NaNoWriMo Excerpt (fiction)
I’m a little behind, at 10,000 words. Here’s an excerpt from my work-in-progress. This is first-draft; I haven’t done any proofreading yet (just trying to beat the clock and hit 50.000).
She rolls over to stare at the clock. She stares at bright red numbers, convinced the traitorous clock takes more than sixty seconds between minutes. Tomorrow she will move again. She saw the paperwork. No one thinks she can read, which is handy. “Mouthy, belligerent, oppositional.” She will look up the other two words in the dictionary when she can get to one. She knows what “mouthy” means. Probably the others mean she doesn’t “get on well with others,” which is what the last Foster Ma’am said. A lot of them like to be called Foster Mom, but she had a mom, and that didn’t turn out well. Foster Ma’am works best because most of the time they just think she’s being polite. Only one was smart enough to notice the derision in the word. She got slapped by that one. Fosters aren’t supposed to hit you, but if there’s no bruise and the adult denies it, no one believes a kid. “Everyone knows foster kids are liars and thieves. Why do you think you get moved so much?” She knows why she gets moved so much, and it’s not because she lies or steals. No one wants her because of her behavior. Fine with her. She’d rather kick and scream and find out they don’t want her right away. Better than getting attached, like her first house, and then being kicked out. She thought they were going to adopt her. They already had one adopted kid, and they kept her for a year and a half. Things weren’t perfect, and the boy was downright creepy, but things seemed fine with the parents.
Then the Ms. from Social Services showed up in that silver van and started packing her things into cardboard boxes. The Foster Ma’am helped, and even packed some pictures of their “family” so she could “remember” them. She turned in the van, holding onto the spongy top of the back seat. They smiled, waving as the Ms. drove her away. Were they happy to get rid of her? She thought they would be sad she was leaving, but they smiled. First her real mom, now these people. She would never get attached again. People just leave you.
She thinks of the girl at the playground. Laughing on the swings. Climbing on the monkey bars. Inviting her to play. She wonders if she will be there again. She would like a friend. She looks at the clock again. Three fours. She knows that each hour has triple numbers until the clock gets to six. For some reason, it never changes to three sixes, sevens, eights or nines. She will have to ask about that. She should probably know about time, but moving constantly makes it hard to learn. She stares at the ceiling and waits for the sun.
The girl is back. She feels a little thrill of excitement as she bounds across the playground. “Hi! I’m Megan. Do you want to play with me?” the girl asks. “Yes,” she says. “Want to go on the monkey bars?” The other girl—Megan—glances back at a tall man by the fence. He makes an encouraging motion, universally understood: go play. “Sure! And then maybe we can climb that tree over there. I’ve always wanted to climb a tree. There aren’t many trees where I came from.” “Where did you come from?” Megan tilts her head. “From South Dakota. I had a foster family that didn’t like me, but Roger does. I like Roger. He sorta rescued me.” She looks over at Roger. He looks nice enough. “Is he a foster parent?” Megan shrugs. “Something like that. Anyway he’s nice, so that’s all that matters. And the food is good. We always have great snacks, and sometimes we have ice cream. You should come visit sometime.” She looks at the Megan in awe. ”Like, come to your house to play?” The girl giggles. “Yeah. You can come play anytime. Roger can give you a ride.” She frowns. “I don’t think my Foster Ma’am will let me. She only brings me to the park because all her friends bring their kids here. She says I’m a ‘problem kid’ to her friends and they all feel sorry for her. I don’t think she’d even notice if I fell off the monkey bars.” Megan looks around. “Which one is yours?” “The one walking to the bathrooms. Over there.” Megan says, “Let’s go, then!” “What, now? She’d kill me!” She backs up a step, tripping and landing in the warm brown mulch. “Look,” says Megan, “she didn’t even see you fall. She doesn’t care. Come with me.” Megan reaches down, pulling her up. “Let’s go.” She looks back and sees the truth. The foster lady isn’t watching her at all; the woman has her back to the playground and is laughing with some friends. Probably about me. She decides. “Okay.” She follows Megan out of the playground and through the trees.