Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chapter 2: Like a Child in its Parents' Bed.

Am beginning to get concerned that in the first 26 pages of this novel I have killed three different animals and that where in my last novel everything hinged on a scene involving a dead this one, everything begins with a dead cat. Perhaps need to rethink my catalysts or I may be accused of having limited literary preoccupations. But it is a book about death. Of that much I am certain. So a small amount of death may be required.

As promised...some writing. This is the entirety of chapter 2 at the moment. Thought I might as well put a big chunk out there since I've been off the radar for awhile. If you don't like it...go fuck yourself. Kidding. Kind of.

Brandon stormed into his house, slamming the screen door behind him. What the fuck was her problem? Why did she care so much about some dumb lizard? He opened the refrigerator and took a bottle of Budweiser out of the door and twisted it open. His dad would just think he'd drunk it himself. He took a long gulp from the cool bottle and slammed it on the counter, flecks of foam splattering out onto his wrist. He didn’t feel guilty. Why should he? Who was this dumb girl that kept showing up and trying to make him feel guilty?
Who was she?
He hadn’t even recognized her at first, when she knelt beside him in the park. Had ignored her, hoping she’d get bored and slope off. But then he’d looked her straight in those swamp colored eyes and it hit him like a punch in the stomach. Those same eyes glaring hate and disgust into him only two weeks before. That breathy voice, far too deep and throaty for a girl who couldn’t be older than ten.
This time she wasn’t looking at him with hatred though, but with something else. Openess. Forgiveness maybe?
Heat gripped his stomach as their hands touched and at first he wondered if maybe she didn’t recognize him. If maybe he could start again from scratch. Pretend to be somebody else.
But she knew who he was. She’d started to say it…to ask about the cat. And the hot clutching in his stomach had turned to ice and he’d felt shame. And that made him angry.
And when he got angry he hurt things.
Why had she come over in the first place? Why if she knew it was him? What did she want from him?
He’d had a second chance and had blown it. She’d certainly never come to him like that again. Warm and open and curious. Like she cared about him or something. But she couldn’t. ‘Cause she didn’t even know him.
We wiped his forehead with the back of his hand and pressed the sweating bottle to it. He took deep breaths, trying to get his heart to slow to its normal plodding pace. He felt one hundred years old.
Upstairs he crept to the door of his parent’s bedroom which was open an inch, a soft light emitting from behind it. He could hear his mother's short breaths coming from inside. He pushed the door open wider and let his eyes adjust to the dim light. She looked so small in the bed. Like a child in its parents’ bed. He wanted to gather her up in his arms and hold her, and even at a mere fourteen, he easily could have, he was so tall and broad. And she had wasted to almost nothing. A fading Polaroid of herself.
No, what he really wanted was for her to wake up and hold him on her lap and rock him in her lithe arms like she had done when he was small. But he’d never be small enough for that again. And she’d never be strong enough. He wanted to cry then, but couldn’t do it in front of his mother. Even if she was in a sedative induced sleep and would never know. He shut the door behind him and entered his bedroom at the other end of the hall. He drew a battered pack of his father’s Lucky Strikes from his untidy underwear drawer, pulled a matchbook out of the plastic wrap and lit a cigarette with the last match inside it. He collapsed onto the unmade bed, sucking smoke.
He stared out the window, sipping beer and ashing into an old cereal bowl, encrusted with yellowed milk residue. It hadn’t been that long ago that his mother had come into his room every Sunday, ranting about what a mess it was and whirling around him throwing dirty socks into a laundry basket tucked under her arm, gathering up old dishes while he snapped and shouted at her to get out of his private space. The mess was now at least two months old and he wished he'd never given her such a hard time about trying to take care of him.
The fierce look in the girl’s eyes kept coming back to him. He shook his head to rid himself of their disapproval but they stuck there even when his eyes were closed, like the after affects of staring into the sun.
His mother would have cared too. Would have cared about the salamander and the cat. But she barely existed anymore so what did it matter?
He took a last sip of beer but spluttered it onto his tee shirt as silent sobs overtook him. He shook and buried his face in his pillow. He wished the girl was there now, in his room, on his bed. He wanted her to rest her small head on his back while he cried. He wanted to feel her cool hand on his burning face.

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