This is the first draft of a work in progress. Why do I feel the need to share such a piece of my soul? To keep a record. To keep me focused.
Today’s excerpt is what I am considering for the opening of Dysfunction of Family (working title).
Thank you for reading, for your comments and for sharing if you’re so inclined.
Bullets launched from the weapon sending bolts of energy through her arms that slammed into her shoulders. Twenty feet away the target exploded, showing the bullet hole but missing the bullseye by several inches.
“Take a deep breath, you’ve got this.”
Catalina pulled the weapon back to waist level and took two long deep breaths. Raising her hands she found her sight and squeezed off the three remaining rounds in the magazine. The red center remained untouched.
“I feel like I’ve been shaken awake from a dream I didn’t know I was having.” Heat rose in her cheeks, embarrassed by her need to choke back a sob. The physical act of ejecting the spent magazine from her 9mm gave her just enough time to regain her composure. “It’s the weirdest fucking thing.”
Nicole raised a neatly plucked eyebrow, “wow.”
“Yeah, that too.” In the decade the two women had known each other Catalina had never uttered words harsher than ‘dang’ or ‘oh my.’
“I don’t know what’s happening.” Catalina set the Springfield XD on the range table. Holding the gun only made the shaking of her hands more obvious. She turned on her heel and walked in the opposite direction, her steps short and quick, while trying to smooth her hair back into the band at the nape of her neck.
Nicole watched her normally calm, cool, and collected friend and business partner become visibly upset, more than seemed warranted, given what she knew.
“Hey,” she called. When Catalina didn’t respond, she called louder. Hey!”
Catalina spun around, her face down and her long, dark, silver streaked, hair whipped around her head like medusa’s snakes in the dry desert air. Try as she might to hide them, her tears were obvious.
Nicole gripped Catalina’s shoulders. “Look,” she gave her friend a small shake, “whatever this is, isn’t it right up our alley to figure out?” Seeing how Catalina’s lower lip was quivering, she didn’t wait for an answer.
“There’s an explanation,” she started.
Catalina held up her hand and tried to shrug off Nicole’s hold. “Stop. I don’t want to be analyzed right now.”
Nicole stepped back and crossed her arms. “Wow,” she repeated, with more of the zing she felt.
Catalina picked up her gun, pressed it into its case and clicked the lid shut. She slid case and the empty magazines into their places inside her range bag and zipped it closed.
Her hands rested on the bag. Nicole watched her friend struggle to maintain her emotional control.
“I’m sorry,” Catalina started, her voice so low, Nicole had to step forward to hear her. “I know I’m being, …”
Nicole jumped on the pause, “A bitch?”
When her usual sarcasm didn’t produce even a hint of a smile but instead sent Catalina’s hand to her mouth to hide the increasing quiver, Nicole apologized.
“Honey, I’m sorry.” Nicole slid an arm around Catalina’s shoulders and was surprised to feel her shaking.
“Catalina?” Nicole pulled her friend closer.
But Catalina pushed her away. “I’m sorry,” she looked around to see if anyone had noticed them, “I don’t want to break down out here.”
Nicole surveyed the few men who had made it to the range at the early hour. While none of them appeared to be watching, the women knew better. They were always being watched.
Nicole reached over and patted Catalina’s shoulder, man-style, and stepped back, offering a small nod in agreement. “You’re off the hook for how. But I expect to see you in one hour, in my office.”
Catalina picked up her range bag and adjusted the strap on her shoulder. “Where else would I be at 9 am on a Thursday morning?”