WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction

Fiction Novel excerpts, short stories, etc.


The Truth is in the Eyes, 2400, chapter one

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-08-2016, 01:35 PM
max crash's Avatar
max crash (Offline)
Always Online
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: The Keep, just beyond the orbit of mars
Posts: 2,239
Thanks: 147
Thanks 403
Default The Truth is in the Eyes, 2400, chapter one


“Come sit, and talk to me Baby.”

I have been expecting this for the last month. Mama has finally decided what we’re going to, or have to, do. I hope it’s something I can live with.

I felt my face take on a look that I believed she would be able to read as ‘I don’t like this but I know it’s necessary’.

I took a seat across from her and lay my school books on the table. “What are we going to do Mama?”

She sort of smiled “Let me just do this in my own way.”

“Okay.”

“Okay this is why I have decided to do this.”

I just looked at her hoping she would just say it ‘We have to move.’ But, she didn’t. It seemed she needed to say the reasons out loud so she could justify it to herself.

“Baby, you know that your father was the one who made all the money in the family and now that he is gone – well, we just have to cut back; cut back a lot.”

“I know.”

She went on like I hadn’t said anything; like the speech was rehearsed to the point that she might forget some important part of it if she stopped to hear what anyone else had said.

“Everything has been settled as far as money goes. Your Father’s insurance, which was only twenty thousand, has paid for his funeral,” she sniffled and then sucked in a breath in a sort of snort, “and I used most of what was left to pay off the credit cards.” She paused and then added. “That left $5,496 to live on until I could get some money coming in.”

She wiped her eyes and then her nose, she was so sad.
“Now the truth is I can’t get a job that pays half as well as your Father’s job did. She looked me in the eye “So if we stay we are going to go down with the ship. It won’t be long before I can’t afford the rent on the house. And the car payment on my car is just too much and we don’t need two cars anyway.

I tried to say it so she would understand I was concerned and wanted to help. “So what are we going to do Mama?”

She smiled a very sad smile, “We’re going to cut our losses. I found a car dealer that will pay off my car and give us fourteen-hundred dollars.”


“But Mama you love that car!”

“I do and it was the last thing your father gave me but we just don’t have a choice.”
“What’ll we drive? I mean, we’ll still need a car.”

“I know and we are going to drive your Father’s truck.”

“But the air doesn’t work and it gets terrible mileage.” I realized how selfish it sounded before all the words got out of my mouth.

“I know but it is in good mechanical shape with nearly new tires so it will provide paid for transportation for a long time.”

“Could we get the air fixed at least?”

She nodded almost crying. “I think so; if we have the money?”

“Good!” I realized that she had more to say and so I prodded. “Where are we going to move?”

She got up from the table and walked over to the sink. She had a near full cup of coffee but still added some more from the pot. “I called your Father’s brother and he is going to let us live with him.”

“Dad has a brother?”

“Yes, he inherited their father’s house and so he has plenty of room. It’s a big farm house in the country.”

“Do we own part of the house? I mean Daddy was his son too.”

“No your father,” she seemed to hastate before she found the words. “There was a falling out between your grandfather and your father. They never patched things up and if your grandfather was still alive we would find something else to do. I would never live under the same roof as that S.O.B.”

“So he left it all to my, Uncle?”

“James, James Allen; and to tell the truth I’m very surprised that he left it to James, he must have hated your father VERY MUCH, because he didn’t care much for James as I recall.”

“Why.”

“Well,” she was frustrated. “It was – well I never planned to tell you this --- but we are moving back there so I have too. I hope you understand that I never planned to go back ever. But things change.”

“So why?”

“Baby, James went to prison for beating your father almost to death.”

“What?”

She held up her hand seeming to get me to just listen and continued “Your Grandfather never forgave your father for James going to jail even though the law pressed the charges not him.”

“So Uncle James is a felon.”

“Yes, he did eighteen months for assault with intent to do bodily harm.”

“Why did he beat up daddy?”

She mostly suppressed a hysterical laugh. “I dated James before your father. He was a rough boy and seemed to always be in trouble.”

She sat back down at the table “Your father was much kinder and I thought he had a better future than James. I made a logical choice to marry Harry and things went downhill fast from that point.”

The statement struck me as odd because she always calls my father, ‘your father’ and not by his given name which is Harry.

She wiped a tear “Now you go get ready for supper we still have to tell your brothers.”

I smiled “Mama they won’t care. They're just fourteen and fifteen; as long as there is a baseball team to join. They just won't care. They don’t have the ties I do to this place.”

“We still need to tell them we’re moving but I don’t think they need to know most of what I told you; okay.”

All she did was leave me with many questions, but I could tell she was done talking about it. “Okay.”

She smiled, “You can get a drivers license at sixteen in Oklahoma.”

“Oklahoma! Oh, really, at sixteen; I’m already sixteen.”

“Yes, I know and unless the laws have changed.”

“When will we be leaving?”

“The week after school is out; so, three weeks I guess.”




The sound of the tires rolling down the freeway was hypnotizing and let me drift off into a dream state. The twelve hour ride seemed to pass quickly and quietly after my brothers fell asleep in the back seat of the truck.

It bothered me a lot when I lost cell service from time to time and the only thing on the radio was a country station. I felt like I was going back in time to a place where communications took place at the local gas station and not over electronic devices.

It didn’t help that we had everything we owned in the rented trailer we were towing and the bed of the truck. If this doesn’t work then what will we do?

The sun was setting when Mama, who was dead tired, pulled into the drive to Uncle James house. Or maybe to make this more acceptable I guess I should say; where we are going to live. It bothered me that Uncle James could be so violent. I hope he is nicer than I’m told he used to be.

Mama stopped the truck just after the trailer was out of the road and with a lot of driveway left before we reached the house. “Baby, remember I told you I called your uncle and he said we could come live with him.”

“Yes, so.”

She let out a breath “well I didn’t. He doesn’t know we’re coming.”

“Mama we’re not coming we’re here.”

She sat just staring at the house. We had to do something. “Mama we may as well go on up to the house.”

She nodded, “Yeah.” But the truck didn’t move.

The dirt bike, that roared up on the right and stopped by the window, made Mama jump.

The badly, barely dressed girl with flyaway bleach blond hair let the bike die and moved her aviator goggles up on her forehead revealing how dirty her face was and that she had heterochromia just like me, a brown eye and a blue one.

She said in in a heavy southern drawl and in what had many similarities to English. “You folks lost?”

Mama just stared at her so I answered. “Is this the James Allen house?”

“Yep, I’m Billy Allen, wat y’all want with Daddy.”

Daddy, well I guess. “I’m Brandi Allen, your cousin, and we’re looking for a place to park the truck for a couple of day.”

She seemed bored with the conversation “Y’all have ta ask Daddy.” She sort of flipped her hair to the side. “He was in a good mood dis mornin’.”

I just looked at her and she added, “Y’all come on up ta da house.”

She pulled her goggles back down and kick started the bike. It roared off throwing dirt and stood on the back wheel just in front of the truck.

I, we sat for a minute before I asked. “Mama, are we going to the house.”

She nodded a yes but the truck didn’t move.

I asked again a little more loudly. “Mama, are we going to go up to the house?”

The truck started to move and by the time we got to the house the girl, Billy, was bringing a man that I can only believe is James around the corner.

He was a giant, like the Incredible Hulk, giant. He even had green hands!

Mama stopped the truck some distance away and several dogs, pit bulls I think, came out to greet us.

The man had a booming voice as he yelled at the dogs while he took the green gloves off. “Y’all shut the hell up. We know they’re here already.”

They just kept barking.

He walked over to the truck and looked into the driver’s window. He laughed and by the look in his heterochromic eyes said to me. “Well I was wondering if I would ever see this girl.”

Mama said rather abruptly, “You mean your niece, Brandi.”

My mind flashed and I felt a little dizzy as things spin about a turn. I had what I thought was a very good idea why Uncle James and Daddy were fighting. But it was too much and I pushed it out of my brain.

James I assume looked angry, “Yeah, I guess, what do you want Grace?”

I pushed it out of my brain, again.

Mama said in a flat tone, “Did you hear that Harry died?”

“Can’t say that I did.” He sort of smiled, “can’t say that I give a damn either.”

Mama and James exchanged ‘knowing looks’ at each other for a while before he said. “Well park the truck over there” as he pointed toward a long livestock trailer.

Mama drove forward and looked over at me. “That went better than I expected.”

I looked in the side mirror and saw James saying something to Billy.

By the time we were stopped and getting out of the truck Billy was at the door. “Y’all get what you need and I’ll show you where you be sleepin’.”

James was at Mama’s door “Grace let’s get some ice tea; set on the porch; talk a while."
Mama didn’t look to happy “do we have to do this now?”

“If you want to stay, we do.”

I grabbed my back pack and noticed that my brothers were just sitting in shock. I laughed, “Come on guys let’s go.” They began to move slowly. But, not as slow as Mama.

Billy and I walked toward the large older house leaving Mama and James to whatever conversation they needed to have. Billy said. “It looks to me that you folks got nowhere ta go.”

“Well I guess we do need a place to stay until we get our legs back under us.”

She nodded, “Well I think Daddy has a bone or two to pick with ya Mama before that’s gona happen. But if I gets to like ya then I’ll help.”

“Thank you.”

“Anybody ever tell ya, ya talks funny.”

I laughed, “Not lately.”

We went in the back door and up a flight of stairs to a six foot wide hallway with several rooms opening off of it. As we walked down the hall she just pointed to rooms for my brothers “The sheets and towels are in the third drawer of the chest.”

My room was, well, just what you would expect, the very ornate chest of drawers was from the twenties, the desk looked home made in that I had never seen one like it before and the bed had a metal head and foot board. It was painted at one time but at the present it was badly chipped. There were several rag rugs on the floor.

Billy opened one of the drawers and took out a set of sheets and some towels. “These be yours. I’ll help ya put them on iffin ya wants.”

“Thank You that would be nice. Is there a bathroom?”

“Oh yah, it’s on the other side of the hall, we share.”

“You and I?”

“Yep the boys have their own, but ya needs to know the cold water don’t work in the sink in ours and sometimes ya has to jiggle the handle on the pot or it just keeps a running.”

We finished the bed and she smiled. “I has to go make supper now.”

I nodded, “I don’t know much about cooking but let me wash my hands and I’ll help. I’m sure Mama will too.”

“I’d like dat. But your Mama aint gona do nothin’ until Daddy is finished talkin’ ta her. If she don’t have good answers – you may not spend the night.” She smiled, “I sure hope she has good answers. I kinda like ya already.”

__________________
if you're writing over your readers head - tum etiam, ut graece scribens --- the secret of success changes;the truth of failure remains constant; if you try to please everyone you will fail.

Last edited by max crash; 06-10-2016 at 01:16 PM.. Reason: format
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-09-2016, 12:29 AM
nomadreid's Avatar
nomadreid (Offline)
Copyist
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Haifa, Israel
Posts: 53
Thanks: 12
Thanks 3
Default

The line “Yes, I know and unless the laws have changed.” requires one to stop for a moment and ask what is understood to make a complete sentence. I don't object to incomplete sentences, but you might want to rework that line.
Also, commas are not just a written nicety; they help the reader imagine where the characters are taking a breath, regardless of whether the characters speak grammatically. Also commas help to section off thoughts. Your characters often sound like they are going out for the Guinness Book of records in saying something without drawing a breath. It's no problem to have an ungrammatical punctuation for those who speak like that, but try reading your dialogue aloud, and you might see that a few more commas could be inserted.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-09-2016, 01:08 AM
Yonathan1 (Offline)
Abnormally Articulate
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 138
Thanks: 0
Thanks 6
Default

Why do you write in this kind of font? I may not read any more from you if you continue to do so
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-09-2016, 01:25 AM
nomadreid's Avatar
nomadreid (Offline)
Copyist
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Haifa, Israel
Posts: 53
Thanks: 12
Thanks 3
Default oops

Originally Posted by Yonathan1 View Post
Why do you write in this kind of font? I may not read any more from you if you continue to do so
I presume this is directed to both of us. I must admit, I did not intend to write in that font, but I cut and pasted a line from the story to refer to it in my post, and then the window automatically continued to use that fond as I continued typing. Mea culpa; I will pay more attention next time when I cut and paste.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-09-2016, 10:00 AM
JP_Inkswell's Avatar
JP_Inkswell (Offline)
Scribbling Master
Official Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Old Virginny
Posts: 895
Thanks: 24
Thanks 218
Default

In my opinion, everything prior to "the sound of the tires rolling down the driveway..." is backstory. Necessary and vital yes, but not the best place to start the story. Most of it should come out as the story unfolds, depending on it's relevance, and the length of the whole story. This may be more a matter of style than anything, but then people don't buy classic cars for their gas mileage. They buy them for style, and spend big money in the process, so it does matter.
__________________
"Life is fiction. Write it well.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-09-2016, 10:43 AM
Mohican's Avatar
Mohican (Offline)
Tall Poppy
Administration
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Not quite back of beyond
Posts: 3,849
Thanks: 330
Thanks 651
Default

Do they talk like that in Oklahoma? Maybe south by Texas?

Also, navigator goggles would probably be aviator goggles? And a lack of consistent paragraph breaks/formatting makes it harder to read than it really is.

I have no problem with the back story.
__________________
If you surrender a civilization to avoid social disapproval, you should know that all of history will curse you for your cowardliness - Alice Teller

If John of Patmos would browse the internet today for half an hour, I don't know if the Book of Revelations would be entirely different or entirely the same.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-09-2016, 01:43 PM
max crash's Avatar
max crash (Offline)
Always Online
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: The Keep, just beyond the orbit of mars
Posts: 2,239
Thanks: 147
Thanks 403
Default

nomad- I have reread the questioned comma structure and would ask for an example of what you're saying - one that is in the text please. I am more often criticized for to many commas than to few.

yon - every term paper I have ever written, every one I have helped grade and I have ever requested is in courier new -12; I think everything I have ever posted to this site has been in courier new 12; except for some old stories I posted that was in New York Times 12. what font would you like me to use?

JP - lets talk about back story, should they have had the conversation about why they had to move while driving down the road? Don't we have to get them on the road first? And when should mother have warned her daughter about the problems they might face when they arrived.

I am very interested in how you would have gotten the back story into the story to this point. please elaborate.

Moe - i'll admit the girls dialogue is extreme, but as the story unfolds it is told that she is in a play and is trying to stay in character.

I suppose aviator would be a better choice, and it would remove the possible confusion that the two goggles might be different.

sorry about the format; I fixed it. just got in a hurry I guess.

thanks for the read

Max crash
__________________
if you're writing over your readers head - tum etiam, ut graece scribens --- the secret of success changes;the truth of failure remains constant; if you try to please everyone you will fail.

Last edited by max crash; 06-10-2016 at 01:19 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-10-2016, 12:47 PM
TheRedSharpie's Avatar
TheRedSharpie (Offline)
Scribbler
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: The universe
Posts: 31
Thanks: 20
Thanks 5
Default

This is good work. I like your writing style - you're clearly a natural writer.

Just a couple of things:

Mama has finally decided what we’re going to or have to do.
I didn't feel like this sentence flowed that smoothly, I stumbled a little as I read.

And:

“But Mama you love that car!”
The ideas behind the dialogue - not just here, this is just an example, in the whole piece really - are great, but it could really do with some commas. Maybe that's just me though. I'm a big fan of commas.

Hope I helped
__________________
"The functional disenchantment, the sweet habit of each other, had begun to put lines around her mouth, lines that looked like quotation marks - as if everything she said had already been said before."
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-11-2016, 02:31 PM
Cierra (Offline)
Pencil pusher
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 14
Thanks: 0
Thanks 2
Default

It was intrigueing , nice.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-11-2016, 10:01 PM
nomadreid's Avatar
nomadreid (Offline)
Copyist
Official Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Haifa, Israel
Posts: 53
Thanks: 12
Thanks 3
Default

nomad- I have reread the questioned comma structure and would ask for an example of what you're saying - one that is in the text please. I am more often criticized for to many commas than to few.
Sorry for the delay in responding. So, some examples:
“I know but it is in good mechanical shape with nearly new tires so it will provide paid for transportation for a long time.”
gasp- the speaker would take a breath somewhere, probably between "tires" and "so".
Another,
“Your Grandfather never forgave your father for James going to jail even though the law pressed the charges not him.”
The speaker would probably pause not only for breath but also for a bit of thinking , both between "jail" and "even", and then again between "charges" and "not".
Another:
“Yep the boys have their own, but ya needs to know the cold water don’t work in the sink in ours and sometimes ya has to jiggle the handle on the pot or it just keeps a running.”
Unless the speaker has lungs like a sherpa, then she will probably replace the "and" by a pause, i.e., a comma.
In the next one,
“I do and it was the last thing your father gave me but we just don’t have a choice.”
It is true that one could do this without pausing, but people tend not to talk in a monotone stream of consciousness; more likely would be that the speaker would have some intonation that would be slightly discontinuous between "me" and "but", something that would be marked by a comma.
Such examples are in the dialogue. Other examples in the rest of the text are to indicate structure, such as
The badly, barely dressed girl with flyaway bleach blond hair let the bike die and moved her aviator goggles up on her forehead revealing how dirty her face was and that she had heterochromia just like me, a brown eye and a blue one.
Here, the reader is forced to try to follow the sentence as a solid chunk; it is easier for the reader if it is cut up a little, for example with a comma after "forehead".
By the way, a typo: "hastate" instead of "hesitate"
As far as too many commas, I would eliminate the one in
“Come sit, and talk to me Baby.”
and maybe put one in in front of "Baby"
There are lots of other examples, but I hope this gives the idea. Best is to print your work out and, besides having someone go over it with a red pen, also let someone else read it aloud, and see where she needs to take a breath, or puts an intonation that would be good to indicate, or has to pause to figure out how something can flow.
Oh, and I know you are trying to get across a dialect, but usually the slurring of "going to" is written "gonna", not "gona", in all dialects.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-12-2016, 11:39 AM
max crash's Avatar
max crash (Offline)
Always Online
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: The Keep, just beyond the orbit of mars
Posts: 2,239
Thanks: 147
Thanks 403
Default

I see your point.

I guess I just could see the problem because I put the commas in, in my mind but not on the paper.

thanks, i'll look over the text much more carefully.

max crash
__________________
if you're writing over your readers head - tum etiam, ut graece scribens --- the secret of success changes;the truth of failure remains constant; if you try to please everyone you will fail.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Creep World (WIP) MalReynolds Fiction 21 09-07-2017 07:06 AM
X Faction Soldiers JC.Axe Fiction 2 10-05-2014 08:55 AM
Members' Choice Voting - Dec - Mar (Group 2) Devon Members' Choice 6 03-05-2009 06:14 PM
[Fantasy]The Dark Forest Novel [WIP] Desmond Tiny Fiction 1 12-02-2006 10:15 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:15 AM.

vBulletin, Copyright 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.