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Friday Fiction – Awake (sneak peek)

28 March 2014 No Comment

The author guest blog fell through for this month, so I thought I’d post a sneak peek at the novella I’m working on for the Big Bang challenge via WriYe. It’s pretty much done, but could be worked into something larger.

Hope you enjoy!

Awake
© 2014 Jodi Lee, all rights reserved
Written for the Big Bang, Hint Fiction, and Genre Stretch Challenges
National Novel Writing Year
Image credit – abecerra, sxc

awakeIt hasn’t always been like this. I used to have one life, just one. Then I made the mistake of not looking both ways before crossing the street, and now I’m living more lives than I can handle.

* * *

I kicked myself for the tenth time that week, mostly for letting Tomsin take off with my car, but partly for thinking today would be another slow, boring drag. If I’d known the coffee shop wanted to have me come in and interview for the manager’s position, I would never have let her take the car. Sneaky, self-absorbed brat that she is, she didn’t bother to tell me they’d called; she left the message taped to the phone.

Of course I didn’t find it until I had less than an hour to get ready and get into town. Maybe I should kick myself for my husband and I having to move home in the first place, instead of staying in town where getting to the interview wouldn’t be a problem.

Even with my new husband’s recent promotion, we just couldn’t make ends meet if we included rent or a mortgage into the mix. I needed a job. I needed to get to that interview.

I texted Tomsin, but of course she wouldn’t reply. Too busy with her friends, she probably didn’t even check the screen. Owen was at work and hated being troubled, but I had no choice. No answer, not even the secretary. That was odd, usually she picked up right away, and I knew Owen didn’t have any special meetings, so what the hell? I didn’t really have time to dwell, so I moved on to my next option – my mother. I tried calling her at her office, but there was no answer there, either. Of course there wouldn’t be, that’d be too simple. I tried getting hold of two friends in town, and still no go. I gave up and glanced out the window at the old bike leaning against the barn wall.

A lot of deodorant, hair up in a scalp-tearingly tight braid, a light shirt and slacks combo, and I was off; on a thirty year old ten-speed, heading the two miles into town on rutty gravel roads. I was never called sane by anyone I know of, so this probably wouldn’t have surprised any of my old friends.

I should have checked the crossroad better than I did. I know that. Now. A quick glance to the right, and I saw nothing. I didn’t stop pedaling, though, and I should have. I should have stopped, checked both ways, twice!, and then crossed. It’s called hind sight for a reason… because it’s something from the past, and you’re looking at it from the future.

If you’re lucky.

I didn’t really feel anything when the truck hit me, mostly I heard the horn blaring and then that became my ears ringing. I remember telling the driver I was okay, that I could go on, but then everything went black and that was that.

I didn’t realize I’d be waking up somewhere so similar, yet so different.

* * *

The alarm was going off, blaring rock music into the ears that were attached to my painfully sore head. Really should have watched how much champagne I’d partaken of the night before, but one only gets real champagne once in a lifetime… at least around here.

Wait. Why was I thinking about champagne? I didn’t drink before I went to bed last night, and it wasn’t like I’d never had it before… I’d had plenty of it when Owen and I got married. Urgh. Maybe I was coming down with the flu.

When I opened my eyes, my room wasn’t right. This one was far more modern, less jumbled with the stuff of life. It certainly didn’t look like the room I’d left before I went for the job interview. Oh, crap! The interview, the… the truck at the crossroads. Shit, I couldn’t remember anything after that.

Had I gone to the coffee shop? Did I get the job? I kicked off my blankets, desperate to get downstairs and find out what was what. A robe was at the foot of the bed, so I threw that on, and opened the door, not really thinking about why everything was different, because maybe Owen had finally gotten around to putting his stuff out in the garage. When I stepped into the hallway though, that changed. I no longer cared whether or not I had the job, nor did I care if Owen had put his crap away.

Even the hall was different, and there were no stairs.

“What the hell?”

I worked my way slowly down the hall, discovering a bathroom and what looked like a spare room – the bed was bare and there were boxes on the floor – on the way. I went past a second hallway, and continued on. I discovered another bedroom, this time there was a teenage boy sleeping in it.

Backing out of the room, I all but ran through the next hall, exiting into a kitchen where the smell of coffee was nearly overwhelming.

“Good morning, dear. Coffee?” The woman at the sink turned, holding a cup in her hand. She was definitely my mom. Looked just like her, only she must have had her hair done, since it was darker and there was no gray.

I nodded.

“You wouldn’t believe the dream I had last night! It was horrible, and your father-” she passed me the mug, pointing to the whitener on the table. “-said he had the same one. That’s never happened before, let me tell you. The bacon is done and in the oven, I was just about to start your dad’s eggs. How do you want yours? If you want them scrambled I can do everyone’s all at once.”

I nodded, sorting her words mentally while taking a sip of my coffee. I shouldn’t have been holding hot liquid when the realization of her words hit me.

She turned away, not noticing that I practically fell into a chair at the table, holding my stomach. You know the feeling you get when you’re on a roller coaster, and it starts heading down a steep decline? That. That’s what I was feeling. I set the coffee down, my hand shaking so bad I spilled quite a bit of it. Even the burning from the splash across the back of my wrist didn’t snap me out of whatever hell it was.

I stood, reaching for a towel that was near the sink. As I crossed back to the table, a door slammed on the other side of the kitchen, and in walked my dad.

My dad had died when I was fifteen.



’til next week…
<3 JL

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