How’s it going? Right now, I’m at 45,000 words and climbing, but I’m aiming to actually finish my novel this month. It should land me somewhere aroudn 60,000 words, if I’m lucky. NaNo does tend to deaden the brain after a while, so I’ve been taking breaks to sketch and draw. Here’s something I finished last night; Daniel Sharman in pencil.
I’m quite happy with that one. Anyway, I thought I’d share some more snippets, hope you enjoy them, and get a feel of where I am in the novel. (My family just can’t wait for NaNo to be over. I can sense them, waiting to pounce on the computer once I’ve stopped hogging it. But we all must make sacrifices, musn’t we?) Let the snippets commence!
I had developed two habits: rubbing my scar, and chewing on my fingernails to keep me from rubbing my scar. I never noticed them anymore, but if Chopper and I stood next to each other, he would ram his fist into my hand before it ever came close to my face. He said he was trying to break both habits with one blow.
I bumped the water fountain with my hip and watched the squirt of water swirl down into the drain. “Do you want to know one of my favorite joys in life?”
“Probably not,” said Chopper, “but go ahead and tell me.”
“Watching you drink from a water fountain,” I told him. “It’s like watching a giraffe trying to drink from a puddle.”
“And you’ve seen lots of giraffes drink from puddles.”
“What were you doing watching giraffes in biology!?”
“I don’t know; it was in my third year.”
“Well, in that case.” He pulled off his gloves, and before I had the sense to wonder what he was doing, he pressed his thigh against the button, let water pool in his hands, and splashed it in my face.
“Oi!” I yelped, grinding the heels of my hands into my eyes.
“Do you want to know one of my favorite joys in life, Q?”
“No,” I spluttered.
“Watching you dash water out of your face,” he said, and I could hear the grin in his voice. “You look like a baby duck.”
I jumped out of the room and collapsed to the floor as the door closed behind me, leaving me in the hallway, surrounded by concrete walls and normalcy.
The pain was gone, but my hands were still shaking, my breath heaving out of my chest. I was right. It hadn’t been a glitch.
The games were designed that way.
They were designed to keep the players in.
I’d only ever had to see Principal Kaoru twice before in my life (not counting the times I had accompanied Chopper to her office), and I knew this particular time was basically Shunji’s fault. We hadn’t been disrupting anything, after all. I curled my fingers into fists and placed them on my lap before I started scratching at something.
“Why is it always you two?” Principal Kaoru leaned forward, her fingers interlocked on the top of her desk. A tiny, twisting top twirled continually on one corner of the desk, near the lamp, and I pulled my gaze away from it before I got dizzy. “Why are you here?”
“You mean you don’t know?” said Chopper.
Deuce gave him a dark look in the rear-view mirror and we roared out of the tunnel with a screech as four tires executed an impossibly sharp turn. I grinned at Chopper. “It’s faster than your bike,” I told him.
“If you feel like getting me one of these for my birthday, go right ahead,” he said. “Twenty-three is a big year.”
“Maybe I’ll buy it for you in increments,” I said. “I’ll start with a wind – wait, this thing doesn’t have windshield wipers.”
“How,” Deuce asked, “do you two losers even survive? It doesn’t need windshield wipers. The windshield’s got a protective coating.” He shook his head at the finiteness of our tiny little minds, and Chopper and I just looked at each other.
Without breaking his gaze away from mine and with an admirably straight face, Chopper said, “It’s got a protective coating.”
“I’ll bet it’s made out of unicorn tears,” I said.
“Unicorn tears and hair spray.”
Up front, a stifled squawk erupted from Gummy. Deuce looked at her, and she immediately said, “Sorry,” and giggled harder.
We pulled up in front of Chopper’s house. We climbed out, and Chopper stood back to admire the car again. “That’s a nice ride.”
“Are you coming in,” I asked him as Deuce and Gummy stood by the front door, “or do you want to be alone with the Shark for a while?”
“Hang on,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out how to propose to a car.”
“Get down on one knee, probably,” I said, “and offer it a good washing.”
“I can’t offer it a good washing!” He looked horrified. “We’ve only just met!”
“You’re the one who wants to propose to it, not me. Come on, we have important things to do. You can look at the car again later before we walk home.”
“Walk home,” he said. “Three miles. Whoopee.”
The day rolled by without a hitch, until lunchtime came. Tray in hand and boyfriend close behind, Gummy strode up to me and asked, “Where are you sitting?”
“On our tailbones, as per usual,” said Chopper without missing a beat.
“You’re one to talk, Grandma.” He eyed my sweater. “What exactly are you wearing?”
“Something to hide my cast, which is just a tad bit on the bulky side. Like you’re one to talk, anyway. You’ve worn the same thing every day for like fourteen years now. Can’t you choose something a little more creative?”
“Don’t cramp my style, little man.”
“Then stop cramping mine.”
“If that’s your style, honey, it deserves to be cramped.”