Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Mental Pause - Chapter 1 (excerpts)

Okay… so it’s not the 1st but it is the first ‘working’ day of the new year so I figured you’d cut me some slack.  Anyhoo… as promised, here are a couple of excerpts from the first chapter of Mental Pause where Abbie describes the horrors of the night sweat and then has a run in with a pitbull… and wins!

Mental Pause, Chapter 1  (excerpts)

“Yes, last night was rough…A real sauna,” she agreed as she shuffled into her flip-flops sitting by the back door and felt another flush of heat starting in her bone marrow. She unbelted her robe and opened the back door, welcoming the cool morning breeze that wafted in around her and up through her night gown… the third one she had put on after changing twice through the night.
The breeze felt good but didn’t eliminate the memory. There she was, lying flat on her back in bed with the bedclothes tossed to the side, trying not to let anything touch… her skin so hot that it felt as if it was going to melt off the bones.  The sweat hadn’t started just yet but she knew it wasn’t too far behind.  Oh, there it was… the prickly feeling, followed by a pool of sweat forming in that little pocket at the base of the throat, just above the collarbone. The sun was coming up and Abbie could see the light through the crack in the black out curtains. Conrad slept at odd times of the day so they were special curtains that made the room dark enough to trick his body clock into thinking it might still be night and time to sleep. The cat was crying to go out and Conrad subconsciously reached over to stroke her arm… ow!  It seared.

The night sweats. Abbie had been experiencing them every night for months… It’s a slow boil that builds up to spontaneous combustion.  It starts simmering in the bone marrow and then seeps into the blood stream.  It then comes to a boil and spreads through the whole circulatory system.  It continues on to emanate into the muscles and eventually breaks the barrier through to the skin’s surface where it hovers for a moment as you’re seared from the inside.  The skin is momentarily dry and hot to the touch then bursts into droplets of salty, stingy, evil bands of sweat beads that roll en masse and group into pools.  They sit in troughs under the eyes, camp out in crevices between and under the breasts, at the base of the throat and on the upper lip.  The skin becomes slimy and slippery – the sweat demons then retreat, evaporating and leaving a tacky stickiness behind. Then the shivering starts.

She opened the back gate onto the alleyway where they kept the garbage bins.  Oh shit!  What a bloody mess.  Abbie looked in dismay at the remnants of the barbequed T-bones from the night before that were now strewn all over the back walkway. The bin lay on its side wobbling slightly to and fro in the breeze. 
“Damn cats! This is all I need. How about a little break, hey?”  She glanced up at the sky her free hand on her hips. A whimper caught in her throat, distracted for just a second, as she pinched the roll on her waist and thought about its ever-widening girth. She exhaled with an ‘oh woe is me’ moan and bent over to start collecting the debris as she wiped the sweat from her forehead with her forearm before it could drip into her eyes. She caught some movement out of the corner of her eye… and then heard a low, guttural, growl.
Abbie slowly turned toward the sound and there about five feet away, snarling and growling was the mangy pit pull from down the street that had been terrorizing the neighbourhood for years. His owner had been court-ordered to keep the thing muzzled and chained in the back yard after it had attacked and seriously injured a young child but it kept getting out. Abbie had called the police several times, to no avail. She had just commented to Conrad the day before that it was going to kill someone before anything would be done about it. He had shrugged it off saying that there were more pressing cases they were dealing with.
The guttural growls intensified. Abbie stood frozen to the spot.  New sweat rivulets had sprung out and were pouring into her eyes and stinging.  She couldn’t see very well, not only because of the sweat dripping in her eyes, but she had also forgotten to put on her glasses.  She could see he was getting closer though and the snarling was getting more menacing. She felt her arm starting to rise above her head in slow motion.  It was as if it was under someone else’s control. The frying pan in her hand was forgotten as she was distracted by the sensation of every single pore in her body pulsing with heat and the shear panic rising in her throat.
He meant business.  Abbie sure didn’t want to be the next person he mauled. Suddenly, her panic turned to anger. How dare he come into my back yard and threaten me? Abbie’s jaw clenched. She closed her eyes against the stinging sweat, tightened her grip… and followed through with an arcing swing like all her years of tennis lessons taught her.

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