Yes, you. Would you like to see a little piece of my recent Camp NaNoWriMo project? Well, your wish may just come true.
This story I worked on was from an outline I drew up in only thirty minutes one afternoon. I was so surprised at how quickly my first manuscript outline came together. It was definitely God-designed, I’ll tell you that. A couple of things changed along the way, as I was writing the story, but most of the outline remained intact. It’s only the second time I’ve used an outline, but both projects didn’t take me long to write, and I credit the outline and God’s guidance very heavily for that.
The scene I’m about to share with you is unedited, so please forgive any typos. It may not stay in its current form once I start editing in a month or so (after I finish the first draft of another book in the series). Even so, I thought you’d enjoy getting a glimpse at my hard work from last month.
Fair warning: If you’re anything like me, you might want to have some tissues close at hand when reading this snippet.
From Catching Sunrays by Andrea Renee Cox
The front screen door creaked open, and Mallory glanced up from her math homework. Mama hobbled inside, assisted by Daddy. Mallory scrambled away from the kitchen table and into the living room, to her mother’s other side. The door slapped shut.
“Mama, what happened?”
“Hush up, girl!” Daddy pulled Mallory away and pushed her so roughly she fell back onto the cushion of the lumpy couch that had a spring poking through.
“Ouch!” She leapt up and rubbed her tush.
“Clint, calm down.” Mama made her way, slower than a slug crawling up a wall, to the table in the kitchen and inched down onto the chair Mallory had vacated. “Ain’t no reason to go gettin’ all huffy.”
Daddy scraped up the math book, spiral notebook, and pencil and hurled them at Mallory, who’d followed them into the room.
She caught the book, but the other two items tumbled to the cracked floor in front of her. She bent to pick them up.
“She’s got to learn to keep her stuff cleaned up, Mabell. Ain’t got no time for coddlin’.” He jerked open the refrigerator door and pulled out a Coke. The door closed on its own as he cracked open the top and guzzled from the can. He wiped dripping brown ooze from his chin with the back of his arm. When he looked back at his wife, tears swam in his eyes.
Mallory’s chest squeezed tight. She stepped forward, but stopped shy of touching the chair in front of her. Instead, she hugged her homework to her chest. “What’s going on?”
Mama looked up at her, but she only offered a weak smile.
Daddy set the can on the counter and stormed across the room toward Mallory. He yanked her arm and forced her to fast-walk through the living room and out onto the stoop. “Now listen here, girl.” His voice was clamped, raspy. “Your Mama’s been to the doctor, you know that. Ain’t like we didn’t tell ya. Why don’t you show her some respect?” He shoved her arm away from him like it was leprous.
She ducked her head but peeked up at him too. “I’m sorry, Daddy. Is sh-she okay?”
The shock of the slap was only slightly worse than its sting. She dropped her books on her feet and clutched her cheek with one hand, fingers curled up beneath her eye.
Daddy’s face crumpled, then contorted. Finally, it hardened. “Your mama’s got the cancer. She ain’t gonna live past summer, so that doc said.”
How could a piece of news hurt worse than his slap?
He went back inside, then hollered out, “Get your chores done within the hour!” before the screen banged shut.
She jumped at the sudden noise.
“Mama…” The word whispered out as her heart broke in two.
She turned and ran up the street, and she didn’t even care that hot tears washed her cheeks or sobs ripped from her throat.
*All material is under copyright by Andrea Renee Cox, 2017. It may not be used elsewhere by anyone other than Andrea Renee Cox.
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