Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Who turned the light off?

I’m a little overwhelmed at the moment by the amount of work that I need to do for my MA... And the perfectionist in me isn’t making it any easier.
Anyway, I sat down last night with no idea about what I was going to write for this week’s theme. I started four posts and abandoned them all – and then, surprisingly, I started to write the beginning of (what I think might be) a short story. I don’t know if I’ll ever get round to finishing it – but I’ll share what I have so far...

Who turned the light off?

Light is what they tell you to believe in. They tell you that things will get lighter, brighter, that it won’t last forever. They say that someone has just switched the light off, and that someone will be around shortly to switch it back on. They try to convince us that there is hope, that we each have futures, but we don’t believe them.

We sit in our own private darkness every day. Some sit in the dayroom, chain smoking in front of a flickering TV, others pace up and down the corridors counting the number of stains on the carpet and a few don’t even manage to rise from their dormitory beds. But the new girl is different; for a start, she’s younger than the rest of us. Sixteen, I think they said.

You can tell she’s met the darkness. She has that same look that we all have – like you’re balancing massive invisible crates on your back, or like you’re about to fracture into a thousand pieces.

It’s not long before the whispers start – people guess: pills? blade? rope?

When we get our first proper look at her, we all glance, firstly, at her neck – clear – and then her wrists – also clear. Firefly, whose real name is Amber (but only they us it), is the first to talk to the new girl.

“So was it pills, like, paracetamol?” she says

The new girl is sat cross-legged in a corner – writing something in a small grey-covered notebook. She doesn’t react to Firefly’s question, she just continues writing. These are the second and third things that make her different to the rest of us: she writes, sometimes for hours, and she never talks. We decide to nickname her Shush.

Thank you for reading,


Ashley R Lister said...

There should be a law against people presenting readers with half a story.

Intriguing start. I'd be very interested to see how this develops.


Christo said...

English teacher's comment:
Changing to "sits" in the closing remark gives more immwediacy, don't you think, Lara?

Lara Clayton said...

Definitely, Christo :)