Monday, October 31, 2016

November Novel Essential Information

Novel Title: Quagmire
Time Setting: 1920
Genre: Historical Thriller
Minimum Word Goal: 120,000
Timespan: March–August
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Main Character: Jesse "Hawkeye" Haden
Background Information:
The sixth child of twelve — eleven living — and second son of four, Hawkeye is a first-generation Irish American and the first of his siblings to be born in Chicago.
His father was a skilled carpenter — not that he discovered as much until they moved to Chicago, which was eighteen years later than would have pleased his wife — who was employed by one of Chicago's biggest builders.
His mother is a dedicated housewife and Irishwoman who embraces her Irish heritage as much as her husband endeavoured to hide his; along with being a devout Catholic and scorner of Protestants who religiously attends Mass.
Even though Hawkeye is the middle child and second son, he is the primary breadwinner for his family. This is because his father — being half English — felt a great motivation to go to the defence of his motherland in the First World War, during which he was killed.
Additionally, his older brother, barely a month before the First World War began, was killed, being as he'd gotten involved in the gangs which are proliferate in Chicago.
His four older sisters are married and do provide some aid, however, Hawkeye is a stubborn sort and determines to provide by himself, being as his mother refuses to use her seamstress skills for profit.
Hawkeye provides for his mother and younger siblings by working as a crime and courts reporter for the Chicago Tribune, and is by far the most unorthodox and daring reporter in the entire city, but then again, that comes from playing with fire.

The novel begins on November 1.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Escape: Day 20

Word Total: 120,001

Year to Date: 990,114

Summary of Events:
Trace and Dallis continued to make for the border; three more cars full of gangsters caught up to them, but didn't do anything — Trace suspected they didn't realise Dallis had a passport and so were waiting to just pick her up at the border because they expected her to be rejected. Trace managed to get another one to rear end him just outside of Portal, which was just at the border, before one of the other cars appeared to have run out of gas or had a fuel line failure. The last one watched as Trace and Dallis were processed at the border and allowed to cross before turning around and leaving while Trace drove on to Estevan to spend the night.

Excerpt of the Day:
"He got through Estevan and saw the truck stop right away. Pulling into the parking lot, he took a spot off in the corner and parked the truck. Dallis was still sleeping, her lashes delicately laced together so that which belonged to each lid was indistinguishable.
Trace got up and went over to her. He gently unbuckled her seatbelt, but she didn't move, aside from her breathing.
Gently Trace bent down and slid his hands under her arms. She stirred slightly, but yet still didn't seem to rouse. Trace lifted her up into an embrace and held her close.
That set her stirring and fighting, so he released her and looked at her.
"We're here," Trace said quietly.
Dallis nodded, still looking defensive.
"It was a celebratory hug," Trace said.
"While I was sleeping?" Dallis snapped.
"I was also going to carry you to the bunk," Trace replied. "I didn't want to wake you up if I didn't have to."
"Well you did," Dallis said. "And I prefer it that way."
Trace sighed and followed Dallis back into the sleeping quarters.
"Can I have a celebratory hug while you're awake?" Trace asked.
Dallis' lips twitched as she looked at him sceptically.
"Please?" Trace asked.
She lowered her shoulders and Trace stepped into an embrace. Even though he could feel tension in her as he held her, he didn't care. She was letting him hug her, and that was more than he would have expected at the start.
Bending his head down, he nosed her cheek slightly, but she turned away, so Trace gently grazed his lips over her ear. That was probably the closest he was going to get to a kiss from her for the time being, not that he minded.
They were in Canada. Dallis was safe. He'd helped her to escape the bondage that the gangsters had been holding her in from birth, and hopefully he would be able to to help her to get a new start on a new life in a new country — as well as to bring down the gang that was still holding far too many other women captive.
Dallis shifted and pulled away from him. Trace sighed and stepped away so that she could change for bed. The most important thing was that they'd escaped the gangsters and were now free in Canada.
Nothing guaranteed that they would necessarily always be safe — until the gang was brought down, anyways — but Trace refused to let himself think about that. He was going to think about how good it was to have escaped, to have saved Dallis.
He never would've expected to have the experiences he'd had since he'd first seen her, and even though they'd been harrowing, as well as painful, he wouldn't trade them for anything. He'd been able to rescue one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen, and hopefully he would be able to win her trust.
Trace wouldn't trade anything for helping Dallis escape."

The next post will be on October 31.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Escape: Day 19

Word Count: 114,008

Summary of Events:
Dallis watched as Fargo approached and waited as Trace fuelled up his truck. Trace made his way out of Fargo westbound. Dallis watched out the rearview mirror for the gangsters, but saw nothing until Trace had to pass a tractor and discovered they'd been hiding in the blind spot right behind the trailer. Trace planned to use the car's hiding in his blind spot to his advantage, once they got onto Highway 52, which would carry them all the way to the Canadian border . . . 

Excerpt of the Day:
""You're not going to do it until we're away from the city, are you?" Dallis asked.
"No way," Trace replied. "There would be countless people who would be able to tell it was deliberate. I mean, unless someone does a dummy move that forces me to anyways, but then I might get nailed with leaving the scene of an accident and being as they must have my plate number memorised by now they'd be able to tell the cops who it was and stop us from getting into Canada."
Dallis nodded.
"We'll wait until we're on the fifty two," Trace said. "And until we're at a nice, secluded place where there isn't really anybody around."
Dallis nodded again. Trace turned his gaze back to the road.
He still felt a little bit guilty about the idea of what he was going to do, in deliberately slamming on the brakes so that a car could rear end him. He felt like it was a cruel and unkind thing to do, but being as these guys had murdered far too many people — much less any — and were bent on capturing Dallis and likely taking his life as well, he really had no other choice.
There were times when he was going to have to be cruel and unkind to people he didn't even know, and this, it appeared, was one of those times.
Exiting off at the exit for the highway he would remain on all the way to the Saskatchewan border: fifty two, Trace maintained the highest speed that was safely possible on the ramps and curves before accelerating as quickly as he could to the top permissible speed on the highway — as indicated by a sign shortly after he merged on — to get away from the city as fast as he could so he could finally do it.
Thankfully it didn't take too long before he finally got far enough away that he was sure no witnesses would see clearly whether it was deliberate or accidental.
"I'm going to warn you, the jake's loud," Trace said.
"What's the jake?" Dallis asked.
"The engine retarder brake," Trace replied. "It helps things slow down faster in the event of an emergency without the brakes seizing up."
"You're going to use it?" Dallis asked.
"Yes," Trace replied. "In three . . . two . . . one!"
He saw Dallis jump out the corner of his eye at the volume of the jake as he applied it, bringing the truck to an abrupt halt. He heard a loud slam and saw a bit of debris go flying.
A twinge of guilt wrenched at him, but he shifted things down and then slowly started to accelerate again, shifting things up as he gained speed. Behind him he saw the wreckage of the Audi, and a man standing outside of it."

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Escape: Day 18

Word Count: 108,010

Summary of Events:
Dallis spotted a carload of gangsters so Trace had to get his fellow truckers to do the blockade manoeuvre they'd done previously so the gangsters wouldn't follow him into Sioux Falls. Trace then went to pick up Dallis' passport, which took a lot longer and was a lot more agonising of an ordeal than he'd expected — and ended up with him revealing to the police that he'd found Dallis; which was a good thing. Trace and Dallis continued on driving for Fargo, with Dallis worrying that they would be caught . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Dallis took a deep breath. She didn't want to think about that. She didn't know what she was going to do if she were forced to run on her own. She wanted them to be able to make it to the border, because if that failed then there was no hope whatsoever.
She looked over at Trace and saw a drawn tension on his face. She had a feeling he didn't appreciate that thought either. And if that was the case then she wondered why he'd brought it up.
He had mentioned before that he was a pessimist, though, so it could be just the negative light of the whole situation had prompted him to say it, even though he didn't really like the thought of it himself.
Dallis had never felt more frightened, even in her prior escape attempts. She'd never felt this afraid. She'd never felt this much like she was standing on an edge, ready to jump, but with the land she was standing on more than liable to crumble out from underneath her feet before she could spring.
She shifted uncomfortably and looked over at Trace again. He looked very set and determined, although not entirely confident. He looked like he was determined to beat the odds and make it.
That confidence seemed to elude her now. She'd always been confident she'd be able to fight it out, but the fact that the men had caught up so quickly upset her.
"Dallis," Trace said quietly.
Dallis turned and looked at him. His mouth was half-upturned in a wan smile, and his hand was extended toward her.
Leerily, Dallis looked at his hand.
"I know, I know," Trace said. "I want you to touch me."
Dallis reached out and brushed her hand against his. Trace's hand quickly grabbed hers and squeezed it tightly.
It felt like a surge of energy had welled in her, even though Trace's hand felt cool to the touch. She returned the grip and gazed out the windshield as they kept driving. Her anxiety seemed to be fading.
Trace's hold loosened and his thumb gently rubbed across the back of her hand. Even though Dallis wasn't fond of being touched, she felt like there was something reassuring in Trace's hold, and so didn't let go.
"We haven't come by life easily," Trace said. "But I think we should be able to make it. And if we don't then, hopefully, maybe, someday, somebody remembers us, and we'll be hailed as heroic for at least trying."
"I don't want to think about that," Dallis whispered.
"If only there were something for us to do other than think," Trace said quietly.
Dallis nodded. She'd give anything to not have to think about the fact that prospects were not as good as she'd thought. She didn't want to think about the bleakness, being as the men were so vigilant, vicious, and likely to resort to any means necessary so as to get her back."

Friday, October 21, 2016

Escape: Day 17

Word Count: 102,027

Summary of Events:
Stopping for the night Dallis and Trace speculated whether the gangsters would be particularly close to them or not before going to bed. Trace was woken in the night by sirens and learned from a fellow trucker that his favourite truck stop was on fire; he talked to the owner and learned she'd been visited by the gangsters. Dallis was told about the fire and suggested they make for the Canadian border no matter how long it took. Trace thought that would be a good idea after some thinking and asked Dallis to look his map and give him the distances on it so that he could estimate how far they were from the Canadian border; she first figured to Winnipeg, then Trace told her to figure to Estevan . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Go out of Fargo west and tack north on the most major road from there," Trace replied, handing the map back.
"Your phone went black," Dallis said.
"Here," Trace said.
He took it back and unlocked it.
"Eight hundred two," Dallis said, after a silence.
"That's thirteen," Trace said.
"We'd still make it, though, right?" Dallis asked.
"It'd be cutting it a lot closer," Trace said.
"So you're thinking we should go straight north to Manitoba then?" Dallis asked.
"Well, I'm not sure how far it would be from the border to Winnipeg," Trace replied. "Unless we find a truck stop somewhere in the middle, but I don't think Winnipeg's too close to the border. I mean, it's closer than Calgary, but it's not perched almost on it like Vancouver is."
"You're more familiar with Saskatchewan," Dallis said.
"Well, no, not really, I just know Estevan's closer to the border than Winnipeg is," Trace replied. "Not to mention, it does take us a little bit more westward, which is more beneficial, because we would need to get that way anyways, and could save some gas by cutting off the corner that would be made going all the way to Winnipeg."
Dallis was silent. Trace heard the rustling of paper.
"The most annoying thing is that American highways either go north-south or east-west, they don't typically go on angles," Trace said. "Canadian rural roads work in a grid for the most part, but the highways just kind of go wherever they need to go to get to wherever they're headed the fastest, a lot more of an as-the-crow-flies sort of way."
"Here," Dallis said.
Trace glanced over and grabbed his cellphone back.
"So we've got good news, though," he said. "We'll get into Canada by the end of the day — no matter what — and it won't take more than eight hours to get to the border if we don't get all the way there in the time we have."
He looked over to see Dallis nod as she looked at the map.
"That's all saying that the gangsters don't somehow hold us up between now and then or anything like that," Trace said.
"They've only chased us before," Dallis said.
"Yeah, but they're probably getting seriously desperate now," Trace said. "After all, they got you back and now they've lost you again."
Dallis was silent.
"So, once they find us, they'll probably be a lot more inclined to act as quickly as possible," Trace said. "Goodness knows they might shoot out my tires, then shoot me up and blow up my truck."
"But that's only if they find us," Dallis said.
"Which I'm sure they will," Trace said.
"And only if they have sufficient backup," Dallis said.
"I don't think that'll be too hard for them to acquire either," Trace said.
"You never know," Dallis said.
"I'm sorry, I'm a bit of a pessimist," Trace said, sighing as he gazed at the grey pavement that flowed in a seemingly endless ribbon underneath his tires."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Escape: Day 16

Word Count: 96,014

Summary of Events:
Dallis watched Trace arrive and met him, they then continued driving while she told him a bit of how her escape had happened. The next morning Trace got a call from his roommate — whom he was supposed to go on a hunting trip with — and had to make up a lie about why he wasn't back yet before he and Dallis got to discussing names, which caused a traumatic memory from Trace's past to start him panicking . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Dallis looked out the windows, but she didn't see any black cars chasing after them; besides, Trace had never looked like this before when the men had been chasing after them, she didn't even think that Trace's panic had anything to do with what was actually present.
Looking around, Dallis noticed that things were moving faster, and she gasped when she saw how rapidly they were gaining on a little car ahead of them.
"Trace!" she screamed. "Stop!"
Trace swore hoarsely and suddenly the truck was slowing down until finally they were pulled over on the shoulder.
Dallis looked over at Trace. He looked rather pale, and he was trembling noticeably, his breathing still being fairly rapid.
As Dallis watched she saw a tear roll down his cheek. His jaw was quivering. He closed his eyes and more tears came. He then bent over and put his face in his hands, which didn't muffle his sob too well.
Unbuckling, Dallis stepped over to his seat and knelt down beside him. His body shook and a few more sobs escaped him, all sounding very tortured and painful.
Dallis gently put her hand on his shoulder. She didn't know what to do. She didn't understand why that had happened, and was happening.
Eventually Trace's crying settled down and he sat back up. He then stroked the moisture from his eyes and sagged back against the seat. Dallis took her hand back and stood up.
Trace's eyes slid over to look at her, red-rimmed, glassy, the green pupils showing a terrible torture and agony.
"I'm sorry," he whispered hoarsely. "It wouldn't leave."
"What do you mean?" Dallis asked.
"If I talk about it it'll come back," Trace whispered.
Dallis shifted her jaw.
"Go sit back down," Trace said, a little bit louder, although sounding rather shaky.
Dallis did as she was told, but watched Trace silently as he started the truck moving again, still looking rather pale and shaken.
It was like that other time when he'd talked about his stepfather. He was hiding something, and something — it appeared — that was immensely painful to him. Something that tortured him greatly.
Being as he'd mentioned that he'd suffered for choosing to remain as an O'Hannigain instead of changing his name to his mother's maiden name, Dallis wondered if it didn't have something to do with being yelled at or beaten up for not making the choice to change.
Rolling her lips between her teeth and biting down on them, Dallis looked at Trace and wondered if the fact that he'd been beaten up on — or at least she was guessing as much — in his younger years was a motivator for him.
He'd suffered pain, and he didn't want her to suffer it too."

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Escape: Day 15

Word Count: 90,008

Summary of Events: 
Trace kept driving after the time when he usually stopped so as to hopefully catch up to the gangsters, and worried that he wouldn't get close enough fast enough. Dallis made her escape at the cost of another truck driver's life and hitched a ride with a trucker who worked for the same company Trace did. Trace got caught in the traffic backup behind the mess Dallis left behind in her escape and recognised the gangsters' cars in the wreckage, leaving him stunned. Dallis used the trucker's radio to get a hold of Trace and told him where she was before finding a place to hide out and wait for him as he started back north again . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"It'd taken awhile, due to the detour Trace had chosen, for him to get beyond the wreckage — although he was sure it'd still been faster than just taking the I-75 northbound, being as the accident still wasn't fully cleaned up yet.
Now Dallis had told him she was north of Murfreesboro at the Roadman Truck Stop, which was a place Trace had stopped at occasionally, but with the route he'd gotten settled into he didn't usually end up pulling off there unless it was close enough to lunch.
It wasn't a bad place; like all truck stops, it was better than going to a fast food restaurant, and Trace would take truck stop food any day of the week. Fast food was only if he was pressed and it was the first thing he found.
Usually, though, he was able to find a truck stop — and he'd also become familiar with where a lot of them were so he could plan ahead — so he didn't have to stop at fast food restaurants that often.
A large green sign flashed by, announcing in reflective white letters that Murfreesboro was within a mile. He was almost there. He'd almost gotten Dallis back.
It seemed hard to believe, still, that Dallis would've gotten free, and the fact that she would've been able to do it in such an intensely spectacular fashion was rather startling as well — mainly that she would've been able to survive that.
Trace slowed down slightly and followed the signs over the road to find the exit he wanted to take him around the east side of Murfreesboro — which would be the faster way around — back to I-75.
Manoeuvring onto the exit ramp, Trace watched carefully until finally he was onto the ring road and making his way around Murfreesboro.
He checked his clock after he'd merged on fully and saw that it was only seven. If he was going to drive until ten he had another three hours of driving, so he'd probably just pick Dallis up at the truck stop and continue north for another couple of hours likely making it back to Nashville by ten.
Another sixteen hours of driving after that would get him nearly to Sioux Falls, if he wasn't mistaken anyways, and then, hopefully, they would be able to make for the border.
Except there was still the hitch: her passport wasn't ready yet — or at least he was certain of as much, being as he hadn't been called about it like they'd agreed — so if they weren't able to get her passport at Sioux Falls they might end up stuck there again.
Trace sighed. He hoped he'd get the call that Dallis' passport was ready and waiting at Sioux Falls in the next day of driving. He didn't want to be stopped up at Sioux Falls again, even though he couldn't guarantee that the gangsters would be after them again."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Escape: Day 14

Word Count: 84,009

Summary of Events:
Dallis came to shortly before the gangsters pulled into a motel for the night and nearly managed to escape them — she did succeed in causing a message to be planted for Trace, though. Trace stopped at his favourite restaurant again for food and received the message, which confirmed what he'd assumed and made him feel a lot better. Dallis plotted escape as the gangsters continued south. Trace chafed at his slow progress and considered doing whatever it took to go faster. Dallis — once again tied to the bed for the night to prevent escape — put into action the first part of her escape plan . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"She'd noticed that they didn't loop the ropes around the posts repeatedly, they just left loops and securely tied the ropes to the gaps they had between her ankles and wrists.
Having noticed that, she'd kept her elbows slightly bent so that they'd have to use more rope to make things taut at her feet.
It'd been somewhat hard keeping her elbows bent for so long, but now she released them and lifted her hands over her head with ease.
Being as the restrained position of her hands compromised her, though, she had to use her lower body to shift herself closer to the foot post and loosen her feet, but that was done easily.
To get off of the bed would have to be a delicate manoeuvre as well, as she didn't want to fall, lest they be woken up by the thud of her body hitting the floor.
She carefully rolled over onto her side and then shifted her upper body toward the edge, leading with her hands until they touched the floor. Then she carefully managed to lower the rest of her body to the floor with the quietest of thuds.
It took her a little bit to orient herself, but soon she was certain which way Otie's clothes were, and she soon found some fabric.
Quickly she identified it as a shirt. She wanted his pants.
Thankfully, they were close by; but disappointment soon filled her when she found that his gun wasn't among them. He was either still wearing his gun, or he'd put it somewhere else and she hadn't seen it because she'd not looked at him while he was undressing.
She did feel a solid lump in his pocket, however, and discovered it was a jackknife: something to cut her bonds with. Good.
A groan sounded and she almost dropped the knife.
"Where's my little puss-puss?" Otie moaned sleepily.
He snorted sharply.
"Gone!" he hissed. "Jay!"
Another groan sounded. Dallis quickly shoved the knife into her pocket; she wouldn't be able to use it now, mainly being as it was dark.
"She's gone!" Otie snapped.
"What!?" Jay cried.
Lights snapped on and Dallis looked over her shoulder to see the two men upright in their beds, both looking at her, their chests bare, Otie's obviously darkened by ink, Jay's not so much — although skin colour contributed to that more than anything.
"So," Otie said, sliding across his bed and getting to his feet. "You were going to try and run away?"
Dallis looked away from him as he walked over to her, grabbed her under the arms, and hauled her back to the bed. She wouldn't fight. She had a means of escape in her pocket, and she was using it tomorrow."

Monday, October 17, 2016

Escape: Day 13

Word Count: 78,015

Summary of Events:
After lunch Trace and Dallis went to a park to talk and Dallis snapped at Trace and then felt bad and ran away from him. Trace chased after her and they ended up heading toward the truck stop where half the gangsters were waiting and captured Dallis, although not without Trace in hot pursuit. Dallis fought the gangsters and managed to force them to pull over so she could get away. Trace pulled over behind them and then another trucker, hauling cattle, needed to take the exit they were pulled over on and ended up sideswiping one of the gangsters' cars, which the gangsters took offence to and started an altercation. Dallis tripped while running and was recaptured, but broke away again. Trace had seen her get captured and looked away at the altercation that was going nowhere . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Trace looked over at them and startled. Dallis was running full tilt toward him, with the gangsters running after her — and one of them was significantly lagging.
He should've been watching to see what'd happened, but unfortunately he hadn't, now Dallis was surprisingly close already, and gaining.
Unbuckling, Trace unlocked the passenger door and opened it slightly. He then sat back down, buckled up, started his truck, and slowly moved into reverse, watching his rearview mirrors vigilantly.
A few driver swerved violently and gave him unfriendly gestures, but it wasn't like he was going to be able to get out of the exit anyways, so no matter what he was going this way.
The gangsters who'd been focused on him turned away toward the altercation, their guns still out and trained.
Dallis was nearly at the ramp when the gunmen who'd been watching him turned toward her — Trace guessed one of the chasers had shouted — holstering their guns, and formed a small human wall between her and Trace's truck.
Trace swore under his breath, but watched as, without missing a beat, Dallis turned away and ran toward the other truck, scrambling up the slope and finally getting some serious traction on the pavement.
The four gangsters almost tripped over themselves starting after her as she ran past the other truck and across the bridge.
Trace watched as she stumbled, but managed to keep her feet as she ran to the guardrail and jumped over it. The jump messed up her stride and she tumbled down the steep slope head over heels.
At the bottom, however, she landed on her feet and kept running. Straight into traffic.
A shout split the air and it actually took Trace a moment before he realised that he was the one who'd uttered it.
Dallis ran across the eastbound traffic as one of the chasing gangsters hopped into the Mercedes, whipped it around, took the exit backwards, shot across traffic, and into the grass between the directions just as Dallis got there.
Jumping out of the car, he grabbed her. It looked like he had a nightstick in his hand, and moments later Dallis was hanging limp in is arms.
Trace felt sick. He slowly got to his feet, went over to the passenger door, and closed it.
Several shots sounded and Trace looked up to see the trucker on the pavement, the gangsters running for their car.
The other car jumped across the eastbound traffic, picked up the four gangsters who'd gone to chase Dallis, and shot off eastbound while the remaining five piled into their car, whipped past the truck, and took off."

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Escape: Day 12

Word Count: 72,006

Summary of Events:
Trace went to visit the president of the homebuilder whose showhome Dallis had broken into and ended up — not really by any persuasive arguments on his part — getting them to agree to drop all the charges against Dallis. Dallis was then released and listened to Trace explain feminism while they walked to a restaurant to have lunch. After lunch they had ice cream for dessert — which Dallis had never had — and Trace got to watch her eat ice cream for the first time, which actually made him get a little choked up.

Excerpt of the Day:
""If the feminists would treat men like they'd like to see women be treated, then maybe I'd be more inclined to think feminists aren't so bad, but being as they're doing to us what they don't want us to do to them, I can't buy it."
Dallis nodded. "So are we eating here or what?"
Trace looked over at the counter and sighed. "Yeah, you alright with chicken fingers and fries?"
Dallis nodded.
Trace slid out of his seat and walked over to join the line.
Dallis set her feet on his seat so as to make sure she didn't get any unwelcome company from the other people in the restaurant, especially after the way some of the men had looked at her.
It did kind of make sense, honestly, that if people wanted to be treated nicely they should treat others nicely, and, additionally, it made Dallis feel a little guilty. She hadn't exactly been treating Trace very nicely, and yet he seemed to be bending over backwards for her.
The thing was, she didn't really know how to be nice to people, being as Trace was the only person who had ever been nice to her in her life, so she had to learn how to be nice to people.
Dallis shifted her jaw. Now that Trace had brought that up she was starting to feel badly for being so unkind to him, but she wasn't really even sure she could trust him, or anyone else, and even though it would probably be nice of her to apologise, she was a little reticent of the idea, as there was always the possibility that he might just want her to acknowledge his niceness and then put in place conditions for its continuance.
Overall, Dallis couldn't really say she knew what to do. Trace was quite nice — even if sometimes she wished he'd just go away and let her do it all by herself — and was doing a lot more for her than anyone else ever had, and without complaining that he wasn't getting anything in return, but she couldn't be fully certain.
Sighing, Dallis looked over at Trace, who was giving their order, it appeared. She felt rather confused and uncertain about a lot of things, the only thing that was reassuring right about now was the fact that the men weren't around.
But then again, that was only a matter of time. Trace had said when he'd last visited her that it'd been rather baffling to him that the men hadn't showed up yet, so, honestly, they could show up at any time, and now that she'd been released he couldn't go back to Canada, drop off his oranges, and come back — possibly — in a different vehicle.
Instead, they were just going to have to sit around and wait for the men to show up, being as it was more than likely that her passport wouldn't be ready before the men showed up, no matter how long it was going to take them to get here."

Friday, October 14, 2016

Escape: Day 11

Word Count: 66,006

Summary of Events:
Trace was being released from police custody while Dallis was going in and was highly astonished to see her there. Dallis was then visited by him after she'd been processed and he worked to allay some doubts she'd come up with. Trace then stopped by the hospital to have his wrist checked up on and worried about where Dallis had come up with the doubts, among other things. Dallis was visited by a lawyer representing the company who owned the showhome she'd broken into, and felt she was asked too many questions and so got upset. Trace visited her again and learned about the visit by the lawyer and how she'd gotten upset . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Well, agitation is not usually a good thing to show if you want people to be nice or easy on you," Trace replied. "So more than likely this SowDak Homes company is going to press charges against you for breaking and entering."
Dallis glared at the table, her mouth gathered into a taut line.
"I mean, I'm not surprised," Trace said. "However, you've kind of shot yourself in the foot, if you know what I mean."
Dallis exhaled sharply.
Trace really didn't know what to say now, so he just gazed silently.
Dallis' gaze suddenly snapped up to him, her blue eyes ablaze with something more like determination than rage.
"What?" Trace asked.
"You're on that side, you go talk to this SowDak Homes, tell them not to press charges," Dallis replied
Trace shifted his jaw dubiously.
Dallis' expression cooled rapidly, even though it seemed like her gaze was fiery at the same time.
"I don't know if it'll work," Trace said.
"I don't care," Dallis replied. "I just can't do it myself, and, according to you, it's probably better that I don't anyways."
"Well, I guess I could, being as I have nothing else to do," Trace said.
"Being as you're sitting around," Dallis derided.
"I want to be able to get you out of here," Trace said.
"I'm sure, at the rate things are going, you have enough time to go deliver your oranges and get back and I'll still be here," Dallis said.
"I don't want to take the chance," Trace said.
Dallis sighed.
"They could come at any time," Trace said. "The fact that it's taken them as long as it has when they saw me take the I-twenty nine northbound as my exit is honestly rather baffling."
"So?" Dallis asked. "I'm in here, how are they going to know that?"
Trace gathered his lips in thought.
"Especially if you're gone and there isn't your truck to recognise?" Dallis added, her voice soft.
Trace felt a rush of warmth. He didn't dare look up. It didn't matter what she said, when her voice was softened, it was almost maddening. He hadn't realised how abrasively she usually spoke until now.
And — getting his mind back onto what she'd said and not how she'd said it — what she'd said was right. His truck was probably the number one reason why the gangsters were finding them. If he were to skip off now back to Canada, drop off the oranges, and then come back in just his pickup; for one thing, her passport would probably be waiting, and for another thing, the gangsters wouldn't recognise him.
He looked up at her, the residual heat fading when he saw her set expression that looked to be verging on a raging explosion again. "After I talk to SowDak Homes, and depending on how that goes. Because if I can talk them into letting you go right away then we'd have to stay here anyways."
Dallis nodded, looking satisfied."

SowDak: s'ahwhdahk

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Escape: Day 10

Word Count: 60,022

Summary of Events:
Trace, somewhat forced by Dallis, helped her apply for a passport and was fretting over the fact that it could take as long as a month for the passport to get delivered while sitting around in Sioux Falls, where they'd stopped. Dallis hadn't enjoyed sitting around, and being as Trace seemed intent to sit around and wait for the passport, decided to leave. Trace woke up at quarter after three and found Dallis missing, so he set out after her. Dallis was cold, so she managed to find her way into a showhome and go to sleep in one of the beds. Trace, absolutely exhausted, having been searching for Dallis for three hours, was picked up by police because they thought he was drunk. Dallis was woken up in the showhome by a couple of police officers, who placed her under arrest for breaking and entering, however, Dallis refused to let them handcuff her and ran out to their car to prevent as much . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"The policemen hurried outside, their weapons drawn, and looked around before one of them — the one who'd been called Sutherland — climbed into the car and picked up a thing a lot like what Trace had on his radio.
"We've got a fugitive from the break and enter at the showhome," he said.
"No you don't," Dallis said.
"Yes we do, what are you talking about?" he asked.
"I didn't say anything," a voice replied over the radio.
"Then who–" he turned around and cried out in alarm, staring at her wide-eyed.
"What's going on in there?" the other man hollered.
"I've found her!" Sutherland cried.
"What?" the other man asked.
"She's in the backseat," Sutherland said.
The other man came over and peered in the window before straightening in surprise and going around to the driver's seat.
"Scratch that," Sutherland said into the radio. "Apparently wanted to get into the car by herself or something. We've got her."
The doors closed, the car was manoeuvred away from the curb by the man Dallis didn't know a name for, while Sutherland leaned back and seemed to be recovering from the fright she'd given him.
"Why couldn't you just let us lead you to the car?" the driver asked.
"Because no one touches me," Dallis replied.
"And why can't anyone touch you?" the driver asked.
"Because that is an invasion of my personal space," Dallis replied.
"So you have a problem with your personal space being invaded," the driver said.
"I do," Dallis replied.
"You know that we'll have to frisk you at the station, right?" the driver asked.
"What does that mean?" Dallis asked.
"Feel you over to see if you're hiding any weapons on your person," Sutherland replied.
"Not on your life," Dallis snapped.
"Yes on your life," the driver replied. "And don't worry, it'll be a female officer."
"I don't care," Dallis replied. "No one touches me, and I mean no one."
"And what happens if they do?" Sutherland asked.
"They regret it instantly," Dallis replied.
"You have something to hide then," the driver said.
"Nothing that isn't rightfully mine," Dallis replied.
"Like what?" Sutherland asked.
"My body," Dallis replied.
"And?" Sutherland asked, turning around to look at her.
"Everything else is in my backpack, other than what I'm wearing," Dallis replied. "I don't have anything else."
"No knives?" Sutherland asked. "No guns?"
"No," Dallis replied. "I don't need them."
"That's good to know," Sutherland said. "No drugs."
"What kind of lunatic do you think I am?" Dallis spat.
"Okay," Sutherland said. "That's good, I was just wondering."
Dallis crossed her arms and glared at him.
"No money?" the driver asked.
"No," Dallis replied. "I've only ever seen money, I've never actually done anything with money."
"You didn't have an allowance as a kid or anything?" Sutherland asked, looking confused as he turned around to face her.
"What does that mean?" Dallis asked.
"You've never even . . ." Sutherland left the sentence unfinished, looking completely stunned."

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Escape: Day 9

Word Count: 54,016

Summary of Events:
While Trace was driving the gangsters caught up to them, in the daylight, but his fellow truckers rallied to help them escape. Dallis was still charged up after the scare when they got to a restaurant to eat and she bit a man who tried to hit on her. Trace and the man got into a heated discussion before deciding to fight it out; Dallis tried to get Trace to let her fight, but he wouldn't, so she stepped in when he got tossed off to the side and beat the man. Afterwards, in Trace's truck, Dallis tended Trace's wounds . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Once Trace's nose had finally stopped bleeding he'd started grimacing and holding his wrist. Dallis wasn't surprised that it hurt. Trace was a fairly good, tough fighter, but he'd been going into things injured, and he'd just made it worse.
"What about your feet and ankles?" she asked.
"They hurt," Trace replied.
"How badly?" Dallis asked.
"Sprain-like," Trace replied.
Dallis looked at Trace. He looked like he'd been through a serious wringer; his lip was swollen and bloody, there was still blood dried on his upper lip, his cheek looked swollen, and he was leaning his head back, his eyelids wearily lowered.
She lowered herself down and removed his boots and socks before feeling over his feet and ankles gently. She could feel some swelling warmth, but they didn't look in any way distended.
"You should be alright," Dallis said quietly, rising to her feet.
"So you're a waitress, an expert fighter, a firecracker, and a doctor?" Trace asked.
"I read a lot when I was younger and I had an extensive library to choose from," Dallis replied. "Most of it on hand-to-hand combat, weapons, basic medicine, and self-defence."
"Hm," Trace said.
Dallis crossed her arms and looked at Trace.
"So, if you're an expert fighter, how do you think I did?" Trace asked.
"The kneeing him in the gut was a good manoeuvre, but you should've gone lower and the fight would've been over," Dallis replied. "I'm surprised, actually, how well you did."
"That's nice to know," Trace said, rising slowly.
"Why?" Dallis challenged.
"It means I learned something from my childhood," Trace replied.
Dallis furrowed her brow and looked at him, not sure what to make of his statement, as he removed his shirt and tossed it off to the side.
He turned around and looked at her. "It was a literal fight for survival growing up."
"You think you had it hard?" Dallis challenged.
"Yes," Trace replied. "I think I did. Being called out for every little mistake by a man who wasn't even my father, and given severe retribution for them that went over and above reasonability."
Dallis slowly slid her jaw. There was genuine pain in his eyes, genuine hurt, like he'd suffered something rather terrible that he wasn't telling her.
He turned away and closed the privacy wall between them. Dallis wasn't sure what to do with that display of pain. He'd looked raw and exposed, and the fact that his face was battered didn't really help with things, as far as she was concerned.
There was something about his rawness, something about his exposure, it was like he'd trusted her with some sort of secret that he'd never told anyone else. He was telling her something that few others knew."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Escape: Day 8

Word Count: 48,009

Summary of Events:
Trace and Dallis were both taken to the hospital and after Trace's broken wrist was diagnosed and dealt with he went and got his truck and then returned to the hospital to get Dallis before heading toward Omaha; he noticed the gangsters following him and got his fellow truckers to help him get away from them. Dallis woke up at four thirty in the morning and tried to leave, but Trace and her own exhaustion stopped her. Trace got up and, being as Dallis was still heavily asleep, moved her to her seat and started driving, and thinking . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"The thought of her being so delicate and needy, so weak and tired, it was slightly agitating Trace. He wanted to pull over and hold her, touch her, satisfy his hunger; but he knew she would not in the least be happy with that.
Turning his gaze away from her, Trace focused on the road. She had placed some trust in him, and he didn't want to compromise it. Doing that would compromise it, not to mention it would be rather selfish of him.
He was emphatically telling her he wanted to keep her safe, and he didn't want her to leave until he could be certain she would be safe, unfound by the gangsters and unhurt by them — or anyone else for that matter — not that he was sure when he would ever reach that point; but if he was going to tell her that, then he didn't have the right to compromise her trust.
Sure, she didn't trust him much, although he was certain that there had to be some trust there, but he wanted her to trust him more. He wanted her to trust him to touch her, and hold her, all of the time, not just when she was tired and out of it, but whenever he wanted to touch her.
Trace sighed as he looked over at her. He didn't think he was going to be able to leave her anywhere until they reached Peace River, but then there was the whole thing of crossing the border.
He was fully certain that she wouldn't be allowed to just waltz across the border with him into Canada, and he wasn't sure how to go about getting a passport on the American side of the border.
If they were in Canada heading to the US, he'd know, but he didn't know if the American procedure was the same, or if it took longer, or if he'd even be able to have the passport sent to him while he was driving and never in the same place long enough for the mail to reach him.
She would hopefully be a lot safer in Canada anyways. The gangsters would have to deal with crossing the border, and knowing for himself how stickler the border patrols were, especially going into Canada, he had a feeling their guns would be found and they'd be denied the ability to cross the border.
He did hope, though, that they didn't have any cronies on the Canadian side, although, he doubted any gangs were quite that far-reaching. After all, as much as different places had their own Mafias, the Mafias weren't related to each other, and didn't really necessarily do that much to or for each other.
Taking a deep breath, Trace sighed it out and returned his focus to the road. He needed to keep his eyes peeled for expensive black cars with Georgian plates. It would be much harder to dodge them out in daylight, after all, and if he could avoid being noticed by them would be much better."

Monday, October 10, 2016

Escape: Day 7

Word Count: 42,007

Summary of Events:
Trace drove into Lincoln, Nebraska — the nearby city — and started out on foot; he ended up coming upon the church where Dallis had been given breakfast and was given directions to her whereabouts before spying a ritzy black car with Georgia plates. Dallis arrived at the convent she'd been directed to, only to find two gangsters waiting for her, whom she evaded before getting into the convent and hiding. Trace was knocked over by a right-turning car as he was crossing an intersection, but wasn't very severely injured. Dallis heard gunfire erupt from where she was hiding and then found an escape to a farmyard. Trace watched the gangsters escape as police approached and gave a statement to the police before going for a walk looking for Dallis. Dallis heard someone approach and fled to an old barn that started to fall as she was running through it . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Any scream Trace would've wanted to utter evaded him as he watched the barn — which had been listing eastward as well as saddlebacked — start to fall with the breeze that had just picked up significantly.
He'd noticed the dark clouds as he'd been walking along the trees, now some were overhead and the wind was nearly blowing him over, as well as almost drowning out the cacophony of the collapsing building.
It landed thunderously, some wood pieces flying up into the air as well as a lot of dust, with the force of its landing. Trace watched as the dust was quickly carried away.
He was frozen with horror until a crash of thunder broke over the wind that was starting to howl severely, causing him to startle into action.
Running toward the far end of the barn, he screamed her name until he saw a broken tree holding up a portion of the collapsed barn. He lowered himself and screamed her name.
Quickly he dropped down to his stomach and crawled underneath. He felt an arm, slender and sweater-clad.
"Dallis!" he cried, tears of relief in his eyes.
She didn't pull her arm away. Trace quickly felt further and found more of her. He grabbed onto her and pulled. She whimpered, but Trace managed to work her free and gathered her into his arms as tears of relief blurred his vision.
"Dallis," he whispered, clutching her against him.
She moaned.
"Are you alright Dallis?" Trace asked.
She whimpered.
Trace looked over her. She looked alright . . . until he saw that her one lower pant leg was stained with red.
Carefully he lowered her onto her side. He then grabbed her leg and looked at it. It looked to be just a cut, but a significant one.
He needed to stop the bleeding. He didn't have a knife to cut off a sweater sleeve, but then he realised he had something better: his belt.
Whipping it off quickly, he pulled it as tightly as he could and fastened the end like he'd been taught to fasten a horse's cinch at a summer camp he'd been to once. Dallis whimpered.
"You're alright," Trace whispered. "I'll carry you back."
He gathered her into his arms and edged his way toward the open, where the storm was raging, rain sheeting down so thickly he could hardly see the trees that were barely feet away from them.
Pausing a moment, he threw his hood over his head before getting to his feet, with her in his arms, and carried her through the frigid rain, despite the lightning flashing and cracking overhead."

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Escape: Day 6

Word Count: 36,037

Summary of Events:
Dallis made plans to leave Trace for his own safety as much as her own at his next stop. Trace and Dallis stopped for supper at one of Trace's favourite restaurants where Dallis ended up making several scenes due to touch-related incidents, including one that got a man hospitalised. Dallis managed to leave Trace's truck without waking him and made her way toward the city nearby. Trace woke up when his alarm went off and found Dallis was gone.

Excerpt of the Day:
"A slamming sound startled Dallis awake and she saw a car parked across from her in the light shining off of the wall just ahead of her that jutted out beyond where she'd chosen to sleep for the night once she'd finally made it to the city.
Walking toward her was a slim, grey-haired man who looked to be wearing a stiff collar. He noticed her once he got beyond the further wall and out of the light, she could tell by the way he moved.
"Oh, hello there," he said.
Dallis rose slowly and edged away from him.
"It's alright, would you like to come inside?" he asked. "I'm sure it must've been very cold out here, and you more than likely need a place to stay."
Warily Dallis watched him as he went over to the door beside her, unlocked it, and stepped inside, holding it open for her.
She heard a beeping noise coming from inside, but she stepped in anyways. The man went over to a glowing number pad and pressed some buttons that silenced the beeping. He then flicked a light on.
"Come," he said, beckoning to her.
Dallis followed silently as he led her to a stairwell, then down a to a small and rather old-fashioned looking kitchen. He took a small kettle from the stove, filled it, and then carried it back and turned on the fire underneath it.
"Would you like some tea, or coffee?" the man asked.
"Tea," Dallis replied, as quietly as she could.
"And is oatmeal fine with you?" the man asked.
Dallis nodded.
The man got out two mugs, a bowl, two spoons, jars of sugar and coffee, and a small bag of oatmeal.
Dallis watched silently from a distance as, once the kettle started to whistle, the man poured water into each of the mugs and the bowl, then added coffee grounds to one mug, and oatmeal to the bowl.
"Come and pick which tea you'd like," he said, bringing out a basket full of colourful bags.
Dallis moved closer and looked at them. She picked a deep pink package that contained a berry-flavoured tea. Opening the package, she removed the teabag and put it into the water, where it slowly wetted and sank.
"Come out and we'll sit," the man said, taking up the other mug and the sugar.
Silently Dallis followed behind him, carrying the bowl and her tea. The man passed her on the way back to the kitchen and came out after she'd sat down with a carton of cream.
Dallis added sugar and cream to her oatmeal while the man did the same to his coffee. She also added a touch to her tea once she decided it had probably steeped long enough.
"Now what is your name?" the man asked, wrapping his hands around his coffee mug.
"Fancy Hobbes," Dallis replied."

Friday, October 07, 2016

Escape: Day 5

Word Count: 30,012

Summary of Events:
Trace and Dallis stayed in a motel for the night, where Dallis first dyed her hair blonde before getting Trace to cut nearly two feet off of it. They had a late supper of pizza before going to bed. The next morning they warmed up some of the pizza for breakfast before setting out.

Excerpt of the Day:
"The wait had been longer than Trace had expected . . . until he'd remembered that she'd bought makeup yesterday, which led him to be not as surprised as he might've been before when she emerged from the bathroom with her face done up to ends he thought nearly excessive.
Her lips were deep red and full, her eyelids were covered in smoky grey almost all the way up to her eyebrows, and her eyelashes looked twice as thick as they had before. She was also carrying the half-charred hair dye box in her hand.
"Right," Trace said.
He led the way out of the room and then stepped out of the way for her to get out.
"You have everything?" Trace asked.
Dallis nodded.
Trace closed and locked the door and then went over to his truck, which he unlocked and climbed into so as to set down his things. He then went and dropped off the key in the little key drop that they had — being as the motel wasn't open yet — before climbing back into his truck and getting a lighter.
"You still want to burn that?" he asked, indicating the box Dallis was holding.
Dallis nodded.
Trace led the way out to a spot in the middle of the parking lot. Dallis set the box down and Trace lit it. He then pushed Dallis in front of him quickly back to the truck.
When they got to the truck she kicked him in the shin twice.
"I'm sorry!" Trace exclaimed. "Can you stop beating up on me every time I touch you?"
Dallis glared at him savagely.
Trace's retort died when the chemicals of the hair dye exploded, being as the flames had finally reached them.
They watched as the flames burned in scattered places around the parking lot for a few moments before dying. Trace then turned back to Dallis.
"I'm sorry I keep touching you," he said. "But I didn't know how soon it was going to blow and I didn't want either of us to get hit, okay?"
Trace then waved her up into the truck. She climbed in, still glaring. If it weren't for her glare Trace wouldn't have been certain she was the same person he'd arrived at the motel with the night before.
He walked around his truck in his usual inspection, then climbed in the driver's side and fired it up.
Dallis was already seated and buckled up, staring fixedly out of the windshield when he got inside, and she didn't move other than the rise and fall of her body as he manoeuvred his truck out of the parking lot and onto the road.
They'd get through Nashville and likely across the border into Kentucky before they had to stop for the night. If not they'd definitely be close to the border."

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Escape: Day 4

Word Count: 24,018

Summary of Events: 
Trace and Dallis left the restaurant she'd formerly worked at and continued driving; encountering a multi-car accident that blocked all traffic lanes and had no emergency vehicles on scene, they were forced to stop and talked a bit about the outside world, which Trace found Dallis had little experience with. Once the accident had been cleared up enough that they could move on and finally got to Chattanooga Trace stopped and bought Dallis some more decent clothes before they went for a late lunch . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"They finally made it into the restaurant and he led her to seats at the far end of the counter. She sat on the end one. She didn't want to sit beside anyone, other than him — being as she knew he wouldn't touch her.
Cautiously she scanned the entire dining room — which was rather sparsely occupied, although being as it wasn't a mealtime it wasn't surprising — and saw no familiar faces or figures, much less any vehicles that had Georgia license plates outside.
"So are you going to eat something or just spend the whole time scouting?" he asked her quietly.
She exhaled sharply at him before turning back forward and looking at the menu. It took awhile before she found something she figured would be somewhat appetising. When the waitress with the terrible hair-dyeing job and an inordinate amount of earrings who looked bored out of her tree walked over to take their order in a nasal monotone she whispered it to Trace.
He gave the orders to the waitress, who wrote them down carelessly. She then looked at Dallis. "And what's the Grim Reaper having?"
Dallis tensed and shot her hand out for the napkin holder nearby. A firm, strong hand seized her wrist so tightly she couldn't pull out of it, so she tried to hit Trace over the head with the napkin holder instead.
"Stop it," he hissed. "I know I'm touching you, let go of it and I'll let go."
She released the napkin holder while glaring at him viciously. He released her and told the waitress he'd given her order too. The waitress, casting a suspicious look at Dallis, nodded and left.
"Maybe a reason why you shouldn't have worn my sweater," he whispered. "And regardless of what you're called, losing your cool like that is only going to attract attention to yourself, and people are going to remember you, thus, if your buddies from Lady Z's come around looking for you people are going to say they saw you because they'll remember someone losing it like that. You're conspicuous enough walking around in a sweater you could fit in a half a dozen times over."
Glaring at him, Dallis welled up and spat at his hand.
He swore under his breath and grabbed a napkin to wipe it off. "I'm not trying to be a cad, I want to make sure they don't get you back."
She exhaled sharply as Trace replaced the napkin holder. The waitress returned with their drinks, still looking at Dallis dubiously.
"She knows Halloween ain't 'til the end of next month, right?" the waitress whispered.
"Yes," he replied. "She's just cold."
Dallis glared at the waitress, her jaw set.
"Cool it," he whispered once the waitress had left. "Making enemies doesn't lower your profile."
Dallis worked on taking deep breathes while glaring between Trace and the waitress. If people wouldn't go levying insults on people they didn't know things would be more than fine."

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Escape: Day 3

Word Count: 18,005

Summary of Events:
Dallis had an angry discussion with one of the gangsters after being tied up in her detention cell for the night. Trace started north again, having picked up his load, and anticipated seeing Dallis again. Dallis saw Trace pull in, and then saw there was only one spot left in her serving area and someone heading for it, so she pretended to work in another serving area so that Trace could get the seat. Trace came in and ate, enjoying the ability to see Dallis again before going to bed. Once her shift was over Dallis slipped out of the restaurant and over to Trace's truck. Trace let her into his truck and offered her his bed for the night . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"She turned her hooded head and looked up at the bunk. Raising her arms and adjusting the sleeves until her hands appeared — looking tiny in comparison with the sweater she was wearing — she took hold of the railing, squatted down, then surged upward, hoisting herself into the bed without even using the ladder.
Her feet were dangling over the bed edge as she adjusted the blankets and Trace thought he ought to take her shoes off for her. He took hold of her ankle.
She tore her foot out of his hold and suddenly a jarring pain shot through his cheekbone. Trace staggered before finally dropping to his knees, muttering every profanity he knew under his breath —except for the ones that referred to women.
He felt something running down his neck and touched it. Pulling his hand away, he saw dark liquid on it, some of it sliding down the sides of his finger. He licked the metallic-tasting blood off of his fingertips and then felt under his cheekbone. No blood.
So where was he bleeding from? He touched the side of his face, feeling for wetness until he touched his jaw and felt moisture, not to mention his finger came away bloody.
He found his first aid kit and used a gauze pad to wipe up the blood and then put pressure on the wound. He pinned the gauze between his jaw and his shoulder so he could open up another gauze pack. This one he put on top of the other one before using a couple pieces of medical tape to secure them to his jaw.
Rubbing at his cheek gingerly — he could tell it was already swelling — he finally looked up to see she was looking down at him, her feet no longer hanging over the edge of the bed, looking rather ominous, like the Ring-wraiths from the Lord of the Rings movies.
"Don't touch me," she said, sounding almost like a cat spitting.
"I just wanted to kind of help by taking your . . . shoes off," Trace replied, struggling not to swear.
Her defensive posture didn't change, even though she shifted around, undid the buckles on her shoes, and slid them off her feet, before dropping them off the end of the bed, where they landed heavily.
Trace sighed, releasing some of the slightly angry tension from his shoulders, and turned his gaze from where it'd fallen to the floor back up to her.
"I promise I won't hurt you Dallis," he said quietly. "I just want to help.
He sighed again and glanced away a moment before looking back up at her again. "Good night Dallis."
Carefully he lowered himself to his knees and made his bed on the floor. He might have to stop somewhere and buy a twin-sized air mattress if she was going to be staying with him for any length of time; he had a feeling he was going to wake up sore in the morning, but at least his chair was comfy."

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Escape: Day 2

Word Count: 12,011

Summary of Events:
Trace was heading back toward the South, and on a route that would take him through Atlanta again, but he had to detour around a major crash north of Chattanooga. Dallis — after breaking a pitcher over the head of a customer who'd thrown his drink in her face — tried to make an escape, successfully stealing two guns and shooting or knocking out some five men, but failed. Trace stopped by the restaurant she worked at again to eat and respected her refusal of his desire to spend more time together.

Excerpt of the Day:
""I think it'd be better if you just let us take you in," Ross said. "We've got thirty six shots on your twenty four."
"Less than twenty four," Jay said. "One of those is empty."
"See? We've got three times the shots on you," Ross said.
Technically, with thirty six shots, they had eighteen times the shots she did, but she wouldn't dare tell them that. She wanted them to think she had a dozen shots.
"Come on," Ross said. "We don't want to fight with you."
"Yeah," Roy said. "All of this is your fault. If you'd stop running around and fighting we wouldn't have these issues. Stop fighting and your life will be a much more peaceful existence."
"I don't think she cares," Jay said. "I'm just surprised she hasn't actually used her gun to kill someone yet."
"You'd think she would've killed Saw though," Ross said.
"Why?" Jay asked.
"She shot him," Ross replied, using the indication of his finger to finish the sentence.
She raised her eyebrows at the region Ross indicated. No wonder he'd writhed around and screamed like he had.
"Oh," Jay said. "Is he goin' to be alright?"
"No sayin' now," Ross replied. "We'll probably find out tomorrow."
"Once we get her in," Jay muttered.
She cocked her head and fluttered her eyelashes at them.
Ross swore and stepped toward her. She stepped back. Ross stepped toward her again.
She started to step back again, but her foot collided with the downed form of Lenny and she fell backwards, spending one of her shots into the air in surprise.
Bush crashed as the men surged forward. Quickly she scrambled to her feet and went to run, but Lenny's hand seized her ankle and she hit her stomach.
Getting to her knees, she turned back and fired her last shot at Lenny's arm, which caused him to let go as he swore in pain. Again scrambling to her feet, she ran. Suddenly she heard the roar of the chainsaw coming to life again.
Abruptly she cut to her left, the west, as she heard the chainsaw roar before there was a great cracking and the wooden thud of the tree collapsing. The sound of the chainsaw didn't stop. She had a feeling they wanted to chase her with it and wound her with it if they had to.
Now that the tree had fallen she kept running and found the railway tracks in short order. She also found there was a train bearing down on her, heading the opposite direction of the first train. It sounded its horn.
She stared, frozen in fright for a moment before suddenly hands seized her and hauled her back just before the train roared by with a louder roar and a heavy wind that caused her restrainer to stumble backwards and fall."

Monday, October 03, 2016

Escape: Day 1

Word Count: 6,006

Summary of Events:
Trace stopped for supper at a truck stop and met a man he'd had an unsavoury prior encounter with. Dallis was transferred from her detention cell to a different room despite her best efforts at fighting. Trace ended up an hour beyond Atlanta and stopped at a truck stop he'd never been to before, where he was waited on by Dallis before going outside to sleep . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Silently she stared after him. He'd taken her answer and left it at that. She hadn't ever had a customer do that. But then again, he'd been odd all the way around, being so polite, and having an unfamiliar accent.
She watched through the windows as he crossed the parking lot to a rather nondescript truck. The only thing different about the trucks around it was the look of the grille.
Turning away at last, she went back to the kitchen. Lonnie was watching her, his gun in plain sight. She glared at him and strode further back into the kitchen until she couldn't see him.
Quickly she slipped out of the kitchen through the back door and then down the short hall to the north door that led into the chill of the September evening. Wrapping her arms around herself, she shuddered, then looked toward the parking lot and saw his truck again. She wanted to see if she could get close to it enough to see some sort of distinguishing feature.
Seeing one of the other girls striding across the parking lot briskly toward a truck, she quickly started out, keeping as far from the restaurant as possible, but keeping her gaze fixed on the truck.
She soon noticed the license plate on the front of the truck. It said Alberta on it. She read the alphanumeric combination in red characters dominating the plate and worked to memorise it. She'd need to get back quickly, after all.
Turning away, she repeated the plate's information again, checked over her shoulder to make sure se had it right, and then repeated it to herself all the way back to the restaurant.
Inside again, she leaned against the door and thawed out a little bit before slipping into the kitchen, collecting her pad and pencil again, and sliding past a suspicious-looking Lonnie into the dining room again.
She wrote down the license plate number and Alberta onto the top sheet and tore it off, sliding it behind the waistband of her pants — not that it reached her waist — before going over and giving menus to a couple of newly arrived customers.
She wasn't sure why she'd taken the license plate number, but she felt like it might be useful to her in the future. When, she wasn't sure, but there was something about that surprisingly polite man that made her think it would be useful — if not valuable — later on."

Saturday, October 01, 2016

October Novel Essential Information

Novel Title: Escape
Time Setting: 2016
Genre: Thriller
Minimum Word Goal: 120,000
Timespan: September–November
Locations: Peace River, Alberta; Atlanta, Georgia; the 48 contiguous US states
Main Characters: Trace O'Hannigain, Dallis Riebel
Background Information:
Born the only son in his parents' tempestuous union — whose storminess and demise were caused by his mother being a radical environmentalist and his father working for Big Oil — Trace had an unsurprisingly tumultuous childhood.
Shortly after his parents' divorce his mother got a boyfriend, with whom she eventually would have a further five daughters. Due to his father's work he and his sisters were in his mother's custody more often than not, which led to trouble.
It wasn't that his mother's boyfriend didn't like the daughters he was fathering, it was merely that he wanted a son for himself, and when a son wasn't showing up with each subsequent birth, he got upset and began to take his jealousy and frustration out on Trace, who began craving the time with his father.
When he was twelve his father remarried and mounted a case for increased custody of his children, but thanks to forged evidence provided by Trace's mother's boyfriend, he ended up losing all custody of his children.
In an effort to escape the abuse he was suffering, at fifteen Trace absconded with his mother's boyfriend's truck, driving to where his dad lived and showing his dad convincing proof of the abuse he'd suffered, leading his father to mount another custody case which he won.
Unfortunately, after his father won custody his caring for his children dropped significantly and Trace's stepmother became insufferably overbearing, which has led Trace to distance himself from his family, aided by his occupation of choice: long-haul trucking.

Born the daughter of a whore — thus it's no surprise she has no idea who her father is — Dallis' life is best described as being a wretched experience, so far.
With other daughters of the other whores Dallis has been raised with the express purpose — as far as the gangsters in charge are concerned — of becoming a whore herself, and she thus hasn't had that much freedom at all in her life.
However, being as her mother is an addled, deluded, and almost zombie-like person that Dallis sees as almost inhuman, she has no intent whatsoever of capitulating to the gangsters' plans and desires for her life.
So far, she's had success in resisting the gangsters' efforts to make her like her mother — especially thanks to the gang's extensive library of self-defence books — but being as she hasn't escaped their clutches, she's running out of time, as the gangsters are growing impatient with her lack of submission and are threatening her life.
When she was eleven she'd vowed she would find a way to escape the gangsters, and in the years since she has looked for opportunities, but none of them were suitable enough. Now she's going to have to take the first opportunity she finds, as it's only a matter of time before the threats become action.

Novel begins on October 3.