Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dying and Eating...InThat Order

Today I am participating in Lilah Pierce's Last Line Blogfest.  There are  a lot of great entries and I encourage you to go on over to Lilah's blog to check the rest of them out.

This excerpt is from my finished novel, Purple Knot.

To set up the scene, my main character, Reyna Cruz, received an urgent call from her ex-fiance, Jimmy, asking her to fly home. Summer, Reyna's best friend was attacked in her home during an burglary and Reyna has medical power of attorney.  Reyna has to decide whether or not to do an emergency C-Section to save the baby...because it is very risky for Summer in her wounded state.

Summer's family, especially the mother, Mona, hate Reyna for breaking Jimmy's heart and don't want her involved. Jimmy is Summer's brother. Banfield is the doctor.

Purple Knot

“As her guardian, you need to do what she would want,” Dr. Banfield said looking at me. “Whatever the reason, it was her wish, that you make these decisions for her, if she were unable. Summer signed those papers on purpose.”

I was frozen, brain locked with panic, when a shrill tone tore out from the monitors over Summer’s bed.

“No!” Mona wailed taking a step towards me as people ran into the room swarming Summer’s petite body.

“Ms. Cruz!” Banfield snapped. “I need a decision, now.”

Mona lunged toward me, but Jimmy pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me. She bounced off of his back, crying. I turned to look at Summer. She would never choose herself over her child-never in a million years. I grabbed the consent form from his hand and scribbled my name frantically.

“Do it! Take the baby!” I screamed at Banfield.

Mona wailed and launched herself at the bed, trying to pull the defibrillator paddles off the machine herself, but a burly resident yanked her to the side. Banfield barked orders, and someone climbed up onto the bed and pushed on Summer, giving her CPR, and then they were wheeling her across the room and out the door. They disappeared behind two swinging doors leaving us with the shrieking machines, blood on the floor, and the deep hollow of knowing that someone you love is not coming back.

Mona took another step toward me, but Jimmy put his hand up stopping her. Her eyes were furious, and she shrieked like a mythical animal.

“You’re a murderer!”

She spat in my face.

Jimmy growled and reached out for her but she was too quick. She slapped me across the face, and I let her, not bothering to put my hands up when I saw it coming. Blood from my lip sprayed out in front of me onto the floor, and I thought it strangely ironic that Summer and I would both shed blood here. Jimmy grabbed Mona's arm, spun her around, and marched her out of the room.

“A murderer!” She yelled again over her shoulder, yanked away from Jimmy, and ran toward the stairs, crying Summer’s name.

The nursing staff and families of other patients stared transfixed at our surreal drama. And still, the stupid machines screeched their reproach that something was terribly wrong.

Ten minutes later, Dr. Banfield returned. The baby had made it, Summer had not.

Crushed, I sank to the floor and slumped against the nurse’s counter as sobs ripped through my body like my stomach was trying to come up. My throat so full of ache that the pain of her loss wouldn’t escape. Then Jimmy was there, and I just wailed silently. Shaking and sorry and angry that my Summer was gone.

Thats it for my entry for the Last Line Blogfest... 

Onto the 50 Followers Baking Blogfest over at Charity Bradford's My Writing Journey.

The challenge: Write a scene where your MC bakes something, anything, good, bad, yummy, burned, anything. Have fun with it, and post it on your blog on May 1st.

My current WIP takes place in the swaps of Louisianna. I thought I'd take the opportunity to make on of my favorite southern dishes...Bouillabaisse!

Bayou Blue

Steam flailed and whooshed out from under the metal lid rattling it against the lip of the large pot like the constant chattering of my teeth. Sitting on the wood stool wrapped in a scratchy wool blanket I blinked the water out of my eyes. Outside, the rain pelted the tiny window over the sink. I glared at the distant lightning and frowned. The storm would be here soon.

“I told you not to go,” Jake drawled, his lazy smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. “Now what, ma belle…you look like a drowned kitten.”

Ma belle…my beautiful.

He hadn’t called me that before. I smoothed my tangled bands with my fingers, but didn’t answer. Pursing my lips I watched him pull the pan bread out of the stove. The scent of warm bread right out of the oven made my mouth water. Jake coaxed it out of the wrought iron pan with his pocket knife and smoothed butter over it. Instantly melting, it seeped into the crevasses of the uneven surface.

The cabin’s pot belly stove gave off waves of heat in the small room warming my toes and sending the heady scent of boiling Bouillabaisse floating in my direction. My stomach growled. Tarragon, fennel, and creamy broth made my mouth water despite my chill.

Cocking his head to the side, Jake looked at me with concern. “Are you warming up yet?’

Still feeling stupid, I nodded and cleared my throat. “Yeah.”

My eyes flit to the bandage on his bicep. His prize for fishing me out of the swamp when I’d tried to take off with his boat. He'd been right. I should have listened to a man who grew up on these waters.

Jake knit his brows together. “You don’t stop chattering you’re going to vibrate right off of that stool,” he mumbled. “Hold on.”

He wiped his hands on a dish towel and pulled a blue and white speckled mug from a hook over the pot belly stove. Ladling some of the soup into it he handed me the mug and smiled.

“Thanks,” I murmured. I cupped my hands around the mug warming my palms and breathing in the steam. “This smells wonderful.”

Handing me a piece of he baguette, he smiled. “Best if you dip it.”

I did, and the savory soup made me smile. Jake could cook, that was for certain.

Jake’s eyes went to the window, and he shook his head. “Ill fait mauvais.”

“I’m sorry?” I followed his gaze to the storm. He often slipped into his familial Cajun-French when worried.

“It’s a bad one.” He said and sighed.

I wish I'd realized then, that I would barely survive that storm.

Be sure to come back and visit during The Primal Scream Blogfest - Your Most Heart Pumping Scene on May 5th. If you'd like to participate, sign ups are on the side bar. --->

Photograph by boliston, Uploaded on May 27, 2008. Photograph by J.J. Verhoef, Uploaded on April 14, 2009.


Mary McDonald said...

Wow, that first scene is really sad and intense. You convey the emotions and the need for urgency very well.

The second scene had a great mood and while I've never had bouillibase (sorry, I mangled that spelling!), it sounds yummy!

sarahjayne smythe said...

I really liked both of these. The first was intense and conveyed that sense of horror. The second eased up and really sounded good. :)

Charity Bradford said...

OMGoodness! Ok, first. I could feel the pain in the first piece. Such sadness and loss, but there was also a glimmer of hope with how kind Jimmy treated her.

And, the cooking scene? What a last line on that one! Everything was lovely, but that last line made me want more.

There is a conversation on Amalia T's blog about how writing the nice things doesn't work. You just proved my point--you can write a nice scene and then add the tension at the end to keep the reader invested in the story. Great job!

bryan sabol said...

Wow. I'm blown away by your last lines passage. Very powerful and believable. I was instantly there, seeing the drama unfold.

The food item was also very realistic; you've got a good sense of place.

Elaine AM Smith said...

You sound so confident describing this scene I was able to see it too. The last line was very powerful.

Kristie Cook said...

The first scene had my chest tight and tears at the brims. I really, really want to read this story. The second scene was good, too. This baking/cooking blogfest is making me hungry for all kinds of things. Great job on both!

Anonymous said...

Last Line:

This is amazingly written. The different emotions in that room--doctor, nurse, family--wow! Well done!

Iapetus999 said...

First scene...super intense. That would be a freaking hard choice. I don't know if I would have made the same in her position...without knowing the details about the survivability of mother vs baby. I'd probably side with the mother over the baby...but I understand this one. This scene would be a great Flash Fiction piece BTW.
AFA the last line, it's okay but I'd rather it be a complete sentence. Maybe just change the period on the previous sentence to a comma. Then it's tied a little nicer.

For the second...OMG I want some!
This is giving me ideas for spicing up my entry...they are cooking something similar.
Are they on a boat or in a house? I was confused by that. I'm hoping a boat because that's a bit more intimate.

Great job on both!

Eric W. Trant said...

The first scene nearly had me teared up. Really. My girl is preggers, and you nailed that scene.

Nailed it.

And the second scene... Ma belle, you are freaking awesome.

Awesome. That's one of the few bake-fests I read, and one of two so far that I actually liked, and the number one on my list.

Awesome awesome awesome, and I ain't the patronizing sort.

I was born in Lafayette, btw, grew up in cajun country. Yum... You might be a coonass if you know better than to eat the dead crawfish, ya.

And here's my LA scene: Murder Scene

I would so read your book, Raquel, lemme know when it goes to shelf.

- Eric

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Your last lines entry would have made a great Primal Scream entry, Raquel. I was drawn in completely. Thanks for sharing, Roland

Anonymous said...

Its a great ending! I *think* the last two sentences should be connected with a semicolon, though. But what you were actually saying was great and left an awesome after-feel. Thanks so much for participating!

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

I love the kind of double meaning in that last line (or maybe it was just me.) Like Summer, the person, was gone, but also summer, the season - as in the warmth and comfort of the MC's life.

Also, love a man who can cook. The description of the butter melted over the bread made me drool. Mmmmm...

Michelle Gregory said...

Raquel, very emotional. nice work.

thanks for stopping by.

Donna Hole said...

Oh man, I'm still crying over the agony of such a decision.

both scenes make good use of descriptions.

I'm in awe. Thanks for sharing these.


The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Oh my goodness, how sad. They were very well written Raquel. You are a talented MISS! :)

Anonymous said...

Powerful stuff....I could see the scene unfold, could start to feel the tormet of each family member (and her torment, too).

Good pacing.

One question - while I certainly understand why the mom hates her right now, will the novel explain why such a high level of animosity, or is that the grief and shock? Or maybe it is because she'd mad she was not listed as power of attorney.

This sets up great conflict - both internal and external. Great job!

wolfie 402 said...

The first scene was WOW! I loved it. The second one was definitely amusing. Wanna know something else?
You've been tagged!

Amalia T. said...

The first scene gave me a strong impression of a character in over her head, struggling to make the right decision. I think you did a great job illustrating that confusion and emotion.

The second scene left me wondering what was going to happen between the narrator and her Cajun rescuer! it also had a really dramatic last line! I think you probably could have used that scene for both blogfests :)