It feels good to find the rhythm in my writing again and to adhere to the discipline of a writing schedule. I've gotten to a point in the story where my main character, Langdon Parker, believes the thing he wants more than anything in the world--his father freed from the House--has been denied to him. I want to tell him it will be okay, but he has many, many chapters to move through before that happens.
Words jammed in my throat. There was no way I could explain about the house without hurting her. It didn’t matter anymore anyway. It was over. And I couldn’t even apologize without telling her how I broke my promise. She squeezed my hand.
“Dinner’s getting cold, sweetie.”
We sat across from one another and the meaningless conversation we had was more painful than silence would have been. Dinner sat in a cold lump in my belly. All I wanted was to sleep. Sleep without any dreams. But I had to get through at least an hour of homework. If I could make it through the next two days at school, I had some hope of getting caught up over the weekend.
Standing up, I stifled a yawn and reached for the half-full takeout boxes.
“Leave them, Lang. I’ll take care of clean up tonight.”
“It’s either that or do your math homework for you.” She smiled, but her eyes stayed sad. “And we all know how good I am with algebra.”
Math help was Dad’s department. Though it seemed funny that an artist was good at math and the business administrator wasn’t. Stooping a little, I hugged her and kissed her cheek. There was something extremely unsettling about being taller than she was. I never used to keep secrets from her before either.
I was standing in the vestibule of the house, water dropping off my jacket in sheets. The rug at my feet was soaked and my toes squelched in my wet sneakers. The house waited, watching me. No welcome this time, no open door or magical warmth. The sharp sting of mildew filled my nose. A generation of spiders had encased the chandelier in layers of webs. A cold wind pushed at my back. A challenge or a warning to move forward. I wasn’t sure which.
A recessed handhold showed where the pocket door was hidden. I grabbed it with nearly numb fingers and slid the door open. The hallway stretched out in front of me, closed doors on either side. I took a step forward and a cloud of dust rose up from the oriental runner. There was no sign of my father.