Yesterday morning I embarked on a journey. A 50,000 word journey. That’s right folks, it is NaNoWriMo time (National Write a Novel in a Month). Why, oh, why do they insist on starting it the day after Halloween? Each year, I stay up too late, drink too much wine, and worse – eat way too much chocolate. The morning after a chocolate binge is never pretty.
But I was determined to start my journey out on the right foot. I used that foot to stumble to the kitchen, and on my way to the coffee machine, managed to bypass this:
That’s right – I didn’t pause to clean the dang kitchen. Coffee in hand, I moaned my way to my laptop, bypassing this:
Yep. Didn’t take out the trash…or the recycling. Yay, me! I sat down and finished up my daily goal; 2,000 words before the kids got up. By the end of the month, I’ll have finished up ‘Earth, Book Four of the Akasha Series’ and get started on a brand new series. Speaking of, I recently posted the first chapters of ‘Water‘, ‘Air‘, and ‘Fire‘. Wanna read the first chapter of ‘Earth’?
Please keep in mind it is a rough draft; hasn’t been through any editors. The rest of the book will follow…next Spring!
Earth, Chapter One: Inside Voices
The Greenbrier is a Cold War era underground bunker buried 720 feet into the hillside of White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia. Each of the four entrances are protected by large steel and concrete doors designed to withstand a nuclear blast. Alex and I were standing outside the gated fence, trying to figure out how to break in.
“The west and east entrances are vehicular tunnels,” said Alex, handing me his binoculars. “This one here is the west entrance.”
I focused the binoculars in on a large ‘high voltage’ warning sign at the door.
“Do you think Akasha can burn through that baby?” Alex asked.
“Maybe,” I sighed, handing the binoculars back. “But do we really want to risk a high-profile entrance?”
Footsteps in the woods to our backs caused us both to duck down. I peered under a thick, prickly bush. Susan’s footsteps came into view. I stood, unsuccessfully avoiding sharp thorns.
Susan started at my outburst. Bee squealed with delight, “Mommy!”
She ran straight for me, and the thorns. “Oh, honey – watch out!” I scooped her up before she suffered the same fate. She squealed again.
“More!” She demanded as soon as I set her down.
“Um, excuse me everyone – we are in surveillance mode here. We need to use our inside voices.”
“Tell that to the two-year old,” I said. Alex was right, but leaving Bee behind wasn’t exactly an option.
Bee took the hint and ran to Alex, “More Unka Alek, more!”
He smiled down at her, “I can’t refuse my best lady. But can you be quiet when I lift you up?”
She nodded her head as fast as she could, practically hopping in anticipation. Alex lifted her up so fast her feet flew in the air above her head. To her credit, not one sound escaped her lips. She could be quiet if she wanted; she just had to be properly motivated.
“What did you find out?” I asked Susan.
“Hotel is operational. Well, as far as hotels can be, these days. But the tours have been cancelled since Daybreak. Electricity is too unreliable to lead tourists underground.”
“Either that, or the facilities are actually in use.” Alex said.
Bee automatically demanded more lifts at his sudden shift in focus. I dug around in my backpack for the stash of honeysuckle I found the day before. “Here,” I handed her the entire bag. “Let the grownups plan their break in.”
“Bake in, bake in,” chanted Bee, plopping down on the ground, already diving in to her new treat.
I smiled, then turned back to the west entrance and frowned. “Let’s camp out for a night – see if there is any activity in or out.”
“What about the other entrances?” Alex asked.
“We could split up,” I suggested.
Susan groaned. “I hate spending the night alone, outside.”
“You won’t be outside. You can go back to the hotel; find out more.” Alex said.
“And you won’t be alone, you’ll have Bee.” I said. The three of us looked down at her, still sitting at our feet. Several white flowers already sat crumpled by her side, having been deprived of all their sweet nectar.
In a world with only intermittent power, traditional packaged goods – including candy – along with a long list of other necessities, were scarce. Honeysuckle soon became a treat of choice. Last fall, we also discovered its medicinal properties when Alex came up with a concoction infused with honeysuckle and applied it to the poison ivy rash that covered my legs. After that, I had traded all of my shorts for a few pairs of Susan’s pants. They were long, but a few rolls around my ankles added protection from poisonous plants and bugs.
“Let’s meet back here an hour after dawn tomorrow,” Alex said.
Susan stuck out her lip.
Alex rolled his eyes, “Ok, two hours after dawn. Put that lip back in before I bite it.”
Susan smiled, raising one eyebrow, “Bite me and I’ll bite you back.” She moved a step closer to him.
“Is that a promise?” he asked, closing the distance between them.
I turned my back just in time to hear kissing sounds. The open romance between Alex and Susan was a long time coming, and I was happy for both of them, but with every passing day it made me long for Micah more and more. He’d been missing since a few weeks before Daybreak.
The kissing noises were still coming. I sighed and squat down by Bee, “It’s rude to stare, honey.” The few honeysuckle that remained were forgotten.
She shifted her gaze to me, stuck out her lips and said, “Kiss, kiss!”
I laughed an obliged, then gathered her in my arms, “You’re going to stay with Aunt Susan tonight. Be good, okay?”
I kissed her again.
“Enough with the smooching you two,” Susan interrupted. I passed Bee over. “We’re going to be late for girl’s night out.”
“Make sure she gets a bath – and check her for ticks.” I dug in my backpack for the only bar of soap the four of us shared.
“We’ll do the usual pampering session,” Susan promised.
“And you get double duty tomorrow night.” I said.
“Done.” A night out of the woods was totally worth it for Susan.
She waved, and I watched them walk away as Bee fiddled with the soap.
“She’ll be fine, mama.” Alex said, slinging his arm over my shoulder.
“I know. I just wish…” I trailed off. Alex didn’t need to hear all about how Micah was missing out on Bee, again.
“You wish what?” he asked.
I leaned into him, nose first, and sniffed. “I wish we had another bar of soap.”
Hope you liked it! I would love to get feedback on this chapter. Please comment or feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to get ‘Water, Book One’ now free pretty much everywhere as an ebook. ‘Air, Book Two‘ is at a special price of $2.99.