Hey, peoples! I’VE FINISHED THE HSC. I’m still catching up on blogs and whatnot and it’ll take me a little while to reply to comments. But behold! Here is my first excerpt for my novel The Surreal, Lovely, and the Strange. (Also, I am considering changing the novel’s title to The Lovely and the Strange; better, worse, what do you think?) This is taken from somewhere around chapter six-ish.
Avery can be a fast walker when she wants to be, but the only problem is that she’s never fast when I need her to be. Like, for example, in the middle of a road.
I groan. “Oh come on.” I am tired. I want to go home and eat chocolate and feel sorry for myself. Avery’s ears prick up, and she glances to her left, down the road, where it dips slightly with woodland to the left and right. “What?” I say. Then, as she starts to trot forwards, away from home, “No! No! Don’t you—”
I never realised just how fast Avery could trot until I’m being yanked along with her. I puff out steam as I struggle to keep a hold of the leash. It’s not until about five minutes later that I finally understand where she is going . . . and why.
Lights gleam from Maisie’s windows as music blares out of speakers, practically making the house shudder under its sound. Avery had obviously been attracted to the sounds and lights currently being emitted from the house; and even as I stand there, dumbfounded, as my dear old sheep begins to trot closer to the house.
“No,” I hiss though the darkness. “Avery, no.”
But it’s as if “no” means “yes” to Avery, and she moves forwards without a friggin’ care in the world. But I can’t go in there. I can’t. I haven’t spoken—barely even seen—James since . . . our very awkward conversation when I realised that I had quite possibly lost my chance with him forever. But Avery, it appears, is not going to be stopped. She continues to make her way to Maisie’s house with me being pulled unceremoniously along behind her.
“Eloise? You’re here!” Oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god. It’s Mia’s loud voice, and she attracts more people too, and I’m feeling sick again. My stomach churns. “And you brought . . . A sheep?” She sounds confused. Not that I blame her.
I doubt many people bring sheep to parties these days. It’s a dying remark of kindness. Kids these days.
“I didn’t bring—I just meant—I wasn’t supposed to be here—” I’m spluttering out half sentences that don’t really make sense, and Mia watches me, amused. I think my face must be as red as the beer cup in her hands. Avery, who is not being very helpful, baas, and trots over to the flowers that line Maisie’s house. I smirk. Maybe she can be useful after all. So I tie her to a sturdy looking tree that sits idly beside the house, turn to Mia who is still watching me with slightly raised eyebrows, and say, “Sorry I’m late.” Then I glance down at myself—I’m not exactly in party attire, but it’s going to have to do. I still am wearing a little bit of makeup from today . . . but that is it.
Apart from that I’m wearing my yellow converse shoes, a shirt that says Punk Rock FTW, and black pants. (This is probably why I am freezing; I don’t even have a sweater.) Mia looks at me for a moment, and I think she’s going to realise that I never intended to come here, but she only grabs my arm and yanks me into the house.
As soon as I step through the front doors the blast of music and sounds almost knocks me backwards. Mia seems to sense my hesitation and pulls me through by the arm, guiding me deeper and deeper into the party, until she vanishes to go find some friends and I’m left alone. Here is the thing about me: I do not do well in parties.
Have you ever seen a fish out of water?
The way it flops on the deck of your boat when you’ve just brought it in, awkwardly and erratically? That’s like me trying to dance. Hence why I don’t.
I fade into the walls of the party so that people don’t jostle me and I’m beginning to wonder whether I should just try to leg it back home. But knowing my luck, Avery will be happily occupied with Maisie’s flowers and won’t move, no matter how much I shove her. So I resign myself to spending the next couple of hours being a wallflower.