I just finished Chapter Four today (finished = wrote a very rough draft) and I think I will share two excerpts from it--a short one today, and a little longer one tomorrow. The chapter actually started getting too long, so I realized today that I had to break it up into two different chapters, but I think the break makes more sense compared to stringing it all together.
ANYWAY. Here's your first excerpt. Please, don't expect anything outstanding here--we are talking about furiously writing 50,000 words in a month, after all. Nothing is going to be flawless.
The only background I'm going to give you here is that four characters (Riley, Sierrah, Anthony, Shanely) are sitting together at a table, and Riley is very confused about everything.
“I’m not crazy,” Riley said solemnly, staring into Anthony’s brown eyes. Looking directly at him for the first time, she noticed that under his grey, decrepit body, he had once been beautiful—his entire face had faint traces of freckles sprinkled over it and his dark eyes were framed by long, full lashes.
She had said it more as a comfort to herself than to prove anything to them. As the words exited her mouth, part of her brain swore that maybe she was losing her mind after all.
His smile grew again and turned into a cackle. “You’ll need to keep telling yourself that, Riley. By the time you’ve seen everything here, you might not be so confident in your sanity.”
“Anthony!” Sierrah strenuously called at him.
Shanely had put her pencil down, staring up at the three of them with round, radiant eyes. Her pupils seemed overly dilated compared to the average human, invoking in Riley the same protective, warm-hearted feeling one gets after playing with a box of fluffy kittens.
“I saw you eat,” Riley roared more quietly, now regretting ever thinking that he could have once been attractive.
“Yes,” he said. His eyes invited her to say more.
“What do you mean, ‘yes?’ If you can’t taste food, then why would everyone stuff their faces—?”
“We didn’t want you to feel awkward, Riley,” Sierrah said gently, placing a hand on her shoulder. “We wanted your welcoming to feel…well…”
“Encouraging,” Shanely finished brightly, placing a special emphasis on the second syllable.
Riley felt utterly mortified at the thought of the nine of them pretending to enjoy a meal for her. “You didn’t…you shouldn’t have…I would have understood,” she mumbled.
“No, you wouldn’t have,” Anthony said. “Believe me. You would have felt like an outsider. And at any rate, most people can’t stand to be stared at while they eat, let alone from nine people that resemble zombies over humans.”
“I am not a zombie,” Shanely declared.
Anthony hunched over the table to get eye-level with Shanely, saying sweetly, “I know you’re not, Little Miss.”
It was hard to hate a boy that spoke so kindly to a little girl, but Riley refused to let go of her aggression towards him. She sighed deeply, lost for anything else to say.