Still a little bit ahead. I like to stay about 1000 words ahead, so that if I fall behind one day, I’m not automatically feeling like I’m scrabbling to play catch up.
I’m finding I quite enjoy getting up early and watching the dawn through my window as I tap away and drink coffee. I’m hoping this can be a trend I continue after NaNoWriMo.
For the hell of it, I decided to share my first few hundred words of my project. This is unedited and the same snippet I have on my NaNoWriMo profile. Suggestions are more than welcome, but again, this is draft zero. It’s repetitive and I’ll streamline it later. But I still think I’ve got a voice. Be gentle!
My mother shoved my face against the refrigerator door.
My cheekbone bounced off of the cold plastic. She pushed my face harder. My cheek stung and my breath left my lungs in a rush. My mother wrapped my arm behind me and my shoulder screamed.
“Mom–” I started.
“No, don’t speak,” she hissed close into my ear, her breath smelling like an old, wet ashtray soaked in sickly sweet Southern Comfort. “They’ll hear you if they do.”
“Wh–” I tried again, my voice disappearing into the shiny, pitted plastic of the refrigerator.
“You know who,” she hissed, lowering her voice still further. “The Nunda. The people eaters. They’ll come for me, and then for you, too. They’ll creep out of the jungle, and they’ll take me, and they’ll sacrifice me to their gods. I’m the one they need. Only by hiding do I save the world from destruction. And don’t you forget it. You owe me. Everyone owes me. And they don’t even know how important I am.”
Fucking hell, Mother. We’re in Los Angeles. There are no Nunda and no jungles. That was what I wanted to say, what I always wanted to say. But I could not say such a thing to my mother. The last time I had questioned her was when I was ten and confused when I learned in school that there were no jungles in California. My mother had broken my arm. In three places.
She bashed my head against the refrigerator door again. My ears rang. “I know what you’re thinking,” she screeched. Mom’s voice rang out loud enough to carry through the whole house. Amy would have woken up in her bed just now, drawing the coverlets up to her chin and squeezing her eyes shut as tight as she could. Mom pushed me to the floor. I stared at the linoleum and the pattern of puke green flowers. Pansies, I think they were meant to be.
“I can hear your thoughts,” mom said. “They’re louder than my own. But the Nunda are coming for me. And soon, they will come for you, too. You’re sixteen, now. Any day, now, any day now you’ll see why the Nunda will want you, too. Why you’re special. What you can do. What you can change into.” She gripped my hair and pulled my head and neck up from the linoleum floor.
“All that I have done is to protect you and your sister. Don’t you see that, sweetie?” Her voice became cloying and wheedling. “I had to leave my homeland and come to this terrible place to hide from them. I don’t want them to claim you or your sister. But they will. It’s only a matter of time before they claim you, too.” She let go of my hair and my face fell back to the floor.