Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I've been working and polishing an m/m story, still untitled, set in the American Midwest in the Depression era, but it's not quite a straightforward historical as it has a soft paranormal aspect to it. This is the beginning, unedited...


There wasn't a spot in the whole of Brookburn where the tiny colored flags on top of the tents pitched outside of town weren't visible. The red and yellow wisps fluttered whether Levi could feel a breeze or not, like they were caught in a world of their own making, someplace separate and magical where the wind didn't whip up the dust to get caught in places it had no business being. He even caught them dancing at night, when he climbed out his window to sneak down to the gulley that cut the carnies off from the rest of town. He'd stretched out on his stomach, as flat to the packed earth as he could get, and drank it all in until the last light had been extinguished.

Everywhere he looked was an explosion to his senses. Colors rainbows would've been jealous of. Laughter and music and hushed whispers as shadows would emerge from one tent only to meld into a single entity before disappearing into another. Roasting meat and strong whiskey that made his stomach rumble even though he'd had his full at suppertime. His fingers curled into the dry grass, because he needed to stay put, not make a run for it like everything inside screamed at him to do.

He crept back to the Beckerman home before the night relinquished its hold on the sky. His dreams for the few hours he got before Pap pounded on the door for him to get to his chores left him with a hollow longing in his chest.

"Mr. Trumbull's closing the store tomorrow," he commented at the supper table, staring at the beef he sawed away at on his plate rather than anyone else at the table.

"Now why would he go and do a fool thing like that? Saturday's your busiest day of the week."

Levi had been working at the general store since he was twelve and it became increasingly obvious to his burly father that his only son was built more like his wispy mother. He wasn't short, but he'd always been thin and too scrawny for most of the labor out on Grandad's farm. Pete Beckerman talked Artie Trumbull into giving Levi a job, in hopes the hours helping with inventory and making deliveries around Brookburn would put some meat on his bones.

It hadn't. Levi was stronger than he looked, though. He used that disparity to his advantage as often as he possibly could.

"He says everyone will be at the carnival tomorrow anyway," Levi said in response to his mother's surprised question.

Pap snorted. "And then at church on Sunday like they didn't throw good money after bad just the day before."

"You never know, Pete." Levi and his sister Annie might have cringed a little at the harshness of Pap's tone, but Mom was unfazed as always. She reached for the mashed potatoes to scoop another spoonful onto Pap's plate. "I heard someone over in Jagerstown won a brand new stove in that grand raffle of theirs."

"A stove."

"That's what I heard."

"Those people don't even have homes. How would they find the money for a stove?"

"Mr. Trumbull's going." Nobody in town really trusted the carnies, so Pap's reactions were hardly unusual, but Levi wished he could see what else they offered, the dreams they held out with both hands to anybody who wanted them. Those were all Levi had thought about from the moment the first flyer had shown up on the post outside the newspaper office, though his were buried so deep, they'd need more magic than a few pretty flags and some fast words to set free.

"Well, with the store shut, he doesn't have much else to do, now does he? Some of us have real work to do."

Levi stopped trying then. Pap was just like the soil he tilled, practical, unchanging, ultimately immovable.