I started writing about MacKenzie O’Dell about seven years ago. I love this character – she came to me fully formed, just sat there in the back of my head telling me stories about her aunt, her father, her long time crush on her aunt’s friend and more. I started writing these down and soon I had a novel in progress. I fear I abandoned it about five years ago, so I have to get myself back into the story. I’ve read through the almost 27k I already have done and am still struggling to get Kenzie to come back and sit on my shoulder, so I thought I would just start writing about some random day and see how things go. This is rough – it likely won’t go into the draft, but it is helping me get back to Kenzie. Look for more snippets like this as I try to prime the pump on this project.
Beyond the workshop door dark clouds clustered and piled across the horizon. The narrowing band of blue sky above the barrier island of St. George allowed a blaze of sun to gild the lighthouse in startling contrast. MacKenzie rested her hand on the large sliding door and watched the steady line of cars move across the mile long bridge to the mainland like ants fleeing impending weather, going to ground. Behind her static crackled through the weather report, the steady stream of updates warning that the storm was bearing down on the coast, almost strong enough to gain a name.
The wind tugged at the live oaks. Clumps of spanish moss fell to the ground. The breeze tugged at Kenzie’s hair, reminding her just how hot she was and just how much she had left on her list of todos before she could hunker down inside and wait out the blow. With a sigh she tugged the great door across the bay, locking it in place and pulling the reinforcing timber down to snug into brackets on either side. One by one she checked the windows, smaller doors, and finally closed the large bay on the front of the boatshop, sliding its timber in place as well before locking the regular door and following the crushed oyster path back to the house.
Her aunt glanced up from the basket of storm supplies as she shed her boots inside the back door. “All closed up, Kenz?”
“Yep. Hopefully those old brackets hold – I might need to replace them before we get any big storms. I forgot how ominous the sky looks when these bastards are bearing down on us.” She stopped beside Cameron and kissed her temple, stomping on the urge to fret at her aunt to rest, to let herself recupoerate, to hover and coddle and otherwise drive Cameron bonkers.
“One thing at a time, Kenzie.” Cameron rubbed at her temple distractedly then pushed the basket into the middle of the kitchen table. “Those are as good as can be for the time being. I made a list of what needs to be added for next time. I forgot Beau had mentioned it needed tending.”
“It’s not being called a tropical storm yet, Aunt Cam, so hopefully it wont be an issue. But I’m going to go close up the storm shutters before it actually starts raining. I’ll be back in shortly.”
Waves of rain pelted the tin roof and rattled the storm shutters. The power had shuddered and gave up two hours into the downpour and Cameron now sat in her favorite chair, her feet up, her hands clasped in her lap, a book laid flat on her chest. Reading was so challenging for her, and more so in the dim light of the lanterns and candles. Kenzie sat on the floor, an assortment of her grandfather’s blacksmith’s puzzles before her, dug out of some box in the boatshop. The metal pieces occasionally tinged together, but otherwise Cameron’s niece simply worked steadily and silently at the pieces. She was a puzzle in and of herself, Cam had always thought. She wondered if the younger woman had figured herself out yet, or if she was still trying to work the pieces of herself into the right configuration to make sense. If she had, maybe she would stay. Stay in Floriday, stay in Honobi, stay with Cameron. Just…stay and be the daughter Cameron had always felt her to be.