Shelby [Part 1] With Introduction

I’ve decided to take a chapter from the novel that I’m writing and post it, a piece at a time. This chapter will introduce one of the main characters [Shelby] to the reader, in a way that’s hard not to sympathize with. This chapter does not give away the plot or the name of the book, and is only about 15 pages in length. Most of the editing is complete, although I still need to finish layering in a few more details.

Thank You,
Joseph Shanklin


The first thought Shelby had when she woke up alone in her king-sized bed, the wall needed to be cleaned. She had forgotten about the coffee that had fallen off of the nightstand last week during a heated argument with her boyfriend. The batte had raged on and off for two days, ending only because he had found something to watch on television. That night wasn’t the first time that Shelby had been grateful to be less important than everything else in her boyfriend’s life, otherwise, she would never get a minutes rest.

Shelby didn’t need to roll over towards his side of the bed to know that Gabe hadn’t come home last night. Her feelings on the matter were beyond confusing, and much too difficult to attempt to process. After all, if Gabriel wasn’t home, then he wasn’t there to yell at her. Although he always made sure to find, and possibly schedule, enough time to call Shelby for just that.

For several minutes, Shelby barely moved, instead, taking inventory of old cobwebs, brown coffee stains, and the accumulated dust on the floor by the nightstand. She needed to do something about the house, and soon before her home became overrun with something other than debris.

Shelby couldn’t wait any longer to pee. She stepped from bed, wearing a long Pink Panther nightshirt, pink booty socks, and quickly made her way across the hall to the upstairs bathroom, kicking a pile of her dirty clothes across the bedroom floor on the way.

She had been sleeping for almost twelve hours, and her peeing session seemed to last forever. Stepping from the toilet to the sink to wash her hands, Shelby couldn’t help but take inventory of the woman in the bathroom vanity mirror.

“So this is depression.”

Shelby stayed in front of the mirror for several minutes, examining her cheerless face, and her disheveled hair. Gabe had never hit her or abused her physically. She would have preferred to be beaten instead of this. Even though she lived in a six-bedroom house with four other people, she lived alone and isolated from the world. She had become a prisoner in her mind.

Shelby opened the medicine cabinet and stared at the row of medication, every bottle prescribed to Shelby Candelaria. Using her right index finger, she poked a few of the small orange bottles, reading several of the small colored warning label stickers on each one. Each bottle screamed danger in the language of pharmacy.

First closing her eyes, she slammed the door nearly hard enough to break the mirror, she could hear the bottles fall over behind the glass. As Shelby slowly dragged her fingers across the glass door, she looked at herself in the mirror a second time, but the look on her face had dramatically changed. Although a beautiful young woman, she felt ugly and old. She could not remember the last time anyone had told her that she was pretty, or had given her any sort of compliment of any kind. Gabriel’s idea of being kind, telling her that she was lazy, stupid, or needed to lose weight. Losing her strength, and her will to fight, Shelby now chose to handle everything amicably.

Shelby was thinking about her boyfriend when she glanced down at the bathroom floor scale. The last time she had placed her little feet on that evil digital creation, Shelby had gasped, then hopped back to the floor for safety. The LED had flashed 110 pounds, a weight that she had not achieved since the eleventh grade.

“I used to be pretty…whoooo are you, stranger?”

Shelby began to shake as she realized that it was happening again, once again the Gabriel trigger had been pulled, and her emotions began to rage inside like an animal shaking the bars of a small, and frail cage. She put her hand to her face momentarily, covering her nose and mouth with her small fingers, but it was no use, the gates would open regardless.

Placing her palms on edge of the sink, Shelby began to cry, something she did every day. Sniffling out of control, she sat down on the lid to the toilet with her head on her hands, trying to understand how this had happened, how her once happy and fantastic life had spiraled beyond her control to a life of darkness. Just five years ago Shelby had been in school, studying psychology and history, only to drop out just six months short of earning a bachelor’s degree in both. Gabriel had talked her into taking some time off from her classes to help him with his kids, promising that she would be able to return the next semester. It was all just another lie in a long line of lies and betrayals. Not long after Shelby dropped out of school, her doctor recommended that she begin taking two different antidepressants, and a third medication for sleep. Two months later, the same doctor added an additional two medications, one for stomach problems, and the other for pain after she began having tension headaches. It didn’t take long for Shelby to lose all of the passion, and the motivation that had at one time been overflowing. Piece by piece, Gabriel chipped away at everything in Shelby’s life that was good, everything that made her happy had been replaced with pain.

[End Part 1]

10 thoughts on “Shelby [Part 1] With Introduction

  1. The whole time I was reading this, I kept thinking about how amazing it was that a man could so accurately portray the psychological effects of an emotionally abusive relationship on a woman’s mind. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your feedback means so much to me. Even though I have about 100 pages finished on my book, writing from a woman’s view has been challenging, and I’m posting this chapter for just this reason. I desperately need a woman’s opinion. Thank You So Much! Joseph Shanklin


      1. No worries. From someone who has been in this position, I could totally relate to the loss of identity and the constant state of confusion. Looking forward to reading more 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Joe,
    All I can say is wow. Is a image of how my life has been. Minus the 110 pounds. You have so painted the right picture of what it is like for someone to take all the good things out of someone’s life. I know you will get the other things that happen as well. I look forward to reading more. When I sit here alone after work I tend to get mad over how everyone thinks he is so wonderful and how I am the one. It’s amazing how wonderful you have portrayed this first little bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such powerful feedback and words, I had to read them a few times. It really makes it worth it even more, besides just being therapy for myself, to write about pain and tragedy. And yes, the book is also about good times, love, friendship, and loyalty. When I begin to write, it flows non-stop. Sometimes I lose track of everything else.

      Thank you so much ❤️,



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