Welcome back Weekend Writing Warriors (and greetings if you’re joining us for the first time). It’s time for another lovely blog hop! If you’re interested in more fabulous writers click the participants and browse this week’s selections. The Weekend Writing Warriors is a great opportunity to discover new reads and make new friends.
I want to apologize for my absence last week, life hit me in the gut and sent me reeling. After some space and soul searching I drew my battle plan and now I’m ready to charge ahead. Thank you all for your comments and critiques on the last post, your feedback is great!
Last week we discovered Conor and Natalie grew up three houses away from each other. His memories of her are few as their past together was short lived. He thought the neighbourhood girl in the blue dress was an imaginary friend he created. Here is what happens next:
“What happened, it felt like one minute we were digging holes in the backyard together and then you were gone.” She falls quiet, pulling the leaves against her legs.
“Remember after one supper and we were in your backyard… you wanted to make your Ma a garden. We found that round metal ball…”
“You collapsed and started to shake so I ran to get my dad.”
“After I got back from the hospital I would get the shakes and sometimes not remember anything. I kept going back until the doctor sent me to another hospital.”
“I didn’t know they let you stay in the hospital for seven years.”
“It wasn’t the kind of hospital you go to when you get a cold.”
The saliva in my mouth evaporates as I force the words out; “an Asylum…”
And now a bit more:
“Yeah.” Her fingers rip a red leaf from the pile. “My first week I caught hair nits. The other kids called me Nitty Nat. Even when I got rid of them they kept making jokes.”
“I’m sorry, Natalie. It’ll be okay.” She sets her jaw and pulls her knees to her chin. “Well you’re better now, away from those people and out of that place.” Her face softens. “And if you still want help with math I can help.”
“I need a lot of help.”
“It’s okay, we meet every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Want some help up?”
“No I got it,” she pulls herself from the leaf fort and dusts the remnants from her skirt. Once she frees her belongings from the leaves we climb the hill to the road. I don’t know why but the road seems less lonely with her walking beside me. I run this path every day, sometimes other joggers join me but the road always felt isolated. But it’s different with her. Her steps are almost silent, even on the crunchy leaves, she’s almost a specter walking beside me. But I’m not scared. For the first time I can simply exist.
Thanks for joining me this week and thank you again for your supportive feedback! See you next time!
*Previously titled: Locked Away
Update: Full Prologue can be found here