Saturday, February 2, 2008

The First Page as Entered

I should have done this sooner -  below is the first page of Overboard as entered in Nathan Bransford's Surprisingly Essential First Page Challenge.  I have since made a few minor changes, but this is it exactly as I copied it out of my rough draft and pasted it into Nathan's blog:
The morning started like any other on our farm outside St Joseph, Missouri . Dawn lightened the gloom in our cabin, cocks restless to leave the roost began to crow, and the smell of my sister’s cooking wafted from below. I lay on our corn shuck bed in the loft hoping for another few minutes of drowsiness, but I could hear my father clumping down the ladder to the kitchen. He would soon be calling for my brother and I to bestir ourselves.

Drowsiness was fast evaporating anyway as I became conscious of an uncomfortable chill. My kid brother Caleb, scrappy even while sleeping, had managed as usual to hog all of the old quilt that constituted our bedding. To pay him back I rolled off the bed, grasped the edge of the quilt with both hands, and gave it a vicious jerk. The results were better than average as he shot clean off the bed and landed with a satisfying thump. Before he had time to untangle the quilt or his wits I had thrown my shirt and britches to the floor of the cabin and was down the ladder.

My sister Angeline turned from stirring eggs at the stove. “You know that Caleb’s just going to lay for you all day to get you back, so why do you do that to him?”

“Because the little bastard steals the covers every night, you know that.”

“Yes, I know that. I also know that if he was your size you wouldn’t dare, just as you wouldn’t dare exercise your filthy mouth like that if Pa were here.”

“Pa’s out sitting on the family throne so I’ll use my mouth as I see fit and Caleb will just have to look out for himself - as will you.”

As I said the last words I pinched her rear with one hand one hand and a piece of bacon with the other . I was pivoting to make my escape when suddenly my breath left my body in a whoosh and I found myself doubled over and wondering why it was so difficult to breathe all of a sudden. Painfully turning my head to the right I perceived a pair of dirty bare feet.

“I ain’t so little anymore, brother, and I figure I just might as well get you back now as wait for later,” said the darling little red haired Caleb, just 15 years old but already approaching six feet tall and well muscled from farm work. He was delighted with my gasping attempts to get air back in my lungs and his eyes were shining in anticipation of a fight. “How’s your day going so far, Silas?”

Comments and criticism are welcome.  What doesn't kill me will make me stronger.

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