Friday, October 15, 2010

Mama Said

Today's muse:

This was originally the prologue to the book I'm writing. I decided, instead, to use it later in the book as a flashback. Or, perhaps, I won't use it all. The book is still evolving. It is edited for the blog and won't likely be recognizable in the book, but I thought I'd put it out there and get some feedback.

* * *

Mama Said

“Run and hide,” Mama said, whenever he got this angry. So Erica crouched in the corner behind her mother’s tattered, second-hand dresses, pressed her hands against her tiny ears to silence the yelling. She knew he’d punish her if he found her.

It wasn’t unusual to hear them shout, but it was different this time. He was in a rage like she had never seen before. His deep voice, slurred with alcohol, shouted threats while Mama pleaded for him to leave.

Erica pressed her thin frame further into the corner, hugged her legs to her chest and rocked. She heard him throw things around the room and shout bad words. Something shattered—perhaps a glass—followed by a high scream. Then nothing but silence.

She held her breath and waited. There was quiet movement in the room—someone was moving things, straightening up. She knew it was Mama making a useless attempt at making their home seem normal. Erica crept from the corner to help.

The closet door squeaked as it eased open. He turned, his red-rimmed eyes wide in surprise. An enormous hulking man, he towered over her, a faded plaid shirt stretched over his belly. She wrinkled her nose at the stink of beer and stale cigarettes. A low growl vibrated in his throat as he lumbered over.

Erica’s eyes darted around the room in desperate search of Mama. At the edge of the bed, she caught the faded fabric of a familiar dress and followed the trail of flowered material until she saw Mama’s face.

A pool of blood stained the matted carpet around Mama’s hair. She met Erica’s stare and blinked, the effort clouding her eyes with pain. A crimson bubble formed at her mouth as she spoke. It was the last thing Erica remembered from that night.

“Run and hide,” Mama said.


Marc said...

Gave me chills.

Absolutely gripping. I would be sad if you didn't make use of this.

Spook The Scribbler said...

Ooh, creepiness galore! I love the way you link the beginning and the end together.
The description at the end gave me the chills!

Heather said...

I thought I would stop by, read a bit, comment, and then ask how the book was coming. What a surprise to find I would get to read an excerpt of it (heavily edited or not)!

It's good. I've come to expect great from you though. I didn't feel pulled into the story like I usually do. It seemed to be lacking the emotional qualities that I usually see in your writing. And I saw the twist coming as soon as the glass shattering was followed by silence. Perhaps the change is because of it being edited for the blog?

That said, there were great elements. I especially love the last two paragraphs. The description of the man, his dress, and the growl in his throat was also fabulous.

I know we don't know each other and this much 'feedback; may not have been what you were expecting, but I imagine if you are writing a book you want it to be the best it can be.

I promise not to comment on your book passages in this manner again without your permission!

glnroz said...

you CANNOT just leave this here, like this, you know that don't ya? Where is the rest of it? I will be patient, for awhile,,:)

Monica Manning said...

@Heather: I encourage comments like yours and have absolutely no problem with constructive criticism. I'm glad you posted that, as I felt the same way once I had edited it. The original piece is very different and, after reading an article that dismissed the prologue (insisting that back-story was a better concept) I thought I'd rework it. But now that you've written that and I've had a few other comments from friends by email, I think I'll keep the prologue. It works better.

Thanks for your input, Heather...don't stop!