Saturday, February 17, 2007

New novel bit is up. "The Side Ways 3.2: Into the Stream"

New chapter of the novel is posted, "3.2: Into the Stream." Here's a chunk.
* * * * *

Kendra shook her head, checked for cars again – the street was empty – and stepped into the road.

The swirling lights and shadows seemed to tickle at the part of her that wanted to get going. Her legs felt light and twitchy. She began to tap a rhythm with her fingers on her hips. A kind of syncopated, martial drum-beat. She looked around and though she was standing still, the houses and trees, parked cars and telephone poles beside the road seemed to blur a bit, as if she was moving past them at great speed.

And she knew, instinctively, why Tess didn’t understand her checking for cars. I’m part of it now, she thought. If a car were to drive along, it wouldn’t touch me. I am, she realized with more than a little wonder, a part of the road. I am the reason of road.

And now, it’s time to go, Kendra thought. So let’s go. Go, go, go. And with the thought, came motion.

She had sensed the general direction of their destination before, and her informal knowledge of the city gave her at least a rough notion of what to expect in terms of streets, turns and the city’s layout. And she may have driven those roads a few times in the back of her mom’s car, or seen them from a bus a few times.

Still, she was not at all prepared to live the journey as a continuous series of snapshot, lightning-fast thought-pictures that delivered her to her target almost instantaneously.

Afterwards, she would estimate that she’d traveled about two miles. At the time, as it happened, she couldn’t have told you if it was one-block or a thousand.

It’s that way, was what she first thought as the Way entered her and she entered it, and the next thing she knew, she was somewhere else, somewhere closer. But there was also knowledge in her mind. As if she had a map of the places in between where she’d been and where she was now. In case I need to back-track, she thought. How handy.

Still, she wasn’t where she wanted to be. She could feel it, and it was at least a few blocks away. And she didn’t know the route. And there were buildings in the way.

What is the best way?

That was her thought. “Best.” Not, “quickest.” And so…

Flash. Flash. Flash.

Holy crap, she thought. I’m triangulating.

Sensing the place she wanted to be from at least three different vantages, two of which had moved her further along from where she’d been standing than the place she wished to be.

That’s odd, she thought. To best get where I’m going in the end, I can now go beyond it first. She had a very strong feeling that this was an important lesson, but the lights and the shadows in the stream were tickling the go-go-go impulse and she knew, now, where she wanted to be, how to best get there and…

Kendra was standing in the road, still in the stream of the Great Way, just outside the parking lot of a small strip-mall that included a Thai restaurant, a dry-cleaners, a couple specialty shops and a convenience store. The last slot in the row was a closed-up, walk-in dentist’s office. Though dark, closed for the night, and hidden behind tight-shut venetian blinds, it was clearly the spot where the vibes that Kendra was feeling were coming from.

She stepped up onto the curb and felt the Way slip off her like a blanket falling from her shoulders.

“Wow,” she said. “That was really, really odd. Cool. But odd.”

* * * * *

Check out the main page for “The Side Ways,” and request the password for all parts after “Chapter 1.1: Stray Girl,” if you’ve got a mind to.

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