One Thousand


Here you can find a brief description of some of my writing, basically what I’m most proud of. Included is (if possible) the first words of the piece. Enjoy!

“My Hero Chronicles: Flight Pattern”

Flight Pattern was written for my best friend Selena (you may have read about it in the About Page). I wrote it because I felt she “needed a hero”. It will forever be referred to as “her story”. Because I wrote her one, my mother and my husband both want a story! Written circa 2009. Here are the first 1,000 words (or so).

It’s a bright sunny Wednesday in Riverview Arbor. Its lunch time, and the predicted clouds and rain did not come. Of course, the local weatherman doesn’t have the best record with accurate forecasts.

But that doesn’t stop the people of beautiful Riverview Arbor. Nor does it stop the twelve men stepping out of three black, unmarked, license plate-less SUVs, who are preparing to walk in to the district branch of Fitzgerald & Lowe Savings and Loan.

            They walk in, unnoticed to the unsuspecting bank, where at least thirty-five people are milling about. The customers are busy filling out loan applications, writing checks and deposit slips, or occupying all of the tellers. No one was paying any attention to anything but their own bank related business, until a loud “boom” sounded from outside. The men in black all look at each other, knowing it wasn’t something they had instigated. One of the men pointed silently at another, signaling  him to step outside to investigate.

            This man stepped out to see everyone on the sidewalks and in their cars at the light, which has turned green, looking up at the sky. As he stands there in the street, he listened as a passerby asks, “What is that? Is it some kind of bird?” The man in black looked in the direction of the people on the sidewalk.

            “No, man, it’s like one of those small planes, I think.”

            “I don’t know, but whatever it is, it’s out of control.”

            By this time, the mysterious flying object, erratic and obviously out of control, began to circle in the sky above the bank. The man in black ran inside, back to his comrades, about to tell them what was going on, when there was a crash, which sounded to have come from the bank, because those inside were able to feel it shake. When the bank alarm sounded the group of men in black crowded out along with the customers, the tellers, and the bank manager.

            Now outside, everyone from the bank and the street looked to the building where the disaster had struck, an office building, where the roof had caved in, and the first two floors had collapsed down into the ones below. Just as ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars pulled up in the street, the four black SUVs pulled out and drive off.

            The mysterious cause of the crash was nowhere to be found.

****

            This was supposed to have been her day off, at least that was all she could tell herself. She sat at the concierge desk of the hotel where she worked, day in, day out, for the last two years. Tara McConnell, twenty-three, was who was always called when someone called in sick, or just didn’t show up. For her to be the one that always showed up when no one else would, she never got any credit. She also, very rarely, called in sick herself.

            Although her manager was the one that called her at six that morning, to tell her that she had to come in, in two hours, it wasn’t her fault. It was the boss, Norman Smith, the new owner of the Whitman Hotel, who lived two hours away, who’d told the manager to call Tara. And even though Tara would have liked to throw the phone at Norman instead of coming in, she came in anyway.

            So here she was, sitting quietly at the front desk, wishing she had brought one of the books that she had read numerous times already. Because, if it was one thing she could say about working at the Whitman, she had a lot of time on her hands. The Whitman wasn’t the most popular or the most frequented hotel in town. Although the owner just recently decided to allow small pets, and had free high speed Internet installed, people rarely reserved a room. Unless it was the busy season. This was not the busy season. That was over and done with months ago.

            She knew Norman would likely call soon to ask one of his pointless questions having to do with the hotel. Instead of waiting, Tara pushed the buttons on the desk phone So that all incoming calls were transferred to the cordless, which could be clipped to a belt. She knew that at any moment, he would find some reason to call, and because she’s a good person, to everyone, even to her boss, she would be kind, and try to answer his questions. Even if she still wished to shove the phone down his throat.

            Suddenly, she heard not the shrill ringing of the phone, but a loud boom, followed immediately by what felt like an earthquake. Recognizing that the noise came from behind the hotel, Tara raced out to investigate.

            By the time she made her way out of the back door, she saw, through the dust, a man, who seemed to be crawling out the ground, about six yards behind the hotel. Reluctantly moved closer, to see if he was alright.

            She watched in awe as he lifted himself up shakily, and stood not five feet away from her. “Are—are you oaky?” she managed to stutter. His blue eyes, she could tell they were blue, even from distance and the slowly settling dust, were staring at her intently.

            As if he’d realized he was in a hurry,  he quickly flashed a smile at her, then turned and ran toward the densely wooded area behind the hotel. Not moments after he’d disappeared into the thick summer foliage, the familiar ringing of the phone shocked her out of her daze, and she looked down at her belt. Although she saw no phone clipped there, she looked up quickly, to see not the man but the empty space he’d left.

            She ran into the hotel, knowing that it had to be Norman, and answered the phone. He asked who was working, how many people are at the hotel, and how many reservations there were to be fulfilled. She answered all his questions to the best of her knowledge. She had been doing this a while, so she’d become pretty good at answering, not to mention her mad skills at holding back her frustration. But through all this, somehow, she’d forgotten about what had just happened, moments before the phone rang.

            Later, the day began to pick up, a very little. And by the time her shift was over, she was ready to go home and relax. Or just take a few hour’s  break before she had to come back.”

Sharpe*

The tentatively titled “Sharpe” was a completely new and mind-altering style change for me. Previously, I’d done most of my writing in college, Flight Pattern being the exception. All that other stuff was pre-experience Crystal. Marriage and all kinds of other experience later, I’d learned a lot, and decided, with Sharpe, that I needed to push the envelope a bit, assuming, of course, it would make me a better writer. It did, I think. “Sharpe” the one story which I frequently personify in my mind as female (its the main character) is currently unfinished. She went in a direction I wasn’t sure i wanted to go with her, and I may have burned myself out on her, and writing, for a long time. Of course, I’m sure that should I go back and read through the first half, which was going so well and shaping up to be more than novel length (by NaNoWriMo standards) I could probably turn her around, take on a completely different story, and possibly finish her. Some day.

When it came to bringing you the “first 1,000 words” I couldn’t decide where to stop. Because I not only loved the “first chapter” but the following one as well. But I didn’t want to share too much, in case you actually wanted more.  I decided to not go so far as the 2,000 and some odd words I initially chose, but stuck with around fifteen hundred. So, the first 1500 words of “Sharpe”.

[1] THE COWARD THING TO DO

I ran away. I know, it’s the coward thing to do. But I never said I was brave. They all thought I was. They were easily convinced.

            The road that took me out of town was dark, rough, and muddy from the torrential down pours as of late. “It’s going to be a wet summer in Samuel.” I thought out loud. Luckily I wouldn’t be there.

            I trudged along the dirt-turned-muddy road, umbrella in hand. The rainbow colored atrocity would have to be discarded, once I left monsoon country. What was I thinking when I bought it? Right. I wasn’t.

            Luckily Samuel was surrounded by nowhere. No one would see me swimming down this deserted road. It didn’t take me long to be grateful for the funds I’d procured, despite the manner in which I procured them. My shoes weren’t holding up well. My feet were frozen, the water, or mud, had soaked into my shoes. I could feel my toes squishing in muck.

            Of course, the act of thinking these strange, random thoughts were keeping me from thinking about why I was leaving Samuel. And what I was leaving behind.

            I’d never intended on staying. For God’s sake, I’d almost gotten married! What was I thinking? Oh, that’s right, once again, I wasn’t. They’d all made me forget who I really was, what I really was. He’d made me forget. And for a few blissful months, I’d enjoyed that kind of life.

            But now I was leaving it all behind on this muddy road, this side of Samuel.

[2]  ANDY NOT ANDREW

My keen observation skills allowed me to see that he’d noticed me from across the barroom. As hard as I tried to blend in—everywhere—it never worked. It was this blasted red hair. You can’t die the bloody mess anything but red; I’d tried, with disastrous results. It was like a giant red buoy in a great ocean storm: a beacon to wayward lonely sailors looking for something to hold on to.

            He didn’t know I could see him coming. Hell, it’d taken him fifteen minutes to get up the gumption to come over. I had hoped he wouldn’t. But he did.

            He braved the open sea of bodies packed in the barroom like sardines in a can. He was timid and polite for a tall blond of his, physic. It’s in my training to determine my ability to take down a potential opponent, if the need arose. This one, I could tell, would be difficult if it came right down to it.

            But once Andy—not Andrew—Hart reached me at the bar, I realized he wasn’t the type to hit a woman. Even if provoked. Timid for a tall man—6’4 at least, he cleared his throat three times before speaking. When he did finally say something, it was the least used pick-up line of all time.

            “Hello,” he said.

            Here we go, I thought. “Hello,” I replied. I took a gulp of my Jack. I’d been with other men of Jack’s “caliber”, but none of them had treated me the way Jack Daniels always had. My relationship with Jack was the only real relationship I had. And ours was a good one.

            Skipping the small talk as he gazed at me, he cut right to the chase. “I’m Andy.” He offered his hand.

            I looked at him, then the hand he’d extended toward me. “Hello, Andy.”

            “I’ve, uh, never seen you here before.”

            “Never been here before.”

            “Oh, that explains it then.”

            “Yep.”

            “What brings you to Samuel?”

            “Just passing through,” was all I offered.

            “Through Samuel?” He sounded surprised. “You must like the long road. Have to take back roads just to find us.”

            He hit the nail on the head. “This boy’s a carpenter.” I thought. Instead out loud I said, “It’s quiet, I like it that way.” What I neglected to mention was that it was necessary to take back roads.

            “This is true,” he said as he took the vacated stool beside me. “Nothing ever happens here.”

            “That will change if I stay long,” I didn’t tell him. “It’s nice that way,” I gave him.

            He chuckled. It was a pleasant sound, I rather liked it. I allowed myself a small smile. I never got to, never had a good reason. He was still smiling himself when he said, “Well, you don’t have to live here!” he smiled again, a smile that proved that he actually liked his small town, then he asked, “Where you from?”

            “Everywhere.” And nowhere, I thought but didn’t say. “Never stayed anywhere long enough to be from there.” Honest, more than I’d ever been before, at least, and especially, about my personal life, if that was what you could call it.

            “Oh. Army brat?” he asked me.

            “Sort of.” I began to realize that I was opening up. I need to close that Pandora’s box or something awful would happen.

            He sensed my evasiveness and dropped the subject. “How long are you going to be in Samuel?” he asked instead.

            “A few days.” What?! I planned on a few drinks, some food and then back to my car, and the road.

            “Oh,” he perked up, obviously pleasantly surprised. “That’s um, nice,” he said, his nervousness began to rear its ugly head again. “Maybe I could, well,” he paused, “show you around.”

            Against my better judgment and my typical behavior, I replied with a simple, “Sure.” This excited him, because he was smiling, grinning widely in fact, from ear to ear. It surprised me because I was giving this man hope that I would be here, and I didn’t plan on being here much longer. “Don’t be so happy,” I thought, “because this won’t be too good for you in the end.” I knew that though. He didn’t. Poor guy.

            “I didn’t catch your name,” he said.

            I smiled at his phrasing. “I didn’t throw it.” He smiled. “Erin. Erin Sharpe.” Of all the names I could have given—several—I gave him that one. This was going to be bad.

            “Andy Hart,” he offered his hand once more. This time I took it.

            After the customary shake, he held on for a while, looking at me intently. I tugged my hand, not enough to pull free of his gentle grasp, just enough to let him know he still had it. He cleared his throat, released my hand, and cleared his throat again. He glanced away, suddenly shy. I signaled the bartender for my third Jack. I hold my alcohol well.

 

            Over the next hour, I learned a lot about Andy Hart. One: he hated his first name. “Andrew. I only put it on official papers. And my tombstone.”

            “Why your tombstone? Why be not be buried as who you are—not some name you hate?” I asked seriously. I know how it feels to know you’ll be buried as someone you’re not.

            “I never thought of it that way.” He smiled again.

            Two: He doesn’t drink. He’d come with friends, and was their designated driver. They’d left moments before with another large group. I eyed my glass when he’d told me. I most definitely drink.

            “I just don’t see a reason for it,” he said solemnly.

            Three: He was truthful. “Lying to someone can’t get you far. It’s like diving without an oxygen tank. You won’t get very far, and you’ll have to come out of the water sooner or later.” I understood. The deep breath of a lie could only get you so far. Eventually you’ll have to either tell the truth or lie some more. Experienced firsthand by yours truly.  Every day of my life.

            Four: Andy Hart was open. ““Secrets don’t make friends.” My mom used to say. And why speak to someone if you don’t want them to know you? I have no secrets,” he informed me. I couldn’t say the same for myself.

           

            It was getting late, the bar was clearing out—the crowd I’d hope to get lost in, that failed, vacated the premises—and Andy offered to walk me, “wherever” he’d said.

            I let him walk me to the car. “Where are you staying while in Samuel?”

            “I hadn’t gotten a motel room yet.” I told him. “I was detained.” I said, half glaring half smiling at my escort.

            “Ha!” he barked. “Well,” he paused, running his hand through his hair, “you can stay with me.” He offered then looked away quickly.

            “I think I’ll manage.” I started to unlock my car door, thinking I’d be getting rid of him, and this town.

            “Now, I didn’t mean—” he stuttered. “I have a big house, it’s just me. Plenty of spare rooms, free of charge.

            Apparently the whiskey was stronger than I was used too. “Okay,” I agreed. “Where to?”

            “Oh, wow! I didn’t expect that. Okay,” he paused. “Luckily my buddies found another way home.” I hadn’t paid much attention at the time, so I hadn’t really noticed that. “Just follow me,” he said. “You are okay to drive?”

            “Yes.” I’d driven under worse conditions. Physical injuries had been involved. My fondness for whiskey could be blamed on that.

            “Okay,” he said. “Follow me.”

 

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