NaNoWriMo Day 9
I know i’m getting behind on the updates, but just hang in there and bear with me. I’m about a thousand words behind schedule for today , but i hope to eventually get caught up. Day 9 was a very busy day for me, and so here i am writing about it a day later. There isn’t a lot to say except life got really busy. This is the hard thing about NaNoWriMO. Keeping up the habit of writing on a daily basis. I thought motivation would be my problem, but i am managing to combat that fairly well. Instead for me, it’s time. So yesterday was a struggle and I had to finish the chapter for that day this morning. But all in all I think I’m making pretty good progress and not falling too far behind.
So if you’re just joining me here, i am doing the National Novel Writing Month challenge/competition where the goal is to write the first draft of a 50,000 page novel in 30 days. My novel is called “Time Of Our Death” and follows a group of teenagers in 1987 who find themselves walking around as ghosts after a tragic accident. As they discover things about themselves, their new state, and the living people around them, they start to think it may not be an accident that ended their lives. I’m hoping the novel will be complete at 50,000 words but i’m not so sure of that. We’ll wait and see. Until then you can follow my first draft (mistakes and all) as it is being written with my almost daily posts. With that said, here we go with yesterday’s chapter. Hope you enjoy. 🙂
Time Of Our Death
If one were to see the neighborhood from the air, you could almost use my house as a center marker. Stuck in the middle of the suburb on a slightly elevated rise, it was one of the first houses built in the development. It was a grey brick split level, with half of the basement underground. As a smaller child I had hated it, because the house was set apart from our neighbors. It kind of stood alone, where as all the other houses were so close together you could almost stick your arm out the window and touch the house next door. I had often dreamed of escaping the house , and indeed the whole neighborhood, to discover new worlds of adventure and win the beautiful princess. Now however, I was in a new world. There were no princes or princesses, just ghosts of who we were and would never grow up to be. I couldn’t help but wonder, if in this new state of being if we could even leave South Maine Heights. Ever since the accident we had come here and never left it’s boundaries. We would need to explore that next. I didn’t want to be forever trapped in this place.
Like Lori, I lived in the basement, but I didn’t want everyone to see my room. It was a mess, or as my mom would put it, cyclone central. We entered through the front of the house, passing through the wall directly into the living room. The first thing I noticed was that the television was on. This wasn’t unusual in itself, as my mother was a stay-at-home mom. Technically, my father was always home too, as he had an office set up towards the back of the house for his private accounting practice. He only had a couple of clients, otherwise we may have moved up in society and lived in a higher class neighborhood. I should be happy they were always home, and there for me if I wanted to talk (which I rarely did), but the truth was sometimes I wish I lived alone. Now it looks like I was getting my wish, because within moments of arriving I realized that for the first time in ages, no one was there.
Brian and Kelly had no interest in going through the house to see if anyone was home, so they parked themselves in front of the television, while Donald, Lori, and I searched the house. In my dad’s office, we discovered his computer was on. We were probably the only home in the neighborhood to have one, and my dad only had his because he was in love with WordPerfect and MS-DOS. It was strange that it was left on. This was something my father never did. Unless he had to go somewhere in a hurry.
I relayed that piece of information to them, and they agreed. Mom and dad had left the house suddenly. “Probably went to the river,” Donald suggested.
Lori frowned. “Or the morgue.”
“Wow,” Donald replied. “Try optimism much?”
“No. Should I?”
“Hey guys,” Brian shouted from the living room. “They are having a meeting!”
“Meeting? What do you mean?”
“They are meeting at the town hall. Press conference or something.”
We left the office and made our way back to the living room. Brian had turned the volume up on the TV and the announcer was indeed saying they were having a meeting to brief the public on recovery efforts and what they knew of the accident.
“Maybe we should go, “ Kelly said.
“Maybe that’s where your parents are at,” added Lori.
I nodded. This was possible. My parents were very civic minded. On top of that, if they knew I were dead or missing, they would be right in the heart of it demanding answers. “Yeah, I think we should go to the meeting.”
Everyone seemed on board with me, and there was really no reason to stay here in my empty house. As far as I was concerned, that was wasting time that might might be precious. I was getting ready to tell them that when we all heard a sound that wasn’t on the TV. It was a scratching, like nails across wood, frantic and urgent.
“What the hell is that?” Brian asked, crossing the room to get closer to the noise. It was coming from the door that led to the basement. The sound was coming from down there. I then knew immediately what it was.
“Our dog. We named him after ‘Jake and the Fatman.’ If they had to go out in a hurry, they probably locked him in my room so he wouldn’t tear up the house.”
“What kind of dog is he?” asked Lori.
“Doberman, “ I replied. “He’s rowdy, but friendly.”
“I want to see him. I always wanted a dog. Mom wouldn’t let Dawn and I get one. Dad didn’t care, but mom was always against it. Now I wish we had one so it would shit in her bed.”
Brian laughed. “Damn Satanette, I’m starting to like you.” Kelly shot him a look. “But not much, you know,” he added.
“Lori, Jake is pretty hyper. He’ll jump all over you.”
She gave me this look that said, are you stupid. “What’s he going to do?” She asked. “We’re ghosts.”
I had to smile. It was hard for me to remember we weren’t entirely part of this world. That were were half shadows, flitting in and out of physical existence based on our ever changing emotions. “Okay then, “ I said. “But don’t open the door to let him out. We’ll just pass through the walls.”
“And watch him go into freak out mode,” Donald added.
He was right. I didn’t know what to expect from the animal kingdom. I mean, we knew humans couldn’t see us. We were on a different plane of sorts. But what if animals could see that plane? Often, My dad had called down Jake for barking at nothing. But what if it had been something? What if Jake had been barking at wandering spirits like us?
We passed through the basement door and descended the steps. For now, it seemed we were still comfortable to following certain rules from the physical world. We still used the stairs, walked through doorways, kept to the street for traveling. Perhaps, one day we would be confident enough to just drop down through the floor, or attempt to rise up through the ceiling, but for now, in certain ways, I felt grounded to the world I knew.
At the bottom, we crossed the cold, concrete floor. Down here, little light filtered through the casement windows, but the others had enough light to see the things I already knew were there. A washer and dryer. An indoor clothesline, storage boxes piled in one corner, my grandmother’s old piano sitting in another corner, endlessly waiting repair. Directly across from us was another door, wood paneled, with a collage of rock posters torn from magazines plastered across it. Motley Crue, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Ratt.
“Let me guess, “ Lori said. “Your room?”
I looked at her. She was grinning and rolling her eyes at me. “Careful,” I said, grinning back. “Nikki Sixx eats goths for breakfast.”
She walked up to the door and pointed to the Motley Crue poster. “Then why is he so skinny?”
“Because he keeps throwing you back up,” Kelly replied with a sneer.
“Ha-ha. Well, if he had you for breakfast, it would be nothing but plastic,” she snapped back.
The rest of us laughed, but somehow Kelly didn’t see the humor in it. She gave Lori this look that screamed, ‘one day I’m going to get you, bitch.’ I had a feeling that eventually they were going to come to blows of some sort, if they could just figure out how to do it.
Lori passed through my bedroom door and we followed her through. If anyone thought Jake was going to freak out and go on the attack at all the intruders, they were wrong. Jake was a big dog, standing nearly to my hip when on all fours, and though generally excited and friendly, now he was cowering. I don’t think he was scared; he was just confused. He slinked up to me first and I held my hand out for him to sniff it, so, he would know for sure it was me. He took a sniff of my ghostly hand and retreated to the corner.
“Come on boy, we won’t hurt you.” Lori was holding out her hand as well , and walking towards him.
Donald thought of doing the same, and as he held his own hand out, Jake began growling. Not at him I don’t think, but just the whole situation. There were too many ghosts coming at him at once.
“Jake, it’s me, “ I said, my voice calm. “It’s okay, buddy. These are my friends.” My gentle tone seemed to reassure him and he sat down on his haunches. I reached out to pet him, thinking gone were the days when we’d sit out in the back yard, his head in my lap. Or chasing after the frisbee I’d toss from the porch. Wrestling on my bed. Feeding him treats right out of my hand.
He lowered his head and I patted his head. I smiled. I could feel his skin beneath my hand. Flesh against flesh, I rubbed him down, patting his thin hide, until he lay down and rolled over, offering his belly to me. I laughed and continued to pet him. His nub of a tail wagged, and then Lori leaned down and scratched him behind his ears. Her fingers did not pass through him. She smiled and squatted down beside me as we both enjoyed the simplest pleasure of petting Jake.
“Cool,” Donald said, and reached his hand for the dog. His didn’t meet flesh however. It went right through Jake and touched the floor. Seeing the hand pass right through him startled Jake, and the Doberman growled and bared his teeth. Donald stepped back. “Whoa, “ he said.
Lori looked at me. “What happened? Why couldn’t he touch Jake?”
I looked up at Donald. “I guess there wasn’t enough emotion to produce the energy to make contact. You never had a dog. You always wanted one. The emotion of wanting so bad to play with a dog as your own produced the energy to physically touch him. My desire just to play with my pet again produced it for me. But for Donald, he was just trying to join in. No emotion behind it.”
Donald frowned. “That’s not very fair, “ he said.
“I’m just trying to figure out what the fuck Hippy Einstein just said,” Brian lamented.
Kelly laughed. “Yeah, I’m lost too. I don’t speak nerd.”
I shook my head, but ignored both their jabs. “Look, it’s like this. We can touch inanimate objects if we want to. With just a little will power and concentration, physical contact can be made. But with live things, animal or human, there has to be an emotional connection. Love, desire, sadness, longing. Those things obviously produce some kind of energy that makes our spirit selves experience some semblance of physical contact. I don’t know if we are really touching, or whether the energy is just making us think we are, but either way, it works.”
“So If I wanted to kiss Kelly right now, I could?” Brian teased, to which Kelly smiled.
“If there’s enough emotion behind it, I would think so. But I would also think since you’re both ghosts, you both would have to expend the emotional energy in order to do it. Other wise, it would be quite one sided. One would feel it, the other wouldn’t.”
Brian looked at Kelly, and for a moment I saw a different side of him. “What do you say, Baby?”
She didn’t say anything. Instead, she tilted her head back and allowed him to take her into his arms. They didn’t pass through each other. His lips met hers, and he lifted her up, so her feet rose off the ground. He spun her around, their kiss becoming more intimate. Donald turned his back. Lori kept on petting Jake. I dared a glance at Lori and for a second I could have swore that somewhere someone was playing “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun. I smirked. At least the afterlife was working out for somebody.
+2016 Paul D Aronson+