Happy Saturday, folks. I've managed about 1,000 words of my WIP, which is way under my goal, but the day's not over yet so maybe I'll get to my goal before the day is out.
During one of many episodes of procrastination, I found a scene I'd written well over a year ago. It's funny how far my writing has come in just one year. So, bearing my amateurocity (new word), I've attached it to the end of this post. You will find adverbs galore, I promise. It's also much longer than what I usually post, so no worries if it daunts.
I hope everyone's having a good weekend. Here in Texas it is HOT, and if not for A/C I'd be curled up in a ball somewhere weeping. I hate heat. I lived in Colorado too many years, for one. I used to have an old Ford with no A/C and that was just miserable down here. The heat distracts me when I'm writing. I don't have good airflow so I periodically go to the cooler side of the house. I should just move my computer there.
Another reminder about my contest. No pressure, of course, but the more the merrier.
Though he probably ran this colloquialism into the ground the last few months, Gus couldn’t help but thoroughly feel his life now really sucked. Not just a little, not ‘we need to cut corners’ sucked, not ‘you’re grounded’ sucked, not even ‘we’re moving’ sucked. No, this was a pure and overwhelming sort of suck that left a person in need of a bigger but no less accurate word to define it. As such, this whole new level easily qualified as Sucktacular.
Maybe it would have been better had his family been the sort to be able to vocalize their pain when Mom had left them forever, but his family just didn’t work that way. Dad was… well. Sarah was just too little to really understand or comprehend what they had lost. Mary was no longer a conversation partner at all, and Jesse spent far too much time holed up in his room now that they were back from school. He rather suspected his brother had been in Sarah’s bed far more than his own at night, however, which was good for him, maybe, but it still left Gus with no one to help him release the anguish which seemed to be building by the day, by the hour.
He and his eldest brother, Jake… just didn’t work that way. Besides, Jake was busy trying to be their pseudo parent and past history told Gus a Jake with a frayed thread was not a Jake he should strike up a heart-to-heart talk with. Or any sort of conversation, really. In fact, he avoided him as much as possible just to keep the eerily quiet house from erupting in cross words or the echo of slammed doors that would distress the others. Gus did try to be considerate, after all. Sometimes.
This summer was especially stifling, or maybe it just felt that way. His last term at school had been unusually difficult after they had buried Mom. Gus no longer had Jake there as his ‘just in case’ touchstone, Mary had not returned to finish the year, Jesse was withdrawn and had done poorly in his classes, and somehow football just didn’t mean a damn thing to him anymore and he had surrendered his position. In fact, Gus lost interest in just about everything, and he had been in the principal’s office more times that term than the total of the previous three years due to the alternative ways he had found to pass the time. He was no longer the same boy he had been. He didn’t care for fun, didn’t search out entertainment. If nothing else, he was impulsive, more so now than ever. His decisions were quick and rarely thought through to the end.
Decisions like this one. Really, Gus didn’t see the harm. He had been swimming these waters the whole of his life and it was one of the few things he engaged in that never resulted in an injury. In fact, as far as pastimes went, this one was pretty tame. Without a word to anyone he wandered out to the beach, eager to cool his body and maybe just relax his mind a bit in the salty waves. It wasn’t long, however, before swimming alone got downright boring. With a quick glance to the cliffs it took only half a moment to consider diving off the cliffs might be a spot of fun in an otherwise dismal existence.
He swam to shore and strode up the beach, then climbed up to the top of the cliff, then stood there dripping and looking out over the edge. Well… as long as he aimed it right, he would easily avoid the rocks, he supposed. True, Gus’d never swam beneath the cliffs before, but if it got too much, he’d just swim back to the beach, no worries.
Mindful not to take his deep breath until he actually neared the water, Gus merely jumped, angling himself to where he would effortlessly avoid the rocks, a small smile gracing his face in satisfaction as he inhaled deeply before plunging beneath the water’s surface.
Glancing up towards the sunlight as his velocity slowed, he was trying to determine just how deep he had gone when he came to an abrupt and very painful stop. His attention swiftly dropped to his chest, then his eyes went wide with horror as he realized he had gotten himself rather impaled on a small (and decidedly sharp) crag of coral.
Planting both hands on the reef, Gus tried to pull himself off of it, but what he got for his trouble was the end of it snapping off, having lodged at an angle and apparently snagged inside him behind his rib.
Yeah, that about summed it up.
Breaking the surface with a gasp, Gus rolled onto his back and futilely pressed his skin to the branch of calcium protruding out of his… lung. Godsdammit, yes, his fucking lung. That would explain the difficulty in breathing.
Suddenly thrown down by a powerful wave, Gus found himself doing an underwater summersault before scrambling for the surface again, horrified to discover he was further from shore. The beach now looked miles away to his panicked mind.
Well, staring at it wasn’t going to get it any closer. With great effort and greater pain, Gus began to swim towards his home, praying someone would be looking out a window and see him since he seriously doubted he’d be able to trek up to the house once his sorry ass washed up on the beach.
He was not aiming for the shore itself, but more the waves so they could carry him in and save him some effort. Scared there were sharks nearby, he swam as fast as he could. Hopefully if they were drawn at all, they would head to the waters beneath the cliffs which he was trying desperately to remove himself from.
Catching a break at last, he found himself being taken up in a large wave, doing his very best to angle himself so he could body surf his way towards the shore and he managed it for the most part. Once his feet were able to touch the bottom, he stumbled out of the water in a hunch, clutching futilely at his chest in instinct to paw at the source of pain.
“Jake!” he called as best he could, but his lung capacity was cut in half and he was gurgling up blood and water from the punctured one, coughing it out in a pink spray on the sand. Falling to his knees he tried again, this time in a scared sob, “Jake!” as he fell onto his side, slowly rolling over onto his back. Oh, fuck. This was bad. Really, really bad.
His little brother, Jesse, arrived from out of nowhere, it seemed, and he sank to his knees beside Gus, terrified eyes taking in the coral that protruded from his slender chest.
“Gus?” Jesse asked worriedly, turning his head towards his older brother to get his eye, his heart dropping into his stomach when Gus gave him a small smile with eyes that were far too glossy and lips stained red with the trickles of blood which flowed at each corner.
“I’ll get Jake. Don’t die. Oh, please Gus, don’t die,” Jesse begged, tears streaming down his face, then turned and ran back towards the house to fetch their eldest brother.
Gus had so much he’d wanted to say to his little brother when he found him, but he just didn’t have it in him to speak. In fact, he barely had it in him to do anything. Much against Jesse’s wishes, he was quite sure he was dying. He wasn’t particularly happy about it, certainly wasn’t ready for it, but at the same time he knew there wasn’t anything he could do about it.
As his brother disappeared from view, Gus was certain he had just seen his brother for the last time. With the last ounce of strength he had, he rolled back to his side and shakily scribbled in the sand.
He was still on his side when his brothers returned, his gaze quick to look up to Jake, eyes wide with a terror which was firmly taking hold of him. But in a heartbeat it was gone, washing away with the last breath he expelled as his body rolled again to its back.
Written in the wet sand, a message was scrawled with crude penmanship. Gus had taken a moment to decide what the most important words would ever be that he could say to his brothers. Impish to the last, he decided to leave the world with a joke in his heart to keep the coral in his lung company. Near his head were the unmistakable words, Mom liked me best.