***After my Dad died eight years ago, I came up with an idea for a fictional story. I wrote about 4000 words before I realised that I just wasn’t ready to write something very personal when I was still grieving, so I left it – just for a little while.
While on maternity leave with my daughter five years ago, I vowed that I would have another go at writing it and so I wrote another 3000 words or so. Then self-doubt kicked in and, along with baby massage sessions and soft plays, I left it again. But, the concept remained up here *I am touching my head* in my imagination
A few weeks ago, I found the story on the computer and read it over a few times, edited it and corrected a lot of complex sentence mistakes(!) and I thought it sounded okay. Then I had an idea. I am filled to the brim with excuses: I am not creative enough; I am not clever enough; it’s not very original; I haven’t got the full idea for the story mapped out yet…But, I have always wanted to write and I want to see if I am capable of completing a story that, for me, is important. I thought if I publish 1000 words at a time on my little blog, then I will have a reason to keep coming back to it. Plus, I can get feedback from anyone who may be interested and I open to ideas as to what direction you think this story could go. I’m not going to tell you what it is about just yet. I thought I would just see what you think. Urgh, I feel a bit sick doing this, but here goes…***
Disclaimer: Names and characters are entirely fictional and are the names I originally made up eight years ago.
This isn’t what I signed up for.
The thought passed through Jack’s mind as he stood reluctantly against the school gate.
The role of the best friend is not to stand by watching your mate snog Chloe Peterson from your English class.
“Ahem,” Jack cleared his throat and kicked some gravel in their direction.
No reaction. Nothing. The rhythmic squelching of locked lips persisted in their mocking of him.
He gagged slightly and felt repelled by the sight.
“Is this all I am good for?” he called.
Clearly it was all he was good for because he continued to stare at the two heads, clamped together like clams, for a further five minutes before Michael suddenly jerked his head backwards and let out an almighty sneeze over poor old Chloe Peterson from English.
“Ewwwww!” she screamed, shoving Michael away. Wiping at her cheek, she removed the remnants of his sneeze before yelping at the sight of a pink blob of bubble gum that had secured itself nicely onto the collar of her foundation stained white shirt.
“That’s disgusting,” she yelled. “You sneezed on me! Sneezed. On. Me!” Each word enunciated in order to highlight her utter disdain at Michael.
There was nothing, absolutely nothing, in this world that could have prevented Jack from laughing then; this had to be one of the funniest moments he had ever witnessed. He bent double – almost losing his own bubble gum – and let out a huge raucous laugh. He laughed until the tears flowed and his stomach ached and then he laughed some more.
After a few moments, Jack noticed a shadow on the ground near him. It was a sheepish looking Michael standing over him.
“That showed her,” he stated.
“Erm, what did you show her exactly?” Jack asked. “How to catch a cold?”
“No! I didn’t like the way she kissed. It’s a dumping technique. I saw it on… erm… You Tube.”
Jack broke into a fit of laughter again, but then saw a look of sadness pass over his best friend’s face.
“Ah, mate. I saw her kissing Jake last week and I am sure it was Ethan the week before. I don’t think she was the girl for you.”
Unlike Michael, Jack had never been kissed. At only fourteen years old this wasn’t a concern for him, well, not yet anyway. No, kissing was way down on his list of priorities. He wanted to captain the school football team and lift the trophy in the end of year cup final. He wanted to complete every little bit of Maths homework he had ever been given so that Mr. Mason had no reason bite his head off on a Monday morning when he walked into his classroom. Above all though, Jack wanted to make his father proud and he thought that captaining the football team and achieving good grades at school would be the way to do this – he couldn’t imagine his father being proud of his only son spitting out a piece of bubble gum onto a girl’s grubby collar.
After a few moments of moping around and checking his phone for any messages, Michael arrived at the conclusion that he probably wasn’t Chloe Peterson from English’s boyfriend anymore.
“Xbox,” he said. It wasn’t a question.
“Xbox,” Jack agreed.
The two boys started to walk home. In his pocket, Jack felt his phone vibrate alerting him of a text message. He decided to ignore it for now because his friend, with his wounded heart, needed him more than a faceless text. In the distance the sky blackened and clouds gathered silently in preparation for their later attack. Unaware of the events that would follow, Jack and Michael picked up the pace on the walk home and made out like it was the Xbox that was beckoning them and not the foreboding clouds that were unnerving them.
The storm broke at seven minutes after 6 o’clock. Jack said his goodbyes to Michael and his family at three minutes after 6 o’clock. It was already dark and Jack felt the drop in temperature immediately. The bitter air gnashed viciously at his ears followed instantly by an icy gush of wind that attacked his face and slashed at his cheeks. The cold wormed its way into his coat and seeped into his joints. Jack picked up his pace and pulled his hat firmly onto his head. Then the rain hit. The first drop fell onto his nose and the tingle made him jump. The heavens opened. Rain suddenly lashed down, soaking Jack’s hat; it stuck firmly to his head. Pulling his coat around him, Jack fell into a run towards the direction of his house.
The lights in the house were inviting. Through the rain, Jack could see the yellows and oranges illuminating the building. His parents were home and his tea would likely be ready. His stomach rumbled at the thought of steak pie and chips. Jack stepped out into the road and his trainer plunged deep into a hidden puddle. The water splashed up his leg soaking him almost to his knee. Jack cursed and continued his step. A car screeched out of no where with its full beam shining into his eyes, blinding him instantly. Jack fell backwards into the puddle and the car missed him by centimetres. Suddenly, all went quiet again as the car vanished around the corner oblivious to the utter devastation it had almost caused. The rain lashing down broke the silence as an unscathed Jack slowly stood up out of the puddle. Breathing heavily, his body was numb with shock and cold. Something ran down his cheek; it was warmer than the rain and when it hit his mouth, it tasted salty. A tear. Jack had experienced, for the first time, true terror. If the puddle hadn’t stopped him in his tracks momentarily, then he would have been hit.
Jack remained still for a few more seconds. The darkness was suffocating; it felt like it was closing in. If he didn’t begin to move soon, he would become part of the night. Slowly, he put one foot in front of the other and began his walk home once again. The numbness that consumed his body didn’t subside and it was difficult to get his legs moving. He looked towards the house. Still lit up, it looked even warmer and more inviting. The problem though was that it now looked twice as far away as it did three minutes ago.
***Thanks for reading this first part, let me know what you think…By the way, I still feel a little sick and embarrassed.***