Tuesday, March 08, 2011

INTRODUCING THE SPIRITKEEPER -- A Love Story by Lynn Biederstadt

There are people who are full.

And people who are empty.

People who die, and people who live.

And in darkness


they find one another.

Chapter One: "THE WITNESS"

Walking. Walking.

Dead guy walking.

Heart bumping lots faster than it should have,

for a little walk like that.

Lights too bright in here. Too many people.

They don’t tell you there’s going to be that many people

in the place you die.

People talking. Saying nothing.

You can’t hear good with your heart so loud.

Strap you down, arms stretched out like jesus.

Needle in the arm. Big needle.

Curtains open. Grey cloth.

Now you can see the witnesses

and they can see you.

Witnesses. Not friends. Didn’t have friends, now.

Lawyers, plenty. No friends.

The victims families were there.

Lot of hate coming from them, coming right through the window.

Wrong hate. For the wrong guy.

Well, no reason why the last minute of your life

should be any different from how the rest of it had been.

All that hate from all them people. Except from one.

Skinny guy. Tall. White hair.

Dressed all in grey.

Something kindly in this one.

All the hate out there, it kept its distance from him.

Like it parted around him.

Warden was coming.

Warden put a microphone next to the killing table.

Anything you want to say?

Anything to say?

Why ask? He’d been saying the truth for five years.

Nobody listening then, nobody listening now.

Didn’t do it didn’t do it never did it.

Done a lot of things, but not this one.

Pretty funny that the one thing they kill you for is the one you didn’t do.

The white-haired guy, leaning forward now.

Looking right at him. Into him. Like he wanted to tell him something.

Wasn’t a voice, but it said

easy. easy. it’s bad, i know, but don’t be scared….

Not-voice made his head hum. It pushed the room away.

White-headed guy was the only place he could look.

Warden made the Governor phone call

from right there in the chamber.

Warden listened, Warden shook his head.




Once the needle’s in, time comes, somebody presses a button.

Nobody touches you.

Somebody ought to touch you if they’re killing you.

He saw it. Saw it. The stuff that was moving down the tube to his arm.

They said the first dose made you sleep.

The second stopped your breathing.

Third one stopped your heart.

He could feel it coming.

He lay there holding his breath, like that’d stop anything…

here. i’m here….

The not-voice again, outside the window.

Sound but not-sound. Sharp and soft.

Like the white-headed guy had called him.

…it’s okay. it’s okay. don’t be scared. let it go….

White-headed guy’s eyes. White-headed guy’s breath.

White-headed guy was all there was.

First dose coming. No second dose. No need.

Somebody was singing a high note in his ears.

The room stretched. The singing stretched. His life stretched.

Thinner… thinner… until you could see light through it…

until light all there was…

…it was okay it was okay it was okay now….

Chapter Two: "MAN MINUS SELF"

sting of needles

bottom of the ocean

reduced to nothing

with the switches thrown wide

wrapped in the jacket

with the sleeves strapped behind

hauled like a sack of sand

helpless in rough hands

buried deep inside

where no one could find him

outer voices through cheesecloth

inner voices choked and strangled

no calm, no quiet

no me here

no here here

not here

not there

not where he belonged

wanted to go home

but helpless

too heavy to move

but so so light


Lynn Biederstadt, who keeps a wonderful blog called Sky Diaries, is a Missouri-based novelist whose first two novels were published in four languages under the imprint of Richard Marek. The Eye of the Mind, her first book published by Putnam, was about psychics who could predict natural disasters. Her second book, Sleep, A Horror Story, was published by St. Martin’s Press.

Stay tuned, the next installment of THE SPIRITKEEPER will appear on Saturday, March 12, 2011. For more on the thinking behind serialization check out the Huff Post, where serialization of Seeing Red began last month.


Meanwhile, a reader wrote in yesterday to MyStoryLives asking "I don't quite understand this experiment of serializing a novel online. If I can read it online for free why would I buy the book?

Our reply:

"Hello and thank you for writing. You ask a good question. Serialization is a way to bring a book to people's attention. You might decide just to read on-line, for free, but you might also decide to buy the physical book, so that you can read it in the bathtub, or just read it at your own pace. Also, if people really started flocking to a website for a particular book (i.e. if an author became very popular on-line) then the website could theoretically at least pay the author for the rights to the book (and collect revenue through ads.) The other possibility is that we may decide to serialize the first ten chapters, or 20, and then tell people that if they want to keep reading they have to buy the book either electronically or in print form. I am considering that as a possibility for my novel on the Huff Post and for The Spiritkeeper here on MyStoryLives. THANKS FOR WRITING!!"


joniwriter said...

Wow! What a beginning. I can't wait to read the next installment. When, where can I buy the book!

morseren said...

Lynn, what an amazing beginning. It is so visceral. Now I want more, more more! :)

The writing is so fluid and full. Thanks for posting that link.