Sisters

With National Novel Writing Month less than three weeks away, planning for this year’s NaNo novel is finally underway. After playing around with different protagonists I think I’ve settled on Scarlett. Here’s a sneak preview of the story:

“What?” Scarlett lowered the phone from her ear and stared at it without comprehension. Several moments later she raised it back to her cheek. “Are you sure?” Her blood was pumping like a river in her ears now, torrents of emotion surged through her like thick tar, drowning her in sticky disbelief. She knew the words being spoken on the other end of the telephone line were in her native tongue and yet they may as well have been in Martian, for all she was processing of them. A memory popped into her head then, so clear it was like watching a television screen. She and Ruby were children, sitting on the front lawn of the White House that sloped down towards the sea. It was a warm summer’s day with an unusually gentle breeze and yet their mother had dressed them in warm tights and corduroy pinafore dresses. Scarlett remembered the scratchiness of the tights, her longing to remove them and feel the coolness of the grass against her legs, to stretch out and close her eyes; to dream. Her sister, however, seemed not to care, so engrossed was she in the flora and fauna, not to mention the iced bun clasped between her chubby fingers. They were so different even then, but for all their differences they loved each other. They were sisters after all. “Hello?” The woman’s voice at the end of the crackly phone line sounded impatient now. She had delivered her news and that, it seemed, was where her sympathy ended. “I’m sorry,” said Scarlett, her voice hoarse. “It’s just a lot to take in.” “Of course,” said the woman, her tone flat. “Now I go, okay?” Scarlett hung up the call and let the phone slip from her grasp. It landed on the floor with a thud that matched the thudding of her heart. Ruby, her beautiful, inquisitive, infuriating little sister, was dead.

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