Below is the remaining section from last week’s Free-Writing Friday. If you didn’t get a chance, please read it.
I will try to stay with this story format, since that is how the posts began… but a warning, this is the only version written like this and it was the beginning chapter of the book version that never saw the light of day. I don’t know where I got the idea, but I do know that at the time, I am reasonably sure that I was reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, by Philip K. Dick for the second time.
It has been a strange method – and difficult to manage, jumping back and forth – which is why I stopped when I did… Of course, the part about Milly, did not naturally occur this way… next week, as penance, I will post the full, original, exchange between the two characters – and later see if I can merge it with the current one… we shall see what the fates of time have in store for me…. and if there are no strong complaints against it?
As always, comments are welcome and appreciated. Let me know what you think. 🙂
“Shimmer” – Part 2 of ? (remaining book section/chapter 1):
Copyright© T. Riggs 2016
The halls of the high school echoed with intermittent sounds. Etta kept close to the wall to avoid bumping into anyone. She made it to her first class and slid into her assigned seat, placed her backpack onto the back of the chair and drew out her folder and book. A pencil dropped to the floor. She turned and saw MaryBeth Mills sneering at her. She was surrounded by her entourage of other ‘Mary’s; Mary, MaryAnne and Mara. With an eye roll, MaryBeth picked up the pencil and went back to talking, but kept glancing back at Etta. Even as she turned to face the front, Etta could still feel her spiteful gaze.
Another day in paradise. Etta resisted the urge to shake her head, knowing it would draw attention, and busied herself with reorganizing her literature folder. One more year.
Ms. Julian sauntered in as the bell rang. Her long skirt swishing as she walked. She fit the usual mold of ‘artistic type’ that was common in a small town. She had moved to Marzton from some off-the-wall town in California that no one ever seemed to remember right. She was one of the few people in town that Etta could tolerate. She hardly ever disappeared. And when she did, she was rarely gone for long. Etta looked forward to her class on Monday. It always reset her barometer for normal.
“Hello my children.” She smiled and laid her handmade, patchwork, satchel on the floor beside her desk. “I hope your weekend was productive.”
Etta listened and watched the wooshing and swooshing of skirt and sound that followed Ms. Julian. She had an almost hypnotic pattern to her phasing in and out. Words flowed like waves washing up softly onto beach sand. Etta smiled and settled into her chair, letting the lull of the ebb and flow of the sound of Ms. Julian’s voice wash around her as she began to discuss yet another favorite author. This time it was Hawthorne, again, but it was something about a devil and a bonfire… Etta listened. Almost falling asleep to the soft rhythm of her waxing and waning speech. She pulled out the textbook to stay awake.
Milly settled back against the wall, she slid a few pieces of cardboard under her and stretched her legs out, crossing them at the ankles. It was Sunday, she was sure of it, it was the light that told her, but she could never really be sure.
That girl, Etta, was gone. She felt a shift in the breeze and knew that the world had returned to what it was before they met. The fireman? Milly pursed her lips and shrugged. “Well, Milly muh gurl… jest us s’pose…” Crossing her arms around her waist, she tilted her head back and closed her eyes… ridiculous girl. That world ain’t no better nor worse ‘en this one.
Milly loved Sunday.
The light always fell a little softer, the edges of the world clearer.
Even as a girl, Milly remembered getting ready for church, sitting in the kitchen with her mother tugging at her head to tighten her braids. The haze of the morning’s bacon coating the air, slowing down the light from the window into beams that drew askance across the floor in front of her. A calm peace, like a bubble in time, pervaded and shrouded the world in a golden cloak.
Sundays were special. Important times for reflection, remembrance and penance.
Until that Sunday 4 years ago, the last day that Milly saw her two boys.
Stepping out of the shower, Milly grabbed her favorite towel. Super-absorbent, one of the few time that she had found that advertisements were actually right. She wound it around herself and pulled her hair out of the shower-cap. She hummed a gospel tune, “closer to thee”, as she wound her hair up into a neat bun.
As she finish the last hairpin, she softly shouted, “Boys!” in a sing-songy voice. She watched as the light through the partially opened mini-blinds cast a pattern on the opposite wall. “We need to leave in 15.”
Milly huffed aloud. “Those boys, I swear, can’t get them to move without pushin’ ‘em!”
She threw on her robe, wrapped it tight and stormed into the hallway.
For a second, Milly panicked.
“No,” she told herself… not them. It couldn’t have happened. No.
“Boys?” Milly’s voice cracked this time. Tears formed beneath her eyelids. Fear gripped her insides.
Milly stepped into Franklin, her older son’s, room.
“Boys?” She was crying now. Tears streaming down her cheeks, leaving sparkling traces.
Joey’s room was next. She pushed open the door.
Panic set in.
“Boys?!” It was a cry, a scream, a terrifying realization. More agony than fear. More pain that paranoia.
They were gone.
And she was… alone.