a nod to the room, Jac could’ve fallen on the floor.
Madeline King! Madeline King! No, it can’t be. It’s no wonder she looked familiar…that she had my nose. This is my mom!
Jac’s psyche flew into a whirl that would’ve made him sick on the floor if he’d been in charge of a body right then.
This is the woman that birthed me. That left me. That ran off and had her life and didn’t care a whit what happened to mine. Or if she did care, she didn’t care to tell me so. She was just wrapped up in her own self…apparently a glamorous career where everyone loved her. And I couldn’t even work on anything but Corny’s corny old ranch, and she…one of the only people I could endure…wouldn’t even stay there with me.
I want out! I don’t want to be here with her. She doesn’t deserve me…to know me at all.
Jac dropped off as he realized that she didn’t know. She had no idea he was there. She was still living her life without him.
Although he had decided to give in and check her out, he didn’t drop the wall. He just sat there, or hung there. Waiting. He was at a crossroads. It was his move. He had the choice to know her without any choice of hers. All his life he had wanted the power to create his own future. He had resented that it was all her decision. She decided to leave him there, to abandon him to the ranch and Cornelius. To give up on him instead of seeing if she could find a way to help him adapt. And he didn’t get a choice. He didn’t even know she had left him when she went away for the last time. He didn’t even have a chance to say good-bye.
But now he had a choice to be with her and he was choosing solitude. He was clinging to the separation that he had once lamented. He wanted nothing more than to be with her, to know her, to understand for so long, and now that he could change all that he held back. Just like she had. She put up a wall. She came to see him less and less, and when she had, she was less and less present until she just quit coming at all. She chose not to know him. And now he could choose not to know her.
“The thing is, Jac already signed for it. And…well, I do have the paperwork right here. No one…No one would know that he didn’t take it that day….What do you think, Madeline? You know I wouldn’t want to do anything against my duties. But…”
“I’m his mom. He’s missing. He didn’t take it and …didn’t you say that’s when he disappeared? I think it’s my place and my duty to see if we can find out what happened…And you’re right, John. No one will ever know.”
Again, the two exchanged an interacton that Jac just didn’t understand. He was really curious, but decided to stay in his own thoughts.
John got up and went to the closet. He came back with the leather-bound volume and set it on the desk. They all sat and stared at it in silence.
“Well.” John broke the tension, giving Madeline the official nod.
She reached out and opened the cover.
Jac felt the whirl of the Book’s power surrounding them. Madeline and John were in their chairs in a fisheye lens to his view, and then they warped into a swirling mass of color. Unlike the last time he encountered the volume, he kept his wits. There was no knowledge being passed to him, though all he had learned in recent days passed before his eyes in the eye of the small hurricane that were once John and Madeline.
The windstorm settled, and he saw their forms solidify along with feeling the presence of his own. He looked down to see his own familiar body standing at the door of John’s office just behind his mom. John’s mouth dropped open, and Madeline turned to see what shocked him so.
“Hi Mom.” Jac didn’t know what else to say.
Thanks so much for taking this 30 day journey with me! I’m pleased with the draft of my new novel, and I’ll keep you posted as it takes shape during edit and eventually takes it’s leap into hopes of publishing. Oh, and the title was only a working title. I’d love your suggestions if the excerpts sparked an idea, and of course I’d give you a mention in the acknowledgements if it is published! 🙂