Thursday, November 1, 2007

Friday Snippet, November 2, 2007

I guess I'm sticking to this story for a little bit. I'm still writing about Nikki and Tasha, but I'm just trying to build my word count in that book.

This is a scene I've rewritten a couple of times. I'm still not sure I'm happy with it, but here it is.

This material is first draft. Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks.

A continuation of last week's post.

Carlie woke and stared up at the ceiling above her.

So she hadn’t died after all. Despite the aches and pains, Carlie felt alert and aware.

A nightmarish memory of strange faces, and traveling in some sort of wagon brought a puzzled frown to her face. She remembered flashing glimpses of mountains and snow, and feeling cold all the time, but she must have been dreaming. The nearest mountains were hundreds of miles away.

She slid her hand to the ache in her back and her fingers encountered a bandage. Carlie probed the bandage with gentle fingers but it seemed to be firmly in place.

The ceiling above her seemed to be made of cloth. Odd kind of ceiling to have in a hospital. How long had she been here? She had no idea. That wasn’t good. She needed to find out if Jason had survived.

Carlie sat up, feeling weak and washed out, and started to swing her legs over the edge of the hospital bed. She stopped, and stared. The bed was larger than any bed she’d ever seen before outside of a museum. The bedposts rose up in thick wooden, carved columns that supported a canopy overhead. Partially drawn bedcurtains surrounded the bed. What part of the room she could see through the gap in the bedcurtains looked expansive and made of stone blocks, with large colorful hangings on the walls. Carlie could just make out a fire in a fireplace big enough for her walk into it without ducking. Despite the fire, the air was cold to her unprotected face. Was this some kind of ski lodge? What kind of sense did that make?

She gathered up one of the thick covers on the bed and drew it around her shoulders. Carlie slid out of the bed, her feet glancing off a step placed at the side, apparently to assist people in and out of the high bed. She nearly fell, but recovered and stood, shivering in the cold, her back hurting, her sense of balance off.

Carlie noticed that her perspective was wrong. She was farther from the floor than she should be. She looked at her hands. Long and thin instead of short and stubby. Carlie frowned, struggling to comprehend what she was seeing.

A mirror on the wall at the other end of the room caught her eye. Carlie crossed to the mirror on shaky and uncertain knees. She saw her reflection and froze. The blanket dropped from her shoulders.

A tall woman in a blue wool nightdress with dark, almost black, hair and blue eyes looked back at her. The strange woman paused and stared and did not say a word.

“No,” Carlie whispered, and so did the reflection. Too much—it was all too much to deal with.

The strange woman’s mouth opened, but no sound emerged. Carlie’s hands raised to her face, and the mirrored woman’s hands faithfully echoed the movement.

Confused images of her ex-husband with a knife, but of yet another man and another knife, the memory of struggling to live whirled in her mind. She remembered waking up---somewhere else---and people she’d never seen before.

In the mirror behind her, she saw a portrait hanging on the wall. With a strangled scream, Carlie whirled, nearly tripping on the blanket.

The portrait was that of Jason—in an odd woolen hat and jacket--but still Jason.


IanT said...

Oh, great ending!

And I liked the immediate 'ski lodge' thought.

Tim King said...

Nice, Cheryl. I like it. Can't wait to see where it goes next.


Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Ooh, very intriguing, and I agree with Ian--the end is great.

Gabriele C. said...

Hehe, isn't it fun to wake up in completely alien surroundings only to find your nemesis has beat you to it? :)

Joy Renee said...

This is a page turner. I'm partial to stories that explore questions of identity and consciousness. I'm not sure that's what you're intending but Carlie's situation should does raise those questions in my mind. Her sense of 'I' has got to be skirting the edges of sanity the moment she looks in the mirror.

Bri said...

I agree - great ending! The sense of strange surroundings was great - disorienting not to know where you are or if the world is as it should be. Nice.