So for all my friends and family who've been rooting me on via facebook, here is the first chapter of Oubliette, the novel I've been writing for National Novel Writing Month. Since it doesn't go without saying, all the work here is original and my intellectual property. If Nyx sounds familiar, I wrote a short story about her for my blog in September.
Chapter 1 – Invisible Stag
Nyx hated riding the bus. But her beloved black Ford Probe had died its final death somewhere between Boston and New York. So now she got to be crammed between a guy who smelled like bratwurst and a woman with pointy elbows. It felt like they’d been driving across Pennsylvania forever. Bratwurst Guy tried to strike up a conversation about beer when they passed Pottsville. “That’s where the oldest brewery in America is. Have you ever had a Yuengling? I could buy you a Yuengling when we stop in Philly.” Nyx just shook her head and pointed to her ear buds.
“Sorry, what?” she said loudly. The ear buds were plugged into a knockoff MP3 player that hadn’t functioned since Bush (the second one) was President, but it made it easier to get nosy or flirty bus passengers to leave her alone. The latter usually wasn’t a problem, as she was built like a 14 year old boy. Her arms and legs were skinny; she had narrow hips, and no appreciable cleavage. Her skin was naturally pale and her hair was dyed shoe polish black and cut short in back, longer in front. She tried hard not to attract attention, but she was wearing the wrong outfit for avoiding it here. Her long black fishnet gloves, a long black cardigan sweater, black turtleneck, short black leather shorts with black and white striped tights marked her as “one of those Goth kids from the city”. Her boots were the very best part of the outfit. They were knee-high, black leather, with a zipper and thirteen belt buckles covering the zipper. They had a single black spike on each toe that made them look like evil elf shoes. The boots were a parting gift to herself for leaving Boston. She looked like a dark, angry Amy Brown fairy, minus the wings.
‘What a boring place,’ Nyx thought as she began to fitfully doze.
Brakes squealed and a loud thud woke her a short time later. The driver was yelling at a woman near the front to quiet down. The shrieking woman yelled, “But that beautiful animal! We have to help it! You have to call the police, or the game commission, or animal control. It could be bleeding and suffering under the bus right now!”
The driver told her to put a sock in it, they would check on the deer and the damage as soon as he confirmed all the passengers were safe. Nyx rolled her eyes. She saw sleeping in a bus station in her near future, as they were probably not going to make it to DC tonight. She filed off the bus in an orderly fashion with the rest of the passengers. After checking off the passenger list and making sure no one had any injuries, the driver checked over the bus. There was definitely a deer - sized dent in the front end, and they had punctured a tire on some debris when they pulled onto the birm of the highway. But the deer was nowhere to be seen.
“Well don’t that beat all,” said the driver.
“What doesn’t beat all?” Nyx asked. Bratwurst Guy had been sidling her way, probably to see if she needed comforting after the accident. Better to look interested in a dead deer carcass.
The bus driver said, “That was about the biggest buck I’ve ever seen. He had a prettier rack than Pamela Anderson. I’ve been in accidents where the deer runs off after, but not when I was driving my bus! And look, there’s no blood on the road, and no hair caught in the grill.”
Nyx looked more closely at the front of the bus. If the driver and the passengers at the front hadn’t all said they hit a deer, she’d have said they hit an invisible boulder. There was no blood at all. She’d seen hundreds of deer hit along roadsides, if anything as big as a bus or a semi hit them, they were toast. Raven food. Nyx asked the driver, “So what now?”
“Now, we wait for the tow truck out of the bus depot in Harrisburg. The next bus that goes to DC comes through tomorrow at 11:15 AM.”
‘Great, Harrisburg,’ Nyx thought sarcastically, ‘Maybe I’ll meet the Governor!’ She felt like he owed her an apology for every extra minute she had to spend in this state.