Friday, February 5, 2010

Chapter Eighteen Finished!

wordcountometer = 56,865! I had thought that this chapter would be about 2K words longer, but it is the length it needs to be. Body count for Chapter 18 = 1.

The next chapter will be very tense, and will include a frantic search for things lost. I do not believe anyone will get dead, though.

Hopefully this excerpt from Chapter 18 won't spoil anything for anyone:

A wind came up and shook the tops of the trees, sending drops of water down suddenly in a heavy sheet like a fisherman’s net, crashing across Hope’s shoulders and it was cold in the humid air and she staggered and slipped and fell, landing sitting down in a deep puddle of muck. Hope pushed her bonnet up from where it had pitched forward over her face when she fell and she got mud along both sides of the bonnet because she’d not noticed that her hands were coated in muck from the swamp floor. She yanked hard and untied the strings and cast the bonnet aside and climbed upright and it had grown dark, the sun hidden by black clouds above the trees under which Hope stood shivering. There was a crack of thunder to her left somewhere but if there was lightning, the trees were so thick overhead that the flash was hidden.

She had lost all sense of the direction she’d been traveling and so she picked a path that looked easy to follow through the brush. A loose vine swung down and hit her on the shoulder and Hope screamed until she saw that it was not a snake and then she laughed and then she bit her lower lip and began to cry. John would be along any minute, she thought. John would be along and then they’d go back to the cabin and then they’d eat that boiled chicken and corn and have a pipe and a swallow of whiskey and it would be fine. She pushed on through the swamp and slipped again, twisting her right knee awkwardly and then going down forward into the mud, barely keeping her face out of it. Hope sat up and her knee hurt and she sucked in a sharp breath and knew she couldn’t go on. She would sit there in the downpour, in the mud and filth, and wait for the storm to end, wait for John Cocke to come and find her.


She turned and it wasn’t John, but Bull. He was dressed but soaking wet, the rain dripping from the corners of his hat, running off his shoulders, down his arms, drops falling from his fingertips. He stood just a yard behind her, and Hope had no idea how long he’d been there or how long he’d been following her. She wondered for a moment where the horses were and then she thought how foolish it was to concern herself with the animals; the animals could look after themselves. Here was Bull, see? The horses must be fine as well.

“Help me up, Billy.” She held out her hand to him. “I think I’ve hurt my leg.”


  1. This is fantastic as usual. Hope is in a pitiful state. I also get the feeling Billy is up to no good, like he's going to do something nasty to Hope.

  2. We'll just see about Hope. I'm more worried about her bonnet, frankly.

  3. Such a unique style for this book, Scott. I think it's lovely. I like Hope already. Can't wait to read more!

  4. Ivana: It's really just Faulkner with a dash of Melville and Hemingway, you know. Nothing particularly original. But it's a lot of fun! I am so close to finishing this first draft! 5 1/2 chapters to go!

  5. Scott,

    I have yet to meet another writer in my immediate knowledge that writes Faulkner with a dash of Melville and Hemingway in just that fashion. It's unique. :)