Fiction Fragment Friday
This weeks Fiction Fragment Friday is really a rough draft. I’m not happy with it as is and will likely go through multiple rewrites. Sometimes though it is important to just write it and get it out. You can’t let yourself get too caught up in trying to make the story perfect that you never write anything. This is a struggle I frequently have. These Fiction Fragment Friday’s have helped me realize that writing something that doesn’t do what you want is better than not writing anything because you can’t seem to get it right.
Never underestimate the power of editing to make your stories what you want them to be, but also don’t underestimate the power of writing stream of consciousness to direct your story. When I started this section I planned on having a scene in medical and a scene settling down in his room. When I started writing though that was not where the story went.
I suspect that after I rewrite it this scene in the hallway could be something truly powerful. I am at almost 10,000 words in this serial story now and need to decide whether to continue as I have been or go back and do some rewrites and edits to create the first two chapters of a book.
“Hurry up already I don’t have all night.” Janice’s annoyed voice came into my room from the hallway where she was berating Nurse Kirby. Part of me was happy for a familiar voice, but I was dreading her inevitable questions. I didn’t doubt for a second that her volunteering to help me back to my room was at least partially motivated by a desire for story details. While visiting me in medical she had been genuinely concerned, but I was coming to learn that this was a woman who always has multiple angles to her actions.
I took careful steps into the hallway. Proving that I could walk was a requirement for release, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t still very sore. My steps were slow, but with a little effort I could mostly hide the reactions. I knew she would see right through it but wasn’t sure who else might be watching. “Leave him alone, I’m sure he is doing the paperwork as quickly as he can.”
She turned towards me and I could feel her eyes assessing me. I could see the response die on her lips. Before I could even register her movements, she was at my side supporting me. “Should you really be walking around on your own?”
“I’m fine really. Just a little sore.”
“Yeah right. Hate to tell you this but I see through lies for a living and you aren’t even good at telling them.” That was far from the first time I had heard that. It wasn’t just that I had tells that would give away a lie, but I was terrible at acting as well. I had almost failed drama class in high school, and I didn’t even know that was possible. This time though I really did think that I was strong enough to get back to my room.
“Ok, paperwork’s all done. He’s free to go.” I heard my data pad beep as Nurse Kirby’s incoming messages arrived. It would cover the details of my stay and follow-up treatments. He turned towards me. “Good luck. After dealing with her you might just wish you hadn’t made it.”
“Oh shut up. You know you love me.” She was smiling and I wasn’t quite sure if they were actually fighting or teasing each other anymore.
“No I love Jeremy. I tolerate you. Speaking of my husband he said to tell you and I quote ‘Tell Janice that I don’t care what story she is chasing she better be on time for family dinner on Sunday or I’m going to tell mom why she missed her third wedding.’” He was doing an impression of someone I could only assume was his husband.
“He wouldn’t dare because if he did I would tell her what really happed to that hideous painting she gave you two as a wedding gift.”
They both started laughing and I couldn’t help but feel left out. I didn’t have any family left and even when I did we had grown so far apart I hadn’t talked to them in years. Being so far from home and not knowing who I could trust was just making me feel even more alone. I let them continue to banter for a while before she decided it was time to get moving. She led me through the corridors of the station in a winding manor. It didn’t take long for me to get completely lost.
“Are you sure this is the right way? I’m pretty sure my room is on the other side of the station.”
“You old room was. Your new room is this way.”
“What do you mean new room? My firm paid for a month.”
She stopped and turned towards me. “Someone tried to kill you.”
“Don’t you think I know that? I can’t stop thinking about. Every footstep I here I wonder if it’s someone else coming for me.”
Her annoyed expression softened a bit. “What I mean is that your old room isn’t safe. I set you up with a new room under an alias. It doesn’t trace back to you in any way.”
“Is that really necessary? A corridor is one thing, but my room should be safe.”
She sighed. “I was hoping I could just grab your stuff and keep this from you for a bit.” She pulled out her data pad and brought up pictures of my room. It had been trashed like someone was looking for something. “I checked your room while you were in medical. I planned to hack the lock, but the door was already open. It’s not safe there.”
I leaned against the corridor wall using it to brace myself. That had to have been done after my failed murder. Part of me had held out hope that it was a random mugging, but this meant that it was targeted. It also meant that they were still coming after me. My heart was racing and everything was getting very warm.
“Hey, hey. Breathe. Take a deep breath.” She put her hands on my shoulders. “Hey look at me.” I raised my head up and made eye contact with her. “Look I know it’s scary, but this isn’t my first time. I can keep you safe, but I need you to trust me. I’m not going to let anything happen to you. All you have to do is listen to me and do what I say. Just nod if you understand.”
I had no idea what was happening to me. My breathing was out of control, my heart was racing, and it felt like a pressure was pushing me down. Her words and comforting tone were cutting through it, but they were not enough. I knew that unlike myself she was likely very good at lying. Could I really even trust her? Everything felt so overwhelming. I didn’t even realize that I had lowered myself to the corridor floor and wrapped my arms around my legs. For the second time since arriving on the station I thought I was going to die.
Ten minutes had passed before I regained control of myself, but it felt like a half hour. Janice was right there on the floor next to me with one arm wrapped around me. She was still talking to me in her soothing voice, but I wasn’t ready to focus yet. I did let her help me to my feet. The rest of the walk to my new room was a blur. She seemed to know that I couldn’t focus put all the information on my alias directly into my data pad. I wondered if avoiding transmitting it was a little too paranoid but decided to take her advice.
As soon as we reached my new room I collapsed on the bed. I had to admit the room was a bit nicer than the one I had originally checked into. I had a table to work at and Janice has already brought my stuff. She explained that she had checked it for bugs already and guaranteed that there were no tracking devices. Her words were more about reassuring me than they were actually providing information. Deep down I wasn’t ready to calm down yet. I had a lot to think about and some serious decisions to make.