While other stories wend their way through the editing/pitch/publishing process, I am working on a medical thriller and figured I’d share a short scene I’d literally just written. I’m introducing one of the characters in the story, he’s an FBI forensic examiner, 48, and the first scene you encounter him is this one:
It was still dark as Nate Carrington hit the midpoint of his five-mile morning run. Like he did every other morning, he veered away from the jogging path toward the small unobtrusive cemetery. The manicured path was lit by the waning glow of the nearby street lights. The early-morning dew glistened on the blades of grass as he made a beeline for a gravesite he’d visited hundreds of times.
A light cooling breeze blew across the nearby field and Nate breathed in the scent of the freshly cut grass as he knelt in front of a modest tombstone. He wiped the sweat from his brow and smiled as he recited what his wife had told him almost every morning they’d woken next to each other. “Don’t kiss me, I’ve got morning breath.”
Nate dragged his fingers gently over the dew-covered tombstone and lovingly ran them over the name, Madison Carrington.
It had been almost twenty years since she’d passed, and not a day had gone by that he didn’t think of her.
Sitting on his heels at her gravesite, Nate closed his eyes and the years vanished. Even though it was thirty-years ago, it felt like it was only yesterday when he’d met the shy blonde girl with a brilliant smile. He was only eighteen at the time and had never thought about love or the concept of soul mates, but from the moment he laid eyes on her, he knew she was the one.
They married six months later.
And even though he’d spent the next ten years coming and going from God-forsaken places all over the world as a medic for the Army’s Special Forces, every time he came home, Madison had been there to greet him with that beautiful smile.
Even when he got that call that she had terminal cancer and rushed home from Afghanistan on emergency leave, she’d greeted him with that same beautiful, if not pained, smile.
She was the strongest person he’d ever known. Even when the cancer was eating her up inside, she’d refused the drugs that would give her peace. Ease the pain. “I won’t be me with those drugs,” she asserted, “and I want to be with you until the very end.”
Nate breathed deeply and with his eyes still closed, he wiped away a tear as he relived that moment. She was laying in his arms, at home, when she took her last breath.
Almost twenty years had passed and his love for her burned ever stronger as he leaned forward, kissed her name on the stone and whispered, “I miss your morning breath.”
Nate stood, flicked away a leaf that had just fallen on her gravestone, turned and continued his morning jog.