Felicia: It’s such a dark and stormy night.
It wasn’t dark, though, or stormy, or night. I deleted the line and sighed, staring out my kitchen window. I’d moved my laptop in here because the room was brighter and cheerier than the little bedroom I’d designated as an office, but the writing wasn’t going any better in here.
I got up and poured another cup of coffee and brought it back to the table, so I could stare out the window a little longer. Outside was an icescape, brilliantly beautiful, lethal. Which didn’t stop a small cottontail rabbit from hopping across the mossy “lawn” to a wilting flower bed, pausing to nibble here and there. James glanced up from where he’d been sleeping on a chair, as if magically aware of something invading his domain out in the yard, and came loping over to leap into the window box and gaze down at the rabbit—who stood suddenly, and stared back up at James in alarm, then darted away, showing me a flash of white tail as he went.
“Happy now?” I asked. “All your frozen grass is safe again.” He did not bother to dignify my taunt with so much as a glance, so I ignored him too, and got back to work.
Felicia: I don’t know how to untangle this mystery. I want to go to bed and pull the covers over my head.
I sipped my coffee and watched the rabbit cautiously edge his way back over the frozen moss, keeping well away from the window now. Didn’t he freeze his little paws? Probably everything he was finding to eat was crunchy. It had been below freezing here for nearly a week, starting right after the…eventful…Thanksgiving weekend. Right after everyone left. Leaving me here, alone in a three-bedroom guesthouse behind an I-can’t-count-that-high-bedroom mansion owned by my employers, the Brixtons.
Well, at least it wasn’t raining. But it had been so very, very cold. I was entirely out of my meager supply of firewood, and praying for the power to stay on so that at least my central heating would work. After a hair-raising trip to town the first day, I hadn’t dared to drive on the ice again.
I wasn’t going to starve, though. The Thanksgiving leftovers would keep me going for another week, easy. Even without all the extra food that my parents and Kevin had brought.
Felicia: I think about my ex-boyfriend only very occasionally, and only when I’m unfortunately reminded of his existence. I simply do not have time for such nonsense, because I
Ugh. Delete, delete, delete.
I took another sip of coffee and stared at my silent cell phone beside the computer. I wished I could call my friend Jen. My former new best friend who had taken off with my ex-boyfriend, Kevin, in his Intruder, to shack up in Moran State Park, and…nope, not going there. Not yet. Kevin and I were done. He and Jen…it hurt, but I was okay. I wished them well.
I really did. Except when I didn’t.
And it made it awfully quiet around here.
But quiet was good! I had a play to finish writing, and by “finish” I meant “write the second and third acts and revise the first act.” The long (cold!) dark nights and short (cold!) days of winter should be giving me plenty of time to work on it.
Instead, I was writing—and deleting—stupid lines and pointless stage directions and basically diary entries, knowing even as I wrote them that they were not part of this story, but the words bubbled out all the same. The wrong words. So many wrong words.
I got up and paced around the house, checking the thermostat as I went through the living room, inching it up another degree. Gazing sadly into the empty, dark fireplace. Jen had said she would help me find seasoned firewood—seasoned, that meant old and dry and long-dead, not fresh-cut, not rain-soaked. Not frozen solid. See how much I was learning about rural life already?
I rubbed my arms, careful to avoid the place where I had actually been shot. It was mostly healed, and had been for some time. But touching it brought back memories: a terrible night, so much fear, the sound of the gunshot. Even a grazing wound hurt like heck, and I hated remembering that night.
I needed some distraction.
James had followed my pacing; now he gave me a half-heartedly inquisitive meow, and jumped up onto the couch, no doubt to continue his slumber there. He’d been much more of a homebody since everyone had left. Or maybe it was just the cold snap. I think he did like the quiet and solitude, though; or maybe he was just growing up. Though he had a ways to go. He was barely the equivalent of a teenager, in cat years. All legs and mischief and appetite.
I paced back into the kitchen. My blank screen, ACT TWO in bold and Italics at the top of it, stared back at me.
Felicia: I must get out of this house, or I’ll go stark raving mad.
Delete. Delete. Delete.
“Okay, Cam,” I said to myself, as I stood in front of the open fridge that I had no memory of opening, much less walking over to. “I don’t know about Felicia, but you are not cut out for the cabin-fever lifestyle.” I had to go to town, to see another human being, to do something. After all the drama and intrigue and madness since I’d arrived here on Orcas Island, to have had everything suddenly go so quiet and peaceful…it was intolerable.
But I couldn’t drive on that ice. My little Honda just couldn’t handle it, even with the chains I didn’t really know how to put on.
And I had nobody to call for help.
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