Ok, so generally I’m at my most compelling when I’m arguing for or against something, when I have a purpose for my writing. But these last few months have been kinda a mess. I’ve been stuck wading through massive amounts of class work, and for the last few weeks I’ve also been pretty terribly sick (dear cold season, I hate you, love ginger.)
So normally I post some argumentative piece, or analysis of life type thing. But as I haven’t had the time and mental capacity for that, I’m going to give you a little taste of my current writing project. Oddly it’s kind of hard to decide which one to put up here, they all have a special place in my heart, but I’ve finally decided on my nano project from this year. I didn’t finish, barely made it to 5000 words, but I still really liked it.
Here you go. ***
Nanowromo 2013 Excerpt :
It was mid-morning on a Wednesday and I should have already left for work when the buzzer rang. I sighed and clomped back into the hall to hit the buzzer, “Yes?”
“Delivery for Ms. Amaryllis?”
“Kay, one minute.”
I juggled the bag on my shoulder while trying not to tip the coffee mug in my hand as I jammed my finger down on the buzzer. The door to the building opened and I could hear it as it slammed shut, I shifted and carefully tossed my bag on the ground by the door. My coffee was already cooling so I tilted my head back and swallowed what remained, the sweet top layer followed by the grainy bitter bottom. With the cup still dangling between my fingers I opened the door.
The delivery guy was kind of cute, dimples tucked into the corner of his cheeks that made him look younger then he probably was. “Sign here please,” he held out the clipboard with the delivery receipt attached and I clutched the tip of it in my left hand as I swirled my name across the allotted space. “Seriously, was not expecting anything, maybe someone sent me a present.” I laughed and met his eyes. I caught the hint of a blush as he laughed too. He tucked the board back under his arm as he picked up the package at his feet and laid it in my arms. “Well, whatever it is, I hope it’s something nice. Good day ma’am.” he nodded, the tip of his fingers brushing his hat, and I watched he walk off and disappeared down the stairs.
I lugged the package inside and to the dining room table, nearly hitting the kitchen doorway as I passed through. I carefully dropped my mug on the table and used the box to push it out of the way while reaching for the scissors that still sat on the table from earlier.
I peeled back the cardboard and tossed the packing peanuts everywhere as I reached in to pull out the item inside. And ornate wooden box, about the side of a three slice toaster.
A symbol was carved into the lid, gently I traced the carving. It looked like an A surrounded by some kind fancy circle. I put the box down on the table and slowly opened the gold clasp that held the lid close. The metal on metal sound was almost inaudible but since there was no other noise I could hear it clearly and for some reason it sent shivers down my spine.
I lifted the lid slowly. Inside the box the lid was red velvet lined, a note card tucked against it by some red ribbon. Smears and spots of red had marred the perfect off white card and finally my gaze shifted to the bottom. The red velvet lined bottom was covered by a pale ivory silk cushion, on the cushion sat a heart. Not like a valentine’s heart, but rather a real fleshy heart.
Since it wasn’t dripping I could only assume the blood had been taken care of, and I had no idea if it was human or animal, but I had seen enough CSI in my day to know that touching it any further was a bad idea.
My phone was stuffed into my bra, the only place I could easily reach when I had my work clothes on. My hands shook as I pulled it out and typed in 9-1-1, when the operator answered I wasn’t even sure of what to say.
“What is your emergency?”
“I, I received a packaged, it was a heart in a box.”
“Could you be more clear ma’am?”
“I – someone sent me a person or animal or – something – a once-it-was-beating heart in a carved wooden box.”
“Ma’am what’s your location and name please?”
The police were prompt; honestly I was surprised with how fast they got to my apartment. I met them at the door and lead them to the scene and the second cop, obviously a rookie, looked like he was going to be sick.
The other cop was older, mid-forties maybe and he had a gentle smile.
“Have you gotten anything else like this recently?”
“Um, well, I’ve been getting some notes and pictures, flowers and stuff for some time now, I have it in a box in the closet, but nothing this bad. I mean it was creepy shit but flattering creepy shit. You know?”
He nodded and asked me to bring the box out to the table, then called for a detective to come out. I wasn’t expecting something so major to come of it, not that a heart in a box wasn’t worthy of some serious man hours but rather it seemed like the sorta thing that would normally be labeled under crazy stalker and not serious investigations.
While we waited on the detective I called my work. “Hey Sarah, so I’m not going make it into work today. I, I um, received something creepy in the mail today, so the police are here dealing with it. Anyways, I can’t talk much, but I’ll let you know if anything changes.” I left a voice mail with my supervisor’s phone, the only option I really had since she hadn’t answered. I worked at a small blog zine, mainly dealing with feminist issues or equality rights. Honestly most of it was geek themed which is why I had applied in the first place. The pay wasn’t amazing, but it was enough to cover rent and I freelanced on the side to pay for most other things.
By the time I was off the phone the police man was at the door with the detective, talking in hushed voices. When he saw me he smiled and invited me to join them. “Ms. Amaryllis, this is Detective Michael Gabriel, we were just discussing the unusualness of this situation.”
the detective was a couple of inches taller than me, with dirty blond hair, grey eyes and lips that I was sure had gotten him into trouble a time or two. He had a small scar that faintly across the bridge of his nose and cut through his left eyebrow. Maybe a left over from his more wild days, or gotten I the job I couldn’t be sure. He stuck out his hand; it was warm and callused, rough but gentle. “So tell me about these gifts you’ve been receiving?” I shifted on the spot, and looked back through the doorway to the table where the box lay with all its creepy flotsam inside.
“It started about, I don’t know, six months ago? First it was just a note card, – it read, “You’re perfect,” and was signed with a capital A. then every week I was getting something else, sometimes twice a week. A white rose, a handmade greeting card, a photograph of the beach. Most of them seemed innocent enough, nothing stand out creepy. Until about two weeks ago. the note read – it’s almost time, signed with the same A, and it had a small picture of those – those DNA strands emblazoned on the bottom.” as I spoke I walked towards the box, the detective and the officer right behind me, I reached into the box and pulled out the small card, about twice the size of a business card. I handed it to the detective and he used a gloved hand to examine it.
“So until now, it’s been two weeks since the last of these…” he waved a hand over the box, “gifts?” I met his eyes, “yes. I just kinda assumed whomever it was had finally gotten bored with the game, or maybe something had happened to them. Anyways, it had stopped so I just kinda – shrugged it off I guess.” I looked at the open box, the heart still nestled in its pale cushion, “then I got the box.”
“Forgive me for saying, you don’t seem very shaken up over this.” the detective searched out my eyes, I could almost feel his gaze searching my face, my body for clues. “No, I suppose I don’t. I took forensic anthropology in college, just a few classes, but the dead don’t really bother me. Also I’m a little hopeful that it’s actually an animal heart or something. I mean, pig hearts are supposed to look kinda human arn’t they?”
He nodded, and I wasn’t sure if he was affirming the pig comment or just accepting my statement.
“We’ll have to take this all in as evidence, send the heart to the lab. And if you wouldn’t mind coming down to the station so I can get a full account of all the gifts, anything you remember could be a big help.” he nodded at the officer and headed towards the door, “can I ask? Why is this such a big deal? Not that a heart shouldn’t be, but well, it seems really …it seems like you already know its part of something else.” he looked back over his shoulder, his eyes catching mine. “This morning we found a body, missing a heart…”
I gasped, as quick intake of breath as I tried to sort it out. But he was gone by the time I had composed myself. The older officer placed his hand on my shoulder, and gave a gentle squeeze. Without a word he followed the detective out the door.
I followed them outside, grabbing my purse on the way. The detective held the passenger door to his car open for me, “shall we?” he waved me in and I had a feeling that hours of my life just went up in smoke.
Well there you have it, an small portion of what I wrote for nano this year. not even sure how I feel about it myself.