Steady Progress

Well, I’ve written 16,000 words today and it’s not quite noon. I’m feeling pretty good about the crack story. On the bad end, I still haven’t done any more planning for the other story, so we’ll have to see how things stand when this one ends. On the good end, I’m really good at dragging out my crack stories, so I might still have some time to get that done before I’m back in the same quandary I was before.

But I can take a breath now. I’m by no means even close to caught up, but I feel like I can actually write right now.

Anyway, another crack excerpt:

When it was time, I set out from the apartment, my bag over my shoulder, dressed in wholly nondescript clothes with a smile on my face. I drove across the city to where Vasily had once lived, and parked about half a mile away. Sitting in the dark car, I collected myself one final time and went through a breathing exercise. Once I was sure I was completely calm, I got out and broke back into their building. I remembered where their apartment was and took the stairs two at a time. I passed a handful of people on the stairs, but none of them seemed to even look at me, and I was fine with that. I kept my head down and kept moving.

I stood outside the door and tried to decide exactly how I wanted to play this. There was no pleasant way to start this off. But, as they were going to come with me one way or another, they wouldn’t have any need of their front door. So I put my shoulder hard into it and opened it, tearing the lock from the wall – I’ve never said I’m not a strong man, but I suspect that in this instance, it was just as much due to shoddy construction of everything in the building as my own strength.

I took out my gun, but held it loosely by my side. There would need to be some intimidation at first.

Elena appeared in one of the interior doorways. When she saw the gun, she screamed.
“Calm down,” I said, in my most neutral, calming voice. “I’m not here to hurt you. Quite the opposite. I’m here to take you to your husband. Your children as well. Please go and wake them up. The more calmly you follow my instructions, the easier this will be for everyone. Do you understand?”

She came at me; I don’t know what possessed her to attack an armed man at least two or three times her size. But I wasn’t going to hurt her; I grabbed her shoulder and kept her from inflicting anything but minimal damage on me, her fists against my chest weren’t going to do much to me.

“Calm down,” I repeated. “I was given significantly different instructions that involved considerably more intimidation and aggression. Because I won’t hurt or intentionally terrify women or children, I wanted to do it my way. I promise you that this is the easier way. Think back. You know me. We met a while back. I came to the door late at night, asking to speak to your husband. He was probably fairly angry when he came back in after speaking to me. I’m a friend of his.”

She paused, looked up at me. “But he was kidnapped. He’s probably dead by now.”

“I’m afraid that’s not the truth. I’ll explain everything to you later, but right now, I really need you to get the kids, and make sure they understand they’re going to see their father. Don’t pack anything, I’m supposed to be kidnapping you. A kidnapper wouldn’t allow his victims to pack a bag before they went. We can buy anything that you need later, and there are some things in the apartment where I’m going to take you.”

I think that my calmness was finally starting to rub off on her; that, and the news that her husband was still alive, which I don’t think she ever expected to hear. There was a tear rolling down her cheek; I consciously forced myself to not wipe it away. I was moderately attracted to the woman, as I’m attracted to women who look like her – my wife looks similar, if a bit prettier – but I couldn’t imagine anything worse in Vasily’s eyes than my even seeming to flirt with his wife.

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