I’m working on a novel-length story. Its title is THe.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter One of the working manuscript:
The nest was too high for him to throw a stick accurately at it, he thought. Rocks would be better.
The boy thinks briefly about those he left sleeping in the house. He thinks about the hornets inside the nest above his head. And how now doesn’t really feel like a family, and how the hornets scare him. He couldn’t explain if you asked why he wanted to throw rocks at the nest. He was careful enough to do it in the morning, though, so he wouldn’t be stung by hornets looking for the source of the destruction of their carefully-constructed suspended home.
He’d had other destructive impulses like this. Stomping on the ice of some deep ruts in a dirt road, where ice had formed and a wide, hollow gap between the ice and the water below was hollow and reminded him of breaking glass when he broke through the ice. Throwing rocks at an old abandoned car in the woods, stones clanking metallically as he struck the rusted passenger side door. Kicking a football as high as he could in the backyard of a foster family he’d been with before.
He threw the rock. It missed left, and too high. He’d thrown it as high as he could. He goes back to the ditch along the road and searches for more rocks of the right size. He finds gravel there, and fills his hands, walking back to his throwing distance place. He makes a small pile there. He throws up another, smaller, rock, missing low this time, although right on target. A third rock has a good feeling. Its weight is right. It’s the one.
He cocks his arm, rock held behind his head, and looks at the spherical paper nest. This is the last time he would see it intact. He looks down at a second rock held in his right hand. Destruction is the way of everything, he knew. Things were permanent, then they change.
Undoing permanence was why he was here. Exactly the reason. Give in. Throw. Or hold off… and let something else do the throwing—a boy, the wind, a branch, rain… time. He didn’t think any of this, but he knew it through and through.