Surviving the Fall is a 36,000 word novella included in the short story collection LIGHTING THE DARK SIDE (Won the 2009 Allbooks Review Editor’s Choice Award for short story collections)
SURVIVING THE FALL
James Goodal jarred the oversized revolver from a dying man's hand and then tossed the weapon across his living room. Even in the after-midnight darkness, he could see blood, soaking red the beige carpet near his feet. The man no longer stirred so James averted his gaze to the top of the staircase and to his surprise, he couldn't see or hear her.
"Ashley," he called.
"ASHLEY!" he yelled as loud as his voice would allow.
Still no answer.
Fear held James in place; fear of what he would find if he ascended to the second floor of his home. He thought he heard a faint, weak whisper calling to him. A shiver went through him, and he knew he had to move.
He stepped over the body and charged up the stairs for the second floor, and after an instant, he found her a few feet from her bedroom.
"Oh god, Ashley, no!" The teenager had both of her hands clutching her left thigh a few inches below her crotch. Blood was seeping between her fingers. James knew that if the bullet had cut the main artery in the leg she could bleed out.
His mind was adrift in panic, searching for what he should do. Then it slammed into his brain. "I'll call an ambulance." He jogged for the phone next to his bed and quickly dialled 911.
"Ambulance!" he blurted when the operator asked for his emergency.
"My roommate was shot in the leg. It's bleeding badly!"
While sprinting back to where Ashley lay, he pulled off his pajama top and placed it on Ashley's leg.
"Apply pressure!" the operator said.
"I am!" He kneeled next to Ashley with one hand on his portable phone and the other holding the shirt to the wound.
"Is she breathing?"
"Yeah, she's looking right at me." The horror in Ashley's eyes sunk into him and panged his heart. He had never in his life felt so worried for another human and so utterly useless to help.
"The ambulance is just a few minutes away, sir," the operator said.
Then the operator began asking about how Ashley was shot, about the kind of firearm, and who fired it.
"Is the shooter still in the house, Mr. Goodal?"
"Yes, I think he's dead."
"Yes, I killed him."
James set the phone aside and took Ashley's hand in his. "It's okay, Ashley. They're coming. Just hold on, sweetie. Hold on."
"I love—you—James," Ashley said almost silently, and then her body wilted and her eyes rolled back and closed.
Chapter two coming soon!
Jan Evan Whitford, of Allbooks Reviews said, “And finally, Potter ends all too soon with a heart-warming tale (Surviving The Fall) of a wayward teenage prostitute and a gentleman with a rescuer complex. It’s a great, intertwined plot where all the characters come together, in the same spirit of the Academy Award winning movie, Crash. Once again, Potter showcases his writing skills, this time with skillful interspersing of critical back-story in such a way as to avoid slowing the plot.”
Aaron Wilson of The Soulles Machine Review said
James Goodal, love the pun by the way, is a software programmer. His wife has left him, left him the house and a closet full of her cloths that she will never claim. James is lonely. He has a big heart and a lot of love to give. When James was a child he collected displaced animals and cared for them, nursed them back to health.
It was no surprise that when James saw Ashley Metcalf tossed from a moving car into the middle of the street that he had to help her.
Ashley is a complicated, oversexed fifteen-year old. Ashley has been a prostitute since her mother tricked her out when turned ten. So, it is no wonder that she is afraid to trust James and except his help. However, she gets into even more trouble that sends her to live in James’ guest house to the shock and disgust of James’ sister.
James and Ashley’s relationship is a rocky one. James is very frank with Ashley that she is underage; he only wants to help her get back on her feet. However, James sees Ashley as a sexual creature that has had more experience that he ever will. Meanwhile, Ashley can not except that he doesn’t want her. She sees how he looks at her. She wants to give him what she has; what every man she has ever known wants from her. For the first time in her life she wants to have sex with someone. The tension created between these two well written characters is the stuff of great literature.