My WIP kinda-sorta young adult novel (as yet untitled but set in my fictional town of Springdale, just a hop down the road from Broughton's Hollow of The House Eaters) split in two last night. For a moment, I thought it was going triplicate.
I've shifted POV to 3rd person and will run two parallel story lines. Both Andy and his sister Phoebe (yes, her parents named her Phoebe after Holden Caulfield's sister in Catcher in the Rye) will have chapters. Phoebe was just too strong to hold back. You go, Feebs.
From her first chapter:
Phoebe Ellison hated mirrors, and mirrors shared the sentiment.
She stood before a mirror in one of the less traveled ladies restrooms in Springdale High, exchanging a glare with the reflection. Tiny white lines on her forearms reached from the glass and shouted in her ears. Phoebe ran a finger across her skin, wondering if it was her imagination or the truth she felt in those little, rigid scars.
Muffled voices sounded in the hall. Phoebe’s hands worked without thought—her left turned the hot water tap, and her right reached for the soap dispenser. The bathroom door crashed open. Haley Garret and her entourage brushed behind her, close enough Phoebe could smell Haley’s perfume.
If she only had a match, they would all go up in flames.
“Lookie here,” Haley said. She positioned her well-tanned face over Phoebe’s shoulder in the mirror. “A piece of fresh meat.”
Phoebe’s neck bristled. She could leave—walk out now and not look back.
“Whatcha doing, fresh meat?”
Haley’s clones giggled.
“Washing my hands.” Steam began to rise in the basin, distorting the faces in the mirror. “Going back to class.”
“Right.” Haley pushed her shoulder into Phoebe’s back as she turned. “Don’t be late, fresh meat.”
The giggling trio slipped out of the door. Water vapor condensed on the mirror, blurring it to a white haze. The steam began to tease Phoebe’s dark hair. She smelled fire—felt it burn her nose. Smoke and ash. Voices crying. The voices always blended into a memory of her parents’ final cries. How old had she been, four…five? Pain radiated through Phoebe’s forearm, to her shoulder, across her back, and into her lips. Sweet pain. When she pulled back her hand, the hot water had seared a red mark on her skin.
She wanted to smash the mirror. She wanted to crush it into a million pieces and grind the pieces beneath her sneakers. Her right hand balled into a fist. Maybe she’d cut her knuckles on the shards. There’d be blood. Phoebe fought the smile at the thought, and the bell rang, forcing her out of the bathroom, right hand clutched over the left to hide the burn.
Tomorrow, I have a story up at Every Day Fiction. Bracing myself for impact. Enjoy Wednesday.