okay, i am posting the first two chapters of my very first novel right here for you to enjoy, critique, love, hate...take a read and give me honest feedback. my original goal was to finish this novel by the end of last summer, but creativity cannot and will not be rushed :)
without further ado...
“Sara, push!” I can’t push anymore, she said breathlessly as blood started to puddle on the bed. “You have to, this baby is coming now.” The midwife felt for the baby’s head and was horrified when she felt the baby’s bottom instead. “Gregor” she shouted, “she needs a hospital. For god’s sake why are you so cruel?”
Gregor was sitting downstairs in his worn leather chair that had been in this living room since he was a boy. His father had built this farm and Gregor had always lived here. His father was a tough man. Most said he was cruel. Gregor was just like his father. Percival and Elizabeth Barton came to Indiana in the earlier 1900’s. He built their homestead on 200 acres while Elizabeth cared for their children. The land had been cleared and was ready to plow. Gregor was their youngest child and the only one who continued living there after their Elizabeth passed away.
The midwife burst into the living room in a panic. “If you don’t get her to the hospital she is going to bleed to death!” Gregor raised his glass of whiskey and muttered, “She always was a weak bitch.” He named his son William.
Sara’s funeral was held the following day. Her son, whom she never had a chance to hold in her arms, was there in a basket at his father’s feet. In fact, the only attendees at the grave were Gregor, William and a man hired to dig the hole. It wasn’t that Sara was unliked in their community. Just the contrary, no one could understand what possessed her to married such an abusive bastard in the first place. Sara was almost 20 years younger than her husband and this suited him just fine. He felt she would be easier to keep a thumb on that way. In his opinion, as women got older they acquired an attitude of independence. He didn’t need any wife of his thinking she was going to start bossing his around in his own house. Unfortunately, she turned out to be a poor choice after all. She wasn’t even capable of birthing children. Gregor buried Sara in a plain wooden coffin next to grave of his sister. He didn’t bother with flowers and kind words, that wasn’t his style. He kicked the last bit of dirt onto the fresh grave and said, “Good riddance.” The stone simply read, Sara 1953-1976.
William’s childhood was bleak. Gregor never remarried and raised his son the only way he knew how. William ate hatred for dinner, cut his teeth on contempt, and learned lessons in cruelty. He really didn’t think much of it; it was all he had known. William had attended the local public schools where he was taunted by his classmates. They said his father killed his mother. He knew this wasn’t true, it was her fault she had been defective. It was her own fault that she was dead. The kids would call after him, “go cry to your momma Willie. Oh I forgot your momma is buried in the backyard.” In the beginning their taunts hurt him and he would run home to his father. On one of these occasions, Gregor was in a terrible mood when William came home crying. “Boy, what are you crying for?” “I hate school, they tease me. They keep saying that you killed my momma.” “That bitch killed herself. I’m sick and tired of seeing you cry. Do you want to be a woman?” Just then Gregor lifted his rough callused hand and hit William in the side of the head. The unexpected blow knocked William off his feet and he stumbled into the coffee table turning it over. He certainly wasn’t unaccustomed to being hit. His father was a brutal man who showed mercy for no one. “I’m sick of hearing you whine, boy. Take care of them or I will take care of you.” William never cried again.
“I don’t know what you expect me to do! I’m doing the best I can. Maybe you should get off your ass and get a second job. I’ve had enough of your princess bullshit.” This wasn’t the first fight that Stan and Emma had gotten into over money. They were strapped and it was wearing their marriage thin. Things had been better before. Stan had been working for a software company in Boston. His salary was enough that they could live comfortably in the suburbs. Then Claire came along in 2006. Emma was able to quit her job and stay home with her. Although it wasn’t perfect, it was really good. They lived in a pretty colonial style house with a big front porch. Stan had put up a porch swing so Emma could sit and rock the baby. They had extra bedrooms and planned to fill them. Stan was laid off in the spring of 2008.
At first, Stan and Emma were able to make ends meet with his severance package and unemployment, but it didn’t take long for the money to run out. For the last year Stan had been working jobs stocking shelves, pumping gas, anything he could scrounge up. Emma found work as a chambermaid at a seaside hotel where she and Stan used to vacation. She was pissed every day when she would clean up after vacationers. She was angry because of her own unstable finances. She took her anger home to Stan. Their house was foreclosed on just before Christmas 2009.
“I am so sick of living in this rat trap apartment. Why can’t you take care of us?” Emma spat her venom at Stan. She was standing in front of the plugged up kitchen sink wearing long rubber gloves and holding a plunger. “This is bullshit. I shouldn’t have to live like this,” she went on. “Really, Emma? Do you really think I am enjoying this? Every day you come home bitchier than the last. It isn’t my fault I was laid off.” She turned to him with fire in her eyes. “Things would be so much different if my father was still alive.” She stormed off and left Stan fuming in the kitchen.
Emma was a daddy’s girl from day one. She adored her father. He had left Indiana when he was 16 years old and he never looked back. He didn’t discuss his childhood or his father. She knew that her Uncle still lived at the family farm in Indiana, but she had never been there nor did he ever visit them in New Hampshire. Her father had never explained why he didn’t keep in touch with his brother Gregor or his sister Hannah. After much prodding he once told her that he had another sister who had died as a child and was buried in the family cemetery on the farm. Emma had asked her father what had happened to her, but he never talked about it.
Robert had never been excited about Emma’s choice to marry Stan. Robert never thought he would amount to anything and he told Emma so several times. She brushed him off knowing that she was in love and that was enough. Stan was a computer software engineer. However, all her father ever saw him as was a lazy video game player. It was true that Stan was ridiculously absorbed in his computer, but that was his field after all and Emma was perfectly happy with her choice.
They had been married five years when she broke the news to Stan that she was pregnant. They had started trying for a baby right away and had started to think it would never happen for them. She had spent countless nights crying in his arms, longing for the baby they couldn’t seem to have. Now that was over and they were ecstatic. Emma’s pregnancy was joyful and healthy and they welcomed Claire on Christmas Eve in 2006.
Robert was immediately smitten with his granddaughter. She was the spitting image of her mother and he could barely remember ever being so happy. He took every opportunity to spend time with Claire. He lavished her with presents at every opportunity. Stan kept saying it was too much and he was spoiling her. There was never much love between the two men.
Emma’s mother had been killed in a car accident a few years before and he mourned that she would never have the chance to hold their beautiful granddaughter. Robert had no other family to speak of aside from Emma. When he was sixteen he left home and never looked back. Robert had been gone ten years when his father, Percival, died of a massive heart attack while plowing the fields. He had laid there for two days before his son Gregor had bothered to look for him. Robert hadn’t spoken directly to Gregor, their sister Hannah had tracked him down to give him the news. Robert got a call a few years later that Hannah was suffering with pancreatic cancer. He didn’t make it to see her before she died, but he did make it to the funeral. To his great relief Gregor had not bothered to come. It didn’t surprise him. Gregor was void of any feeling whatsoever. He was always their father’s hateful sidekick. In fact, it was a great surprised to Robert when Hannah had told him of Gregor’s marriage and subsequent fatherhood. He knew Gregor had a son named William, but that was all he knew or cared to know. He certainly had no intention of getting to know him.
Robert hadn’t told Emma that he was sick. He couldn’t bring himself to tell her that he was dying. Instead he kept up a brave front and made excuses for his fatigue. She may have known something more was going on; if she knew, she didn’t say. On the days of his treatments he told her he was at the casino gambling away her inheritance. She always thought that was amusing considering that she knew there was no inheritance. He may not have had money to leave behind but he was very generous with Emma and Claire. He often gave Emma money when she couldn’t make ends meet after Stan lost his job. He often showed up on their doorstep with groceries and toys. He had paid for Claire to attend a prestigious pre-school. Emma’s father passed away in the fall of 2009.
Emma stood at the foot of her father’s grave and cried as the blazing autumn leaves were swirling around her feet. In another life this day would have been amazing. The sun was shining through the burst of crimson leaves while a light cool breeze caressed her skin. None of this was noticeably to Emma then. All she knew was heartache. Her father was laid to rest beside her mother. She laid a bouquet of lilies on her mother’s grave as she said goodbye to her parents.
too be cont...