Thoughts for a Penny

May 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

This is an excerpt from a novel I began in November 2012, for NaNoWriMo. After abandoning it for a year, I am diving back into it and expect to complete it by the end of this year.


The metal buildings around them swirled into a dim grey landscape. all the familiarity that had once comforted him was lost in the mass of the grey cage around him. Portions highlighted by streetlights provided the only break for his eyes and mind.

Down the street they went, the road forever darkening. Shadows created an entrancing effect on the faces of the men; they were poltergeists through the curtained windows in shiny buildings. At last they stopped in the shadow of one apartment house. The building, though silver like the rest, was unfamiliar to him. Keren could not make out the numbers; the whole world was blurred, as it is when you hold up a sheet of ice and inspect your surroundings, wondering if it will help you gain perspective, and discovering instead each flaw in the frozen spectacle. Their feet shuffled down the walkway, and it pulled them to the doors.

The foreboding twins, composed of sturdy old wood, swung open to welcome them. He expected to see nothing. Instead, three stout men stood in waiting. The men grew as they approached. Keren blacked out.

He was breathing, but was he alive? A wretched powder attacked his nostrils, filling and clogging his lungs and brain. He had to be alive. Such torture would be unimaginable to him… either alive or in hell. Even his checks felt abused by the putrid substance. He did not want to open his eyes and allow them to be subjected to the same torture, but he had to. He had to get out of there somehow. His brain reminded him of his earlier days, or what he recognized as his earlier days. Just a deep shallow patch of emptiness; no willpower could get him though the locked door of his drugged subconscious. He had been alive, he thought this was true enough, but he may as well have been in his mother’s womb. He had been out of it for eighteen years, but the groggy awakened feeling had only hit him this morning.

Someone touched him.

His eyes shot open, ignoring the thick dust, and searched for the predator soon to be prey. Trembling in the dark, he sought out the offender. (Something glimmered in the blessed streak of light that invaded a crack between two bricks in the black wall behind him.) An eye, it looked like the solitary eye of a war-torn, brutally tortured human being. It was green. His hands jerked upward to assist his eyes, but something was holding them down. They were no use, so his eyes helped themselves. He blinked, battling the dust.

There it was again. It was drawing nearer, but couldn’t seem to decide where to focus it’s attention. Was it searching? For what? Could it see him?


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