Posts Tagged ‘furnace’

American Author, Ernest Hemingway (1989-1961) once said: “All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.”

Photo courtesy Google images

Photo courtesy Google images

While I’ve never pondered my book reading in such a way before, I can surely see how that statement is true. Oft times I have finished a book and felt anxious, tired, surprised, happy, or whatever the main characters were feeling. How many times I have finished a book and wanted immediately to get my hands on the sequel because I needed to know if certain characters were going to get together, or solve some deep-rooted problem?

I’ve given this quote a lot of thought lately with regard to my own writing. I wonder if I’ve managed to capture and keep interest in my story. So, I’m conducting a test. Immediately below is an excerpt from my latest WIP. It’s the conclusion of chapter two of my manuscript entitled “The Ties That Bind.”

Photo courtesy Google images

Photo courtesy Google images

Shiloh blew out a breath. The air puffed out into a white vapor that wafted upward. She pulled the hood of her jacket over her head to keep her ears warm. She’d freeze to death down here if she didn’t work fast.

Shining the flashlight’s beam in a slow circle, she located the breaker box behind the wooden stairs. She stepped around a few boxes of tools, discarded machinery parts and cans of paint. With icy fingers, she fumbled with the latch on the box’s metal cover. It wouldn’t budge.

Flooded with disappointment and a growing sense of urgency, she lowered the light to her feet and squatted down to examine the contents of the boxes. She rummaged through greasy tools and jars of nails and screws until she located something that might help her win the battle with the latch. With a somewhat oily screwdriver in hand, she attempted to unlatch the cover again. She grunted with each effort until the latch scraped upward with a screech.


When the metal box cover swung outward she shined the flashlight onto the breaker switches and squinted. They all looked the same. Was it possible that every breaker could have tripped at the same time? The floor creaked overhead. She held her breath and shot her eyes upward. Nothing but darkness was visible beyond the radius of the flashlight’s beam. Damned old houses!

She focused again on the breaker box and randomly flipped switches from side to side. Nothing happened. The floor creaked again and she stilled. A flash of white zipped across the opening in the ceiling. Shiloh held her breath then blinked a few times. Maybe she’d been staring at the flashlight too long and her eyes were playing tricks on her. Or maybe the storm had intensified and lightning had flashed.

With a grunt she flipped more switches, cursing softly when nothing changed. Panic was starting to set in. By now it would be too late to drive to Twisted Fork.

Photo courtesy Google images

Photo courtesy Google images

Abandoning her efforts at the breaker box, she instead picked her way across boxes and plastic tubs of ancient holiday decorations toward the furnace against the adjacent wall. She could light candles for light, but without heat she’d have little chance of surviving through the night if the temperature kept dropping.

She lifted off the bottom grill portion of the furnace. After setting the flashlight on the floor she aimed the beam on to the pilot light and groped around on the floor for the metal box with matches her father always kept nearby. The faint smell of kerosene struck a chord of familiarity. She remembered her father smelling of kerosene on the drafty nights he’d come down here to re-light the pilot light of this old ornery furnace. This new wave of nostalgia brought fresh tears to her eyes.

Now is not the time to reminisce. Find the damn matches and get upstairs!

As she lifted the lid of the matchbox, a bright ray of light switched on behind her, followed immediately by the commanding words of a man who obviously meant business.

“Don’t. Move. A Muscle.”

So tell me dear readers – does this leave you with any feelings? Do you feel as if this has truly happened to you? Do you want to know what’s going to happen next? Have I managed to capture Hemingway’s sentiment about good books? I look forward to your comments. Go ahead, be honest. I expect nothing less from my friends.

Word of the day:  Bezique

Fun fact about me:  I love sour candy.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt (June 2013)  Photos courtesy of Google Images

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