Sample Sunday #2

Wow, it’s been a week already? Sample Sunday time!

This one is also from my current WiP, Ethan. Enjoy!

Ethan sat down at the table again, did a quick count to make sure he hadn’t lost any of his cards, then started shuffling. He’d shuffled exactly two and a half more times when his mother’s voice sliced out.

“Ethan, I’m trying to count stitches here, and it is not easy to do with you making so much noise. Could you please find somewhere else to do that?”

Ethan sighed. That was a joke. Even if he went into the closet in the bedroom and shut all the doors in between, she’d still be able to hear him shuffling. He thought about voicing this thought, but made the wise decision to keep his mouth shut instead. He put the deck back in its box and went into the bedroom, where he pulled out the small knapsack of cards he’d packed for the trip.

Cards were nearly all he’d brought, actually. There was no sense in bringing his Gameboy–on a full charge he could make it last maybe one day if he was frugal, but with no way to charge it after that it would be dead and useless. To have brought it would have been a tease. He had a few books that Dr. Davis had insisted he bring, but he didn’t have much interest in reading lately.

So he’d brought cards. Lots of cards. Seven decks of cards.

Ethan was built like his father for the most part. He was in an awkward skinny phase right now, but people always told him that he had the makings for the muscular firefighter his dad had been. Given the opportunity to time travel, Ethan probably could have passed for his father’s twin brother at age twelve. The only features he’d inherited from his mother were her hands and long, nimble fingers. Evan Everrett couldn’t have shuffled a deck of cards at age twelve, but he’d been able to teach his son how to do it at that same age.

That was three months in the past already, though, before Evan Everrett had taken it upon himself to get killed fighting a fire in central Bend.

Ethan had never taken any particular delight in playing card games, but there was little he loved more than the feel and the sound of a deck of Bicycles shuffling under his fingers. It reminded him of his father now, but that never seemed to make him sad. It was like shuffling kept him frozen in a time when his father had been alive and happy and playful. When he shuffled, he would listen to the sound and he would be Little E again, because there was still a Big E to complement him.

Could he still be Little E now that Big E was dead? Ethan didn’t think so. Big E had become the Big Empty, and it was a void that swallowed Little E up with it. He was just Ethan Everrett now. The kid with a dead dad and a static mom.

He didn’t realize he was crying until two teardrops fell from the tip of his nose and landed on the deck of cards in his hand. He packed away the deck and crawled into the sleeping bag that was going to be his bed for the summer. Within five minutes he was asleep.


Sample Sunday

I’ve seen Sample Sunday here and there around the writers’ Blogosphere for quite some time now, and I’ve always wanted to take part. Here’s a little excerpt, straight from my WiP, the working title of which is Ethan.


After a while, Ethan realized that the old man was only keeping such a slow, hobbling pace for Ethan’s own benefit. The man never stuttered or paused, but Ethan became winded easily even at their sluggish progression, and had to take regular breaks.

“So,” Ethan said during one such break. “My name’s Ethan.”

“You told me that already,” the old man said.

“Right. Well, what’s your name?”

The old man seemed startled by the question, and he thought for a long moment before he responded. “Miles,” he said at last.

An awkward silence followed, and when it started to wear on Ethan he said, “So…how far is this place we’re going, anyway?”

Miles stiffened and glared at Ethan. His eyes widened until it looked like his eyeballs might roll right out of his face if they opened up too much more. Then he said, “Miles,” and he burst into tremendous gales of his gravelly, whooping laughter again.