Here's how my novel begins -- and it draws on a lot of the "bad girl" research I've done over the years about women in history. The first draft is nearly finished. Yay! Perhaps in the new year I'll get back to blogging. Perhaps...
Inga’s night had been restless, and she was glad when the morning light through their tiny bedroom window grew bright enough to allow her to get up. She rose as Mike slept on, and she crept down to the kitchen and dressed as fast as she could. It was a good thing he was sleeping so deeply after his night out. Finishing up with the packing had been easier.
She found a wet, sour-smelling washrag in a corner of the kitchen sink, and though it didn’t matter anymore, she poured fresh water into an empty dishpan, added some soap and a capful of bleach. She threw in the rag, gave it a swish and a scrub, and hung it to dry on a peg next to the sink.
Turning away from that final chore, Inga pulled on her coat and searched in the left pocket for a small jar of Imogen’s fancy French hand cream. She unscrewed the silver lid and applied a generous dab to her rough hands. As she smoothed the cream into her skin, she gazed into the middle distance, then pulled a handwritten note from the right pocket and placed it on the kitchen table.
December 21, 1918
I am too young for this. I’ll always love you, but I am leaving. Please don’t try to find me.
She bowed her head over the table, pressing her palms against the oilcloth that she had bought all those months ago with her pin money and paused a moment — no, several long moments — eyes closed. A shadow crossed her face.
Inga took a deep breath, straightened her back and opened her eyes. She walked to the hall closet and pulled out a large leather valise, Imogen’s valise, which Inga had been hiding for several days.
Grasping the handle with both hands, she heaved the overpacked bag out the apartment’s front door, shut it quietly, and took care not to make too much noise descending the tenement’s creaky stairs. At the landing, she peeked out the entryway window at the patch of sky above the buildings of the Lower East Side. The weather was clear, and the snow had melted from the sidewalks of Rivington Street.
Inga stepped outside. She struggled down the stoop, crossed Norfolk Street, and began her journey north with small, slow steps, dragging her bag behind.
There. Now she was gone.