Excerpt from OUT

Deep breath…well, I’m deeply into OUT. I am feeling this story. I just wrote a scene between Chris, the main character, and one of his fathers, David. To read it, you have to know some backstory that you’d have if you were reading the novel. Here goes. Would love any feedback you can give.

David (one of Chris’ fathers) is the powerful head of the Anglicant church, and he’s trying to set Chris up with an older man named McFarland. Chris has just recently had his first sexual encounter with Carmen, the girl with whom he is in love in this world where Perpendicular (opposite sex) couples are outcasts, deviants. Parallels (same-sex couples) rule the world of religion and politics.Chris has just been groped by McFarland, and reacted instinctively by kneeing him in the groin, which might ruin his plan to go away for a weekend with McFarland and facilitate a kidnapping for the Perpendicular Liberation Army. In this scene, he is making amends with David in order to insure that the plan doesn’t fall apart. (David heard about the incident from Chris’ other father, Warren, who has driven McFarland home after the incident.)

“David?” I peek into the room, where a blood-orange fire glows in the hearth. Very Victorian. He’s sitting in his brick-colored leather chair, upright, still as death. “Dad?” Palms sweat, hair stands up. It’s like going to the principal’s office. Except legally the principal couldn’t really disown you or beat you.

I cross soundlessly, digging socked feet into thick Aubusson carpet, a deer creeping up on a hungry wolf. “Listen, I just wanted to apologize—”

He throws a crystal goblet into the fire. Shards of glass scatter, cutting fragments of light into reflecting ribbons. But he says nothing.

I come closer. His fingers are wrapped tight around the stem of a wine goblet, his knuckles white. I guess he heard. “Dad, I didn’t mean—”

“Do you know that Jim McFarland is probably going to run the Anglicant church some day?” He says this quietly, flatly, without emotion. “He’s going to be the most important person in North America, even more powerful than the president in many ways. And you just kicked him in the balls.”

“I didn’t mean to!” I kneel on the rug in front of him. Firelight etches distorted patterns on his face, making it a ghoul’s Mardi Gras mask. “He just…surprised me. That’s all.”

He laughs, a bitter, rage-filled sound that promises that I’ll make up for what I’ve done. “Surprised you. The 17-year-old virgin. Jesus, what did you expect? Did you think he was interested in you because of your brains?’ He leans forward, places the goblet carefully on the the sidetable, and gazes at me with a cobra’s black eyes. “I want to make sure you’re taken care of, Chris. I’m doing this for you. McFarland is a ticket. He’s a rite of passage. And sex…it’s just mechanics. If you’re afraid, I understand, but listen, people have been doing this since humanity began. It can’t be that difficult.”  He thinks it’s about sex. He actually thinks I’m too shy to even be able to kiss someone. I stifle a laugh and pretend to cough.

Here’s where I could totally screw the pooch. If I can’t convince him, it will all be for nothing, and I’ll never get away. Think of Carmen. Think of her lips, her eyes, the bracelet, the night air, the rough tree. Make it count. “I’m sorry, Dad. I’ll make it up to him. I promise.”

A sharp intake of breath—he doesn’t expect me to be so accommodating. His body relaxes, and the pose of attack softens as he leans back into the chair. “Well,” he says softly. “That’s…good. Very good.” Sip of wine. “Come here.”

I scoot closer to the chair. He reaches out, strokes my hair. It’s like somebody grabs my heart and squeezes. Tears flood out, sobs wrack my chest, and I crawl up closer like a baby looking for comfort. Damn him. I wish I could just purely hate him, but I can’t.

He gently tilts my chin toward him and wipes a tear from my face. “No need for crying,” he says gently. “I know. I know it’s a lot to take it at once. I know you’re young.” He leans toward me, envelops me in his arms, hugs me to him. “I just want what’s best for you, that’s all.”

Sobbing, my breath strangled in my throat, I choke out, “I know.” And I do. And that’s the hell of it. He thinks he’s doing the right thing, the godly thing, the holy thing. Killing and torturing people who are different, who love differently, this is his prayer to his god. He doesn’t see it as evil. He sees it as divine. And because of this, I cry even more.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sam
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 16:22:41

    I am so intrigued! The story line is very creative! Sort of Brave New World but with the obvious twist that can purely be related to our society! Knowing you, I can see why you are very into writing this, which is only going to make it that much better! I can’t wait to read more; please feel free to post any excerpts at any time 😉


  2. lpreble
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 16:52:33

    Thanks, Sam! I am working on it daily. I’ll definitely post more and put more updates here when things progress!


  3. Jon (0h..you know who!)
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 02:18:22

    I like it. Darker than I imagined..which is a good thing.


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