Snippet Saturday is the brainchild of author Lauren Dane, wherein a group of authors selects thematic excerpts from their work and shares them on Saturday mornings. This Saturday's snippet is character.
I thought I'd share a short scene from Claustrophobic Christmas with some secondary characters. Our hero and heroine encounter some fellow travellers suffering in the same traffic jam that stuck them together. This scene takes places several chapters into the novella, when the traffic jam has begun and James is standing outside Darcy's car, checking to see if she is all right.
“Hey, man,” the guy said to him. “What’s going on up the road?”
James flicked the flashlight toward the east, the direction they all wanted to travel. “I didn’t go far, but if I recall correctly, in a couple miles there’s a bridge. I’m guessing it iced over.”
Darcy widened her window. “The radio station mentioned bridges and overpasses.”
“The station out of Tarnington?” the guy asked. “All I can find is Christmas music.”
“I’m not sure, it was mostly static.” She shook her head. As James watched, something tiny sprang out of her bushy hair to the ground, disappearing into the snow.
“I think you lost a hair barrette,” he told her.
She smoothed her hair, pausing near one ear, and plucked something free. She huffed and flicked it to the ground.
“Nope. Jelly bean,” she said.
He’d ask later. Right now the guy from the SUV was watching them expectantly, and exhaust puffed around them, encouraging James to find cleaner air to breathe. Or at least warmer air. The glacial night was starting to solidify his nose hairs.
“I gotta find something to listen to,” the guy said. “The baby is asleep but my older kids are going stir crazy. The batteries on the DVD player ran out.”
“We might be here a while.” James glanced at the SUV sympathetically. “There was an exit ten miles back, but you can’t make a U-turn here. You folks have enough gas?”
“I think so.” The dad grabbed the SUV’s door when it started to open. “Stay inside, punkin, you’re wasting heat,” he fussed at the kids. James assumed it was the kids and not his wife. Two young faces and one doggy one pressed against the glass. Darcy waved at them.
He heard more doors slam. Several onlookers converged on their little gathering. James had been in enough jams to know people would leap on any excuse to break the monotony, even when it was twenty degrees and snowing sideways. One man slipped, and the lady with him clung to his arm.
Darcy shut her car off, reducing the exhaust odor.
“I saw you walk past earlier.” An older man wearing a ball cap shoved his hands into his overcoat pockets. “What’s to see, buddy?”
“It’s the Big Creek Bridge, I betcha anything,” another guy said. “I’m from Tarnington. The wife sent me out for milk and bread, but I had to go into Heckley to find anything. Now here I am.”
“Bad luck,” everyone agreed.
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