Today’s guest on The Write Stuff is dieselpunk author, Sarah Zama. Glad you could join us for #ExcerptWeek, Sarah. The floor is all yours!
GIVE IN TO THE FEELING
She ran into the apartment and into her bedroom. She switched the light on, let the shoes fall to the floor, took her dress off, grabbed her nightgown.
Breathing was so damned difficult. She didn’t even try to think.
She sat at her dresser and watched herself in the mirror. Her face was a mess. Kohl had melted down her cheeks though she had not realized she had been crying. She grabbed cold cream and paper tissues from the dresser and quickly cleaned her face. It was even worse without make-up. Her eyes were red-rimmed. Her face was splotchy from crying.
She jolted when she heard the door of the apartment click closed. She grabbed the powder and quickly padded it all over her face.
Simon appeared in the mirror, standing in the doorway. Everything inside her went cold.
He paced toward her, just like the night before. She saw him grow bigger in the mirror and looked for the spirit shadows. Her skin crawled. The cold of the stockroom had chased her here, in her bedroom.
“You came up early.”
His voice was cold. Her fingers trembled.
She opened her mouth. No sound came. She forced words to form in her scrambled mind and wrestled them out of her.
“I didn’t feel well.” Just a whisper.
She realized she still had the pot and pad of powder in her hands and put them down on the dresser. She started when Simon’s hands lay on her shoulders.
“So,” he said and leaned slightly forward over her head. “Is it done?” His body weighed down on her shoulders, his shadow fell over her.
She looked at him in the mirror and saw shadows on his face. Shadows made by the lighting of the room. His face was dark, his eyes were dark. Her own face was pale with powder. She tried to speak, but her mind didn’t assist her.
Simon’s mouth thinned into a harsh line. His hands clasped her shoulders tight. “I can help you if you can’t do it yourself,” he said softly.
Her heart banged like furious fists against her ribs.
“Sometimes people just disappear and so does the problem. I can help it happen — if you can’t do it yourself.”
Simon’s face was sharp in the mirror, the black shadows had gathered under his brows now and she wasn’t at all sure she had ever seen him before. Besides, that was not her in the mirror, that white face, those big lost eyes, the quivering pale mouth.
Simon smiled and the shadows disappeared. He patted her shoulder. “I’ll pour us each a cocktail. Everything will be clearer afterward. You’ll see.” He patted her shoulder again and left.
She sat there in front the dresser unable to move. Unable to think. A void settled at the pit of her stomach, and pushed, twisted, rolled, wrangled.
She ran into the bathroom. She didn’t have much in her stomach, but she kept retching long after everything was out. Until her entire body ached. Until her every fiber shivered. Until the last inch of strength had left her. Then she sat on a stool, crossed her arms on the sink and let her head rest on them. Trying to calm her heart down. Trying to even her breath. Trying to find the strength to stand up again.
Author Sarah Zama
I was born, raised and I still live near Verona (Italy), though I worked for a time in Dublin. I started writing fantasy stories as a kid. Today I’m a bookseller who reads fantasy, history, mythology, anthropology and lots of speculative fiction. Somehow, all of this has found its way into my own dieselpunk stories.