Saturday, May 17, 2014
Each Saturday, writers you know (or should know!) are posting scenes from their various works for your free enjoyment. Kudos to +John Ward for the idea and impetus. You can find us all on Google+ under the hastag #SaturdayScenes Some of us are also posting on Facebook and Twitter.
The first week I shared a scene from Cold Spring, a historical fiction novel I'm writing, set in the early twentieth century.
Last week, I presented a scene from my other WIP an untitled superhero novel.
This week, I'm showing you a scene from His Other Mother, a women's fiction novel I'm shopping around for publication right now. The main character, Sherry Morgan, struggles with infertility and schizophrenia. This chapter is the psychotic episode that begins her active phase: The Kidnapping. Hope you enjoy it!
Sherry: Claiming Alex
Sherry had been watching them for a few minutes now. The baby had to be about a month old. He was all wide blue eyes and chubby cheeks, riding in his car seat in his mother's grocery cart, not yet big enough to sit up in the built-in seat. Whenever his mother came into view, his face relaxed, and every time she stepped out of view, picking up some broccoli, squeezing an orange, his brow furrowed and he shook his little arms and legs in silent distress. Oh, how he loved her.
And she didn't even see it, that mother. Didn't know her luck. Didn't stop to coo over her sweet one or let him smell the oranges. She just piled groceries into her cart silently.
Sherry followed them throughout the whole store, aisle by aisle, picking things off the shelves that she didn't even want or need. From time to time the baby would meet her eye. It felt like the world stopped--no, like it contracted, everything else was gone except the connection between them. Sherry found herself hating the mother, who could so casually push this little miracle around the store and not even notice him. If that were her baby, she would talk to him as she shopped, showing him the things she chose, letting him touch them. She would pause to kiss his toes. Or even better, she would carry him against her body, swaddled in a patterned cloth sling. She would be able to feel the warmth of his body against hers, and smell his milk-sweet breath every time she glanced downward.
She followed them through the checkout, hardly noticing the clerk who rang up her groceries in the lane next to theirs, and then followed them out to their car. It turned out she had parked just across from them. They had a beat-up green Honda, with a dented door on one side. It contrasted poorly with Sherry's brand new VW bug, sunshine yellow, freshly washed and spotless. Sherry loaded her groceries and stood by her car, pretending to text someone on her cell phone to make it seem less strange that she was just standing there in the middle of the parking lot.
The mother had left the baby in the grocery cart while she loaded up her trunk, still silently. Then she placed him in the car, gave him her keys to play with and walked away to return her grocery cart, leaving the door open. Sherry was watching the baby through the open door, his little brow furrowed and his agitation beginning to shake his car seat. She could see the large key ring catching the light as he shook it. Watching the baby, she didn't see the accident. But she looked when she heard the metallic crunch and saw the grocery cart skid before falling clattering to the pavement.
The mother was on the ground, the grocery cart she had been pushing dented and thrown some distance from her. A young man was yelling for help. People were running to the woman from all around the parking lot. Suddenly there were so many people. Where did they come from?
Without really thinking, Sherry went to the Honda. She reached in to the baby, offering one finger. He grabbed it. In that one moment, she made her decision. She took the keys from the baby's hand and jingled them at him, smiling. She put one finger to his impossibly soft lips and said, "Hush now, sweet boy. Mama's here." She pressed the release button between his legs—he had the less expensive version of the car seat Sherry had bought for her sister-in-law at her shower last month—and lifted the seat, baby and all, letting him rock gently and cooing to him as she carried him to her car and buckled him in. She even thought to grab the diaper bag.
The baby fussed in her back seat and she twisted around awkwardly to stroke his cheek around his backward-facing car seat. “It's okay, Alex,” she said softly, “we'll go home now.” She pulled out of her parking place carefully, driving around the back of the store to avoid all the commotion in front.