Wednesday, September 9, 2009

And The Pants Thicken

Okay, so it's day three of my pantsing experiment and I have to admit, the urge to map out the whole story is getting harder to resist. Doing do my best to let it develop organically! Must resist. Must. Resist. LOL.

To my surprise, the story is knitting up as quickly as a plotted book would for me. In fact, it's getting longer than I ever intended it to be! This fun experiment may result in a finished novella ms. BUT I'm not thinking about the end goal with this one--the journey is the destination, right?

Here's a peek at how things are coming along:

Along the two mile walk, Kathryn met up with other neighbors headed in the same direction. At the junction of three small farming communities, the marketplace—more of a happening than a locale—was the place to be on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. She waved hello to Jolisa, from two plots over; Susannah, the local apothecary and hostess to male travelers; old Sampson, who sold cotton yarn and thread; and of course Roy.

He walked next to his mule with a plodding gate until he caught site of Kathryn. Jogging up beside her, he took the cart handle from her. “Allow me, Miss Kate.”

“Oh, you don't have to,” she said, but didn't object too strenuously. She took the mule's lead from her neighbor and handed it to Marcus. What harm was there in letting Roy play the gentleman? Peeking under the tarp, she saw his cart brimmed with contraband. Oil and firearms from the nation of Texas and coal, spices, and tequila from Mexico.

“You been mingling with privateers again?” she asked.

“Me?” He gave her an oily grin. “Never. I found this stuff by the side of the road.”
Of course he had. Roy was the kind of man who knew how to get things. Anything...for the right price.

“Marcus,” the man barked, “you're getting bigger every day.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Your birthday's next month, right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And yours,” he said to Kathryn, “is next week if I'm not mistaken.” Pulling from
his pocket a package wrapped in cloth and fastened with string, he presented it to her on his outstretched palm.

“You shouldn't have.” She covered her mouth with one hand. The other hesitated, then reached for the present. “Thank you.”

“My pleasure.”

“May I open it now?”

“I insist.”

Her fingers worked the crude knots to reveal a carved wooden comb, a sewing needle, a small glass bottle, and a pot of balm. She uncorked the bottle and inhaled. Coconut oil. “Oh, Roy, thank you, but this is too much. How can I ever return such a favor?”

A nervous laugh shook his thin frame. “Don't think nothin' of it. I found those by the side of the road, too.”

“Well, it's a beautiful gift. Thank you.”

“You can use the wrapping as a scarf. The coconut stuff's for your hair and the other's made from honey and beeswax. I think it's for your lips.”

“And who told you that? The bush by the side of the road?” she teased.
He twittered again. “Right.”

Though he didn't want to take it, she slipped him a pint of whiskey to show her gratitude.

She found a place near the pond to set up her cart so she could keep an eye on Marcus while he fished and swam. The other children, ones with horses or mules to draw their family carts, had beaten him there and were taking flying leaps from the rope swing into the tepid water.

A pop of gunfire caught her attention. She scanned the woods for Reformer troops or guerrilla soldiers, but found only a thirteen year-old boy, all knees and elbows, taking pot shots at an old sign post. Kathryn marched over to him, her brow furrowed, jaw set.

“Daniel Mabry, give me that pistol,” she said. “You scared the dickens out of everyone and I don't think your daddy would appreciate you wasting his ammo.”

“But—” he began to object, but she quieted him with a smack to the back of the head. The crestfallen boy handed over the gun.

Stay tuned! More updates to come...

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