Hope everyone's having a Happy Holiday season. I took a break from writing to get things together in my head, which isn't easy, and I started a new blog at http://angelashaferauthor.wordpress.com
I'm working on a couple of projects. I thought I'd share a bit of what one of them. It's the opening to a work I've titled The Rigby Diaries, after the main character, Stephanie "Stevie" Rigby. It's a first draft, but I wanted to share.
The Rigby Diaries
"In the Beginning, We Start at the Beginning"
My fingers search the keyboard, searching for any link to what I know of reality. Even in my odd sense of normality, some things were real, were certain, could be trusted. But now I see it all as through a catalog, a wish book of things I know are mine but I can't touch. I'm being chased, but what, I don't know, but to run would tear what little roots are left in my foundation. My instinct is to fight, but the fight is only fair if I can see my enemy.
It all began with a dream, a reminder of where it all started. I was in a house I'd lived in a long time ago, a brick home on a corner lot in Grand Prairie, Texas my parents and I lived in from the time I was in the fifth grade into my high school freshman year. It was a typical three-bedroom, one bath, but it had an L-shaped hallway that led straight from the living room, past the bathroom, into my parents' bedroom. Then it turned and ended at my room. It was a great house, one I was proud of and hoped we could live in for a long time after so many moves that had me going to six schools from kindergarten to middle school. The room I was in, a small rectangular room with high white walls, like those in a movie psych ward patient room, wasn't in this house, but it was in the dream.
There was only a mattress in this room, with a roughed up deep blue blanket. I lay on it, trying to finish a parapsychology case study, but it went nowhere. Suddenly, there was a radio beside the bed. A voice came from it, a man's voice, loud, boisterous, enjoying what he was saying.
"You'll never get it done that way."
I got up and left the room. I walked into the living room of this house, where my partner, Haley, sat with my parents. The three of them looked at their smartphones, laughing. My mom told me she and my dad had joined Twitter and had over two-hundred followers in less than a day. Haley said my dad was exchanging jokes on Twitter with two of his followers.
I was frustrated. I'd worked hard to get what success I did have. I'd researched and written for nearly three years, and, when my Paranormal Study of Reverend Benjamin O'Malley was released, it took me six months to get triple-digit Twitter followers. I went down the hallway leading past the restroom, straight to my parents' bedroom from the living room, then turned at the restroom to the adjoining hallway leading to my bedroom.
Emma, my Miniature Schnauzer, was waiting for me on the bed. I peeled back the covers, then stopped. I thought of that night and I asked myself
Do I really wanna sleep in here?
I remembered being about thirteen, unable to sleep, as it was every night, tossing, turning, sighing, trying this position, then that, until I ended up on my stomach. I opened my eyes and looked directly down the hallway at the light flooding from the open restroom door. And the pink gown.
A pink gown train draaaged, then stopped, draaaged, then stopped, as if the one wearing it, who had already gone beyond the L-shaped hallway turn, was walking, slowly, directly, from my parents' bedroom to the living room. It was solid, not transparent, not floating, in no way out of the ordinary except for the fact that I could hear both of my parents snoring in their bedroom and there was no one else in the house.
I watched the gown until it disappeared beyond the turn. I didn't think ghost, I thought intruder, so I got out of bed and looked for a weapon. What weapon could a thirteen-year-old girl have, except for a majorette baton? I grabbed the baton and crept toward the door. I stopped, telling myself to not go alone, so I looked back to the bed, where my Schnauzer-at-thirteen, Max, lay on the bed.
I patted my leg, telling Max to come with me. He gave a look a clearly said he wouldn't budge before laying his head on the bed. So I went alone. I stepped, so lightly, so quietly, with each footstep I asked myself if this was a good idea before my feet answered and I moved closer to the turn. I got to the wall's end and peeked around the turn. There was only blackness in the living room.
In the dream, thinking about that night, I said, "that's where it started."
Then I woke up.
And my right side burned.
I went to the restroom and lifted my shirt while looking in the mirror. There it was. A scratch between my armpit and waist, maybe three or four inches long, the skin around it inflamed.
"It's the third time I've been scratched in my sleep this week."
Haley sipped her oranged juice. "Could Emma have scratched you?"
"Under my shirt? With me under the covers?"
Haley looked out the window over the kitchen sink. She pursed her lips, then puckered them. She was thinking. She looked at me, took in a deep breath, started to speak, then thought better of it and looked back out the window. Finally, she set her orange juice on the counter.
"So what do you think scratched you?"
I shrugged. It wasn't Emma and it wasn't either of us (it's not common for a lesbian to have long fingernails, I'll give you a minute to think about it). My training and reputation as a parapsychologist said there's always an explanation, to question everything, to never assume anything is paranormal, but this wasn't some case study. It was me.