Homecoming: Chapter One

Homecoming: A new project has begun!

I love the feeling of excitement I get when a new project gets a grip.

The feeling of discovering something completely new is highly addictive, especially when the idea seems to burst forth fully formed, or close to fully formed, into my brain with very little prompting.

This happened to me recently when I was having a bit of a natter with the fantastic Mr Sherlock. We were discussing writing as we often do when he suggested a story which is updated weekly. I’m not unfamiliar with the idea; I used to do this myself in when I first started writing back in 2002, I would churn out and post online a chapter of a story every weekend after a shift at work, or in the evening during the week after college classes had finished. It was a fun away to write when I was first starting, but since finishing university and coming back to writing (I pretty much put the whole thing on hold during university), it’s not something that I have played with. Being reminiscent of my early start, and the cringe-worthy stuff that I wrote back, then I wanted to keep away from it.

But as our conversation continued, I started to see some potential in it. Sitting down to an entire book can be daunting for some, and in our society today everything seems to be done in short bursts, this includes reading. So a story where the reader engages in little bite sized chunks and then comes back next week for more started to appeal to me.

Although at this time I had no idea what I would write about.

Persistence

When we woke up the next day, the idea was still there, and I started our conversation again. I was later distracted by breakfast, but the concept of writing a weekly updated story still appealed, and it stuck with me through the rest of the day.

That evening I found myself looking through the files on Alfred, my laptop (yes I named my laptop and yes I named him after Batman’s butler and yes that totally makes me Batman, don’t tell anyone).

I have a habit of jotting down the ideas that come to me in inopportune moments, hence why the flat is littered with notebooks’, and my handbag is full of them, and my desk at work. Then every weekend I take these ideas and transfer them to Alfred. Although since discovering OneNote on my phone my little paper notebooks are becoming slightly redundant, what with my phone being surgically attached to my hand most days.

I scrolled through the files of potential ideas and stories, scanning them for one that might fit the bill for a weekly update story. It didn’t take me long to settle on one.

The experience put me in mind of the movie Shrek when (spoilers) Shrek is deciding who to take with him to see Lord Farquad, and there’s a whole slew of fairy tale creatures standing around trying not to be noticed, all except Donkey who is screaming “Pick me! Pick me!”

This little idea was all but jumping up and down, screaming to get my attention. It wanted to be picked (honest it did).

So I did

Now, it’s early days yet, but I’ve been playing with this little story, and it has been growing rapidly under my attention. I’m excited enough to announce that in 2015 I will launch a rather ambitious project.

Homecoming, the story of a girl, missing for ten years who returns home.

Homecoming: Chapter One

I’ve sat alone at lunch for the last four years.

The school cafeteria was filling up steadily as the smell of burnt lasagne and chips filtered out into the hallways. I looked down at my sandwiches, they were small and unexciting, but the dejected faces of those shuffling away from the dank service window made me smirk in relief. The volume in the cafeteria was steadily rising; the lunch queue was almost to the door as more and more students filtered in. I smiled content in the knowledge that even when the hall was full, it was unlikely I would be forced to share my small table.

So when Richard slammed his tray down next to me, I flinched and dropped my sandwich. I frowned as he pulled out a chair and dropped into it. His cheeks were bright red, matching his t-shirt. He stared hard at his lasagne, making a point of not looking at me.

“So,” Richard said. “What’s up Tilly?”

“Um,” I said. “Nothing much. What do you want?”

“Who said I want anything?” Richard met my eyes.

“Figured after a few years of ignoring me you must have a reason to sit there.”

“I’ve not been ignoring you,” Richard said. “I spoke to you last week.”

“You mumbled ‘see ya’ when Charlie dropped off Lizzy’s Birthday gift. That’s not talking.” I said. “What do you want Richard?”

“Jeez,” Richard muttered, turning back towards his lunch. He seemed happy enough to sit there, so, picking up my sandwich, I left him to it. I turned my attention back to the clatter and chaos of the cafeteria.  I could hear the usual round of jokes about the food and watched as one of the younger kids pretended his had come alive.

“I hear Bri is back,” Richard said suddenly. My throat closed up, and I had to gasp to get a breath, as my half-chewed mouthful shot to the back of my throat, making me choke.

“Easy there,” Richard laughed, hitting my back as I started to cough. 

“Wha…what,” I managed, my throat burning. “What did you say?”

“Easy, take a drink or something,” Richard said. I took a swig of coke and winced as my throat burned more fiercely for a moment, then cooled.

“Bri?” I said, my voice raw.

Richard nodded. “Yeah, I heard my dad say something about her coming home from the hospital today.”

“Hospital?” My head felt light. I put a hand down on the sticky table top and squeezed my eyes closed to try and stop the black spots in my vision.

“What are you talking about?”

“You don’t know?” Richard said, and tutted. “I thought if anyone knew more it would be you, you two were so tight.”

“We kind of lost touch after she died,” I said. I took several deep breaths. My stomach growled a warning that it had decided it might be happier with its contents on the outside. When I felt I could talk without vomiting, I glared at Richard, “what are you talking about?”

“You didn’t believe the bible thumpers, did you?” Richard snorted. “They blame demons for everything. ‘My milk’s gone off; demons must have broken into my house and left it on the kitchen top.’ ‘My cat’s been hit by a car, the demons must have been drink driving again!’ Seriously Tilly.”

“No, Richard, but she’s been gone for ten years. I figured some wacko grabbed her,” I said.

“You might be right,” Richard shrugged. “Either way she’s coming home.”

Read the rest of Chapter One here

Edit: AS OF 2017 ONLY CHAPTER ONE REMAINS AVAILABLE.

I liked this story and have taken it down so as to edit it properly and polish it into something (hopefully) awesome.

Katie Marie wrote a Book. A big one and a couple of little ones. Check them out!

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