Can you believe it!? NaNoWriMo is over. For all those brave souls still tapping away on their laptops adding to their 50k, good luck — YOU CAN DO IT. *waves pom poms* In the meantime, I thought I would share with you another excerpt from my quirky contemporary The Surreal, Lovely, and the Strange. (You can read excerpt #1 here.) I’ve taken this extract from the first chapter.
Avery chooses the moment I’m unloading her from the trailer to loosen her bowels. Pellets of sheep shit bounce off my shoes and I struggle to put the over-sized sheep on the ground. Of course. It’s not like she would actually shit on the newspaper I’d laid down in the trailer or anything. How inconvenient for her. Once she’s firmly on the ground, Avery twists around to look at me, baa-ing, innocently.
Hah! Yes. Innocent.
Now all she needs to do is piss on the ground and my day will be made.
I turn around, away from Avery, and shield my gaze from the blazing red-orange sun in the sky, which is now sinking slowly down the horizon, sending slender beams of light dancing across the pavement. Home, I think. Or—as much as I could call this place home, anyway. Away from the green, sprawling land of the family farm, Oakridge felt foreign and uncontrolled, slipping from between my grasp whenever I tried to get a firm handle on it. I’d been here before. Once, twice, three times—I don’t remember. Granddad owns Richardson’s Grocers, so it was hard to avoid the place entirely. But now . . . now the move was much more permanent.
I set up Avery’s sheep pen three days ago, but I’ve lost her leash, so I grab the nearest stick and prod her with it until she moves. I swear, by the time we make it around the house and into the backyard where the wire fences have been set up, it actually darkens tenfold. She’s a slow old thing, but I love her dearly.
I fill her water and feed trough, then lock the enclosure shut. Yes, lock. One morning I got up to find that Avery had somehow nudged the pen open, and I found her half an hour later, pulling up the daises my mother worked tirelessly to bloom. Needless to say, my mother was not happy. Avery on the other hand, seemed rather partial to flowers. It was as if she sensed how much work had gone into growing them, then chose to eat them on the basis of most-worked-on to least-worked-on.
Ever since then I’ve locked her pen.
I turn and shade my eyes from the last remnants of the sun, sighing. The backyard might be considered large to some—but really, I’ve been spoiled from the green pastures I’d grown up in, and this seemed pitifully small in comparison. Everything in cities is just too close. Less than fifty paces away is the rotten fence belonging to our neighbours. That’s laughable. The closest neighbour we had on the farm was a half an hour drive—and I feel so closed in all of a sudden, so tightly squished together that I have to remind myself to breathe. And—
“Hey, you. Neighbour. Girl with secretary glasses and blonde hair. Yeah, you.”
One of the problems with being so close to our neighbours? Actually having to deal with them.