Snippet Sunday: A Fool Indeed
Welcome to Snippet Sunday at PP.net! This week’s excerpt comes from my current WIP, WT: Incandescence and features a 102-year-old great-great-grandmother tromping through the wilderness with her descendants, Michael & Hannah.
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“Ah, you had to be there, I guess,” she fanned herself, still giggling at the memory of Giacomo fainting dead away there on the side of county road three-twenty-three. It was strange how there were some moments of her vast years which were crisp and clear as one of those high definition television sets, yet others were foggy at best.
Now, as she walked in silence beside her great-great-grandchildren, [OLDLADYNAME] glanced back over her shoulder. She could hardly make out the clearing from this distance, even knowing exactly where it lay. It felt as if they had been marching through the forest for hours, days even. Her arthritic knees were screaming with each step, though she voiced no complaint. The head of her cane wore an imprint into her palm and though she switched hands from time to time, the pain followed, like glass grinding into the knobby joints of every finger on either hand.
It occurred to her that she really had no idea where they were headed. East, Michael had said, away from the carnage. The sun sets in the west, so we just have to head in the opposite direction.
Although that was prudent, [OLDLADYNAME] did not see how walking in a straight line, possibly into the deep wilderness of wherever they were – because they had no idea where the inexplicable event (that was how they had chosen to think of it, rather than discuss it in earnest) had dropped them.
For all that she had lived in Washington her entire life, [OLDLADYNAME] has not terribly familiar with its many regions. She had been born in Seattle and lived on the penninsula – near the coast – ever since. Her geographic knowledge of the Eastern half of the state was allegorical; things she had read, or seen on television, or been told, but nothing she knew from experience. In fact, she reflected as she limped alongside her grandchildren, both of whom had shortened their long strides to accomodate her ungainly pace, she could not even remember the last time she had crossed the Cascades.
Tromping through the forest at one-hundred and two years old was a foolish idea, she decided. She had begun to wheeze, sweating despite the cold, and her feet felt swollen inside her shoes. She hated to be a burden to the children, but there was no choice. A forced march with no water, no food, and no idea what had happened or where they were was terrible.
“Dafuzina, please,” she croaked, stopping to lean against a sturdy Ponderosa pine. She had not spoken since the last stone was set upon Adina’s makeshift grave and it scratched her throat and wounded her pride, to have to beg now. “I need to rest.”
Hannah, proving herself more empathetic than she often seemed, rushed back to her side and helped her to sit down. [OLDLADYNAME] felt old for the first time in many years. She had always been hale, healthy as a thoroughbred with strong eyes and more endurance than she had ever needed. There had been an appendectomy when she was in her fifties and of course, some of the typical ailments of age, but she had hardly been sick a day in her life and even childbirth had been fairly easy for her. Today she felt as if all the aches and pains and illnesses she had avoided in the past century had been dumped upon her at once.
She was afraid that she would die.
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Yes, I have omitted the old woman’s name in the snippet. Mostly, because I am waiting to hear back from my beta readers to see if they think it should remain or be changed. But otherwise, what do you think? Comments, questions, suggestions – let me hear them below!
Love & Rainbows,