Monday, February 22, 2010

Look, Ma! I Did It!!!

Today is turning into an uber-awesome productive day.

I woke up early, went on a nice, brisk walk while listening to a Sherman Alexie short story on my iPod (if you're into that kind of thing, I would recommend NPR's Selected Shorts podcast--it's wonderful!), then came home and tackled my horribly disgusting pig-stye house.

Okay, it wasn't really a pig stye, but it was all cluttered and in need of some TLC. Which I gave gladly.

I can think so much better with a clean house!

In fact, I thought so well that I FINISHED my short story, "A Tender Touch."

Turned out to be 6 pages, 3,428 words long.
I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, though it will definitely need some tinkering before I try to submit it anywhere.

Oh yes, I'm still planning on submitting it.

It feels really nice to finish something, even if it's just a short story.

I'm going to go finish this book on my Kindle that I've had lingering half-way for weeks now.

And a teaser from "A Tender Touch"! :

I move outside the circle, and something pings on my radar. Malevolence.
I follow the current, slipping in and out of thought, in and out of the physical world, dimly hoping I can keep a hold of reality this time and not fall away into Time's current. This malevolence gnaws at my senses, urges me faster.
The town flashes around me, then darkness. I stop short. The presence is everywhere, swallowing up this forest. Rage and fear envelop me, nearly blinding out my sense of self.
Like stumbling through a dark room, I claw to the surface of the spirit's emotion, enough to navigate through these woods. The epicenter pulses. I could find it from half-way across the country, it radiates such exquisite torture.
The spirit's pain becomes indistinguishable from the world around me. Only when a mournful cry shivers the night do I realize that I've passed the source of trouble. I backtrack and see what I missed.
Children, a boy and a girl, squatting in the leaves. The boy holds a flashlight and keeps turning it off, making the girl squeal in fright.
I move closer, until I can smell powder and jam.
“We better get Mommy.”
“We didn't do anything.”
The boy flashes on the light and points it at the ground. I see dirt-streaked white and realize the children are solemnly regarding a human skull.
“I wanna go home.” The girl sounds on the verge of tears. The boy flicks off the light.
“Fine. But I'm keeping the flashlight.”
A whine wells up, then the nasal sound of half-sincere sobs. The boy turns on the light and holds it under his chin, his sneer casting fractal shadows on his thin face.
“You're such a baby.”
The sobs turn into tears. Wind stirs the leaves at their feet, scuttling a twig across the skull. It falls into the eye socket, and the girl shrieks and flies to her feet. The boy looks mildly alarmed, stabs the stream of light into the woods around them. I feel the spirit's anger growing and its consuming desire to get these children away from its pitiful grave.
The wind picks up and the dead forest floor rattles, leaves and twigs swirling into miniature whirlwinds, beating against the children's feet and legs. The boy loses his bravado, but not his wits, and grabs his sister's hand, pulling her along behind him as he tears away from the skeleton.
I imagine these children will not take many more adventures into the woods at night.


Anne Gallagher said...

Wowee! I guess cleaning the house does work!!! I suppose I should try it myself. LOL.
Great job!

Kimberly Franklin said...

Such a great story, Summer. So when do you want to come clean my house?? I could really stand to get some writing done like that! ; )

Summer Frey said...

Thanks! Kimberly, I dunno what to say! I'm sure it helps that my place is only about 800 sq. feet!

Guinevere said...

I work best in a clean house, too! I like the excerpt... that older brother is brutal, though. :p I'd cry if I found a skull in the woods!

Tiffany Neal said...

Yay for productivity and clean houses!! :)

Your excerpt was great. I can't wait to see more!!

Summer Frey said...

Thanks! Now if I can just keep it clean until we move...*sigh*

Guinevere, I may or may not have somewhat loosely or not so loosely based this on my brother and me. :-)

Anonymous said...

What a rockin' great day! You go!!

Madeleine said...

The excerpt was fascinating. I couldn't look away!

When you do submit it, I'd be interested in hearing who you submit it to. I'm making a list for future reference.

Summer Frey said...

Madeleine, I will definitely do that. In the meantime, if you want, check out the links I provided for short story submissions in this post:

Anissa said...

Short story podcasts are a great idea!

And I'm with you on a clean house. It's like the mess stifles my creativity.

Great job on the excerpt too!

I'm new to your blog. Clicked over from Nicole's. I'll be back though. :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

Go you! I really do think there's something to having a clean house

Unknown said...

A clean house makes writing much easier!! Thanks for the link to the word count on your sidebar!!

Unknown said...

GREAT excerpt! I loved the tension you built into the scene. I couldn't read it fast enough! Best of luck with submissions...and keeping that house tidy!

((hugs)) Nicole

Summer Frey said...

Thanks, all! Your positivity makes me feel a lot better about my goal for the story.

Thanks for coming by, Anissa! The Selected Shorts podcast has been a mainstay on my iTunes account for about 3 years now. I love it!