And Still Two Remain: #STaD Kifo Project for May 2

Welcome, friends! Come in, and let me tell you a Story A Day, all May long…

In June and July, I’ll be drafting two new Kifo Island novels. I know something about 5 of the 6 point of view characters, and I’ve got a sketchy idea of the plots – but I need to learn more about these people and their stories.

So, in May, I explore. Every day, I’ll follow the prompts in A Month of Writing Prompts 2016. I’ll play while moving through my planning efforts. Some of these stories may become part of the eventual novels, but my goal is to invite these characters to show me who they are and what they want – and how their lives fit together to make a novel.

Week One’s theme is Limits, and Day Two is a Word List Story. I managed to remain within the timeframe, and only edited for typos. I also used the guest prompt by Jerry Jenkins: A character scrolls through her phone, but none of the pictures are hers.

And Still Two Remain

Quincette figured that she had her grandfather’s job to blame. She pinched her fingers around her waist. There was still a pad of squishy fat between the skin. She thought of the scale this morning, and the entry she’d made in her journal on the page where 100 was written in huge block numbers. “And still two remain.” She wasn’t likely to lose that two, with all the changes, and that put a panicky feeling in her belly – because numbers didn’t lie. They were the proof of whether she was in control of her life, or something else was.

She wanted to be in control. And now, because her grandpa, who died before she was even born, had run his company’s credit union, and handled all the loans, she wasn’t. It was going to take time to figure out how to be, in this new place.

“So he went to his grave keeping the secret that the loan was for this place we’re going?”

She’d never heard the story, until the airplane ride to this forsaken island. It’s true she could’ve stayed behind, but her own mother’s job made that even trickier, under the circumstances. Hard to live in your parents’ home when your mom had just retired as mayor, and the town furnished the mayor’s house.

She had to pretend she was interested. She had everything to gain by being with Mom and Dad. If they told her she wasn’t doing her part, they’d all agreed that she wouldn’t be able to stay, and then she’d lose all of her control.

“It’s called Kifo Island. It was the largest loan the state ever recorded, and he did it for a staff member, and never said a word what it was from, because the woman wanted to keep it a secret rather than be noticed. It was only in Dad’s will that he revealed that the loan was for Kifo Island.”

“I’m still not sure I’m in love with this idea,” Dad said. “It sounds more than a little morbid, an island resort hospice. I’m willing to stay for a few months and give it a try, but I’m really not sure that I want to live there.”

“I’m glad you agreed to come with me, Roger,” Mom said. “And you, too, Quince. I think we’re going to turn a major family corner here.”

“I’m not sure it’s a good place for a holiday, but I’m game.” She pasted on a smile and made sure that it reached into her eyes. Mom loved her, but as long as her eyes sparkled, she never looked past the surface. She was just a picture in a pretty frame. Quincette wasn’t strong enough right now to recreate all of her routines. Everything was based on living with them. If she had to live alone, everything could fall apart.

So, once she was settled in her new room, she’d started right in. She had to do enough of the stuff Mom required her to do to stay here as long as they did. She went online, and found out what therapy groups were meeting, found a doctor, and found herself a job, all before she ate anything, and long before Mom and Dad got up, so she could short herself three raisins, rinse a spoonful or two of her oatmeal down the drain, and drink two glasses of water before she ate. By the time they were up, she’d left a note for them, and gone for a walk on the beach, so she could honestly say she hadn’t gone running. She even gathered seashells, so they wouldn’t know how brisk most of the walk had been.

Then she’d gone to the first interview, and, less than an hour later, she had a job that would make her parents happy, and give her a bit more control over that two pounds, but, more importantly, over the life she would live on this Kifo Island.

It had been a week, and still two remained. But, if she could keep switching one pail for another in an endless relay of feeding and watering the small herd of miniature horses, mucking out their stalls, brushing them, and maybe, eventually, taking them out for runs and walks, that two pounds that remained would go away, take a few of their friends with them.

But that still wouldn’t give her back the control she’d lost when she had to leave home.

Quincette went through the process, again and again. Raise the pail to the bin; pull the lever on the oat hopper, carry it over to the furthers unfed animal, drop the oats in their feeder (not the word, but I can’t think of the one I want right now) and then come back. She was taking extra steps and making extra movements any time she could; she tried to add 3 steps to each trip.

It was the only way she felt like she had any control, and she still blamed her dead grandfather.

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