Well, I’ve had that enormous headache again yesterday, but I still managed to get some writing done. In fact, I though I’d share a bit of what I wrote with all of you. Comments would be greatly appreciated.
This was for a writing contest with a local newspaper. They started the story, and the readers were to finish Chapter 1. The winning chapter will be printed in Sunday’s paper.
Here’s what the newspaper wrote:
She hadn’t meant to come in, but she couldn’t remember when she’d last eaten, and the aroma of fresh-baked cookies wafting from the Old Gregg School was irresistible.
She stepped inside the old gymnasium, looked around at the shoppers milling through the farmers market that had taken over the space and tried to convince herself that it wouldn’t hurt to walk over a buy a couple of cookies. Those blocks of cheese were pretty tempting, too.
After all, she told herself, she was just a face in the crowd. And it had been years since she last seen the inside of the school. Even if she ran into someone she knew, God knew it wasn’t likely anyone would recognize the girl she’d once been in the face she now showed to the world.
Bang! Startled by the loud noise, she whirled and slipped, her feet going out from under. Her posterior made rather painful contact with wood floor.
A hand reached down, offering help, and she looked up into a pair of green eyes.
Those eyes fastened on her face, and widened in surprise. “Sidney! Is that you?”
Here’s my entry:
Sidney blinked, hoping that when she opened her eyes the man who had been in front of her would be gone. Maybe her Senior Prom date was only a hallucination caused when she bumped her head.
No luck. Flex Thompson stood staring at Sidney. He had a little bit less on top, and a little bit more in the middle, but those eyes were unmistakably Flex.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know who you’re talking about,” lied Sidney as she accepted his outstretched hand while imagining how ugly her dirt-encrusted face must look.
“Don’t be silly,” said Flex, pulling Sidney to her feet. “I don’t care how old I get, there’s no way I could ever forget Sidney Lane.”
Sidney’s cheeks burned. “Nice to see you again, Flex,” she said. “Thanks for the hand.”
Sidney turned and made her escape toward the door. A cookie would have been nice, but the hunger pains in her stomach were no match for the embarrassment in her heart.
“Wait,” yelled Flex, jogging toward Sidney.
Sidney quickened her pace and was soon outside.
“How about lunch?” said Flex, a step behind.
Sidney turned to face him. “Well, I don’t really have any…”
“I’ll pay,” said Flex, grinning. “Gotta make up for all those times in high school you paid for me, right?”
“Well,” said Sidney, the nerves in her stomach beginning to drown out the growls of hunger, “I should really get a shower first.” She followed that with a lie about having worked in her garden all morning.
“I don’t mind,” said Flex, still struggling to catch his breath. “To be honest I haven’t had a shower either. I just want to talk.”
Sidney bit her bottom lip. A free lunch would be nice. “Okay,” she said. “But just for a quick bite. I have a lot planned.”
“There’s a Sheetz up the road,” said Flex. “They have picnic benches outside. I’ll drive.”
“Fine,” said Sidney with a sigh.
Following the silent ride to the convenience store, they ordered their food and then took a seat in the shade. Sidney ate her hamburger, quietly savoring each bite.
Flex, ignoring his food, began asking questions to Sidney’s dismay. “So,” he said, “Married?”
Sidney sighed. She knew it was going to come up eventually. “He disappeared on me,” she said without taking her eyes off her food.
“He ran out on you?” said Flex. “Jerk.”
Sidney paused. It was very unlikely she would ever see Flex again, so she might as well tell him the truth.
“No,” she said. “Disappeared. One minute he was there, and the next he and the house were gone. The worst part is nobody remembers him or the house except me.”
“Oh,” replied Flex.
Sidney casually pulled the remainder of her food closer to her body, just in case. “You think I’m crazy, don’t you?” she said. She knew the answer to that question. Of course, he thought she was crazy.
After a long silence, Flex looked Sidney in the eyes. “I’m not gonna lie to you,” he said. “That is hard to believe.”
Sidney got up from the table, her expression unchanging. “Thanks for lunch, Flex,” she said.
“Wait,” said Flex, rising to his feet. “I can’t say I believe you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to help you.”
Sidney looked at her old friend. “I don’t need any charity, and I don’t really care if you believe me,” she said. “I could use a ride home, though.”
“Where’s home?” said Flex, curious where somebody whose house disappeared might live.
“Rec Hall,” she said. “Locker number 2027.”