A Scrapped Idea

Dear Reader,

I was hoping to get some proper content out this weekend, but instead I was sucked into editing Extinguish and didn’t get around to my short story plans.

What I did do, however, was stumble across this brief idea I’d had around about draft 6 of Extinguish, when I’d planned to rewrite the entire first half with a completely different setting (well, I did that anyway, but not in this particular direction).

Since I’m kind of fond of parts of this scene but will be unlikely to reuse it, I thought I’d share it with you. It is completely unedited, and a little rough, but I like the idea of seeing how stories can evolve.

Even as the writer, sometimes it’s fun to see how differently a story could have turned out.

So here it is: A Scrapped idea (Extinguish)

There are three rules to surviving daily life at North Camp.

  1. Keep your head down.
  2. Stick to the hierarchy.
  3. Never talk back.

Three simple rules.

Most people managed to obey these rules without thinking. They didn’t complain when people cut in line, or correct others when they were called by the wrong name. Anonymity was a blessing. It means no one cares who you are, and that’s good.

So, the rules were obeyed. Without needing to be explained. Without needing to be broadcasted. It was common sense, and those of us left had only survived because of common sense.

Most of us, anyway.

I was only alive because of my twin brother, Freddie. He kept me safe. He was always there to keep me from getting trampled or lost whenever the threat of an outbreak loomed close and everyone lost their minds.

He navigated this strange new world we lived in with ease. Somehow getting his hands on high valued trading items, buying us safety and a room big enough for three.

I never asked how he did got the items. Or where he sold them. He wouldn’t have told me even if I’d asked. Freddie kept me alive, though, and so I never asked questions I knew he couldn’t answer.

How he stayed alive was a different matter. Freddie broke the three rules every day. He and Tim (our best friend) had copt more beatings than anyone else and yet still they lived on. They fought and snarled and scratched their way through the rules and the barriers that stood between them and whatever it was they had their minds set on that day.

Today, it happened to be basic training.

The use of the gym was in high demand and reserved mostly for soldiers and people who volunteered for the military. Tim did the odd job here and there when he was allowed (at sixteen we were all still underage), but even he had trouble reserving time at the gym. He got it, though. He had a certain ability to get what he wanted. It wasn’t charm or charisma, he just talked a good talk. He was blunt and honest and fierce. There wasn’t much Tim said he would do that you wouldn’t believe he’d do.

It was an air he held, something almost wild and … and ancient. Whatever it was that gave Tim his talents, he was the first one they’d ask if they needed an extra hand when no one of age was available. Freddie was the second. The two of them were a volatile mix and no one could deny that they were an effective team.

Where did that leave me? Well, I was the little sister. I was the girl. The small thing that needed protecting.

Not that it stopped Freddie or Tim from beating me up themselves.

Which again led to today’s purpose in the training room. The training room, by popular request of the soldiers who protected North Camp, was one of three rooms given some of the limited power supply to run air conditioning. Despite that, a sheen of sweat covered my skin.

Every cell in my body was sweating fear. My hands were slick around the stick I held in front of me like a shield. It wouldn’t stop him, and we both knew it.

Freddie took a step to the left, and I matched the movement, sliding my feet to the right. He grinned, lips quirking up just so, in a tense excitement. He was excited because he liked training. He liked the adrenaline and the sweat and the movement and the energy it consumed. It was something to do that he was good at.

He was tense because his opponent was me. It wouldn’t stop him from beating the living hell out of me, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.

His foot shifted, the toe shuffling an inch to the left. I threw myself sideways at the same time he lunged forward. For a moment he was completely open. Over his back, leaning against the wall watching us, I saw Tim straighten.

His dark eyes locked on mine and he gave a firm nod. Do it, those eyes told me.

My grip tightened on the stick. I took a step. Tim’s face fell. I kept moving around, guiding myself away from Freddie into a defensive stance. Freddie whirled around to face me, his face going hard.

‘You shoulda hit me,’ he said, his fists clenched.

I swallowed hard but said nothing. Anything I could say would just make him angry. He didn’t understand why I couldn’t fight back. Why all I could do was defend. It didn’t matter that I defended well.

Freddie threw himself towards me again. I shuffled back, keeping my stick between us at all times. If he’d had a stick of his own I might’ve been in trouble, but then, Freddie didn’t need a weapon to inflict pain.

My reluctance to strike left me open, and in a whirl of moment Freddie kicked at the stick, flicking it easily out of my hands. I turned, hoping to scramble after it, but Freddie’s solid chest slammed into me and we tumbled to the ground.

My defence was gone, but that didn’t mean I was helpless. I was small, and as Freddie and Tim constantly told me, that was an advantage over any opponent I would have. I twisted, fighting against his hold. He dug in with his hands. I’d known he would. He was always rougher when I didn’t fight back, trying to provoke me into lashing out.

We struggled, and Freddie kept pushing at me even after the bell went off, signalling the end of our time there.

‘Do something,’ he hissed at me. ‘Just hit me for Christ’s sake.’

‘I can’t!’ I said.

Though I tried to stop them, the tears sprang up in my eyes, betraying my weakness. I wasn’t hurt, not really. Freddie never struck hard enough to really hurt me. He didn’t have it in him to.

‘It hurts doens’t it?’ he said, leaning over me even as others started to call out for him to ‘Hurry the fuck up!’

I could say nothing.

‘Just hit back. Fight, Genie!’

‘Freddie,’ I heard Tim’s voice from somewhere above us. ‘Time’s up.’

‘I don’t care,’ Freddie snarled, his gaze darting to the side.

I used that moment to get free. Freddie’s distraction cost him his grip on me and I rolled away, scrambling to my feet and diving for my stick. I grabbed at in, falling to my knees and spinning so that the blunt end of the stick faced Freddie.

He stopped short in his chase. Grey eyes darkened and he reached out to grab the end of the stick, pushing it against my grip.

‘Never give your enemy something to fight you with,’ he said.

‘I haven’t.’

He pushed on the stick again, and the pointy end—the end I held—slipped free and jabbed softly into my stomach. I dropped my gaze to my hands, and let my hands slide away from the stick. Freddie tossed it aside, sighing.

He hauled me up to my feet, leading me away from the soft flooring so others could take our place. Tim trailed along behind, hands shoved into his pockets, gaze roaming about the hall watching the other fights going on. The slap of skin on skin, the knock of wood, the echoing twang of metal rang throughout the room and my ears now that my own fight was over.

‘Are you hurt?’ Freddie asked.

‘No,’ I said.

He stopped, reached out and grabbed my chin, tilting it this way and that so he could determine for himself how much damage he’d done.

Grey eyes became cloudy and a brooding look settled over his face. Apparently, he’d gotten in a few good hits. No doubt in a few hours I’d start to feel the throb of pain, but for now they didn’t hurt.

Not as much as disappointing him did.

A Slew of Micro Fictions

Dear Reader,

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, it’s been rather quiet around the Writer Girl blog lately. Aside from falling behind on my Writerly Aspirations due to my wedding and honeymoon, there has been quite a bit of Renovation Madness going on at my house.

With every weekend taken up with demolitions and rebuilds (along with the various injuries that come with renovating your house on your own), I’ve struggled to not only find time to write, but to find the energy.

Thankfully, whatever Muse keeps me company has also kept me in good quantity of Big Magic (if you haven’t heard of me talk about Big Magic before you can read about it here), and ideas are never too far away when I reach for them.

Sometimes they’re unexpected ideas, and they come from way out in left field (despite my concentrating my creative thought on something else). Sometimes they’re play – background fodder for current novel projects that give me more insight into my characters. Either way, I’m happy that I’m beginning to catch up again, and that I seem to be making progress.

So, here are the micro fictions for May. I’m quite happy with them, though some were a bit rushed.

Black Root Lane – Background character fodder for my WIP Riverwood / this idea came to me when playing x-box. I’ve gotten into the thriller genre in gaming lately, and I love that chill that creeps into you when they combine children’s nursery rhymes with creepy background music.

The Sandpit A prompt from a close friend asking me to write about an Angel and a Mermaid who meet as toddlers.

Strangers Meet – An old idea that I’d love to put more work into one day.

The Implant This one came from a workshop I did regarding…well, adult content. I did the workshop in an attempt to get out of my comfort zone and write outside my usual genre. While this micro fiction isn’t explicit, it is about contraception and does imply adult content. Regardless, I enjoyed the work and the idea, and I hope you do to.

Let me know what you think and which one is your favourite for this month; and be sure to keep an eye out for the next few short stories coming out soon.

Sincerely,

The Jade Writer Girl.

A Pronouncement

Dear Reader,

Today I want to tell you a bit about me: I am a daydreamer, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and a niece. I am eccentric. I am shy and introverted; and yet loud and obnoxious. I am passionate about many things, and I am overly emotional.

Most importantly, however, I am a storyteller. This is who I am at my core, and though I work a permanent part time job, in reality I am a full time writer. Full time.

I say this because if I don’t, then my writing takes precedence to everyone and everything else, and that is not acceptable to me. 

However, being a full-time writer on top of a part time job means I sometimes have to get work done in peculiar places. 

In carparks. In elevators. At traffic lights as I wait to cross the road. Waiting for my food order to be prepared. At dinner and at parties. In the passenger seat. In the back seat. In fact, I give up driving rights as much as I can, in order to write on the way to wherever we are going. At midnight, or two am, or four am, when a solution to a problems wakes me from a dead sleep, and I sit at the end of the bed, with the brightness way down so as not to wake my husband.

Aside from work, my laptop comes with me just about everywhere I go. Without it, I write on my phone, on my ipad, in a notebook, on scrap paper, and yes even once or twice on a napkin.

Recently it has come to my attention that some of my writing habbits could be misconstrued as “rude”. This does not sit well with me.

This is my work. This is my dream. And while it may seem like I am being anti-social, I can assure you, I am working very hard.

For example, at the moment I am behind on my Writerly Aspirations by two short stories and a micro-fixtion. I have half of three shorts written right now, which I intend to get to work on as soon as I get home. I also have a web serial novella I began a few weeks ago, a new paranormal novel series, and the sequel to my first novel all vying for my attention and creative thought. Incidentally, I am aslo in the middle of editing Extinguish (my 90,000 word YA/sci-fi novel), in the hopes of actually salvaging some chance of getting published this year.

Yes, perhaps my scribbling down some thoughts, or trying to fix a problem I’ve been having with a story in the middle of a dinner may be a little inconsiderate. However, I trust that those closest to me understand my goal and my dream and the urge at the very core of me to be a storyteller. Those people understand.

When I speak to other creatives, they understand and I know I am not alone in my struggles.

In fact, I would expect no less from anyone else pursuing their dreams. I encourage it. You have to work hard. Harder than anything else you have ever worked for. For me, this is only natural. Dreams and goals don’t always come easilly, but that just makes then all the sweeter. You have to live and breathe your passions if you want them to become fruitful, and that is what I intend to do. I intend to fight for my write to a creatve life.

This is who I am, and if working on this dream whenever and wherever possible, is unacceptable…well, I’m afraid that says more about you, than it does about me.

Sincerley, 

The Jade Writer Girl.