...but my goal is to finish draft 2 of Acktorek by the end of April anyway, so I thought I might as well start a project. I'm behind, but I'm determined. And actually, last week I had my best writing day ever with 4,022 words. New words. I'm actually writing a lot more new material than I expected, but it's good. Still a lot of work to do, but I'm liking it. You can see my stats here.
And here, have a snippet.
She could hear the screaming before she opened the back door. Five minutes. That was all it took. Five measly minutes. And she’d known it and not been careful anyway.
Steeling herself, she opened the door and stepped into the kitchen. Her mother stood in the middle of the floor, shrieking, reaching for the phone hung on the wall, struggling against Emma’s dad who held her tight. Her mother’s hair was matted and wild. Tears streamed down her face. She struck at Emma’s dad, trying to escape from his firm grasp. He stroked her hair gently, trying to calm her, but to little avail.
“Livy, it’s okay. She’s fine. It’s okay.” Mr. Edsel’s voice held the practiced deep calm it always did. That placid, in-control tone that never seemed to work, but Emma didn’t want to know what things would be like without it.
“She’s gone!” Mrs. Edsel shrieked. “My baby!”
Emma took a deep breath and approached her parents. She put a hand on her mom’s shoulder. “Mom, I’m here. I’m safe. I’m here. You don’t need to call 911. I’m here.”
“Emma’s here, Livy,” Mr. Edsel jumped in. “She’s right here, safe and sound.”
Mrs. Edsel stilled for a moment and turned her head towards Emma. Emma met her gaze and tried to hold it. But her mother’s gaze was empty, not registering what she saw. “My baby is gone,” she whimpered.
“Mom, it’s me. Emma.”
“Where’s my baby?” She turned back towards Mr. Edsel and beat her fists against his chest. “Where did she go? You let her go and now she’s gone. Where is she?”
“Livy.” Mr. Edsel grasped both her forearms in one hand, holding her still. “Emma and Carla are both here. Your babies are here. They’re safe.” He looked deep into her eyes, trying to connect with her, to find the part of her that was still lucid. Emma wasn’t entirely sure it existed anymore. “No one’s missing. No one’s hurt. We’re all here.”
Mrs. Edsel stared at her husband, uncomprehending. “Where?”
Emma stepped around next to her dad’s shoulder. “Mom.” She grabbed her mom’s shoulder. “I’m here. Right here in front of you.”
Mrs. Edsel blinked. “Emma?”
“Yes, Mom. It’s me.”
“What were you doing outside? You were gone. You could have been killed!” Mrs. Edsel’s voice rose into a shriek.
“I’m safe, Mom. I haven’t been killed. I was only in the backyard.”
“You could have died! You could have—”
Mrs. Edsel looked back at her husband.
“She’s safe. Emma’s sensible. She won’t get hurt.”
“But she might have…” Mrs. Edsel trailed off into a whimper.
Mrs. Edsel whimpered long and mournfully and curled into her husband’s chest, trembling violently. He held her, rubbing her back, speaking soothingly to her. After a few minutes, he looked at Emma and jerked his head towards the stairs. Her cue that she could go. None too soon.