I liked this piece. I'd read on.
I'm leaving the details vague, but I'm picturing the marks coming from broken glass. The father is a dangerous perpetrator and can be uncontrollably violent, but he's not a sadist (i.e., he is not purposefully burning her, etc. I think this would become apparent if I were to post the whole chapter.)
Originally Posted by Micheal Woodruff
Also, this probably won't be the first chapter. I'm having lots of second thoughts. I'm guessing I will need to write the first chapter from scratch. This piece will probably end up being around chapter 3.
Here is a "Cliff notes" collection of snipits from the rest of the chapter, including the ending. Just out of curiosity, perhaps you could think of this as a short story. Is this an interesting story in itself, apart from whatever role it plays in the novel?
Originally Posted by jayce
[Skipping some paragraphs in which the girl and her mom hike down to Arcturus Dam while her mom recounts the story of how the girl's dad proposed to her mom in the middle of the dam. The girl had heard this story many times, but today is different. Her mom added more to the story.]
We had just come to a bluff overlooking the dam. Concrete steps with an old rusty metal railing led down to a small paved parking lot bordering the easternmost spillway. As my mom took my hand, a tight, mischievous smile came to her face. I sensed that things were about to get weird.
“It was a Tuesday, and there was nobody around,” she said, pausing to take a long, deep breath. When she continued, her voice fluttered softly over me. “We had the whole place to ourselves, so your dad and I kissed and snuggled till dark. And then, Lindsey, my daughter – my beautiful daughter – you were conceived.” Pointing down toward the river, she added: “Right there, sweetie. Right there in the middle of Arcturus dam!”
Naturally I looked down at the ribbon of concrete and steel as soon as she told me this interesting bit of news. Despite the heat of the day, I shivered as I gripped the cold, rough metal railing tightly in my hands. I knew all about sex by this time, so with just a little imagination I could envision the entire disgusting, yet awesome, event.
[Skipping another paragraph]
A few minutes later mom and I walked down to the dam, then hand in hand we strolled slowly out toward the middle. "Right up here," mom said, dragging me to a spot near the railing. She stood me in a series of seemingly random locations – "Here…no here! No, just a little to the right..." – until she found the one that was just exactly so. And then she started to cry. I gave her a comforting hug, but my mind was not really on her. The steady, powerful rumble of water below us, the sweet summer breeze, the glinting of sunlight on deep, blue water and, of course, "the spot" – a slab of dingy brownish grey concrete in the shadows of a rusty iron railing – all of this burned an indelible image into my mind that I was to never forget. “This is where your life began,” mom said softly. “This is where God took a little of my spirit and a little of your father’s and created a whole new soul. Isn’t that amazing? I can’t think of a more wondrously magical moment.”
But mom really didn’t have to impress me with talk of magic. I was already swooning; lost in the power of my new knowledge. Although it was ninety degrees, my skin crawled with goose bumps. Life, I realized at that moment, was a weird and crazy thing.
[Skipping a few paragraphs that give more of the story of her dad's sickness, and push the storyline toward later in the afternoon.]
Eventually my mom pulled me close, kissed my forehead, and told me she had some bad news. Somehow I knew what it would be before she even spoke the words. My dad was back in prison. He had done something bad to a little girl. It was very serious; he would probably never get out of prison again. The girl wasn't anyone I knew, but it didn’t matter. I cried for her anyway, and for her family, and for my dad, and for my mom. But mostly I cried for myself because life, for all its wonders and joys and magical moments, could also be a cruel and frightening thing.
A part of me died that day in the middle of Arcturus Dam – right there in the spot where God saw fit to create my very soul.