I never know what to share or not in the process of writing. Will people judge me based on rough drafts, or do others, as I do, enjoy insight into someone’s creative process? This year I’m trying to do something new, trying to let go a little. Getting words down isn’t a challenge for me, but sharing those words is. Blogging my writing process is something entirely foreign to me because, as one might glean from the title of my blog at large, I assume no one really gives a shit what I have to say and therefore this is just a hobby.
Consider this a fun experiment. Under the cut I’ve posted about 700 words, the product of one of the Philly WriMos word wars the other night. It is for all intents and purposes unedited, with comma splices and run-on sentences and all left intact for entertainment and posterity. What are your thoughts on sharing drafts and excerpts? Helpful? Unhelpful? Terrifying? Inspiring? I’ll be back around Wednesday with a week-two NaNo blog and some more fun discoveries!
A whistle caught Evie’s attention and she turned to see a short soldier with thick brown mutton chops covering pudgy cheeks grinning at her. He wore Union blue—it seemed the color was everywhere these days, and it only made her irritable to see it now—and his kepi perched at a jaunty angle as he leaned against the wrought iron support of a balcony. “Good day, Miss.”
She ignored him, urging Manon to follow her down a side street at a hurried pace in hopes that he would not follow. She heard footfalls, though, and another entreaty. “Come back! I want to talk to you.”
She didn’t turn, and Manon did not either; though the Union soldiers were supposedly working toward the woman’s liberation, it seemed Manon still did not trust them or their intentions. He called out again and grabbed Evie’s arm with a hand that wasn’t rough, but was still unwelcome.
“Why won’t you talk to me, Miss?”
“Why would I want to waste my time on some dumb Yank?” she spat irritably, still thinking of Claude’s letter. She regretted her tone instantly as Manon’s hand flew to her mouth.
A smile blossomed on the man’s mouth, if anything so lascivious could still be termed so. “Well this is interesting, isn’t it? You’re very well dressed for a whore, aren’t you?”
She struggled out of his grasp but his other hand seized her with a much firmer grip. “Don’t be coy. It’s unbecoming in one of your profession. So how much will it be?”
“Unhand me, you cad. I’m no prostitute.” She scowled, trying to shake him off. To her surprise, Manon grabbed the man’s shoulder, but he elbowed her away with ease and she stumbled back, grasping at a brick wall for support. Evie shoved with all her strength and they staggered together, the man’s brow furrowing as he worked to keep his grip on her though she was writhing like an eel.
“Come on, love. There’s no call for rudeness. Just hitch up your skirts for me and we’ll have a bit of fun.” His northern lilting speech only made it sound worse, and she began to panic, fearing that she wouldn’t be able to escape him. Suddenly it seemed turning off the main road had not been prudent after all; the buildings to either side were solid, with no windows where people might hear her if she cried out for help.
With one last desperate burst of strength she ground her heel into the arch of his foot, and when he yelped and jumped back she shoved with all her might. He fell backward. his hand was still tight on her upper arm and he dragged her down with him, but as he had no hands free to break his own fall the full weight of both their bodies landed on his back. His head hit the ground with the sickening sound of an unripe melon, and his kepi bounced off into the gutter. Evie scrambled away as his hand went limp, eyes wide and wild. Her breaths came in ragged gasps and she glanced to Manon with alarm. The other woman was still leaning against the wall for support, cradling the slight protrusion of her belly with maternal concern.
Looking back at the fallen soldier, she tried to make sense of what had just happened. It looked like his head had connected with the stone curb. She couldn’t tell if he was unconscious or only pretending, and though it terrified her she steeled her nerve and bent to look. Manon drew in a sharp breath of alarm, but even when Evie got within his reach he did not stir. With trepidation, she touched his cheek, then felt under his collar for his throat. He was deathly still, and when she held her fingers under his nostrils she could feel no breath. Cringing, she reached behind him, cradling his head in her hand for only a moment before recoiling in disgust.
Her fingers were smeared with blood and a few loose pieces of the man’s dull brown hair. her lip trembled. The back of his head felt soft, upsettingly moist.
“Miss Eveline…” Manon bit her lip.