Thursday, November 6, 2008

Friday Fiction for November 7, 2008

This week’s Friday Fiction comes from the current rewrite of “Precocious by Design”, and is the first chapter in which the main character’s wife is introduced. I wanted my character to have a high level of empathy for his victims, as opposed to the detachment that many in such fields learn to develop so that they can work without the horror of the situation inhibiting them. How would such empathy affect someone outside of the job? I also enjoyed taking a look at the main character from the perspective of another character, since much of the narrative is from his POV.

Be sure to check out the other submissions this week, and I hope you enjoy this excerpt.

Sleeping with the Dead
From Precocious by Design
by Rick Higginson
Chapter 12
Wednesday night

She walked out of the bedroom, wearing the lightweight nightgown he’d bought her for their anniversary a few years ago. Faye Timmons had never had the kind of figure the popular media told her a woman should have, and two children hadn’t helped that at all. Still, Lloyd had always expressed an appreciation for her and a desire for her, and the feeling had been mutual.

The nice thing about the kids being away at college was that she could walk out in a revealing nightie without worrying that the children might see.

Lloyd was in his easy chair in the living room, sitting and staring at the blank television screen. She slipped over the arm of the chair and into his lap, taking his face in her hands and giving him a suggestive kiss.

He smiled back at her and sighed, but made little move to reciprocate.

“Aren’t you coming to bed soon?” she asked. “You were out late last night, and tonight you’re just sitting in here watching imaginary television.”

He shrugged. “I’m just – thinking.”

“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” She caressed his thinning hair back from his face. “Let me guess; it’s the case you’re working on.”

He nodded, and gave her a squeeze.

“There was a rape involved, wasn’t there? You always get like this when there was a rape involved.”

“The girl in the paper Tuesday morning; that’s my current case.”

“The juvenile cases always get you more.”

“He killed her slowly, Faye. I think he took his time because he was enjoying it. If it’s the guy we think it is, he’s more than strong enough to have made it quick.”

She kissed him again, gently, and brushed the tear away that escaped his eye. “You can’t keep feeling these cases like this; you’re going to make yourself sick if you let them affect you all the time.”

“I can’t help it. It’s like I hear God telling me that my service is to be the advocate for the slain innocent, and I start to feel the same kind of pain I imagine Him feeling when these things happen.”

“God also made you my husband, and you’re letting this get between us. I love that compassion you feel for the victims; it’s so much part of what makes you the man you are, but I need you to save some of that passion for me. I need to feel like I’m at least as important to you as the murder victims are, and sometimes I just need you beside me in our bed when we’re not going right to sleep.”

“I’m sorry; every time I start to think of making love with you right now, I think about what he did to her.”

“Lloyd, it’s not the same. You’re not that killer, and I’m not a victim. You are my husband, and I am your wife, and what we do is nothing like what someone like him does to a victim.”

“I tell myself that, but I still see her lying in the middle of the bush, with the marks of the cord around her neck.”

“Come to bed, sweetheart. Even if you can’t be my lover tonight, you can still be my friend.” She stood up and pulled gently at his hand.

“I’ll be along in a little bit.”

She released his hand with a hurt expression. “No, you won’t. You’re going to sit in this chair until you fall asleep right here, just like you’ve done all the other times you’ve had this mood. Maybe you’d rather sleep out here with the dead, but I want my living husband back.”

“I’m sorry, Faye.”

“You’d better solve this case quickly so you can exorcise these ghosts from your mind. If this lasts too long, I may not be waiting when you finally decide you’re ready to be a husband again instead of just a detective.”

Folding her arms across her chest, she hurried back to the bedroom and sat down on the side of the bed. She thought about praying, but felt too hurt and frustrated at the moment to formulate any kind of coherent entreaty.

Maybe, the thought crossed her mind, you wouldn’t judge him so harshly if you’d stared into the eyes of a corpse this week.

Maybe, she conceded, and lay down to go to sleep.


Julie Arduini said...

Awesome POV. This was a great conflict as well. I loved the line about how if he could not be her lover, he could be her friend. This was very enjoyable!

Catrina Bradley said...

Wow, Hoomi! Even tho I jumped in in the middle of a novel, I was totally captivated. And I love the way you ended the chapter. I got the sense God was answering her even tho she couldn't form words to pray. Awesome, brother!

Lynn Squire said...

Very good. Very real.

Joanne Sher said...

Incredibly real and captivating. I was engrossed.

Patty Wysong said...

Super. I was fully involved--the characters were full and real.

AJ said...

I think I'm going to like this book!

(not that I haven't enjoyed your other books, but you know I have a preference for the dark)

Anonymous said...

Very captivating, and so realistic. Characterization was spot on. Emotions had lots of depth.

Sara Harricharan said...

Oooh.very good! I am left wanting to know more to and to get my hands on that guy too. Great job, especially with the wife's character, her dialouge was SO realistic. Awesome!