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Friday, October 22, 2010

A Brief Excerpt

The following is a short extract from my creative writing final project, still untitled. Tenative idea: The Halcyon House. Any other ideas?
* * *
I could see outside the glass doors that it was a beautiful day, sunny and bright, heralding a beautiful summer. Students were milling about, here and there, along with locals and tourists. And what was I doing? Moldering in run-down building too full of silent books with long-dead authors with lots of pithy sayings and wisdom that could offer no advice for my current predicament.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed my coat off the chair behind the librarian’s desk and went to the facility lounge, where my bag was. Rebecca, the other librarian on duty was there, sipping a coffee and reading something on her Kindle. I felt my lip curl up in silent derision. As far as I was concerned, a book wasn’t a book unless it has pages, bindings and a cover. There was no point in an electronic device that essentially turned the pages for you. “Rebecca,” I told her, “Something came up with the lawyers—I need to check on it.”
She looked up, startled by my brusque and curt tone. “Um, okay…do you want me to run the front desk?”
I nodded briskly. “I’d be much obliged if you did. I’ll call you if I’m going to be back, okay?”
I’ll admit I didn’t give her a chance to respond; I just hurried out before she could say anything. I grabbed my bag from the cubbyhole and was out of there like a bat from hell, my bag hitting my hip as I moved. The sunlight and fresh air once I got outside was overwhelming for a moment, but I barreled on, too impatient to give myself time to adjust. I have no idea what I looked like to the passersby—a librarian escaping the library, almost running down the quad with her hair coming out its neat bun and her neat white shirt coming untucked from her black wool trousers. I didn’t slow down until I reached an empty bench a good distance away from the library. I sat down with a thump, breathing hard and feeling my shirt stick damply to my chest, pieces of hair coming out the bun I had so painstakingly twisted at the back of my head this morning. I stayed where I was a few moments, letting a breeze cool me down. The green lawns and people walking their dogs, lazing in the sun, or talking with their friends seemed foreign and remote after being in the library so long.
I killed time for bit, dug through my purse for gum, finding dry pens, empty notepads and old receipts, but no gum. Then I watched the people around me for a bit, doing the airport game, imagining their stories and their lives. My cell phone was blessedly silent.
I stalled for as long as I could, before finally coming to the decision I had so studiously avoided the entire week. For the entire month since that horrible day back in May, when my life started to crack and strain under pressure. I pulled out my cell phone and stared at it for a few long moments, as if it would speak to me and offer some advice. Then I gave up and dialed the number I had been dodging all week. I held it my ear and waited for one ring, two rings, and then three. Then the line picked up and I replied to the greeting, “Hello, my name is Ayden McKenna. I believe Mr. Magnus Fletcher is trying to get a hold of me?”
* * *
That's all you're getting until I work on it more. Thoughts?


  1. There were a handful of typos, and I think I missed picking up on the emotional intensity that Ayden was supposed to be feeling as a result of her grandfather's death. Or was it because of the impending call from her lawyer? In any case, I was amused to find your jab at Kindles included, as well as the portrayal of Ayden's uncertainty. I assume her meeting with Magnus takes place next, no?

  2. The Kindle thing seemed appropriate enough for her current state of mind. Ayden's spent the better part of a month trying to process her grandfather's death, so she's a little detached right now. Her meeting with Magnus does take place after the fateful phone call.

  3. Why do you always leave me hanging?? Just get the darned thing published, already!

  4. Mama, I'm still working on it! Soon, I promise.