Friday, May 6, 2011

First Chapter of Legs - Sample!

OK, so here goes:

Chapter 1

The heels of her buttoned boots caught in the crevices between cobblestones as she erratically click-clacked her way down an unnamed street. Her corset felt like a vice and although she increased her pace, she seemed to be walking through water, her feet clawing the rocky bottom of a clear lake. A thin wrist reached up to check her hat and adjust the pin, the feather damp and limp now as the fine mist slowly turned to a full deluge, the incongruity of bright sunshine and sheets of rain giving the stone-lined street with its row houses and gas lamps the feel of an impressionist painting.

Spine stiff and straight, she walked faster, cursing herself for failing to bring an umbrella but tucking the thought away. A slight smile played on her lips as she thought of him, and she willed her tiny feet to walk faster, each step closing the gap of thousands of miles, a journey she'd begun weeks before. The long buildings sectioned into row houses with differing facades, some a pale stone with black iron detailing and others with painted wood exteriors, offered no asylum from nature's wrath. She would appear before him with the countenance of a drenched match girl. He would have to help her out of her wet clothes to prevent a case of the chills. The thought aroused her, but she kept her face set like a stone statue, neutral and unyielding.

Beggars reached toward her and asked for money in a foreign language she didn't know yet spoke fluently, and at one point she stopped a man in uniform and asked for directions to a building. The police officer replied and she thanked him, changing direction and seeing the church steeple, knowing her destination was just around the corner. Soon she spotted the grey stone building, the thick wooden door, and she walked into the lobby, a feeling of relief and excitement blending at once in her chest.

She asked at the reception desk for James' room. Without warning, as if time fast-forwarded, she was in front of a door, knocking. The door slowly inched backward and a gorgeous Latina woman with long, black, wavy hair answered, her skin the color of fine, pure spun silk, red lips lush with smudged makeup and chafed from activity.

Next she saw her face in an enormous mirror edged with color, her eyes wild and mouth twisted in a tortured expression, a chandelier glittering in the backdrop. But the face wasn't hers; it was a small-boned blond woman, with red-rimmed China-blue eyes and a sharp jaw, her wet hat hanging on an unkempt hairdo by a loose pin. Her heart slammed in her chest and she clawed at her collarbone, digging through the fabric of her bodice to find air.

Suddenly she was running back down the street, holding up skirts and struggling on the cobblestones, running and not caring that she made a scene as onlookers stared. Tears streaked her face and she found a small park bench many blocks away and sat and cried until a small child placed his filthy hand on her gloved arm, offering her a sweet in his other hand.

A ragged sob filled her lungs, and that was the point in the dream when Jill woke up every night.

1 comment:

  1. I love this chapter. It might fool you into thinking that this is going to be a period piece. Yet it's important because it sets up a lot of things that will be significant later.