Thursday, July 29, 2010


It has been 13 weeks since I participated in 3WW, and I’ve missed it. It was a challenge, but I included all 39 words that have been posted since the last time I participated. A little over two hours after I started, I’ve finished. 1,500 words. That is a big deal for me, since I’ve let my writing go for quite a while. So, here are the words I included:

Escape, hum, vibrant, fear, ignore, weightless, dread, grasp, pacify, abandon, gradual, precise, budge, nimble, theory, hidden, noble, roam, erase, meadow, trace, feign, imply, virtue, hassle, inject, wealth, acrid, bane, tepid, gentle, praise, vulgar, bait, jump, victim, abuse, cramp and hatred.

I know I’m a day late, but I still wanted to post. Thanks for reading.

Writing was Sarah’s escape. All around her she could hear the vibrant hum of life, but she was removed from it. Separate. When she was immersed in her character’s lives, she was able to ignore the fear that stooped her shoulders and made her feet feel leaden. In the fantasies she created she was free. Weightless and insubstantial.

She would write for hours and came to dread her return to reality, but it came everyday at 5:22. He would come home from work then. Never a minute earlier, never a second later. It only took two months after they were married for her to grasp all the ways her life would change.

It was small things at first. They couldn’t afford such a large cell phone bill so she gave up hers. Then, it bothered him for her to have a night out with her friends without him, so he began to come along, until he got tired of going out with them, so she quit going out all together. After that, things spiraled out of her control so quickly she didn’t know how it happened. Now it seemed every decision she made was calculated to pacify him.

Within months of their honeymoon, he’d abandoned all pretense of trying to make her happy. And after a year of wedded bliss, there had been a gradual shift in her life. She went from being a strong, independent, productive woman, to a shell that only existed to please him.

Sarah learned quickly the precise ways he liked his clothes folded and put away. They went out together to dinner every Thursday night, and she never went out alone. That was something he wouldn’t budge on. At first she thought he was being cute and over protective, but realized, slowly, that it was so he always knew where she was and what she was doing.

When they’d been dating, making love had been a symphony of pleasure. Gabriel’s long, nimble fingers had played over her body like a concert pianists. Now, years later, those fingers were more often cruel and bruising. He’d wrap them around her neck and squeeze until black dots danced across her vision and she knew this would be the last time. She knew, in theory, that she could leave him and get away. Maybe then she would be safe and not wonder if every time the clock said 5:22, it would be the last time she would see it.

But, she could never find the courage to step out of the life she knew. So, she stayed hidden in her make-believe world, creating a happily ever after that she would never have.

Gabriel had been her noble white knight, rescuing her from an abusive family. Her father had roamed from one girlfriend to the next, while her mother took out her hurt and frustration on the children their union had produced. The sweet nineteen year old version of Gabriel had swept in, and given Sarah what she thought was love. Any time they argued, he used flowers and gentle kisses to erase everything harsh word he’d said. And Sarah fell for it.

After four months of dating, he’d taken her on a picnic in a meadow and asked her to marry him. They’d made love in the sweet smelling grass with the sun blazing above them. Afterwards, she’d used long blades of grass to trace patterns of hearts and their initials on his back while he feigned sleep. His promises that day seemed to imply that they would be married after they both finished their education and had careers. How wrong she’d been.

She’d gone home, floating on a cloud of teenaged dreams and told her mother what had happened. Sarah’s mistake had been in telling her mother that she was happy and would be even happier away from their family. The first slap caught her by surprise. Her lip split and she could taste blood in her mouth. She wasn’t fast enough to dodge the second hit from her mother, but by the third she decided to fight back. It was the beginning of the end for her.

Her father had come home that night, and Sarah could remember the bitterness in her mother’s voice. It coated the air with an almost palpable feeling of hate. It was then that she realized her mother was jealous of her, of her happiness. Within minutes her father was raging that, “He’d have no whore living under his roof.”

She’d called Gabriel and he’d come and taken her away from the screaming. He made everything right with the world. It was a virtue that he used many times in the following years, his gift with talking his way out of any situation.

The first time he hit her was one month after the birth of their first child - a son she’d been so proud to give him. The baby had been up all night, fussy with colic, and Sarah was exhausted. She’d left Gabriel’s eggs on too long and the yolk wasn’t runny like he liked it. After one bite, he dumped the plate on the floor and backhanded Sarah. She’d hit the wall and slid to the floor. The crash had scared the baby and he had started crying again.

By the time Caleb was three, Sarah had grown tired of the hassle calling the police caused and pregnant again, decided that something must be wrong with her or Gabriel wouldn’t hit her. She’d hidden the bruises for so long, it was second nature.

The violence lasted for years, and Sarah took it. Gabriel was good to their children, but she knew in her heart seeing him beat up their mother and scream awful things in her face had to be doing some damage.

Caleb’s high school graduation changed that. Gabriel had beaten her two days before, and the bruises had reached their peak of ugliness. One eye was swollen shut, her lip was busted and a near perfect hand print circled her throat. There was no way she could go out in public, and she’d been forced to miss the ceremony.

Regret and shame filled her blood like someone had injected acid straight into her heart. Never again. That night a plan formed like ice in her brain. She would get away and spend the rest of her life making it up to her precious children.
Over the next week, she gathered what she needed. Just a few innocuous items and the problem would be gone for good.

Her kids were gone for the weekend and it was nearing 5:00. Calmly she saved the document she was working on and pushed away from the desk. In 22 minutes her life would change forever.

After the police and emergency services left and she was finally alone, Sarah sank to her knees in the middle of the living room floor and laughed. The sound rang out and echoed in the empty house until it changed to sobs. She cried for all of the bruises, lost friendships, and the loss of innocence in her children. She cried until there were no tears left.

She woke to the sounds of her children coming home the next morning. She’d already decided how she would tell them that their father was gone. They sat at the table looking shocked for almost an hour. Then her precious family hugged her close. She knew they loved her. They’d asked why she let Gabriel hurt her for so long, and for that she didn’t have an answer, but she swore it would never happen again.

Caleb had looked at her then, and in his eyes she saw the truth. He knew she had murdered his father, and he approved.

They talked of the future and how would they afford college and house payments, and Sarah reassured them. Months before she’d sent her writing to an agent, who’d already sold three of the seventeen manuscripts Sarah had completed. They may not have much in the way of money, but in love they had immeasurable wealth.

After the autopsy had been performed and Gabriel’s death ruled and accident, Sarah breathed a sigh of relief. Never again would his acrid breath wash across her face as he pushed her head under tepid bath water. The bane of his presence would no longer haunt her nights.

Her home became something that was filled with gentle praise instead of vulgar comments and slurs meant to bait her into a fight. The children didn’t jump when the door opened any more, and for that alone, Sarah would have done it all over again.

There were no victims living in her house - only strong individuals who had lived through abuse.

Six months after his death, Sarah went to visit Gabriel’s grave. Her stomach cramped and she felt like she would vomit, but forced her feet forward. She expected to be filled with hatred for the man she had once loved and then killed, but standing alone on the cold overcast November day, all she could feel was overwhelming joy.

She had gotten away and was finally free.

Please visit 3WW and support others who have had the courage to take the writing challenge.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Line Tuesday

I was reminded recently, that I do, in fact, have a blog.

I was also reminded that I have been neglecting said blog. The sting was eased by my friend saying, “But that’s okay, since you are writing. It is the writing that matters.” I just wanted to hang my head in shame.

In the last few months, I have edited a lot of other people’s work, some fiction, some non-fiction, and while I love to do that, I need to make myself write. I’ve written 1450 words of fiction and two non-fiction articles in the last few months. I hear the shrimp from Finding Nemo in my head right now… I am ashamed. Followed quickly by him saying, “Bubbles! My bubbles!”

Yeah, that’s how my brain works.

This month was the one year anniversary of our son being placed with us, and to tell the truth, I’m still learning to be a mom and cope with a toddler who has some abandonment and anger issues, as much as he is still learning that no matter what happens, we will always be there for him. We go for days with him being the sweetest boy in the world and then he has a nightmare and the next week is really bad. The nightmares are getting farther and farther apart and life is getting easier, but then there are mornings like today when I wake up at 4 am and my precious boy has brought his blanket in our room and is curled up on the floor sleeping.

It breaks my heart that he is afraid to wake us up. Hubby picked him up off the floor (much to my Labrador’s consternation as he was losing his snuggle buddy) and got him back in his own bed, which was obviously a mistake. My poor little boy started screaming at the top of his lungs at just after 6. Scared the life out of me. I jumped out of my bed, leaped over the snoring dog (thank goodness we have an alarm on our house, because he is sooooo not a guard dog), ran down the hallway and crashed into my son’s room. As I slid to a stop I wondered, “What do I do?”

It always scares him when we come into his room to comfort him when he is having a nightmare, whether we sneak in, just walk in, or come crashing in like I just had, and I didn’t want to scare him. I reached toward him and he pulled away from me. I’m not going to lie, my heart broke. It only took him a split second to realize it was me, but still, seeing the fear in my child’s eyes directed at me sliced something deep inside. It makes me sad, and fills me with absolute rage. No child should experience the fear he has.

So, yeah, I’ve been neglecting my blog and really neglecting my writing. I want to feel bad about that, but I realized I have to have priorities. For right now, as much as I want to write and get the bubbling, seething mass of ideas out of my head, I need to focus on my family. I’ll drop by as often as I can, because I do miss you, my bloggy friends. You boost my writing ego, you soothe my fears that I can’t do it – that I’m wasting time, and you have held my hand through the tough patches. Thanks for that. You’ll never know how much that means.

So, on to the writing portion of my lengthy post. If you’ve made it this far… just, wow. You’re awesome. Enough with my whining. I am reading Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Lie.

What’s it like? Living without a demon?

I know, I’m such a tease. I really like her storyline in this Lords of the Underworld series. Demon doesn’t always equal evil and angel doesn’t always equal good.

And on to what I am writing. My current WIP started out as a joke, but now, the pressure is on. I’ll share the story of how it came about as soon as I am able, but right now, it is all a big secret. I’ve been told that if I tell anyone, my tongue may be removed and my fingers broken so that I have no way of communicating other than grunting. Not a thrilling prospect, since I love to talk so much. I can’t even share the title, but I am going to be sneaky and post a couple of lines here and pray that the person or persons who have threatened me don’t check up on me. Wish me luck!

Sweat slicked my palms, air sawed in and out of my lungs and I felt like I was going to piss my pants. It felt just like the first time I climbed the sheer rock face of a cliff, praying that all my gear was secure and fighting the urge to check my safety harness one last time.

This is the first time I’ve written much of anything in first person. Plus, I’m writing it from a male POV. I felt like throwing myself under the bus evidently.

Thanks for being here, and I hope I can visit again soon! For more Two Sentence Tuesday, visit the Women of Mystery.