Saturday, 14 September 2013

Work in progress (Richie Earl) in One Thousand Worlds

Today's post is very different to all the other features on One Thousand Worlds. I started writing my third novel just yesterday, so there are many months of writing, proofreading, editing, etc. ahead of me. But I thought that I would share this with you. I would love to hear what you think and whether it has aroused any interest in reading the work when it's completed. If you have a work in progress, why not submit the first one thousand words as I've done. You can also add links to where readers can find your completed books.

Work in Progress
The aching muscles in her arms screamed at her to stop, but she couldn't hear their plaintive cries. Nor did she notice the torrent of silent tears streaming down her young face. For Hannah Jones wasn't sitting in a tiny rowing boat, bobbing on the turbulent surface of Capel Celyn reservoir.
She stood in the kitchen doorway, screaming at the horror set before her. A single moment in time which had forever changed her life. Sunlight poured through the window, momentarily blinding her as it reflected from the blood stained knife in Dad's hand. He looked up at her, from a kneeling position on the tiled kitchen floor, beside her lifeless mother. A rapidly growing pool of blood surrounding him.
Hannah vomited, even before she felt the overpowering feeling of nausea explode inside her. She turned unsteadily, bumping into the coat stand as she ran wildly through the hallway and out into the street, before slumping to her knees.

Mandy Williams stood on the shore, watching the little boat crawl away. She called out, but her voice was lost in the wind and driving rain. What was Hannah doing on the lake in this weather? She'll never get back in time for tea, she thought.
The boat rocked as Hannah got to her feet and reached down for her backpack, struggling with its weight as she tried to get the straps over her shoulders. The tears had dried and a look of calmness washed over her pale face. She put one foot on the side of the boat, pushed hard with the other, disturbing the vessel even more as she plunged into the abyss.
Mandy stood transfixed, horrified at what she saw, before she turned, running hysterically to where the other students were gathered. She tried to tell them what had happened, but her words came out incoherently and too quickly for anyone to understand at first.
She forced herself to calm down, "Hannah just jumped into the reservoir!" She blurted out, pointing to the abandoned boat. "I can't see her anymore."
The group raced out to the spot in a flotilla of rowing boats. Circling the immediate area.

Hannah found comfort in the freezing water, quickly sinking to the bottom, dragged down by the rocks in her backpack. The events of the last ten months replayed themselves before her eyes. Mam and Dad arguing all the time, him leaving home and staying at Nan's house and then ...... that fateful Saturday afternoon.
Hannah hit the bottom of the lake with a jolt, coming to rest on hard rocks. Her lungs filled with water, and her arms and legs thrashed involuntarily, sending clouds of silt into the already murky water. Her eyes closed slowly and blackness engulfed her.

A hundred feet above, the students had been joined by the staff from the outwards bound centre, searching frantically, screaming out her name. She'd been gone for what seemed like forever as time stood still. The first Land Rover arrived and the Mountain Rescue team scrambled out. The team leader was briefed by one of the centre staff who was coordinating the search from the shore. Moments later the second appeared and then took off again after a few words were shared by the leader of the first team.
Mandy sat on the shore, shivering as she vacantly watched the second vehicle travel around the lake, bobbing headlights cutting a path through the rapidly fading light. One by one, the small crafts returned to shore as night fell and still no sign of Hannah. Hope faded ever more quickly as she watched the weary rescuers clamber back onto dry land without her friend.

There was no light, no sound, no feeling, no pain. There were no thoughts and no memories. All there was, was nothingness, blackness, an impossible void. Time didn't stand still, there was no time. But then gradually, from somewhere far away, from the very edge of the universe itself, an awareness seeped through the vacuum. Sound, at first muffled and distorted, slowly increased in volume and clarity until Hannah could hear her own name being called. Now she could feel the merest touch of warmth against her frozen body. Then pressure in the middle of her chest. An awful taste in her mouth made her gag. She coughed, expelling water from her lungs. Through unopened eyes, she sensed bright light shining upon her face. Anxious voices became clear, talking to her, but she couldn't respond. Hannah forced her eyelids apart, just a tiny fraction, before the blinding light forced them together again. And then the memories returned.

Hannah sat up in her hospital bed, reading the Merthyr Express headline: "Miracle Girl Survives Suicide Attempt." Two days had passed since she'd failed to take her own life and she still couldn't believe that she was alive. Nobody had been able to explain how she came to be on the shore of the lake, with her heavy backpack still strapped tightly to her lifeless body. She had carefully planned her own death, taking no chances that she might be saved. But somehow she was here now. She began to read the article, but was interrupted by one of the nurses on Ward 35 of Prince Charles Hospital.
"This is Doctor Humphreys," she said introducing the smartly dressed female standing beside her. "She's come to talk to you."
Hannah shifted uneasily on the bed as she put her newspaper to one side.
"Do you mind if I sit down?" The doctor didn't wait for a response as she sat in the high backed chair beside Hannah's bed. "Please call me Jane. I've come to see how you are."
Hannah remained silent, avoiding eye contact with her pretty visitor.
"I know that you've been through some terrible experiences," Jane continued, "and can't begin to understand how you feel, but I really want to help you come to terms with what's happened."

Jane paused, hoping that Hannah might respond. She'd worked in psychiatry for three years and dealt with many attempted suicides, most of which were just cries for help. This case was different. She knew Hannah had only one intention when she stepped out of the boat and she could understand her motives for doing so. Finding your mother dead on the floor, killed by your own father.....her whole world turned upside down in a second.

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  1. Now that's a pretty sterling start. The rest of the book is wide open - paranormal probably but perhaps Hannah is unknowingly non-human; could be one of many routes into fantasy.
    It certainly held my interest and there's a nice attention to detail mixed with a "what the hell's going on here" feeling.

  2. Hi Arch. Thanks for taking the time to give me feedback. I can't say too much, but you're on the right track with paranormal.

    I just need to write another 80k words now.

  3. Wow! Thank you so much for your great feedback, this is exactly what I was hoping for when I posted my opening. This is only my third novel, so I am still a novice and learning all the time, and this certainly helps.

    1. My Apologies to Changeling, who left some brilliant feedback for me. My lack of IT skills has again reared its ugly head, forcing me to accidentally delete your comment. Nevertheless, your words of wisdom are still reverberating inside my head.