The city and its farmlands were wedged into a thin crescent of fertile soil. The interior curve of this crescent was the coast, sparkling under the sunrise each morning; so blue that the horizon was uncertain by mid-morning. Beyond the sand was a hundred feet of tidal shallows and beyond that an unfathomable drop off into a deep oceanic trench.
Category Archives: scratchings
This is something I wrote for a middle-school / young adult audience. I think there’s a lot of books out there that cater to this niche, Speckie Magee, being probably the most famous. It’s probably not something I’ll pursue but I am thinking about a few story ideas that would work for a Young Adult audience so I wouldn’t entirely rule it out either.
They looked out across the field with the sun warming their faces like a distant fire. Today would be the day when it was decided. The Final! Mike had been waiting all year for this. He was as happy as a pig in mud!
Their opposition were the boys from over the river. Mike watched them get off their bus and file into the change-rooms. They were ants: small and weak and about to be crushed. He smiled and looked at his mate Bobby.
“Look at those donkeys,” he laughed.
“They do look scared mate,” Bobby agreed. Bobby was a gun. Mike knew as long as they had Bobby on their side they’d win today. He was an absolute star.
They were sitting on the old fence that kept the spectators off the ground. It looked magnificent out in the middle. Green grass shone proudly in the sun. The goal-posts stood tall and straight like soldiers at attention. Suddenly Mike felt the nerves. He had butterflies in his stomach and he felt like he could jump out of his skin.
“Let’s go get ready,” he suggested, as he slid off the fence. Bobby nodded and joined him.
They went into their own change-rooms and threw their bags down with a crash.
“Hey, boys. Go easy!” their coach yelled. “you nearly knocked the wall down!” Mike and Bobby laughed. “You kids have got to be the strongest under-15s that have ever played the game,” Coach added with a grin.
After they had gotten changed the coach called all the boys in for the pre-game speech.
“Right boys. We’ve played hard all season. We’ve taken it one week at a time. We’ve beaten whoever they’ve put out against us. Today there are no second chances. This is it! The big dance! The final showdown! This is what you’ve been working toward your whole life! Now we’ve all got to pitch in together to get the win today. A champion team will beat a team of champions any day, and if we don’t stick to the team-work we’ve been working on we won’t win the game. Now I don’t want to have made it this far and not go home with the chocolates! Let’s go out there and smash them boys! Let’s grind them into the dust! Let’s kill them!”
The whole team roared and Mike roared with them. Then the doors were flung open and they stampeded out into the blinding sunlight.
This is the initial scratching of an idea I had while travelling recently through Paris. I have in mind a thriller or spy genre. It was written on my phone while I was on the Paris Metro.
Paris Thriller Draft
I rushed down the stairs to the metro at Charles de Gaulle Étoile, two to a stride. Behind me the police were yelling confused instructions. Their voices hit the subterranean tunnels with me and echoed about in the enclosed space. People were turning and looking for the source of the cries. It did not take them long to identify me: I was too hurried and energetic to be one of them. The commuters on the escalators to either side of me eddied turned their heads with interest, not yet certain enough to act, but curious, and growing more so. The time for subtlety was lost, I needed pace.
I leapt the last four steps and landed on the concrete floor with a slap that reverberated around me. The commuters travelling up to the surface would have a vague description of me, nothing that would help my pursuers or the investigators that might later question them. I needed to get ahead of those travelling, like me, deeper into the earth.
The police reached the top of the stairs as I turned the corner into the tunnels. I spared them a brief glance over my shoulder as they stood uniformed and official above me and I disappeared from their view. I heard them follow, bellowing instructions and orders, some to me and others to any citizenry blocking their path. I dropped my pace to a less conspicuous hurry.
Their voices, their unmistakable tone of self-important authority, swept ahead of me to where a swarthy youth was selling umbrellas from a large bag. He recognized the tone instinctively. The umbrellas disappeared back into the bag and he began to step silently into the stream of commuters that passed him.
He wasn’t expecting me, may not even have noticed me. The bag wasn’t yet on his shoulder when my hand lashed out, whip-like. My knuckles were weighted barbs that stung him across the wrist and numbed his fingers. The bag fell, umbrellas scattered. The boy stopped, shocked.
Around me the human currents shifted and I was still a moment amidst them. Rips pulled, under-currents towed, eddies whirled, and a gap opened. I inserted myself into it; became another confused face in the crowd.
The umbrella boy stared about at the chaos of his wares. His eyes were wide like a panicked prey animal. The police predators appeared in the tunnel, framed by the weak spill of daylight and the corona of empty space around them in the otherwise crowded space.
The boy’s flight-or-flight response sent him racing away, toward the 2 line. The police, presented with the comfortably familiar scenario of chasing a street vendor, obediently gave chase. They were past me and away in a matter of seconds.
I picked up one of the stray umbrellas with a nonchalant dip at the waist. Stood. Hunched my shoulders higher around my ears, not so much to be too obvious, just a mannerism against the wind. I moved through the crowd like a virus in the bloodstream, slipped myself silent and unseen aboard the last carriage of the train to Dupleix, and disappeared.
Worth working on? Rate or comment.