Day Eight #nanowrimo

Day eightWords for the day: 4578 (target was 2K-4.5K)
T-shirt: NaNoWriMo 2010 Winner
Best song vibe: Everything by the Preatures

When the chips are down you pull out all stops to try to bring things back to some kind of equilibrium. Today I drew on the things that I know work:

  • Putting on a t-shirt that says ‘Fake it until you make it’ – in this case it was the 2010 Winners t-shirt.
  • Pulling out the aromatherapy. I had a tissue with Focus oil tucked into my t-shirt sleeve and while it didn’t clear my head it definitely stopped it from getting cluttered.
  • New music… this is where I love the randomness of life. I stumbled onto The Preatures on the emergency dash to the supermarket for tomorrow’s Girls Afternoon In. The Preatures are now on speed rotate.
  • Minimising the distractions – that meant sitting down toe write ASAP this morning because my easiest writing happens in the morning. It may not necessarily be the best but it requires a smaller vein to be opened
  • Maximising head space – with Dave away the domestic side of things has been pretty lax. I took the washing off the line, cleaned up the kitchen, did the dishes and also took the dog for a walk. All a chance to just relax the brain and let it hiccup/spit up the next scene.
  • Found writing friends – I’ve been really lucky in as much as every call out on Facebook for writing companions has netted at least one person. Sometimes, like today, an accidental mob.

The upshot of all of this is I sign off with 25K. I think the narrative is about to hit another lull. A chance to go in and add some stuff to the existing scenes and make them zing. And, I remember now, back at the start of the day, there may have been a bit of nakedness.

What would a bunch of NaNo extracts be without a touch of erotica (ironically it was the erotica I posted up two years go that it my second biggest hitting post!) I’ve included the entire scene (all in awesome raw 1st draft scrappiness).

* * *

It was not the couch in his office, nor the kitchen bench with the breakfast dishes pushed to one end to accommodate them. It was not the floor beside the claw-foot bath with him between her legs in an act of speed or the shower downstairs with them pressed against the glass recess joking about that scene from St Elmo’s Fire. And he knew as soon as his fingers brushed her warm, smooth cheek that he wouldn’t fuck her. It was more shocking to him, more than everything about the house and its ability to move through time. It was the slap of realisation that every fantasy he had ever played out had been about fucking her. Each private film played out for his own gratification. All about the urgency of relief after they’ve said good night and disappeared within their respective houses, to their families and the lives where neither of them existed.

Holding her, one hand beneath the bulky hoodie and her thin t-shirt her, caressing the dip at the base of her spine, he didn’t want to move. Standing with her pressed to him, her breath against his neck, the thump of his heart was more real than it had been in a decade. And all he wanted was for it to last as long as possible.

They didn’t have to rush. No one would walk in on them; no one needed to go to bed in preparation for an early alarm. There was nothing but them and he knew, as he ran his fingers up the bumps of her back, that the argument in the café, the heated discussion out on the footpath an hour ago and his denial on the stairs was all about the fear of this moment, of losing himself totally to her.

Every time his fingers touch her bare skin, she shuddered and he was afraid if he moved too fast, or too hard, she would break and fall to the ground as dust. He leaned in to kiss her neck knowing he’d been losing himself to her, piece by piece, for months now and fighting it, packaging it up as nothing more than lust, avoiding being alone with her in person, not because he’d give into lust… okay he would give in to the rampant red-blooded desire but it would mean giving the rest of himself to her. And he fought to protect himself from that. And protect her too, because it could only end badly. But in here with the world beyond gone, with her already broken, he only had her to lose.

He lifted the hoodie  over her head and then t-shit, forcing himself to slow down when she flinched.

“Did I hurt you?” he asked and she turned to show him the dark holes of bruises on her pale skin.

On his knees, he gently pressed his lips to the damage, wanting to skim his fingers over them and like an eraser take way the colour, the pain, the abuse. She trembled at this touch and he stopped.

“It’s okay,” she said, her voice thick with tears he guessed wet her cheeks but he didn’t stand and wipe them away.

“You always want to fix it.” Helena’s stock attack whenever he wanted to help her. Talk about whatever was bothering her. Even back in the beginning when neither of them really had much to lose by being honest. “Some things just can’t be fixed.”

“We don’t have to do anything,” he said and pressed his cheek to the soft convex of her stomach, kissing it once and turning his check back to it.

Her fingers sunk into his hair and stayed like that, fingers massaging his scalp, his arms between her legs, wrapped around one thigh. A bell sounded shattering the quiet solidarity.

“Get undressed,” she said, pulling away from him, unbuttoning her jeans and peeling them down her leg. She laughed when she realised she still had her boots on.

The flurry of activity bewildered him.

“Hurry,” she said, towing him awkwardly toward the bed, her jeans still around her ankles. “The lights are about to go out.” And as she said it the bell sounded a second time. The flame in the lamps stuttered and extinguished.

“Sit down,” she said and held tight to his hand in the dark. “The rooms going to –”

And before she finished the sentence the floor shuddered and he dropped down to his knees with her, pulling her into his arms. Somewhere in the dark, the grind and clunk of machinery sounded. A frigid breeze stole in around them bringing with it the smell of storms and emptiness.

“We’re slipping,” she said, glad she wasn’t on the chair like she was last time.

As quickly as it started it was over. The room enveloped them in a stillness, like the wet, newness after a storm.

“Shit! There’s no candle this time.” If she wasn’t caught up in his arms, it would have been a disembodied voice.

“Leaves it all to the imagination,” he said and she laughed, moving out of his arms.

“I’ve had a enough of imagining it. I would’ve thought –” The sentence finished with his lips on hers.

“No clash of teeth,” she joked when they came up for air.

“Doesn’t mean all the right parts will make it into all the right slots the first time.”

And it occurred to him, in the endless blackness it was a different kind of virtual experience where he could smell and touch and hear her. Taste her even, but she was lost to him. Like a blind man making love to the woman in his mind.

“Get undressed. It’s going to be a long night and I don’t know what comes next.”

“You don’t know what comes next.” His hands ran down the curve of her shoulders and across her back to the clasp of her bra. “I’m open to all suggestions.”

“I thought you were taking your clothes off.”

“All in good time.”

She wiggled away from him, the breath catching in her throat and he guessed she’d moved in some way that hurt her ribs. He’d never thought of the sound of laces unknotting and the smooth movement of leather over cotton as the sweetest sound track to precede making love, but there it was.

“I guess I don’t get to seduce you with my guitar,” he said, stripping naked, grateful for the mask of the dark on a body gone to rot by ambivalence, bad food, good alcohol and too many hours sitting behind a desk and on the couch.

“If you think you can—”

And he found her again in the dark.

“The bed or the floor,” he asked, his hands cupping her breasts and all thought of being slow and gentle was consumed by the need to be with her now, just not on his knees.

“How about the kitchen bench,” she joked and moved out of his reach again. Her knees clicked. “There’s a bed here –” and there was a muttered swear when she hit something. “Found it. Shame not to use it. It’s one of those four-posters with thick red curtains.”

The bed was deep and soft and endless without the ability to sight the edges. The heavy curtains brushed against his skin and he wanted her more than he’d ever wanted anything.

Beneath his hands and fingers, his lips and tongue she opened like a lotus flower, cooing and moaning quietly until he told her there was no shame in vocalising her enjoyment. The sound of her pleasure was a crescendo that mirrored, step by step, the speed of his tongue on her clitoris, guided by everything she’d told him she wanted and never got, and a certain amount of trial and error, until she screamed out in raw ecstasy, once and a second time when he decided to see how far he could push her over the edge.

“So… I… take… it…” he said, each word intersecting a kiss placed in a line up over her pubic mound and up onto her stomach twitching and heaving as she tried to catch her breathe. “That you –”

She slid out from beneath him and the jerk of breath in the bottom of her throat snagged on him. She pushed him onto his back, her hand pushed against his chest. “Stop talking,” she panted and straddled him, the inside of her thighs slick with sweat. “Time doesn’t stand still in here and I’m impatient.”

“I thought –”

“Stop thinking,” she said and slid down onto him with a sigh that rose goosebumps over his body. And he trusted she wouldn’t do anything that hurt the bit of her already in pain.

Later, when their bodies gave out before their desire she lay in his arms. Her fingers twisted in and out of his chest hair and he stroked the back of her hand.

“You have beautiful fingers,” she said.

“Better in person.”

“You are better in person. Though it’s like braille. Feeling but not being able to see you.”

“You don’t want to see me naked,” he joked and he felt her shift and from the feel of her breath guessed she was directly above him. “If I can’t pay out on my body you can’t. I thought we agreed on that months ago.”

“That was until I took my clothes off.”

“You are beautiful,” she said and her lips found the hollow in his chest where the bone of his sternum was hard beneath her flips. She trailed up to his collar bone and her hand crept lower..

“I can’t,” he said, pulling her back down beside him. “I’m barely awake. And I’m exhausted. We should have done this when we were twenty.”

She nestled back into the grotto of his arm and torso and took one hand in hers again.

“These are hands that make dreams into reality.”

“The pleasure was all mine,” he said.

“I’m not talking about that.” She nudged her shoulder into his ribs.

She ran two fingers down the sides of his middle finger, her thumb caressed his palm. “These hands mould dreams of the impossible, into tangible things.”

“And what do you think you do with words. Jean Jeanie.”

‘Mangle them.”

He kissed the top of her head. “You’re here, aren’t you? Someone other than me thinks you have talent too.”

He yawned and stroked her arm. The pull of sleep was zero gravity that cut him loose from her and he tried to hang on.

“The walls are glowing,” she said, in a voice that came from a long way off. “They didn’t do that the last time I was here.”

“Flashing neon.”

“You’re asleep.”

“No I’m not,” he said and was gone before she had extracted herself from the tangle of arms.

Pulling a quilt from the bed, she got her bearings using the low light from the walls to find her was to the edge of the room. There was the subtle jolt of static electricity when she reached a finger out to it and the hairs on her arms rose up.

The wall was warm. She pressed her cheek against it and looking across, she saw small flickers on the uneven surface, like wild electricity.

“You’re glowing,” Christian mumbled.

“The wall is electric,.”

“Come to bed,” he mumbled. “I miss you already.”

The bed shifted and she moulded herself to him.

“Thank you for coming with me,” she whispered into his shoulder, her arm snaking up over his chest to play with his chest hair again.

“Mutual orgasm… always… best,” he joked beneath the yoke of sleep.

“I mean here.”

“I’ll still be here when you wake up,” he said, voice trailing off as his fingers wound in hers. “So go to sleep.”

 

Day Seven #nanowrimo

Day SevenWords for the day: 1545 (ironically more than yesterday!)
T-shirt: The Wild Thing Ate Max
Best song vibe: “Free Fallin'” Tom Petty (1989)

Today felt hard. It took forever to get my focus on. It was through the luck of being about to hit the page at the same time as Ben Payne that got me to stop dithering and commit.

It feels like my head is slowly being compressed, tighter and tighter. I need a chance to get out of my house, by myself, and walk, drive… reassert a sense of freedom. The best I was able to do was decamp out of the writing cave and sit beside the pool. That’s where I wrote all the words for the day.

Good news is I DID hit the 20K mark today. Act 1 is over and the fun and games inside the house begin. Marie the chamber maid has come to the fore as her own character, which is nice and although I think I knew who she may be, I could be wrong. She is definitely a legacy of another residency.

Oh and did I mention – Christian and Tabitha FINALLY KISSED. I jokingly said on Facebook today that my story is schizophrenic. One moment it is a horror and the next a romance. It is definitely gothic horror (like Elyora, only Elyora felt less weirded between the two genres!)

So, who is up for a first kiss?

***

“This is what we wanted,” Tabitha said, her face a light with excitement.  Her eagerness to believe etched in the curve of her smile.

“It’s one thing to dream.”

“And another to accept that dreams manifest in ways we can only believe afterward.”

“None of that law of attraction bull shit, Tabitha. We’ve spoken about that and you know –”

“You don’t believe in it. But what if? Think of all those things you have built. That you thought up and made real in the world. Thought preceded action and –”

“It’s nothing like that.”

“Stop thinking,” Tabitha said and kissed him, his lips hard beneath hers. She drew his top lip between hers and then his bottom lip, waiting for him to yield.  “How many times did I think of that and despair it would never happen,” she said. “That I would never get a chance to kiss you. But here we are.” Her fingers traced the line of his lips. “Would it kill you to just surrender to something you don’t understand?”

“I might not understand this, but you…”

He put his hand behind her head and drew her to him. This time his lips were soft under hers, moving slowly then with a growing demand until Tabitha pulled away.

“How about we get a room?” she said and laughed when he reached to keep her close to him. The lightness broke the deadlock in her chest and she dashed beyond his reach, bounding up the stairs with grace and eagerness that transcended the weight of pain and fear she’d carried into Dalhousie. For a moment, the staircase became the billowing lungs of white sheets beneath the old Queenslander of her dream and they were back playing hide and seek. Breathing in her old life and breathing out the new. As she ran through them, her feet finding the stairs, and the fantastical transposed over the real, she knew this would end with the solid reality of his body when he caught up to her. And the sheets dissolved back into the low-lit, wallpapered landing on the first floor.

She grinned at him from the balustrade then ran down the hallway toward where Marie stood unlocking a door, knowing she’d be tangled in sheets with him before the house slipped between the minutes. Her body hated and broken by Robert would be made new under Christian’s touch.

He swept her into his arms when they met at the open door.

“Your back,” she protested.

“Fuck it,” he said and carried her across the threshold of the room, his lips locked to hers.

Day Five #nanowrimo

IMG_6168Words for the day: 2190 (just shy of the 2500 target for today)
T-shirt: Plot Machine (NaNo 2009 official tee)
Best song vibe: “The Power of Love” Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984)

“He looked up expecting her to be standing there, weirded out at the thought she might be and not exactly relieved when she wasn’t.”

Day Five and almost 18,000 words. Phwoar!

Today was reward day. I decided on the weekend when I hit 15,000 I would treat myself to a massage. So I’ve been working my way toward that. And didn’t my body need it? When I’m done here I’m off to sink into a warm salt bath to ease the pain. Plan is to try and organise a write in-cum-massage afternoon here, either the weekend the middle of NaNo or the final day.

This morning I fronted up to the coffee shop where Christian and Tabitha were scheduled to meet for their first face-to-face in months and I found myself choking up as Christian saw Tabitha bruised and beaten. The conversation didn’t quite go the way I expected it to go, so Christian will be stepping out of the shadows in the 11th hour to get things back to get them both into Dalhousie for the close of the First Act.

I guess though, this puts Tabitha truly out on her own (isn’t that part of the Hero/Virgin’s journey?) She has to decide to go regardless.

Today was the first day I didn’t quite meet my projected daily target. Truth be told, I could sit here for another 15 minutes and bash out the last remaining words but I’m already a grumpy shit and sleep beckons (so does the bath!)

Tomorrow I have my first Writer’s Surgery mentors meeting at the QWC so best I be bright and chirpy. So without further ado, today’s extract.

* * *

“I asked you once when it ended,” she hissed when they stood face-to-face beside the table. “And you said it ended when it ended. You sounded fucking philosophical.”

“Tabitha.”

“Guess it ends here, now, in a fucking café, with a fucking audience.” She turned and glared at those looking at them.

“Tabitha.”

“Go home, Christian.”

“Tabitha.”

“Fuck you.”

And let her go. Her defeated shoulders burnt into his memory. And the way the wind  caught her hair up so it looked as though she was caught in auburn tentacles. He picked up the partially soaked slip of paper, with her precise handwriting on it.

Saturday, April 7th 11:38pm

Joshie had told him, as his small body huddled close to him in the racing car bed, with a tiny shaking voice that barely fought back the dark, that the clock had eaten the woman on his phone. Sitting there, clutching the stained paper, her last memento, he knew something far more sinister, and real, had stolen her away. And he had let it.

Day Four #nanowrimo

Day FourWords for the day: 5240 (as a pretty much an all-day slog)
T-shirt: Ninja House Party
Best song vibe: “Run to You” Bryan Adams (1985)

“Don’t butter your bread on both sides and pretend it won’t hit the floor butter side down.” ~ Mish

Today started off with a bang – literally. Back at the start of NaNo Adam dared me, on the back of the 2011 sex dares, to write a solitary sexual experience. I knew exactly where to slot it in. Then of course one of the characters decided a little self relief in the shower was the order of the day. I thought I’d nicely ticked that box until I rocked up at the page this morning and knew how to wind the original idea into where the new story was headed.

Ahhh, Tabitha what would I do without your wild imagination and your need to escape from real life.

Ramsey strode out onto the page mid-afternoon in all his icky brilliance. I look forward to honing this voice most of all, as it is the most different between the three POV characters. Also to see the world of Dalhousie, his domain, through his eyes.

I wrote what was perhaps the hardest of all the scenes — where Robert thumps Tabitha back into submission when he finds her sneaking back into the house after her ‘night’ at Dalhousie. Where she faces up to what she really wants and makes the commitment to reclaim her life.

PARDON ME, IS THAT A NOVEL YOU’RE WRITING?

What was meant to be a school day, turned into an unexpected writing day (that you will see I milked for the largest possible word count!). A trip to the washing line threw up the next few scenes and around lunch time it dawned on me that BETWEEN PAGES was never going to be a novella.

I had been keeping an eye on the word count and the events as they unfolded. Where the inciting event occurred and how the rest of the events played out around it to make up the first act. And I think I’m pretty spot on. When I overlaid the eight point script progression* (of what I know of the story) it is a snug fit.

Plot Point #1: Opening & Closing Images

I currently have the novel opening with a dream sequence/love letter, from Tabitha to Christian. A monochrome dreamscape of longing and billowing sheets. I do like the idea of thinking of this in a cimematic book end!

Plot Point #2: Inciting Incident

As mentioned earlier, I believe this to be the acceptance letter. This is the event that forces the lives of Tabitha and Christian in an entirely different direction.

Plot Point #3: First Act Break

This where I am almost at and will wrap up with Christian agreeing to go with Tabitha to Dalhousie, though he believes it to be a fantasy Tabitha has dissolved into in the wake of being hit by her husband.

In a movie this is usually accompanied by a change of location and voila… the end of Act One sees Tabitha and Christian move into Dalhousie for the six week residency. (Upon reflection I think the First Act probably ends with Tabitha striking the new deal with Ramsey to allow Christian into the house, which faciliates their move and ultimately her downfall.)

Plot Point #4: the Midpoint

This changes the direction of the story and I think this is probably where Tabitha goes to the sculptor’s room looking for answers to Christian’s bizarre behaviour and his withdrawal from their chamber, only to leave with her new found strength and belief destroyed.

Plot Point #5: the Point of Commitment

When Christian takes Tabitha into the basement and shows her Ramsey’s machine and what he has produced during his secret apprenticeship, Tabitha puts everything behind her to start over with Christian, supporting him to finish his chronometric pulley and her to complete her novel.

Plot Point #6: All Is Lost

Without saying too much, this is where Tabitha is called to honour her debt in a no-win situation.

Plot Point #7: the Climax

There is murder and mayhem, hearts will be given and stolen, two characters will be caught in a frantic game of hide and seek. Three major characters will die, one will be left to attempt an impossible rescue. This is where the short story leaves off with the hope of a happily ever after.

Plot Point #8: the Resolution

The ending will decide what genre it actually is – romance or horror (honestly, this still make me smile until you consider what gothic horror is?) Will the rescue attempt be successful and facilitate a happily ever after? Will the rescue attempt be successful but only to a certain point where happily ever after is a little longer than either anticipate? Will there be no happily ever after, instead history repeating itself?

In Summary

This effectively means I have a plan. Terrifying from the POV of a panster. Liberating from the POV of the poor sod who redrafts ad nauseum to lay flesh on the bare bones. At the very least the basic structure of the novel will hopefully be solid and the pacing about as good as it can be on a first draft. It’s quite exciting.

I’m writing a novel! I’m doing what I said I was too scared to do alone. And I plan to do it all in November.

Before I skip out for another luxurious night of sleep, a little of what came to the page today.

FINAL WORD COUNT FOR TODAY:  15619

***

Superstition suggested the paper felt heavy in his hand. A human life weighed in the handful of pulp, squeezed and pressed and dried and rendered blank. The possibility as palpable as Newton’s theory of potential energy transferred to the thumping human heart and stained in the stroke that bleeds ink from the point of quill into the parchment. The thought made the back of is cold hands tingle and then itch beneath the soft leather gloves.

Five blank contracts sat fanned on his desk. He took one and wrote Tabitha’s name in the top of the contract and the date, pre-dated for the beginning of the residency in four days time and pressed the blotting paper in, enjoying the bloom of the pin pricks of ink. The came the name of her novel — BONE DEEP — pulp drivel about love and dinosaurs (if he correctly translated what she’d outlined in her application letter), in the space identifying the project to which she was contracted to complete during her residency.

Nothing else changed from contract to contract. The confidentiality clause, the release clause all the legalese that lawfully bound them and their projects to him in excruciatingly obtuse language that most failed to read or chose not to read.

He checked the time on his fob, straightened his frock coat, fussing over the froth of lace extending beyond the cuff and then rang for Marie. Several minutes later she arrived at his door flustered.

“Curtsey, slattern!” he boomed and Marie awkwardly bobbed, her head bowed to hide the tears welling in her eyes. “Bring me Miss MacLeod.”

“But I’ve only just served breakfast.”

Ramsey stood and loomed over his desk. “Do I need to cut your tongue from your head to ensure you keep it?” The words, barely loud enough to hear, struck with force.

Marie cowered and shook her head, staring at where the hem of her dress met the floorboards.

“Compose yourself and fetch me Miss MacLeod.”

“Yes, m’laird.” Her voice quivered but she rallied to keep her fear from swallowing the words. Another inelegant bob (and he made a note to have Mrs Myers drill her on etiquette again) and she withdrew from the room, until Ramsey called her back from behind the closing door.

“Don’t make me regret giving you a second chance, lassie.”

“No m’laird.”

The door opened again before Ramsey had time to complete the next contract. Tabitha wore the same bedraggled excitement he had grown used to but there was something else in her. Something that made her even more tantalising in person than on paper. He had overheard one of the resident’s years ago remark on the “Quiet desperation” of one of their colleagues. Yet that underestimated what he saw now and what he had observed over night, and what he felt when a jolt of static electricity zapped him when he took her hand in his to kiss it.

“I don’t think I’ll get used to that,” she said, her hand bothering the medallion at her neck when the drew apart.

“Intriguing necklace,” Ramsey said, as he lowered himself into his seat after her.

“A circuit,” she said, “Well it was.”

“A well-loved gift,” he stated and noted the blush rise in her cheeks.

He handed her the parchment. “Your contract.”

Her eyes flicked back and forth over the tiny hand-printed text, then up and down, and then returned to the top of the page to begin again. The delicate line of her brows drew together.

“There is much to take in, but I am a man who believes in action rather than words. You have seen what Dalhousie offers.” She nodded her head but didn’t look up from the contract. “In exchange for six weeks here the Trust asks only for a completed work from you.”

“You will teach me to spin gold and I will offer up my first born in payment.”

Ramsey threw his head back and the howl of laughed startled her.

“Oh, lassie,” he chuckled, wiping the side of his eyes. “Do I look like Rumpelstiltskin?”

“Do I look like someone who will simply sign away my artistic ownership? My intergrity.”

She wasn’t hungry enough, or was she. He remembered the tempered manner in which she’d approached the initial orientation with the house. She had learned to be careful though it wasn’t born of calculating manipulation but…

That’s what it was. Beneath the excitement. Fear. Caution born of the real consequences of her decisions.

“Miss MacLeod, this contract does not assume the right of ownership over the work you produce here. It merely states that to collect all the benefits of the residency you are required to complete what you started. Otherwise—”

He opened his hands and watched the words sink in.

“Many of us begin but how few of us actually realise our dreams?”

“May I take a copy of the signed contract with me?” she asked, putting the paper down on the desk.

“Each is hand drafted and given each resident arrives without the final commitment to enter into the residency, I have only one for each of you.  But,” he raised his hand to silence her. “I can assure you that upon arrival here next Wednesday I will have a copy for you to study at length, if that is your wish.”

“No spinning gold.”

“I believe you underestimate your worth as an artist, lassie.”

Tabitha smiled and he imagined her climbing, content, into the palm of his hand to dance on the keys of a typewriter. He dipped the quill into the ink well, wiped the residual from the tip and passed it to her.

“Before you do sign though,” he said, as she lowered her head and the quill to sign. “It would be remiss of me not to point out the confidentiality clause. In signing this you provide your promise to not speak of this, to anyone, until the expiration of the residency. You must understand that this…” He paused and rolled the ends of his moustache between his leather fingers. “If everyone were to know the secrets of Dalhousie.”

Tabitha nodded and scratched her name to the bottom of the document. Ramsey passed her the blotting paper, sighed as she pressed the paper against the wet ink. He took the contract from her, folded into three and warmed a wax stub over the flame of the candle on his desk and drew a small circle in melted wax over the edge of the page. He dressed his ring into the wax and the contract was sealed.

“I look forward to seeing you Wednesday evening at 9pm.” He stood to show her out the door. “Nine o’clock is a suitable time, for your family?”

“I think so,” Tabitha said and waves of giddy anticipation rolled off her and Ramsey flexed his hands by his sides. “I won’t disappoint you, Mr Ramsey.”

“You will be grand, lassie. Godspeed.”

He escorted her through the revolving door and left her to walk, alone, down the long driveway. The green of her dress faded slowly into the murk of the night until she was just the faint memory of a chemical rush washing through his veins.

*For more info on the eight plot points see:
How to Write A Script Outline
Step Outlines Can Be Fun

Day Three #nanowrimo

 Day3Words for the day: 2442 (across two sessions)
T-shirt: Self Rescuing Princess
Best song vibe: “Current Stand” Kids in the Kitchen (1985)

I didn’t feel there was much to smile about this morning. My head felt like it was filled with cotton wool when I climbed out of bed and a shower didn’t blow them clean. The words came surprisingly easy but the fuzzy head remained until a power nap late afternoon.

Today, I ensured I wasn’t distracted by other things. Words came first. I got in early and was lucky enough to hook up with Nichole to write the first 1K stretch. Rus was still man-at-large at that stage. (Thanks to the epic time difference I’ve just passed the baton to him now to begin his 3rd day!) However I did wait until the end of the day to finish off my words, determined to get all the other chores out the way first.

What was the best bit of today: feeling like I was actually writing. I got a total immersion morning and the sense of being in the flow of things, rather than forcing words onto the page, gave the impression of writing. And in doing that, in being in the rhythm the words, there was raw beauty. Or perhaps it was hitting the dark stuff.

I’ll leave it for you to decide!

***

A bell sounded, two short rings. The gaslights dipped and extinguished, plunging the room into darkness. The light from the candle lit a column of air above the desk and Tabitha saw in the liminal space where the light became dark, a bell, attached to a cable, hanging from a hook and beneath it, an hour glass secured within a metal frame. The bell rang a second time and Tabitha moved toward the corner, ignoring the pull in her guts that reminded her she was terrified of the dark. Tabitha took the candle and climbed onto the chair, deciding she didn’t trust the stability of the desk and reached the candle up into darkness to confirm what she thought she had seen. The cable jerked and the sound of the bell filled the room again. The hourglass turned and the floor shuddered. Tabitha reached out to steady herself against the wall, the chair beneath her moving as though it were on wheels. A cold draft whistled through the room, bothering the candle flame and Tabitha was torn between keeping her balance and protecting her only source of light.

The smell of ozone and oil stole away that of emptiness that had permeated the room and Tabitha shuddered. Somewhere beyond her room, she could hear gears straining and grinding. Tabitha fought to hold her bladder as the floor shook, the hungry draught snapped at the candle and the smell of ozone burnt her lungs leaving her gasping for clean air. She fought the sense of trapped within a meat grinder, on the verge of ceasing to exist. And then as suddenly as it began it stopped and everything was still and silent. The only smell, her nervous sweat filtering out from the soaking seam of her dress, when she climbed down off the chair. First she carefully placed the candle on the desk and only then, did she pull the heavy velvet curtain aside.

Beyond the window, where she expected to see the muted monochrome of the fancy gardens and the expanse of lawn, where the pinprick of stars and the breath of the moon had fought the sodium glow of the city’s lights and the world had been when she walked in less than an ago, nothing existed. A darkness of the most intense hue it existed as an absence and hurt to look into. A darkness that inhaled you. Dissolved.

Her fingers, alabaster against the nothingness, splayed against the icy glass in a wordless plea. A stop-motion SOS to the world stolen away.

Desolation and abandonment poured in and filled her like a waiting amphora before her thoughts could reconcile the real with the surreal.

Where had she let Ramsey take her?

CUMULATIVE WORD COUNT: 10359