Today is Tuesday, fellow Challengers, which means I have some of my own fiction to present to you. This is an excerpt from a short story that I started a year ago but for which I've only recently come up with an ending.
Thoughts, comments, critiques, etc., are welcomed. If you have some of your own fiction to show off, provide a link in your comment! And, last, if you like this sneak peek, please feel free to share it.
Copyright © 2013 by Jessica Marcarelli and Visions of Other Worlds
Cady Hanson’s insomnia didn’t bother her until 10 o’clock Tuesday morning when her family forced her to take them to breakfast.
“Jennifer Nelson promoted herself today,” Gerald said. Cady flicked her eyes towards him. Her husband had been striking once, the cream of the crop. Ten years of marriage and climbing the corporate ladder had turned his black hair to grey and his big, tanned muscles to thin and hairy flesh. He smiled at their eight-year-old son, sitting on the other side of the booth. “Guess you won’t be getting that four-wheeler next month after all.”
Adam grinned. “Yes, I will. You’ll get promoted because Jennifer is an incompetent ass who can’t last a month.”
Cady tucked her mouth in at one corner. “Adam.”
“Dad said it first.”
Emilie frowned at him. “It does not mean you have to say it second.”
Cady looked at her daughter. She looked so much like her. Emilie even acted like her, right down to the frown she constantly wore. No ten-year-old should look so serious. It was like Emilie knew what had happened when she was conceived, knew the anger Cady felt at the small thing growing in her womb.
Gerald leaned forward. “He has every right to speak his feelings, as you do, Emilie.”
“He should not say things like that. We are children.” Emilie’s too-adult reprimand had no effect.
The conversation continued around her but Cady stayed glued to the thought that her ten-year-old daughter knew more about her mother’s feelings than she did herself. It wasn't the only feature Emilie had that she shouldn't. Just how much had Cady ruined by signing that birthing form ten years ago?
She rested her chin on her palm. The pressure on her hand helped relieve the burning heat in her head. Sometimes she couldn’t think through the pain. That was usually at night, when she sat in the dark on the back porch, watching the waves ripple along the shore. Even that gentle sensation couldn’t make her sleep. But she never felt tired. Every night she watched the stars until the sun came up, then she went inside and took her morning shower. Gerald, a sound sleeper, thought she was simply an early riser. She hadn't visited a bed in weeks. She even kept count. Tonight would be sleepless night 103.
She jumped and stared at Gerald.
He held out a carafe. “The waitress left it. Do you want me to top off your mug?”
“No.” She hadn’t had any to start. “I’m full.”
He eyed the bite she had taken out of the waffle on her plate. “You sure?”
“Yes.” She slid out of the booth. “I’m going now.”
Gerald grinned at the kids. “You get me today. What should we do first?”
Anything, Cady thought, as long as you let me go. She couldn’t breathe in the stale, recycled air breathed by a hundred people in the crowded restaurant. All she wanted was to get alone, by herself, with the waves. Where she could breathe.