So I put a post on my own personal Facebook page and on my book’s own Facebook page.
Do I unleash the first two chapters to see the public response.
Open myself up to criticism and to see if it has the desired effect I’m hoping for. An ‘I want to read more, I want to know what happens next.’ response is what I really want.
10 people liked it and three people commented…. I have 24 people that like the page. That’s over 50% of my followers wanting a little piece of my amateur writing, the decision has been made.
So I am unleashing it. Facebook likers, Twitter followers and fellow WordPress bloggers and readers please offer constructive criticism, honest opinions and genuine feedback, but be gentle 🙂
Here it goes…..
5th April 2000
“If you two don’t pack it in right now, I will come down there”
“Yea but muuummm she threw a pen at my head”
“Oh god forbid a pen….. careful now, we’ll be burying you by the end of the week…. cause of death… pen attack”
Bang, bang, bang…. the all too familiar sound of footsteps across the landing and the continuing sound as the feet pounded down the wooden stairs, echoing every step around the sparsely furnished hallway.
“Now you’ve done it” I spat at my sister Elle, sitting looking as smug as a cat with milk covered whiskers. “Just cos’ you’re gonna get it, don’t blame me!!” She sniped back, going back to her homework with a satisfactory smile.
Before I could retaliate, the kitchen door swung open and I was welcomed with an almighty wallop across the back of the head. “Owwaahhh!! What was that for??” I asked in annoyance, rubbing the now tender part of my head. My mum loomed over me, hands firmly on her slim hips and a stern look plastered on her face, “What if that had hit her in the eye? What if it had blinded her? How would you have been able to live with yourself?”
I rolled my eyes in irritation, “Yes mum, sorry I forgot the main cause of blindness in children is random pen attacks”
Another wallop came crashing on to my head. “She is your little sister; you should be looking after her! Not causing her pain” I looked up at my mum in disbelief, “Oh god forbid, the golden child should suffer the agony of a practically weightless object bouncing off her precious skin”. This earned me another slap across the head. “As I said, what if it had hit her in the eye? Where would we be then?”
I looked over at Elle; butter wouldn’t melt, looking innocent as you like taking in the scene before her as if it was a skit for her entertainment. The rage was growingly increasing in my stomach. “Well then we’d be sorted, disability badge, extra benefits and, ” I put up my hands and imitated inverted commas,’ “the golden child would be promoted to white gold status and would get all the attention she so desperately craves!!”
Uh oh!! I’d gone too far…..I heard a little gasp from Elle and glimpsed an indignant ‘who me?’ expression come over her face, my mum was turning a nearly comical shade of puce.
Elle was my little sister, I was old enough to know better, it was about time to grow up and start acting like an adult, amidst the all too familiar lecture raining down on me, I grabbed up my school books and flounced out of the room slamming the oak door behind me with a satisfactory bang and stuck my tongue out at the closed door. Crossing the hall to my own room, the guilt started to set in. I closed my bedroom door leaning against it and placing my books on my bedside table, I contemplated…
She was younger. I should know better, but I was quietly suffering but from the events of the school day and trying to get it all straight in my head, she’d been rabbiting on about some tiff she’d had with Maisie, the blonde brat she’d recently befriended. She was a spoilt little rich kid who seemed to be taking pity on Elle in a blatantly obvious and very mocking way.
Too innocent and naive to understand the concept of bitchery and backstabbing, I was reluctant to educate her and didn’t want to upset her by revealing Maisie was not in fact her friend.
I keeping my hurt, annoyance and irritation bottled up and in turn it had been taken out on her, the one person I’m always trying to protect.
Damn I’ll have to go apologise and explain the reason for my outburst. Reaching for the door knob, I heard the kitchen door scrape over the granite tile.
“Ariel, don’t you think for one second you’re off the hook because you stormed out slamming things…… you are grounded!!!Now get to your room, NOW!!,
I opened the door slowly to see my mum staring wildly around to figure out what room I’d stormed into. “Emm… mum, I’m already in my room, I predicted the punishment, I’ve saved you the bother and handcuffed myself to the bed” I said shrugging my shoulders with an ‘I surrender’ expression.
Mum eyes widened with anger. “Go up to Mary’s out of my sight, maybe she can deal with your childish behaviour; leave Elle alone to do her homework.”
With this she went back to Jackie Collins upstairs. ‘Good idea’ I thought Aunt Mary would know exactly what to say and would offer some suggestion on what I should do next.
15 March 2012
Elle jumped upright, slamming the Heat magazine she was engrossed in down on the blue cellular blanket. Mum and I leapt out of our green coloured rubber hospital chairs, both of us had been lost in our own thoughts, each looking at Elle every few seconds, amazed she was there, awake, completely conscious, talking, practically back to her ordinary self. We had been hoping, dreaming, imagining it for days, weeks, and months and now we were here altogether.
“What is it babes?” “Cariad, what’s the matter?” Mum and I both at her side and searching her face for evidence of what could have caused such an abrupt action. “Have you remembered something?” I asked, “Have you had a flashback of the accident?” Mum asked her softly, stroking her auburn hair, searching her emerald green eyes worriedly. Elle looked back completely baffled, “What? No, no” And as realisation dawned on the panic she’d unintentionally caused. She slumped back in her bed resting her head, then a look of concern crossed her face and a slight frown wrinkled her young 19 year old skin. “No” She said softly again, reaching for her magazine, “I just can’t believe Russell Brand and Katy Perry are splitsville!!! How terribly sad.”
Resisting the temptation to take the celebrity magazine off her and give her a stern reality check, I turned away sighing to myself. Mum just looked totally lost bless her, “Russell Brand, isn’t that the psychic? Big bloke? I thought he was gay…. or is Katy now a guy’s name too? I’m so out of touch with the celebrity world these days…… “She stopped finger to her lips as if trying to solve the confusion in her head.
Poor mum, she hadn’t slept well since that day I had to make that awful phone call. She had been at the hospital twenty-four seven for the first month until she’d had enough of my nagging and the nurses gentle persuasion; I managed to get her home for a couple of hours a day, to shower, have a cat nap and try to get her back into some kind of routine.
Easier said than done.
I looked at Elle and we both stifled a giggle, a warm feeling enveloped me that I hadn’t felt in a long time and didn’t really think I’d ever feel again. Looking at Elle and mum, our little family, quirky and random, or to quote my all-time favourite Disney character, Stitch, ‘This is my family, its little and broken, but good… yea still good’. I manoeuvred around Elle’s hospital bed and wrapped an arm over my mums slim shoulders, it disturbed me to feel such protruding bones underneath her blouse, as little sleep as she as getting, she was eating even less.
“That’s Russell Grant mum; Russell Brand is the bad boy rebel of our time… well one of them. Remember when you were disgusted to hear about the prank played on that actor you love out of faulty towers?”
“Yes that was despicable, how crude and undignified……”
“Yea, yea mum, well that was him, with Jonathan Ross, that talk show host you thought was taking the mick, not pronouncing his ‘R’s’”
“Ah yes, I get you now” Her face reddening at the memory of that last faux pas on her part.
I looked back to Elle who was back engrossed in her Heat magazine, careful not to miss a single sentence or picture in case she missed some vital information. I couldn’t help but giggle to myself observing her, oblivious to the inner turmoil I was feeling, the knots of lactic acid that were tensing up our mums shoulders. We hadn’t showed her the cards, letters, presents and tokens all sent with love and affection over the last few months. We felt it may overwhelm her.
Taking advantage of the light hearted atmosphere that had developed in our private hospital room that was like a shrine to my sister at this point, I cleared my throat and adopted my best deadpan expression.
“So sweetie” I said sitting next to her gently, aware of her still fragile state. I took her hand that was pale and thin due to being fed through a tube for countless number of days.
“Seen as your so keen to catch up on all the news you’ve missed out on” I nodded towards the magazine with a glamour shot of Tulisa plastered on the front , walking down the road pretending she was unaware she was being papped and had just woken up looking like she’d walked off a photo-shoot.
“Why don’t I go to the library and see if I can print out some newspaper articles from the last five months, everything from current affairs to rising business rates?” I bit my lip to suppress the smile that was threatening, as my mum and Elle both looked through two pairs of widened brown and emerald eyes, looking at me like I’d been the one who had suffered the head trauma.
Elle placed her hand on top of mine and with a look of pure concern and sympathy and said in a sweet little voice.
“Sis dear, I understand you have probably been worried sick the last five months, you’ve always been so protective over me, in which case, I know you have probably not been sleeping right, eating right and are probably a bit dazed and confused, you do go a bit doolally without food and sleep, that much I do remember” she said pointedly at mum.
My lip was nearly bitten off from trying not to laugh and also to hold back the tears of love and affection I felt for her and also the deep resounding regret of what I’d done to her. She continued, hand still resting on mine,
“I have not hit my head that hard that I don’t remember how mind numbingly, put you to sleep after two lines, boring, regular every day news is. If I’d forgotten that, well then I really would be in trouble, slip me back in to the coma so I can come back as meeeeee”
With this she took her hand off mine and did jazz hands either side of her face. “Ditzy Elle, the auburn who should be blonde, but should not attempt to bleach it herself”
At this point we both looked at mum, who looked exactly like we both anticipated, head in hands, shaking it, reliving the memory of that day she came home to two daughters… One with raven black hair with matching black forehead…and one with a blazing orange head that would do ‘Carrot Top’ proud. I was going Goth; Elle was going pop…
Needless to say we were explaining this to the horrified hairdresser who had to deal with that mess the following day.
“So dear Ariel, as we’ve established, I don’t need to be put back in to a coma as I am perfectly fine, I am my usual ditzy, celebrity obsessed self with five months of gossip and apparently eating to do” She looked down at her painfully thin figure in half disgust, half admiration and sighed.
“What I would love for you to do for me is head to the closest fish and chippy, get the largest portion of chips and biggest tub of gravy they can possibly give you, and something for you and mum too, I don’t want this room being mistaken for the morgue, we look like three skeletons. Return pronto so we can get CHIP-FACED!!” She said this with a triumphant little cheer.
“Elle, I don’t like you swearing” muttered mum quietly.
“Chip faced mum as in we are going to fill our faces with chips” she giggled.
“Ohhh ok” She laughed, “Chips all round then” she said reaching for her bag.
“No, no mum these are on me” I chuckled. ” Oh and Elle, I was just checking, the docs can do all the brain scans they want to ensure you’re ok, but I had to make sure for myself.”
“And??” She asked expectantly.
“Your still my ditzy baby sister” I winked at her and she smiled back gleefully. I walked away from the hospital bed turning my back on them both still smiling from the banter that had just occurred and moving away from the sound of them giggling together. Things almost seemed back to normal. Elle was back and seemed to be happy in herself. She had no recollection of what had happened to her, how she was in hospital, what had led to her being here or what had happened leading up to the accident. It was all gone. Doctors said it was probably for the best as the trauma of it happening and the fact that she had lost five months were a lot to handle as it was.
At least she didn’t have to relive it happening and with any luck she would never remember, but there is always the possibility the memories may return.
I for one, hope they never do, for her sake and mine.