Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Snippet

With where I am in both works I'm presently ... working on ... I had difficulty finding a section that didn't give away earlier action. This is from my winter holiday story:

The presents glinted under the tree, but Irena hardly thought about gifts this year - not even the look on her grandfather's face when he saw the antique watch. Instead, she was fixed on the party, the thought of spending time with Justin, and the hovering promise of mistletoe.

Christmas Eve arrived with no phone call from her mother, perhaps because she stood staring at the phone, willing it to ring. Irena expected to feel more resentment, but her heart seemed to be encased in ice. It was difficult to feel anything, even joy over the snow that had delighted her - still fresh and crisp on the ground, as if it had fallen that very morning.

"I am sure her duties are very important," her grandfather said.

"A midnight call, I expect." Her grandmother's pinched face encouraged her to believe this. "So as to reach us when it's properly Christmas."

Phone call or not, Irena didn't intend to be home at midnight. She endured a day of carols, cookies and traditional Christmas movies - a Christmas Story, Elf and, for reasons never properly explained, The Long Kiss Goodnight - with her attention elsewhere. She felt more distant from her family than she ever had before and wondered if it was more than the party on her mind.

"I don't feel well," she said after dinner, feeling the tingle of the lie dance on her tongue. "I think I ate too much. Do you mind if I lie down?"

"Go on, dear."

Irena trudged upstairs, resisting the urge to sprint instead. She plumped her pillow and blankets in what she hoped was a convincing fashion. Truth was, she had never broken out of her house before. What if she couldn't manage the climb down? Television made it seem so easy. Obligatory for any teenaged girl, in fact. At the very least, she knew she couldn't risk wearing tights and a dress. Well, she had planned on slacks anyhow. It was dorky, but her thighs were too big.

She tossed her cellphone on the dresser and eased the window open, wincing when it creaked. The cold slapped her in the face. She held her breath, sliding out shoulders-first. Her fingers clutched awkwardly at a frost-covered branch. It stung. She should have worn gloves, but they were downstairs in the closet. She wobbled out into the crook of the tree and pushed the window as far shut as it would go from the outside.

Then she was alone in the darkness.

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