New Century Dawns In Seattle In “Expiation”


The turn of the century was a fascinating worldwide event. There was great fear throughout the world. Everyone was frightened about the effects of Y2K. Some stockpiled food, portable generators and even ammunition.
Seattle had an especially bumpy ride into the 21st Century. In mid-December downtown Seattle became a war zone thanks to the WTO riots. The World Trade Organization met in Seattle and the violent protests became known as “The Battle of Seattle.”
It got worse. A group of terrorists with a car full of explosives were detected coming over the Canadian border. It was feared that they might attempt a terrorist attack on the iconic Space Needle. Seattle cancelled it’s New Year’s Eve party at the base of the Space Needle.
The Space Needle is the site of an incredible fireworks show each New Year’s Eve. (Watch it in the attached video file)
I thought this was the perfect backdrop for my main characters Dan and Katie in my novel “Expiation.” Dan and Katie were trying to deal with personal uncertainty against the backdrop of the plunge into the 21st. Century.
Here is a free excerpt from “Expiation” in a scene taking place at midnight 1999.
Midnight came. We toasted the birth of the new century, and watched the televised fireworks at the Space Needle. Katie and I kissed passionately. Volumes of unsaid feelings–feelings almost beyond our ability to express them–were being conveyed between us as we stared deeply into one another’s eyes.
I felt my expression was inadequate but heart-felt, “I love you so, Katie, and I’ll never leave you.”
I caught her friends watching us and smiling at the joy they felt for their forlorn friend who now emerged from the long dark tunnel which had been her life.
As the guests departed Katie and I stood at the door and said our goodbyes. As Gino walked out the door, Katie kissed Gino and said, “How can I ever thank you for this wonderful evening, Gino?”
“It’s my pleasure wonderful Katie. Ciao, bella. Ti amo,” he said as he kissed her hand. “Our hostess was extremely beautiful tonight. You’re a lucky man Dan.”
“I couldn’t agree more Gino,” I said as I thanked him for the magnificent feast.
At last we were alone.
“That was amazing,” Katie said.
“You’re the amazing one. I’ve been drooling all night as I watched you. I can’t take my eyes off of you.”
“Thank you. I wanted to do something special.”
“You’re off-the-charts special Katie.”
She said nothing but led me by the hand to the high-backed chair near the couch. “Wait here,” she said softly.
Katie went into her bedroom. I thought I smelled a match being lit. I looked towards her bedroom and the through the open door and saw Katie turn off the lamp. The bedroom glowed in candlelight now. Katie reappeared and stood in front of me.
“Dan, I’ve made a decision too.” Katie looked into my eyes and reached behind her neck to untie the halter top on her dress. “When I wake up on the first morning of the New Year, I want to be in your arms.”

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About gregmessel

I've written six novels and am working on a seventh. My first three novels were "Expiation," "Sunbreaks" and "The Illusion of Certainty." I'm now working on a series of mysteries set in San Francisco in the 1950s. In 2008, I retired from corporate life and so I can spend more time writing. I spent over ten years in the newspaper business. I now live on Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, just north of downtown Seattle.
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