Author: G. Jefferies
Adrian “Ade” Johnston was a bright kid that mixed with the wrong ones after his parents took their eye off the ball. Easy to do moving from toddler through to adolescence. Those days are cute. Maybes not at the time but looking back Pamela and Carl figured those were the times before “Get out of my bubble” and “What do you know” appeared. The omnipresent realisation that every new teen cracks open. Older folk were always old and don’t know the minds of teenagers. How could they? They’re old.
Ade knew this to be true though. After all his generation were obviously the first to actually be sixteen…ever. Thirty seemed past it, unreachable, never going to happen. But folk older than that were just wrong. They were the ones running the world and screwing it up. They should all be put in homes until they get too old to have a say. Might be folk would just get along fine then. Only grandparents knew stuff.
Well they had when he was a kid. Tales of the war, real stuff from history that even the Internet knew about. Gramps had been in it. Really in your face, up to the eyeballs, proper in it. He had medals too and that way of avoiding details which, to an empathic minded child, says hey, you really were weren’t you. As opposed to the hyperbolic crap most of his current mates said. Teens for you though. They all did it and they all knew they did it and that was just fine.
What was not fine, in his parents view, was how they had managed to watch good grades slump in the key years leading to examinations that counted. Ade knew why though. Love was money. It bought him stuff as a surrogate. Bespoke room that, in fairness, was the envy of his mates but when he needed help a new video game or bag of sweets didn’t cut the mustard. Then again they were in the age bracket that should be in homes to safeguard the planet. When you looked at it like that then what could you expect? The age of got to have the latest gadget, car, just so house was running. Any fool looking at 24/7 news could figure it out. Spend more get less. Earn more do less. Wasn’t rocket science.
Not to him and his mates at any rate. Politicians sucked, world leaders sucked and idiots that voted were sheep indoctrinated like religious folk. Dare to say something was wrong and boom. Off they went in the rhetoric of what the heck would Ade know at his age. They did though. Ade and his pals. They knew plenty. After all they were the first kids ever to be teenagers.
It started going off the rails when gramps passed away. Nothing sinister or untoward. He was just old. That didn’t make it hurt less because of all the people in his family who ever gave him any time to talk about stuff gramps was the only that chewed the fat. Ade thought that was a war thing. When you saw that up front it was bound to change you. A mate blown to pieces in front of you. One you had the crack with over breakfast, gone in seconds. There one minute, gone the next.
Get your head round that people. The smell of fresh rain on mud, the chill of the air blowing a gale in wet clothes, boots full of water rotting your feet, the actual smell of flesh lacerated with bullets and screams of soldiers lying in the dirt waiting for medics that were just to damn busy. If movies came with smell-o-vision punters would be chucking up all over the place.
Ade saw it all in gramps eyes and the way a rustic index finger tapped the side of his nose when a question got too close. Gramps remembered the carefree days before and then the bloodshed after. They were there. Ade felt it sitting in the living room when he visited. Living room. That always threw him too. So quiet, a bit like he imaged a morgue with just a clock ticking the time away until the moment to drop the coffin came. He often wondered if you could ever really come back after an experience like that. Yes, Ade sure missed gramps a whole heap of ways.
That was when Rowena the Goth found him. One afternoon after lunch at school when he was leaning on the railings at the furthest edge of the playing fields. Having some time out away from everything, lessons, mates, people. Space to just say cheers gramps and thank you for being the real parent. The one that cared.
“Go on then,” came a soft voice behind him.
Ade took no notice. He was there to be alone. Besides girls didn’t speak to him outside class very often. The owner he couldn’t place anyway.
“Are you gonna jump the fence or not?”
“What?” Ade hoped that had some proper fuck off irritation in it.
“I’ve seen you here everyday for the last two weeks at least. Figured you were working up to blowing this joint.” She was still behind him.
“Yeah, well I might just do that. Life’s a bitch then you die.”
Gramps cut him up there. Young un, t’aint her fault. It rolled round his head for a few before he replied. “I didn’t mean bitches as in girls. It’s just stuffs fucked up a bit.”
He turned round and things changed. Rowena the Goth as he’d never seen her before. Well, he had, just not paid any attention to her in school uniform. Her reputation was after hours. The black gear with silver bangles and purple highlights. Not forgetting the nose stud. Here she was kinda normal, uniform in the uniform and, well, fucking gorgeous.
“I know that one Adrian.” She smiled.
Fuck, she knows my name. A freaking girl knows my name. Gramps tailed away. “What do you know about it?” Imbecile, why did I say that?
“This and that. Being the weirdo that everyone laughs at for a start.”
“Do they?” He was looking into her eyes. He liked the way they stared back. More than that though, they reminded him of the light in Gramps. The one that said I know more than I let on young ‘un.
She laughed and he was hooked. “Yes they do.”
It may have been the glisten of tears in his eye that moved things on. Nobody cared before and Rowena the Goth was hope.
“I lost my grandad not long ago. Best friend I ever had.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude.” Except she moved closer. He saw her arms move in the way his mums once had when he was upset.
“No, don’t apologise. I’m glad you did. It’s just hard with parents that don’t give a toss.” There, he’d never told anyone that before. It felt good.
Next he knew she was hugging him. Rowena the Goth, weirdo extraordinaire was embracing him, Ade, by the railings at the furthest point from school you could get without going truant. He clutched her back. Get your head round this people. Me and a girl. A real live girl.
“If you ever need to talk Adrian,” she left it unfinished. Not that a sentiment like that needs terminating. It is what it is. An offer of friendship, maybe more. The school bell ended lunch. They separated and walked back holding hands until they neared the main buildings where they separated. Not cool to be seen with a girl during school. That’s a tease job waiting to happen. Sixth form acceptable, but year too early. Fuck the world he thought that’s crap too, like the lock up ages. He reached back, took her wrist and slid his fingers back into place. Rowena smiled and schoolwork went out the window.
© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.
Finally had a quiet moment to read and appreciate this. Absolutely love the interaction between Ade and Rowena – it felt that the characters truly came to life in that moment. Oh, and needless to say I also adore the graphic at the top of the page. *grin*
Thank you…I was rather hoping they were endearing characters because, as you know, I rather like them. Alas not all happy days though 🤕 One also tries to find choice graphics that fit. Not easy, but at least pixabay has license free content!
Ahhh Rowena the Goth, how you made my Sunday. If I could have my time over again I would be Julie the Goth and hug boys on bridges 🙂
Excellent, if such brings happiness to a Sunday then all is well…except you best not read this one in entirety…not everyone…ooops….spoilers 😇
Grrrrrr!!! You’re doing that thing i cant remember he name of right now aren’t you….Reverse thingy majig lol
Reverse psychology…umm…maybe….people disappear in this one too…did you read Joe Stringers bit? I put that up the day before lol…mind you reverse magic….hmm…I could work with that too 🤔
I need to go backwards and read them all from the start. Are there links on each one to the next one?
These were put up out of sequence as character testers before I actually started writing the book. Just to get a feel for what people thought. The links aren’t embedded in the posts, but if you find the search box (top right on a PC or underneath the last post at the bottom on a mobile device) and type in “The Bequest” it should pull up the four posts.
Ok ta 🙂 You do like giving my wonky top box a work out don’t you lol
All part of the service…which is entirely free of charge lol
Great writing again Gary!
Thank you Ritu I might now find the mojo to write the last four chapters 🙂
You go boy!!!
Ha ha, not sure what your reading genre is! My stuff might be a bit off your radar lol
Since I started blogging I’ve read a few out of my genre books… and enjoyed them!
Phew…that suggests you might even like one of mine then 😁
I’m sure I will!!!
Uh oh…no pressure on quality then 😱
I’m just getting ready for work…will check in afterwards….have a really productive and wonderful day 🙂
Gary…you might have been reading my latest post while I was adding a line to it….can you go back and just re-read the part that comes just before I start the story….you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it 🙂
Will do and was but as per FB message it was too late to do your post justice 😁
Will pop over shortly 😊
The way you describe trying to understand the experience of war through someone else’s stories…powerful stuff. I’ve never been able to get my head around that, the “here one moment, gone the next”-ness of it.
My own granddad survived The Somme. He never spoke about it but you could see it sometimes in his eyes. It made me think on this sort of thing quite a lot as a child. That in turn lead to many more ponderances on war and how individuals in it might think. I agree with you though actually getting your head around here one moment and gone the next is mind boggling… It crops up more than once in my writing too…thanks so much for you comment. I really appreciate that !
How did I miss this??! I blame the AtoZChallenge, I’m not able to pay much attention to the posts in my reader due to time constraints. My bad! :/
This is brilliant! Teenage emotions perfectly captured! Ade reminded me of someone I knew years ago. Your writing is a not only a reader’s delight but also an imagery treat! 🙂
I hope you are busy editing your fourth draft. Way to go, Gary!! 😀
Hey, that’s a busy challenge…I only got to like today’s owing to this editing lark! Thank you for the kind (over generous even) comment. I am sceptical current book is anywhere close to this by the way…totally different genre and one I’m struggling with…but then I probably say that about all my stuff…and, of course, you are forgiven for missing it 🙃
Thank you. And my comment was highly underrated to be specific! 😊Whatever genre it might be, your writing style would it worthy enough! 😄
The ones on here I’m comfortable with…which is not a good argument because Rose is also on here….blast it…start again….most of the ones on here…. Actually mabe it’s not the writing but the content that’s challenging and out of the comfort zone. I think it needs to get out and be seen…I’ve looked at it so long it’s probably soured my rationale 🤔
Yeah, I understand how it is out of your comfort zone. Sometimes a break is all we need 🙂
It’s all in the mind, that’s for sure! There again, characters who are overly concerned with their appearance might be most effectively conveyed through a description of how they look. Make ’em look in in a mirror and react to what they see …
Tis a valid point…although I reckon you could write a character like that psychologically too and convey it through the thoughts, words and eye rolling of people in their world. And, as you say, through a vanity mirror in the morning 🤔
Yeah, true, why take them at face value!
In my opinion there is always a backstory creating what you see in front of you. What you see ain’t what you get type of thing, facades hiding secrets. At least that’s where I draw inspiration…I need a character…plonk them into a scene and then ask myself who the hell are you..really? For me character creation here can’t be planned otherwise it’s get a bit artificial. Creating someone to do the job you have in mind…people are people so they might not want to do it a certain way. I feel it makes things more fluid. Of course, I could also be talking gibberish too 🤔
Plot-driven stories can be very dull. Your comments on character make perfect sense and are totally correct.
That’s my take on it too. I tend to just go with the flow and see where they take me. I find that makes me more vibrant…well..that could be an illusion 🤔
A touch of ‘Catcher in the Rye’?
Ooh, very good Dave, very good indeed. You might be right but this is but two character introductions amidst five others in this chapter across all age ranges. The life angst is very much fundamental to the plot…each flaw waiting to tempt fate as it were. But Salinger or part of my own teenage angst…I shall ponder this one now and overthink 🤔
It was just the way your character kicked against the tyranny of social expectation – this bit particularly:
‘Not cool to be seen with a girl during school. That’s a tease job waiting to happen. Sixth form acceptable, but year too early. Fuck the world he thought that’s crap too, like the lock up ages. He reached back, took her wrist and slid his fingers back into place.’
On reflection I see the connection but it was actually more autobiographical in terms of his views. Although in truth I just started and stuff just came out. None of that was planned. He was supposed to be one of five characters that were destined to be hoisted be their own petards…where the goth girl came from I have no idea…but it’s now altered his destiny in this book big time. Thanks for the compliment…really makes this writing lark worthwhile !
Good luck with the story, Gary!
Cheers Dave…no doubt snippets will appear…more so from the one I’m working on finalising now…although extracts might seem random here..in my mind it all makes sense…somewhere… I think 🤔
If it came too easily it wouldn’t be any good … I live on Writers’ Block!
This is very true…but planning is so bit me…I just dive in and the characters dictate it. I’ve got very little input when it kicks in…until editing, when they sit back and laugh. Writers block tends to leave me staring in the posture of The Thinker 🤔
Good idea to give your characters their heads in serious stories … much better than having puppets … though I like farce and that’s a puppet show!
It’s one aspect, rightly or wrongly, I try to do. Very few info dumps on what they dress like or actual features per se…more headology. If I can get the reader to identify with the mind of the character I’ve heard it said their imaginations will identify and fill in the missing bits. Let them become part of the book as it were. Not sure if this is right…but it’s the way I write 🤔
You captured the voices beautifully. Well done!
Thank you for not only taking the time to look and read but also for commenting. It makes writing worth while when people enjoy reading it. Not so much the solo journey as it were. 😊
I can say a lot of generic stuff about it’s style, the content and language but I am just gonna say, I adored it and hope that it conveys how much I loved and enjoyed this beautiful piece..
That, my friend, is a really nice compliment. Thank you so much for how you phrased that. Itching to flesh this novel out now 😊
May I also add that I spent an entire afternoon, reading, every single thing you wrote and enjoyed it immensely, Didn’t even want to slow down by commenting individually and hopped with eagerness from one piece to another. The sad part is when I finally decided to bulk comment, the internet played truant and I could post only this one, So, What I am rambling on about is that your writing is a delight, it is simply beautiful and please, please, pleaseeee flesh out this novel..
OMG…did you really?? That is a massive compliment….and to put you in the picture…as it were… Those in The Assent category, with Rose, are currently at draft four which I aim to complete by this Friday. That book is all but done. The Bequest of which this is a part is my next project. It’s currently two chapters in but has been stalled by editing Rose. Wayland is and nocturnal ramblings are parts of the same book which is part two of a series…book one is finished but needs editing. The Twins extract is from that one. The very first post The Room that Swallows People was a tester for a short story course ages ago…but since then the paranormal brothers have taken on several chapters too. One thing readers might spot if they follow things is that each book links in even if they are stand alones outside of the series. Hope that helps pursuade you that things are being written 😇
And thank you so much for the encouragement…it’s comments like that that make the dark days staring at screens worthwhile 😊
Yay..So, happy for you and please keep us informed about the progress of your wonderful writing.
Thank you so much…I shall try and post more…mostly jibber jabber… With the odd extract for good measure. Hopefully all will continue to live up to expectations 😊
I am sure that both the ramblings and the “extracts will exceed our expectations, Good Luck..
Oh heck…no pressure then 😁 If I ever get an agent I shall ask you for a referral 🙃
Thank you again and again and ….
The way you depict the thoughts and conclusions that teenagers come up with is great! I felt like I was actually in Adrian’s head.
I especially like how you compared the living room to a morgue (that’s so off topic, not related to character at all, but oh well).
I have teenagers and was one once upon a time lol.
Off topic did you think so? That was a flash back to how I viewed my gramps living room in later years. No tech, tv off and just the clock ticking in the corner between conversations. The end days waiting for the clearing at the end of the path to coin Stephen King. At the time, never having being in a morgue, it was how I imagined metaphorically what it would be like…silence waiting for coffins to be moved on. In Ade’s mind that’s what the living room was. A morgue except his gramps was still there waiting for his coffin appointment. I shall, however, review this on the edit now 😇
Oh no, no, I meant where I placed it in my comment! I’m so sorry for the confusion. It was very spot on where you placed it in the story. It wasn’t until you mentioned it that I realized how similar the quiet in a living was to a morgue. Again, so sorry.
Ohhh, I see hat you mean now…don’t worry I’m easily confused…no need to apologise 😊
All good…in fact it would be even if you’d actually thought something was out of place and said why yoy think so. That becomes a good bad review which is often better than a bad good review which tells one very little.
Thank you for setting me straight though and I can cross that off my dredit list 😱
I don’t know why I didn’t see this. It should be in my Email since I am a subscriber. Well, with 10,000 Emails, what can I say? A few get lost every now and again. =)
I wanted to let you know I am linking to you in tomorrow’s post. I am using a quote of yours to introduce my article.
How many emails????? I’m surprised you saw it at all!! I’m honoured you want to link me in Janice. Can’t wait to pop across and comment…but 10,000 emails…. That’s being popular for you 🙃
Well, since I started using Unroll.me, I am down to 9020. Slowly inching back up.
Yes, I caught that blog post and downloaded the app just in case things got out of hand…but a mere 9020… no problem for a top blogger like you surely 😁
LOL! Thanks for the faith!
How could I not have faith Janice 😊 I’m well curious as to what you are going to quote now too!!!
Gary! This is soooooooo awesome….I love it! The writing is so brilliantly you, and the connection between grandfather and protagonist and protagonist and goth-girl is sooooooo pertectly crafted…it rings so true…Ade is wonderfully captured and you sure deliver…I love, love, love this….you’re doing it, Gary…you are a professional writer ready to take the literary world by storm…congrats 🙂
Hey, you can be my marketing cheerleader over there if you keep this up!! I’m not sure the word professional writer holds true though…I’m not that good…although this piece is in genre and belongs with the others out of The Bequest category. Have to admit I rather like this one though. It never started with the intention to have the goth girl involved. That was out of my control and just came out. Unexpected it was too.
The idea with these Bequest exercpts is simply to introduce five characters briefly in chapter two but then separate them into their own chapters as things progress. This project is likely going to get my time after the final edit is done on the out of genre book I’m worried about.
Really glad you liked it 😇
As to your first point….why, thank you! 🙂 As to your last point….if you are going to paraphrase, my friend, you need to stay true to the message…”Really glad you adored it” is a truer reflection of my statement. haha Just teasing…I understand how self-deprecation and humility must have their way 🙂
You are most welcome to point one…but paraphrase…umm you liked the post so technically is that a paraphrase or an escape caveat for me 😁 Obviously I use the negatives to try and force out better writing which then falls foul of the negativity which then Spurs on improvement which then….and so on. Result is…never finish anything 🤕
Ha ha….my point is, although I clicked “like” after reading your post–my comment stated that I loved (not liked) it… I wanted to be sure to convey how impressed I was with your post…but, your comment has taught me something new about your process…if I understand, in order to make sure that you do not rest on your laurels, you are hard on yourself, in order to motivate yourself to strive to improve?
I know…like rests easier and I thought it was a rather good escape clause myself. And yes, that is one way I use it….but it does have a tendency to cause an end product still look unfinished…that is the downside of this approach 🤔