Here’s a fragment from chapter two of Downward Dog. A few notes:
- It’s in first draft form
- Jewel,the protagonist, is kidnapped the day of her husband’s funeral and stuffed in the trunk of a car. The fragment you are about to read starts with her in the trunk.
- Jewel is a yoga instructor. She is very physically fit. She knows how to use her strength and height to her advantage. . . in other words, Jewel is nothing like me. I say this because– as I’ve mentioned before– people assume that writers are their main characters. Here are some nice lists that demonstrate how very wrong this is:
- 28 years old
- Five feet, ten inches tall
- Fitness professional
- Kinesthetically aware
- 47 years old
- Five feet, six inches tall
- Laughing out loud at the mere idea of “fitness” while I sit on my roly-poly ass typing this
- Trips over own feet, barks shins on coffee tables, affectionately called “My Lil’ Flailer” by my partner.
Now that we have all that out of the way, the fragment . . .
Jewel felt the road change. Something was pinging against the underside of the car like metallic popcorn. I think we’re on a gravel road now. She braced herself against the sides of the trunk. After five minutes of bouncing across potholes, the car stopped moving. Jewel remained tensed, but closed her eyes, feigning unconsciousness.
The trunk rocked as the people in the car got out. Jewel heard someone say, “Al, how much did you give her?”’ lt was Delaney’s voice. Jewel felt a sinking in the pit of her stomach. I guess I was hoping he wasn’t actually involved in this. Jewel pushed the thought away and focused on listening.
“Enough. I didn’t want out of give her too much.” The second voice sounded like Alvin.
Delaney asked, “Is everything ready inside the house?”
“Yep,” said Alvin.
“Ok, then let’s get her out of the trunk. You open it, I’ll grab her under the arms, you get her feet,” instructed Delaney.
Jewel could hear the gravel crunch under their feet as they strode toward the back of the car. Her body was tensed, ready. I’ll keep my eyes closed and pretend to be still out of it, wait for my chance.
She heard what must have been keys tinkling as someone fumbled with them, then a click as the key slid into the lock. She had expected Alvin to lift the lid slowly, cautiously. He did not. Jewel could sense the rapid movement, and feel the cool air on her face. She opened her eyes. The dim grey light from the overcast sky was still enough to dazzle her. Not sure of what she might hit, she sat up quickly, swinging the tire iron.
“Ow, shit!” exclaimed Alvin. Jewel had scraped his face with the chiselled end of the impromptu weapon. Alvin stumbled backward, but kept his footing. As her eyes adjusted to the light, Jewel quickly glanced around. Where’s Delaney? She couldn’t see him. Don’t worry about that now, she thought as she crouched in the open trunk. Jewel felt less afraid now that her feet were under her again.
Alvin rushed forward, grabbing her upper arms in his huge hands. Jewel brought her head forward and smashed Alvin’s nose with her forehead. The cartilage in his nose made a sickening crunch as it broke, like styrofoam stomped with heavy boots. Blood streamed down Alvin’s face and smeared across Jewel’s, too. Alvin screamed and staggered away from Jewel, bringing is hands over his nose protectively.
With one hand on the lip of the open trunk for balance, Jewel sprang onto the gravel driveway. Ignoring the pain, she landed lightly on the balls of her feet on the gravel road, and ran for the adjacent woods. She could hear feet crunching on the gravel behind her. Alvin’s chasing me. As he ran after her, Alvin called, “Waid, waid, we aren’d goink to hurd you. We jusd wand do dalk!”
Jewel ignored him and kept running, her fitted sheath dress sliding up her thighs as she ran. His pace slowed, then stopped. Jewel imagined that getting the blood pumping made his nose hurt more. Who cares why he stopped? Doesn’t matter. Gotta get away from here, hide in the woods. Some part of Jewel had a vague awareness that this was not a great plan, but her body thrummed with adrenalin. She couldn’t think straight.
She heard feet pounding behind her.