Chapter Two: The Next Part

Well, it’s been a couple days since I started this journal, and I have nothing to write. My days are very routine and dull. First, I wake up, usually in a sweat, and turn off my alarm. Recently, I’ve been waking up before the bell even rings, which fills me with a sense of accomplishment despite my damp sheets. I then make breakfast for myself and my father. We sit at the breakfast table in silence, for the most part, and eat after taking our respective pills for the day. Because of the ice-cream truck incident, I have several that I have to take. I forget what they do, really, since I’ve been taking them so long. Like I said, it’s just routine.

After breakfast, I go upstairs to my room and check my calendar. I know most people keep track of things on their phones, but I’ve never gotten the hang of that digital stuff. Paper and pen just feel so much more reliable. I check to see if I have any appointments and then dress accordingly, after a shower of course.

Today I had a doctor’s appointment, so I left the house at quarter to eleven, only to remember that the office had moved location to a different building. I’m usually quite good with directions, so I wandered a bit and eventually ended up where I was supposed to be. The doctor had nothing new to say. I just have to wait for the results of more tests. I was feeling a little bit annoyed with the lack of progress, so after the meeting was done I decided to just keep walking. There are lots of one-way streets in this town, and if you’ve ever visited here you’ve probably driven the wrong way down one of them at least twice. I was trying to remember the word that comes next in the phrase “federal, provincial, ___” when I realized I was in a part of the neighborhood that was unfamiliar to me. I turned around a couple times and figured out that my street was farther away than I originally thought, and I would have to go through to the other side of this area to get home. The street immediately to my right was the best bet, so I started down the road, which was another one-way street, judging by the signs. One thing that struck me was that there were no cars on this street. I’d hardly call it a street, even, it was more of a lane. And despite all the houses along either side, none of them had driveways that connected through. It was as if all the houses had turned their painted backs to the road, and many of them had even fenced in their yards, further isolating the little street from the residences. When I got to the end of the short cut, I looked back, more out of curiousity than anything, and saw that there was a matching “No Entry” sign facing oncoming cars. No one would ever turn down that lane, unless they were ignoring law and order entirely. I thought it was rather sad, this unused track of concrete blocked off from the world of traffic. I determined to use this path more often in the future. Like visiting someone in hospital, it would feel both a penance and a reward. I don’t remember seeing a name for the street, but I’ll look harder next time.

“Municipal”. That’s the word. Municipal.

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NaNoWriMo

Dear Vincent,

As you and I have lamented many times, I am not a novelist. I’ve never made any claims to anything long or epic in nature. But I’m gonna try NaNoWriMo this year, mostly because I have nothing else to do but ALSO because I have a friend who is inspiring me. Here’s my first post, chapter one of what I’m calling “I Am Not A Novelist” (working title). The narrator, whose character is very loosely based upon myself, may require a sharper scalpel in future rewrites.

Synopsis

Follow the day-to-day perplexities of our heroine, Elizabeth Snubb, as she tries to buy groceries, get to doctors’ appointments on time, and navigate the strange streets of Suffoc-upon-Shire, sans personal vehicle.

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE: Hello and Welcome to the Middle of the Film.

I am not a novelist. I’m barely a writer, honestly. But sometimes you have to put yourself out there, or at least that’s what Axle says. So here goes. My attempted novelization. Not that my daily struggles are very interesting, but at least I can say I’ve tried, so, you know, there’s that.

Axle is my internet therapist. He’s not really a therapist, but he’s on the internet and he gives me advice. He lives somewhere south of here, far enough south that he rarely sees snow and thinks that it’s charming rather than an ungodly nuisance. I’ve tried explaining the winters here, but I guess I’ve never been very good with words. Which is ironic, really.

Anyway.

The reason I’m writing this is because I told my actual therapist about a couple dreams I had and she suggested I start writing down my experiences and thoughts, and when I told Axle about it, he agreed. It probably says something about me, that I have two therapists. But I figure if they both agree on something, I should probably listen. Two heads are better than, you know. So here I am.

I guess I should start by saying something about the dreams. They started twelve months ago, when my elderly father moved in downstairs from me. I was hit by an ice-cream truck a while back, so I don’t have to work, in the conventional sense. Which means that I’m the sibling who has the time to take care of him while we try to arrange a stay in a hospice or home. Axle thinks it’s really depressing but I don’t mind so much. The nightmares are taking on a sense of familiarity, especially since I started sleeping on the couch in dad’s living room. That way I’ll wake up if he starts a fire or something.

Last night I dreamt I was in a cabin similar to the one I spent my summers in as a child. The wooden rafters were full of cobwebs, and I kept worrying that spiders would drop down on me. I heard something at the door and opened it to find an otter, still wet from the lake, wriggling around on the front porch. I reached down to pet it and then realized its snout was more angular than a cheerful little otter; in fact, the more I looked at it, the more it looked like an overly-large ferret. I stopped my hand a mere inch or so from its chin and it opened its mouth to reveal spiny teeth protruding from its jaw like an angler-fish. I jerked my hand away before it could bite me and slammed the door. Suddenly, there were other people in the cabin with me, but they were only shades of themselves and I couldn’t recognize them. I walked back into the kitchen area to get my tea and had to duck under the spiderwebs, which became more and more concentrated the closer I got to the table. I got my hand stuck, trying to reach for my cup, and the movement of freeing myself sent an alarm to all the spiders, who started to drop down on their strings, a myriad of black legs, and arachnids of every size and shape carpeting the table, chairs, and me.

When I woke up, I made fish sticks for breakfast. Dad thought it was night time because it was still a bit dark out. I didn’t correct him.

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Red Right Hand

It’s almost 1 AM. I’m walking with no particular destination in mind, just enjoying the cool night now that the sun has set. As I’m wandering under the street-lights, there, coming toward me, walks a nondescript man in a full three-piece suit and fedora, ALL WHITE, with two gorgeous mottled greyhounds on leashes.

I can’t help but stare. My footsteps slow as he approaches and I tilt my head to the side with what must be a baffled expression, but he just smiles and says, “Hello…”

And I say, “Is this real life?”

He laughs and we exchange pleasantries. I pet his dogs. But the whole time I am thinking, “If this were a scene in a novel he would be the gentleman devil incarnate and these hounds are the hounds of hell!”

I thank him for this utterly surreal experience. It has made my night. He says, “You’re just lucid dreaming.”

I laugh and say, “If that were true, we’d be having sex right now.” I look him deep the eyes and hold his stare with eerie intensity. “All of us.”

The dogs pull at the leads. I think I’ve just out-creeped the devil.

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