Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.
I decided to switch back to A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University, the fourth novel with my Russian characters, because the subject of Chapter 41, “A Modern-Day Greek Tragedy,” is now very timely and relevant. It’s September 1949, and 20-year-old Bogdana knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that she became pregnant when her 35-year-old secret boyfriend, his nephew, and their roommate assaulted her six weeks ago. Without a job, and afraid to ask her parents for mystery money, she’s decided to take matters into her own hands.
Peppermint is Bogdana’s cat.
After spending several hours bending an old, already-bent hanger back and forth until it finally snapped, Bogdana then moved to unstringing it just as painstakingly and slowly. Finally, she spent several more hours bending it back and forth again until a suitably small piece broke off. The final step was sharpening one of the ends with the never-used whetstone her parents insisted she have.
Now, as dusk approaches, Bogdana steels herself and has a seat on the floor. She figures this can’t be harder than when she douched with Lysol. There’s nothing on hand to numb the pain, but it’ll be over quickly.
Bogdana guides her sharpened piece of hanger into her body, taking deep breaths. She yelps when it hits something she assumes must be the cervix. After taking a few more deep breaths, she wiggles it around until she discovers a slight opening. Victory achieved, she pushes it through.
The ten lines end here. A few more follow to finish the scene.
Searing pain rips through her, from a place she can’t be sure of. The intense pain is accompanied by a warm, wet, sticky gushing down her legs. She tries to pull out the instrument, but can no longer reach it. Panic sweeps through her as she tries again and again to get even a toehold of a grip. She has no pliers of any sort, so she can’t extract it the hard way either.
Bogdana suppresses her urge to scream and alert her upstairs neighbors to what’s going on. She crawls over to the phone, pain still holding her in an iron grip, and calls the cab company. In a shaking voice, she asks for Les Medved, and gives her destination as a random address near Dr. Scholl.
During the next ten minutes, she breathes deep and clenches her fists and toes to try to distract herself from the agony. All the while, blood continues gushing down her legs and forming a pool on the carpet. Peppermint pads up to her, then skits away at the sight of the blood.