#JuNoWriMo excerpt – 1

Just a glimpse into what I’ve been writing.

Simon felt his eyes tear up. To him, the death of so many people was a horror, to be sure, but he hadn’t known any of them – other than Marcus. He hadn’t lost his family, or friends. His whole life hadn’t become war. And yet, he understood loss. He had a family, and a life, back in 1878. Everything that had happened to him since he found the umbrella had been so exciting that he hadn’t thought a lot about them, but his father must have wondered if something had gone wrong when he didn’t show up at work. Had they grieved for him? Would he ever see them again, to let them know he was okay? And what was it like for all of the people of this time, each of whom had lost so much. He heard a noise to his right and saw Emily, weeping openly. This situation was beyond him, and he started to shake.

Only Pater seemed unaffected by the emotion of the moment. He was sharpening a knife, and his expression was unreadable. They sat there for what seemed a very long time, crying together, the only other sound the rasp of Pater’s knife against stone. When the initial burst of weeping settled, Pater spoke, in a voice that betrayed much more emotion than his face showed.

“I killed my own son, not long after this started. He was eight, and he’d caught the bug at school. I found out later one of his classmates had a mom who worked at a Genomatics facility, but it was much too late by then. I was much bigger and stronger than him normally, but it made him vicious. One night, he went to bed as my boy, and the next morning, he wasn’t. I woke up to him clawing at my face, and snarling. He’d killed his mom as she made breakfast in the kitchen, biting…

“Whoo. I haven’t thought about this in a very long time. I thought I had seen enough to protect myself, but I guess not. Anyway, we fought. I killed him, and left my house that morning. I haven’t even come close to going back to Houston since then. There was no point. Jenna, I have no idea what would change if this whole thing had never happened. And I don’t know why you love an old man like me, but after that day in Houston, if you’d asked me if I’d ever know a happy day again, I’d have sent you off to join my family, and I was wrong. I don’t fight for me anymore. I fight for you, and everyone here, but mostly you.

“Simon. Emily. I don’t understand this any better than you do. But if that umbrella has a way of changing it so that I never killed…Yeah, that’s worth thinking about.” He stuck his knife in its sheath and walked away from the camp. Jenna followed him, and the two of them slipped off behind a large pine tree just to the west.

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