Found this file on my hard drive, labeled “Nanowrimo 2013” – Nanowrimo, if you haven’t heard of it, is National Novel Writing Month, it sets a challenge of writing a certain number of words a day and by the end of the month, finish writing a novel.
I’ve tried it a couple times but never made it very far, perhaps because I didn’t have an outline to start and was just “shooting from the hip”.
Anyway, here’s my start in 2013.
His blood dripped onto the linoleum, forming a pattern of dots and spotches like a rocharch test before the paper is folded. He watched it impassively, knowing in the back of his head that he should be getting a towel and applying pressure to his arm. Or at least he should be doing something about Jessica, standing across the room, tears streaming down her face, the gun still in her hand, her arm extended in a line pointing at him. He could see she was shocked at the loudness of it, and also that she was surprised she had managed to pull the trigger. Once she got over her surprise, he was pretty sure she would fire again, maybe this time hitting something more vital.
He wasn’t sure how they had gotten to this point. He began to turn it over in his head, to examine the sequence of events, when a loud report inturrupted him, and he found himself falling soundlessly to the floor. As things clouded over, he thought of Florida, walking down that sandy path, the sun shining and a coral snake crossing in front of him, pausing momentarily before disappearing into the underbrush. Then all was darkness.
He was quite sure he heard gunshots. Two of them. He breathed oxygen deeply through his rubber mask, clicked mute on the TV remote, and leaned forward to grab the phone. He pulled the mask aside and dialed 9-1-1 with a shaking hand.
“Welcome,” said Death to Nate, “to my living room.” Death smirked at his favorite little joke.
Nate looked around, taking in a room with upholstered chairs, coffee table, doilies, an old wooden TV console, and standing across from him, smiling disconcertingly, a thin man in a dark sweater and jeans. He sort of reminded Nate of Steve Jobs near the end, only without the glasses. Nate grasped for words, and managed to come up with “w-what?”
Death frowned. Although his joke never got a laugh, it always disappointed him that no one even seemed to notice it was a joke at all. He sighed and sat down, gesturing for Nate to sit. Nate, not knowing what else to do, sat.
“Am I…dead?” ventured Nate.
“In a manner of speaking. That which was you is no longer alive. But seeing as you are here, talking to me, some aspect of you remains. It will all be much clearer in a bit, but for now I’m just going to offer you some tea, and I suggest you accept it. Tea?”
“Yes,” replied Nate dumbly. He looked around the room again. It looked like the living room of an elderly person, it seemed to have begun forming in the 1950s and reached its final state sometime in the early 90s, as if that was as far as the owner had been willing to accept change, and after that had drawn a line and said “that’s quite enough of that!” Through the curtains he could see a quiet neighborhood outside, perhaps somewhere in the northeast. He wondered if he should run.
Death returned with a small tray with two cups of tea, a small bowl of sugar and a ceramic cow with cream in it. Death plopped a sugar cube into his tea, stirred it, and sat back in his chair.
Nate put a couple cubes and some cream in his tea, stirred it, and stared at Death. “So. Are you Death, then?”
Death tapped his nose with a thin forefinger. “Although technically a metaphor, I am Death.”