Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday Snippet 38

Apparition of the Face of Aphrodite
by Salvador Dali
print for sale at

This is the forth part to this story and like the last two parts is hot off the keyboard. Last weeks snippet ended with a hint of a flashback as fifteen year old Crystal, a runaway who had woke to find herself alone in a motel room she didn't remember how she had arrived in, explored the room for clues and finding some disturbing photos of herself, flashed on a memory of a day about the same time one year previous.

I could have left it at that and returned to the motel scene which I've got visualized in great detail since it is based on one I once lived and worked in and for which I've also worked out much of the plot events and character dynamics. But I chose instead to take advantage of the chance to highlight the contrast between her life before she left home and the morning she woke up in a sleazy motel. And to hint at the horror refered to in the title and why the grim realities of life on the street might seem preferable. The task was much more daunting than I first thought as I had not really worked out the family dynamics, let alone named them all! I think I spent two hours on Think Baby Names.

I don't know whether next week's snippet will continue this scene or return to the motel.

Home is Where the Horror Is

by Joy Renee

(part one; part two; part three;)

The memory of that Saturday afternoon grew vivid in her mind, the light of it so bright she squinted against it even now, here inside this dingy, dim motel room. Crystal remembered how she'd closed her book and notebook as she'd finished the last algebra problem. How she'd tucked her long French braids up inside a swim cap and flung off the wrap she'd worn over her swimsuit and then headed for the diving board. With four siblings and their playmates it was rare for her to have the family pool to herself on a Saturday afternoon. Any afternoon for that matter. But that day, shortly before her fifteenth birthday, thirteen year old Jasper was away at soccer practice, eleven year old Jade had not returned from her sleepover, the three little ones were still napping, as was her Mom and Dad was still working on his sermon for the next morning.

She remembered how the cool water had slipped along her skin like a silky garment as she dived in and then swam along the bottom to the shallow end; how it slid off in sheets as she stood up and walked up the underwater steps; how she had returned to the board and dived again and again, losing herself in the rhythms of her limbs stroking through the water. Those moments alone under the water were her source of serenity. Under the water was the only place she felt completely herself; completely composed.

The last time she had dived she had stayed down for three laps, surfacing that time at the deep end near the diving board where her wrap and towel lay on a nearby patio chair. As she had lifted herself over the edge with trembling arms she glanced up to see her father standing in the open patio door of his study. His gaze caused a shiver to course over her skin and her arms tremored so she nearly had to fall back into the water. But she managed to catch one toe on the edge and launch herself the rest of the way up and out. Standing on the deck she grabbed for her wrap and tied it around her waist before picking up the towel. She'd quickly patted the water off her face to keep it out of her eyes before slinging the large towel around her shoulders and gripping its ends together.

Her father's silent gaze as she walked over to gather up her school books from her earlier study session was unnerving her. She wondered how long he had been watching. Not since that harrowing year when hormones had reshaped her body and mind with the finesse of a tornado, morphing her between one birthday and the next into something she no longer recognized as herself, had she felt this shiver of shame under his gaze. Not since Winston, who had just started Kindergarten, had been in diapers.

Stan Garnett finally spoke as she, with books gripped against her chest to hold the towel in place, she reached up to pull off the swimcap and let her braids fall out.

"Your mother is unwell today and would like for you to prepare supper. The menu is on the fridge door. I'm heading over to pick up Jasper and Jade. Jade is bringing home a friend to spend the night and go to Sunday School with her. So set a place for her. You'll need to monitor Winston's activities and bedtime this evening. Prepare a tray for your mother and I'll take it up to her when I get back." He turned without waiting for her reply, pulling shut the patio door and disappearing into the dark interior of his study.

She heard the sound of the front door shutting on the far side of the house before she had reached the patio door into the kitchen.

3 tell me a story:

IanT 4/05/2008 7:35 AM  

Good line:
Not since that harrowing year when hormones had reshaped her body and mind with the finesse of a tornado...

Less sure about the 'morphing'. It sounds a little mixed metaphor and a little doughy. Perhaps 'transforming', if only for the alliteration?

Anonymous,  4/05/2008 8:42 PM  

Hmmm. I think I see where this is going. Ick. Nice setting of the scene though--and the mention of "harrowing" and "tornado" gives us the mood...

Joely Sue Burkhart 4/07/2008 4:31 PM  

Oh, poor Crystal. I'm like Cheryl, I'm afraid I see where this is going. So very powerful, though!

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