Happy Tuesday, my peoples!
I realized that it had been awhile since I posted (in other words, I didn't last week), so here I am. I was planning to post some book recommendations (y'all are gonna get those next week instead :D), but I've decided on something else.
More specifically, snippets from my current WIP, A Soldier's Story. (Some of y'all may remember this story from when I talked about it here.) I've never before publicly shared snippets of this story. And I've shared very little about it/of it with friends.
So why am I sharing now? The reasoning for that lies in the second half of the post title.
I found out yesterday (thanks to an Instagram post) that this week is National Suicide Prevention Week. A quick Google search informed me that this has actually been a thing for 40-something years? (And I've never heard of it? Not that I've been around for over 40 years, buuuuttt...)
This realization made me think of my story. You see, parts of it has to do with suicide. (Particularly soldier suicide and the heart-aching statistics surrounding it...but that's a post in itself.) I think that's part of the reason I haven't shared much about this story. It's a story that is dear to my heart (okay, they all are...), and I don't want it to read and torn apart by anyone. Not that I think y'all would do such a thing! It's just, for whatever reason, been/being harder for me to share of this story than of previous written works of mine.
So. All of that being said, I have decided to share the beginning of this work (currently almost-30k, btw!) with you all today. Although I don't have it broken into chapters yet, the italicized part will be the prologue and the other will be the beginning of chapter one. :)
*deep breath* Here goes...
The soldier stopped in front of the telephone. He inserted his quarters, lifted the phone to his ear, and punched in the desired number. And waited. Waited.
Just when he was on the verge of giving up, the call was answered.
“Hey, Dad, it's me.”
“James! Hello son, where are you?”
“Well, um, I'm on my way home. But I have a favor I'd like to ask. I have a friend that I want to bring with me.”
“Sure, son. Your mother and I would love to meet him.”
“Okay, but…there's something you ought to know before you see him.”
“Yeah, he, uh…he got hurt pretty bad in the fighting… lost an arm and a leg. I don't just want you to meet him; I want him to live with us. He doesn't have anywhere to go.”
The son’s words were met with silence. Awkward silence during which he fidgeted and waited, almost expecting the next words.
“That's too much for you to ask of us, son,” his dad said. “Someone like that – who we don't even know, I might add – would be a terrible burden to your mother. I suggest you forget about this guy and come on home. He’ll make his own way in the world.”
The son pulled the phone from his ear and slammed it into the box, causing the entire stand to jangle and rock.
The father spoke his name a few times before deciding they'd gotten cut off and hanging up the receiver. Not caring enough to wonder at the odd disconnection.
Meanwhile, somewhere across the country, a young soldier stood staring at the pay phone, contemplating his next move.
My heart pounds, blood pulsing through my temples. No, no, no… I race up through the flights of stairs. Seeing as how I'm just recovering from a cold, I'm getting winded quickly but this is still faster than the elevator.
Please, let me get there in time.
The plaque on the wall is a blur as I blow past. Did that say 4th floor? Only three more flights. I can do this.
As my feet gobble up the metal stair treads, the image I saw from the parking lot flashes back through my mind. Back to the second when I looked up and saw a person on the roof, leaning over the edge. A man, unless I'm sorely mistaken, who looked like he was about to jump.
With a second wind (or third?), I fly up the last flight of stairs and shove my weight against the door that lets me out onto the rooftop.
My gaze bounces first to my right, then to my left. I don't see him. Please, please, be here.
I walk out across the roof, dodging what appears to be a dead rat. I hurry across the concrete rooftop until I can see the side of the building which overlooks the parking lot.
There he is.
I draw closer to the spot, being careful not to make any loud or sudden noise and startle him into going over the edge unintentionally. Studying him, I notice with gratitude the uniform he wears. And I wince when I see that he's missing two limbs.
On the story note, did you like it? Interested to learn more? Got any constructive criticism to offer?
On the suicide prevention note, I may be writing more about that on Chosen Vessels this Saturday. Also, I totally suggest checking out Julia's, Mikayla's, and Grace's posts on the subject.
Hope y'all are having a fabulous week!