Reading, Reading, Reading, and a little Writing
Does this ever happen to you? The laundry pile has turned into Mount Washmore, the livingroom is in dire need of vaccuuming, last night’s supper dishes are still piled in the sink, there are errands that need to be run, but instead of doing all those chores you sit yourself down with a (virtual) stack of books and read to your little heart’s content. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does that.
In the last few days I’ve read about half a dozen books and novellas. Sometimes I go on a reading spree and ignore everything else that I should be doing. Since I’m single and don’t have children to look after (I don’t count the cats, they take care of themselves pretty well), I can get away with that. But when I finally emerge from my reading orgy I find that the laundry still isn’t done, the dishes are still piled in the sink and the livingroom is still a disaster. Worse, I’ve made no progress on the story I’m writing. I guess that means I better get going on Eddie and Lisa’s story. To wet your appetites, here’s a snip from Chapter One, when Lisa and Carla are brought to Kearney.
The usual things apply. This is unedited, unpolished, and may change a little during editing.
Inside the wall the scenery went from urban disaster to country sprawl. It was pretty. This is what she had expected from the walled fortress she and Carla had found this morning. There was tall meadow grass growing on either side of the road, and a big white Victorian house with pillars guarding its veranda at the end of the gravel drive. Some smaller houses were there too, and a barn and some other buildings that looked well maintained. The wagon rumbled down the drive to the rear of the house. A couple men came out onto the wide covered porch. The wagon stopped about ten yards from the house. One of the men, big-bellied with brown hair and a grizzled graying beard came down to talk to their farmer escort. Mayor Madison? Yes, the farmer called him Mayor. Lisa thought he looked like a beer-bellied, aging hippy with a hangover. Carla stood up and swung herself over the side of the wagon, landing on the dirt driveway with easy grace. Lisa doubted she could do that even if her feet hadn’t been killing her.
The second man flowed down the steps with the lithe grace of a cat and when the sun hit him Lisa caught her breath. His hair was golden, flowing in smooth waves to his shoulders. His face was elegant, sun-kissed to a creamy golden tan, perfect in each clear-cut feature. As a model, Lisa had worked with many handsome men, but none of them could top this one. Such beautiful blue-green eyes with dark lush lashes shouldn’t belong to a man. Or that wide, gracefully curving kissable mouth. He could almost be called pretty, except that his jaw was hard, his chin square and his shoulders broad. He came and stood beside the wagon. For once she didn’t notice a single thing that could be enhanced in the appearance of someone she was meeting for the first time. He was a golden god. Lisa stared, besotted, into his beautiful, dark-lashed eyes until she heard Carla snort. Then she blinked and blushed, and saw him do the same.
“Can I help you down?” asked the golden god in a low, quiet voice.
“Oh,” Lisa began, but before she could say anything else he stepped up on the wheel axle, put his hands on her waist and lifted her without effort to the ground. She stifled her gasp of pain when he put her on her feet. “Thank you.”
“Are you hurt?” he asked with quick concern.
The concern warmed her, but Lisa hurried to brush it off. “No, just a little sore.” She could have stared at him all day, but she tried to act her age. She extended her hand. “Hi, I’m Lisa Anton. And this is Carla Zimmerman.”
He nodded politely at Carla and turned his eyes back to Lisa, taking her hand like it was breakable, spun glass. “Eddie Madison. Pleased to meet you.” He seemed to have to force himself to look back at Carla. “Pleased to meet you both.”
Carla nodded back distractedly, apparently more interested in the conversation between the bearded aging hippy and the farmers than this Greek god come to life. There was a line between her brows as she looked from their escort to Mayor Madison. The golden god was listening too, so Lisa tried to focus.
Skinny? The mayor was gesturing at her, saying something about her being skin and bones? And Carla too? Carla was by no means obese, but she was at least twenty pounds too heavy for her height. Lisa tried to follow the conversation, but all she could grasp was that the farmers were talking about her and Carla like they were used cars they were trying to sell to a skeptical buyer. And the buyer kept pointing out flaws like he was trying to get the price dropped down.
“Hey!” said Carla loudly. “We need help. The plane we were in crashed. People are hurt. They need to get to a hospital.”
All the men—and some more had drifted over from the houses—stared at her. The mayor pointed triumphantly at Carla. “And they’re crazy!” he shouted at the farmers, as if that were a clinching argument.
“They’re fertile,” the farmer countered, “and still young enough to have twenty years of child bearing ahead.”
Lisa blinked. The words floated over the top of her mind before sinking in. “What?” she gasped.
“The blonde is too skinny to be fertile,” the mayor argued.
The farmer responded but Lisa didn’t hear it because the golden god had put his hand on her arm and whispered, “I don’t mind that you’re skinny. I’ll see that you have plenty of food so you can fatten up.”
Lisa pulled her arm away, half-offended, and caught up with the conversation. “Eddie,” the mayor said, “why don’t ya take them gals up to the porch where they can set in the shade. Fetch them some water, too. They’re probably thirsty from the drive into town.”
“Sure, dad,” Eddie said, reaching for Lisa’s arm again.
The farmer grabbed Lisa before Eddie could, and jerked her away so violently that she stumbled on her aching feet and almost fell. “They can stay put until we finish our business.”
Eddie’s beautiful face was hard and angry. “You be careful with her. You wouldn’t want to damage the merchandise,” he added sarcastically.
Carla was looking like she couldn’t believe her ears. “Didn’t you hear me?” she yelled. “I said, there’s been a plane crash and people need medical help!”
Eddie’s dad looked over at her with a serious expression. “Don’t you worry, little lady, we’ll discuss that as soon as these gentlemen and I finish our talk. I promise, we’ll figure out what’s best to do.”
Lisa stood next to Carla beside the wagon, listening in disbelief as the farmers sold them to Eddie’s dad. The other men who had come out to see what was going on began filing back and forth, carrying bundles and boxes from one of the barns to the wagon. Carla was stiff with anger, her arms folded over her chest, her large handbag hanging from one elbow. “The going price for two fertile women?” she hissed sarcastically to Lisa. “Fifty pounds of coffee, a hundred pounds of sugar and a chunk of salt. Are you insulted? I am. I’m worth at least twice that.”
Lisa nodded numbly. She’d always thought religious people were trustworthy. But these guys really were some sort of weird cult. She and Carla were just lucky the cultists hadn’t done something worse than sell them to the mayor of the neighboring town. She watched the Odessa men turn the wagon and head away from the house.