Day 15: And Counting
- 27,679 words (if poetry, lines) long
Well, today didn't start all that auspiciously. Snow was coming down in buckets around the time I should have been getting ready to go to the farm. Since I could neither see myself busing and biking in that weather nor expect John to bus in it, I texted the folks at the farm to regretfully bow out of my usual Monday morning shift. John drove off for his first day at the new job. Then, of course, the snow stopped, late enough to keep me from retracting the no-go decision (besides, what if it started dumping again and I got stuck?) but early enough for me to feel terribly guilty about it.
And then I didn't manage to do anything besides answer a few emails all morning.
I blame guilt, personally. Guilt is no good. It was like, since I had no right to having this morning free, I couldn't let myself do anything else with the time. Or maybe it was just the gray, overcast morning spitting snow on and off that made the morning so blah. Maybe it was just my usual failure to get moving without externally enforced schedules to oblige motion.
In any case, that whole "action first, then motivation" thing. Action did not happen until pretty much dinner time.
However, at dinner time, I wrote. I worked on that novel. I ate my stir fry (bokchoi, brussels sprouts, tofu, mushroom) and I wrote that next scene. Because I am not allowed even one day off.
Between a joke that one of the Boulder NaNoWriMo participants made early in the month and a blog thread I spent a lot of this afternoon reading, I find myself tempted to put the whole "no days off" thing into AA terms. "Hello, my name is Niki. I've been writing every day for 15 days now. I know now that even one day without writing is too many. Some days are harder than others, but I'm just taking it one day at a time." It's remarkably apt.
Lia had not even realized Jet was on the roof yet. She had thought she'd have more warning, hear something more tell-tale than the sound of cars driving down the street. She had only just realized that they were driving way too slowly when the first gun shot, zzzzip!, yanked her eyes upward as though her head were on a string. Oh no, not yet, said her involuntary thoughts as she found the lone figure standing up on top the building. Please, not yet. But it was too late for that. Lia was thrust all unprepared onto the set of a TV firefight. She heard the eruption of bullets from street level, ugly explosions nothing like the single shot Jet had fired. And there was Jet, motionless amidst the deadly hail, arms spread like Christ for the cross. Lia's angle allowed her to see Jet clearly, if on the slant; the sun would have made her a featureless silohuette to her assailants, but to Lia she was real and fragile and suddenly blooming with blood. Lia whimpered softly with each impact, feeling the sound hiccup up her throat but hearing nothing but the gunshots.
When Jet took the dive, Lia screamed. She couldn't help it. She knew better, Jet had warned her, but the sound ripped its way out of her without stopping to consult silly things like knowledge. She stood screaming as Jet fell, frozen in place until she heard the too-quiet thump of a body hitting the ground. Then she was running, bursting out of the grass, sprinting across the corner of the parking lot, skidding to a halt on the lawn in front of the office building--
Where Jet was dying but not yet dead. After a fall of nearly a hundred feet, she still breathed. She must have deliberately managed that fall to give her time after impact--for what? To get checked into a hospital? To say something dramatic to Pa Montrose?
"Knew it." Jet's voice was low and hard to hear, but to Lia it was the only sound the world was capable of making. "Told you, 'go home.' Knew you--wouldn't--" Her eyes, too bright, got lost for a moment in a fit of coughing. Afterwards her voice was even fainter. "Predictable"
Lia put a tentative hand on her shoulder, then drew back, then touched her again. She wanted to hold her; she was afraid of hurting her. "Jet--"
Jet's hand closed around her wrist. Where she found the strength, Lia could not guess. "No time. Listen--coat pocket. Here." She drew Lia's hand to her own chest. "Quickly. Hide them. I'm coming back for them." When Lia hesitated, not so much unsure as simply uncomprehending, the dying woman squeezed her wrist painfully enough to make her gasp. "Do it, damn you! This hurts--this--so I could tell you--" Her fingers went slack, falling off Lia's arm. Her next words were barely an exhalation. "Take them and get out of here."
Lia fished inside the pocket and found the four blue pebbles, each a twin to the one in her stolen earring. She stared at them them in disbelief, then looked back to Jet for answers.
Jet had no more answers.