Welcome back to WIP Wednesday! Here's another snippet from Starved, Book 2 in the Jane Thornton Trilogy. Coming soon.
When I was six years old, I tried to run away from home. I’d found a book bag in my father’s closet one day while playing between school work. Sliding it over my shoulders, I’d strutted up and down the hall, pretending I was going to a real school just like normal kids.
As I pretended to wave at a nonexistent friend, loneliness had crashed upon me. Back then, there weren’t many meet-and-greets or group events for homeschooled children. Especially for kids like me. The special ones, as my mother would call me. Her favorite photograph was a picture of a red rose amidst a bouquet of black and white flowers. She would point at the only colorful flower and say, “That’s you, Jane. My special flower. My special girl.” At six years old, I was already tired of that word. Special. I didn’t want to be special. I wanted to be one of the black and white flowers. Not the sad, lonely red one. And my youthful imagination had found the perfect solution. I needed to run away and find a new school.
Ready for an adventure and excited to meet new friends, I’d forgotten about my parents and marched, chin up, right to the front door. I'd only made it two houses down the street before my daddy caught up to me.
He had walked with me for a while before finally asking where I was going. “School,” I’d signed.
“You go to school at home, Jane,” he had reminded me.
Frowning, I'd shaken my head. “I want to go to a regular school.”
With a sigh, he'd said, “Jane, honey, you know you’re special.” And that had been the end of it. He’d taken me home, delivering me to my teary-eyed mother who took turns hugging and chastising me for scaring her. At the time, I’d thought that was it. I’d never get another chance at being normal. Until just before dinner, when my daddy had leaned down and whispered in my ear, “Don’t worry, pumpkin. I’ll talk to your mother about school.”
I’d been so surprised, so excited that I’d jumped into his arms and hugged him as tight as my little arms could. Laughing, he’d caught me. “No promises, though, Jane. We have to do what’s best for you. Our special little girl.”
Somehow, I’d known then that I wouldn’t be attending a regular school. But my daddy had listened to me, and that had been more than enough at the time. Two years later my father was electrocuted while working as a lineman and more than anything I wished I could thank him. My mom had never listened to me in the same way he had. I had no doubts in my mind or heart that she’d loved me. But her love made her overprotective to the point of being stifling. And after my father’s death, it had only gotten worse.
Now, I walked down the stairs to greet our guest properly, with clothes on and without a weapon. Scratch that, without a weapon in my hand. I’d heard Annabelle apologizing for me as I’d gotten dressed. And I wondered if my distrust of people stemmed from my childhood instead of our current circumstances. Did I not know how to make friends because I’d never had friends? Annabelle was my friend, I argued with myself. But Annabelle had also been the one to take charge of that situation. I’d done nothing, too stunned by her open nature to discourage her. Annabelle was a unique case. And I didn’t think I would be lucky enough to gain a friend the same way ever again.
I hesitated outside the kitchen. Was I already contemplating a friendship with Aidan? I didn’t even know the man. He could be a murderer or a rapist. Maybe he wanted our land, our home.
Maybe he wants my friend.
The wall that had been slowly crumbling from the moment Annabelle had chastised me for almost killing our guest sealed back up. That woman messed with my head, encouraging me to trust when I shouldn’t. It was going to get us both killed one day.
Catch up with book 1!
Hunger is the first book in a new series by C.E. Black. Set in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, this story introduces you to Jane Thornton. Born mute, she's always been a survivor. But she never thought her disability could be so useful.
This is available at Amazon, and FREE with Kindle Unlimited.