So, I wrote a novelette.
I didn’t know what a novelette was, either, until I did some research trying to figure out how to describe a piece that was too long to be a short story and too short to be a novel, or even a novella.
Maybe it’s a novella. I don’t know. The point is that I’m very happy with the end product — regardless of length — and that I’d love for you to check it out:
A Night Alone In My Dread
Available on Kindle
A freelance videographer spends a lonely evening obsessing over his past after a visit from the NYPD reveals his involvement in a shocking and tragic crime.
Want a sample before you decide? Here’s the first chapter.
Even if I unequivocally did not want the worst to be true, the worst still occurred to me at the earliest possible moment.
I took a break from my work and when I sat back down on my couch I had a voicemail from a detective with the NYPD. He didn’t say why he was calling, just that it was urgent and to call back immediately.
I called back immediately. It was his cell number. It sounded like the detective was in a car.
He thanked me for calling him back so quickly and asked if I was home. I said that I was. He took my address and said he and his partner were nearby and could they stop in to ask me some questions. I took the closest thing to a breath that I could find and asked if my wife was okay. The second between the question and his answer exploded with images of violence and death.
The detective apologized for not mentioning sooner that no one in my family was hurt or in trouble. I wasn’t in trouble either. He didn’t seem very genuine about the apology. He said he and his partner would explain the situation in more detail when they arrived and then he hung up.
I didn’t move for a few minutes. I stared sightlessly at my laptop. It stared dumbly back, ready and blue and unaware of how suddenly unimportant it had become.
I closed the laptop. The work would have to wait, now. It wasn’t even real work, anyway. A client that needed handholding – actually, a client who needed help holding the hand of her wealthy and influential, aging and out of touch boss.
They were making videography out to be quantum physics. Again. I had explained it before – in more elegant terms. We plan your content beforehand. Plan as much as possible. On the day, I throw up a few lights and set up the camera and the mics. Together we caress and cajole the “talent”, repeatedly, until you have everything you need or the best you are going to get. Then I cut it up into something prettier than you expected and we all rejoice, you because of the quality you couldn’t see on set and me because of your impending check. And yet I had to explain it again, apparently. Again and again, every time, for every repeat project for this same repeat client who paid me too much for me to be able to tell them to go screw.
The weightiness that had befallen me, before I knew that Alex was safe, began to dissipate. My mind, which had come to a full stop (along with my blood) during that fateful second, jolted back into its “normal” state of persistent questioning. I realized, then, that the detective had said that my family was okay. As far as he was concerned, this probably only meant Alex. But what of my friends?
I felt renewed nervousness. It seemed as if somebody I knew was in trouble. Or had done something. If this were true, I had no idea who it might be. At the same time, having wrestled privately with more personal demons than anyone (with the exception of Alex) ever would have guessed – I felt it could be almost anyone.
Alex. I was glad to be mostly rid of the violent, sped-up slideshow of horrors that had flashed in front of my eyes before the detective realized his mistake. I say “mostly rid of” because, still, they lingered there, a layered flickering collage of impossibly specific retinal ghosts that scrolled behind my eyelids. Alex bleeding. Alex chased. Alex scared. Alex dead.
She was okay. She was okay.
I wished I could touch her with my hands. I picked up my phone and sent Alex a text that told her I loved her.
I put the phone down and realized, faintly in the sort of way that would require refreshing at a more conducive time, that I had more work to do in terms of wrestling with those demons. It was perhaps normal to become immediately worried upon the receipt of an urgent voicemail from the police. But I didn’t think it was as common to also default immediately to the level of anxiety and dread that I had just defaulted to, before I had any information about what the call was about.
Despite years spent on self-improvement, despite the now-prevalent existence of light in my life since I met Alex, my impulse in a time of potential distress had been to imagine the worst, to summon the darkest possibilities to match the situation, and find sick refuge in them as a means of relighting and continuously burning a moment of primal fear.
I wondered: Why? Why still? Why still did I seek out confirmations of a worldview built of violence and death?
And then the questions began to multiply and cascade. Sitting there, alone in my apartment waiting for the police, I wondered what horror had transpired. I wondered if my impulse towards fear was possibly appropriate. What if the detective was lying? Was I in trouble? Or danger? Did I need to protect myself? Had I done anything? Who had done what, that now brought the police to my door?
Soon they arrived and then I had an answer. An acquaintance from college, and a “fan” of what little work I had put out into the world so far in my career, had attacked his family with a knife, wounding his younger brother and killing his father.
Like where things are headed so far? Read the rest here.
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