January always starts off with great hope and promise.
For me, that means more writing and the great hope to finish the novel still sitting on my desk. I’ve made much progress on the research in the last couple of months. I’ve interviewed a clinical psychologist and then a forensics psychologist to “get it right” with this serial killer character.
With the colder, more dreary winter weather, however, writing about a serial killer can also be a buzz kill. The isolation of writing and the subject matter I’m tackling have made me a bit gloomy every now and then.
I know that scientists warn of winter gloominess and they even have a name for it—Seasonal Affected Disorder, SAD for short. Layman often refer to this syndrome as the “Winter Blues.” I wrote a blog about that last winter. See HERE to refer to that blog and to find some easy fixes to lighten one’s mood.
I’ll be back towards the end of January to again sit in my writer’s chair and finish this serial killer novel.
In the meantime, here’s a first draft of the first chapter of my book: (Copyright, James J. Murray, Author, Interaction Media Publishing, LLC.)
Emile Richards turned in the direction of the sound, a sound so familiar and yet alien—not science fiction alien, but a timbre once removed from reality. It came from deep within his brother Cecil, a guttural moan that signaled profound unrest. It sent a chill up Emile’s spine every time that sound reached his eardrums, whether it be in the light of day or the still of night moments before dawn when Cecil cried out in his sleep.
That sound . . . an assault on Emil’s eardrums that then bounced around his brain—for an eternity it seemed—until the emotion that welled up within him could be contained.
Glancing down the sidewalk toward his brother, Emile watched as Cecil rocked back and forth on his heels, the canvas of his athletic shoes stretching each time his toes left the ground. His hands writhed in rhythm with the motion of his feet while he stared into the distance.
Emile put the bag of groceries down on the ground and walked toward Cecil. As he did so, his hands contracted into fists. Fighting to control a racing heartbeat, he stopped to unclench his hands and take a deep breath. Control, control the eruption, protect Cecil, he thought.
A man approached from the left and asked, “Is everything okay here?”
No, not by a long shot, Emile almost blurted out, but instead he managed, “Sure, it’s all good. Sorry to disturb you. I just need to catch my breath.”
The man looked directly at Emile with a furrowed brow. “You need me to call someone, maybe get some help?”
Cecil shied away from the man and folded into Emile’s arms. Emile glanced at the man and shrugged with a half-hearted laugh. “It’s fine, a momentary thing.”
The man stepped back, hesitated a moment—his brow creasing a bit more—but finally he said, “Okay, sounds like you have it under control. I’ll let you be.” He turned and walked away, glancing back only once before focusing on his five-year old son again.
Moments earlier the five-year old had demanded ice cream and the dad had scolded him, told him no more sweets until tomorrow. When the child flung himself to the ground and pounded the earth, the dad had yanked him up by his shirt to a standing position and shook the boy. As if remembering the moment with a dash of shame, the dad smiled and kissed the boy’s forehead. “It’s okay, buddy. Let’s get you some ice cream.”
Emile watched the man interact with the child, studied his every movement as the dad hugged the boy and tussled his hair—too little, too late, a daddy bully. Emile pinched his lips together, felt the familiar loathing, but suppressed it once again.
Finally, the man scooped the son into his arms and headed to the parking lot.
Turning to his brother, Emile loosened the hold on him. It had been easier to protect and comfort his brother when they were younger. Cecil was six years his junior and always small as a child. Now, as a man of twenty and almost a foot taller than Emile, Cecil outweighed him and was not so easy to control, particularly when an episode happened.
That’s what the doctors at the hospital called it—an episode! They also described it with a string of multi-syllable words. What it all boiled down to, however, was “not right in the head.” The doctors . . . they didn’t understand. Neither Emile nor his mother would explain to them the reasons for Cecil’s episodes. It was a promise they had made to each other long before.
With a sigh, Emile glanced up at his brother, reached out and gave him a reassuring shoulder squeeze. Seeing that Cecil was calm again, Emile picked up the bag of groceries he had put on the ground earlier. He held the bag in one arm while cradling his brother in the other. “Okay, no more bad man. Let’s go home. It’s time for dinner.”
Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!