Today’s post is a little different. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to post and I was occupying myself with writing when I found some of my original drafts for a book I started when I was 12.
We had been writing in class one day and my teacher had said that I always had great ideas but the execution of my writing was where I faltered. So that day after school I decided I would write a book, because the only way to improve is through practice.
I knew that I didn’t like when books had some long spiel at the beginning, I just wanted to jump straight into the action. So I just picked a location and ran with it; no plot, no characters, no clue where I was going to take it. Needless to say it was crap, but I persevered and over the years adapted and adapted and now it sits just over 50,000 words. I add to it when I feel like it and chop and change things every so often. It is the best cure for writers block.
I have only ever let 3 people read it; my mum and my two best friends. I didn’t force them, I just gave them bits and said if you want to you can read it – I wanted criticisms, not praise. Which is just as well because I didn’t get it XD. I’m only kidding (sort of) They were really supportive, always had been. And even I know this isn’t good writing, it’s pleasure writing – just feel good writing, you know – get the inspiration flowing. But anyway, this is a long intro basically for me to say, please be nice because I was very young when I started it and I know it’s not good (that’s why I have changed it since this original) I hope you enjoy, or at least have a laugh.
*This is the earliest draft I could find and I think it’s from when I was 14.
16:00 on 16th of February
Have you ever loved someone so much you would do anything for them; even if your own life was at risk? He is gone. I’m going to find him.
I was running through a dense forest where the cold air engulfed me and then I suddenly fell – face first – onto a crisp pile of leaves because my mind is on him. I got up pulling up my schoolbag ready to speed off again. Deeper and deeper I ran, knowing that if I stop I may as well just turn around. It’s not too late.
I push the thought from my mind.
I won’t go home with him gone and her still there. I jumped over a fallen fir and carried on swiftly avoiding the troublesome maze of obstacles.
I had looked out onto this web of entangled branches almost every day of my life. I remember playing in this wood with him when we were only six or seven; now it is simply dark and empty like the dreams themselves. Back then it had always seemed open and vast; the trees spindly limbs easily evadable but now I was lucky if I could take two steps without a branch catching in my hair or on my clothes. The energy started to burn inside me and my heart was beginning to race. I pushed past a leafy oak and it twanged back, scratching me across my cheek. For such an innocent scrape it felt like I had been stabbed. I slowed my pace and peered upwards to absorb the cleanliness of the twilight air. The little of the sky I can actually see through the trees thickness is starting to become a deep shade of ebony, the stars a vivid champagne colour contrasting starkly to how they normally look from my window. I think I must have been stumbling between the dense branches for a few hours, my feet don’t hurt yet but my head is splitting and an overwhelming part of me is enforcing the idea I should stop and rest for the night. I put down my backpack in the nearest clearing I could find. I feel engulfed by the enormous firs trees that loom around the edges of the open grassy plain. I venture only a few steps into the low hanging branches of the firs before finding enough small dry twigs that I could use to make a fire. The little of the setting sun that had previously been visible was now unseen for the tops of the hunched trees once I had fumbled around searching for a comfortable enough spot on the slightly damp ground. This clearing was the only grass I had seen uninfected by the incoming winter. I sagged off my bag pack and took the lighter I had taken from Mum’s desk from the front pocket, before flicking its glowing ember toward the small pile of dry twigs. I let out a deep sigh. Thank God I wasn’t at home with her right now. I tugged my fingers through my tangled brown hair attempting to remove a few small twigs and the odd leaf. The small fire crackled invading the forest’s perfect quiet. I pulled my bag under my head and continued to gaze longingly into comforting glow radiating from the little slice of the sun before blowing it out before I gently shut my eyes. I wasn’t far enough away from Aspen Creek for a fire in the middle of a forest to have gone unnoticed. The night wasn’t cold or long. I fell asleep quickly and didn’t awake till morning.
When I did wake my head was laying on the dew dropped grass and my bag was tucked firmly under one arm. It wasn’t long till I started to meander off into the trees barely penetrable undergrowth and the faint images of him continuously danced in my mind. The fresh, morning air sent a cold chill down my spine. The trees were becoming tightly packed the further I got from the clearing and the world seemed to be passing by me. As I ducked under branches the forest felt like it was getting colder and colder. I could almost feel the grass behind me freezing as I left. Every tree resembled an icicle standing ever so still and yet also seemed as if they were invading my space, caging me in their icy grasp. The water in the stream was as hard stone with only the gentle trickle of freshly melted frost running down the centre. The wind in the air seemed to moan like it was crying out for help. The forest floor trembled under the thick lair of ice that covered it. Nothing was moving. The forest was petrified. I tried to remember how beautiful this wood had looked in the summers I had spent here, but the happiness was too faint for me to recall anything.
When the ground in front began to clear of thick grass and the trees became more spread out the strange feeling of someone watching me crept closer and closer. My heart skipped a beat. I stopped nearly entangling my free-flowing hair in the outstretching spindly limbs that surrounded. I starred for only a moment but I could see nothing. I heard someone breathing; again, I looked but still no-one. My pulse began to gain some speed. I was losing my breath, but I wasn’t running. I felt the fear fighting in my throat. Shadows seemed to move around in my imagination. My head began to spin as if I had been stunned, like I was drifting off into a lifelong dream that I would never awake from. My eyes scoured the defrosting earth for any signs of life that would reason with my fear as to why I should be allowed to move once more. I began to feel the icy fog that had created a thick layer over the ground in my moments of panic roll higher and higher up my shin. A muffled but very much human grunt came from the left of me, but when I looked there was nothing, just like before. By now the mist came to my knees and my breaths were filling the air at twice the average rate. I started to run.
My path was covered by mist and my loose hanging hair was becoming more of an issue than I had previously noticed. Thin strands of my brown tangled hair fell over my face causing me to struggle to see where I was stepping. The fog must have disorientated me because barely two minutes later I was standing back in the clearing where I had slept. Through the fog I could just make out that there were three paths in front of me where the trees had grown to allow me a little more room. They were all caved by mist like I had never seen before. Straight down the middle I ran breaking through the crisp mist. Suddenly I felt my foot wrap itself around a root that protruded from the cold ground and I tripped causing the mist around me to roll swiftly like a tidal wave, uncovering a boy lying chest down and face to the floor.
Was it him?
The boy had on a thick blue hoodie which covered his face and hair. My heart was still racing but it was for a different reason entirely. I couldn’t move as the thoughts of discovery grew closer. I managed to roll onto my knees and I crawled towards the unconscious boy hope rising in my chest. I used every muscle in my body to roll him onto his back. I only got him as far as his side before a shivery cold zap of fright ran quickly up my spine. A hand was grasping my shoulder tightly. In an instant I was being shoved into the muddy forest floor face first. I tried to lift my eyelids to look up. The world spun for a bit before it blurred and everything went black.
8:00 on 16th of February
The sudden change in temperature chilled me to my core. Or maybe it was the prospects of what lay ahead that was causing this sudden pain in my gut. I was still tightly grasping the door handle. I was still able to hear mum whistling along with the radio through the single glazed kitchen window. I was still able to change my mind. I could go to school like any normal day and could come home to the warmth of my room.
I couldn’t wuss out before I had even left my driveway. My knuckles bleached under the tight grasp I held the handle in. I let out a low breath so that the air in front of me became clouded in a warm haze. My hand fell, releasing its prisoner. The frosty ground made soft crunches under my boots as I walked down the drive. I pulled my blue hoodie up over my head to protect my ears from the numbing Feburary air. I walk solemnly past the rows upon rows of carbon copy houses in our estate. I crossed the road narrowly escaping some lunatic mum racing her children to school on time. The barbed wire fence had been stretched to accommodate a small gap big enough for me to slide through comfortably. I turned to stare back at the dreary semi-detached house I had reluctantly called home for the past year. Now it seemed like the most comforting place in the world compared to what I was about to face. The looming forest towered over me. I inhaled deeply. I’m doing this for her.
A few meters into the forests thick undergrowth I realised I was still holding my breath. When I let it out, it came out in a staggered and breathy white cloud in front of me mixing with the early morning air. I looked up to the hand I had used to hold back a looming branch, ignoring the thick clump of thorn bushes under my feet. It felt like a thousand tiny little fire ants were eating away at my shins even through the course material of my jeans came between them. I cussed in pain and in my anger, I let go of the branch so it came toppling down towards my temple. I cussed again. I stepped quickly out of the death trap I had just evaded. This was not a good start.
What I presumed was a few hours into my reconnection with nature I could feel the boredom creeping into my system. Turns out running away from home against everyone’s better judgement is kind of dull compared to the movies. I couldn’t hear any cars. I couldn’t see the tops of any houses in our estate. I couldn’t smell the dreadful stale cow manure that rolled in off the fields. It was dead quiet. It made me uncomfortable.
I remember us playing in here when we were young and visiting for the holidays. My mind drifted happily to those memories. It must have been at least nine hours since I left civilisation behind willingly and walked the woods dodging the low hanging branches and invasive trunks. I walked into a clearing surrounded by some big firs; feeling like I could finally breathe now that the trees invading branches were no longer tight to my body. I wished I had something to do other than bathe in my own thoughts; it would make this dramatically less dull. I pulled my hands up under the sleeves of my hoodie. I hated the cold and the outdoors; I always have but it just seems like the most logical place to go. The denseness of the trees – even during winter – meant there were little to no walkable trails through the forest despite it looming over our little town; it was rarely touched by human life. The only exception was this little clearing an hour or so from Aspen Creek by road, where mobs of drunken teens would gather into the early hours of a Sunday morning. Luckily this was a Monday evening and would be deserted. I had thought for the length of time I had been wandering that I would be further than this, I let out an audible sigh of exasperation.
I continued past the clearing deeper into the shadowy trees. The trees were so thick and bushy it blocked the little light that remained from the day. It must be around seven-ish as I had already stopped and eaten the only food I took with me when my stomach had growled angrily at me earlier. By now surely someone must have noticed me missing. I’m not going back; no matter how tempting it may be “I’m doing this for her” I reiterated aloud, letting my words slice the silence I had grown accustomed to. I came to a cross road of three paths. The two outer ones looked covered in thorn bushes and roots that I was knowingly too clumsy to face. I continued to slowly meander down the middle still avoiding the few roots that protruded the ground. Yawing I decided to go to the side of the “path” and lie up against a tree. I would need my sleep if I wasn’t going to be found.
As quickly as I drifted off it was over and the thin strands of sun light that were managing to break through lit the ground. I sat upright stretching my arms wide. I was hungry but I had no food. As if on command my stomach growled; I had no time therefore I was going to stay hungry. A snap came from behind me and I twisted to see…nothing. I straighten out again. Now my hunger was playing tricks on me. I could swear I heard heavy breathing. I felt a sudden warmth coat the back of my neck and a shadow destroy the beam of sunlight dancing on the ground. I turned. A man. His fist met my face and I tumbled to the floor letting out a muffled grunt.
Were these the people I had been brought up to fear? Had they found me?
The mist that had rolled in covered me. I lay still; I had only been gone just over a day, how could they have found me already? In those moments I thought of her.
Suddenly a rush of pained breaths rattled against the mass of trees and my protective layer of mist flew out from over me. I pushed my face under my arm so I lay flat against the ground. There was no sound for the next minute. There was no movement either. I began to lift my head to see how my situation had developed but feminine hands fumbled at my side.
Was it her?
The hands suddenly went limp and her body was slumped against me and I heard her head hit the ground beside me. I tried to pull out from underneath her gentle form but something grabbed me by the ankles and I hit my head off one of the protruding roots with a resounding thud. The world spun for a bit before it blurred and everything went black.
So, I want you’re opinions of that? Please be brutally honest down below. I would rather be told it is terrible than lie to save face because you can’t improve upon yourself (or your writing) if you don’t know where you need to focus your attentions.
Sorry if this has been a dull post for you guys, I have an essay due on Friday and I am nowhere near done! I am desperately trying to scrap together something decent while also keeping up these posts so if the quality dips the next couple of days you will know why. I hope you are having a better week than me. See you tomorrow ❤