From The MRI Waiting Room

by - July 13, 2015

The Church In The Wildwood by Alanna Rusnak excerpt
It's amazing, isn't it? How a fresh space can make words flow?

Last night I sat in an uncomfortable chair under horrible lighting and took the eighteen minutes my husband spent behind closed doors being scanned to write a new little scene.

It goes something like this...

Joseph watched the girl disappear into the darkness, his breath creating a foggy cloud on the glass at the very place where her face had been. He thought of her eyes, of their depth and the curiosity they reflected, and he thought how their colour was the very same colour he saw looking back at himself any time he looked in the mirror.

“What is it?” his mother asked, putting a hand on his shoulder and causing him to jump.

“Nothing,” he said, turning away from the glass but taking the memory of those curious eyes with him. “Just a raccoon, maybe.”

“To bed then,” his mother said, following him up the stairs and waiting patiently while he used the bathroom and brushed his teeth. “Goodnight, my love,” she said when he emerged. “Sleep well. May God guide your prayers.”

“Yes, Momma,” Joseph kissed her on the cheek and moved to back away from her but she clasped her hands on either side of his face.

“I love you more than life,” she said, her face cast with strange shadows.

“I know, Momma.”

“You are my world.”


“Sometimes I don’t know if I am dizzy with the spinning or dizzy with the lack of it.”

Joseph said nothing. He didn’t know what she meant.

“Love is the greatest and the heaviest gift,” she whispered, leaning in to kiss his forehead.

“Goodnight, Momma,” Joseph said. He could feel the rumble of a car coming up the driveway and he watched as her face changed with the realization.

“Goodnight, JoJo.”

He slipped into his bedroom and shut the door, hearing the familiar sound of the key turning in the lock and her bare feet padding down the stairs to answer the door though there had been no knock.

Joseph stripped down to his undershirt and shorts and lay across his bed, staring at the ceiling. Downstairs his mother giggled. He felt sickness in his belly. He grabbed the nail from his side table and turned it over and over in his hand as he traced the shadows of his room with squinted eyes.

Bed springs groaned. Another giggle. Joseph flipped over and buried his face in the pillow, pulling it around his ears to drown the sounds that liars make, squeezing his eyes shut tight enough to conjure up the image of the girl at the window. He focused on her face. He breathed in her image. He scratched at his arm and thought of her eyes and drifted to sleep with her on his mind and his mother earning her breakfast on the opposite side of the wall.

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  1. This is so dark and gritty! It's unusual to see you write like this but I like that you are branching out from what the world has known Alanna Rusnak to be. Can't wait to read more!

    1. Dark and gritty is the kind of writing I like to read so I take this as an incredible compliment - thanks :)


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