Fiction Friday – 5 September 2008 Quick change
This Week’s Theme: Pick a book of fiction you’d never read (e.g., if you read sci-fi, pick a romance). Open to a random page and read the last couple paragraphs of the page. DO NOT TURN THE PAGE. Now continue writing the story. Feel free to change the genre as you write.
The book I have picked is Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell. Yup. Chick lit. A genre I normally don’t go anywhere near. The text in red is from the book. This ought to be fun…
Then she stopped. She couldn’t leave. She had three children in the house.
A terrible thought occurred to her. They were sound asleep. She could run out, scream at Shane, and be back within thirty minutes. The children would never know.
She paused and looked down at her feet, the black canvas sneakers sticking out incongruously from the bottoms of her blue flannel pajamas. Shane was making her crazy. Leaving small children alone in the house was what poor people did. Poor people who felt they had no choice or were so beaten down by the ruthless pointlessness of life that they didn’t care. You read about them all the time in the New York Post. They left the children alone and something happened and the children died. It was usually the men who were responsible. The men always were. Men like Shane.
She shivvered, a biting wind blowing through the streets. She had to make a decision, she hadn’t dressed for standing outside, dawdling. When she had found out that Shane was back, and received the call that he was there, right now, just down the road…
She hadn’t thought about it. She had put the kids to bed a few hours before, and was just mixing up another bowlful of batter for pancakes the next day. Her kids loved them, and their friends were stopping by for breakfast on the way to school. She had taken the opportunity to change into pajamas and a thick sweatshirt, and settle down with a glass of rosé and some I Love Lucy reruns.
Then the call came. No caller ID. But a voice from the past.
“Cassandra. It’s Drew.”
“… What do you want?”
“I know you don’t want to hear from any of us again. But this is unfinished business. He’s back.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about Drew. I have a new life now. Goodbye.”
“Don’t hang up! It’s Shane…”
“… Shane’s dead.”
“Yeah, we thought so too. He’d be mighty surprised to find out he lives two blocks over from you.”
She didn’t need to ask, and Drew didn’t need any prompting. He gave her the address and hung up. No doubt she’d never hear from him again. She felt the surge of hate building in her, memories of a life that should have been buried. She forgot her children, her flimsy cotton nightclothes, she let the red mist descend and ran over to a picture on the wall. She ran her finger along one side, releasing the hidden catch, and it swung forward. Her hands shook as she spun the tumblers on the safe door, until the faintest click told her it was unlocked. She pulled on the iron door, reached in, and pulled out the box, before rushing outside.
It was the cold air that pulled her up, cooled her head, made her remember her children. Asleep. Innocent. Alone. She couldn’t leave them. What if she got caught? No, she wouldn’t get caught. 30 minutes, in and out. Besides, she was only going to give him a piece of her mind, rage at him for all that he had done, what he had cost her.
She couldn’t leave the kids alone. Only someone reckless would do that. Someone uncaring. Someone evil. Someone like Shane. Only thirty minutes, that’s all. She just wanted to talk. She opened the box and pulled out the heavy Glock 23, letting the box fall on the sidewalk. She checked the magazine, slipped the safety on, and tucked the gun into the front pouch of the sweatshirt.
A piece of her mind. This time, Shane would listen…