‘Welcome to Betelgeuse’ part 2

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Welcome to Betelgeuse

I’m spending most of November pounding away at the keyboard for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Meanwhile, I thought I’d share the first chapter of my 2018 NaNoWriMo attempt, “Welcome to Betelgeuse,” in installments. This is Part 1. Thanks for reading; feel free to comment below.

Continued from Part 1.

For now, however, she was the one who was cold.

Miami was one thing and the mountains of northern New York, after foliage season, quite another. She’d let the air out of her tires, as he suggested, to prevent a blowout when she put the miles and the mountains behind her. But another two week’s delay in the North Country for reporters and debriefings and testimony and the reward — don’t forget the reward — left her now by the side of the road with dangerously squishy tires.

She did not want to be here. Anywhere but here.

Anywhere else, that is, but the charred ruins of that motel.

She sounded the Vespa’s horn, which gave a melancholy toot that was soon absorbed by the forest around her. The deer scattered noisily into the woods.

She pulled off the fur-lined goggles — an indulgence that she splurged on when she bought the scooter in the heat of August, but one that she appreciated now — and studied the map. Nothing looked familiar. In the weeks since her adventure, she had become well acquainted with the roads — and the few remaining night spots — between Lake George, where she had eventually found a clean but tacky hotel that was still open, and Glens Falls, where the police and reporters had hounded her as each day passed with new details of the investigation. But she did not know these woods, these dangerous curves, these potholes.

Could she be lost? Could she have turned west, toward God-knows-where, or even north toward Warrensburg? That town was so quiet that it was still buzzing about the day Marilyn Monroe came to town more than a decade before.

Viv smiled. With her tousled brown hair and real-life figure, she was no Marilyn, but her pretty face still turned men’s heads. She was only 23, a little more than half Marilyn’s age, but they had some things in common. They’d shared lives of personal disappointments, particularly with men. She knew all the celebrity gossip from her newspaper days. Still, Viv was glad she wasn’t typecast as the dumb blond. She couldn’t understand how Marilyn, as smart as she was pretty, according to those who knew her, could live with that.

She folded the map and tucked it into a pocket. It wouldn’t help much anyway, with no familiar landmarks. Her best bet was to follow the road wherever it went. Roads go from Point A to Point B. At Point A or Point B, whichever she found, there would be food, shelter, petrol, or at least a telephone.

She gunned the engine and soon her Vespa was humming its 40-miles-per-hour tune as she sped down the road.

To be continued …

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