Live Places, Dead Spaces Preview

Posted: August 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

To celebrate my 500th follower on twitter, I’m posting the first chapter of my current work in progress. As it’s still early in the writing stages, much may be subject to change in the rewrite process. And of course it’s all copyrighted and may not be reproduced anywhere, etc etc.  Any comments are always welcome.

Also a special mention to Steve Santerre for the idea of using the name Napoleon Santerre for the main character!

Napoleon Santerre sat in his parked car in front of the house where  he grew up, looking for the ghosts.  It was a bright September day, with a pleasant temperature. He’d rolled down Carleton Ave, with the windows open enjoying the cool breeze. It wasn’t until he turned right on Cleveland Street, the old 7-11 was still there with a full parking lot, that he began to feel sweat trickle down the nape of his neck. His grip on the leather covered steering wheel loosened as his hands went clammy. His eyes began to water, his stomach turned slightly as the neighborhood where he spent his childhood  came into view.

Napoleon slowed at the intersection of Cleveland and Washington, crossed and parked by the side of the house. The trees that lined the side of the residence were gone and had been for a long while from all appearances. The white paint was sun beaten and peeling, like it suffered from a bad burn. The 5 foot high chain link fence was gone as were the shrubs that had dotted it along the property line nearly all the way around. The metal enclosure had been replaced by a wooden slat fence also the same worn, blistered white. Though he couldn’t see, Napoleon assumed it also went all the way around as well.

He took a deep breath, wiped sweat from his eyes and looked away from the place he called home the first 15 years of his life. The old man standing at his door and peering down into the window caused him to give a startled yelp.

“Everything okay young man?” he asked Napoleon.

“Jesus, aside from that heart attack you nearly caused, I’m fine.”  He shut the engine off, took the keys from the ignition and made a motion for the man to step away so he could open the door.

The old man obliged in a most leisurely manner, his eyes never leaving Napoleon’s face. It was more than studying him, more than scrutinizing, it was unnerving and felt almost intrusive.

“You’re the Santerre kid, aren’t you?” Napoleon’s eyes widened, and his unease increased.

“I’m Paul, yeah..” he trailed off and recognition slowly dawned. “Mr. Hooksten?”

The old man smiled, “Yes, last I checked my ID I was. Might need to check yours too, I remember your name as Napoleon.” Napoleon thought he saw a smirk.

“Paul is easier. Less ass kicking’s too,” he told Mr. Hooksten. The old man smiled at that.

“Seems to me you had quite a few of those growing up.”

Paul blushed. “That I did,” he answered with not a little shame. He stared at the old man, and wondered exactly how old Hooksten was, Paul thought for sure he had to have been at least 70 when they moved…

…ran away…you left me Paulie….you left me to die…you all left me with them…

Paul shook his head slightly as if the jarring movement would make the memory fall out of his head and splatter onto the ground. Hooksten gave him a quizzical look. “You sure you okay?” Paul nodded.

“Just being here again, it’s been over 30 years. Like going back in time.”

Mr. Hooksten took him by the arm, and walked him across the street, to where he’d been planting some new flowers. “Come on by, I’ll get you water or something stronger if you’re so inclined, and you can tell me all about your trip.”

As if in a trance, Paul went without resisting.


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