OK, I've not posted before, and I've been meaning to - so here goes.
This is a bit of a character sketch for a story I haven't started yet ... it's still pretty rough
It was a bright day in late summer and all that crap. Blue sky, yellow sun, green grass, white sheep, black flies – you get the picture. This blue sky and yellow sun looked down on green grass that was situated on stereotypical gently rolling hills, the type that look all calm and pretty but are a bugger to climb and generally cause the climber to become a red spot on this vista. The white sheep emitted bleats with a decidedly whiney note. I sat at the top of one of those damn green hills staring at the white sheep and blew colourless air out of my red cheeks. The hills stared back at me and did nothing in particular, as is their wont. Hills are lazy like that.
I lay in the green grass and stared at the blue sky, trying to feel that I was, in some way, connected to this cacophony of colours that surrounded me. Clearly I wasn’t. The grass, which had appeared so inviting from a distance, was itchy against my skin, rubbing in such a way as to cause me to imagine bugs eating me, and I was paranoid that ants and bugs would crawl over my legs and eat me when I wasn’t watching.
Besides, it was a great deal more difficult to be soulful in nature than one would think. I’ve read books by people who go to a lot of trouble to ‘live with nature’ or some sort of crap like that, and I’ve always wondered whether there was some sort of illness to explain that particular delusion. It’s one thing to walk down an avenue lined with fruit trees in blossom after the bleakness of winter; I assume that the generic romance of the situation coupled with the sheer relief at the end of winter would be reason enough for anyone to wax lyrical about nature. It’s quite another thing to lay in late summer grass, fading and crunchy with the lack of rain, and squint up into the overly bright sky. One just doesn’t feel soulful in such an environment. I certainly couldn’t. My eyes watered in the light and for some unknown reason, I sneezed every so often when the sun got up my nose in just such a way ...
Then there were the sheep. I had not long ago decided (after the 6th attempt by one of those dour creatures to eat my hat) that the only good sheep are the ones in my mother’s mutton sandwiches. I had felt a little guilty at around midday when I ate my aforementioned sandwich (another strike against my nature connection) while my lunch’s brethren milled around me, emitting their mournful bleats in various pitches. Their bleats annoyed me; I wanted to know why they were so damn miserable. Perhaps they could sense, with their strange, sheepy omniscience, that I was eating their kinswoman; their bleats may then have been odes to the life of this brave soul, who lived so long and fulfilled a life, eating grass and bleating and ... eating more grass. My favourite theory, however, was the fact that they were eating grass. Their monotonous bleats were just their railing against nature for being herbivores and being stuck with only grass for nutrition, while the intruder in their midst could flaunt her omnivorous-ness and taunt them with the wanton murder of a relative all in the one action of eating a sandwich.
It probably ought to have struck me as odd that I was speculating on the mental health of sheep, but it didn’t. Such stupid thoughts inside my head were not unusual. I seemed constitutionally unable to clear my mind sufficiently to allow myself to just bask in the warmth of the sun on my skin, the cool breeze in my hair and all the other clichés that may spring to mind. I would often lie down and close my eyes, trying to only see, black (or was it white?) in my mind’s eye, so that I could clear my mind and meditate; no sooner were my eyes closed than my attention was caught by a random idea and I followed it, eventually concluding that yes, cheese was the result of ancestral madness ...
I loved this! Its brilliant, very witty, well done.
Thanks Deb - I knew it was a bit rough.
love it! its completely lol, mostly about the sheep.
i'd like to see you continue with it coz i'll read it
pmsl at the sheep and the ending thought! XD i loved it Nef, if you continue with this i'll be happy to keep reading :nod: it kind of reminds me of a Terry Pratchett book.
i love your style of writing! :D
I wrote some more! Question - this is meant to open a story, but I don't want to give one of those blow by blow accounts of the main character's life up to this point - Am I giving out too much irrelevant information?
Let me know if there are any errors - I whipped this out fairly quickly
Of course, communing with nature was never really the point of the countryside sojourn on this day; escaping Willis was my object. Willis was worth escaping. He had approached my father on Tuesday evening, carefully attired (care of his mother) in his best suit, to ask my father’s permission to court me. I found out the next day that he had walked through the entire town in his suit, leaving no one in any doubt, even if they hadn’t personally seen him, as to his intentions. It was mortifying beyond belief. My mother had been overjoyed; Willis was everything that she could wish for: a nice boy with good prospects; it seemed a little indelicate to point out that these prospects were contingent on his father dying, and ... I was 24. So far, I was at least 4 years behind all my contemporaries in giving my mother the luxury of complaining that she was 'too young to be a grandmother'.
I suppose I may have given him a chance if I were able to stop staring at the place where his chin should have been. Perhaps that was overly superficial of me, but I couldn’t help but wonder whether he was ever in danger of swallowing his own jaw by mistake. And he was so meek ... I pegged him as the type that would stay quietly under my thumb until he randomly decided one day to go postal on me – suddenly I began to empathise with the plight of the depressed sheep around me.
I knew I would never be forced to marry Willis, but I would never be rid of the reminders and recriminations if I didn’t. My parents would never even believe that they were partly to blame for my impending spinsterhood. I had been indulged in my wish for whatever education I could get; I had even studied under a retired professor after school had finished. I had learnt just enough to want to know more, and more than enough to frighten most people away. It just left me with the problem of how to reconcile my current existence with the impossible and improbable dreams of a grander life being handed to me on a platter. I sighed.
I was so caught up in my self-pity and sheep watching that I didn’t really register the footsteps behind me. It did occur to me that putting a sack over my head when the scenery was unchanging in all directions for miles was a little over the top. But then, some people just have a natural flair for dramatising a situation.
Thanks for the feedback, I like this character.
For the record, her name is Eloise - I just wanted to mention that ...
I'm really loving this nef, I honestly can't wait to see more. I don't think you're giving out too much irrelevant information, but I don't know where you're heading with the plot yet. I'm guessing that the footsteps behind her are going to set things off, but until then its indeterminable in my opinion.
The 'mother' sentence reads much better now nef. I can really relate to that bit. LOL
This is the next part, sort of. It's extemely rough - I'm just posting it here because I wrote it at work and can't save it to my work computer |:|. I'll edit it when I write more
It's beginning to introduce Stephen (I think his name will change), who is going to be the other main character in this story ...
Stephen followed along, content to let Morris take the initiative on this mission. His head felt as though it was filled with tar, trapping thoughts as they attempted to navigate the passages of his mind. It had been thus for the past week; starved of his beloved books, Stephen’s mind wilted under the unrelenting pressure of the sun and the thoughts within had been blown away as the wind passed through the hills, flattening the grass under its footprint. This mission should not have been. Stephen knew that he should not have left the library, that he ought to have stayed to find the text that would confirm his conviction that this mission was wrong. He knew it was wrong – even as he climbed the very hill on which their aim reclined, he knew this. Yet conviction seemed to matter little to the elders – Stephen almost grimaced at the irony.
Morris motioned Stephen to halt, then crouched down, creeping stealthily toward the girl in the blue dress. He took out a hessian sack. Stephen closed his eyes and shook his head …
They had finally taken the overly dramatic sack from my head, but I closed my eyes anyway, breathing deeply. My head hurt, and the effort required to see was too great for my bruised brain, not to mention the slowly ebbing pressure of excess blood pooling in my head. The sun was low on the horizon, indicating that I been the unwilling cargo of my captors for several hours. I wanted a drink, but I did not suppose that this impromptu holiday came fully catered. So I sat, bound only by my hands, feeling remarkably foolish and disconcertingly helpless as swollen jawed Pompous and silent Sulky (for so I had named them) rummaged around in their packs for … food, I hoped, but as they had kidnapped me earlier, I didn’t hope too hard. Pompous glowered at me. I didn’t think that he had the right to be angry at me, I was certain that I had come out worse than him - I was still with them, after all.
I decided that the best course of action was to stay silent. These were not sociable men. Sulky didn’t seem to be all there, and Pompous had only time for the sound of his own voice, which, at present, was hampered by his inability to use his jaw properly. I didn’t know why they wanted me in particular, and I wasn’t in any particular condition to effect an escape at present. I didn't know where I was, and it wasn’t as though there would be any thought of a search party for a few hours. I was expected home for dinner with the chinless wonder and they would expect that my non appearance was just me being coy ... or rude. Well, that was one bright spot in my day, at least.
I would not have thought that I would be such a passive … victim (the very thought of that word irked me), but my early attempt at defiance had gone sadly awry. After suffering the indignity of the sack being thrown over my head, Pompous had dramatically thrown me over his shoulder, obviously intending to channel his inner pirate (but achieving only his inner greengrocer – he had as much consideration for me as for a sack of potatoes), I had naturally struggled as violently as possible. Pompous, being insufficiently coordinated to attempt to carry live cargo, lost control of my wriggling form and I overbalanced over his shoulder, legs flailing wildly to avoid his grasping, clammy hands. I managed to kick him squarely in the jaw on my inelegant way down before landing head first on the dry ground. After that, the afternoon was something of a blur; I had travelled, suspended from the shoulder of one or the other of my captives, and indeterminate distance, trying not to worsen my lot by throwing up in that stupid sack. That would have been one indignity too far. I wasn’t certain of our direction, I wasn’t certain of anything but the jolting and the sickening pressure of shoulder against my stomach and the wandering hands of one of my captors (I think it was Pompous – Sulky didn’t seem to want a bar of me, thankfully).
It was Pompous who broke the silence. “I still think that we shouldn’t have taken the sack off. What if she gets away – she will have seen us!”.
Sulky and I sighed, although Sulky’s was more of a groan. Pompous had been pursuing this argument for the past half hour.
Nice Nef, agree that it needs an edit but its going very well. You might want to consider Prodders if you're going to be posting much more though. Will have another look after the edit and see if you picked up on the things that I did. If thats what you want of course.
I'll have to keep my eye on that one. Look good so far.
I was just over at your site Nef and I have to say the little bit that on there is highly amusing :D Needless to say the character is sure an intriguing one . . . keep it up :)
I will go on your site soon but I really liked your story. Very interesting. Keep going. I want to read more.
wow nef i can see why your thinking about getting something published, it is really good!!
I'm nearly finished my first chapter (I think, it keeps changing), so I thought that I'd put up an extract here.
WARNING! I'm not sure if all of my extract conforms to the PG rating, so I'm going to spoiler the whole lot. I can take the spoiler down later if it's all clear. Deb, please let me know if I've overstepped and I can take it down.
Willis turned nervously to follow my gaze. “It’s, aaaaaah, a lovely day today; quite fine out in the sun.” Of course, the trusty stand-by topic; Willis was nothing if not an assiduous student. His conversation could not be faulted, really. I could truly see how people thought that Willis and I were made for one another; that this would be a fiery, passionate relationship based on like tastes and minds. We were truly meant to be.
“Yes, the sun often comes out in summer.” I was actually in awe of my witty repartee. That response ... it was just beautiful.
“Well, except when, eeeeerrm, it’s cloudy,” he qualified, after giving my amazing statement the solemn consideration that it deserved.
“Indeed, and clouds generally mean rain is coming.”
“So, then, it’s good that, eeeeerrrr, there are no clouds today.”
“You are quite right Willis, the sun is quite pleasant”. He beamed at my concurrence as though I had just agreed to begin the whole procreation business right there on the parlour floor. I cringed internally at my stupidity and went back to staring out of the window.
“You look quite lovely today. That is, aaaaaaah, a very pretty dress,” he blurted, looking as though he had just said something quite daring. Indeed, I was quite amazed that he had anything remotely resembling 'it' in him. I honestly didn't even see him as a male.
“Oh, I’m not too fond of it” I replied as offhandedly as I could manage, trying to atone for my earlier conversational lapse. He subsided slightly and his eyes darted from side to side quickly, obviously searching for a new topic of conversation.
Oh poor Willis, but I really can't help but love your protagonist Nef. :nod:
Ooo so she has a name HURRAH! :D
Cliche's aren't all bad anyway, as long as it works and I'm amused by poor Willis so as far as I'm concerned it's working quite well.
I'll prolly play around with italics to get the idea across - I just realised I repeated the work 'truly' so I'll end up changing the whole last sentence in the next draft.
ohhhhh i love it!! it's good as!!!!