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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Eye of the Storm ~ Chapter 1

Please, if you find something that needs tweaked, changed or just suggestions (or just let me know what you think of it as a whole!) ... let me know, my e-mail is on the sidebar, or just leave a comment.  Also, please keep in mind, this is just the first draft and is likely to change, many times. This is just a "see-how-it-goes-over" try. Thanks! (For Chapter 2 click here)

Rain pattered endlessly on the windshield.  The wipers made another pass and the road came into view again.
Grace stared down the stretch of highway, or at least as much as she could see through the darkness that had quickly gathered.
The coffee in the gas station Styrofoam cup was becoming less than warm.  She didn’t like it when her coffee went cold.  If the coffee was meant to be cold she would have bought it cold, but when she bought a hot coffee she wanted it hot.
Her eyes scanned the signs as best she could in the passing light of her headlights.
Another thirty to forty minutes before the next town.  Her eyes dropped to the dashboard clock.
11:30 p.m.
Another late night.  She shouldn’t be surprised, late nights were becoming rather common for her.
A gentle shake of her coffee cup provided her with the information that her coffee was nearly gone.  And, cold as it may be, this coffee cup was her only source of caffeine.
She saw dim lights appear from the darkness ahead and hoped with all her might it would be a gas station.
Her eyes drifted to the review mirror.  Although there was no light in the back seat, there was enough light that reached its fingers back from the front to illume the little form in the back.
The shape of a car seat came to her eyes and a second later, after her eyes adjusted, the small form of Colby was barely visible.
His one-and-a-half-year-old frame slumped to one side of his car seat.  He’d fallen asleep hours ago.  But who could blame him?  This would be their second night in a hotel, once she found one, that is.
But, the truth of the matter was that neither she nor Colby, Cole for short, had been sleeping well the last couple of weeks.
Her mind started to drift back, memories flooded her tired mind.
Kind, brown eyes floated into her mind, a soft smile accompanied them.
She could still see every detail of his handsome face.  She could still …
Gas station!
She flipped on her blinker and moved to turn into the parking lot.
Pulling up to the building she sat a moment, contemplating her options.
She decided to turn her vehicle off and lock the doors, leaving Cole in his car seat to sleep.  She would be three or four minutes, five tops.
Digging through her purse, she searched for some kind of way to pay for her much-needed liquid caffeine: paper, plastic, coin, something.
Blue-silver light worked hard to make it across the parking lot and into her cross-over SUV.
Yes!  Success!  Quite a few tarnished looking coins and a crumpled dollar made up her payment method.
Grace shoved open the SUV’s door, hoping the shine from the dome light wouldn’t wake her little man.
As she stood and closed the door as quietly as she could, a gentle, warm breeze lifted the wispy hairs at the base of her head that couldn’t quite stay in the high ponytail.
The rain had all but stopped now, which was strange, since it was pouring a couple miles back on the highway.
The warm touch of the breeze’s soft fingers brought back a rush of memories.  She lifted her eyes to the star-filled, dark sky.  As the memories rushed by in her mind, one in particular came forward.
Staring up at the sky, she remembered a night, much like this.  A warm, strong hand held hers tightly as they meandered around the well-known acreage of the park’s woods.
Grace dropped her tear-filled eyes to the landscape around her.
Where was she?  All that came to her eyes were miles and miles of places she’d never seen before.
How did she come to be here?  What was she doing?  Where was she going?  What was she going to do?
Closing her eyes pushed big, hot, all-too-common tears down her face.  Hoping against reality and reason that when she opened her eyes she’d find this nothing more than a horrible nightmare, she sucked in a breath and slowly opened her eyes.  But, just like the last millions of times she’d tried to imagine this all away, she found herself right in the middle of this horrible, totally real nightmare.
Another deep breath was drawn in, in an attempt to calm the tumultuous storm in her heart.  Brushing the tears from her face, she lifted her head some and went inside.
The bright lighting in the gas station was a bit of a shock after the dark car and she squinted a little as she scanned the premises for the coffee she so desperately needed.
She quickly made her way to the machine, remembering little, sleeping Cole.  Coffee, check.  Cream and a little bit of sugar, check and check.
Making her way to the counter, she dug in the pocket of her jeans and pulled out her money.  Looking down at her sad excuse for money she waited for the clerk to tell her the total.
Grace had all she could do to not gawk at the kind-looking lady behind the counter.
Highway robbery!  Literal highway robbery.  Two dollars and thirty cents for a 20 ounce coffee!?
Okay, let’s see, Grace thought as she tried to smooth out the crumpled-beyond recognition bill.
$1.00.  Then a dollar in quarters.  Well, over half way there.  $2.10.  $2.15.
An embarrassed sort of smile lifted Grace’s lips as she brought her eyes to the lady’s.
$2.16.  $2.17.  $2.18.  $2.19 … Grace could have bawled.
$2.19?  That’s all she had?  Surely not!  Her hand went to her pocket again.  Searching, hoping, willing there to be more money.
Nothing.  Bummer!  The other pocket.
Another embarrassed, almost pitiful smile at the lady waiting on the money.
Back pockets.  Nothing in the right pocket.
Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please, Grace’s thoughts repeated.
Searching, probing, longing for something to be in her pocket.
Please, please, please.  Nothing.  Ugh!  Pa-leeze!
A nervous chuckle and a small grin.
Still searching, still hoping, still willing.
Wait!  What was that?
Her fingers grasped at the little metal circle in her back pocket.  Pulling it out she brought it up for examination.
A dime! Oh, yes!  A dime!  She smiled.
Okay, she quickly counted the money again.  Plus ten cents.  $2.29!
Her victory smile started to fade.  What?!  No!
She lifted discouraged eyes to the clerk again.
The lady behind the counter smiled and lifted up a penny.  “You look like you’re in desperate need of this coffee.”
Grace smiled and sighed.  “You don’t know the half of it.”
Grabbing her coffee she gave a heartfelt “Thank you so much,” to the smiling lady and headed back out to her car.
A sigh lifted Grace’s shoulders.  With the way things are going I’ll probably have locked my keys in my car, she thought dryly.
Reaching her car she dug her hand into her pocket for her keys.
She closed her eyes, defeated and ready to collapse from exhaustion and weariness.
She let her head fall back and let out a low groan.  She felt like bawling again.
She composed herself as best she could and bent to look in the car window.
No keys.  But there, sitting inside the locked car, on the passenger seat was her cell phone.  After the ordeal in the gas station, she knew the only money she had to use a payphone, if need be, was locked in the SUV as well.  She was sure she was going to bawl now.
She straightened and rubbed the back of her neck through the whisper of hair hanging there.
The question nearly startled Grace.  She hadn’t heard or seen anyone walk up.  She turned her head to see the clerk lady, then smiled with great effort.  “Yes?”
The lady’s red, sleek-looking ponytail moved in the breeze.  “You left these inside.”
Grace dropped her eyes to the lady’s outstretched hand.  “Oh,” she almost gasped as she reached out to take the keys from the clerk’s hand.  “Thank you so much, again.”  This time Grace’s smile was genuine.
The clerk’s gray eyes twinkled in the little light that there was.  “You’re welcome.”
Grace watched as the clerk turned to go back inside.
“Thank You, Lord,” Grace whispered softly as she raised her eyes to take in the stars one last time.
Another sigh.  “I feel so lost, Lord.  Like I’m falling apart.”
She waited only a second longer before she unlocked her car and slid behind the wheel.

Feeling slightly acrobatic, Grace balanced the heavy car seat on one hip with a bag and purse on her other arm, watching so as not to trip over the small rolling suite case on the floor by her feet, which she’d just set there.  Careful not to drop anything, she slid the card key into the hotel door lock and opened the door.  Pushing it open more with her foot, she then proceeded to carefully kick the small rolling case into the room and slowly, somewhat tipsily, moved herself into the room as well.
She then kicked the door closed behind her before she dropped the bags on the floor, then turned her attention to carefully set the car seat on the floor.
Not wanting to wake Cole she’d just unbuckled the car seat and carried it in, rather than removing him from the seat.
With that accomplished, she sighed and ran her hands down the front of her jeans.
Her head hurt, her body ached and if she didn’t go to sleep soon she’d start seeing double.
Carefully she pulled out her ponytail and let her hair fall.  Trying to bring some semblance of order to her hair, she ran her fingers through the tangled mess.  The first couple passes went well, but on the third try her hair got wrapped around and stuck on her diamond ring.
It took a little bit of work to get it out, but soon it was free and she was pulling the last few strands off her ring.
The diamond glittered and shone even in the dim light of the room.
A sad smile spread across her face as she remembered the day it was put there.
Everything was practically perfect.  Things went smoothly.  It was like her fairytale life had come true and nothing could have made it better.  She’d married the most handsome, most kind, most wonderful man she’d ever known.
God had blessed her with so much more than she’d ever thought of.  How wonderful, how blessed God had made her life.
But then, it was as if God had removed His hand.  The blessings He’d bestowed upon her had been ripped painfully from her heart and life.  Well, most of them anyway.  She still had Colby.
She looked over at his sleeping form, still safely buckled in his car seat.  How she did love that little boy!
Tears formed in her eyes.  She sighed and rolled her eyes.  She’d never been a cry-baby, but these days everything made her cry.
She moved to open her suite case and ready herself for bed.
After she was ready for bed she unbuckled Cole, changed his diaper and snuggled him under the covers on the bed.  He woke and stirred some when she moved him and changed his diaper.  She decided he could sleep in his clothes.  The less she moved him the better, if she wanted him to stay asleep.
With Cole tucked in, she made sure she did everything she needed to do and then crawled in bed, next to Cole.
Rolling over, her eyes took in the red numbers on the bedside clock.  2:30 a.m.
At least it was earlier than last night.  But if she slept like she had been sleeping, it wouldn’t really matter what time she went to bed, she wouldn’t sleep much anyway.


  1. Your writing is wonderful Ana! =)

  2. Becca~ Thanks for the comment and thank you for your kind words. :) It's nice to see a familiar name in the comments.

  3. Hey Ana! I think it's great, it reminds me of my story Fulfilling the Dream. I', posting my story on my blog, you should stop by Quest to the End. I'll be going through my first two chapters of my novel and post them just to see what my readers think. I would like to hear from you too! I love reading what you post, this post is my favorite so far.

    ~Kelly Beth~

  4. Oops! I forgot to give you the blog address

    Okay here it is:

  5. Well I FINALLY got over to check out your new blog. It is fantastic! I LOVE that you have a writing blog, now. Makes me want to make one, too...although I am still at a loss as to what to write about. And I have a difficult enough time trying to come up with blog posts. :)

    I thought this was an excellent first chapter for a story. And I read on down your blog a ways, and I saw the title: Eye of the Storm. It reminds me of one of Louisa May Alcott's titles. I like it! And I liked the boy's name and the Grace, too. Your writing just draws a person in. And because you do such a good job with describing things I could instantly picture EVERYTHING that was happening to Grace. My only negative comment would be that you use repeated words like "mind", but that's it.
    Ooh, and I liked the part where you were talking about one thing and then said, "Gas station!" That was great!!

    Give us more!!! :) :) :)

  6. I'm hooked, Ana! You absolutely MUST post more.

    I noticed a few grammar/spelling errors (forgive me, I'm an English person! :P), but as you said, this IS a rough draft ;), and I can hardly wait to read more! :)

  7. Nikki: faithful Editor in action. :) I love that you came by and read my post. Thank you for your help ... yes I do use words too many time ... I believe we just had a conversation about this not that long ago *wink* Solution: Thesaurus ... only ... where did I put mine. *wink*

  8. Hi again Ana! I am a writer too in hopes of being published, I just thought to give you some tips that helped me alot in writing.
    1) Use a lot of dilogue. Have your charter or characters talk alot even to themselves.
    2) Discribe your character as much as possible; age, hair, eye and dkin color in need be. What is he/she like, what kinda life style does he/she live in.

    And what makes a writer good? Is to write, write, write! As much as you can, as often as you can. And most important is to save everything you write, who knows maybe you could use that paper in another story someday.

    Hoped it helped!

    P.s. Have you had time to stop by my blog? If you do leave a comment so I know you dropped by!

  9. Ana! How wonderful your writing is! I love it:)


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