This is the start of a novel that I’ve had outlined for a while but not really done anything with yet.
Does it manage to capture your interest? Would you want to read more? I’d be grateful for your thoughts.
Zack barely grunted at me as he slouched past in the hall, the tinny music blaring from his earphones providing him all the excuse he needed to pretend I wasn’t there. It wasn’t a surprise, after the events of the last few days, but it still hurt. As Zack slumped down the steps I let my frustration and anger get the better of me for a second and I slammed the front door behind him as hard as I could. After an all-too brief moment of catharsis I swore under my breath and went to fetch a dustpan and brush.
Zack continued to the bus stop, oblivious.
I winced as I stooped to sweep up the shattered glass, my thigh injury protesting at the motion with a stab of intense pain. I gritted my teeth and ignored it, beads of sweat popping out on my forehead as I stubbornly worked through the agony.
By the time I stood up I was shaking, the glass making a shifting, tinkling noise in the pan. I leant against the door jamb for a brief rest, feeling the world pulse vertiginously and my vision haze over with black dots.
The cool breeze wafting through the shattered glass panel in the front door helped though, and soon I felt strong enough to walk into the kitchen and dump the broken glass in the bin. After that I poured myself a glass of water and drank it slowly, leaning against the kitchen worktop.
“Oh, Jack, you look terrible.”
Sue bustled into the kitchen wearing one of her power suits and a subtle fragrance that made parts of me ache. She looked half worried and half annoyed, but her hand when she laid it on my brow was gentle.
“What on Earth do you think you’re doing? You should be resting.” She took her hand from my brow, looked at it, and then patted me awkwardly on the chest, coincidentally wiping her sweaty palm on my shirt. “It’s only been three days since the accident, for crying out loud.”
I sighed and shifted uncomfortably, my thigh still throbbing. “I just wanted to see Zack off to school this morning. Not that it did any good.”
Sue frowned and grasped me by the shoulders, as if she wanted to shake some sense into me. “Jack, he’s thirteen. His friends and their opinions of him are all that matters. You have to give him time, that’s all. He’ll forgive you, eventually.”
I nodded vaguely and swallowed, my mouth suddenly dry.
“And will you?” I asked, reaching out to mirror Sue’s gesture, my hands resting gently on her shoulders.
“There’s nothing to forgive,” she replied firmly, giving me a gentle shake. Then she leaned forward and kissed me briskly on the forehead, as if to distract me. “Now, I have to go. Love you, get some rest!”
As Sue walked away I slumped back against the worktop and shut my eyes. Three… two…
“Jack?! What the HELL did you do to the door?!”
The house seemed far too empty after Sue left for work, and part of me just wanted to take her advice and crawl into bed for the rest of the day… or the week. The rest of me was heartily sick of bed, however, and decided to do something productive instead.
By the time I’d finished cutting a piece of plywood down to size and nailing it over the broken window I felt as if someone had unzipped my skin and poured a sack of broken glass inside before doing me back up again. I was breathing harshly and my ribs burned fiercely with every breath I took, but despite that I felt better for having achieved something.
I stumbled into the lounge and collapsed onto the couch, cold sweat streaming down my forehead and cheeks.