Dissonance: Excerpt

Here is an excerpt from my first novel.  I’m about ready for the next step toward publication.  Here’s something to help you get ready for it!

She leans against the tiled wall of the subway station just outside of the turnstiles observing a mother and a young girl just ahead of her. The little one is wearing pink rain boots. Her mother holds her hand but never once looks at her. Cell phone to her ear she prattles, even when her daughter tugs on her arm and begins to cry. The girl’s tugging gets more insistent until she resorts to throwing herself on the floor.

The mostly finished Slurpee cup on top of the ticket machine slips another half inch as a businessman aggressively pushes his credit card in the slot. The concoction unfortunately placed with the lid askew falls onto his shoulder and splatters onto his shoes.

His yells erupt and the little girl’s attention seeking cries turn to shrieks. This is her chance. She sees a gap in the line, takes advantage and is over the turnstile, with the prattling woman’s brown leather wallet, and gone before anyone recognizes the blur as a subway interloper.

She chooses a seat, not her usual corner seat which tonight is taken, but this would have to do. Inside the pocket of her fraying hoodie she removes money blindly, unsure of how much she has scored, and slides the wallet and the rest of the evidence beneath her seat and kicks it back with her foot. The sway of the subway car lulls her asleep and she is almost gone the moment she pulls her hood over her head.

 

 

 

He always takes the subway steps double time. He slides his pass through the reader and is on the train in perfect time. The train lurches forward and only then does he allow his mind to register his fatigue, and a little bit of sorrow. Two seats are open, one next to a sleeping person, a woman, with an indiscernible stain on her torn up grey hoodie and one next to an old man. In his experience, sleeping people often wake up, and she looks like trouble. Therefore, he chooses the seat across the way. Sliding his iPad from his leather over the shoulder bag, he barely has time to sit before another lurch knocks him forward and immediately there is an explosion that picks the train off the tracks and shakes it like a game of Perfection. He grabs the post as his iPad sails through the air, smashing against the mustard yellow plastic of the chairs, shattering the corner. A coffee hits the window, the old man next to him grabs his arm and is wrenched away, landing on the floor. Everything seems to even out for a moment, almost gravityless, things were going to be oh-

Another crash, a devastating slam. A shoulder connects with his chin, his knee with the floor. Several people begin to cry out but the sound is wrenched from them, devoured by the sounds of metal on metal on concrete.

 

The volume is now at eleven. She lurches awake to sounds that weren’t even possible, too many at once doing impossible things and – her shoulder hits something angular, her head snaps away then into the window. Tepid coffee rains on her for a moment until she hits the floor, reaches out-

He hits the floor, reaches out-

Finds a hand.

Eyes lock.

She has sea green eyes, he has earth brown. Yellow sparks in his irises and blue in hers.

Centrifugal force begins to wrench them apart as they see:

Dark and empty office building, dim alley way and a trash can fire, a text message that says-

sliding, a woman screaming-

sorry, pink rain boots, a beautiful woman in a green dress, giving her a key, a flamboyant man in high heels helping her off the ground, prison bars and silence, a face being shoved against a graffitied metal mirror in a truck stop bathroom, an unconscious girl with pink hair, vibrant colored pills scattered across a table, a leering man in a sweaty wife beater-

metal crunching and rending, the dissonance of breaks, moans, fire cracking, crashing and slamming-

a funeral next to a dark haired woman still as stone, a boy with sandy hair, hand up her shirt, A woman rolling on the beach sand, laughing, guided, pulling and crying, into a white van while a defeated woman sits on the front cement steps, a slinky purple dress and black heavy boots, a plastic covered couch, leeches and the sound of a motor boat, behind a washing machine listening to the thud of a fist into flesh, a car on fire, pink sheets and a rocking chair, a book worn with many readings, a flash light under rocket sheets a brand new book, the pages look like gold, a blond woman with wild curls swaying and singing lullabies, a brown haired woman, and a tall man, peering over a cradle, propelling dancing bears in circles. A baby crying.

Stillness. One cough is heard as the subway car fills with chemical smoke and thick dust. The black clouds are punctured with clawed hands reaching out at deafening speed.

She tried to fancy what the flame of a candle is like after the candle is blown out, for she could not remember ever having seen such a thing.

Then the candle did blow out, for a short while.

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