So, there were times this year when I found myself writing a lot. And what I wrote was dark, really dark. But it kept flowing. Twenty thousand words later, I had created a novella called The Lepers in Your Head. I just started editing it, to clean it up a bit and make sure it made sense. And I thought perhaps I’d share it here on this blog. My thought is that I’d publish it here one chapter at a time. Perhaps one chapter a week, or maybe two. But before I do that, I wanted to find out if anyone would be interested in reading it.
I think it’s a clever story, and I think my writing style has gotten better thanks to my editors at Boyle & Dalton. But here’s the thing about it: it’s dark and depressing. And potentially triggering for people with a history of suicidal ideation or attempts.
So, I’m asking you, dear reader, would you be interested in reading something like this? Please leave a comment if you would be interested. I leave you with a brief excerpt:
Five years earlier, I had to travel to North Carolina for a three-day conference for work. I was able to take some vacation time before and after the conference. So instead of a three-hour flight, I took a leisurely three-day drive both ways. I wanted to see some of the country, enjoy the scenery.
But along the journey, the darkness went with me. The darkness crept along every highway, under each hotel bed, in every cigarette I smoked. The darkness swam through the summits of the Great Smokies. The darkness whispered to me, “Why go back?” The darkness whispered to me, “Why not end it out here?” The darkness whispered to me, “There must be some excellent roads around here that go over and around these mountains. Surely one of them must have a weak guardrail on the valley-facing side.”
I had only one answer for the darkness that day: my children. No trauma for the children. The darkness accepted that, and so the darkness and I did some math together as we kept the car on the road. My youngest was five at the time: so thirteen years I had. Thirteen years, and she’d be eighteen. Thirteen years, and I could end it without guilt. Then she and her older siblings would be old enough to process the loss. It would still hurt them, but not the same way.
The clock was ticking. As of now, the day my wife sobbed as I stood by unable to offer anything, the timer on that clock still read eight years. I couldn’t commit to the final plan. Not yet.
But if the local legends I’d heard were true, then maybe there was another option.