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25.8.10

Rainy Day Blogfest

Today is the Rainy Day Blogfest (click on those words to see the other participants) hosted by Christine at The Writer's Hole. She loves rain and wanted to see everybody's scenes where rain is involved. I wrote this scene specifically for this blogfest, but it goes in my novel Her Daughter. We're supposed to post under 500 words (I have 505, lol) sorry! Here ya go:

Liza sat at her desk watching the rain slide down the glass, obscuring her view of the front yard and the cars that drove by on the street. She couldn’t hear the TV downstairs because of the downpour; she knew her father was watching it, and her mother was in the kitchen making dinner. After sitting for another five minutes she made her decision. Putting her hands firmly on the desk, she stood and turned to her bedroom door. She swept through into the hallway and stopped just over the jamb. Listening for her parents, she tip-toed to the trapdoor into the attic, pulled it down, and slipped up the stairs like a ghost.
In the dusty attic she pulled the cord for the bare light bulb and closed the trapdoor behind her. The rain was even louder, rat-tatting on the roof with little insulation between her and the pouring wet. She pushed boxes aside looking for the one marked for her baby clothes. She found it under a smaller box. Settling onto the splintered-wood floor, she brushed the smaller box aside. It tipped over and dumped journals. She ignored those and pulled at the old cardboard box with her baby clothes inside. When she tugged the top open, dust flew into her face and made her sneeze. She stopped to listen for any sign that her parents were coming, but all she could hear was the relentless rain.
Out of the musty box she pulled a bonnet and long dress: her christening gown. Then she found a blanket with teddy bears on it and a yellow summer dress with frills along the edges. She wiped at the tears that made tracks through the dust on her face.
She set the dress in her lap, smoothing the wrinkles out of it and plucking a piece
of fluff from the collar; she turned to the journals. Randomly selecting a pink one with yellow stars, she smelled it first. It made her sneeze twice. But it smelled of plastic and paper with just a hint of a flowery perfume. She opened the pages and let them fall open to somewhere in the middle.

Mother walked in. She saw me. With Josh. Naked. In bed. My first time. We were right in the middle of it all and the door burst open. I’m mortified. She saw him, on top of me, under the blankets. She slammed the door shut again. When I went downstairs (he climbed out the window) she called me a whore. I’m so ashamed.

Liza slammed the journal shut in sync with the next beat of thunder. Was that why all the hostility? She tucked the other journals back in the box, hid the pink one under the yellow dress in her baby box and put everything back the way it had been.
Sneaking back to the trapdoor, she made her way to her bedroom and sat at her desk again to watch the rain slip and glide down the glass of her window.

20 comments:

Francine said...

Hi,

Nicely done - a story within a story!

best
F

Ju Dimello said...

Hey, this is nice.. but I missed a vital part I guess.. why is she there?

I first thought the heroine was young, may be 20's..and then when she picked the journal.. I sort of got the impression that she wasn't too young.. and almost expected her to choose that "dress" for her to-be-born child..

LOL :) Guess I allowed my imagination to run away.. I wonder what will happen next ! Great piece :)

stu said...

I like the level of description here. It's just enough for a real sense of detail without spilling over into too much.

Christine Danek said...

Great job Amie! I really like your description.
Nicely done.

Damyanti said...

Well done..I especially liked the last line!

Melissa Gill said...

That's very good. I'm thinking the journals were the narrators mothers, possibly about when she herself was conceived? I like the way you've set the scene of the attic and the rain.

Hanna C. Howard said...

I'll try not to act all superior and announce that *I* know what's going on... :) Heehee.

I think this is good, Amie. You'll have more space than 500 words to elaborate in your MS, so it might be nice to draw out the journal entry a little longer. But I think this will accomplish the desired effect. Now just make sure Liza's aware of this reason throughout the rest of the book. :) Yay! Well done!

Eric W. Trant said...

Just when I was getting comfortable, you jolt me with some italicized flashback, gut-wrenching in its simplicity.

Mommy issues, anyone?

- Eric

Will Burke said...

Nicely done -- using the rain to illustrate an emotional scene. Wondering why she's so nostalgig for childhood. Was it before she recognised the hostility?

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

Aside from tiny little sniggly things an editor would help you fix anyway, I have to agree with Hannah C. I, too, think the journal entry should be elaborated on - why? Because you've given us "atmosphere". Trust me, for some, it is not an easy task. The air in your attic hangs damp with it and not because it is an attic. Good job.

Summer Ross said...

This was enjoyable, I really liked the journal part. The beginning was hard to read because of so much listing of what was going on every few steps. "Was that was why all the hostility?" I think this line needs a "was" struck out. Thanks for posting.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

You have a way of taking us smoothly and easily into the head of your character -- keeping us following her thoughts and actions with interest -- a real talent.

Bravo, Roland

Nicole Murray said...

I feel that those journal were her mothers? A wonderful level of smooth detail. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.

RaShelle said...

Hi - New follower here.

She wiped at the tears that made tracks through the dust on her face. - Loved this!

One thing I would recommend is she obviously went into the attic to read the journal - that's what the whole scene is really about, right? - so don't brush them aside. When you pick up the dress, it leads me to believe she's pregnant (which may be). Either way, you want the reader to know what's in that journal. Yes? You might have your narrator say - "I couldn't look at it yet" or "I needed a moment" or at least acknowledge the journal before moving on to the dress. Hope that makes sense.

And oh, the horror for the mom and the daughter. Great premise!

E. Arroyo said...

Nice. I felt for Liza. Well done!

VR Barkowski said...

Love the undertone of family mystery here and the way the story slowly unravels. The reader instantly wonders who the diarist is (Liza's mother?) and whether Josh is Liza's (real?) father. But what really stand out for me is your use of the senses. Liza watches the rain, it rat-tats on the roof, the smell of the journal - plastic and paper with just a hit of flowery perfume, the way she smoothes out the wrinkles in the dress. This is what brings the scene to life. Beautifully done.

Tessa Conte said...

A very nicely painted scene with lots of mystery... and reading the comments above, I see I'm not the only one who's intrigued by where this is going, what's happening both right there and in the Journal.

Well done!

Brenda Drake said...

Love the mystery of this piece. Felt that the first three paragraphs need to be pared down a bit to get the reader in the attic sooner. That said,there are several bits I loved in those three paragraphs and they really evoked an image for me. Just needs a little trimming, is all. I'm totally intrigued by the journal and if Josh is Liza's true father. Why does she have to sneak up there? Her mother must be hiding something she doesn't want Liza to know. Wonderfully done!

Donna Hole said...

Wow, theres a whole lot of story packed into this short excerpt. Will be nice to see how it all fleshes out.

........dhole

JC Martin @ Fighter Writer said...

Brilliant teaser. I was drawn into the story and would love to read on! Just one sentence seemed a bit odd, and jarred my reading a bit: "Was that why all the hostility?" just seemed less well structured than your other sentences.

All in all, I enjoyed it! :)