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A New Beginning, Revision of Life and Fiction

April 25, 2011

It has been a weekend of note.  I worked my last weekend of my career at Dominican Hospital, figured out a new beginning for Pacheco Falls and did a big run in Henry Cowell.  Now I have a total of 10 more shifts before my career change is complete.  After the writing I have done the past few days, I can barely wait another day.  I knew that I needed to change how Pacheco Falls starts and I have been ruminating on how to go about this.  The entire week has been spent letting ideas roll around and it wasn’t until I began actually writing, that the story began to take shape. 

Here are the new first two pages.  I am starting the story 6 months earlier, when Samantha is not quite 17-years-old.

Chapter One

Samantha

I slam the door behind me, push my back against the shaking wall and wait for the building to settle down.  I watch the blade of my step-father’s machete swing on its nail through a patch of sunlight. I didn’t have a plan when I ran out of the house, but I do now. I step forward, even though the long knife scares me.

            “You are just like me,” I say, making friends. “Sharp on the outside, kept in the dark until you can be used.” My mouth goes sour when I say the last word.  As the machete slows down, my shoulders slump forward.  The edge of the shiny metal barely reaches the light.  I don’t know why, but I wish for the impossible, that it can defy nature and stay in the warm sun.  Instead it looses its energy, gives up, becomes just another tool on the wall. I nod my understanding and take a deep breath. 

            The handle feels smooth in my hand. It’s heavier than it looks. I pass it through the air in front of me, feeling new muscles.  I smile and my face is surprised. If I slice my belly open, pull my guts out and drag them into the sun, I might be able to figure out what is wrong with me. I’m over feeling this bad, and I wonder what it takes to get someone to notice.  As I stand in the middle of Aaron’s shop, my arms start to tremble and the handle slips in my sweaty hands.  The tip of the blade lands an inch from my foot.

            It’s not that I am a child of divorce, there are a million of us.  What’s so special about one more screwed-up teenage girl?  Nothing maybe, but I’m sick of keeping everything in. A girl like me has a story.  It’s not a fairy tale, so watch out.  I’m just saying up front that someone might get hurt, and it would be awesome if it wasn’t me this time.    It’s not that I have a new step-family, that I have to share a room with an eight-year old, that no one bothered to ask my opinion.  It’s not that my real Dad can’t stand the sight of me or that he married a witch.  These things all suck, but I am used to feeling bad about them.  All I know is that I feel broken inside and I want to fix it.  I will do anything to fix it, but I don’t have a clue how to do it.

            The pile of tarps over my hiding spot look different.  I know I should have picked a better place, but I’m a stranger here.  I don’t know my step-father’s habits yet. My chest gets tight and I feel sick. I’m good at hiding stuff, but Aaron is different that any guy Mom has hooked up with.  He keeps his eyes open, checks things out, pays attention. Everything is quiet, the only thing I can hear is my heart pounding.  When I yank the top tarp off the pile, the whole box falls over.  The dirty backpack on the floor reminds me of things I don’t want to think about, but I press my lips together and grab it. Touching it makes me feel hopeless. I promised Mom that I would never do this again, but look who taught me to go back on promises. 

            I need a coat this time.  Being cold at night sucks.  I slip into Aaron’s jacket, pull it tight around me and pretend it went different tonight, that I didn’t have to go.  I’m almost seventeen now, so I’m not exactly scared.  I’m tired.  Footsteps crunch on the gravel outside.  I search for a place to hide, but it’s too late.  The door opens.  Aaron looks at me first and then sweeps the room with his eyes.  He pauses when he sees my backpack, but doesn’t say a word.  Being in the room with him confuses me.  I step back and trip over the machete, onto the dirt floor, my legs fall open.  I look between my knees and see the blade’s handle, wonder if I can reach it.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2011 4:59 pm

    WOW!

  2. April 26, 2011 5:13 pm

    The impact of who Aaron is; of his impending importance somehow slipped past me. Easy enough for me to re-read the whole ‘exciting’ rendition and finally identify (as you did devulge) that Samantha’s step-father, Aaron, and the ‘shop’ were all vitally connected.
    What a hook! Hurry! Hurry! with the next scene.

  3. Carolyn permalink
    April 26, 2011 7:39 pm

    I really like it. I had initially some trouble with the machete. But there are lots of things involved that come to mind–her anger, the question of what is the machete for–the step father does he work in the fields, does he run a shop, what does it mean in sociology terms, what kind of a step-father will he be. Can’t wait to read the next.

    Congratulations on surviving all the weekends of work.

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