Like I mentioned on Sunday, I’ve been working on my Nanowrimo for this November. Somehow I’m at 20,000+ words – and needless to say… I’m very pleased with myself. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I’ve been writing for almost 50 pages and didn’t outline a single word (Though now that I’ve reached the mid-section and am at a loss for further words… that’s becoming Very Apparent). I did say I would post a sample of what I’m working on – so I have here the first two pages. No indication of the Swedish folklore that I promised (but I can assure you on page 50 that there definitely is). Let me know what you think and if you’d like me to post more excerpts or if you’d like it in it’s whole unedited entirety.
It seemed like months since she had laid her hand upon a book, or anything resembling printed literature. Even brushing her hand against the cover of the trashy airport novel sent electric shocks up her spine. She shouldn’t be here. Her eyes skirted furiously around the bookstore, darting between each patron to the next. Any one of them could be observing her, and reporting back. She could be caught.
Abruptly she stood, snatching her hand away from the cover like it was coated in a thin layer of acid. Her hair stood on end as she shakily walked towards the barista; she had to do something, anything than touch the book again. Even now her fingers were trembling, going through the stages of withdrawal again. They couldn’t know where she was. Her last thought ended on an upward tilt, as she realized in horror that she couldn’t be sure.
“May I get you anything, ma’am,” the man behind the counter asked, eyeing her as one would a wild animal or a particularly furious cat,
“Green tea,” she answered quickly, brushing off the paranoia, “Small, please”
“That’ll be 1.50,”
She handed him the money and smiled appropriately as he handed back her change. Deeper breathing now and slower, the calming movements of her breath flowing in and out of her lungs making her less and less worried. That was, until a hand clamped down upon her shoulder. She started and turned around, laying eyes on a taller and unobtrusive man.
“I noticed you looking at that book over there,” he said pleasantly, “Did you happen to remember which one it was?” His eyes tracked her shaky movement slyly.
“Oh no, sorry” she apologized with a confidence she did not feel, “I didn’t actually even touch it,”
“I must have seen wrong then,” he responded with a smile, “I do have to get my eyes checked,”
She laughed uncomfortably before straightening up and looking to the door of the bookstore longingly. Her companion laughed suddenly,
“You’re not thinking of going anywhere, are you?” he looked at her pointedly,
Her face reddened slightly and she shook her head dejectedly, arms hanging uselessly by her sides.
“No,” she murmured quietly,
“What’s that?” he asked with a rising of his eyebrows,
“No sir,” she bit out.
“Now, that wasn’t so difficult was it?” he chuckled condescendingly, “Now take a seat with your tea – I think we’re going to be here awhile, Katerina”
Her name came out of his mouth like something grotesque, something wrong that wasn’t meant to be there. Her body shuddered a moment, before she grit her teeth and moved to pick up her still steaming tea, resisting the urge to throw the tea in his face. The barista was eyeing her with an inscrutable stare and Katerina was surprised to watch his eyes dart from her trembling hands to the larger man behind her. He quickly snatched up the tea before she had a chance to remove it from the counter top.
“Sorry did you say you ordered tea?” he asked innocently, “This is actually our new juice blend – I must have heard you wrong.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she responded, puzzled as to why the barista was eyeing her with that strange expression on his face.
“I’ll make another one, on the house,” he promised with a winning smile, “Why don’t you go sit at that table near the window and I’ll bring it to you myself”
She almost smiled. The kindness of everyday civilians never ceased to amaze her and as the barista moved to make the new drink, their eyes made contact and he gestured with a dart of his eyeballs towards the door. Dare she risk it? They had found her before, after all… what’s to say they wouldn’t find her again? Not that they had the right name, but it still hurt to hear something so close to her very own name and be forced to pretend as though it had some effect.
“Go ahead,” she started. She had forgotten the actual threat standing behind her, and pursing her lips – she made for the table. The sunlight was streaming into the windows, and Katerina’s gaze moved to the outside world. She didn’t see any guards yet, nor any of the usual shady figures that haunted these meetings.
That meant she had a chance, or at least a sliver of one.
Chancing a glance at the man and barista, she was pleased to note that the barista was gushing about some new band or something similarly inane as the man impatiently tapped his foot and glanced hurriedly at his phone.
Then fate took things into her own hands. A large group of Japanese tourists entered the café, talking loudly over one another as they obscured her view of the two men chatting at the counter. It was now or never.