I don’t understand why the sun keeps rising and setting and the days keep racing by! The good news is, I’ve been isolated in my writing cave and I have new words to show for it. This week’s #1lineWed THEME is **ISOLATION** and while I put Kathleen in an isolated house, that particular snippet is just short of…explanatory. This one (and it’s a rough first draft so ignore typos, etc!) takes a bit of a deeper dive into her psyche. It’s a scene in the aftermath of a bad encounter so warning for those who might be sensitive. That said, I figure you read me stuff, you know that I’m pretty…out there and get rather blunt with things. Anyway, new words!
Kathleen showered in the dark. She couldn’t face herself in the mirror. All the tears she’d held back would overwhelm her if she saw the damage. She’d already cataloged each ache and pain, every tender spot. She licked her bottom lip out of habit and winced. Hot water sluiced over her body and she tried not to think. Her brain refused to cooperate.
How had she come to this? She’d gone to college, had been working toward her degree in graphic arts. She had plans. Graduate. Go to work for one of the top advertising agencies. Live a full life as a smart, single woman in Boston. Then she’d agreed to go out with Tommy.
Tommy was older. He’d already graduated by the time she was a freshman in high school. He was the golden boy and everyone still talked about him. He started at UMASS on a football scholarship. And got hurt. Not on the football field but in a bar fight. The legend said that he waded into the fight to save someone and ended up stabbed. He didn’t go back to school. He joined the Boston Police Department. And he came back to the old neighborhood. And found a skinny kid with braces and fingers stained with ink and paint.
She’d never understood his attraction to her but he pursued her hard. Her dad, rest his soul, ran Tommy off for years but after she started classes at Williams College, Tommy kept showing up. He was tall and handsome with a smile that lit up the room. Her friends adored him. And so did she. Growing into her long legs, filling out with curves, and losing the braces made his infatuation with her more understandable. He complimented her. Groomed her. And convinced her that a cop’s wife didn’t need to work outside the home. He had a house. He paid the bills. He’d take care of everything.
Then her father died. Lost and confused, she dropped out of Williams and accepted Tommy’s proposal. Her friends were thrilled. So was her mom.
Kathleen closed her eyes. Tommy started in on her their wedding night. She was so stupid in love with him. Slowly. Insidiously. He trained her. Shaped her. And she let him. Her friends weren’t good enough. Her mother was manipulative. Isolation was both her refuge and her nightmare. When she was left alone, she didn’t have to explain that she was clumsy, that the black eye and the bruises came from falling down the stairs. No one could help her. Tommy was a hero cop. She was clumsy. Blaming him would get her nowhere. So she remained silent, isolated from what few friends she had left.
She pulled on a nightgown, swallowed a few of pain pills and cursed herself for being too much a coward to take the whole bottle and just be done with it all. Not yet. She wasn’t there yet. Crawling into bed, she prayed to a God she was pretty sure had abandoned her that her husband wouldn’t come home.
A figure watched from the shadows blanketing the upstairs hallway. He’d seen her ravaged body and the damage done to her face. His wolf howled soundlessly while the man plotted a very long and very gruesome death. He wasn’t a hero but he would free her from the bastard who’d done this. As her quiet breathing indicated she’d slipped into sleep, he made a vow. Then he turned and left before he did something truly stupid. Like scooping her up and running away with her.
So, here’s another peek into Kathleen Gallagher’s life. I promise, she’ll get her HEA. And Devlin’s stalking…er…courting of her is turning out to be rather sweet, despite the bad stuff she has to endure first. Anyway. Writers, any of your characters in isolation? Readers, if you had to be isolated (like in quarantine or something), what would you do to entertain yourself?