One thing I won't do, is give many answers.
This is the beginning of a project that has been a long time coming; what began three years ago is now in active motion. I'd love to be able to say, "THE END," by the end of 2011.
Now that I've found the missing puzzle piece, I think that's a very solid possibility.
Here's a taste of an unedited, heartfelt beginning.
“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.”
“Get out of the car.” I was outwardly calm as I spoke, loathing the interval between the ending of my weakly menacing voice, and the impending, nauseating emergence of his. I waited reluctantly as the thick, cloudy silence sat between us like a wall of dense cotton. He offered no response. I closed my eyes and forced the tense air from my lungs, reminding myself of his age, his inability to match my strength, wit, or human decency. I knew, without a shred of doubt, that he could offer no suitable defense against my mounting, festering rage, should it get the best of me. He didn’t deserve a warning. He deserved to be drug behind that car, in full view of a frigid, unconcerned audience as he released his pleading screams, so he could begin to understand the unforgivable damage he had inflicted. I could feel him staring at me, but the deafening silence continued. I couldn’t take it. Without facing him, I erupted and hissed as I screamed, “GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE CAR!!” I could practically smell the venom in my voice as it traveled across the back seat of the blue Buick to assault him, clawing at his very existence. Every cell in my body wanted to attack him--to uncoil and release the compressed emotions that have been hibernating, seeking sanctuary from fear-filled light.
I hated that car. I hated the way it looked, hated the way it drove, and mostly, I hated the way it smelled. I hated the fact that it used to be his car. I hated it because it smelled like cheap cigarette smoke and burnt oil. I hated the fact that the seats felt like a fuzzy garage saled, stuffed cartoon-looking prize that some greasy rabble won playing an overpriced, rigged game at a white trash carnival. I hated it because of the memories; vapid images of unbearable picnics and the rancid smell of mustard began to fill every empty space in my mind. Stupid fucking picnics. I remember shyly answering with an obedient, “yes, please” when he asked me if I wanted mustard on my sandwich. For years I hated mustard--mustard and blue Buicks. I’d swore I’d never sit in that car with him again, and yet, here I was--trapped like a helpless, starving rodent.
The perverse sound of his voice grabbed my thoughts and yanked me back to the present. “It’s okay,” he said, his quiet voice teetering on sarcastic. “I know it’s hard for you. I know why you’re upset and don’t want to stay. You miss your friends back home, and you probably have a boyfriend that you don’t like being away from. I understand.” I could feel myself trembling, desperately not wanting to cry. Unfriendly feelings of fear and vehemently provoked anger were twisting together inside of me. If it weren’t for the ever-present choke chain of self-restraint I religiously kept around my neck, I would have ripped him limb from limb with my bare hands. I would have slowly peeled back every aging fingernail on his evil, predatory hands and scratched his eyes out with them. I slowly released a deeply growled out, solemn warning: “If you don’t get out of this car, I am going to physically remove you from it.” I followed up the threat with a physical gesture--turning my body toward the opposing back seat he was occupying--and prepared to kick him square in the saggy chest with both of my capable, sized nine feet. I was no longer a tiny, slumbering child he could pick on. I was now seventeen years old, with a quick mind and years of playing, if not perfecting, the "what if" game under my belt. I had secretly prayed for this day; one opportunity to unbalance the power he thought he’d never relinquish. I’d never imagined it would be on Thanksgiving Day, at my father’s home a state away; a surprise attack...