Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chapter 22 - Michael's Dive Log

Thanks everyone for helping me celebrate SING ME TO SLEEP's Goodreads Choice nomination. It was like a party every time I checked my comments or opened my email. I appreciate your votes so much. The polls are open until December 30th, so if you have any brilliant ideas on how to spread the word, I'm all ears.

There is a voting widget you can put on your blogs or websites. I think anyone can get it, but it might be just available for authors. I'd be happy to send you or post the code if you need it.

Did you notice, my son made a "link to me" widget for CAYMAN SUMMER? Scroll down to the bottom of the page and grab the code. We keep trying to get it to move up to a better location, but it's obstinate and won't budge.

I heard from Penguin today and they aren't going to help with the campaign, so I'm on my own. Well, not really. I have all of you. You got me nominated. I have great faith in you to help me find votes.

I'm now a Twitterite, so if you are into Tweetness, find me at Angela Morrison @liv2writ. I probably should have kept trying to find a unique combination of my name, but everything I tried was taken. I gave up. And I like being known as liv2writ. If I say something really dumb, people won't know right away that it's me! And maybe I could post great writing tips!

Huge thanks for all your feedback on yesterday's post. A scene that features religious practices written for people who aren't familiar with them is so tricky. I want to give enough information to make it realistic, but I don't want to freak everyone. Or bore everyone with preachy stuff. Realism is important. But I don't want Pres. X to come off as creepy. I will use your comments as a guide when I revise.

I was in a panic about today's scene. It's so important. I was worried I wouldn't be able to focus. I had some material that spilled out in morning pages a couple weeks ago that helped me get there. And then when I closed my door and began to write, it flowed. What a blessing. As an artist, I get to experience miracles of creation every day. That is the best reward of all.


Dive Buddy: Leesie           
Date:  06/17
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  

Leesie’s back in Pres. X’s office. I’m in there this time. Leesie glares at me like I’m the biggest snitch in history. The guy sits back in his chair and looks from her to me.  
A picture of Jesus wearing a red robe standing in front of a door, knocking, hangs on the wall just above Pres. X’s head. I don’t know anything about this Jesus stuff, but I do know I need help with Leesie. I hate when she’s deceptive like this. Freak. She flat-out liked to me out there. This isn’t the girl I fell in love with. Maybe this guy and his Jesus picture can help me find her again.
Who knows what she told the guy. Nothing good. For all I know she told him we’re doing it ten times a day. The look on his face got to me. It wasn’t disgust or loathing, though. It was pain. Sorrow. Like he’d just lost a child. His voice we full of love—calling her back. He says it again, “The Lord loves you, Sis. Hunt.”
She pulls her scarf off her head. The long scar shows through the inch of growth and creeps down her forehead. “I drove my brother off a cliff and killed him.”
I reach out and put my hand on her arm. “There was ice on the road. She was hurt really bad.”
“We were having a huge fight.” She closes her eyes. “I was mad enough to shoot him. And driving way too fast. I killed him. Manslaughter, at least.”
“He didn’t have a seatbelt on. It as an accident. Tell her.”
She shoves my hand off her arm. “Don’t tell me it was just an accident. Don’t tell me I’m not guilty.” She clasps her hands together and leans toward Pres. X. “He doesn’t understand. I’m lost. Murder.” Hysteria grows in her voice. “No forgiveness in this life. Read him that scripture!” She hides her face in her hands.
I lean over and grasp her shoulders, try to calm her. “At first she went on and on about stoning, you guys don’t do that do you?”
“No. That’s biblical.” Pres. X rises and comes around the desk, stands next to Leesie but doesn’t touch her. “Sis. Hunt?”
“She told me—”
She drops her hands. “That’s enough, Michael.”
I put my hand over hers. “She told me the rules don’t matter any more. That she was lost forever so it would be okay—”
 “And you—?”
“Didn’t believe her.”
“You protected her?”
“From me. I’m no hero.”
Leesie looks from me to Pres. X. Her eyes glitter. She blurts, “But I did everything I could to get him to sleep with me. And I’m not giving up.”
“Sis. Hunt! Why are you tormenting this young man who so obviously loves you? That is cruel.”
Leesie starts, shakes her head wildly. “I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s all I can think about. Every day. Every night.” Her eyes swim with tears. “I’ve made it so hard for him. I am cruel. It’s evil I know. That’s who I am now. It’s hopeless, President. I am lost.”  Tears stream down her face.
Pres. X sits down behind his desk, reaches the box of tissues and hands it to Leesie. He doesn’t say anything—just lets her cry.
I try to comfort her, but she pushes me away. She finally blows her nose and says, “It’s eating me up, president. What do I do? I can’t live like this. We need to just sin and get over with it.”
“The guilt you’re feeling is real. I’m not going to tell you, you did nothing wrong. We both know that isn’t true.”
My eyebrows jut upward. “But it was an accident.” What’s with this guy?
“Guilt is a warning flag that lead us to repent. It is a gift from God. It will wrack your soul until you turn back to Him. But if you don’t turn back to Him, it will eat you up from the inside out.” The expression on his face reminds me of Leesie’s dad.  “And then you’ll become hardened. Past feeling. All you’ll want is sin. What you’ve told me tonight, Sis. Hunt, concerns me greatly. You’ve given your guilt to the adversary.”
The adversary? “What’s that?”
“Satan. She’s under his influence now.”
I stare at Leesie wondering if she’ll go all Carrie on me. “What is she guilty of?”
“She can tell you.”
Leesie sits up, lets me take her hand. She whispers, “Anger. Blinding anger and hatred toward my brother. That cost him his life.”
Pres. X nods. “Go on.”
“Hurting my family. Wrecklessness.” She fights down a sob. “I am responsible for that accident.”
Pres. X studies her face. His voice is hushed, holy. “But you didn’t murder him, did you?” His words open Leesie’s heart. There’s a power under them that even I feel.
Leesie looks at me and dissolves in a pool of sobs. “No.” She falls into my arms. “No, I didn’t.”


  1. finally a little of the real leesie comes back!!!!!!!!
    and michael feels some power/spirit too!

    this IS going to have a happy ending :)

  2. Why did Leesie break her secret so soon and so abruptly? She's put off telling Michael that she believed she killed Phil for SO LONG, that her spilling everything with no provocation seems sort of anticlimatic. I realize that this is supposed to be her breaking point of sorts, but a little more inner turmoil crescendo-ing and splintering type of deal is what I was looking for, I guess. Or maybe this way works better. Ignore me if I'm making no sense.
    It just seems a teeny bit impersonal. I don't know, but this scene is SO important and I've been waiting for this for so long like the other readers that maybe I expected something out of the realms of Michael and Leesie's world, but... I suppose I really am looking for that inner turmoil. To make it seem more earth-shattering and as important as I thought it was supposed to be. Does anyone else feel that way? BUT, author knows her characters best, so whatever you feel is best, Angela! Always.
    I LOVE the end of the scene. Once again, I think the President walking her through and out of her guilt could be a little more drawn out, since Leesie and Michael have been suffering for so long, but it's still great. ESPECIALLY the end where she falls into Michael and salvation, etc.
    <3 !

  3. Yes, finally something real from Leesie. And I love that Michael is there to hear it, and that she is finally getting it all out. I really like that she opened up to the branch President, it's about time she started feeling something again..and started realizing what she has been doing is wrong, and that she did not murder her brother. Loved the last line.

  4. Sana, Leesie's secret from Michael is that she and Phil were fighting over HIM. She already told him they were fighting. She's not telling him anything new here. She told him she was a murderer back in UNBROKEN CONNECTION. He's been trying to convince her that it was an accident since the accident. Perhaps I should work in a reference back to that episode in the hospital to remind you.

    And, just so you all know, the scene's not over. Next post will be a continuation via a Leesie poem. There is so much ground to cover here that I had to break it up.

  5. Wow. This is really powerful. Especially the last lines. I can't wait for the continuation!

  6. I'm glad the scene will be continued -- I also feel like Leesie needs more "inner cleansing." It's not going to be an instantaneous thing for her after so long. And I like how the subject of guilt is treated. She is guilty of some things, but murder isn't one of them.

  7. i love that micheal is starting to understand..And i am also starting to see the old leesie !!!