Yesterday was day 7 of NaNoWriMo, meaning it was the end of the first week. Looking back, I have to say it hasn’t been easy but I have stayed on point. If I include the chapter below, I have written 14,000 words, for an average of 2000 words a day. I count that as a victory. Now if I can just keep that momentum going.
Today in America, it is Election Day. That will be distraction enough, but while others are beating up their facebook neighbors to vote for their candidate, I plan to be writing. I will vote, and try to stay in touch with what is going on around me, but while others are bitching about the next four years, I will be fretting over my characters because that’s what writers do. 😉
Okay, so now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to chapter seven…
Time Of Our Death
Okay, so she wasn’t a Bon Jovi fan, but that’s not the important thing of her last statement. As we left her mom’s empty room, and rejoined the others in the living room, the first thing I noticed was that Brian was standing there dressed in full football gear. His high school uniform was immaculate, white and clean as if it had never been worn. Even the helmet looked as if it had just came out of a box.
“Check this shit out, “ he said, turning around in a circle, like he was a runway model. “I was just thinking about how I was going to miss football, and bam, my clothes changed!”
“Hope nobody saw your dirty underwear,“ I replied.
“Oh, ha-ha funny!” Then he stopped. “Hey wait, you changed too.” He pointed to my Bon Jovi shirt. “Just what were you two doing back there anyway?”
“Talking about your mama,” Lori replied.
He stopped smiling. “Oh, look who grew a set of balls now. Doesn’t mean I can’t kick your ass in your own house. Right, Donald?”
He gave Don a shove, and he stumbled across the room. Donald hung his head and sulked away. I followed him with my eyes, wondering what that was all about.
“You’re right , baby,” Kelly said. “He wasn’t wearing the Bon Jovi shirt earlier.” I don’t know if she was trying to stop her boy from beating someone up or wanting someone to notice her, now that she was dressed up like Madonna in her ‘Like A Virgin’ video, complete with a thousand necklaces and lace fingerless gloves. She spun around with a flourish and sang, “Touched for the very first time…”
Lori grimaced and muttered, “doubtful.”
“Why don’t you change your look?” Kelly asked her, not hearing the insult that had been made.
“My clothes are just fine, thank you.”
“Says you, “ laughed Brian.
“What’s wrong with it?” Donald asked loudly. He was wearing all black now. Leather pants with chains hanging off the side with a ripped up Misfits shirt clinging to his bulk.
I had to grin. I never would have imagined Don wearing such stuff. Especially The Misfits shirt. He was more Fleetwood Mac or Genesis.
“Too bad you cant change your body type,” Brian said. “Guess you’ll always be a fatty.”
“Shut up, Brian,” Lori said. She turned and looked at me. “Im going to the library. See if my mom’s there.”
“I’ll come with if you don’t mind the company.”
“Don’t you want to check on your parents?”
“We can do the library first.”
“Suit yourself.” She turned to Donald, who had changed from his goth punk tribute back into what he had been wearing. “You coming, Donald?”
He smiled, his whole face lighting up. “I’m with you,” he replied.
“You jerks can do what you want, “ she said to Brian and Kelly. “Just not at my house.”
“Aw hell, we was just playing. Can’t nobody take a joke? Your sense of humor don’t have to be dead, too.”
“Your sense of humor doesn’t have to be mean, “ she countered.
As it was, we all went to the library. Brian changed back into his typical look, but Kelly obviously enjoyed the Madonna thing, because she kept hers the way it was. The local library was on the other side of the suburb, and it took us about thirty minutes to get there. We may have discovered how to change our looks and outfit, but cheating space and time went unknown. We still had to walk, just like anyone else. I guess we could have stolen a car fairly easy, but that would have looked really weird to anyone who saw it driving down the road. So, walking was our only option.
“Is there a reason we’re not going to your house first?” Donald asked, when we were about half the way to the library.
“No, not really. This seemed more important.”
“What could be more important than checking in with your folks?”
“Well, we found your mom, but at Lori’s we didn’t find hers. I just think we should locate her mom before worrying about mine.”
He smiled. “You know you might be a long hair rock dude now, but you still think of others first.”
I shook my head. “Nah. I’m just afraid once I go home it will all be over with. If I see mom and dad all tore up, I wont want to leave their side.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. It was really hard to see my mom like that. I know I cried, but I just couldn’t help it.”
“Tears aren’t a sign of weakness, Donald. They show you got heart.”
“Hey guys,” Lori interrupted, coming alongside of us. “Do you mind if we stop off at my friend’s Shannons? I don’t remember seeing her on the bus.”
“It’s alright by me,” I replied. “I don’t have anywhere I need to be in a hurry. Maybe we’ll find out some more news there, you never can tell.”
Donald nodded in agreement, and she smiled. “Thanks. I appreciate it. I’m beginning to wish we’d all hung out sooner.”
“Yeah me too,” Donald replied.
“I don’t know. You don’t even like Bon Jovi,” I joked.
She rolled her eyes and laughed.
Shannon’s house was just around the corner, two blocks from the library. We all stood out in her front yard. We hesitated because it was the first house we’d been to in which we didn’t live at when alive. Walking into a stranger’s home was going to be weird. The only one who knew Shannon was Lori. The rest of us would be strangers.
“Do we just go in?” Donald asked.
“I don’t think knocking would be a good idea,” said Brian.
“I don’t want to interrupt anything funky,” Kelly added.
“I don’t think that’s likely,” Lori said. “Just nobody follow her into the bathroom or anything.” She cast a look at Brian, who held his arms out as if to say, what you looking at me for?
We followed Lori in and thankfully we discovered her friend right away. She was sitting in the living room watching television. The glow from the screen illuminated her face. I realized I knew her after all. She sat with a group of other girls at the table over from me in lunch. They giggled a lot and pointed at other boys. It was hard to believe she was even friends with Lori, but maybe it was like Donald and I, and they had grown up together. Either way, it was obvious she liked Lori a lot, as tears were still wet on her cheeks from crying.
“That could have been me, “ she was sobbing at the news announcer, who stood at the river’s edge, explaining what they knew of the accident. “Oh Lori. Please be okay. Please be okay.” It was spilling out of her like a mantra.
“I am okay, Shannon,” Lori said, approaching her friend on the couch. The girl had her legs curled up under her. She was in a bathrobe and slippers, and her long red hair looked like she hadn’t run a brush through it yet this morning. Lori sat down next to her. “Don’t worry. I’m okay.”
She reached her hand out to touch her friend.
“Don’t, “ I whispered, but I needn’t have worried. Her hand passed through her shoulder. Perhaps it wasn’t as easy to make physical contact with living things as it was with inanimate objects like the television dial at Lori’s or the magnets at Donald’s.
“I didn’t suffer,“ Lori was telling her friend. “Everything’s going to be alright.” She went to touch her again. “I’m going to miss you,” she said, and then instead of her hand passing through the girl’s body, it met solid flesh.
Shannon let out a screech and jumped up from the couch. She looked around frantic. “Oh god, what was that?! Who’s there?”
Brian and Kelly stepped back, stunned, almost afraid to let her touch them. Donald hid behind me. I was surprised too. Every moment was bringing a new discovery, and this was a big one.
“Shannon. Shannon, can you hear me?” Lori asked.
The girl was freaking out, but it didn’t register that she heard Lori. She just knew something had touched her, and she didn’t like it. Despite that, Lori reached for her again.
“Don’t,” I repeated.
She stopped and looked at me. “Why?”
“Let me try.”
“Shannon,” I said, stepping up to the girl. “I’m just going to touch your arm.” I reached for her, and just as I suspected, my hand passed right through her. “I’m a friend, it’s okay.” My hand passed through her again. She was completely oblivious to my presence. I turned to Lori. “Okay, your turn again.”
Shannon stood there, shaking, and I wondered if she could feel something in the air. Something that told her she was not alone. It appeared she couldn’t hear us, but that didn’t mean her senses weren’t on the alert.
Lori touched her arm again. It wasn’t solid now. Her hand passed through her like the first time. “What the hell happened?” Lori exclaimed. She touched her again with the same result. “How come?..”
“I think there has to be a strong emotional connection, “ I replied. “Before, you told her you were going to miss her and you were trying to reassure her that you were okay. It was an emotional moment for you and somehow it allowed you to make contact briefly.”
She nodded, took a deep breath, and prepared to touch her again.
“No, Don’t,” I shouted.
“You freaked her out the first time. She’s shaking like a leaf. What do you want her to do? Run screaming from the house?”
“That would be cool, “ said Brian.
“I just want to let her know I’m alright,” Lori said.
“Yeah, I know, but..”
“This is getting boring,” Brian complained. “Come on , we’re dead. She’s alive. We’re ghosts. We could be doing all kinds of stuff rather than standing here going, I’m okay sugar muffins.”
“Like what kinds of stuff?” Donald asked.
“Well, you know, cool stuff.”
“Like playing tricks on people?”
“Well yeah, why not? It is almost halloween.”
“Brian, “ I interrupted. “We don’t know how long we have.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“it means since we don’t have a ghost handbook, we aren’t sure how long this will last.”
“Duh, like forever, dude.”
“No, I don’t think so. If it was forever, then how come we haven’t seen any other ghosts? Certainly the town would have more ghosts than just us. I mean hell, the civil war marched right through here. If ghosts lasted forever, certainly we would see some of them.”
Brian shrugged. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. But shit man, if that’s the case, and it doesn’t last, we should be having fun. We can do anything man. It’s like the doctor tells you that you have a week to live, so you do everything you have ever wanted to do before you croak. So, let’s do stuff! To hell with all this going around to houses, and the library, and stuff. Let’s get wild in the streets!”
“Nobody is making you hang out with us, “ Lori asserted. “I don’t think it will hurt our feelings if you two go do it behind the bleachers or pee in the town water supply.”
“Both of them are great ideas,” Brian replied. He looked at Kelly. “We don’t want to hang out with you losers anyway. Come on, babe.”
Kelly hesitated. “I don’t know, Brian. I think maybe we should all stick together. At least until we can figure things out. If this isn’t going to last long, I would like to say goodbye to my mom, too.”
“Bunch of sentimental pansies, “ he replied. “Okay, whatever. But after we go to the library, I’m going to do something fun. All this weepy shit is starting to barf me out.”
I shook my head, and looked at Shannon. She had returned to her spot on the couch and was watching the news again. Perhaps she had put the experience down to her imagination playing tricks on her. I didn’t have much time to consider that when I noticed there was some new information crossing the TV screen. Two more bodies had been found, bringing the known dead up to five. Could it have been us?