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EXTRACT FROM CHAPTER 12 OF MY NOVEL, 'After Midnight'

Next I heard sharp knocks of lady’s shoes. There came a lady. She was dressed in trousers, a white top and that was Stephanie! The woman who, my nightmare! I felt laziness in my mind and didn’t want to look at her. She stood a metre away without speaking.

   “What do you want?” I asked without looking at her. She advanced towards me.

    “Please Perk,” she began. “Just a week with my son.” Her voice was soft and submissive. I stopped to wash and stood straight, hands akimbo. “Don’t think about it.”

    “But don’t you think my son misses me? He misses his mother.”

    “Shut up. I know Perkins is happy and doesn’t miss you.”

    “He does but he can’t tell you. He does…”

    “Whatever you say, Perkins is not leaving me.”

     “Listen. He has only one mother. You can give him many things but you can’t give him my love…mother’s love.”

Suddenly the worst came to happen. Perkins abruptly appeared. He was from school. He stopped and looked puzzled. I was on one side and Stephanie on the other.

     “Perk,” she called with delight and a smiling face.

Perkins looked at her face then at me.

      “Perkins, my son,” she called politely in a begging and affectionate tone. He started to walk towards her but in fear.

      “Perkins, don’t!”

      “Perkins, come to your mother, please...” she spread her hands welcomingly.

       “Don’t listen to that b****.” I saw his face change. He wanted to cry. I had used a wrong word. Someday he had me promise him never to call his mother a b****. He turned suddenly and ran away leaving us. Stephanie was sobbing. I didn’t feel guilt of any thing. She left and I resumed doing my work.

Later I went to attend to Perkins in the store. He was sorting some vegetables. He looked at me once and continued sorting the spoilt vegetables from the good ones. I leaned back against the wall and watched him. His silence told me that he wasn’t in good moods.

       “Perk, are you mad at me?”

      “No.” There was dryness in his voice. “You have broken your promise, dad.”

      “Look, It’s because am so protective to you and she had talked of taking you. Am sorry.”

He stared at me. “Tell me son,” I added. “Would you leave me and go with your mother? Tell me: whom do you want to be with?” My voice got hard. He ran to me and clung on me with his hands a round me. “…dad I love you. Mum dumped me. It’s because I know there is only one mother for a person. It could be why at times I miss her. I see my friends with their mothers at school. It makes me sad.” My hand massaged his hair. I felt it but I was not moved.

      “Hey you twins,” mum called from the kitchen. “Are you okay?” She asked.

      “Yes…”

       “Then why do you waste time? I can see Junior you aren’t done with the vegetables. Senior, you have to do some deliveries, please.”

Junior rushed back to sort the vegetables. I had to make the deliveries.

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Replies to This Discussion

It is always important to softly, softly pull the reader in with whatever is written. Unfortunately you've ignored tension and suspence , right at the start, to Front-load.
The reader is told about lady's shoes. He/she can then skip as he/she know what is coming.
Try showing the reader more of what you know is happening.
Perhaps it was a time bomb beat: the steel tips striking the wooden floor in the kitchen. When he looked up his jaw dropped. First his eyes met hers,then dropped to her heels. He raised his eyes to look into hers once more. Then he spoke...

What you're really doing well here is setting up flawed characters that we can all relate to. I'm interested in seeing what will happen to all of these people. No one seems to be 100% good or evil and that's what's going to keep propelling me through this novel. Most importantly the protagonist is very flawed and aware of how wrong he seems to be. Keep going in that way!

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