Thursday, October 23, 2014

Participating in NaNoWriMo!!

I am so excited to be an official participant of National Novel Writing Month 2014, for the first time ever! This world wide event takes place during the month of November, and my past hesitation has come from the fact that it is usually a very busy month for me. While that concern still remains, I have high hopes for earning my 50k badge by the end of the month. I am not naive to the fact that that is a lot of words to string together in a months time, but considering that I already have over that on my current WIP, I am really hoping that I will be finishing my book by the end of next month. That thought raises goosebumps on my skin and butterflies in my stomach! Yes PLEASE!!! :)

 I've been very stuck in my latest work, and falling behind on my daily word counts every time I try, so I am really hoping that a physical group will help me keep my butt in the chair, my fingers on the keyboard, and my eye on the finish line. There is a group of NaNoWriMo people gathering at my local library... not sure I'm brave enough to actually show up for that or not. I don't have a private writing laptop either, but we'll see. It may be just what I need. Now I just have to find the time...

Visit my authors page and read the excerpts from my past books on the NaNo website here:

That word count badge will be going up on my sidebar during the month of Nov, so you all can be rooting me on and harassing me whenever I miss my daily count. ;)

The best part? My birthday is Nov. 27th, which, this year, happens to also be Thanksgiving! Here's hoping I'll have a further reason to celebrate and be grateful! ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reading ... The Good and the Bad

Good and bad news! 

The good: I've been reading tons lately!
The bad: ...which means, I've been writing nil.

Though I don't know many writers who can boast sharing equal portions of their attention to both... I am certainly not that talented!

I read the Giver in two sittings. Yes, I'll admit, the recent movie release had something to do with my sudden interest in it. I'm one of those annoying dorks that has to read the book first so I can compare. :) (No, I've not watched the movie yet). I thought it was very thought provoking, but the characters were a little colorless (pun intended). Perhaps that was necessary to the plot/settings, but it makes me indifferent about ever reading Lowis Lowery again. Also, I know I'm not the first one to complain, but that ending though... Seemed like an easy out.

 John Flanagan's formula is becoming a bit predictable, as tends to happen after such a long series. I didn't really care for the fact that this felt more like a "set up" book, and as such, had some portions that felt like filler in order to round out the book. I was also hoping he would reveal more of Lydia's character to us in this book, but he seems to be keeping her more mysterious, again, setting up for something. Still, I have this thing for Hal and I did read this in 24 hours so that's saying something...

 This was an unnecessary addition to the Divergent series and I'm almost embarrassed to admit I fell for it. I found Roth's forward in the beginning the most interesting aspect of the whole book. She explained that she originally started her series with a male lead: Four, and then decided it needed to be a girl. This was kind of a no-brainer, because Four has no personality. At least none that any one can relate to. I'd hoped I'd get to know him more in Allegiance when Roth takes us inside his head, but it was glaringly akin to Tris's perspective, and ....boys typically think differently. No offense Roth, but I just don't think you can write from the male's perspective.

Random right? But that's what a thrift store finds are usually like. :)
For my first sci-fi exposure, I would say this book was just 'okay'. The lead character was surprisingly good, not a damsel in distress, but wrought with emotions at the right times. The romance was good in parts and a little much other times, but that can be okay depending on your taste. My biggest complaints were the amount of swear words (this is a teen book and yeah, maybe some teens talk like that, but certainly not all teens and this book is for teens, so why be excessively crude in the language? It wasn't necessary), and the sci-fi violence was graphic at parts, but I'm a little sensitive that way. If teen/sci-fi are your thing, this may be a good book to check out. I did request the second book from the library right away, which counts for something.

 Before I give you my thoughts, you might be more interested to hear Rowling's:
"This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met."--Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling
I whole heartedly agree Ms. Rowling! I am currently in the middle of this right now and really enjoying the narrative voice. It's by far the most unique and personal 1st person narrative I have ever read. It's written like a diary, which sets the page up well for drawing out the character's deepest secrets, but it's actually this young girl's thoughts that are so endearing. We've all had them, so they're strangely relatable, but we've probably forgotten that we ever had them and would never be able to phrase them so eloquently. I honestly have forgotten that Doddie Smith actually penned these words instead of Cassandra.

Next on hold on my library card are these bad boys:
 I can't see the movie until I read the book! ;) 
I'll letcha know my thoughts on these when they've been all processed through my head.

Dang it, I was so proud of myself after I'd replotted the kinks out of my current WIP manuscript and started getting my daily word count in again. Why do I keep dividing my imaginary attention between all these worlds? I know I'm terrible with that.... :-/ Maybe I can use NaNo month to fast from other books and finally get my own finished! 

...though that sounds like work.

The life of a writer wannabe.

Friday, September 5, 2014

That looser, Quincey Adams, again...

   "Awah don't cry."
"Why shouldn't I? I'm sitting in the mouth of a giant stone lion in the middle of nowhere, freezing my butt off, while it's storming like the freaking end of the world. Not even mentioning the part where we're hopelessly lost." I rubbed my palms at the dampness in my eyes, suddenly feeling more angry at my situation than sorry for myself.
There was a pause while a crack of thunder died away to a distant rumble like an unfinished thought.

Quincey scooted over, putting his arm around my shaking shoulders. His hoodie was damp, but it still held some warmth. It smelled like him. I studied the tops of our solid sneakers in the nonstop flashes of lightening, their original colors now indiscernible after days of trekking through mud.
"At least you have me, right?" His arm rubbed up and down my back. I would have rolled my eyes if it had been light out.
"You mean the boy I was once stupid enough to crush on, until he betrayed me and broke my heart and got us into this mess?"
His arm stopped rubbing.
"That boy broke your heart?" He sounded surprised. I was too miserable to be embarrassed.
"Add it to the list," I muttered.
"Man, he sounds like a looser." Quincey dipped his head towards me. "Is that boy ever going to be able to make up for everything on that list?"
"I doubt it," I said, staring blindly out through the lion's teeth, the dizzying flashes of lighting momentarily illuminating the saturated woods around us.
"Would it help if you knew that boy was sorry?" I could barely hear him over the rumble of thunder.
"Like, real sorry."
He started rubbing his arm on my freezing back again. "Well, what if that boy made a fire for you?"
That made me laugh out loud--the odds of his pathetic survival skills against the torrents of rain falling outside positively ridiculous.
"Hey, could be worse," he said. "We could still be out there looking for shelter instead of this comfy Lion's mouth."
"It could be worse," I agreed, "I could be alone."
I turned into the warmth of his body, never feeling so grateful to be sitting close to someone, even that someone was a heartthrob looser like Quincey Adams.

 ©Mary Lund

This scene was inspired by a weird picture I saw on pinterest involving a stone lion's mouth. It's a bit long for a Snippet Saturday, but it seemed like it could be a continuation of the plot started on my first ever Snippet Saturday with that heartthrob looser, Quincey Adams, so I decided to use his character again, although my sister thinks I just recycled the name because I liked it--Quincey Adams--and she may be right. :) 
 What do you think? Does Quincey deserve his own story to clear up his name?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ricky Gunn - Snippet Saturday

(Click to enlarge)

Snippet Saturdays are a snippet of writing with a picture, which can take place at any point in a story and doesn't need to have a fully flushed out WIP behind it. Pinterest has inspired these in my writing, and I absolutely love them! Feel free to join me: publish and link to your own snippet, every Sat!

Friday, August 8, 2014

I Can Feel Your Energy

I can feel your energy
like a spinning wheel
igniting my sensory

Like a shimmering web
reaches out, strikes my head
Your vibration weaving in time
spinning, dancing with mine

Ooo, I can feel it, feel it, I really can,
when you're near, look at me and then
I can feel your energy, I can, ...I can

I can feel your energy
Feels edgy, feels free
Feels like the universe above the trees

I feel the stars aline
When your hand touches mine
All the clocks strike together
This moment: better than any other

Because ooo, I can feel it, feel it, I really can,
when you're near, look at me and then
I can feel your energy, I can, ...I can.

 Some lyrics I dug up in a messy "someday songs" folder I keep. Feel free to borrow, if you think you can take this idea to another level, but please give credit!  ©Mary Lund

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Early Scene from Wanted

This is a scene I wrote back in the plotting stages of one of my back cupboard historical romance manuscripts. I wanted to convey the heroine's spunk and the hero's fierceness together, but I thought they ended up as more annoying and scary than anything. Needless to say, this scene did not end up in the manuscript's finished draft. However, I always liked some of the composition and intrigue of the scene, so I thought I'd share for that aspect. I think it offers a good idea of the plot in one scene.

"You know, you really look nothing like your wanted poster."
Ty's head slowly rolled over to study the pretty girl gripping the foot board of his bed with both hands.  
"I mean, I'm just saying..." Her soft full lip turned white under the bite of her teeth as she studied him. "Hmm, yes," she mused, letting go of the bed frame and swinging back toward the stove. "I think I could give them a much better description--when I get back to Shady Grove that is." She cast a wry grin back at the young man, almost as though she were eager to see his reaction to her statement. He purposely showed no hint of a reaction towards her continued pestering.
"I've shot men for lesser verbal offenses," his soft low voice threatened.
The always ready smile on her face shot up at the corners. "But no women, master Tyler?" she asked coyly as she scooped porridge from the messy pot on the stove. She licked her finger before wiping it on her apron and grabbing a spoon. She smiled as she handed the bowl to her patient. Ty groaned as he pushed himself to sit up before excepting the dish. Jenny fixed the pillows behind him before stepping back and raising a finger to her mouth. One eye closed as she carefully examined him. Ty stopped chewing, his eyes slowly moving up her.
"I think it's your nose they have wrong, or maybe your jaw," she said at length.
The young man man nearly rolled his eyes as he took a sip from the glass of water on the stool next to him. Jenny shook her head, once again moving to the end of the bed for a better look. "No, no. My they are so off on that drawing," she muttered. "They make you look terribly fierce... older, and well, just scary. Have you seen it?" He shot a quick glance at her as he reached to put his empty glass back on the stool.
"Well you're much younger looking in person. Why, you can't be over twenty I suppose?" When he didn't respond she went on. "I just can't imagine how they could be so off on the sketching. Do you think they could have the wrong man?" Her voice sounded surprisingly hopeful.
"No," he answered, genuinely sorry to disappoint her.
"But they have your nose so, so big, and your chin is... is--I don't know."
"That's because they've never seen my nose and chin." He felt stupid for having to explain himself. Much less to some chatterbox female.
"Oh that's right!" The redhead seemed excited in her realization. "Of course you'd only pillage and plunder with a bandanna on, naturally." She stared out at the mountainous rocks from the dirty shack window for a moment. He was just starting to feel relieved that the interrogation was over, when she turned back to him. "Why is that? The bandanna I mean--why do you wear one?" He all but rolled his eyes. This girl never shut up.

Snippet Saturday - White Shoes

Snippet Saturdays are a snippet of writing with a picture, which can take place at any point in a story and doesn't need to have a fully flushed out WIP behind it. Pinterest has inspired these in my writing, and I absolutely love them! Feel free to join me: publish and link to your own snippet, every Sat!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I was born to someday die

 I was born to someday die
and for the life of me, I've wondered why…?

If there's a purpose to my being me,
why wasn't I given a road map to see where the heck I'm supposed to be?

I've taken the long way round and driven the freeways up and down
I've checked the spaces between the places and looked past the races and into the faces

They say to live each day as your last and it's true: a second now is a second past
In the end, only one thing lasts...

One day, this heart will stop beating, but it's vibration is never leaving
My shadow stays and when I leave it plays
Never getting enough, it dances with the rebels until the sun comes up

That may be. It could be. Don't you see? We're always free when we choose what to be

The boy I sat with in December, what will he remember? Who I chose to be 'just because', who I could've been, or who I was?

If yesterday had been my last, I think I'd have hopped the train to watch it pass
But if I choose today to give it my all, will tomorrow be just as small?

I know I have nothing to fear, but I'm still scared when people draw near 
What will they see, if I can't keep my face where it's supposed to be?

And if I am the real me, who will that person be? 

What if we don't really need to hope? Maybe there is no end of the rope? 

If we just let go and fell, could anybody really tell? After all, the bottom is not the end if we're all just playing pretend

You probably think I'm crazy and that may be,
But I think if we can just be who we could be, perhaps it would change this reality.

Pieces of lyrics for a song that I will probably never compose. I think I was feeling in a strange mood when this came out of me...

Please do not borrow text without permission!
© Mary Lund

Snippet Saturday - The Princess and the Rebel

Snippet Saturdays are a snippet of writing with a picture, which can take place at any point in a story and doesn't need to have a fully flushed out WIP behind it. Pinterest has inspired these in my writing, and I absolutely love them! Feel free to join me: publish and link to your own snippet, every Sat!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Snippet Saturday

Snippet Saturdays are a snippet of writing with a picture, which can take place at any point in a story and doesn't need to have a fully flushed out WIP behind it. Pinterest has inspired these in my writing, and I absolutely love them! Feel free to join me: publish and link to your own snippet, every Sat!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Midnight Dealings - Part Second

Part Second

Read part first HERE.

(stay tune for more parts coming soon!)

I was a pretty smooth guy: cool and calculated. That was, after all, why Rodgers hired me for this job. And compared to some other lads, I knew that I’d always had a pretty easy time when it came to the fairer sex. A wink, or a flash of teeth for the stubborn ones, and they were as sweet as a puddle of melted ice cream. So why then, did I feel so out control in the situation? I couldn’t read the girl sitting across from me. There she sat, teeth chattering in her undergarments, but instead of whimpering and looking ardently at me like the savior that I was to her, she was clutching my knife with a face that said she was capable of using it. What was I thinking, handing my only weapon to her? She was clearly lying through her chattering teeth. Aunt Ivey indeed!
The dame stood up so fast that the boat lurched sideways. I quickly jumped up onto the dock before she could knock me overboard and turned back to extend a hand to her.
“What’s your name?” she demanded more than asked. She was staring at my hand like it could grow a snake head and bite her at any second.
“You can call me Louie,” I said. I could tell she thought I was lying. I was not. But considering it was the first truth I’d spoken to her, I could understand the suspicious look.
My name is Ann. Ann Freemen,” she told me, emphasizing both her honesty and highfaluting snobbery at the same time. At last she accepted my hand. Hers was freezing, I noticed, as I pulled her up onto the pier.
My ears suddenly picked up the sound of voices and my stomach twisted with dread. The streetlamps along the harbor road confirmed my fear. Not strangers. Adrenaline began pumping through my system. I was just going to have to tell them that she was a friend, or my distant cousin perhaps. I turned back to Ann. The sight of her attractive slender body under her wet chemise and bloomers about made me sick. The way she stood, bent over wringing out her hair drew her collarbone up out of her neck in a most attractive way. Okay, so the cousin idea was out; they’d never buy it. We needed to hide. I was hoping not to have to go back in the water again, but at the moment, I couldn’t see an alternative.
“Come on babe, we gotta be makin’ scarce,” I said, grabbing her arm and drawing her down next to me on the pier.
“What?” She looked behind my head and saw the group of fellows--my fellows--making their way down the harbor road.
“Under the dock,” I explained, sliding off the edge and into the water. I kept ahold of the pier with both hands. I worried for a second that she wasn’t going to follow, before I heard the soft splash of her entering the water next to me. I grinned to myself. She did trust me.

Upon reentry, I was certain that the water was now doubly as cold. I locked my jaw to keep it from rattling off its hinges. Louie glided easily as a fish into the blackness under the dock.
“Come on babe, it ain’t bad,” he said. I gritted my teeth. The boy was such a liar! Only a turtle would think of the underside of a dock as ‘not bad’. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to refuse his outstretched hand. I couldn’t see a thing, but my feet were acutely aware of the sliminess of the uncertain ground under them. My toes were curling with fear. I didn’t even register the fact that he was directing my hands to hold a soggy cross brace overhead until he moved away to grip one of his own.
I squeezed my eyes shut. “Are there any snapping turtles in this channel?” I didn’t care that it sounded like a weak, girly demand. I had to know.
“Oh sure.”
My eyes flew open to see if Louie’s voice was backed by honesty in his eyes, but I couldn’t see his face in the darkness at all.
“And eight legged crabs, mammoth stingrays, giant squid, jelly--.”
I didn’t hear past the giant squid when something slimy wrapped around my ankle. I screamed and leapt towards the reassuring sound of his voice. My arms found his neck and latched ahold while I drew my knees high out of the water.
There were a few seconds of stunned silence, where the echo of my scream bouncing around under the pier was loud in our ears. His free arm came up behind my back, sending a tingle of warmth through my freezing skin. I suddenly felt wretchedly stupid, even before I heard him finish: “And toxic puffer-fish. You’ve got to watch out for those.”
Part of me wanted to laugh, but I couldn’t stop shaking. I didn’t know if it was the cold or fright, but I’d never been so humiliated in my life. There I was, dripping wet in my bloomers throwing myself at a strange boy in the dark under a dock. What must he think of me?
I felt more than heard his laughter, vibrating deep in his chest. Suddenly, I wasn’t sure if my predicament was much better than being dragged under water by a giant squid after all.
“I’m sorry,” I muttered, pushing to move away from him. To my surprise, I felt his arm tighten around me.
“Hey, why don’t you just use the switch knife?” he suggested. As if I wasn’t embarrassed enough.
“I left it in the boat,” I admitted. “But a fair amount of good it would do against a giant squid.”
His laughter sounded genuine. The realization that he had been teasing all along was a sour pill to swallow. I didn’t understand it; I had never been the gullible type before. Maybe it was the cold water or, more likely, the warmth radiating out of lying cad I was clutching. I moved to pull away again, but he only drew me up higher out of the water.
“It’s okay babe,” he whispered very near my ear. “The giant squid can take my legs first.”
I wanted to hate him. It was purely brutal to make light of a person in my state. Instead, I felt a laugh tickling deep in my belly. And then I heard voices above us. I began to shudder with the strain of keeping my laughter inside. Louie’s arm tightened around me, sending a silent plea for silence as a stampede of shoe falls rained down on the dock above us. I dropped my head, smothering my laughter into his shoulder. Served him right.

The skin on my neck was twitching with the warm puffs of breath leaving Ann’s mouth. I couldn’t figure this dame out. A bit of innocent teasing and she went from miss haughty mature lady, to frightened female in the space of seconds. I’ll admit I was expecting to see her snobby side again after she realized I had been teasing her. Laughing into my shoulder was about the last thing I expected. I was trying to listen to the conversation going on above us, but the warm tingles racing up and down my neck were more than a little distracting.
“Look, a switchblade.”
The puffs of muffled laughter stopped coming from Ann.
“Hey, let me see that.”
The little wavelets that had been lapping against my chest were suddenly ripples tall enough to jump up to lick my chin as the silhouette of my skiff dived and bobbed on the water.
“P. K. His initials all right.” I wondered what Ann thought of that, given that the name I’d given her started with an L.
“Idiot. He knows better ‘en to leave this out where any lawful feller could see it.”
“I told you Harv. Puck ain’t one of us.” That sounded like Skeeder. He’d always been suspicious of me.
 “You remember how interested he was in the current midtown value? I told ya not to tell him.”
“Just relax,” Harvey said. “Nothing’s wrong, and you all know Puck is good at what he does.”
“Ack! You could have been the one to talk to Adams just as easily.” 
“Don’t be ridiculous Bane. I don’t have half of Puck’s speaking charm. He could talk a mule onto a moving box car.”
“Which is exactly my point Harvey. He’s hoodwinked you, and all of us. He’s probably halfway down the channel with the loot right now, about to make the biggest profit of his worthless life.”
I felt Ann’s arm slip a little off my shoulder and smothered a groan. This was not going well. 
“That doesn’t explain the empty skiff and knife Bane.” Harv interjected. “I say we give him a few more minutes.”
 “Fine. But he’d better have a darn good explanation or--”
“I know,” their footsteps began to retrace themselves down the dock and I strained to pick up the deeper notes of Harvey’s voice, “Don’t worry Skeeder. I’ll be the first one to mess up his pretty face.”
After a few minutes, the sound of their footsteps had warped back into the gentle plop-plop of waves against the pier pillars.
“Come on Babe, we’ve got to get you out of this water,” I said. The chatter of her teeth was starting to give me a headache.
“What ab-b-out Harv a-and the others?”
I was a little surprised. I mean, why should she care?
“Don’t worry about it.” I sounded a lot more confident then I felt. “Just a misunderstanding with some tradin’ buddies of mine. They’ll understand when I get a chance to explain.” I ducked out into the moonlight, drawing Ann with me. She grabbed the edge of the pier and turned to face me in the water.
“You’re a smuggler.”
No surprise, fear, or judgment in her voice, just a casual realization. She wasn’t playing games; she wanted honesty. She wasn’t going to get it.
“Yeah. So what?” I pulled myself up onto the pier with two hands.
My quick scan of the docks proved empty and still, just as the midnight hour should be. Maybe that luck would hold out long enough for me to get Ann out of the harbor.
I reached down and took both of Ann’s freezing hands in mine, careful not to bang her against the edge of the pier as I pulled her up and sat her on the pier. She shivered as she looked around with the face of a lost puppy. Gosh, I’d never seen anyone look so helpless in my life. Or pretty. The way the moonlight colored her wet hair as she flicked it out of her face…
“You have purple hair.”
Did I have to say that out loud? She cocked her head up at me.
“I mean, it’s not, it just looks like it is …purple. Must be the moonlight.” I cleared my throat and looked quickly away.
Where was my smooth-talking charm now? I bet even Harvey’s thick tongue could’ve produced a better sounding compliment.
“You have an earring.”
Where in the blazes did that come from? I took a moment to blink.
“Yeah, so?”
She shrugged and climbed to her feet. “Just thought maybe you didn’t know.”
Was that a tease?
I considered a few responses, but non seemed adequate, so I just stood there gaping. I couldn’t believe it. For the first time in my life, I was tongue-tied.
Let it be known: Louis Headland’s smooth talking tongue had finally been wrestled down and tied. And by a girl nonetheless! I grinned at her. I was starting to like this babe.


If my Momma were still alive, this stunt would surely have been the end of her. I was dripping wet in my bloomers holding hands with a very attractive young smuggler as we crept down the pier together, alone, in the middle of the night. What would my father think? I suppose if I were honest, I didn’t care. I mean technically, the whole thing was his fault in the first place. I would be warm and asleep in my cabin’s bunk aboard the Angelica right now, if not for his ludicrous past time hobbies. Namely, emptying bottles with his lips and his wallet with cards. I had thought it was just a phase. I’m old enough to understand that not everyone handles grief the same way. Still, Momma had been dead for over a year and apparently, even the empty bottom of his wallet wasn’t enough to sober him up. My mind was stilling reeling with shock as I recalled the way he’d entered my cabin and told me I was engaged. Just like that. Engaged. And him, not the slightest bit remorseful. My wailing and tears did nothing but anger him and then he hit me. And that’s when I realized I would be disembarking the Angelica. Didn’t matter that we were miles from home and I hadn’t a friend in the city, except the vague notion of an Aunt I’d never met. As I considered this, I realized my hand was warm in Louie’s palm. A piety he had to be a dirty smuggler. Why was luck so set on evading me?
Male voices broke my thoughts. Louie drew up behind an overturned fishing rig. I could tell he was more concerned about those lads then he was letting on to me. After all, we had just climbed under a slimy pier to avoid company with them. If he could’ve just explained things to them, he would have.
There was more going on here. Louie was acting almost …guilty. And then it hit me: the way those boys were talking about him—as Puck—selling out on them. He was a traitor as well as a smuggler. I slipped my hand from his. I’d have nothing to do with their midnight dealings.
I could hear the boy’s approaching. Louie turned around to face me. He looked like a schoolboy just caught with a frog in his pocket. Served him right. Served them all right, this whole ordeal had nothing to do with me—why was I hiding?
I straightened to my full height, revealing myself in the streetlight. There were shouts from the group as they spotted me. Louie looked alarmed, but he didn’t try to stop me. Maybe it was time he stood up for his deeds. Let Harvey unleash his revenge; it had nothing to do with me.
The main road leading away from the harbor was well lit and I’d already decided to follow it. There must be some decent people in this town who were lawfully upstanding.
I’d only taken a few steps when a bulky frame suddenly blocked my path.
“Excuse me,” I said, moving around him. He stepped in front of me again.
“Well Puck, where is it?”
I turned to see the rest of the boys surrounding Louie. He was standing now, and his composure was surprisingly casual: fingers buried in his pockets and leaning back against the rigging. He probably had been the boy with the frog in his pocket at school, but I’ll bet he was never punished for it. His face could charm the staunchest schoolteacher. Yes, Harvey was right; of all the boys, I’m sure he would have had the best chance of wooing Captain Adams.
“I didn’t get a chance to pick it up Harv.”
My gaze switched to Louie’s interrogator: Harvey was about two inches taller and three fingers broader, and his agitated stance made Louie look all the more composed.
“What do you mean? Where is it?” The boys started to crowd him, throwing out questions with rising intensity. I could feel my own pulse quickening at the threatening presence of the group, but I pushed away my concern. If he had sold out on them, something he seemed fully capable of, then I supposed he earned the predicament he was in.
I moved to pass the boy blocking my path. Before I could take one step, he grabbed my arm with a grip hard enough to bruise.
“Hey!” I yelped.
The animated voices of Louie’s interrogators behind me died off in the echo of my cry. I was suddenly very aware of my clothes--or lack thereof--as the eyes of a dozen boys turned on me. “Please let go.”
I yanked my arm back but it didn’t budge. “Look, I have no idea what’s going on here, but I have nothing to do with it.” It was the truth.
“Yer gal Puck?” one of the boys asked, tossing his head in my direction.
“Gee, I can’t imagine what ya’ve been so busy doin’ tonight that ya forgot to meet-up with Adams,” Harvey’s voice dripped with unspoken insinuations. The boys began to snicker and chuckle. My body was shaking with cold, but now my face burned like I’d caught a fever.
“All right!” The tone in Louie’s voice quieted the boys immediately as he straightened and lifted his hands diplomatically. It wasn’t hard to see why he had been elected as their leader. “I had every intention of meeting with Adams tonight and keeping our deal, but this babe sort of interrupted me when she fell overboard the Angelica.”
“In her underclothes?” One of the boys had to ask, doubtfully. Louie shrugged indifferently, and then casually issued the ultimate embarrassment; “She was drunk.”
I scowled and the boys laughed outright.
  “So? Why’d you bring her ashore?” Harvey demanded.
I saw the suspicion root in Harvey’s face as Louie hesitated second before responding, with a disinterested lift of his shoulders: “she demanded I did.”
A lie, but I wasn’t about to argue.
“Look, I can still catch Adams if I hurry,” Louie said, “I just have too get--.”
“You’re not going anywhere Puck.”
The harbor suddenly became so quiet that the sound of the waves lapping up on the shore grew tenfold.
Harvey stepped into Louie’s space, making threatening use of his extra two inches. “You’re done. Okay? It’s over.”
“Come on Harv.” Louie seemed genuinely upset over his demotion, as he stood a little taller. “Who’s going to be your spokesman, huh? You need me.”
“I said it’s over.”
“One late appointment? Just let me go talk to Adams. I’m sure I can--.”
 “No. You don’t need another opportunity to demonstrate your lack of responsibility Puck.” Harvey turned and looked at me with a strange expression. Louie was still looking around quite troubled over his dismissal, when Harvey suddenly thumped him on the chest. “But good job picking yourself a strumpet.”
Shock slapped me in the face as a sinister grin lifted Harvey’s mouth. The realization dawned like an ugly storm across Louie’s face.
“I told you Harv,” he said, speaking slowly, “she ain’t a prostitute.”
“I know Puck. Your lies are as pretty as your face,” the bigger boy said with a patronizing pat of Louie’s cheek. “But I ain’t stupid.”
Harvey turned away. I saw Louie’s recoil moments before the rest. There were shouts from all sides as Louie jumped the bigger boy from behind and the two of them went down in a mess of arms and legs. I wanted to watch, but this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Drawing back with a fist of my own, I punched my captor in the face as hard as I could. Pain flared across my knuckles, but the bone-crushing hold on my arm finally released, and I ran.

©Mary Lund 2014 
Please do not copy/repost anywhere without permission.