Damaged Goods Prologue

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  • #346594


    Warning: F-bomb. The story wants a prologue, so here it is.


    How did Augustina Mary Morgan find herself behind the wheel of a car? She couldn’t drive again. Not yet. It was too soon. She was furious with Seriously Hot Harold, insistent on remaining at the VA Hospital with that drunk woman he picked up off the dormer of a local bar. The sun had been coming up and casting shadows that would soon turn into cops if he had walked away. But soldiers walk into trouble, not away from it, and this stray cat woman was so much trouble. He even called her Kitten. Her name was Kate, and she was in the hospital because she tried to kill herself, in a mess of dripping blood and dull razors, in the three- bedroom revolving- door apartment the weekend warriors had set up for themselves. They had rushed the girl to the local hospital where a doctor fixed her up and an administrator kicked them out and told them to go to the VA, fifty miles away.

    And now Steenie was stuck in Harold’s car, driving home alone because she wasn’t going to wait out a suicide watch on a homeless female army vet. The VA was the last place on earth Steenie wanted to be right now. Wandering down the ward in a hospital gown babbling like a mad woman in front of soldiers who had real problems, had lost legs, arms, pieces of themselves that could not be reattached. Harold was crazy to make her drive. Harold had thrown Steenie into his car and said she needed to climb back onto that horse, metaphorically speaking. Apparently she didn’t rate the tender ministrations of his beloved Kitten.

    Steenie crept along the highway in Seriously Hot Harold’s four-door sedan at convoy speed, 45 miles per hour. Cars honked, passing in anger without signaling. Startled by a lump of dead raccoon on the center line, she swerved wildly onto the shoulder to take evasive action, aiming the car for a quick run out of the blast area. Dead animals were booby-traps. Touch one and she’d be as dead as that raccoon. Then she saw the cheerful blue and red interstate sign.

    She was in Iowa.

    Her exit was up front.

    She steered onto the exit, the gravel back roads of her youth, lined with cornfields. Memories of cars stuffed to bursting with drunk 16-year-olds, where you could swerve and weave and even stop to roll a joint, a carefree, totally irresponsible life where others paid the bills and hammered the bumpers. A life now relegated to a parallel universe. Maybe she had imagined the whole thing.

    Now she felt wrecked and broken, mercifully where no one could see her. It was important that no one see her driving, acting like an idiot over a dead raccoon. The road evened out, narrow and straight, a farm road carved out of the cornfields. Steenie pretended she was normal. She stepped tentatively on the gas pedal, liked the pick-up, did it again. Yeah. Maybe Harold was right. She had this. Soon she was zipping down the little road at 70mph, humming to the music in her head because Harold’s radio was broken. So when she heard a mechanical noise outside her bubble, the music turned off, and her head swiveled to find the source. Something big and green, off-road right-side, headed her way. Bad. She yanked the steering wheel to the left and fumbled for her cell phone. Someone would have to stop and inspect the vehicle. She had to get away from it. The car skittered on chunks of gravel and everything went to shit. Steenie barreled off the road into the cornfield as the car rolled over in slow motion until it finally stopped moving. Her head bounced off the roof until Harold’s loose seat belt kicked in and held her tight, upside down. Her arms dangled uselessly. Her vision blurred. A tall green cornstalk snapped through the window. Still the vehicle was aimed in her direction, moving faster, closer, she could see what it was now. A tractor. A fuckng tractor. An Iowa farmer plowing his cornfield. Not a tank, not an APC, not a deuce full of terrorists.

    Another crushing headache began as blackness spun large, and it became clear she wouldn’t have to find a dark room for this migraine. The darkness was coming to her. It had been coming for a long time. “I am so screwed up”, she said aloud, finally accepting it.

    Then she passed out.

  • #655005


    I like it. Good cliff hanger. Since this is the prologue, I assume the next chapter back tracks into what leads up to this moment. Be careful of the chapter 2 slow down. Some writers get you hooked on the first chapter only to slow things down in the second. This is a thriller, so continue the next chapter with a thrill.

    The F-bomb won’t post on this site as I made adjustments to prevent them. So you have fudge and poop unicorns and rainbows. 🙂

  • #655006


    Did I commit a faux pas here? The guidelines say less than 2500 words. Does action/adventure belong in Literary Fiction or Suspense?

  • #655007


    Hmm. Now that I see it in print for other people to read, I’m wondering if I’ve set up the wrong style for the book I’m actually writing. It sounds so dark and depressing. My characters may be sick and crazy, but they’re not pathetic. You know the saying “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt”. I think I need to set up the style more accurately. Maybe most of you are right and I should dump this prologue. I’ve been toying with a prologue from the POV of an Iraqi who wants to be an interpreter in Fallujah wondering what American troops are like. And then I show him.

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