Novel Opening: A Quiet Night (working title…)

Quite a strange one, not sure where it’s going at the moment but it was fun to write! Enjoy…


Chapter One

Quiet nights always came as a blessing. A cool, soft breeze whispered through the air. Faintly illuminated by a vibrant moon alone in the sky, ever jubilant to be free from the tangling webs of the clouds. The silence of the winter’s evening was pure and delicate, almost unnerving to the solitary traveller. All creatures were hidden away and even the crickets and bats were nowhere to be seen or heard.

Little Lucy May was on her way home. Her footsteps lightly tapped along the concrete leading up the hill to her estate. Clip clap clip clap she went, occasionally silenced by soft turf as her feet took her from pavements to grass patches and back again. Her breath was soft despite the determination of her pace. The sharpness of the air cut away at the back of her nose, raw against the cold she gritted her teeth and kept her head down; intent on keeping her journey as short and precise as it needed to be. Her small silhouette flitted between the occasional streetlamp, street cats gazed at her from beneath parked cars, completely indifferent to her passing presence. Like the cats she knew the terrain well, barely having to raise her eyes from the ground as she twisted and turned through the dark. Before long she had reached the destination she knew as home. A terrace house just like the rest. The front door clicked open and she slipped inside.

Little Lucy May, hear us as we pray, we’re longing for your pardon, Little Lucy May…

A young girl all of eighteen years. Some said she had a pretty face, a kind girl all the same. A quiet girl all the same. She was very neat about her ways. Being very sure not to bring dirt into the house she cautiously removed her shoes after rubbing them against the doormat, then proceeded to remove her coat and hang it in its proper place in the cupboard under the stairs. Satisfied that everything was in check, she wandered into the kitchen where the clanging together of plates was heard.

They came crashing to the floor. Shards of china glistened invitingly upwards. Stacked incorrectly again, it seemed. Stacked carelessly to dry, teetering precariously against one another until a flutter of something-or-other brought them tumbling down. She sighed deeply. Her soft chocolate eyes tightened, darkened and thickened. Without pretence, her body swished round and took her to the stairs. Creak they went under the almost weightless pressure of her leather boots, creak they went all the same.

Upstairs. A closed door. An opened door. Standing in the doorway, Little Lucy May’s silhouette cast its shadow once more. A body squirmed in the blackened room, squirmed in her shadow. “Lucy, please! I’ll be more careful next time, one promises!” it babbled. The shadow entered the room and the door closed behind it. Case closed.

On the seventh day she cried for all her work was done, on the seventh day she lied for the sins she had become…

On the walls of the main room were shelves containing jars. In the jars was an assortment of creatures, each housing a unique resident. One contained a spider, a rather large one at that. It lay there all day; its long slender legs resting against the glass cage. Occasionally it would be fed. An unfortunate insect from the back garden perhaps, sometimes even one of the other residents if they hadn’t been behaving quite the right way. Maybe one day the spider would escape. Perhaps the spider would one day take a trip into one of its neighbours’ jars. There was a slip of paper stuck underneath the spider’s jar. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!

The following morning Lucy was up and ready for college. She ensured that she was dressed neatly and that everything was in check before she left the house. The contents of her bag were in check and with a level conscience she went outside. An overcast sky, cool and dry. Perfect weather. The journey to campus involved a short walk to the closest bus stop and a twenty-minute bus journey that dropped her right outside. There were others whom she came across on this journey day after day, and day after day she would ignore them just as they ignored her. The monotonous morning rituals were mundane for everyone and small talk was not something that would apparently lead to any liberty from that fact.


Copyright Daniel Aston 2013

Comments are closed.