My novel

I've completed a novel and I know it's in good shape. I spent three years of my life writing it, obsessing over it, having a baby and ignoring it, falling back in love with it, editing it, rewriting it and obsessing over it some more.

I'm currently seeking a literary agent. Are you a published writer or professional in the field? I'd be thrilled with any help you could give.

Here is an excerpt of my book.

demandablue (at) gmail (dot) com

I bolted awake as she left out of the back door of her house and ran into the night. A chorus of startled crickets chirped as she made her way through the tall grass at the end of her yard. I saw her, a flash of white in the darkness as she disappeared into the brambles. I pushed wildly at the branches and thorns as I ran after her.

"Clara," I whispered. I heard none of her sounds. A bat twittered above me. There was no soft breathing or the padding of her worn soles on the needle bed of the forest floor. I listened for the silk of her hair in the wind. Panic was creeping into my thoughts. I called for her again quietly. "Clara!"

"I'm here," she said. Her voice was even and close in the darkness.

I was blind. There was only thick blackness and the sting of thorns against my face and arms. I heard her moving in the weeds, the soft plucking sound of her clothing sticking to nettles. I groped the air blindly, pin pricks of pain dragging themselves across my palms. "Where are you?” I whispered. Her hand grasped my wrist.

"You're caught,” she said. "Here. I'll help you.” She led me through the brambles. I gripped her hand too hard, terrified of losing her in the dark. I wanted to hold and keep her so she couldn't go home again.

"You're hurting my hand,” she said. I loosened my grip and she more gently laced her fingers with mine. "It's okay," she said. "I can see.”

She would know where we were headed, for sure. I was lost and turned around, but she navigated the woods without eyes. "We're almost there," she whispered.

"Where?” I asked. A low branch jabbed me hard in the chest and I startled exaggeratedly.

"An opening,” she said. "We just need to find some light.” I tripped over a fallen trunk and fell forward on to my knees. "Are you okay?” she asked. "You shouldn't have followed me."

“Why aren’t you in bed?” I asked.

"Watch your head,” she said and we ducked between the low branches of a willow tree. We came into a clearing where the moon was bright and its blue light covered everything. Millions of white clover flowers bobbed in an ocean of blackness. They bent at their stems to kneel on either side of her feet. Her bare arms and legs were scratched and bleeding. There was a dark smear of red across her throat.

"Are you cold?” I asked and looked away from the blood. I took off my shirt and held it out to her, keeping my eyes on the ground. I fought back a disconnected urge to throw up. I wanted to hold her bloodied arms in my clenched fists and force her to climb inside of me. Force her. Crush her and command her to become the water in my veins. She took my shirt and held it against her stomach, hesitating, my nakedness obvious between us.

"I think I'm bleeding,” she said. "I don't want to get blood on your shirt."

"Put it on,” I told her. "You're cold.”

I couldn't stand the sight of the cuts that had been torn in her perfect skin by the brambles. I took the shirt out of her arms and held it up and she slipped into it. She smiled at me, brushing a lock of hair from her face and leaving a dark marking of blood on her cheek. Her hands were shaking. They had been so sure and steady as she led me through the darkness. I wanted to smother her under my weight. She bit her bottom lip and her sadness ignited a fire in my belly. I wanted to hold her to the ground under me and annihilate her.

"Are you sick?" she asked. "You look sick. Are you okay?” I reached out and scrubbed at the blood blush on her cheek with my thumb. "I'm okay," she said again.

She placed her hand gently on my throat. Her fingers probed lightly until she found my pulse, and she rested her palm there. Her fingers were hot on my skin. I wrapped my arms around her waist and held her close to my skin and let her keep time with my heartbeat.

"I'll keep you," I said. I had meant to say, "
I'll keep you safe," but I couldn't bear the lie. My reason for breathing was to keep harm from touching her, and I failed. Disappointment burned inside of me. I was sure she could feel the fire of my uselessness through the thin skin of my throat. I wanted to kill her and take her life away. I wanted to carry her to a chapel with a view of the lonely ocean and marry her.

She said softly, "You can keep me."

My head was throbbing. The familiar ache grew and became sharper, until the pain was overwhelming. "Let's sit down," I said before dropping to my knees in front of her.

I held my arms tight around her thighs. Her tiny fingers drew tentative patterns through my hair. I was being burned alive from the inside. What could I do? My skin was flaking away from my bones. I pictured her in a one room church by the sea, her hands in mine, mist creeping through the broken glass of the window. A sheer and sudden drop off outside the door. Would she have me? Would she have me the way I was? Watching her. Waiting for her. Afraid to even touch her. Afraid of the way my blood surged under my skin when she was near me. I wanted to carry her to the end of the world, to a fabled place where the earth's guts were exposed and raw. I wanted to touch her brown skin, to feel how warm she would be, and I hated myself. I wanted to hear her say my name. I wanted to make her cry out.

We nestled together like two rabbits against the night, in the field of bobbing clover. She curled into my chest and shivered until she fell asleep, her hair smelling like lilacs and sweat.