Yup, we're going to do the equivalent of "Work-in-Progress Wednesday" -- except on Tuesday! Below is an excerpt from the first chapter of my steampunk novel.
---- Beginning of novel excerpt ----
Marjorie Clarke was sitting on the front porch swing reading a book on her mobile phone with one hand and had a cigarette in the other. She was wearing a deep blue sweater jacket with her long light blue dress. She heard Merritt and Abe approaching but didn’t look up right away.
“Thanks for bringing her home, Abe,” Marjorie said nonchalantly.
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied.
“See you in the morning,” Merritt said, making eye contact with Abe and smiling.
“Bright and early,” Abe said, turning around and walking away.
Majorie looked at Merritt then back at Abe, who was now out of earshot.
“I’m surprised he hasn’t approached me and Floyd for your hand in marriage,” Marjorie said.
Merritt blushed. “We’re just friends. We have been since school.”
“You keep tellin’ yourself that, girl.”
Merritt crossed her arms and was clearly displeased with the remark.
“Why do you care? Floyd wouldn’t acknowledge Abe if he did go to him. He doesn’t consider me his kid,” Merritt said. “And that’s fine. I’m not your daughter, just a charity case my biological mum dropped off on your doorstep.”
Marjorie set her phone on the swing, stood up and walked down the three steps to the sidewalk path which separated the yard. The tall and slender African-American woman was in her mid-forties but stress, smoking and the silver strands in her straightened, shoulder-length black hair made her look older. Marjorie's chocolate brown eyes fixated on Merritt.
“You may have started off a ‘charity case,’ I’ll grant you that,” Marjorie said wearily, taking a drag off her cigarette. “And yes, my husband never really accepted you. But that’s his problem. I raised you. As far as I’m concerned, you are my daughter. And Lavinia is your sister.”
“Tell her that.”
Marjorie rolled her eyes. “She just acts tough. One day, you’ll learn how she really feels about you. And you’ll be surprised.”
“I can’t wait,” Merritt deadpanned, looking away. She sighed. “Marjorie, you did raise me and I will always be grateful for that. You could have given me to the orphanage.”
Marjorie put out her cigarette in the ashtray sitting on the stair railing. Then she pulled Merritt into a genuine hug. It surprised Merritt but after a second, she relaxed into it.
“You’re my sister’s child. That means you’re blood,” Marjorie said. “I could never hand you over to some strangers like that. Even she couldn’t do that.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever understand. Why give me up at all?” Merritt said, misty-eyed.
“My sister had a dream to be a famous singer. And she’s living that dream,” Marjorie said. “There just wasn’t room in it for you.”
---- End of novel excerpt ---
Please let me know what you think in the comments. Thanks!
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian, happily interracially married since 1995. Father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.