Thursday, December 30, 2010

HOUND OF ANNWYN - Chapter Two- Jude

HOUND OF ANNWYN is written from alternating chapter viewpoints for Juliet and Jude. This enabled me to explore the twin's motivations and misconceptions in a unique way--through the eyes of their sibling.

7:15 a.m.

Jude listened to Juliet clanking about in the kitchen, and knew he had less than ten minutes to think up a reason for her to ride the bus to school that morning. When they were kids, she could read him like a Dr. Seuss book, and proved a couple of times that he shouldn’t bet his allowance when playing against her in poker. Over the last year, she’d either gotten less perceptive or he’d gotten better at hiding his emotions because she seemed clueless about the many lies he had been feeding her lately.

Too bad the stench of charred eggs wafting from the kitchen made it almost impossible to think up a good excuse. He shoved his fist against his churning stomach and breathed in through his mouth. The vomit creeping up his throat settled back down. For now.

The flickering television screen captured his attention as a dark, storm cloud with a frowny face floated over the map of Ponderosa. The Weather Channel forecasted a severe winter storm—white-out conditions—totally treacherous and the perfect excuse for him to take the car so he could get home after tonight’s basketball game. Juliet wouldn’t want to be stuck at school. School spirit didn’t go with her “everyone go to hell” attitude.

He focused on the television screen and managed to ignore the burble in his gut until Juliet called him to come eat. His stomach’s reaction to her voice doubled him over.

No way. No way could he stomach another attempt at her being Susie Homemaker. He needed to get out of the house—fast.

 Jude glared at his sister, wishing she’d back off. “What? Did I ask you to fix breakfast?”

Juliet’s trademark scowl creased her forehead. “No.”

“Do you think I’m stupid?”

She turned her kohl-rimmed eyes toward him in disdain. “Am I supposed to answer that?”

Jude threw the television remote. It bounced off the edge of the sofa, hit the floor, and rolled under the coffee table. Don’t throw up…don’t throw up. He balled his fists tight to hide their trembling and sucked in a deep breath.

“Cut it out! I made myself breakfast. I thought I’d play the good twin and make extra. Why are you being such a jerk?”

Be calm, don’t lose it. Not now. The problem was that he couldn’t seem to calm down. Juliet watched him, studying his expressions, looking for a weakness that she could use against him. God, I gotta get out of here! The smell—ugh, thinking about the burnt sulfur taint in the air made bile rise in his throat, but he swallowed it back down. He winced at the sound of the plate being slammed on the table. The eggs slid off the edge in a greasy waterfall. Shit, how can she screw up eggs? Even he knew enough not to cook them in day old bacon grease.

He felt a twinge of guilt at the hurt stamped on her face. She’d tried. True, breakfast was a disaster of epic proportions, but he appreciated the effort. Under normal circumstances, he’d sneak into the bathroom for a preemptive swig of Pepto Bizmol and force a few bites. Given the way he felt this morning, he’d probably die from indigestion even with the pink stuff coating his stomach.

Jude wished he could explain, but she’d be hurt less if he kept the ‘you’re trying to murder me with your cooking’ defense to himself. “If I was hungry—I’d eat. You’re not my mother. Being born five minutes earlier doesn’t give you the right to boss me around.”

He leaned back on the sofa in surprise, listening to himself. Where in the hell had those words came from? They sort of flew out of his mouth. Now that they’d been said, he realized he meant them. He shoved his feet into his hiking boots, but his eyes remained glued on his sister.

Juliet met his glare with one of her own. “Eighteen years is too long to stay pissed off about birth order. Get over it.” She rolled her eyes. “Socks, Jude.”

Get over it? That’s all she had to say?

“Back off!” Jude slapped his hands against the edge of the sofa. As he rose, the sofa shot out from beneath his hands. He stumbled, off balance for a second then froze. It had only moved a few inches, but the screech of the sofa’s wooden feet scraping against the hardwood floor seemed loud in his ears. His gaze darted to his sister, horrified.

“Fine baby brother, walk around with wet feet. Be angry. I don’t know why I care.”

Jude blinked sweat out of his eyes. She hadn’t noticed. How could she miss the sofa sliding out of his hands as if running away from him? He latched onto her words, focusing on his anger to cover his growing panic. “That’s the problem,” he said. “You don’t care. If you did, you’d cut it out! All you care about is being right. Being smarter …”

Juliet’s hands flew to her hips. “Is that why you tried to brain me with the alarm clock? ‘Cause if anyone should be having a temper tantrum it’s me. But, oh no, as usual it’s all about poor Jude. Nobody cares. Nobody understands his pain, blah...blah, blah.”

He wanted to close his eyes, wanted to block out the image of the clock. He had to focus—think calming thoughts—but his heart raced and his breaths came in ragged gasps that he could barely keep quiet. Each derisive word she spoke stung like splinters being jabbed under his fingernails, dulling his ability to concentrate.

He blinked, a red tint blurred his vision, and it looked like his sister had been washed in blood. He tore his eyes from her face, staring over her shoulder at the skillet sitting on the stove.

No. Don’t think about it. 

The skillet shuddered. To anyone else, the minute vibration would have gone unnoticed.  Desperate to keep Juliet from turning around, he blurted out the worst thing he could think of and hated himself when the words crossed his lips. “Mom’s dead. I don’t need the person who killed her taking her place. Stop trying. It makes you look desperate.”

Juliet’s face drained of color, and her caramel skin took on a greenish-yellow tint. She looked about to vomit in her plate of scrambled eggs. She squeezed her eyes shut, but tears escaped from the corners to trickle down her cheeks. She pulled out a chair and dropped onto it.

Jude took a deep breath, heart thudding in his chest when he tore his eyes from Juliet and focused again on the skillet. Shit!

He hadn’t seen it move. He sure as hell hadn’t directed it toward his sister, but it floated through the air until it hovered in silent menace directly behind Juliet’s head. He’d lost control again, and he didn’t know how to get it back.

Calm down. Deep breaths…focus. The skillet spun in a lazy circle as if taunting him. He imagined a giant hand of air wrapped around the handle and concentrated on pushing the skillet toward the stove, one slow inch at a time. It fought him. His subconscious appeared to be stronger than his conscious mind. And for some reason, it wanted to kill his sister.

Catch Juliet's Chapter ONE along with the QUERY LETTER  for Hound of Annwyn by clicking on the link.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...