Wordcount: 37, 073
I’m in love with this book. I’m in love with the people in the book. I’m in love with the mystery in the book. I’m in love with the eeriness in the book. I’m in love with the trauma and the healing and the left-behind friendships being mended and I’m in love with absolutely everything. It’s probably why I’m writing uncharacteristically fast.
While I have friends who are writing like SPEED FIENDS *coughKYLAandAngela* and are already well into 40k+ territory, you’ll know that reaching 40k by day 13 (which is what I plan to do today) isn’t something I’m usually able to do. Many things about this book are breaking me out of my mold, stretching me as an author, and I’m thrilled.
Also The Eigengrau has some of my favorite characters I’ve ever written in my 25 years of living. So there is also that Monumental Fact.
Without further ado, please enjoy these snippets from The Eigengrau.
Neither of the Tanner parents had ever particularly liked any of them. Still, she supposed, they had always been polite and gregarious. Too polite sometimes. Whatever they were hiding, she had always assumed it had a lot to do with Gavin. Particularly, why she had never really liked him. There was something under the surface, but she could never figure out quite what it was. It was like watching an old movie where aliens ripped off their human skin to reveal lizard-people, but she had never seen the lizards underneath.
“Go ahead,” he said. “We’ll wait.”
“You don’t have to,” said Daryl, but Harbor shoved her arm.
“Go do the thing,” he said. “Frankly, the dude always scared me but tell him I said hi.”
“You could just actually say hi,” Daryl pointed out.
“Nah,” said Harbor cheerfully. “But thanks.”
“I brought up Allison and Reese.”
“Oh, geez. You know when you go to the zoo and they have those signs that say ‘don’t feed the bears’? You don’t say inflammatory things to Gavin, Daryl. For Pete’s sake.”
“He says inflammatory things to everyone else,” she snapped. “If he didn’t have a gun I would have punched him in the gut.”
“Yeah, and then he would have thrown you out the door like a hackey-sack, if he didn’t beat your face in. You may have abs but according to Randi, he’s grown pretty substantially since you last saw him.”
“I still wanted to deck him.”
“I’m fine. It’s new to you guys,” she said brusquely. “Not me.”
“No, but the weird connection is new.”
“If I’m going to freak out I’ll do it when I have more information.”
Harbor tapped his fingers on the table. “That’s the spirit,” he said, but he couldn’t force the usual amount of enthusiasm into his voice. He and Declan had never exactly been best friends; the two of them couldn’t have possibly been more different. Besides, Declan’s way of showing affection looked a lot like bullying. But still, he had memories of good times. Of times when Declan hotwired a Mustang somebody had parked in the middle of town and he and Harbor went for a joyride.
Declan had even let him drive. Granted, it was only for about a second and a half and they almost wrecked it into the side of the sheriff’s office, but still. It had been a heck of a second and a half.
“I miss him,” said Harbor finally. He couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Yeah,” said Daryl. “I’ll talk to you later.”
Talk to you later. Something they hadn’t said to each other in years. How had they let each other slip away? How come when Randi left, the rest of them just drifted apart, like Randi had been the only thing tethering them all together? “Sure thing.”
He hung up first.
News of Randi’s hospital visit spread around Cedar Grove with the speed only a small town’s rumor mill can generate.
“I romanticized the small-town image in my mind too much while I was gone,” she called, flopping back on her bed with a groan. “It’s like one of those bad ‘expectation versus reality’ things.”
“I, for one, think it’s great,” said Harbor, re-entering her room from his brief jaunt to the kitchen. He had left his cane propped up near her door, since he remembered her house well enough from the last time around. Then again, this was Harbor. If he went somewhere once, he remembered every twist, turn, and slight elevation in the floor. “There’s more food in your kitchen than I’ve ever seen anywhere at once, except maybe Costco.”
She snorted. “Have at it. I’m not a big fan of casseroles.”
“There is also carrot cake.”
“Not a big fan of carrot cake.”
“Is there any kind of food you do like, or did you live on smoothies wherever you were?”
“I was in Portland,” she said, “and I like pizza. And burgers. And sometimes pasta.”
“There’s pasta out there,” he said, pointing.
“Not cold pasta. Hot, cheesy, spicy pasta.”
“This is good,” he said, scooping a large chunk of potato salad off his plate with a corn chip. “Now I know your funeral’s going to be a pizza party, and anyone who doesn’t comply with the culinary rules will have to forfeit their food to me.”
He shut the door and crumpled the plastic bags in his hands, turning back around; hesitant to say anything. He never knew what words to choose. When he was younger, it had been an endless cycle of very specific feelings: wanting to cry and hope she gave him some comfort, wanting to scream at her and hope it shook her out of her numbness, wanting to ask her why? Why did she live like this? Why did she force him to live like this?
Now, that rotation of feelings was smaller, shoved into the back of his mind. Still there, but quiet. Tired from knowing his questions would never be answered and he could never shake her out of this waking sleep.