Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)
TITLE: Anxiously Awaiting Her Return
By Kimberly Russell
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She hated the fact that the thing she loved most had to be squeezed in as an afterthought but it couldn't be helped: Life happened. Someday maybe she could seriously pursue her passion-and expend less energy on the mundane. But in the meanwhile, those dishes weren't going to wash themselves.
Kaitlin swiped at a purple trickle as she headed for the kitchen but pulled up short when a text alert came from her phone. She glanced at the message and continued on with a shrug when she didn't recognize the sender.
Hmmm...Frankie Taylor. Sounded vaguely familiar. Intrigued, she studied the message.
<i>Hi. Haven't heard from you in a while. Miss ya.</i>
Kaitlin leaned against the kitchen counter, chomping the popsicle stick as she tried to put a face to the name. Hesitant fingers tapped out a response.
<i>Do I know you?</i>
She tossed the phone aside and proceeded to run dishwater. Scrubbing feverishly on a fry pan, she was still puzzling over the text when another chimed in.
<i>Yes, rather well. Not surprising that you don't recognize the name. It's been quite a while. Was really hoping we might reconnect.</i>
Kaitlin groaned as she hit reply with every intention of getting answers.
<i>I need more info</i>
Within seconds, a message was returned.
<i>We met last fall when you were on a quest. Take the phone and go to the den. You'll figure it out...</i>
Kaitlin stumbled to the cozy room, taking in the broken down recliner where she used to spend so much time. She stopped at the bookcase, stuffed with notebooks of writing and lovingly fingered the titles taped on each spine when one in particular grabbed her attention. Understanding dawned as she gasped and reached for the phone.
<i>Frankie Taylor? How can that be?
<i>Ahh, mystery solved. Good. Now maybe you can tell me why I haven't heard from you in so long.</i>
This is crazy!
Come on, Kaitlin. Get over it and answer the question.
Okay fine. I don't know who this is but I'll play along. You want to know where I've been? Running my life, that's where! I'm so busy, I can't see straight. I've wanted to get back to you but there just aren't enough hours in the day. Believe me, I'd love nothing more than to expand on our relationship but I'm doing the best I can.</i>
Kaitlin waited, her heart pounding like a bass drum. The silence of the room closed in as she glanced back at the notebook containing the printed copy of last year's NaNoWriMo entry.
Being involved with NaNo had been amazing. She hadn't prepared like most of the other participants, deciding just 48 hours prior to give it a whirl. Kaitlin smiled as she remembered being so befuddled, she didn't even know where to begin. What started as only a glimmer of an idea had somehow manifested into a 50,000-word manuscript before the month was over, making her a winner.
<i>Photo Finish</i> was only an incomplete rough draft but she was as proud as a new mother. Some day she hoped to finish the story and begin editing for publication...some day.
And now, the main character, Frankie Taylor, had contacted her, to express his disappointment at her negligence? Was she going mad?
Another tone soon cut through the room, jangling her nerves at the same time.
<i>I know you struggle to keep all your plates spinning but look at it from my perspective: I'm in limbo. First you save me from suicide and help turn things around then WHAM, you kick me to the curb.
I might as well have jumped off that building since my life is meaningless but I guess you're too busy with your own to bother. Don't worry-I won't trouble you again. </i>
Kaitlin's gaze shifted from the phone to the framed NaNoWriMo "Winner" certificate that would not have been possible without him. He was right: she owed him a huge debt of gratitude. Time to finish what she started.
<i>Forgive me. See you soon. I promise.</i>
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