Friday, October 15, 2010
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.
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“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.