A Thousand Miles From Home - Part 00

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Wait a minute. Part Zero?

Yes, Part Zero.

I woke up this morning, an hour early, to put in my first solid hour of writing, and got a little over a thousand words in, continuing on with what I wrote yesterday.

But then, I had this idea about a new opening. Not something that would replace what I already had, but something that would come before it, though it is set in the future.

See, I'm a believer in the fact that the first page of a novel should try it's very best to hook you, to make you want to turn that page and invest yourself in that novel. And what I wrote yesterday ain't gonna do it. I like what I wrote. I'm going to keep it as something to work off of when I start the revision process, but I felt that the opening needed a little something more. So I wrote a new opening, which was another thousand or so words.

So here I sit, two thousand words into today, and I still plan on writing some more during my lunch break. Until then, what follows is the new opening.

Is it perfect? Heck no.

Should it be at this point? Nope, not at all. And I found myself struggling with that again today, trying to go back and revise what I've written. I need to learn to let go and just get the words out. Otherwise I will not finish.

“Hello?” She answered after the third ring, her voice shaky and exhausted.

“Hon? Oh my God! Oh thank God you’re okay! Oh, thank God!” He had almost forgotten how to speak. He was nearly in tears and his legs almost gave out due to the overwhelming relief at hearing her voice.

“Oh, Babe!” she couldn’t hold back the tears. She wept openly as she spoke. “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it’s you!”

“Hon, listen to me. You gotta listen. Okay?”


“You gotta stop crying and listen to me.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll try.”

“Are the girls okay?”

“Yes, yes, they’re fine. They’re upstairs, sleeping. Oh God, babe! Oh God! What’s happening out there!? I can’t, I can’t, I don’t know, I just don’t, I’m just so glad you’re alive!” She erupted in great heaving sobs. “I miss you! I need you here! Please! Oh God, please come home!”

“I will, Hon. I will, but you gotta stop crying,” tears leaked down his cheeks and onto the phone as he fought to keep himself under control. “You gotta be strong for me, Hon. You gotta be strong for the girls. Can you do that?”

“Yes,” she said, sniffing and choking back another sob. “Yes, I can be strong.”

“What’s it like there?”

“We haven’t seen much of it. Most of what we’ve seen has been on TV. I didn’t even believe it at first. But then Mr. Franks,” her voice filled with pain, and the sobs escaped once more. “Oh God, Ollie! Mr. Franks. I killed him! I killed him!”

“Susan,” he spoke her name calmly and with a hint of authority. “Susan, take a deep breath, tell me what happened.”

There was a pause as Susan breathed deeply. In and out. It took her four deep breaths to get herself under some semblance of control.

“This morning. The girls had gone out to play. They weren’t out there but five minutes before they were back in the house, screaming about Mr. Franks. They were hysterical. They said that he tried to bite them. That he was trying to eat them. I thought it was just good old Mr. Franks playing with the girls. You know how he is. Was. Oh, God. Ollie. I didn’t know what to do, I-”

She paused again as she fought down another panic attack. It took a few moments, and Ollie didn’t say a word as she struggled with her emotions that were threatening to take charge. She got herself under control and continued.

“I was trying to get the girls to calm down, to tell me what happened when I looked up and saw Mr. Franks standing at the front door. The door was open, but the screen door was shut. He was covered in blood, Ollie. He was covered in it. It was all down the front of his overalls. And he didn’t look, well … he didn’t look, right.” She sniffed and let out a little sob.

“It’s okay, Hon. Shhhh, it’s okay. You don’t have to tell me.”

“No, I need to. I need to talk to … someone. We’re all alone out here Ollie.”

“I know. I know, Hon. You’re doing great,” Ollie said, rubbing at his eyes with his free hand. Susan was normally an unflappable woman. She was the rock of the family. Not him. But now. Well, everything was different now. “What happened next?”

“Well, he just stood there. Looking in at us. He scared me, so I didn’t move, but I asked him what had happened. He just started groaning and pushing against the door. I told him to leave, but he just kept pushing at the door. He just kept pushing at it, like he was trying to walk through it. Like he didn’t quite understand that the door was even there. He just kept trying to walk through it.”

“What did you do?”

“Well, I tried to call down to the Sheriff’s office, but it just kept ringing busy. So I tried 911. It was busy too. I’ve never known 911 to be busy. I thought of calling one of the other neighbors, I mean, I don’t know what anyone could do, by the time anyone could get out here … well, I wasn’t thinking clearly. But before I could even dial, Mr. Franks came right through the door. The girls started screaming and he just walked slowly towards us. I screamed at him. I told him to leave. But he just kept coming. He wouldn’t stop Ollie, he just wouldn’t stop.”

“I know, Hon. I know. You’re doing great. What happened then?”

"Well, the girls and I backed into the kitchen. I had a skillet sitting on the stove so I grabbed it. I was screaming at Mr. Franks. I was screaming and telling him that if he didn’t leave that I was going to hit him. But he wouldn’t stop. He just kept coming, slowly, his arms out before him, trying to grab me. So I hit him. I hit him hard. Right across the top of the head.”

“But that didn’t stop Mr. Franks, did it?”

“No!” she was crying again. “ He wouldn’t stop. He was grabbing at me. He was trying to bite me. So I hit him again. And again. And again. I just kept hitting him until he fell and stopped moving. Oh God, Ollie! I killed him! I killed poor Mr. Franks!”

“No you didn’t, Hon. Mr. Franks was already dead. You’ve been watching the news, so you know what’s going on. You did the right thing. You hear me? You did the right thing. Otherwise you and the girls would be just like Mr. Franks.”


“You understand? You hear me, Hon? You did the right thing. You saved our little girls.”

“I did. Thank you, Ollie. Thank you. Oh God! I just don’t understand what’s going on! How did this happen? Why is this happening?”

“I don’t know, Sue. I really don’t know. It’s like a damn nightmare. Where is Mr. Franks now?”

“I drug his body out into the backyard. I tried to bury him, but I couldn’t. I just didn’t have the strength.”

“That’s okay. He isn’t hurting anyone where he is. Have you seen any others?”

“No, just what’s on TV. I think with us living so far out in the country, we are out of most of it.”

“Good, that’s good. Now you gotta listen to me, Sue. You gotta listen, okay?”


“You lock the house up tight. Lock it up. Take everything you need down to the basement. You get that shot gun your father bought me, you load it. You take all those shells in the closet, and the shot gun, you take them with you down to the basement. Okay?”


You take all the food down there. We should still have plenty of water down there from the last time we went shopping, right?”

“Yeah, we have plenty of water.”

“Okay, you take blankets and pillows. You take books, magazines, games, anything that will keep the girls entertained. You lock the basement door too. And you three stay down there.”

“How long? Oh God, Ollie. You’re so far away. This family just doesn’t work without you.”

“You stay down there till I get there. It may take me a couple of days, but I’m coming home. You hear me Sue?”

“Yes, please come home. Please.”

“You hang in there, Susan. I’m coming home to you and the girls, and there ain’t a damn thing in this world that’s gonna stop me!”

To be continued . . .

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