Thursday, August 1, 2013

Friday Fiction For August 2, 2013

Wow. It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since I’ve posted for Friday Fiction. Many thanks to Sara for getting it going again, and for hosting this first week back over on her blog, Fiction Fusion. Be sure to check over there for the Linky widget and the list of other Friday Fiction participants this week.
 Last year, I had planned to sit out NaNoWriMo. I didn’t worry about outlining anything, nor even had a story in mind. On October 31st, though, both my wife and my son told me I had to do it – I’d done it every year since first learning about it, and I shouldn’t miss it. That left me with a quandary; what to write? With only a few hours left until the start of NaNoWriMo, I didn’t even have an idea I’d been toying with, let alone one that had been worked out enough to develop into a novel-length story.

I decided to take the short story I’d written for Friday Fiction back in early 2010, “Reef, Her Madness,” and rewrite it into a full-length novel. Taking it from a short story to a novel allowed me to flesh out many of the scenes, giving a different POV, and filling in a lot of details. It also allowed me to rewrite and finish the incomplete short, “Mermaid Weekend,” as part of the novel. In essence, I used the short stories as the basic outline, and came up with a new novel called, “Chasing the Sharks.”

The background on this excerpt chapter is that Timothy, one of the members of the Pod, has gone on a solo vacation to a small Caribbean island resort called Caruso Lagoon. There, he meets Theresa, who has also come to the resort with her long-time friend Jenny. However, Jenny’s boyfriend, Dirk, unexpectedly tags along. Earlier this day, Theresa returned to their bungalow to overhear Jenny and Dirk arguing, and somehow, it apparently involved her.
Chapter 12
From “Chasing the Sharks”
             Her bungalow was dark and quiet when she returned. She entered carefully, not wanting to make any noise that might betray her arrival. There was no sound from Jenny’s bedroom, and no light showing under the door. She had no indication whether the two had made up and just gone to bed, or whether one or both of them had gone to the lounge to cool down with a drink or two.
            Oh, please, God, don’t let either of them come back drunk.
            Theresa tiptoed to her bedroom, easing the door open and slipping inside. If either Jenny or Dirk were in the other room, she did not want to disturb them, just in case the mood was still lingering. She set the privacy lock on the door, and changed into her pajamas in the dark. When there was no sound from the rest of the bungalow, she released a relieved sigh, and slipped into bed.
            Lying there in the dark, she felt cheated. She had spent a magical day at the resort, swimming with Timothy around the reef, and then visiting with him in the evening. She knew people who would have paid a king’s ransom to have the chance to spend a day like that, and she wanted to share the details with her best friend. Such good news always begged to be told, but the only person at the resort, besides Timothy, that she could tell was possibly still angry at her for some unknown reason.
            Sleep proved elusive. Despite being tired, she remained wide-awake for a long time. She tried different positions in the bed, hoping to get more comfortable, and hence make it easier to fall asleep. While she didn’t like drugs, if there had been sleeping pills convenient, she would have found them tempting. She was pretty sure she could guess what Jenny might suggest as well, and rejected that idea also. Her mother tended to assign deeper meanings to sleeplessness. When you can’t sleep, it means God has something He wants you to pray about. She shared her mother’s faith in God, but didn’t quite understand why God would need anyone to pray about something. It wasn’t like He needed people to ask before He could work, was it?
            Maybe it’s not so much that He needs me to pray about it, she considered. Maybe He’s trying to tell me that I need to pray about it. That makes more sense, I suppose. But what am I supposed to pray about? Jenny? Dirk? Jenny and Dirk? Timothy? Something else? Her mother always made it seem so simple to know what needed prayed about, and she wondered if she would develop more discernment about such things as she got older.
            Staring up at the barely visible ceiling, she sorted through her thoughts. She had never gotten much into the idea of kneeling beside the bed to pray, and couldn’t quite figure out why people thought that was a better position for prayer than any other position. Father, I’m so confused. I don’t know why Jenny is mad at me. I have no idea what I might have done, so I don’t even know how to proceed. If I’d done something wrong, I would apologize and ask her forgiveness, but how do I ask forgiveness when I don’t know what I’ve done? She was so angry, I don’t even know if she would forgive me now, for whatever it was.
            She’s been my friend for so long, Lord. I can’t imagine losing her friendship. Please, help me to get things right with her again.
            Am I supposed to pray about Timothy, Father? We just met, and I’m not sure how I should pray for him. I guess You know, though, so whatever his needs or concerns, I’ll leave it to You.
            Father, forgive me, but I don’t want to pray for Dirk. I don’t like him. I think he’s bad for Jenny, and there are times that he scares me. I don’t trust him in so many ways, and all I can think is that it would be better if he just went somewhere far away from both Jenny and me.
            I guess, though, that You loved Dirk enough to send Your Son to die for him, too, didn’t you? Is he here so that maybe I can share that with him? I don’t know if I can. All these years, and I’ve never really been able to get Jenny to listen. If I can’t get my best friend to listen, how am I going to get someone like Dirk to listen?
            I have to confess, Lord. I’m jealous. I’m jealous that this was supposed to be a weekend for Jenny and I to spend together, and instead, Dirk has horned in and he’s getting all the time with my friend. It’s not fair, Lord. He gets to spend time with her back home all the time, since we don’t live that close to each other anymore. Why couldn’t he let her have one week away with me?
            I’m complaining, aren’t I, Lord? Forgive me. I should be focusing on the blessings You’ve given me, instead of something so petty as being jealous. You managed to orchestrate fulfilling something I’ve dreamed about ever since the Pod went public, and I’m still amazed that it happened. You brought me to such a beautiful place, and let me see it with Timothy. Thank You, Lord. Not only that, but I get to go swimming with him again tomorrow night. She closed her eyes and smiled at the thought, and before she could formulate another sentence, drifted off to sleep.

1 comment:

Sara Harricharan said...

I'm so glad to get to read one of your short pieces again, I've missed reading your work and Friday Fiction! Thanks for participating this week!

I love Theresa! She seems very real, especially with her tumultuous thoughts over wanting to spend time with her friend and then realizing that the mood is tense because of the earlier argument. I loved the prayer scene, because it was honest and very realistic in terms of how I could see her sorting through the mess of emotions and the day's experience in her head.

I also want to yell at her that if she's feeling something off about Dirk, to follow her gut, it's probably right. LOL. Great chapter!