She could feel the urine running down her scrawny leg and across her ankle, creating a puddle in the heel of her left shoe. The white kids sometimes laughed at Sweetie because she had holes in the toes of her shoes, but they were her favorite.
The scent of moonshine and sour body odor was getting stronger. He was getting closer and was sure to find her. “Nobody ‘pose to be in his children’s tree-house sep his children.” Sweetie thought to herself. Sweetie’s heart was beating faster now as she sat, alone, on the tree-house floor. She quickly but quietly pushed herself backwards into a corner of the wooden fortress, slashing the side of her neck on an exposed rusty nail. Holding back a cry, Sweetie sat with her thin arms wrapped around her knees. She ignored both the pain and sensation of warm blood seeping down her neck, soaking the collar of her dirty white dress. Sweetie tucked her head into her lap and held her breath, hoping it would stop her heart from beating.
“I know you’re up they’uh!” The Captain hollered. He stretched his good leg toward the first wooden plank of the treehouse ladder and held tightly to the lantern that was lighting his way. He had threatened to kill Sweetie before, during his many drunken tantrums, but she was not afraid. She pitied him. The Captain blamed Sweetie for her mother’s death and could barely stand the site of her beautiful, caramel-complected face. Though, beneath the wrinkles, his skin was not much lighter than hers. He lacked her beauty though; inside and out. His skin seemed as if it were melting from his face and sliding down his neck to his chest. The Captain was disappointed that Sweetie did not resemble her mother who had dark, flawless skin. Little did he know…Sweetie spent her afternoons in the field blowing on dandelions, wishing the same thing.
Sweetie could feel the gagging beat of her heart inside her throat. Today, she feared him. She intuitively knew today was the day he would get his wish; for Sweetie to suffer a painful death. But she was not ready to die. Seven years of life, whether filled with tragedy or happiness, was not enough time. It was not enough time to wish on all of the stars, to count every sheep, not enough time to smell the honeysuckle she planned to pick for the breakfast table in the morning. “I’m sorry.” she whispered between her knees. “I’m sorry I killed mama….I’m sorry.”
A fresh and steady cool breeze blew in through a crack in the wall behind her. Sweetie took a deep breath as if it were her last and blew it out slowly. She was tired. Tired of running, tired of being afraid, and most importantly, tired of trying to understand why none of the wishes that she made ever came true. Well, except for her wish to one day play inside the big treehouse…
Thank you for your interest in my most recent novel/WIP. Stay tapped in for more information on the unexpected twists and turns of this untitled paranormal/fantasy thriller by following me on Twitter (@joaniplenty) and facebook (facebook.com/joaniplenty).
If you read this excerpt previously you may (or may not) notice that ‘Sweetie’ originally “…quickly but quietly pushed herself backwards into a corner of the wooden fortress, slashing the back of her neck…” and it went on to say that she ignored “the pain and sensation of warm blood seeping down the back of her neck.”
Well…being a perfectionist (and actress by hobby and profession) and not wanting my favorite book nerds leaving negative reviews on the authenticity of my stories, I like to reinact scenes (hey, this could be a screenplay one day…who knows, lol). Well, I actually love when I find a discrepancy between the words on the pages and real life. I am so proud of myself and hurry back to the laptop to edit. With the sentence above I stated that ‘Sweetie’ moved backwards into the corner “slashing” her neck, then later mentioned blood seeping down the “back” of her neck. But when I sat down in my dirty, daddy-long-legger infested shed to play this out myself I realized that the nail wouldn’t be able to slash her neck. A puncture possibly but not slash if she is moving straight backwards. So I changed it to “slashing the side of her neck” which makes sense if she is sliding backwards quickly to squeeze her little body into the corner. I then needed to remove the sentence that told my readers that the blood was seeping down the “back” of her neck.
Joani Plenty…working hard to get the best finished product; a gripping story, to my readers since 1984, lol. Synopsis coming soon so check back!