I have been very busy of late. On the spur of the moment I wrote a short story for a contest and have felt a little brain dead since I submitted it nearly two weeks ago. The story was about a scar, a mugging victim, a disabled veteran, forgiveness and a shared history. Even if I don’t win the contest, the story may still be published in a short story journal. I am keeping my fingers crossed! In any case, you will soon see the story.
I thought I would give you a taste of the second draft of my upcoming Astrid Peterson novel. Of course, this isn’t the last draft, but I was wondering what you think about it. Is there anything you want to know that I am not saying? Please, leave comments below. I would love to hear what you think.
Thanks for visiting!
“911 Dispatch, where is your emergency?”
“Oh, my God. I think they are dead, both of them.”
“Who both? And where? Are you on a cell phone? Can you talk louder?”
“Oh, no. Oh, my God. No.”
“Ma’am, let’s try to calm down and concentrate.”
The woman took a few slow, audible breaths before she continued. “It might be my mother, it’s her house, and maybe her husband, it’s a man, 1522 Abernathy Place. They’re at the kitchen table, and they’re dead. Please, please hurry. There’s so much blood! I don’t know what to do. Oh, my God. Why? Why would someone do this? God, please, no!”
“Squad cars are on their way.” The dispatcher heard the woman sobbing. “Please listen. Is there anyone else with you?”
The woman sniffed, “No. I don’t know. A door slammed in the back of the house I think, just after I got here. I don’t know who it was, or where. I’ve never been here before. I just met my mother on the phone. Oh, my God.” The woman wept into the phone.
“Listen to me. Get out of the house! Wait for the deputies somewhere safe nearby! We can stay on the phone until they get there, okay? I will tell you when to approach them. They need to make sure it is safe for you. Okay?”
The woman wasted no time leaving the house. She went across the street and crouched behind a large, lilac bush.
“Are you safe?”
“I think so.” She saw the lights from the squad cars as they turned onto Abernathy Place. “The squad cars are here.”
“Oh, for God’s sake! Would you please let me sleep?” I put a pillow over my face and moaned. I had been up half the night, talking to dead people, listening to police sirens and feeling the energy of crime being committed in my crummy, but close-knit, neighborhood. Last night was an active one, even for a Saturday night. But today would be a good day. The sun was shining, and it was unseasonably warm for December in Phoenix, Arizona. I looked at my “morning people” dogs, who had me pinned to the bed. They both gave me their best hungry look. “Alright, let’s get some breakfast and maybe we’ll go to that nice park in Tempe for a long walk.” I heaved the dogs off me and peeled myself out of bed. I was hungry, too. They panted and hung their pink tongues out their snouts in happiness or hope.
I got a real breakfast for my dogs and some fruit for me. My two dogs are Mojo, an English Bull Mastiff, and Spike, a Yorkshire Terrier. Mojo looks intimidating, but he is a big baby, a cuddly bucket of love and slobbery kisses. Spike has little man syndrome, but once you earn his respect, he wants nothing more than to lick you to death. We are family.
We went out onto the front porch to eat. As I ate a grapefruit section, I looked down at my body and could see that the fruit only for breakfast diet wasn’t working. It knew it was my fault. Breakfast was the only meal I stuck to. But, right after breakfast, I was already hungry for my morning snack and lunch.
I surveyed my block of 46th Street. The neighborhood kids were also taking advantage of the warm weather. The teenage girls walked up and down the block, chatting, laughing and flirting with the boys. The girls dressed in too short shorts and oversized sweatshirts, the sleeves pushed up above their elbows. I never understood the overexposure of one half of your body and the hiding of the other half, but I wasn’t a teenager anymore. The girls could have taught Cleopatra a thing or two about eyeliner and lipgloss, though. They were cute young girls, but I knew their innocence was on the line. While I didn’t understand the reason at the time, my parents would have never let me show that much leg, or wear that much makeup, when I was thirteen years old. The oversized sweatshirt would have been just fine.