TUBE, DRAFT 1, CHAPTER 47 (EXCERPT)
“Shhh, Vita! Quiet. What’s the matter with you?”
Nessy Nielson put down her elegant fountain pen, one of those she splurged on to motivate herself to finally finish this “bloody damned outline,” as she referred to it, and glared at her Irish setter girl whom she brought along and was now wondering if it was such a great idea after all.
Vita shook her shiny brick-red coat impatiently and clawed at the floor, scarping it.
“Stop it. You’re leaving marks, can’t you see?”
Vita answered with a guilty whine and sat down, wagging her tail on the floor so it made low thumping sounds.
“All right, what is it? You want to go for a walk?”
Upon hearing the magical word “walk,” Vita leapt to her feet and thrust both paws on Nessy’s knees, issuing a low bark of happiness. Her eyes shone with a paroxysm of love for her mistress of three years.
Nessy sighed and put the pen on top of a pad where the words OUTLINE were scribbled on the first line. The rest of it was blank. There were several crimped pages already torn off and resting in a wire-mesh wastebasket by the thick oak leg of an old writing desk.
Nessy ruffling up Vita’s head and scratched behind her ears. “Well...why not? This stupid story is not wanting to come out of me anyway.” She brushed a lock of greying hair off her high forehead—“Too high for a girl, what do you hide in there, a brain or something?” her father used to tease her—and looked out the window.
Thick snow fell in clumps, hushing any noises of the forest. The cabin sat on the edge of it, with a narrow road leading to it from the local train station some good fifteen miles away. Nessy bought it with her last royalty payment, her first very own refuge where she could disappear from the noisy world and just write. It was miles away from any other houses, and the view took her breath away. She always wanted a house on top of a mountain. It wasn’t a top, merely a wide shelf on the slope, more like a brim of a hat, but it was enough.
The rocky shelf ran away and down to a crag chiseled out in the last century by coal miners. There was an abandoned railroad there, and in the summer Nessy sometimes took Vita there, but it was a dangerous place, with a constant threat of rocks falling on her head, as the local ranger warned her, so in the winter—it was her first time here—she didn’t dare venture that far. The towns folk told her there were wolves too. They didn’t approach you unless you made it all the way out to the tracks, and Nessy took a note of that.
Vita growled and issued a soft bark.
“I hear you, I’m coming.”
Photo by digitalimagefan.