Making steady progress on Before I Sleep. I have also written 6500 words of a prequel for Anna… this is my third time trying to start it, though, and I have never been satisfied with the way it shapes up. I know what her story is, I just can’t make the pieces fall into place, somehow. I’m not seeing the lever I need to pull to make that happen.
Anyway, here are some bits and pieces I have written lately.
A pale hand emerged from the tangle of mountain laurel beside me. In the blue light it glowed like a ghost’s. It was slender and small, and it snatched my wrist. I mashed my lips together so I wouldn’t scream when it yanked me, without taking care for my eyes or my clothes, into the prickly scrub.
Niña Anna grew up on the sprawling family ranch. She grew up feeling the contrast between the wide open pampas outside and the shadowy, protected inside of the house. She grew up hearing and speaking Spanish. She grew up in her grandmother’s kitchen, being fed bits of tortilla and empanada filling and homemade gelato. She grew up being passed from mother to grandmother to uncle to grandfather to aunt to housekeeper to groom. She grew up watching her aunts and uncles drink spirits, and dance the tango, and talk until three in the morning. She grew up with horses.
What was most striking about her, to his Scottish eyes, were the strong, catlike lines of her face. She had a firm jaw and high cheekbones, full lips and epicanthic folds to her eyes. Her eyebrows were sleek and black, like her hair. Of course he had seen photographs of indigenous Americans, but having lived his life on the east side of the Atlantic as he had, he had never met one in person.
Anna Reyes wasn’t exactly the exotic specimen that Alexander Smith first imagined her to be…
Anna’s earliest retrievable memory of her father was set in the kitchen of their house in New Jersey. Anna was four. Isabella was away that morning, so Hector made Anna’s breakfast for her. He wasn’t a good cook, and he had burned her slab of toast.
Anna, in her unicorn nightgown with her teddy bear on the kitchen table beside her, regarded the charred rectangle without comment. Hector knew she wouldn’t like it, and watched her for a moment to see what she would do. When she didn’t move, he lost his patience.
“Just eat the toast, Anna. It will teach you not to fear death.”
It was a bad time for it—an explicitly wrong time—but I couldn’t deny him. My heart wouldn’t allow me. When he walked me toward the bed, I let him, and with apologies to myself I fell onto my back and deep into his recesses.