This is an excerpt of my first chapter from my current work-in-progress. I am so nervous sharing the first part of the first chapter because I know that it can either draw readers in or cause them to throw down the book and never read it again. This is my first time sharing this significant part of my book. The summary of my novel is a young woman, Aisling McHale, is struggling to understand who she is and where she came from when her dreams begin to disrupt her reality. Dreams and reality collide in this genre-bending novel. When Aisling struggles to learn her past, she learns that who she always thought she was isn’t exactly who she is. Please read and enjoy.
Comment if you would like!
A sliver of light bled through a crack between the two subway cars, its glow as gossamer as spider webs. Freckles of dust floated through the air. Aisling McHale gripped the strap above her as the subway screeched to a halt. As the metal whined against metal, the prerecorded announcement reported the stop. “Morgan Street.” The voice rattled as though it were reverberating inside of a tin can, and Aisling strained to hear it.
The sidelights brightened, and the cabin was flooded with light. She winced at the sudden illumination. She attempted to make herself small when she noticed the wall of passengers pressing nearer to the door. They were a knot she had no desire to untangle. Her slow gaze pulled across the streak of faces. She paused and observed the teenage girl with blue highlights in her dark hair and a hoop pierced through her nostril. Tattoos bled bright colors onto the girl’s shoulder blade and unfurled down her forearm.
The short, middle-aged woman beside her wore a dress that skimmed her ankles. Her hair was plaited into a complicated bun. Next to her stood a man who wore a dark suit and had a mournful look in his eyes. Yet Aisling’s gaze rested upon a large man who stood in the front of the group.
The man gritted his teeth, and his steely eyes were narrowed into a glare. Aisling placed one foot on the subway station’s cement floor. The other lingered on the scuffed floor of the subway car. It should have been a simple decision: to stay on the subway or to disembark. It was a decision she had made hundreds of times before without thinking about it. The man tilted his chin up and thrust it in Aisling’s direction. “Hey, lady,” he said, “you coming or going?”
He took a step nearer to her and crossed his thick arms over his chest. Her thoughts slipped away as she took him in. His ruddy cheeks showed working class exhaustion like a rusted-out chain on a motorcycle. Her eyes trailed across the mud streaks on his jeans and the crescent moons of dirt underneath his clipped fingernails. A murky fog replaced any coherent thoughts she may have had.
His eyes pierced into her like a newly sharpened knife puncturing fabric. He cleared his throat. The burn of her blush dragged Aisling back to the moment. The crowd seemed to vanish when he spoke.
“C’mon,” he said, “ain’t rocket science. My kids expect supper soon. You coming or going?”
Her vision shimmered with humiliated tears edging the corners of her eyes. Her tongue felt thick in her mouth, and she couldn’t push the words out. Aisling’s mind frayed, and the threads of thought unraveled. The question bit at her as uncommon as a blizzard in June.
This was the decision.