Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Excerpt: Crossed the Threshold

Now Playing: Bill Elm and Woody Jackson - The Shootist (Red Dead Redemption OST)

[Introduction].

Still going with these.

I read this book a few years--I think in 10th grade, before Winter Break--and I found it really endearing and fascinating. I don't read much contemporary fiction, but this is one of the few I have read and really enjoyed. It's got a lot of charm to it, and I think it comes from how easy it is to identify with the protagonist.

I'm certain almost 50% of the dialogue is in all-caps, and honestly, I imagine that's exactly how West Point feels like.  The writing of this scene is pretty intense. And so this moment (among others) effectively convinced me I'd never make it out alive of any military institution. Congrats to anyone who does.

Gabrielle was in front of me. In my hurry to get to my room, I was afraid I'd plow right over her. 
And then I heard his voice, filling the stairwell. "YOU'RE HISTORY, DAVIS!" 
He bounded up the stairs, two steps at a time. 
"WHAT ABOUT IT, DAVIS? READY TO KISS THIS PLACE GOOD-BYE?" 
He shadowed me. Up the flight of stairs, across the landing, then up the next. 
What was I thinking? I had opened my big mouth and brought this on myself. 
"WANNA PACK YOUR BAGS AND CALL HOME TO YOUR MAMMA?" 
I clenched my teeth and willed my eyes to stare dead ahead. Do not look at him! But I could see him out of the corner of my eye--his twisted lips, and his red face, and those stupid, bulging veins. 
"YOU CAN TELL HER YOU COULDN'T HACK WEST POINT BECAUSE YOU'RE LEFT-HANDED!
I had now reached the third floor and my hallway. I checked the room numbers. 311...310...Gabrielle was moving out, along the wall in front of me as if she were trying to keep Cadet Daily's rage from engulfing her, too. 
"Poor, poor New Cadet Davis," he whined in a mocking voice. "Being left-handed is just so unfair! And to think--Napoleon was left-handed, too!" I could feel his breath on my face, he was so close. "Make my day, Davis. Let's see some big, fat, salty tears." 
309...308...Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! 
"Too proud to cry, Davis? Is that it? Come on. Prove what everyone already thinks about-" 
307...306...Faster, Gab! 
"-That you're weak, Davis, and you don't got what it takes to make it here!" 
I felt like I had been shocked with 1,000 volts. It was Cadet Daily's voice, but my mother's words. That's not true! I do have what it takes! I do! You don't know anything about me! I felt that stubborn, crybaby lump again, throbbing so hard in my throat that my teeth ached. 
305! Gabrielle darted across the hall for our room. 
Bang! She flung the door open and scurried inside. Seconds later, I crossed the threshold and... 
BANG! I slammed the door behind me. 
Gabrielle gasped. I looked back at her with horror. Did I really do that? I was dead. 
BOOM! 
The door flew back open, sending our trash can rattling across the floor and leaving a trail of shredded paper behind. Cadet Daily filled the doorway.
- Battle Dress by Amy Efaw 

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