I hope posting that novel excerpt earlier today was useful to some of you. I guess posting the next section of it is probably just vain.
Seriously, though, I hope some of you will comment and give me some feedback on what you think of it, whether it’s interesting at all, whether you would pursue writing more of it if the thing was yours.
So here I go again:
“Damn your hide, woman,” he had shouted. “Curse you and send you straight to hell.”
Maddy remembers hearing her stepfather yell at her Momma. That wasn’t anything so strange. He’d always yelled at her. Sometimes he hit her, hit Maddy, too. He was even worse than her real father had been.
Of course he was worse, she thought, as she began turning her head more upward. He killed Momma and me. He threw us down this hole. She sobs quietly, choking more dirt into her mouth.
Maddy remembers him yelling those awful words at Momma as he grabbed her hair in his huge left hand and punched her sharply square in the face with his right hand. Momma screamed, but it didnâ€™t matter. As usual when he started punishing her for one thing or another — his supper’s colder than he likes it, the tea’s too warm, the coffee’s not hot enough, whatever — there was no one near their small farm along the railroad at the edge of town to hear.
Momma tried to pull free so she could run off into the cornfield and maybe sneak back later, or go into town to her friend Sarah. But the monster only laughed at her struggles, slapped her this time, and pulled her close against him.
Maddy remembers again as she wiggles slightly upward in the old well, her feet pushing against Mommaâ€™s breast below her, how stiff and cold she felt plastering herself against the side of the house, too frightened to move as the deacon yanked Momma’s hair, hugged her tightly, crushing her. She was too afraid to help Momma, too afraid even to run off.
The huge man released Momma and she fell silently into the dirt of the yard in front of him. He looked down at her and smiled. His smile is always so sweet and loving that, for just an instant, Maddy forgot he’s the monster who just harmed her Momma. The smile had drawn Momma to him that day in church just after they first arrived in Frances. The smile kept Momma coming back to him no matter what he’d done.
Then she saw the monster spot the skillet with burnt breakfast eggs laying where it had come wobbling to a stop in the yard near the porch steps. Maddy’s old terrier, Bosco, oblivious to the ruckus around him, was licking at the eggs and the grease puddled in the cast iron bottom. The monster walked over to the skillet, kicked the dog aside and picked it up.
He hefted it in his right hand. Maddy saw the smile turn wicked as a new idea rose to the surface of his mind.
â€œNo! Please, no!â€ In her mindâ€™s eye in the suffocating darkness of the well, Maddy hears herself screaming again, sees herself running around the side of the house again. Her legs weren’t
paralyzed then, but even as she ran, the girl knew she was too late to save her Momma.
She watched in horror as the skillet descended, thudding against the top of Mommaâ€™s
head and cracking it open like a melon.
She remembers the monster turned toward her after he had killed her Momma. She wanted to hurt him, wanted to make him die for what he did to Momma. But he was too big and barely noticed that she was struggling as he picked her up by the arm, laughed, and shook her so hard the arm felt like it was coming loose. But just before the arm broke loose, he switched his hold to the other hand, wrapping it around Maddy’s throat and holding her off the ground.
“All right, little witch,” he whispered as he pulled her close to his face. “You can
join your Momma in hell.” With that, he hoisted her Momma up using the same hand that had smashed her. He walked across the yard to the side of the house, enormously strong,
holding Maddy still by the throat in his left hand while he carried Momma’s lifeless body
in his right.
He came to the old well. It was boarded over, but the boards had long since rotted and opened up a ragged hole in the center down into the deep shaft.
“Have a happy trip, Honey,” he said as he laughed and tossed Momma into the shaft. He turned his full attention to Maddy then, using both hands lest she squirm away, held her over the well, laughed again, and dropped her into the bottomless hole.
[tags]novel excerpt part 2, fiction writing, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]