Drowning Above Water – Teckla and Beata

 

     Teckla looked at her mother, in complete shock. She didn’t understand. And she tried. She tried to see past the trailer and the water. She tried to reason past the second gun shot that sounded behind them. She tried to understand why she was getting pushed into a floating coffin that wouldn’t be opened until she crossed an ocean. And one of the only things she could understand was that she’d probably be dead when they opened it.

“Your sister? Grizella?”

Beata grabbed her daughter again, crushing her against her chest. “I love you, baby. This will be better. I promise.” She kissed her daughter and then pushed her out of her arms. The man at the trailer door grabbed Teckla by the hand. Beyond him,  in the trailer, she heard voices. A girl screaming. Crying. The man shoved Teckla by both of her shoulders, making her fall backwards into the trailer. As she hit the ground, he pulled the door down and locked it from the outside with a rusty hook.

  From inside the metal box, pounding echoed.

 Beata ran.

 

 

This is an excerpt from my new novel Drowning Above Water. It is available now at Amazon.

Drowning Above Water – Petyr

 

Petyr sat in his room. It was black except for the glow of the convenience store sign, blazing its light through his grimy window. It seemed like years since he had been here in this hotel. The room was empty. Naked mattress. The only other furniture was a single wooden folding chair with the words Paul G. Fink Funeral Home stenciled on the back. The “landlord” had rented his room the day after he got on the plane, but hadn’t changed the lock. Petyr didn’t have anything here. But it was soothing to him, just to sit there in the dark, waiting.

He heard a rhythmic rubbing sound, soft and close. He looked down and saw that his hands were shaking in his lap, rubbing against the fabric of his pants. At a glance, they were clean. When he looked closer, even in the grey room, he could see blood at the base of his nails and in the wrinkles of his knuckles. There was a large kidney-shaped drop dried in the knuckle of his right middle finger. He rubbed it with his thumb but it didn’t budge. Without thinking, he bent his bloodied finger, stuck it in his mouth and started to suck. He couldn’t taste the blood, so he pulled harder. All he tasted was sweat and dirt. Pulling his lips back from his teeth, he dug them into his skin, pressing down until he finally got the taste of blood on the end of his tongue. Satisfied, he stopped and wiped the wet, spitty, macerated, bloody finger on the chair.

There was no noise outside. Not yet. But he would wait. Abraham knew he was back. He would come looking for Petyr. And then he would go back to kill Grizella. Not right away. Maybe not at all. Or maybe eventually. So, Petyr had to kill him first.

 

Drowning Above Water is available now at Amazon. It lives here:

 https://www.amazon.com/Drowning-Above-Water-Alyssa-Herron/dp/0999364707/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505090527&sr=8-1&keywords=alyssa%20herron

Drowning Above Water – An excerpt


     “I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said, holding up her hand and waving: open, close, open. A toddler bye-bye. She closed the door, knowing he would stand on the other side for another minute, waiting and hoping for a change of heart. There wasn’t a heart in her chest that could change.

     Her eyes looked away from the door and turned to the window. Her feet followed. The hotel stood on the bank of a river. As she stood, toes on the carpet, feet moist, she imagined the river water. She watched the dirty waves, the rocks and fish and mud, and she felt. She knew her feet, black-bottomed and clutching the particles of shoe dirt picked up from the carpet, were on flat, dry land. But her body rocked as she mimicked the water. It remembered. The way a mother of years ago will sometimes stand and sway when she sees another woman cradling and rocking a baby, even if her own arms are empty. Malina rocked now. She knew that. Less alone than she was then. Or maybe not. There was a knock at the door.

     “Just a moment, Love.” 

     She responded to the knock in her professional voice without needing to remind herself to do it. She squeezed the sight of the water from her eyes and walked away from the door and window, swaying, toward the tiny closet by the door. Inside, hung squarely on a hanger forever attached to the rod, was her navy dress. Her work uniform. A size too small now. Soon it would be two sizes. She freed it from the hanger and stepped inside it. With an arch of her back to start the zipper and a lean forward to finish it, she managed to zip it. The seams argued at the hips and protested at the sides of her breasts. But for tonight, it worked. The knock sounded again at the door.

💜Thanks for checking out my world of Drowning Above Water. You can bring it home from Amazon. 

https://www.amazon.com/Drowning-Above-Water-Alyssa-Herron/dp/0999364707/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505090527&sr=8-1&keywords=alyssa%20herron

Let Down

Today, I let my kid be disappointed. 

I could have swooped in and saved him, been a sidekick, been a day-saver. 

But I didn’t. 

There was a school thing today. There are always school things. Today was one of many. 

Last night we planned. We packed the bag. We stuffed the envelopes. We were ready. 

And then this morning, he forgot. 

I tried to text him. He didn’t answer. I tried to FaceTime him. He didn’t answer. Why do I buy expensive tech that we don’t ever answer????

He went to school without. And I let him. 

Avalanche of guilt. Big, sharp, pointy, heavy boulders of it. Everywhere. 

I wasn’t there for him this morning. In my heart, I felt I let him down. 

Last night, I was at rehearsal for a show I’m excited about. I get excited about Shakespeare and that’s awesome. 

But, if I’m at rehearsal, my kiddo is with his dad. At their house. Because I couldn’t make that work. 

Now, I’m a lousy mom and a lousy partner and my kid is the only one in his class today without the things and ye gods these boulders of guilt are CRUSHING me and where’s a Shakespearean witch with a vanishing spell when you need one!!!

Stop. Move the boulder. Breathe. 

This is a nothing. In two years my kid won’t remember this. Other things are bigger. Maybe he’ll remember his class election not going the way he wanted. Maybe that was a big deal. We’re not there yet. 

I don’t want him to have my anxiety and hang ups. As a adult, I want him to take things seriously when they matter. I also want him to brush off the nonsense that causes ulcers but in reality doesn’t mean shit. 

So, I let him be disappointed. But I didn’t let him down. 

I’ll be under these boulders trying to remember that. 

Her Feet Stopped

 

Drowning Above Water  is a story about our journeys-the courage it takes to start them, and what we might lose along the way.  This is a excerpt from the novel, a picture of Malina’s journey.

 

 

Finally, she saw the door and she let her feet stop.

The doctor’s front door stood as it had years ago, but it was grey now. She couldn’t remember if it was grey when she had lived here as a girl, playing house.  Or maybe it was white and the darkness and street lights were making their own color palette, mixing and creating colors to get the visual they wanted. But the grass was green.  That was certain.  Not blue.  Not brown.  Green. That’s where she knelt down.  She had passed tired. She had passed sore and blistered.  Every toe and the soles of her feet were sloughed and bleeding. There was nothing in her stomach.  It had been hours since she’d eaten or drunk anything.  Her stomach squeezed and kneaded in its own acids.  She didn’t have the energy to throw up another time.  She shook and spasmed on the ground.  While she didn’t fall down,  she didn’t remember lying down either. The only thing she knew was that the ground was cool and the blades of grass were both soft and bristling against her cheek as she buried her face in the ground. Then came the feeling of drenching wet in her nose as the rain poured down from the sky.

Drowning Above Water

This is my introduction to two of the characters that took up space in my heart and mind for the last few years.

Malina and Petyr.

I’m sharing some short excerpts from my book along with a bit of these people’s lives. And with that, very likely, also shining a light on some of my own secrets.

Petyr and Malina quietly traveled across the yellow bridge to the east end of the city. The buildings turned from polished metal to rusted metal and from beautiful, established bricks and stone to crumbling buildings that were held together by their paste and inertia alone. Then they drove past streets and structures that had given up all together. Passing several lots that were empty except for garbage and broken shopping carts, they arrived at a multiple story building that seemed to have been erroneously lifted in from another side of town. Their car passed three gigantic luxury vehicles, tanks to protect their money-filled owners. They turned a corner and slowed into the side street behind the building. Dumpsters and dying cars rotted along the sides of the building. Petyr smoothly pulled his car into a tiny space between garbage bins. He got out and stepped around to the passenger’s side where he opened the door for Malina.
She stepped out, her matronly pumps and nude hose immediately drenched in the standing water in the alley. The tall brick building stretched above them. The rain dripped through the drainpipe down to them, splashing water one drop at a time into a puddle at their feet. He hovered over her, reached his arms around her waist, and lifted her out of the wetness. She looked at him with pity—though not only for him—and incredulity.
“Thank you,” Malina said.
Side by side and in quiet, they walked along the rough, stony edges of the building until they got to the dark metal door. She paused and tilted her eyes toward the reflective panel that was small and square and eye-level. It was a door no one would willingly want to enter. The kind of door that would no doubt creak and scream when opening and thud with claustrophobic finality on closing.
Petyr, of course, reached out in front of her to grab the handle.

Did what now?

I wrote a novel. 

It’s living here: Drowning Above Water

A novel. 

Unbelievable. 

That aside-

Let’s  sit in amazement of the real achievement– that I made and included a link. 

Let’s look to the right of this page and see the aforementioned made and included  widget. (Maybe. I hope.)  A. Widget.  It does widget-y things, kids. Widget bitches. 

That aside-

Writing a novel is hard. Really god damn hard. And I survived it. 

Know what is harder? Making a cover. Especially when you can’t draw and have no access to artists. 

Know what will make an atheist find religion? Trying to format and margin and page number this brat. 

I cried. A lot. 

I panicked. 

I was an insufferable human. 

Any awful slander said against me is probably true. 

That aside-

I still don’t have a cover that works. 

Ugh. 

I don’t know anything about marketing. And have few finances to do so. 

I don’t know how to Book the Faces or make cards. 

But I wrote a novel. And I think it’s pretty good. 

And I did make that widget. 

So maybe there’s hope.