The first day of NaNoWriMo is over, and I consider it an honour and a privilege to share my first page of Grindstone Baby with you all. You know those times when you’re so hungover or sick that you can’t get to sleep, and every noise in your apartment sounds gigantic, and the light from your alarm clock is practically tearing your eyes out? It’s terrifying! So terrifying, that I wanted to put this godawful experience on paper. The dream is intentionally sparse and cold, but it shall be revisited throughout the novel. Unless I fail miserably, of course. I hope you are at least somewhat intrigued by the next lines.
Nightfall. A meadow of long grass surrounded by a dark wood. The ground is soft and cool and I am not wearing shoes, but a white cotton dress runs down to my calves. The air is still and silent. I begin to walk but find that I can barely move, as if the air were thick and heavy. But it isn’t the air; something is weighing me down. There is a ringing from behind, with growing volume. I turn my head to look back.
The phone was ringing and Sabine opened her eyes. It was still dark, and her bedside clock read that it was just past four in the morning. Only an emergency or a wrong number would explain a call at such an hour; she felt an overwhelming reluctance, even dread. Sabine let it ring and curled on the bed. But the ring was relentless, and on the eighth tone, she answered.
There was a crackle on the other end, but no breathing and no voice.
No one answered, and so she hung up the phone.
Sabine closed her eyes and sank into the pillow. She tried to empty her mind of the static flowing through it. But every noise, every breath of her apartment became overwhelming. The refrigerator clicked on in the next room with a crack, reminding her of the phone as it had sounded only moments before. The refrigerator yawned and sighed, and Sabine in turn stopped herself from making any noise at all. Every breath was reluctant. She turned her head to the desk in the corner of her room, and watched the small light on her laptop, blinking. Had she ever noticed it before? She stared, and sensed a shrill wave screaming from the machine. She groaned and dug her head into the pillow. If only her apartment could be silenced, she would return to sleep. In her dream, there was not a sound. It was as if the earth had been unplugged. Sabine wondered what she would have seen behind her if the phone hadn’t rung.