This is a little peek at my Nanowrimo novel, entitled Enter. Hope you enjoy. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments. 🙂
When the sun rises on my night’s vigil, I know I am not alone. It doesn’t matter that Ethan is sleeping in his rumpled bed across the tiny, messy studio apartment. He’s still here, and I’m not alone. It’s a good feeling.
I get up from his old, comfortably sagging couch and go into the kitchen, pour myself a glass of water. I don’t want to wake him. I know all the backstory will wait. I’m just content to know he is there. That he cares for me. More importantly, that he knows my story and believes me.
I wonder what it would be like, after all this time, to really sleep. Just a nice, full night of peaceful slumber, no longer hounded by nightmares. To lie down in one place, one time, and wake ten hours later in the same place, the same time.
For two and a half thousand years, give or take, I haven’t been able to count on that one simple invariability.
Not that I’m complaining. If God chooses to deliver me from certain death, I think sleeping through a hundred years is wonderful. Who am I to question the mode he chooses for his earth-shattering miracles? I’ve long since ceased trying to understand the whys and wherefores.
But Ethan is a scientist, if a believing one. He’d like a few answers, and I wish, just a little, that I could give him some.
Like why I have been leaping my way through history. Like why the embodiment of evil I have the misfortune to call a husband turns up everywhere and every-when I go.
Daon Nazaratus. The villain who started it all, who lost me my family, my roots in time, everyone and everything I knew. He was there at the beginning, in ancient Babylon, and he is here, now, in this very city, waiting for me to appear once again.
Except that this time, I know, somehow, it will be the last time. Maybe then I’ll finally get to sleep. For real, this time.
Ethan sits up in bed, rubs his thick dark curls, reaches clumsily for the dark-rimmed glasses he keeps on the nightstand. Only then does he see me, remember slowly, smile.
“Good morning yourself. I hope I didn’t wake you.” I smile back at him, despite my slight reserve. I’ve only just met him, after all. But even the little we’ve been through together is enough to make me happy to see him, to share his company. He’s the first person I’ve ever trusted with my story.
“Not at all. I need to get up, anyway. Got stuff to do.”
“Yeah, I’ve got to get to work, too. Can’t be late on my second day.”
There’s a shyness between us. Like he’s afraid to ask if he’d just imagined all the things I told him last night.
“Did you sleep at all last night?” he asks in disbelief.
“I told you. I’m not a big fan of sleeping. There’s the dreams and all. Besides, I do plenty of sleeping … you know …”
“Yeah.” It’s sinking in. I can see it on his face. But even though he believes its true—that I am essentially 26 centuries old, rather than the 20-something I look—it’s going to be a while before he truly accepts it.
He rolls out of bed in a t-shirt and shorts, grabs a pair of denim pants and a sweater from the floor, and heads into the bathroom. “I’ll just be a minute.”
I busy myself with finding bread and toasting it. His toaster is not too different than the ones I saw before, a century ago, so I don’t have any trouble. I figure out the coffee machine, too, from my new job yesterday. By the time he emerges, dressed, shaved and combed, I have a plate of toast spread with jam and a mug of coffee ready for him. He doesn’t have a dining table, so we sit on the couch.
“Hey, thanks.” He takes the toast and crunches into it. “I probably would have been too lazy to eat any breakfast. Couldn’t do without the coffee, though.”
“And you scold me for not sleeping.”
“I know. They do say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
“Do they? I suppose it makes sense.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot you won’t get many cultural references.”
“Not unless you’re talking about history.” I hunch my shoulders and take a bite of my toast.
“That sounds perfect to me. I’m a history student, don’t forget. Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong century.”
“Me too,” I say. We both burst out laughing.
The clock on the stove says 6:49. “I have to be at work soon.”
“I’ll walk you down.”
He takes my plate in his free hand and dumps the dishes carelessly into the sink. I follow with the mugs, more gently. After lifetimes spent in servitude, I can’t break my old habits.
The coffee shop where I got my new job yesterday, where I first met Ethan only 24 hours ago, is just downstairs, a block south, and across the street. He was having a date with his guitar and the sunrise. I was waking up for the first time in a century, on the park bench next to him.
I remember the first time I woke after my long slumber, when I slumbered under a Babylonian moon and wakened to a Persian sunrise. When I closed my eyes on slavery and certain death at my wedding feast and opened them on freedom and life a century later.
If only I had been as free as I’d thought myself then. But Daon had lived on, defying nature and God, to hound my waking and sleeping ever since.
If the feeling I had was to be trusted, it wouldn’t be for long.