The Missing


My dog, Hanni, has been getting me up at 0300 every morning for reasons I can only speculate, and once I’m up, I have a hard time falling back into a restful sleep.  So it was with great reluctance I obeyed my alarm’s insistence I awaken and start working.  I must admit, my gaze lingered on my PS3, which has felt somewhat neglected since I imposed this deadline on myself.

One day, I told myself.  One day won’t put me too far behind schedule.

But I found myself turning on the computer rather than the console. I wrapped a blanket around my shoulders, grabbed my MP3 player and “The Shadow Within” notebook while blinking at the intensity of my monitor as it came to life.

Like an automaton, I went to my email and retrieved the file I’d been working on.  Since I write on my lunch at work and in the morning at home, I email myself an upated version, so I can work off of it.  Usually, I save the file and then open it, but this morning I just opened it and enabled editing.

I pecked away at my keyboard, reading off my chicken scratch rough draft notebook in the dim light of the monitor (which no longer seemed so bright now that my tired eyes had adjusted).  The scene is such where one character is telling another character her back story.  The way I originally wrote it, it was all narrative.  Within the span of a paragraph, the details were laid out.  No emotion.  No personal involvement.

Cursing at myself for taking the easy way out the first time, I decided to expand the scene, to turn it into dialogue and have some interplay between the characters.  It was the same information, but the delivery was key and an hour and change later, I had something I could be proud of.

With my time running out, I hit save and closed the file.  I went into my email to send it to myself at work, in case I had a chance to work on it at lunch…but it was gone.  It wasn’t under my Download file, like it normally would be.  It wasn’t in my eBooks master folder.  I did a search for any files named Shadow Within and it produced several, but none of them were the correct file.  I even tried searching for key words I knew I just used, but there was nothing.

There may be a simple explanation for this, one the more technical minded followers of this blog can explain to me, but so far as I can tell, the chapter disappeared into the ether.  I believe because I opened the file rather than downloading it, my save just simply vanished (much like how I finished this post, only to find I had somehow gotten logged off of WordPress and lost a chunk of text).  Perhaps my next try at writing the chapter will produce something spectacular, but it may very well end up like the song Tribute, by the fantastic Tenacious D.  Whatever I write, it may not read anything like that scene.

You’ll just have to take my word the original was fantastic.

S.L. Madden

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