I'm participating with the ladies at the RDC and this week's prompt asked us to "Dump our Junk": We're borrowing this week's Red Writing Hood prompt from NaNoWriMo Prompts, a blog dedicated solely to National Novel Writing Month. Here's your prompt:"Your protagonist empties the contents of his/her pockets, purse, and/or backpack onto a table. What all was dumped onto the table?"
I've been participating in National novel writing month and this is an excerpt from the novel I'm working on. It's also connected to this post I wrote last week for RDC.
A niggling at the back of his mind, he couldn’t quite articulate was bothering John. But he couldn't find two seconds to try to figure out what it was. So far that morning he had washed every window on the main floor, and then went straight to work on the floors. His usual Saturday to-do list was longer today and he still had the upstairs to work on. When he finally could, he ran to his room to gather his thoughts, figure out what he couldn’t put his finger on.
It looked different somehow. Something was missing but he couldn’t immediately name it. Then his heart skipped a beat. He scrambled down onto his hands and knees and peered under his bed. The backpack was missing. He had been careless after school yesterday and forgotten to leave it in his locker. The pep rally had distracted him from his usual routine. Once he realized he still had it, it was too far to walk back and he would have been late. Janice did not tolerate lateness.
Nervously he sat up on the bed wondering what to do next. He could have sworn he had shoved it deep underneath the bed but she had obviously found it. As if reading his mind a head poked through his doorway.
"Mommy wants to see you," whispered his six-year old foster brother Joel.
John walked the 20 seconds to his foster mother’s room as if he was walking the plank of some ancient pirate ship...only this wasn't his execution but he was certain that plunging into a cold raging ocean would surely be a better fate than what Janice had in store for him.
She sat on the edge of her bed, hands neatly folded in her lap. The contents of his backpack were arranged on the bed ,anything that meant something to him, the things he had managed to keep from her all these years, suddenly out in the open.
"Do you want to explain this boy?" She asked in her cold steely voice.
Swallowing the urge to throw up he shifted from one foot to the other. He looked at the contents spread out on the bed. These were all the things he treasured most in life. Then he saw it. His eyes darted to the picture of him with his brother Irv and his Mother. Janice had taken it out of the now worn Ziploc baggie and torn it in half.
A sob caught in his throat. The tears that stung his eyes could not be held for long. They fell silently down his cheeks and he missed his beautiful mother with a force that threatened to break him in two. He missed his baby brother Irv almost as much. The picture had been on the fridge. His mother had grabbed it and stuffed it into his bag before the man from the Children’s Aid Society could object. That night was still felt fresh in his mind. He wiped the tears away with the back of his hand. Janice was unmoved.
Laid out were also his sketchpad and a set of charcoals, a pack of Hubba Bubba, a Swiss army knife that he had found under the bleachers at school, his wallet which she had emptied and splayed open, some notebooks, a science textbook, crumpled up gym shorts two pens and a lighter. But none of these things were incriminating. It was the stack of white envelopes held together with a rubber band addressed to him that caused the trickle of sweat running down his back.
He could see that she hadn’t opened them yet, but the address alone would be enough to make life worse than it already was. These were what he did not want her to see. Sanjay brought them to school whenever they came in the mail. He lived for those letters. They were everything, his only connection to his parents.