NaNoWriMo Sneak Peek: The Damsel by @rowematthew


The Damsel

Written by Matthew Rowe

NaNo Excerpt

Sara’s birth was unlike any in recent recorded history. She didn’t fly out and into her mother’s arms like most children and say “Here mother, I saved you the trouble of passing the placenta and ate it for my lunch before my birth”. Nor did she even climb her own way out and give extrenuous salutations to doctors and parents alike as the slower newborns were known to do. No, to the great concern of her doctor and the immense physical distress of her mother, Sara was born in an exhausting, painful and embarrassingly messy procedure that lasted 17 hours. There was tension, frustration and worry. Then there was pain, and lots of pushing. Her mother went on and on about the pushing. Eventually, Sara emerged as a bloody, wailing doll, flopping into the hands of the exhausted doctor.

As everyone stared at the small, helpless, wailing lump of human it dawned on Sara’s parents that their daughter was something special. Truly she was, but they had no idea how much. If they knew what was to come, they might not have faffed around asking so many questions.

“Is she okay?”

“What’s wrong?

“Why isn’t she moving?”

The doctor checked her for immediate signs of illness or complications, but could find nothing.

“She’s just tired,” he told the parents.

At that time, the story of the Damsel was a forgotten legend, a fairy tale occasional brought up at the elementary schools and nothing more. No one had entertained the thought that a real chosen one would be born, and certainly, they never expected someone so helpless to amount to anything…

As Sara grew up, her parents eagerly awaited for her abilities to develop, comforting themselves with the possibility that their child was just a slow starter, but after 6 months all she could do was crawl on the ground like a concussed dog and make strange gurgling noises. They took her to the hospital for so many check ups that their doctor blocked their psychic link just so he could sleep at nights. At this age her brother had been flying around the room zapping flies with his laser vision and it was all they could do to keep him on the ground long enough for dinner time. So, they gave her the best food they could find, they bought her toy after toy, but nothing happened. On walks through the park, they clung to their child in embarssment, simultaneously trying to hide her from the judging eyes of other parents and protect her from what they had come to see as the dangers of every day life, dangers that their newborn was vulnerable too - a terrible incident in which Sara fell forward from her chair and hit her head, creating a huge bruise, taught them this. For this purpose also she was wrapped in a thick case of clothing. Leaving only her shining blue eyes visible.

At the age of one Sara could barely stand and her speech hadn’t gotten much better.

“What should we do?” Mother often asked, but Father was equally helpless. He would just shake his head and watch their baby as Sara giggled at the shape of her hand.

So when Sara uttered a coherent word, they were overjoyed! Mother rushed to her and lifted her out of her bed.

“Did you say, mama? Mama?” she swung around “John! She said Mama!”

John wanted to say that 'Mama' wasn’t a real word but when he came into the bedroom and saw how delighted his wife was he had to agree with her.

“Mama?” he said.

Then their worries started to melt away, and each achievement that flowed afterward was call for celebration. Sara started to speak more and more words, she could walk a distance on her own, she recognized shapes and colours and soon, objects. But eventually, she also started asking questions, and a lot of them went like this:

“Mommy! Why is that man flying?”

“Why is that man carrying his house over there?”

“Why’s the woman so fast?”

“Why does Marty cheat at hide and seek?”

“Why can’t I fly?”

These questions were always answered as swiftly as possible, but every time they had to do it, Mother and Father both felt a painful tug inside. Their child was different. There was so much their child could not do. They never stopped to think about what Sara could do, what she would do. One thing was clear though; they loved their daughter. And although Sara had a difficult time living in a physically challenging world, they were always there to support her. And if they weren’t they could be there in 2 seconds because they had super speed.