an excerpt from The Echo of It

note: I started writing a novel/la when I was nineteen and have been more-or-less finished with it for a little while now. I know I should probably do something with it other than post an excerpt here, but whatever. I want to share it and I want to do it now.


He asks, ‘Do you want to get out of here?’

‘Yes.’

There is no hesitation on her part, only the alcohol and a feeling of rightness that she wishes she didn’t feel but can’t ignore. Neither of them knows what they are doing, Merc’s strongest running through their veins. So she takes him by the hand and leads him out to the beach, guided by moonlight. (He thinks he hears a song in the distance but dismisses it.)

She walks barefoot on the sand. He lets her lead him; he walks slightly behind her, not because he could easily get lost (he’s spent too much time in the ocean, he’ll not be going that way) but because he wants to watch her. She turns and smiles like the sea and he grabs her wrist. ‘Swear to me an oath.’

‘What would you have me swear?’

She hasn’t stopped smiling. He pulls her to him and hisses, ‘You’re not going to sell me out to the paparazzi once I come to your bed.’

A moment of fear flickers in her eyes and the next wave comes. ‘I swear.’

 

Soon they are at her house, a simple stone-colored one-story house with a few stairs leading up to a porch, complete with wooden swing. Her front yard is the beach and as he looks around he feels enchanted, as though this could not possibly be real.

‘Hey.’ She stands on the porch, waiting. He nods, mostly to himself, and follows her. Once inside, she leads him to the bedroom, only turning on a few lamps on the way so that the house remains mostly-dark. She lights a candle – murmuring something the stranger can’t quite understand (Greek, he thinks, but he can’t be sure) – then sits on the bed and looks at him, smiling.

There was something about her hair that almost seemed to cause the room to glow to him, through the haze of intoxication. ‘Your hair is red,’ he murmurs, struck dumb somehow. He hadn’t noticed before; the lighting in the bar made her hair look only dark, and if asked he would not have been able to identify the color. (Her eyes, though, still have no identifiable color – just dark – and he can only think in clichés.)

‘Yeah,’ she replies, running her fingers through it. She laughs suddenly and pulls him toward her, wondering vaguely if she should make him declare some sort of vow. She doesn’t. Any evil hurt that he may have planned for her he is free to pursue. She must live with the knowledge that she did nothing to stop it, if it comes to pass.

She doesn’t really think about this now; she thinks mainly of his mouth on her neck and hands removing clothes. She is aware of skin and muscle and sinew. She feels profoundly alive. Her solitude has existed for so long that every touch is filled with awe.

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