I’m a little late updating my FNAFiction, Everything Is All Right, Part One: Girl on the Edge of Nowhere…by which I mean, I’m not as early as I usually am. In theory, I post new chapters on Saturdays, hence the blog title, Serial Saturday. In reality, I post new chapters on Friday nights so I won’t forget on Saturday. Today, I managed to forget even before Saturday rolled around, so…new high score, I guess. Yay, me?
I’ve got a great reason for forgetting, actually. I finished Part Two: Mike Schmidt and the Long Night, and I was deep in my first round of edits, so that I could be ready for Monday when my beta-readers will all meet up and bash out the read-through. That way, I’ll be ready to go with the second part right as part one wraps up. No long wait between installments. Except for, you know, the long weekly waits between chapters.
Anyhoo, I did remember and I’m only an hour and a half late, so head on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org if you’re reading along. Here is the traditional posting of the excerpt to whet your reader-juices! (hmmm, that sounded less gross in my head…)
Ana never did get the foyer and hall of her aunt’s house power washed, which was less a case of her coming to her senses and more about getting too high to operate machinery. In spite of what evidence suggested had been several attempts to get the power washer running, she had forgotten the essential role of the gas generator and had plugged the thing into the wall outlet instead. She could remember none of the frustrations this must have caused, but she guessed they had been fairly impressive because although she found the cord still plugged into the wall, the brand-spanking-new power washer was out in the front yard, where she appeared to have beaten it to death against a catalpa tree.
Ana probably could have fixed it, but not with the head she had on this morning, so she just gathered it, its cord, its box and packing materials, its operating instruction booklet and its fucking 30-day warranty, and threw it all into the dump trailer. Breakfast was Ritalin and Redline and then it was off to the Kellar job, where she worked herself to exhaustion, came home to a dinner of oxytocin and pot, and mopped the foyer—with plain old soap and water—before moving the grandfather clock back against the hidden door to the secret stair. Maybe in time, she’d be able to convince herself she’d never found it, but until then, she had work to do.
The days blurred together, pink and blue, sun and moon. She thought she put herself to bed each night in the truck, but woke every morning in the house—in the attic, in the bathtub, and once, terrifyingly, sweating beneath the purple comforter in the secret room below the clock. She would buy food, take a few bites and leave the rest in the most random places; she washed her clothes and either let them hang on the line until the wind blew them into the yard or folded them neatly and put them away in one of the house’s bedroom closets for her future self to find and be whipped into a paranoid panic by. She began to work later and later hours, preferring even Mason’s company and the muttering of his mother to that of her own ghost.
It couldn’t last.
One hot afternoon, having just completed the finicky process of staining the brand-new deck’s rails and posts, but before the job of staining the boards themselves had begun, Ana’s energy bar went from glowing green to flashing red between two beats of her suddenly laboring heart. She did not speak. She rose from her knees on the deck where she had been just starting her first brush strokes and, as her vision washed out to swirling white, staggered blindly to the stairs and fell into the grass.
She waited on her hands and knees for things to get better or worse while Mason and his boys sat in the shade at one end of the yard and watched her.
Several units of time passed, but whether they were seconds or minutes or even hours were impossible to know. The sun was blinding, hateful. The sky was blue, not warm and summery, but pale, as if the unseasonable heat had sapped all the color and life out of it. The ground on which Ana sat had baked hard and cracked wide open beneath the grass Mrs. Kellar had somehow coaxed to grow. Even the shade in which Mason’s many, many boys sat looked thin and painted on.
Ana threw up. She hadn’t eaten in a while, maybe not for days, so it was nothing but coffee and a few white dots that were undigested Ritalin and caffeine pills. With shaking arms, she scratched up some loose soil from the flowerbed and buried it, then crawled a short distance away and sat, leaning up against the side of the house. She shivered now and then, hot and cold and sweaty and possibly dying.