This is a first draft written in public. An attempt to write a novel in 52 Saturdays. There is a Table of Contents so you can start at the beginning. Comments, ideas, suggestions, and longings are all welcome and will be considered.
Jackie fell asleep on the floor curled up near Sharna’s stretched out leg. Neither of them were going anywhere near the tumbled rags of the bed. Sharna’s hunger and fear kept her awake. They were going to starve. They were going to live with rats the rest of their lives. They were going to end up in The Barrows. The Doe Mothers were going to hunt them down and make an example out of them. Her mother would be furious, and then die from a broken heart.
She stood quietly so as not to wake Jackie and paced in front of the windows. They were still open to the night air from when she’d scrubbed the floors earlier. The breeze was West End air, lacking salt or the hint of freedom. The Stalks rattled in her pocket. She pulled one out and watched it as it sat motionless on her palm.
A doorway. A road. An entire otherworld locked inside something so small.
She sat down again and concentrated. A nudge with her mind. Almost a whisper of a thought, just to see if it was listening. It rocked as if pushed, and she almost dropped it in surprise. Had she done that?
Once more, she pushed at the seed with a thought. It wasn’t a command. It was a longing. Take us out of here. Save us. Bring us a bounty that will make us laugh harder than being poor did. Show me what you’re hiding. She imagined a world glistening with shed raindrops and sunlight. A world where her magic wasn’t in question, and she was enough.
A scuffling sound outside the door interrupted her reverie. It sounded like someone had fallen up the last three steps, and was sliding their body along the wall as if unable to stand properly. Sharna put the seed back in her pocket with the others and watched the door warily. Should she wake Jackie? Bar the door somehow? She tried to think of a few magic spells that could hold a door shut, but her panic gibbered over top of any rational ideas.
She finally caved to the fear and shook Jackie’s shoulder to wake her.
“Wake up. Hey.” She was afraid she was being too loud, but the thief was sleeping hard. It made her angry. Why was she the one awake and frightened after cleaning all day while Jackie slept like there wasn’t anything to be worried about? She made an ugly face and pinched Jackie. Hard.
“Owww!” Jackie’s eyes opened and she yanked away from Sharna. “What the fuck?”
Sharna was resting on her knees, and Jackie rolled up to face her. “What’s wrong with you?”
“You wouldn’t wake up.”
“Yes, that’s called sleeping. Maybe you’ve heard of it.”
“There’s something in the hallway outside the door.”
Jackie scrubbed her face with her uninjured hand and took a deep breath. “Okay. Fair enough.” She held a hand up to indicate Sharna should wait where she was, which made Sharna roll her eyes. Clearly, she wasn’t going anywhere near that door.
(See you next Saturday!)
Oh, hey…I’m looking for an artist – to pay. I want a feature header for this book on the blog. If you know someone who can do justice to Sharna and Jackie, let me know!