But today, I'm going to give you a sneak peak into my current work in progress.
To give you a little background... The novel will probably fall into the general fiction or women's fiction category. The story will be told from two perspectives. One being a forty-year-old widow and the other being a twenty-year-old Hispanic boy that has gotten himself wrapped up into one of the most violent gangs in the US...
Sneak Peak Exclusive: T.M. Souder's WIP
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places, events, and incidents are fictitious and products of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2012 by T.M. Souders
All rights reserved.
A nearby train shakes the quiet night. She feels the subtle vibrations from where she sits, hears the train’s whistle in the distance—in her car, only mere feet away from the place her husband was killed. One year ago today, three hundred and sixty five days to be exact. At forty years old, she was widowed. She imagines it must have been a night much like this one, warm with a crisp edge leftover from winter. She doesn’t remember if the air was warm or cold that night, if the stars were bright or the sky a blanket of clouds. Crippling numbness—that’s what she remembers, while the police officer told her that her husband was shot and killed on the streets of Trenton. An accident, he’d said, caught in crossfire between feuding gangs. Then, hours later, the numbness receded and the feeling returned to her body. Agony came like a thief in the night. A burglar. A caper. Pain spread from her heart to her arms, legs, fingers, and toes. It moved everywhere at once, vibrating through to her very soul and stealing it away, leaving nothing but anguish and agony in its place. Seventeen years of marriage gone in an instant. So much time together, yet not nearly long enough. Not even close.
The same pain wraps through her now as she stares at the concrete below the stoplight. She gets out of her car and approaches, keeping her eyes locked on the black street, illuminated with nothing but the red glow, then green, from the traffic light above it. There are no cars. Only her and her thumping heart. And her dark thoughts.
She crouches down on the curb next to the road and places a hand on the cool concrete. Closing her eyes, she imagines him. His dark hair, equally dark eyes. His wide smile and broad shoulders.
Laughter from a nearby house, both sudden and loud, startles her and grounds her to the present. She glances around the neighborhood, all cramped houses, peeling paint, and falling down porches. Everything dark and dreary. A closed convenience store and the brittle bones of an old gas station flank her. Signs of what once was. Much like her broken heart and the carcass of the remains she lives in.
Taking a deep breath, she stares at the rough surface below her hand, as if his blood still stains the earth there. “Ryan. I’m here. Can you hear me?” she asks, her voice shaking. She swallows hard, trying to force down the tears which threaten to keep her from saying what she needs to. “What am I saying? Of course you can hear me. You’re always with me. At least I hope…” She had tried a million times over the last twelve months to feel him, to see some sign that he was still around and watching over her. That he was okay, at peace. But just like now, all she sees and feels are grief and sadness.
“I came here because I thought maybe you might hear me better.” She forces the words out, but they burn in her throat like acid.
No. Why did I really come here? She glances up at the sound of oncoming footsteps. Two young men pass by dressed in dark clothes, glaring at her beneath oversized baseball caps. Their eyes pierce through her, as if they can read her thoughts. They disappear around the corner and to the back of the crumpling gas station.
She lays her head down now—on the concrete, three feet into the roadway, knowing it is stupid and dangerous. But not caring.
“Your brother told me that he needs me to come back to work. That our business can’t survive without me. But I’m not the same person anymore. The business was ours. Not just mine. Ours. How can I run it without you? How can I go on? Get dressed, go to work. I can’t. I don’t want to, and I haven’t for the past year.” A lump forms in her throat, and she’s openly sobbing now. Her body’s shaking, her nose runs into her mouth, and her cheek is throbbing from the rough concrete and bits of pebbles and debris digging into her skin. But it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.
“I know he’s right. It’s what you would want. And my sitting around isn’t bringing you back.” She speaks between hiccups. “It isn’t going to change the fact that I’m still here without you. That I’m alive and have to find a way to make it through the next few days, let alone the next few years.”
She sniffs and stares out into the empty street. The blare of rap music approaches from the distance, growing louder with each passing second, paired with the excited chatter of several men’s voices. She lifts her head up and sits back on her feet, glancing in the direction of the sound. A car heads toward her, illuminating her in the glow of its headlights. She squints and shields her eyes. The car slows and pulls up beside her. Five Hispanic men get out of the car. They’re dressed in blue. One wears a knit cap, and two others don bandannas over sweaty, greasy faces. Their eyes are hard and dark. Her skin prickles, but she doesn’t move. Even when the boys step into the street, their eyes boring into hers, she remains still, aware that she should be afraid, but feeling nothing.
“Hey guera. What a fine lookin’ chica like you doin’ in our neck ‘a the woods, eh?” The short one, with tattoos covering his shaved skull, addresses her. He glances to her car, an XFG Mercedes and back again. “That’s a nice ride you got there.”
For the first time, Elizabeth glances around her and notices the blur of blue graffiti scrawled all over the dilapidated buildings. “You like our artwork?” He asks.
She stares into the cold man’s menacing eyes, saying nothing, wondering if this is what it was like for Ryan. If he saw them coming, looked into their eyes before he was shot. Or was it really like the police said? A sudden burst of gang crossfire that happened to hit an unlucky passerby? She had asked herself those questions a million times, among others. Did he suffer? Was he afraid? Did he think of her before he took his last breath?
The men step forward. They surround her, all five of them, and she wonders if it was one of them. Was it one of their guns? Their bullets? The short one with the tattooed head crouches in front of her. The stench of his breath nearly makes her gag, but his lips curl into a sneer and stop her. He reaches around her, grabbing her long, blonde hair deftly by the roots and yanking her head up until she yelps.
This is why she came. The real reason. Not to talk to Ryan. Not to wish a final farewell to her beloved. Or move on. She wanted death to find her by the hands of these monsters. She wanted the habitual agony to end. No more having to live without him. Except her death wouldn’t be an accident. It wouldn’t be senseless, or a shame. Because she came looking for it.
“We’re going to have a little fun, guera.” A wicked grin flashes over the short one’s round face before it disappears, his fist finds her face, and her world goes black.