Friday, August 17, 2012

Excerpt: Chapter Two of FIGHTING GRAVITY

Sorry, folks, no #fridayflash for a few weeks. Instead, I'm revealing excerpts from Defying Gravity, Fighting Gravity, and Pull of Gravity. So, here is Chapter Two of Fighting Gravity.

You can read Chapter One of Fighting Gravity here.

 

CHAPTER TWO


We’ve spoken with Elder McGee, and he’s interested in you, sweetheart. He’s proposing a marriage agreement.” Marissa’s father’s voice pierced her mind.

She glanced at the dim lights popping over her birth town. They reminded her of stars in a pollution-hazed atmosphere. Tonight, these celestial objects gleamed brighter than in her childhood. As the electricity grew sparse, so did the pollution in the sky.

How could I leave my family behind? The thought left her mouth dry and tightened her heart.

Her parents wouldn’t know she’d left until morning.

Perhaps they’d be relieved. Her departure meant one less mouth to feed. As the oldest of six children, she should’ve had a family of her own by now. Fate didn’t work like it did a century ago before the Reckoning. The sprawling metropolises and suburban areas had been filled with eligible bachelors.

Then, the asteroid hit—the town’s folk claimed it was the size of Mr. Ranger’s farm, or about a mile in diameter —into the Atlantic Ocean. The Earth tilted. Those who didn’t die right away had to find other ways to live. Many fled south to safety. Everything had changed in that instant more than fifty years before she was born.

Now if she wanted to marry, her choice included being Elder McGee’s third wife. Although he was the town’s leader, she couldn’t stand to kiss his scratchy chin or deal with the white hair sprouting from his ears. She shuddered at the thought.

Why had the young men abandoned the town?

“Good-bye.” She shook her head. Her breath plumed before her as it mixed with the cold air. She had to continue forward. Her feet crunched the dried grasses, and her bag bumped against her back. She topped the hill and descended away from her home and toward her future. With the town disappearing behind her, she could almost believe her old life never existed.

Her body grew numb from the frigid temperatures. She blew on her gloved fingers and rubbed them together. Her digits tingled from the brief heat. Soon, she’d have to stop, light a fire, and warm up before continuing to the big city of St. Louis. Ships journeyed along the New Atlantic Ocean on a daily basis, or so she’d heard. From there, she would travel south and start her new life.

Or that was the plan.

Farther down the hill, the blackened forest reached toward her like an army of boogeymen. What creatures lurked amongst those dying trees? Wild dogs had attacked Mr. Ranger’s chickens a few weeks ago. Perhaps she should’ve brought some weapons, like a gun or a knife, instead of a pair of scissors. Not that she would know how to use a gun or a knife. She didn’t even know how the scissors would work in her grand scheme of things, but she couldn’t travel completely unprepared.

Her steps slowed to a halt. Perhaps she should turn back. Night would last another three or four hours. She could return to her small cot in the corner of the two-roomed house. No one would have to know she left. Perhaps being a third wife wouldn’t be too bad. She didn’t have to do this.

But she did.

Her eyes closed as she remembered the town meeting a month ago. There she had learned Jimmy, Lane, and Barron had fled to St. Louis. They should have arrived by now. Perhaps they were on a ship to South America. She sank to the ground. Frost chilled her butt, but she didn’t move. Barron had been so sweet to her. He’d followed her around like a lost puppy when they were going to school. Lane was a genius. If anyone could’ve saved their little town, it was he. Jimmy was a little odd, a complete follower, but she had nothing against him.

They’d fled, robbing the town of hope.

She’d known that day she would leave too. It’d taken a month to gather her courage to run away. Her parents’ marriage arrangement with the good Elder was the last kick she needed. No, she couldn’t go back.

She stood, adjusted the bag on her back, and brushed off the grass from her behind. Time to keep moving. The farther away she was the better. After all, she wouldn’t want them to look for her.

Would they?

She scurried toward the forest.

Whoosh!

A flash illuminated the sky. Her eyes widened, the light casting afterimages in her vision. What was that? Her heart leapt to her throat and stuck there.

Boom!

The ground trembled, and she lost her balance and tumbled forward. Her fingers clutched at the grass, and her body halted at a rock. Her hands and knees hurt, but she’d live. Whatever fell from the sky might not be as lucky.

Amongst the husks of the tree trunks, smoky tendrils twirled into the air. Where there’s smoke . . . . She hesitated to check out the site miles away from her. She’d read about airplanes in books, but none had flown since the asteroid strike. Could it have been a satellite? It appeared larger than she’d imagined. She pulled her lower lip into her mouth and chewed on it. Damn it. The crash had happened right along the path she was taking. Curiosity seized her, and she hoped it wouldn’t treat her like a cat.

The crash site was on her path to St. Louis. She didn’t have the time to go around, so she strode toward the accident.

If you've enjoyed what you've read, you can purchase and continue reading the rest of Fighting Gravity at these retailers:  iTunes  Kobo  Nook  Amazon  Amazon UK  Amazon DE  Amazon FR  Amazon IT  Amazon ES  Smashwords

Next Friday, we'll meet Nike in Chapter One of Pull of Gravity. 

8 comments:

Aubrie said...

This is one of my favorite scenes because she is taking her life in her own hands and choosing her own path for herself. Very strong characterization.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great Scene! I have to agree with Aubrie - I like how she takes her life into her own hands and chooses her own path!

Callie Leuck said...

I love your writing style. It's so immersive :)

M Pax said...

Great hook, and you kept me reading. Can't wait to read the rest, Cherie.

Christine Rains said...

I love that you added this scene in for Marissa. It says so much about her character.

Kittie Howard said...

I agree with the comments above. Your characterizations are rich and have depth...loved how the decision to take charge of one's life evolved.

Tracy Bermeo (A2Z Mommy) said...

I wouldn't have wanted to be the third wife of an old guy with hair coming out of his ears either. Good for her for leaving.

Nick Wilford said...

Great insight into your character's turmoil here. You also worked in the backstory unobtrusively - because it relates to her current situation. Nice job!