I made my 10,000 word goal for the first week. 10,899 to be exact. And, as promised, here’s another excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel:
Father Maloney was a big man from Galway, built like a hurler. His massive head, a square face capped in wispy white hair, seemed to balance precariously on his impressively broad shoulders atop a wide chest. His priest’s collar was always tightly pressed into his neck, whose girth made it hard to find a properly fitting collar. When dressed in all black, Father Maloney towered like a looming monolith through the halls of Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.
He moved deliberately toward the room, the halls bustling with activity around him: janitors and orderlies sloshing full buckets of water that had rushing into the building while other orderlies crossed their paths lugging fans and shop-vacs. Nurses scurried in their pressed white uniforms from room to room; patients tucked into gurneys being pushed down the halls or merely left to the sides as hospital staff rushed to find new rooms in an already full hospital.
Father Maloney approached room 318, nearly toppling over a young nurse who came bursting out of the room at break-neck speed. The young nurse gasped, apologizing profusely, before zipping off back into the chaos in the halls. He stood in the doorway, taking stock of the scene before him.
The room was dim, the shades drawn; the relentless record-setting rain had finally stopped for the evening, replaced now by howling, angry winds. A woman in a grey cable-knit sweater sat huddled wearily on a chair in the far corner of the room by the windows, her knees drawn up to her chest. She was slight and lean, boyish even, the sweater draped like a bag over her lithe body. Her greying red hair was pulled back into a sloppy bun that was falling out of place. Her eyes were closed but puffy, her wrinkled cheeks flushed, clearly stained with tears. In her hands she clasped a wooden rosary, her lips moving silently in prayer.
Standing beside the woman in the chair, but turned away from the room, he saw the outline of a much shapelier woman facing the window, peeking through the shades. She couldn’t have been more than five feet tall, her flame-red hair tumbling down her back in unbrushed curls, her hair startlingly bright against her white tee shirt, her arms crossed in front of her chest. She was dressed in a tee shirt and dark blue jeans, a pair of rouched black suede boots climbing up her calves. Her waist pinched downward toward a pair of broad hips, her jeans tight and stretched across her behind. Father Maloney’s eyes lingered there a moment before turning to the bed.
An elderly woman, quite old, laid on the bed, hooked up to only a heart monitor. He could see other machines gathered toward the head of her bed had been disconnected. At one time, she was given a breathing tube, he could see, as the nurse in her hurry forgot to take the intubation tube from her nightstand. Father Maloney’s years as a hospital chaplain told him he had just come in after a whirlwind of a nearly failed attempted to revive the old woman.
She was breathing unevenly, her chest rising and falling in shallow motions. Her ghost white hair was splayed out all over her pillow, some matted and plastered to her forehead. Her skin sagged deeply into her eye sockets and the hollows of her cheeks, the soft lighting over the bed casting shadows in her cavernous wrinkles. She was thin and gaunt, skeletal even. Her skin was sallow, a grey pallor cast over her appearance. This woman was clearly just hours from death.
He was startled when she opened her eyes and slowly turned her head to face him standing in the doorway. He was surprised at how bright and blue her eyes were, despite the look of death upon her. The heart monitor began to beep faster.
In a raspy voice, she croaked: “Where’s Father O’Brien?”
That’s it. That’s all you get for now. I need to crank out another 10,000 words before I’ll let you read anything more. As for my goals this week, I’m going to try and make it to 25,000 by Saturday night. That’s the plan. And experiment with narrative style this week and – gasp! – write a sex scene (scandalous!). Wish me luck!