Day eighty-four of my 365 Day Writing Project.
I took some time to write before dinner tonight. Usually, my time to write is after the kids are asleep. Getting some writing time at an earlier hour was great, but it came with a lot of distractions. So, it didn’t last long. When I had time to write more later after everyone went to bed, I decided to give myself the night off and catch up on Modern Family episodes. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.
Without much to report here tonight, I realized that it has been quite some time since I have posted a snippet from my book. So here you go.
Three months to the day after their mother’s suicide, Deacon was admitted to the Vermont State Hospital. Finding their mother hanging in the barn had caused him massive emotional trauma and he had been unresponsive ever since. The doctors diagnosed him with catatonic depression. For three months, Skylar and her father tried to care for Deacon themselves. They did their best to bring him back to his normal functioning state, but they were unsuccessful. If anything, Deacon had actually gotten worse. He was slipping away from them more every day. And it was killing her father.
When her father first mentioned that he might need to send Deacon away, Skylar tried everything she could think of to get her brother better. She told him jokes, she read to him, sang to him and even danced to his favorite music like a crazy person to try to get something, anything out of him. A laugh. A giggle. A snort or grunt. A raised eyebrow. Anything. But nothing worked. Behind his eyes all she could see was blankness. He wasn’t there anymore.
Skylar refused to believe that he was totally gone. When watching her father waste away in desperation at the demise of his son, Skylar made a decision to try one more thing. She decided to bring Deacon outside to see the sheep. He had always loved the sheep and had been devoted to caring for them since he was six years-old. He would get up early every morning to feed them, without fail. He used to shear them and talk to them like they were people. He even named them all. They were a part of him. Skylar figured if anyone could get Deacon to “wake up” out of his catatonic state, it would be the sheep.
She bundled him up in his wheelchair and rolled him outside. But she made a grave error. When she pushed him toward the barn, Deacon had a seizure. Skylar had to leave him to sprint back to the house to call 9-1-1. In her haste, she didn’t think to turn his wheelchair away so he couldn’t see the barn. She left him there, facing the barn where he had found his mother dead.
When she ran back to him less than a minute later, she realized what she had done. She had unintentionally made him face the demon that had seized his spirit just three months before. In an instant, any drop of hope of getting him back evaporated. Deacon, the brother she had grown up with and loved all her life, was gone forever. And it was her fault. The ambulance arrived and the EMT’s worked to get the seizure under control. They were loading him into the ambulance when her father got home. He was panicked. He tried to refuse treatment for Deacon to keep them from taking him, but they convinced her father to let him go. As the ambulance pulled out of the driveway and her father peeled out behind it in his truck, Skylar knew. Deacon was never coming back.