This is my first draft for NaNoWriMo 2016 novel Write What You Know. It's only a rough draft with very minimal editing and will, more than likely, contain, typos, grammatical errors, plot holes, or conflicting descriptions. It also includes notes to myself and excerpts from the novel the MC is writing that I try to indicate through various formatting that doesn't always translate well with my limited html skills. Furthermore, this particular novel is... there's no delicate way to put this... this novel is fucked up. So, especially in this rough draft crazed sort of NaNoWriMo way of writing, it may be difficult to read or follow. I'm still posting it here because I want to shed more light on the process of writing to encourage and inspire other writers or readers who are interested. To learn more about this project, or my daily NaNoWriMo postings, please read Day 1-7.
Write What You Know, Part 8
By Stephanie Thompson, 1,764 words
Read: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7
“Stella, I am done with the tour.”
Christie dismissed a waiter wanting to refill her coffee with the wave of her hand. For the first time in 18 months she was sitting face to face with her agent. She looked older than the last time. There were more lines around her eyes. More grey hairs. She also seemed smaller somehow. Had her memory made her taller or did the authoritative voice on the phone make her think that Stella was taller? She wasn’t anything in person.
“There is still Miami, Orlando, Atlanta. You can’t quit in the middle and expect the publishers to not sue for breach of contract and terminate your contract completely.” She sounded bored. Like every other professional contact she talked to lately. The marketing assistants obsessed with cultivating the social media guru statuses, the editors you seemed to care about nothing outside of red pens and never ending rewrites. Even the interviewers who needed to feel their content feeds with something new, no matter what it was. She was just as fine as crazy clown attacks or the best apple pie recipe.
“Let them terminate the contract. I don’t care. I’m staying in New York city until I’m finished.”
“Finished what? The book?” She sounded interested now. Not interested enough to look up from her iPad but enough to stop scrolling through whatever infinite scroll site she was on and to open some work flow app.
“No, there are no more books. No more sequels, no more fictional adventures for Nikki.”
“Well, your contract says there are more books, at least three more books.”
“The publishers don’t want to give me what I need to write, you’re not interested in fighting for my needs or accommodation, and I’m tired of getting shuffled around the country from marketing intern to marketing intern like the physical embodiment of a goddamn retweet.” Her voice kept increasing in volume until a few of the patrons at nearby tables were watching her too. Christie through her cloth napkin to the ground. She gripped the edge of table and banged the whole table against the ground. Stella actually looked at her then, surprised and embarrassed but Christie wasn’t done. “So I’m on strike. I’m quitting. I’m looking for a whole new fucking team because I can’t and I won’t take this shit anymore.”
“Christie,” She cast furtive looks all around her. A dozen pairs of eyes rested on them. She spoke soft but fiercely through clenched teeth. “You are over reacting.”
Christie let go of the table. She pushed her seat back, stood, snatched Stella’s iPad and threw it on the ground. It made satisfying smack that cracked the glass. “Fine,” she said. She left Stella stunned in the restaurant.
Where did Nikki come from? That’s what everyone wanted to know, didn’t they? Where did Nikki come from? Where did Nikki come from? Where did Nikki come from?
And Christie I had an answer “I suppose she comes from the same place dreams and nightmares come from. I think I just dreamed her up one night and started writing the next day.”
But that wasn’t the real answer. If her parents were still alive they would know. If her brother or sister spoke to her still or cared or remembered her, they might know but were probably to young to remember. She supposed there might be a doctor or an orderly who might remember the little girl twenty or so years ago who had an imaginary friend that just wouldn’t quite go away. An imaginary friend name Nikki.
Because the truth was, Nikki, was always there, had always been there, and even though Christie tried her damnedest, would always be there.
The doctor’s had wanted to know where she came from too. And where she went. And what she did. And how she felt. Probably how Nikki became such a diva in the first place. In those days all anyone cared about was daily doings of Nikki.
She didn’t have a first memory of Nikki because, I like I said, she was always there. But she did remember when she first became a problem. See Nikki had a favorite game of ripping the heads off of dolls. A doll with a head on it just didn’t look right. Even they were trying to sleep, it would drive her nuts if she remembered one she missed or if Christie’s mother had reassembled them before tucking her in at night. Nikki couldn’t sleep right then. She’d make them get up in the middle of the night and find every last one doll, bear, elephant in the house and take their heads off again. Christie always had sleeping problems.
Tell them about the bird. Or the squirrel.
I don’t want to tell them about that. I’m going to tell them about what you did Michelle.
That’s not as interesting.
My parents thought the doll thing was just . . . Expressive. Attention seekeing behavior because of the pregnancy. But Nikki was bored. She didn’t care about the baby, Christie had plenty of entertainment with Nikki alone. They’d been doing it for awhile but nobody noticed until the nighttime stuff. And nobody cared until baby Michelle.
Christie said they shouldn’t do it. Christie begged that they didn’t. Not because she didn’t want to, Nikki made it sound like so much fun. But when they got caught, it was only Christie who got in trouble and she didn’t like getting in trouble. She didn’t know everything like Nikki did, but she she did know that taking off the baby’s head would be big trouble. Worse than the dolls and they already didn’t like the headless dolls.
It was very quiet that night. Very hot too but it had rained, a great big thunderstorm that left the air crackling wiith electrcity but not as sticky as before. Everyone had windows open because the A/C was broken. Everybody was so worried about the A/C and Christie didn’t know what could be so important about two stupid letters except that it was too hot to sleep. And the storm was too noisy to sleep during too. And Nikki was restless.
Let’s just play with baby. The parents are asleep I bet baby wants to play.
She’s not making any noise. Plus she’s too little to play anything fun.
They crept along the wall between Christie’s room and the nursery. Playing sneaking, walking on tip toes like cartoons characters even though there was no need.
They got to the room and snuck up to the crib. Michelle was sleeping peacefully, like the storm didn’t bother her at all. Most nights this week she’d screamed all night, keeping Christie up. Her parents said it was because she was uncomfortable because of the heat wave, the broken A/C, and extra irritable because she couldn’t sleep. No one care that she and Nikki couldn’t sleep. But now, now that they wanted to play Michelle slept like an angel.
See she’s sleeping, let’s do something else. Let’s watch tv.
Don’t be a crybaby. Tv is dumb. We can play with the baby, baby.
Let’s play phone calls. That will be funny.
No, I want to play with the baby.
This is a bad idea. Christie thought but didn’t say. Though when she was talking to Nikki it was also thinking. She couldn’t explain how it was different. Everyone wanted to know that too, later in the hospital. But all she knew was sometimes she thought things and Nikki heard her and other times she didn’t. Just like sometimes she had to say something out loud to Nikki and other times she didn’t. This time she didn’t or else she would have called her a baby again.
Instead she was reaching in to the crib. Nikki was. She knew it was Nikki because of her pale hands. Christie’s hands were brown. But nobody believed her later. They said she was found alone, her hands pulling the Michelle’s head. But it was Nikki, Christie was too afraid. Once her cold, pale hands gripped the warm, round skull, Christie couldn’t move. She froze terrified because for the first time she knew what Nikki was doing was wrong. It didn’t feel so wrong with squirrel and the bird, they were didn’t move or barely moved. But Michelle was moving. She was screaming. Her face was bright read. Her little mouth gaping open, toothless but strong and that shrill alarm like voice coming from it, full of horrors. Like the fire drills at school meant something very bad was happening and the should leave. Christie covered her ears she didn’t want to hear it and Nikki kept pulling, harder than any time with a doll of stuffed animal, and she laughed.
Nothing happened to Baby Michelle. Her parents ran down the hall in no time. It was so fast and slow at the same. To Christie it felt like it took forever for the yelling and screaming to stop. But that wasn’t the end of the horror. The bad times. That’s what they told everyone t hey were having. The doctor’s. Child protective services, Relatives with shifting eyes and hushed voices. Teachers and Principle. They were going through bad times.
It’s not a big deal Nikki kept saying. I barely touched her. Nobody like that answer. Christie said she didn’t do anything. It was Nikki’s idea. Her parent’s said they had to pry her hands off the poor baby, that Christie’s nails had scratched her face. Christie knew they were lying because she’d scratched her own face trying to cover her ears from the baby cries and her parent’s yelling.
Nobody believed her. No one ever believed her.
So they sent her to the hospital. Where even more people didn’t believe her and Nikki cause even more trouble. They went to several hospitals. Christie did anyway. Nikki came as a matter of course but no sent her. It was a long time before Christie understood that.
My parent’s visited her regularly. Sometimes they brought Michelle. Later they sometimes brought Dillion. Dillion who wasn’t even born when she was sent away. Neither of whom she saw again after her parent’s died. They died in a car accident coming to visit Christie for her 16th birthday. Michelle and Dillion were 8 and 3 and got sent to live with her grandparents. Christie stayed in the hospital until she was 18. Partly because she was 18. Partly because she hadn’t seen Nikki in a year and a half. They were integrated now they said.
Thanks for Reading! And keep reading in Part 9 :D