So, I'm busy-busy working on a my WIP, EDWIN COPPERPOT and another (secret) project, but I really, really wanted to post a Tuesday Teaser, late though it may be!! This excerpt is from my new MS on sub, THE TRASHLINGS. Our three teenage heroes are looking for the man who encountered the same horrible creature they did. This is a scene from the mental hospital, bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!! All comments welcome! Thanks guys!
xoxo -- Hilary
A cardboard sign perched on an unmanned front desk, leaning precariously against a candy dish filled with petrified jellybeans. The hand-writing read, 'Ring for Service', with a red arrow pointing downward to a tarnished bell.
Bruno tapped on the bell. They waited for a few minutes. No one came out.
Ritchie leaned lazily against the desk, resting his elbows on it, already disinterested. "Aw, c'mon people," he grumbled. He beat on the bell. "Hey, I gotta life to lead. Can we get some service?"
"Ritchie!" barked Bruno. "What's the matter with you?"
Ritchie sluggishly looked up at the ceiling, unmoved by his brother's scolding. "Whatever," he moaned. "Why are we here, just for your stupid homework assignment?"
"No, to find out information," said Reese. "Trust us, it's important."
The door behind the desk opened with an indignant groan. A bony woman, bordering on ancient, scuttled out in a stiff white uniform, scrunching up her prickly features, visibly bothered. Her lips stretched in displeasure, making them nonexistent as she scrutinized her late night visitors. Her voice chortled with a gravelly timbre. "What do you want?"
Ritchie opened his mouth and raised his eyebrows, about to answer, probably with something sarcastic. Bruno swiftly kicked him in the ankle before he could talk; quite sure the old biddy didn't need further prodding by his blockheaded brother.
"Hey, what'd you do that for?" muttered Ritchie.
Bruno ignored him. "Yes, ma'am," he said in his most polite young man demeanor. "We're here to see Victor Zimmerman."
The woman eyed them circumspectly. "Aren't you children out rather late?"
Bruno misplaced his voice, suddenly becoming lost in the woman's cavernous wrinkles, highlighted by the ruthless lighting, everything about her thorny and hard.
Reese jumped in. "Uh, yes, ma'am, " he motioned to Ritchie. "Our older brother's boss made him stay after hours, but we raced here anyway, hoping to see our Uncle Victor before you locked up." Reese spotted her name tag, Nurse Honeysuckle. Nothing sweet about her, he thought. "Nurse Honeysuckle, we know it's late, but it's been so long since we've seen him."
"Is that right?" She popped her angled chin over the edge of the desk and gave Ritchie a firm inspection. "So, you’re the oldest?"
Ritchie's eyes locked with hers, memorized by her cataract, a vaporous white. He stammered, only managing to spit out an, "Uh..." This time, Reese kicked him in the ankle, knocking him out of his daze.
"Everybody quit kicking me," Ritchie grumbled under his breath. He stiffened his back and sucked in his stomach, trying to appear as tall as possible. "Uh--yeah, I mean, yes ma'am--I'm eighteen, the oldest. As you can see, I'm a full grown adult."
The nurse snorted. "Full grown, eh, I'd say you were downright stunted for an eighteen year old."
Bruno stifled a laugh.
Ritchie's mouth dropped open, duly offended by the disparaging comment. "Hey," he said, "I'm not stunted, I'm a late bloomer and by the way that's a pretty rude--"
Nurse Honeysuckle cut him off abruptly. "Give me your id."
Ritchie huffed as he rifled through the many pockets of his cargo shorts. "Oh, wait a minute." He bent at the knees and retrieved his driver's license from inside the toe of his sandal. "Eureka! Here it is." He proudly displayed the id.
"You keep your id in your sandal--a smelly shoe?" asked Bruno.
"It's the safest place," said Ritchie.
Bruno nodded his head, amazed at his brother's reoccurring lack of logic. "Ritchie, it's a sandal. It's full of holes. Don't you get that it could have fallen out?"
Ritchie grinned with satisfaction. "But you're wrong, genius. The sweat from my foot keeps it stuck in place. It's been there all day. It can't fall out."
"Uh, gross," said Reese.
Ritchie held out his license to Nurse Honeysuckle, who cringed at the germ ridden laminate. She fished a crumpled tissue from her pocket and reached for his id with skeletal fingers.
"Richard Black," she said, reading the license. "Very well, you can see him." The nurse grinned devilishly. "Mr. Zimmerman is one of our most interesting patients. I simply don't know what we would do around here without his constant repartee." Reese could tell from her tone she plainly did not like Victor Zimmerman.
Nurse Honeysuckle primly handed Ritchie back his license and pushed over a musty leather bound book, tapping a yellowed fingernail on a blank line. "Sign right there--by the coffee ring." Ritchie scribbled on the ledger.
Nurse Honeysuckle pushed forward over the desk and glowered at all three boys. "You have thirty minutes until visiting hours are over, not one second longer. You will do as you're told or you'll have me to contend with and I'm not one to be trifled with. Am I clear?" The boys nodded.
She curled a knobby finger, beckoning them round the desk. She turned and opened the door leading to the wards. "Follow me."