Despite two days of doctors appointments for mom and other real life demands on my time, Myrtle the Evil Muse has continued to make herself known. The other day, I gave you a glimpse of what she did to me last week. Well, she’s continuing the job she started then. So I think I’m going to let you continue having a looking into the writing process when she is in full command. What that means is several times a week–but don’t hold me to that. When she has her claws into me, I sometimes forget to sleep, much less blog–I will post snippets from Tearing the Veil. These are unedited, first draft snippets. This first is from what is currently the first chapter, although it might move elsewhere in the book as the process continues.
Fair warning, it is the quasi-expanded version of what I posted earlier. Even though the chapter is basically Bree remembering what happened to her before the main events of the novel, more information has been added as well as some actual dialog. It is still rough, as all my original drafts are. But this is going to be my way of keeping accountability on the project. As an fyi, the original I posted here was approximately 2645 words (give or take a few). That “chapter” once expanded weighs in at 4427 words. Don’t worry, I’m not snippeting that much of the WIP. But here’s a sample of the new and hopefully improved opening (at least currently) of Tearing the Veil.
Welcome to Hell
That was the last thing my mother said to me on my thirteenth birthday. It might not have been Hell in the biblical sense of the word, but it certainly was in every other way.
And it’s been my life for the last decade.
One day I’ll break free. When I do, I’ll show her what Hell really is. She’ll learn she should have killed me that day. It would have been kinder than the life she sentenced me to.
It sure as hell would be kinder than what I have in mind for her. She owes me and I intend to collect with interest.
Let me introduce myself. My name’s Brighid “Bree” Walsh. That hasn’t always been my name. It wasn’t even my name two weeks ago. Then, I’d been just a number. Before that, I entered this world with the pretentious and oh-so-proper name of Adriana Grace Hansen. The eldest child, and the most rebellious of Rebecca Chambers Hansen and Charles Desmond Hansen, two of the vilest, most hate-filled people to ever walk the face of the Earth.
I learned that lesson on my thirteenth birthday. Trust me, it’s a lesson I won’t ever forget.
It is a lesson they will come to with they never taught me.
Up until the day they consigned me to hell, life had been pretty normal. Well, as normal as it can be when your parents have no qualms sacrificing anyone, even family, to gain what they want. Not that I knew just how bad they were back then.
Looking back at my family, we were nothing special, no matter what my parents thought. Our family tree was filled with teachers and shopkeepers. Oh, there was a doctor or lawyer here and there along the way. We even had a few politicians—more about them later. But, on the whole, they were hardworking men and woman, just looking to eke out the best life they could for their families.
That started changing two, maybe three, generations ago. My paternal grandfather was happy being a teacher. He knew the importance of educating kids, teaching them to think for themselves. It’s something he tried to instill in me, despite my parents’ best efforts to thwart him. Unfortunately, he died before my tenth birthday and, with him gone, no one cared what happened as long as the family’s position and power grew.
Then there was Grandmother—hell, let’s be honest here. She hated being called “mom” or “mother”, much less “grandmother” or, heaven forbid “grandma”—she was very different from Granddad. She wanted to be more. She wanted my grandfather to be more. When that didn’t work, she started working behind the scenes in local politics. She liked to think of herself as a mover and shaker. In truth, all she managed to be was a worker bee. But damn if she wasn’t a master manipulator who trained her son to put his own good and his own desires above everything else.
Including his eldest daughter.
Which daddy dearest did, with ample help from my mother. Anyone who really knew them, knew they’d sacrifice anyone for a political deal. As long as they got something out of it, my parents didn’t care who they stepped on.
Hell, daddy dearest didn’t care if he had to disappear someone or make sure they never breathed another breath. My mother would stand beside him, offering encouragement, as he did.
I was maybe six when I saw something I shouldn’t have. I was supposed to be in bed but had snuck downstairs for a drink of water. As I started back up the stairs, I heard something from my father’s office. It sounded like someone cried out before being silenced. Scared, my heart beating like it might burst out of my chest, I crept toward the door.
Had someone broken in? Could they be hurting my parents?
I know, I know. I was still young and foolish. I loved my parents back then. Or at least thought I did. Just like I thought they loved me.
At the door, I reached out. My little hand shook as I opened the door just enough to look inside. It wasn’t my parents in trouble but a man. I couldn’t see his face. His back was to me. He knelt of the floor, pleading with them not to hurt him. The look on my mother’s face as my father struck the man, sending blood flying, sent a chill down my spine. I knew then I didn’t want either of them to know what I’d seen.
Unfortunately, it didn’t teach me to keep my mouth shut and be the compliant little daughter they wanted.
Fortunately, it wasn’t all that difficult to stay out of their way. They only wanted me around when they needed to parade out their perfect little family. Otherwise, I was shoved off to nannies and tutors. It was a classic case of out of sight, out of mind for all of us.
Unfortunately, for me at least, I still loved my parents and wanted them to love me. After all, they were my mom and dad and that’s what they were supposed to do. If they didn’t, then something must be wrong with me.
And that was an insecurity they played on, much to my detriment.
At ten, I learned another difficult lesson. This one courtesy of Grandmother—or when I’m really not in a generous mood, Granny—tried to teach me about the “ways of the world” and our family’s place in it. She grew up on tales told to her by her own parents about how the world went to bed one day when everything was normal. It was how God meant it to be. Humans shared the planet with animals, insects and plants. The sky was blue and the grass was green. All that changed overnight.
The veil separating reality from nightmare—and that’s exactly how she described it—was torn. The things of movies and books and, yes, even nightmares crawled out of the shadows into the light of day. Some were ablet to keep up the appearance that they were human, but others couldn’t. After all, it is more than a little difficult to explain away a ten-foot tall, one-eye cyclops or a ghost that insists on coming out whenever someone’s around.
There were others as well. Elves are real. In fact, I have a feeling they’re responsible for whatever happened to cause the change. They always seem to be trying to push the boundaries, especially when it comes to manipulating the world around them. Whatever happened, the veil between natural and supernatural was ripped away and we got to see the worst in everyone.
And especially my parents. They, like my grandmother, wanted the old world back and they meant to get it, not matter what it took.
Which gets to my story. . . .
Again, the above is a very rough draft, unedited and will be subject to change before publication. There will be more to come. I guess I ought to add the usual boilerplate. I hold the copyright to the above. It cannot be used or shared in any way without my approval. And now I’m off. I need more coffee, to work and to figure out a cover that actually fits the book. Until later!