[Now for the moment you've all been waiting for (drumroll, please) ... an unfinished scene written Jan '14, meant to be the opening of one of my WIP's, codename WONDERLAND. This book is one of my more troublesome babies, and you'll be seeing more alternate versions of it soon -- I think it ran up to seven openings before I caught the one I'm using now. Nothing about this scene is still accurate to the book, but I loved it enough to share, in all it's warty goodness. Comment with your favourite line below and you could win something awesome! (and totally imaginary shh just pretend)]
The restaurant was stifling, heavy with the scent of grease and bad cologne. Scarlett was sweltering in her black waitress uniform. She itched to get out, to burst through the doors into the cool night air and never come back. Instead she plastered on a smile and went to refill a tableful of water glasses.
This table sat a party of six — three adults, three children, the youngest of whom seemed to be painting a Picasso in the gravy on the table. Scarlett’s plaster smile became a little strained at this.
“Will you be having dessert today?”
“Actually …” The thickset older woman at the head of the table frowned at the man on her right, and he subsided.
“We don’t need any dessert, thank you,” she told Scarlett.
“Are you sure?”
“Quite positive. But do be a dear and get us some extra napkins. I believe Franklin has upset his plate.”
The heavyset woman had a sharp glint in her eye. It was the look of someone who only bought toilet paper on sale. Scarlett decided not to press for dessert.
On her way back to the kitchen, she caught sight of one of the TVs set up beside the corner booths. It was displaying a local news channel, where one of the news anchors was talking against the backdrop of …
Scarlett’s heart sank at the sight of the smiling fourteen-year-old girl’s face. Emily Keys, her name was. Local kid — she attended a school only six blocks over from where Scarlett’s own younger sister went. She’d been missing for six days.
There was no evidence of foul play, no unusual behavior on the girl’s part before the incident. She had left for school that day perfectly normal, had by all accounts had a perfectly normal day at school, and had biked home from school with a group of friends, only turning off when she reached a residential alley half a block away from home. Then she had simply … disappeared.
They’d found her bike in the alley, when they finally went looking. Lying on its side across a jagged crack in the pavement, one wheel spinning gently in the breeze. Perfect and unharmed. What they didn’t find was the girl.
* Originally there was going to be no editing allowed, but then I found a couple things in this snippet that I absolutely COULD NOT post without editing. So I've settled on a compromise -- I will edit as little as possible, and then tell you exactly what I changed in a postscript. Deal? Okay.
DISCLOSURE OF EDITS!!!
Edit #1: second paragraph, first sentence. In the original copy, for some reason it said the oldest of the children was painting in the gravy, but the wording wasn't absolutely clear as to whether the artist in question was child or adult. It was driving me crazy, so I changed.
Edit #2: tenth paragraph, second sentence. My subconscious does this obnoxious thing sometimes where it names minor characters after celebrities I know just little enough about to not realize, in the distraction of drafting, why the name sounds so natural. This scene was one of those times -- in original copy, the little girl was named Alicia Keys, and I didn't realize until I was uploading it to the blog. Oops.