Hullo, all. This is the second draft of my NaNo. I will be posting it in parts, which I will list here with a link to make it easy to go to the next part from here. Thanks to all you commented when I first posted the beginning.
2. The Atlantia
If sailor tales to sailor tunes,
Storm and adventure, heat and cold,
If schooners, islands, and maroons,
And buccaneers, and buried gold,
And all the old romance, retold
Exactly in the ancient way,
Can please, as me they pleased of old,
The wiser youngsters of today:
--So be it and fall on! If not,
If studious youth no longer crave,
His ancient appetites forgot,
Kingston, or Ballantyne the brave,
Or Cooper of the wood and wave:
So be it, also! And may I
And all my pirates share the grave
Where these and their creations lie!
-Robert Louis Stevenson, "To the Hesitating Purchaser"
The Beginning: Margo
Something was not right. From the moment Margo woke that morning an incessant nagging, a fly in the back of her mind, reminded her of the oddity of it, and it made her uneasy. She would be engaged in the most inane task, and it would sneak in past her mental walls, and into her recent recognition.
She took a shower, dressed, made coffee, and her lunch -- still there was a feeling of something gone awry, but it was subtle and she brushed it away each time like an annoying bug.
She packed that lunch she had made, and drove to work listening to NPR on the radio, and still she fought the urge to swat the bug.
Work, though, took her mind off that peculiar feeling. She delved into it with vigor, ignoring the incessant chatter of her fellow co-workers as they griped about this-- gaped about that.
But as soon as the big hand was on the twelve and the little hand was on the fifteen, that beloved geometric stance that signaled her lunch break, the bug was back.
If Margo had any sense to listen to her own intuition, she would have been on her guard, but it was drowned out by other, louder things.
Margo plopped down onto the bench. It had been a tiring day, and this was just her lunch break. Eager to eat she reached into her backpack to retrieve her sandwich and thermos full of green tea. Nibbling on the cheese from her sandwich, and then taking a swig of her tea, she watched a familiar looking dog run passed. Searching for the sign of an owner, she found one. The park was empty except for her, and the departing dog. Stuffing her things in her backpack, she followed the golden retriever as it disappeared into the trees at the edge of the park.
As Margo entered the forested area, she caught a glimpse of the dog’s brilliant red-golden tail and ran after it. Weaving in and out of the shrubbery, the dog finally stopped, head lowered to the ground. Margo heaved a sigh and jogged towards the dog.
The dog was ferreting, nose in a pile of dead leaves. Upon reaching its side, Margo crouched near the dog.
“Come here, honey, let’s see who you belong to.” She reached towards the dog’s collar, and he dog shoved it cold nose towards her, but there was no identification on the dog, not even a name tag.
Margo sighed. Maybe, I should call the pound. She stretched upright - she would call the pound. Brushing herself off, Margo noticed a bright skene of red smeared on her arm. The dog had gone back to sniffing at the leaves. Red, her arm where the dog and pressed it’s nose was red, and the shade of blood. She raised the her arm to her nose, and on first sniff her brain screamed: blood. Margo frantically pawed at the dog’s head, and snatched its nose so she could see it. Her suspicion was correct; it was blood. The nose and even the paws of the dog were coated in blood. On closer inspection so were the surrounding leaves; the brittle sable brown and yellow were burnished blood red. Margo shoved the dog away. Her legs, led weights, were rooted to the ground. Her heart, when it started again, trembled and tightened. Her throat clenched tightly. Margo could not get her body to function, properly.
When she could move, she searched the leave for the source of the blood. When her fingers met something slippery wet Margo jerked them back. Upon inspection of those fingers, she found they too were red; more blood. She fought the violent urge to retch. Blood had this way of making Margo instantly queasy.
Pushing the leaves away, she immediately twisted from the scene, and lost her lunch.
The bile was still green in her mouth when she turned back. There, bloody and severed, was an arm.
After the initial shock of the arm, Margo tried to calm herself, her heart was fluttering like a paranoid canary, and her limbs were twitching. Margo managed to place her palms flat on her knees, and tried to keep her breathing steady. All the while, a mantra replaying in her brain: this is so not my day.
When Margo found her head again, she searched for her cell phone to call the cops; after all she was a practical woman.
But when she tried to call, her cell beeped at her, and she looked it, no reception, the thoughts ran through her head: this is so not my day.
Standing there in the grove, surrounded by trees and leaves, that imbrued cleaved arm and her no service cell phone, Margo felt her body go numb with the shock of it.
The dog was back, and started for the arm, Margo snapped out of her daze, and went for the dog.
She slipped, and braced herself before she hit the ground.
But she didn’t. She was in free fall.
Margo opened her eyes, and just before she hit the water, these words went through her head: this is so not my day.