I became an author. One of the most exciting days of my life. In twenty-four months, thanks to the full support of my family, I have written several hundred thousand words, published six full novels, two children’s books, one short, and I collaborated to four different anthologies. To make a long story short, I am happy. And this is what happiness looks like to me:
The fog is descending upon the houses outside my window. And it’s freezing cold. I don’t think Nero and I will go for a walk after all. Good news is my desk faces a big window. Also, it’s my mom’s birthday today. Have a wonderful 70th birthday, Mom. Love you.
“I was worried for you.” Julius moved the few steps from the wall to the bed and then sat on its edge, without coming any closer to her.
It wasn’t right. Touching for them was a necessity regulated by guide-and-guided code of conduct. Allegra felt his warmth and longed to reach out and take his hand, but she didn’t, which only increased the awkwardness. “Thank you.” Her voice came out too low.
But he had heard. “Of course.”
Of course he’s worried about me? Or what? “Couldn’t you sleep?”
“No. Do you mind if I stay with you for a while?”
She finally outstretched her hand and found his closer than she expected. “Can you help me relax?”
“Of course.” He moved on the bed to lie side by side with her, his head on the pillow, only a few inches from hers.
It wasn’t the first time they slept on the same bed. Before exams, they used to quiz each other the whole night. Sometimes, they did it just to prove they could without being caught. A few times, Allegra had asked him, like now, if he could ease her tension. Yet, now it was different.
She felt his gentle invasion at the edge of her thoughts. Spring and singing birds. The scent of washed linens drying outside. Warm breeze playing with her hair. Her eyes closed and she let him in.
Words echoed in her head.
She turned the other side.
Hands turned her over.
“Smell the air.”
The request was repeated twice before she managed to open one eye and find Julius sitting on her bed. Memories of a few hours earlier rushed in. “What’s going on?” But she had already activated her senses. “I can’t feel her.” Clarissa’s smell was gone. She inhaled deeply and then shook her head. “I can’t feel any of them.”
Still writing for fun. Allegra and Julius are still wandering through Cartaghena.
The gate didn’t swing open as supposed to. She applied more pressure. “It doesn’t open.” She needed to say it out loud.
“It could mean anything.” Julius moved to her side. “Look ahead,” he instructed her.
Allegra straightened her head. “What did you see?” At first, she had been put out by the way he used her eyes better than she did, but during the years it had proved useful. “I see things through you in a different way than you do,” he had said once without explaining much. But at the first occasion he had avoided them a punishment, she had been grateful for his ability to spot details and never questioned it again. One night, they were out of their respective quarters, way past curfew—a dare from one of their classmates, and Julius saw, before Allegra noticed, their teacher’s pointy shoes emerging from the dark corner she was staring at. That split second had allowed them to run back to their rooms, none being the wiser.
“Something moved at the end of the path.”
She focused on the dark-gray gravel covering the path that went from the entrance to the stairs leading to the porch. “I see nothing.” She opened her nose then and the faintest aroma of sandalwood reached her nostrils. “Dad!” She beat at the metal bars of the gate. “Dad!”
For a week at Santa Marinella, maritime city north of Rome and ancient Roman port. Today, later in the afternoon, I greatly enjoyed the refreshing breeze from the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the glare associated with the incredible phenomenon called “sun”, I suffered under the yellow light and—practically blind—wrote a staggering one thousand six hundred words. Lately, for several reasons, I haven’t been prolific, so I’m feeling quite proud of my hard work.
From TCOM, here’s snippet number eleven:
Madame Lana’s fingers came dangerously close to Marie’s moving lips, but thankfully stopped before making contact. Marie had inadvertently stepped back to avoid being touched by the rector’s cold hand and now realized she had probably offended her. Something flickered behind the woman’s eyes, something as cold as her skin. “Finish what you’re doing and go upstairs.” She barked several orders and then left the kitchen followed by two unlucky girls who were culpable of having poured one teaspoon of sugar too many in her coffee.
The chef smiled a sad smile Marie’s way and she shivered. Chef had just treated the two crying girls with the same show of affection. “I’m going to train as a nurse,” Marie said out loud to test how the idea sounded once worded.
Without realizing it, I skipped a week. Days, like mismatched socks, tend to go missing lately. Can’t even remember what I was busy doing last week. Not writing, for sure. I did take my Wacom tablet out for a leisure stroll and I did produce something nice though. The fruit of my labor will be revealed in due time. For now, enjoy my humble snippet.
A quiet moment for Dalia and Aragon, the two main characters in Notturno.
Dalia looked at him and wondered at the enigma he represented; she touched him, but he didn’t react to her fingers tracing the lines of his arm. She followed the long sinews defining his dark skin and then stopped at the hollow space where the muscles on his neck met the shoulders. His breathing caught for the briefest moment, his eyes fluttered under his closed eyelids, but he didn’t move. She raised her hand and put it on her lap, the urge of lying down with him calling to her. Aragon was the strongest man she had ever seen, but at the moment he was defenseless and she felt the irrational desire to protect him. The thought made her laugh.
On clue, a snort from the corner made her turn. “Where are you, Mo?” The animal snorted a second time, emerging from the darkness. “Come here, baby.” Mo obeyed and walked toward them. “Sit, Mo.” Dalia smiled when Mo bent her trunk-like legs to sit by her master. “Good girl, stay here and protect us if you like.” Mo emitted a sound Dalia didn’t try to decipher.
“Are we all friends now?” Aragon opened one eye and took Dalia’s flying hand. She had been surprised by him not being as asleep as she had thought and almost poked his eyes in response. “I’m glad.”
“Didn’t you need to rest?” She blushed.
It’s June! The sixth month of 2012 kind of snuck up on me. Yesterday, for the first time in twelve years, after having reminded my son he had a dentist appointment, I forgot myself. I was busy working on Pax; the last stretch of corrections is taking its toll. The document, in all its 106k words, came back proofread four days ago. I implemented all the corrections made and I went jihad on ‘that’. I erased ‘that’ like my life depended on it. I sent Pax back to my editor and she reinstated the 2% of them for clarity reasons. Pax is in my court again for the last reading. Then is out of my hands. Scary, isn’t it?
Despite a blurb I should be polishing and a document I should be reading, I took a vacation from all of it and wrote my 1k for the day. Fresh from the keyboard, here is a little something from TCOM.
Marie saw him coming closer to her, she raised her eyes to look at the same thing he was looking at, and saw the quartered chunks of what had been a big cow hanging from hooks over her hiding spot. He had already taken hold of the biggest piece, when steps resonated from far away and Marie’s name was called several times. He started running, but one of the loose sandals he was wearing slipped away and he almost stumbled. He reached the floor, but to break the fall and save his face from being smashed he had to use both hands and let the meat fall. It landed with a big thud only an inch shy of hitting Marie. He followed his prized stolen possession and found her as well.
“Where’re you, girl?” Verena called from the corridor.
Marie heard her friend, but she didn’t answer. The man had brought one finger to his mouth and was silently asking her to keep quiet. His familiar green eyes were staring at her and he was slowly shaking his head.
“You didn’t see me,” he whispered and, piece of butchered animal on his shoulders, left for the same route he had come from.
In the last two or three days, I haven’t written a lot. Probably, I needed a break, but it doesn’t feel right. My e-social life on the other hand has thrived and I had time to read the remarkable words of some fellow authors. And that is all good and well.
Today snippet is from TCOM again. Verena has just showed Marie her new living quarters at Redfarm.
Marie shrugged at the recent memories. Idra had saved her from the ire of an elder more than once. “When I’ll be an elder, I’ll never be like them.” A promise she had worded every time Idra had rescued her. Idra. What are you doing now? Dinner time at the Institute had already come and gone. Are you singing by the fire with Joanna and Marcia? They had sung every time one of their friends had left the Institute to learn a profession somewhere else. Are you singing for me? Do you miss me already? Marie had been so excited to leave the Institute, she hadn’t realized she was indeed leaving it for good.
“I never thought bathrooms could get people so emotional.” Verena laughed.
Marie got a glimpse of herself in the mirror and saw her eyes were liquid and a tear was hanging to her eyelashes. “The separate stalls undid me.”