There's absolutely NOTHING harder in writing than to "kill your darlin's" (i.e. delete things) especially when you're still trying to add length to a novel. However, it's what I had to do this past week. Cut out an entire character. This is from Chapter 3 of my work in progress: The Atchison Haunting.
Can anyone guess why ole Bernie Pasqual had to go?
Once in the Emergency Waiting Room, a rather tall lanky man in his fifties rushed over. Boney shoulders protruded from his flannel shirt. Mostly white and combed back, his hair had retained streaks of black that matched the frames of his thick-lensed eyeglasses. The wrinkled skin from his cheekbones sagged on his face. There was worry in his blue eyes. Zach felt certain he’d never seen this man before.
“Zach?” He held out his hand and grasped Zach’s and shook it. “I heard and came over as fast as I could. News spreads quick in a small town.”
As the man spoke in rushed tones, Zach recognized his voice. “Bernie Pasqual?”“Oh, I’m sorry. Yes.” He looked at Sara and (XX - I'm not telling y'all everyone who WASN'T in the accident) who were standing behind Zach. “I’ve seen you so much on TV and we’ve talked so much on the phone this past month, I’d forgotten we haven’t met. Bernie Pasqual.”
He again shook Zach’s hand and sized him up. “You look okay. Any word on your friends?”
“Of course. Of course. You just got here.” Bernie grabbed a passing nurse, a squat middle-aged woman with a large flat nose. “Hillary, this boy’s friends were the ones brought in from the accident on the bridge. Any chance we could get back and see ‘em? For me?”
She mixed a smirk with a modest smile and evaluated the small group. “Bernie. Bernie. Bernie. You know the rules. I suppose, for you, I could get one of you back there with them.”
He looked to Zach. “Why don’t you go ahead back there? I’ll get the details of what happened from XX and...”
“Sara. Sara Chen.” She held out her hand. “I’m the show’s producer.”
The squat nurse seemed to be taking it all in. “So Bernie, so long as you’re here on official newspaper business, you can come on back too. Wouldn’t want to be holding back the press none.” She winked.
“Why thank you, Hillary.” He beamed at her. His blue eyes were much brighter than moments before.
Zach suspected that, in his day, Bernie Pasqual had used his charm to draw a story or two out of the female sex.
Past the entrance and waiting room, the hospital halls were nearly deserted. The nurse turned left, then right and led them down a long corridor. Bernie slowed leaving space between them and her. He nudged Zach’s arm. “Hillary’s brother is on the city council,” he whispered, as though that explained her behavior.
They entered a large room lined with beds and partitioned with white curtains to provide the illusion of privacy. Nurse Hillary motioned to the far wall. They’re over there. I’ll give you ten, fifteen minutes tops. Then I’ll need y’all to call it a night.”