I hope everyone is doing alright this evening.
No complaints yet.
A Nor’Easter comes from the south, threatening merciless ice and treacherous commutes. This is not a continuation of the last story I finished on here, either. Winter in Maine, friends… it is your friend one day and the next, it holds a sharpened icicle to your throat.
Have another excerpt!
Word Count – 5,000ish.
His adrenaline pulses in cadence with his throbbing hand, heightening his senses and he snaps his head forward to the dining room window. Just the wind he thinks as a swirl of leaves flit beyond the glass. Relentless wind spews through the cracks of the frame and Phil double-checks the locks. They’re latched, like they should be. These little things in Folsom Valley makes the difference between surviving, or being consumed by the indomitable power of the cold months to come.
It stalked early this year, and Phil was soon to find out why.
He looks down to the waist-high desk and picks up a picture taken years back of Nancy and her mother. His index finger caresses a version of his wife that piques his melancholy. It’s the Nancy that Phil fell for. Her lush brown eyes and lively smile call to him with a reminder that Phil swears to be a fictional murmur from a stranger’s tongue.
“It’ll get better, I promise,” her voice says as it has day after day, taunting his distraught emotions.
“But will it?” He asks aloud.
Phil never went to college. He graduated High School by the skin of his teeth and thought that would just be fine. Turns out that it was. Some men are destined for greatness, while some are designed only to run a Drill Press. The money was good and his work ethic surpassed any expectations from his employer. He knew that in a few years he’d be off the machines and running a crew for Mr. Benning, and he’d settle on that achievement, which was far beyond anything his father ever had accomplished.
The trick of being a successful parent—especially a father to a son—is to teach a young boy what not to do by unearthing the mistakes created along the way of life. And if you were lucky, some of those errors would remain buried forever. He knew there was truth to this unorthodox way of thought as Nancy’s mother, the one woman he loved as much as his wife, agreed with him.
“You’re going to make a great father someday Phil, and I am proud to know that you’ll help raise my Grandchildren in such an honest way,” she’d say.
I wish you here now, Rebecca he thinks how wise you are for losing everyone in your life except for Nancy, and how your drive to live and care inspires me so.
You can see the wind on days like today. It’s a cruel and menacing stream of faint navy blue curves that abolishes any warmth from within. There are no mortal barriers to deny it’s reach, and Phil can feel it’s clutching talons squeezing his blood flow and it hurts in a way his mortal brain fails to comprehend.
The one thing Phil does know is that the sensation of watchful eyes remains with him. He fixes his gaze towards a tight group of dried leaves and he is entranced by their dance and startled to watch them disperse in an abrupt explosion over his yard….
This right here is a rewrite of a story–actually the first story–I wrote roughly five months ago. It sat as a first draft and I am glad it did, because….
Rewrites are necessary in some cases, and this, was certainly one of them.
Not only am I fan of progressive rock and horror, I am also a fan of watching my own progression as a writer. I certainly don’t claim to know every little nuance and technicality of this craft; the fact that I know as little as I do is somewhat satisfying enough as it is. But I always want to improve upon what I have to work with, and I have been finding my slight improvements arriving when I need them to.
So I revisited this story, took a step back after reading it and said to myself,
“Hey man! You’re doing alright, why don’t we give this another shot,”
and then I said,
“Sounds good–let’s do this, man.”
Living in Maine is an adventure. I mean, the state as it stands is half (if not more than that) woodland and also has the longest stretch of rocky coast in ‘Murica. Beyond the scenic aesthetics and easy living, Maine is a place where any person can witness the true turning of the Seasons.
Fall has always been my favorite. Even as a kid, I knew that the later months of the year had special meaning. There is something pleasing in watching the rest of the non-human world begin the annual transformation of almost dying. Hibernation, ya know?
That’s behind my house. This was taken in… the middle October? The foliage is past it’s peak and I will tell you that a week before this the reds and oranges and yellows on the deciduous sentinels of the valley I live in stole my essence away. This is life getting ready to hunker-down for four to five months.
Same cemetery, different view. I live all the way to the bottom, beyond the tree line to the right. It’s an amazing walk, even through all that the snow. There is still life here. You don’t have to look far as it is everywhere and it is glorious.
It’s just taking a nap, that’s all.
Stories do that too, sometimes. It took me awhile to wake this one up, and when I did, I feared that this beast would only want to hibernate after eviscerating my torso.
But it didn’t.
Instead I had to work through a grogginess. I had to write and write and write to get it to where I wanted it to end up and even though I shot myself in the foot for taking too long on touching base with it, I saw it through.
Perseverance pays off when you work at it, and I am thankful for not giving up on this story. The Printouts was sent for it’s first round of publication attempts earlier today (safe to assume it’ll be a rejection, but hey–the path to yes leads through no. That’s an old, cheesy sales-tactic I use to motivate myself with when I was slinging snake oils over the phones during my drinking years), and I haven’t heard back from my last story–Daily Visits–on it’s round three of publication attempts.
Until next time, or rather, until the ice melts from this onslaught of frigid punishment,
John Potts Jr