50k in 10 days WHAT WHAT. I also did my Russian homework for Wednesday and for Friday. And I read the Bulgakov plays for Russian Drama. And I hung out with Jeff (more about that later) and Curly Amanda and talked to Red Amanda on the phone (she's off in Germany being awesome, so this was very exciting). Oh, and I haven't slept in 24 hours. And my brain is probably going to fall out pretty soon.
But hey! I won NaNoWriMo... in 10 days. And yes, this might technically be the 11th, but it's still the 10th in my mind, baby.
Beneath the LJ-Cut is an excerpt from my novel. I like it well enough. I haven't edited it and it's probably pretty awful, so sorry if it offends any of your delicate sensibilities. Trust me, odds are it offends mine more than it would ever offend yours.
Saturday morning I watched cartoons and ate oatmeal, with brown sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. I deliberately avoided doing anything productive, my reasoning being that the weekend was meant to be spent relaxing, not in doing something efficient or productive. I was actually in the middle of attempting to balance a spoon on my nose when someone knocked on the door.
I flushed, embarrassed, and went to answer the door, spoon in hand. I was just about to open the door when I had a vision of who was on the other side, and so I was not as surprised to discover that it was my cousin Gloria, wearing a pair of sunglasses, even though it was cloudy out, than I would have been if I hadn't had the vision. “Gloria!” I said, holding the door open. “I haven't seen you for a while.”
She nodded jerkily. “Not since the funeral,” she said.
“Yeah,” I said. “A month now, right?”
“Can I come in?” she asked, and without waiting for an answer, she pushed her way past me. I was a little shocked at her attitude. She didn't stink of alcohol, which was probably a bad sign, considering how she tended to be much more easygoing and happy when she was drunk.
“You've got a spirit,” she said, before I even managed to fully turn around. My mouth dropped and I stared at her, startled. She had her hand flat out against the wall, and she was facing the kitchen. She turned back to face me. “But you knew that, didn't you?”
“I—I—what?” I didn't know how to respond.
She looked impatient – or as impatient one can look when half of their face is obscured by an over-sized pair of sunglasses. “Mr. Wood told me to stop by,” she said, as if stating the obvious. “He told me you had a nasty spirit problem.”
“You're the person Mr. Wood was going to contact?” I asked, appalled.
She pulled off her sunglasses, revealing slightly bloodshot eyes. “I might be a drunk, but I'm not a total idiot,” she said. “I have my own talents, no matter what you may think,” she said, disgruntled.
“I wasn't doubting you,” I hastened to say. “I just—well—I wasn't expecting someone I know,” I said. “And not someone--”
“Like me?” she smirked. “Thanks a lot, Peej. You're too kind.” She put her sunglasses back on. “Now, tell me what's going on here.”
I licked my lips and explained the problems I'd been having – the person who tried to break in, the dish drainer being thrown to the floor, my book being tossed to the ground when Aunt Diane came. She asked me to show her the book that had been thrown, and that took me a few minutes – I had already re-shelved it on my grandmother's bookshelves, and I had trouble remembering what it was called. When I finally found it and brought it out, I found her in the kitchen, clasping the plastic dish drainer between her hands. “This has been touched by a spirit,” she said. She took the book I was holding, held it for a moment, and briskly passed it back. “This has also been touched by a spirit – the same one that touched that,” she said, gesturing toward the drainer.
“So—what can you do about it?” I asked, curious.
She raised an eyebrow. “What do you want me to do about it?” she asked, answering my question with a question of her own.
I fell into a vision, and saw her walking around the house, chanting in a language I couldn't understand. “Like, do some sort of spell or exorcise the ghost or something,” I shrugged. “I don't know. You're the one who knows so much about ghosts.”
“They're spirits,” she said, exasperated. “Not ghosts. And I'm not going to do a spell—that's just dumb. And where the hell did you get the idea that I'd exorcise the ghost for you?”
I furrowed my brow. “But—why else would you be here?” I asked.
“My talents are identifying spirits,” she said. “I feel cold spots, I see orbs, I can figure out whether a spirit is one you'd want to meet or one you'd want to avoid. I can't do anything about it.”
“Then why did Mr. Wood send you if you're not going to do anything?” I asked, annoyed.
“This isn't some ghost story, you dumbass,” she said, sounding just as annoyed as I felt. “You don't just exorcise a spirit—you need to learn how to communicate with them, to commune with them. In my opinion, you just need to get used to it, buddy,” she added.
She shook her head. “This isn't a bad spirit. As far as spirits go, it's a little young, a little innocent. It isn't trying to kill you. Actually,” she put a hand on the counter top. “I'd say it's trying to protect you.”
I cocked my head, confused. “Protect me? From what?”
She shrugged. “Beats me. Personally, I think you need to worry more about the other spirit,” she said.
At the alarmed look on my face, she laughed. “Don't worry, Little Pee Pee, it's not a bad spirit. Probably,” she said, contemplatively. “It's a little older, more overwhelming – it feels powerful. It's not a comfortable feeling, actually,” she said, shuddering a little. “It's been here every time I've come here since I was a kid.”
“So what should I do—about the spirits?” I asked.
“You just gotta live with them,” she said. A little bitterly, she added, “Like me.” She turned around and left the kitchen, heading toward the front door.
“What do you mean?” I asked, racing to catch up with her. She turned to face me. “By 'like you,'” I said lamely.
She frowned. “I'm not going to talk about this in here—I can't stand to be around them any more than I have to,” she said. She gestured for me to follow her and we went outside, going down the steps and ending up next to her beat up old Chevy Nova. “Spirits are everywhere,” she said in a lecturing tone. “Fucking everywhere. They're either the spirits of the dead, or the spirits of those who are alive, or spirits of things that aren't human, or spirits that we just wouldn't be able to recognize because they're so different from us--”
“We aren't alone in the universe, Arthur Dent,” she said sarcastically. “Sometimes the spirits try to change, or affect, their surroundings – like the spirit in this house that's throwing shit around. Other times they just stick around and pull their atmospheric bullshit—but hell, I can feel every single spirit everywhere I fucking go. I can't get away from them. Why the hell else do you think I'm an alcoholic?”
She saw the surprised look on my face and laughed again. “It's not as if I actually enjoy beer,” she said. She pulled open the door to her car, got in, and started it up. The engine took a moment, but it eventually caught. When I didn't move away from the car, she reached across the passenger's seat and rolled down the window. “Get out of the fucking way,” she said.
I stepped back. As she began to back out of the driveway, I called out, “Is there anyone else who would—help me with these spirits?”
She stopped her car. “Talk to Mrs. Jones,” she said. At the blank look on my face, she rolled her eyes. “The mail lady.” At that, she rolled up the window, finished backing out of the driveway, and sped down the road, leaving a trail of dust billowing up toward the sky.