After spending a few days thinking about which part of my NaNo story to post, I just decided to post the first half of the first chapter. Since I’m thinking about getting it published, I don’t want to post the whole story. If the publishing doesn’t work out, I’ll post the whole thing.
So, without further ado, here is the first half of the first chapter of Omega. I have not read it over, so it is completely unedited and probably contains a lot of grammatical errors.
I stood in the doorway, staring at the utter chaos that was my house. Tissues, toilet paper, bits of indistinguishable garbage, and who knows what else lay strewn about the living room. I sighed and shook my head. Benny, I thought, Benny did it again. I stepped into my house, carefully stepping over the empty bag of flour and half eaten apple cores.
“Benedict!” I shouted. Nothing.
I threw my bag onto the floor and went into the family room. I was greeted by a chorus of barking and tail thumping. Five dogs all in their own crates welcomed me home with their loud excitement. Crate by crate, I opened all the doors and was nearly bowled over by five stampeding four legged fur butts.
They followed me to the back door, which I threw open unceremoniously and all five of them rushed past me. Now to find Benny. The little monster always hid from me. Always in the same place, though.
Sure enough, there he was, munching away on a milk carton in the middle of the living room. I wrenched it out of his mouth and he looked up at me guiltily. I shook my head and led him to the back door, where he ran outside with the rest of them. I stepped out after him and sat down on the deck, waiting for them to do their thing.
All six of them. Yes, I live with six dogs. I do not know anyone else who lives with six dogs. But, what else could you expect from my mother? She is a certified dog lover in every way, shape, and form. Her sole mission in life is to rescue dogs from awful situations and adopt them out into loving homes. That is how we wound up with our zoo.
Well, only half of them are actually ours. The others are fosters. Benny, of course, is ours. Mom absolutely fell in love with him when she was supposed to be fostering him and refused to let him leave. I’m really not sure why, since he’s the biggest trouble maker I’ve ever met: Human or canine. Benny is a furry beagle/husky/shiba inu/who knows what else mix. Mom just calls him a mutt whenever she’s asked what his breed is. He is five years old, but acts like he’s five months old.
Next would be Fetch, who is a lab mix. He’s a strange dark brown/black color, depending on the sunlight. Fetch is Mom’s problem child. There isn’t anything in the world Fetch isn’t scared of. He has come a long way since Mom rescued him, but he still has an intense fear of thunderstorms, fireworks, and gun shots. He is seven years old and does act his age.
Can you tell that Mom likes the dogs with issues? Despite this, our third dog is the world’s perfect dog. His name is Alfie and is a golden retriever/poodle mix. He also acts his age of three years.
Then we have the fosters. Iris is a shih tzu mix who has the most high pitched bark in the world. George is a big weimeraner mix who is probably the calmest dog I’ve met. Lastly, Bailey is a purebred beagle who is actually going to be adopted this coming weekend.
Mom has completely devoted her life to the dogs. Ever since Dad left when I was only three, she’s thrown all her energy into managing her dog rescue, 4 Paws for the Dogs. It started out with her fostering one dog at a time from the local Humane Society and grew into her own rescue. Now she has five foster homes and connections with people all around the country in dog rescue.
I whistled loudly and all the dogs came running back up the stairs. I opened the door and let them all back inside. Six dog biscuits and fifteen minutes of playing fetch later, I was finally able to relax. The dogs had all taken their usual places around the kitchen, knowing that I’d be making a snack.
I pulled open the refrigerator and gazed inside. A half gallon of milk, two bruised apples, various condiments, a few slices of cheese, and a loaf of bread. Not much. Half the time Mom remembers to buy food for the dogs, but not for her and I. This was one of those times.
I grabbed the loaf of bread, a slice of cheese, and a bottle of mustard and slammed the fridge shut behind me. Ham and cheese without the ham. Perfect, just perfect. My day was just getting better and better.
I groaned as I remembered the mess Benny made that I hadn’t cleaned up yet. Ah, well, it could wait until after I ate. What I needed was ham and cheese to make up for the crappy day. But we had no ham.
My day started out just fine, but it went down hill as soon as I got to school. First, I got my essay back in English class and got a 67 on it. It was a two work critical lens, which is about as awful as it sounds. I was supposed to compare two novels through a famous quote, but apparently my teacher didn’t think I did it right. She wrote me a lovely comment about how I’d have to start doing better if I had any hope of passing the Regents exam at the end of the year. Next, I spilled my soda on my lap during lunch and had to walk around with a wet spot on my jeans for the next three periods until it dried. Then, to end the lovely school day, my friend Ducky told me that she would not be able to sleep over at my house that night because she was being forced to babysit her little brothers.
The last thing I needed was to come home to another mess courtesy of the mischievous mutt. I wish Mom would just crate him like the other dogs. Then he wouldn’t be able to make trouble. But he’s the one dog who will not calmly stay in a crate all day. He has one and is perfectly content to stay in it while we are home, but the moment we leave the house, he freaks out. It kind of defeats the purpose of a crate, if you ask me. So, Benny remains uncrated during the day, and despite our extensive dog proofing, he finds things to get into.
Today, that happened to be the garbage. Once I finished my hamless ham and cheese, I walked around the house and picked up all the detritus that was laying around. Next I had to mop the kitchen floor because it was sticky with what I assumed to be maple syrup.
Once I finally finished cleaning up Benny’s mess, I grabbed my bag and went up to my room. I turned on my laptop and blasted my music as loud as it could go. Homework could wait until later. It was the weekend after all.
I sat up in bed and rubbed my eyes. Must have drifted off. The clock said it was just after five o’clock. Mom must be home, I thought.
Yes, Mom is definitely home. I turned off my music and dragged myself out of bed and downstairs. Mom was rifling through the mail while pouring kibble into six different bowls. She looked up when I came into the room.
“Tasha, there you are,” she smiled, “How was your day?”
“Crappy. What about yours?”
“Busy, like usual.”
Along with her dog rescue, Mum works as a veterinary technician. Dog rescue doesn’t provide any income at all, so she has to work as well.
“Guess what Benny did,” I muttered.
Mom sighed, “Got into something?”
“Yep. The garbage again. You must not have shut the door to the mud room all the way.”
“Sorry, Tasha,” Mum replied, “I didn’t mean to.”
“I know, I know. And we also have no more food.”
“I’ll go to the store tomorrow. We can order pizza tonight.”
“Remember to get ham,” I told her, “You always forget.”
“I’ve told you that I don’t like buying that stuff.”
Mom is a vegetarian. A decision that I do not want to join her in. She often ‘forgets’ to buy the meat that I want.
“Then let me have some money and I’ll buy it.”
“Fine, fine,” Mom said, “Listen, I’ve got to do a home visit in a half hour. I’ll leave you some money and you can order the pizza.”
“Thanks,” I muttered. “Which dog is this for?”
“Iris. An older couple with adult children. Their application and veterinary references look great. Hopefully, Iris will have a new home within a few days.”
And then we’ll get another, I thought. It was a never ending cycle. I couldn’t remember a time when we had less than four dogs in our house at once. Even when I was little, there were always dogs around. I remember one time, Mom accidentally put my dinner in a dog dish. I thought it was funny at the time and even set it down on the floor and ate without any silverware.
Mom left for the home visit before the pizza even arrived. Home alone again. I ate quickly, let the dogs out once more, and went back up to my room. I wished Ducky could have slept over. It would have made the night go faster. Ducky and I try to have sleepovers every Friday night. We’ve been best friends ever since we were seven.
I heard the door open around seven and went to go meet Mom in the kitchen. She looked absolutely exhausted as she heated up a couple slices of pizza. Her dyed dark brown hair was falling out of its ponytail and she had purple bags under her eyes. Sometimes, I think she did too much, but she never listened when I told her that.
Mom and I went into the family room and we settled down to watch the news together. It was one of our routines, watching the news together. I know most teenagers wouldn’t find the news that interesting, but I felt it was important for me to keep up with the issues. Especially since I’d be able to vote in two years.
“Hurricane Jason’s going to hit this weekend,” Mom commented as she ate her pizza.
I nodded, “South Carolina’s going to get slammed.”
“I might have to go down there, if it’s as bad as they’re predicting.”
I sighed loudly. Every time there was a horrible natural disaster, Mom traveled to wherever it was and helped rescue the dogs that were affected. Last time she did that, we wound up with two new fosters of our own and five others for the other foster homes.
“Whatever,” I muttered.
“Sometimes I just wish you’d show some interest in animal rescue, Tasha,” Mom said.
“Sometimes I just wish you’d show some interest in my life,” I said under my breath.
“Tasha, I am interested in your life.”
“Then why didn’t you ask me why my day was crappy? You just launched right into how you had to do a home visit today.”
“I’m sorry. I’ve just been stressed. I’ll ask you now. Why was your day crappy?”
I launched into a lengthy explanation of my day, but Mom just sat there watching the news and rubbing Fetch’s head.
“I’m sure you’ll do better on the next essay,” Mom assured me, “And they always grade the Regents easier than the essays for class.”
“I know, but it seems like no matter how hard I try, I can’t get a decent grade in that class.”
“You are a fine writer, Tasha, and you will get a good grade soon.”
I returned to my room after the news was over. I lay on my bed, staring at my ceiling. Sometimes it seemed like the only time Mom spent with me was when we watched the news. All her spare time was spent working with the dogs or calling other rescues or organizing fund raisers.
So what did you think? Benny and Fetch are based completely on my Benny and Fetch. It was quite fun to write about them and put them into my story. Tasha is definitely not based on me, though.
Filed under: NaNoWriMo | Tagged: NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMo08 | 5 Comments »