Tag Archives: Novel

I Ask You, Why?

The most awful realization, is knowing that after reading the novel you have been working on for the past 2 years, you want to completely rewrite it from a whole new perspective.

Commence, heart falling out of your stomach…

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The Halloween Ball

I know halloween was yesterday, but here’s a Halloween-y chapter/post from my book. Enjoy and please reveiw! Constructively that is!

It was the morning of Halloween. A day for random little kids to turn up at my doorstep and demand I give them sweets. I had contemplated storing eggs in my big bowl and lobbing them at their faces but Will had said it was mean. I said it would be funny. He said it was cruel and just because I was angry at the whole world in general it didn’t mean I could go around egging kids.

“Chloe what’s with all the eggs?” Will had asked as I was unpacking all the shopping. 

“Oh, you know. It’s Halloween.”

“Yes. So we need sweets not eggs.”

“I was kind of planning to throw the eggs at the kids’ faces.” I shrugged. Will drew his hand out of the shopping bag he was unpacking and stared at me.

“You’re not serious?” he said slowly. 

“Perfectly.” I said with a sharp toothed grin. 

“That’s horrible.” Will said seeming put out.

“It’ll teach them a lesson.”

“And what lesson is that?”

“That not everything’s as it seems. Sweets aren’t sweets, they’re eggs. Shadows aren’t shadows they’re creepy fat off freaks.”

“They’re just kids, Chlo.”

“And?” I asked. 

“And just because you’re angry at everything around you at the moment it doesn’t mean you can go around teaching lessons to people that they aren’t going to understand. Just cool it.” He said, putting all the eggs right at the top of the fridge, where I struggled to reach.

He had been right. I was angry at the whole world, most of all myself. Luke still hadn’t come back which made me even angrier. His presence was usually soothing. He wasn’t here so my anger just kept bubbling. Will knew I was angry but seemed to be struggling with knowing what to do. He tried his best, bless him, but it just wasn’t enough. 

I was more angry at the fact that we hadn’t actually got anywhere in the way of finding my family. No where at all. And it sucked, knowing they were getting hurt and not being able to get to them. I blamed myself, as always. 

I sighed at the memory of that conversation. Ever since, Will had watched me every time I walked to the fridge or made an omelette. He wasn‘t risking me mutilating the neighbors kids. For some reason he actually likes them. And he was good with kids. They didn’t annoy him, they listened to him and he seemed quite happy to play with them for hours on end.  I on the other hand couldn’t stand kids and when they started screaming I put my hands over my ears and walk out. 

Right now I am staring out my bedroom window at the falling golden leaves from the oak tree out back, floating gently down onto the frozen ground. The grass lawn had transformed into the inside of a pirates treasure chest, all these golden, frost glistening, leaves littering the floor. The wind was strong and small hurricanes struck up here and there. The sky was a dark grey, gloomy and foreboding. It looked like it was going to rain. 

Down below I heard the door slam open. Will was back from wherever he had gone to today. I had woken up this morning to find him gone already, his coat tugged from the rack and his wallet no longer on the side. I had found a roughly scribbled note on the breakfast bar, saying he wasn’t going to be out all day, not to worry about him and to put out a bowl ready for the sweets to be put in. 

I’ll admit it’s been strange living with Will, just Will lately. I’m so used to living on my own or with my family and now suddenly I’m living with my best friend. I have to remember when walking to the shower, I can’t just amble along in just my knickers and a big t-shirt. Or to sit down on the loo without checking he’s put the seat down first. A few times I’ve fallen down the toilet because of that. I get fed up of having to clean up his mess all the time. I’m telling you, never living with a guy permanently. 

I heaved myself from my wicker chair, positioned to face out of the window, and went down to see where he had been. I almost fell down the stairs, I just wasn’t with it. 

I could hear him in the kitchen. He was on the phone with someone, mumbling quietly. I stood outside the door not wanting to intrude. 

“Zack, mate, I just need to know if you can do it today?” he paused as ‘Zack’ replied on the other end. He sighed in frustration. “No I need it today! Why? Dude, why do you think? The party’s today and it needs to be perfect you hear me? Perfect. With out this it won’t be.” There was a long pause then Will whooped. “Thank you, mate. I owe you one!” he hung up the phone came towards the door where he stopped in his tracks. He looked excited, his eyes were almost flashing. His longish dark hair was styled perfectly and he still had his jacket on. I stood in the doorway, my arms crossed. 

“What party?” I asked. 

“Oh just something I’m helping my friend with.” He said, his eyes as truthful as could be. 

“You sure?” I asked.

“Of course! Why would I lie?” exactly, why would he lie, I thought. I shrugged and walked back out of the hall. He followed.

“So, what friend is this?” I asked innocently. 

“Doug.” Came his short reply.

“Doug? Cant Doug plan his own party?” I frowned, thinking of the party mad friend Will was referring to.

“Sometimes even people like Doug need help with a party. This one’s going to be massive!”

“Are you going to it?”

“What, and leave you? Of course not!” he said, annoyingly ruffling my hair. I swiped his hand away.

“You can go if you want.” I said. 

“I’m not leaving you here alone. Besides, if I leave you, you’ll grab the eggs and egg those poor unknowing kids.” He said with a grin. 

“I promise I wont.” I said sweetly. I felt bad for Will. I had dragged him all the way out here to the outskirts of Bridgwater. He hadn’t seen his friends for weeks. He quit his job so he could stay at home with me. I know he hasn’t seen his family for at least two weeks. He at least calls them everyday. But I felt I was dragging him back. Surely he doesn’t want to be here, he’s only compelled to be because he’s my friend. 

“No. I’m not going. I told Doug I wasn’t.” He shook his head. 

“Will. Seriously. You need to get out.” I said, firmly. 

“And so do you.”

“I’m fine.”

“I’ll go if you go.” He said. 

I contemplated this. It was the perfect compromise. Will could go out and see his friends and I wouldn’t be left here at home alone for him to worry about. But I felt queasy about seeing anyone else. 

“ok.” I sighed. “I’ll go.”

“Brilliant!” he grinned. “I cant wait to see your costume.”

“I am not wearing a costume.”

“Then you’ll look weird, it’s fancy dress.” 

“I will not wear a costume, end of.”

“ok.” He said surprisingly backing down quite easily. 

“Thank you.” I said. I turned to walk back up the stairs.

“Chloe?”

“Yes?” I said turning around.

“We’ll have a good time tonight. I promise.” Will said as he disappeared out the door once more. 

*

Night had fallen and the street had come alive. Lights and decorations had been switched on and people had taken their positions on their doorsteps, ready to give out handfuls of sweets to the unstoppable waves of kids. Already I could see some hurrying along the road, all made up in their costumes. Ambling and moaning ghouls, surprisingly cheerful skeletons, Transylvanian thirsty vampires and howling werewolves. It was all rather scary and rather all too real for me. 

Of course the kids didn’t realize that the very things they mocked could very well be real, or that there could be worse things. But I did. Now Halloween didn’t seem like a fun event where you could get dressed up. It had taken a nasty turn and I saw its sinister side. The shadows cast by the children seemed too long and misshapen. Normally amusing decorations now leered towards me daring me to mock them. Even my beloved tree seemed to grow witch fingers and beckon me into its grasp. 

I jerked away from the window, breathing heavily. My heart was racing and my palms were suddenly sweating. All the while, I was thinking, no, no I cant go out there. I ran downstairs to where I knew Will was getting ready. I skidded along the corridor and raced towards the kitchen. I threw open the door. 

“Will, I don’t think I can go, I  – AAAAAAAAH!!!!” I screamed. 

Will had turned around. His face was deathly white and his eyes where outlined in charcoal. His mouth was black and small lines were drawn around it, completing his skeleton look. He had a smart tailored black suit on, black boots and even a black top hat. Around his neck was a spiky collar. He was holding a black cape in his hand.

“Chlo, what’s up?” he asked.

“You’ve been raiding my makeup box?” I said weakly. He glanced at the breakfast bar where my velvet black makeup box sat wide open with all its contents spilled out beside it.

“I’ll put it all back.” He said quickly. 

“Nice skeleton look.” I said, calming down.

“I’m not just any skeleton! I am Mr. Jack!” he sprang up with surprising grace and flourished his arms. He began whistling a tune.

“From The Nightmare before Christmas?”

“The very one!” he grinned and leered towards me. “Now what did you come running in here to tell me?”

“I don’t think I can go.” I blurted. He stopped whistling and prancing around the kitchen.

“What do you mean?” he said his voice hard. 

“I cant go to the party. Not with everyone in fancy dress. Its just too real. Death and ghoulish creatures are everywhere and worse, I know they’re real. I cant do this.”

“We know shadows are real. Not werewolves and things.”

“What’s to say they aren’t?”

“You’re getting yourself worked up. Once you get there you’ll be fine.”

“I cant go Will.”

“Then I wont go.” He said abruptly. 

I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I really didn’t want to go but then I knew if I didn’t then Will wouldn’t go. And that’s not fair on him. I sighed. I knew what I had to do.”

“Fine, I’ll go.” But I’m bringing weapons, I thought. 

“Great. Now why don’t you go get yourself all done up?” he suggested gently. 

“Sure.” I said grabbing my makeup box and shoving all the stuff back inside. I pushed past him and once again ran up the stairs. I flew into my room (not literally) and slammed the door shut. I leaned against it and sighed. Time to get to work. 

I flicked on the light and threw my makeup box on the side, next to my mirror. The wardrobe stood on the other side of the room. I flung the doors of it back and grabbed my fighting gear, which was hanging on a hanger inside. I slipped it on, then went in search of weapons. My top drawer next to my bed was full of them. I noisily sifted through them until I found a few which were suitable and hung them on my belt. Next,

my dagger, which the boys had bought me on my birthday. It was still in the box, hiding under my bed. I scrambled for it under there until I felt the box and I drew it out. I wasted no time opening it and sliding the little beauty into the last loop on my belt. 

I grabbed my mascara and eyeliner and flicked a little on my eyes. A quick dust of powder, a hair grip and hair band later and I was ready. I was just about to run out the door when I remembered something. Shoes! I searched for my boots but I couldn’t find them. I growled. The only other place they could be is downstairs, in the training room. The next thing I knew and I was half running half tumbling downstairs. 

“I’ll be two seconds!” I yelled as I rushed past Will. 

I burst into the second room and I saw them, next to a big box of junk. I grabbed them and threw them on when I noticed something. A colour. Green, to be exact. And it was in the big box of junk. I picked it up and noticed it was an emerald green cloak, the same colour as my eyes. It was beautiful, hand crafted and made of velvet. I checked the tag. Attached to it was a note. 

For Chloe, when she comes of age. A cloak of great value. It will not be seen in the Shadow and upon it no sword will make a mark. No rain or water will go through, and when worn, it should only be by you.

Granddad. 

Granddad had died when I was younger, about 5. I remembered him as a quiet man with little to say. But when he did say something everyone listened, for it was usually important. He liked making things and crafting and seeing how things work. No doubt he made this himself. When he died, mum cried for weeks. 

I dragged it over my shoulders and felt its silky inside slip over my body. Pulling the drawstrings around my neck and throwing the hood up over my eyes, I stepped out of the room and out into the corridor, where I met Will.

“Wow. I thought you weren’t coming in costume?” he asked, his eyebrows raised. 

“Well…” I started until I stopped. I might as well let him believe that. “Yeah I changed my mind.”

“I didn’t know you owned a Buffy the vampire slayer costume.”

Is that what he thought this was? “Yeah, neither did I until I found it.” I said. 

“Okay then Buffy. Lets get going.” He said dragging the door open. He went straight to his car and beeped it open. It was a blue Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. It was a bit old and battered but it had still kept its beauty. When Will first seen it I thought it was perfect as the colour perfectly matches his eyes. So he bought it. Ever since it had taken us to all sorts of places and brought so many memories. 

I slid into the passenger seat, my fighting gear sliding over the leather upholstery. Will kick started the engine and it roared to life. It gave a little choking cough then came back to us.

“I really need to get this baby checked over again.” He said, lovingly stroking the wheel. 

“Well, save it for today. What time does the party start?”

“Seven.” He said, checking his watch. “we need to leave.”

“Well, put your foot down then!”

And he did. We drove through the darkness into town. Just as we hit mainstream traffic it started to rain. It came down slow at first then it pattered off the windscreen, causing the windscreen wipers to go at full speed. Sat in the traffic, it poured off of the side window. Will was tapping his fingers on the wheel impatiently. 

“Come on, traffic. We’ve got a party to get to.” He whispered in frustration. The car in front of us started to go. 

“Yes!” he yelled as he put his foot on the accelerator. We still crawled along the road at snails pace but at least we were moving. We went left at the Broadway crossroads and carried on past Morrison’s. The rain was still coming down hard. He carried on, drove towards where the old swimming pool used to be and parked the car in there. He cut the engine.

“I wasn’t counting on the rain.” Will said. 

“You mean you didn’t bring a brolly?”

“Nope.” He said apologetically. 

“Well I’ll be fine.” I said, gesturing the cloak. “but you’re stuffed. Its going to wash away all your makeup.”

“I know!” he groaned, resting his head on the wheel.

“Where’ve we got to go, anyway?” I asked.

“Bar 27.” He said. 

“Bar 27?!” I yelped. “why did you park here? Why not right outside? Or in the Tudor car park?” Bar 27 was a really nice bar on St Mary’s street. You could park just outside it or in the restaurant car park right next to it. Instead, Will had parked here, where we would have to traipse all the way through town to get to it. In the pouring rain.

“I wanted to talk to you.” 

“Talk to me? You can talk to me at the party! We’re going to be late!”

“but Chlo —”

“Will, start the engine up and drive back to it! Now, William!” I said. 

He revved the engine and backed out. 

“I’m sorry Chloe.” He said. 

“You’re such an idiot.” I said shaking my head, curious as to what he wanted to talk to me about.  

He drove out of the car park and turned left, following the road into town. He went round the Cornhill and down St Mary’s street. I directed him into the Tudor car park and finally we were here.  

I threw my hood up and got out of the car. I ran for the stairs leading into the bar. Will was close behind. We were just about to open the door, when Will stopped me. 

“Chloe, I’ve not been completely honest with you.” He said. His dark hair was slightly damp and water drops glistened on his white skin. I narrowed my eyes. 

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You know I said it was a party for Doug?” I nodded. “Well that was a lie.”

“So who’s it a party for then?” I asked, although I already knew the answer.

“You, of course!” he said. 

I groaned. “Why, Will?”

“Because you needed some fun and I needed to get out of the house. I knew if I told you it was a party for you, you would freak. So I made it a surprise.” He said excitedly. 

I glowered at him. “Fine. Lets get this over with.” I said, throwing open the door. 

Inside, the room looked like a scene from a horror movie. Fake blood splattered the floor, cobwebs lined the walls and bats and spiders hung from the ceiling. In the corner a large table groaned with food, from bloody sausage fingers to batty cupcakes. Grinning pumpkins were dotted about the room. The whole place smelt like talcum powder. The smell was coming from one of the guests who looked like they had just stepped of off the set of Thriller.

And there were loads of them. Guests, I mean. They were all stood there grinning manically, cheering even. I could see some of my old friends from secondary school. There was Max, come dressed as Snoopy, who used to be my partner in Chemistry. He was an annoying guy, always stealing stuff of mine and poking me and getting me in trouble. To the left dressed as Darth Vader was Jessica. I wasn’t surprised at her dress choice as her nickname at high school was Darth, because of her hair cut. We were good friends but she was always quite quiet. Ash, the fitty of our year was dressed as Michael Jackson and was grinning cheerfully. With surprise I noticed Amber, dressed as the wicked witch of the west. Hmm, fitting. I was amazed Will had invited her. I noticed others, Pete, Anthony, Mason, Nikko, Carmen and Ellyssa all dressed to the nines. 

A giggle made me look in the direction of a giant human pumpkin in the corner. It was Megan, Luke’s sister. How on earth had Will managed to contact her? And lastly, with a scowl I saw Roxanne.

She had been my arch enemy in secondary school. She was the queen bee, the bitch that made my life a living hell and the bitch that made me feel worthless in every aspect. She had long dark red hair and piercing blue eyes which looked at everyone with malice. Here, she was dressed as a princess, unsurprisingly. She had a huge poufy pink dress and a dainty tiara. To be frank, she looked like she had just stepped out of a Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. 

“What’s she doing here?” I hissed at Will. 

“What, Roxanne? She heard about the party and wanted to come along. I could hardly say no.” He shrugged.

“Sure you couldn’t.” I said darkly. He turned to the party guests.

“Is everybody ready to party?” Will yelled. 

“Yes!” they yelled back.

“I can’t hear you!?”

“Aye aye captain.” I muttered, quoting SpongeBob square pants. 

“YES!!!” the rest of them yelled. 

The music started and suddenly everybody came alive. Whilst they all head bobbed to Nicki Minaj I walked over to the bar and sat down heavily. Will was dancing like a maniac with Jessica, who swayed along in her heavy suit and mask. Roxanne was pouting and posing and I noticed Max practically drooling over her. Everyone was having fun except me. It just didn’t feel right. 

“Pretty lame, huh?” said a voice behind me. A familiar voice. A very familiar voice. 

“Luke?” I gasped, turning around. 

He was stood behind me grinning. Ironically, he was dressed as Luke Skywalker. What a nerd. He was dressed in the black suit he wears in the last movie, with the brown cloak and a green light saber in his hand. The

disco lights bounced off of it. His hair was still floppy and shined. I jumped up and hugged him.

“I think Will could have really got better decorations.” He said, jokingly.

“Where have you been?” I whispered. 

“Here and there.” He said, patting my back. 

I leaned back and looked at him. He seemed happy enough and healthy. 

“So you’re better now?” I asked, uncertainly. 

“Better than before.” He said. 

“What made you come back?” I asked. 

“Will invited me. He said if I felt I could handle myself then I was invited. He emphasized how much it would mean to you.” I glanced over at Will who was chatting up some girls I had never seen before. He caught my eye and on seeing Luke, he winked. I grinned. 

“So…no more scary hulk stuff, then?”

“None at all.” He confirmed. 

We sat down at the bar and he bought me a drink. Vodka and Red Bull to be exact. I sipped it for a while then looked at him.

“Are you coming back to the house now?” I asked. 

“Only if you want me to.” 

“Of course I do!”

“Then I will.” He said. 

A sickeningly sweet voice drifted across to us. I recognized it immediately and braced myself. 

“My my, who is this cutie you’ve been keeping to yourself, Chloe?” Roxanne asked, drifting over, still pouting. 

“Hi, I’m Luke.” Luke said, extending his hand. 

“Roxanne.” She said batting her eyelids and taking his hand. “are you Chloe’s new tidbit?” she asked. 

“No he is not!” I said, enraged. 

Luke laughed nervously. “No, I’m just a friend.” He said. 

“Oh! So are you single, then?” she said leaning forward, thrusting her chest in his face. 

“I suppose so, yes.” He said, his face flushing red. 

“Well, in that case cutie pie, here’s my number. I’m always up for a good time.” She said pressing a slip of paper into his hand. “Call me.” She said. She winked once then strutted away. 

“Did I just pull?” Luke said, looking bewildered. 

“Yeah. Unfortunately you pulled a slag.” I said in disgust. 

“Either way, I pulled and I barely said two words.” He said looking smug.

“Its the hair.” I said dismissively. 

“Do you like my hair?” he said, his eyes twinkling. 

“Er…its nice. I suppose.” I said, glad the darkness hid my blush.

“So you do like it?” he asked.

“Are we still talking about your hair?” I asked, confused. 

“No I don’t think we are.” He said winking. 

“Right.” I said, grabbing his drink. “I think you’ve had too much of this.”

“Hey!” he protested. 

“Its making you all flirty.” I laughed.

“Am I not allowed to be flirty?” he asked. 

“Not to me, no.”

“Why not?”

“Because….because its confusing.”

“And why is that?”

“I don’t know whether I should like you or not. Or even if I do.”

“Well, I like you, Chloe.” 

“I know. but I cant be doing with stuff like this right now.”

“I agree. Besides we’ll have both probably forgotten about this in the morning.”

“I’m not that drunk!” I said. 

“I am.”

“Just keep your hands to yourself, that’s all I’m asking.”

“What, even if you choke on a cocktail sausage and I have to perform the Heimlich maneuver?” he asked innocently. 

“Even then.” I laughed. 

He started laughing too. We sat for a while and just watched everyone else dance away to the pounding music. It was nice, being able to just sit there in comfortable silence and not feel awkward or anything. 

“Care to dance?” Luke said suddenly, disturbing the silence.

“Yeah, sure why not?” I agreed.

He grabbed my hand and dragged me onto the floor as Drunk by Ed Sheeran started playing.  I thought he would have known how to dance – he was nimble enough on his feet when he was sword fighting – but he just swayed awkwardly. 

“So…” he said casually. “Did you miss me?”

“Of course I did you big numpty!” I said slapping his shoulder. 

“How much? On a scale of 100?” he persisted, ignoring my slap. 

“About 80.” I admitted. 

“Really?” he said, as he gently took hold of my waist and hand and we span, like you would in a waltz. 

“Yes. Don’t you get it? I had Will telling me as much as he can about you being a complete arse and sometimes I agreed but all the while, there was this hole in my chest that grew the longer you were gone. I missed you.” I said lightly. 

“I missed you too. You really do have the most astounding affect on people Miss Chloe Hallaway. Will can barely keep his eyes off you and I…well, you know.”

“And you are the most charming person when you are drunk, Mr. Luke Shadow.” I grinned. 

“Then maybe this song is perfect for us then. Because maybe I’ll get drunk again to feel a little love.” He whispered in my ear, in tune to the song. 

I looked up at him. I was in total agreement. It was. But the house gets cold when you cut the heating, without you to hold I’ll be freezing, that line almost sums us up. The whole song sums us up. I looked quickly up at Luke and I excused myself as I was beginning to feel a little dizzy.

As I crossed the floor, I let my sight wander a little and it came to rest on the door. The shadow of someone dancing was cast upon it. Slowly as I watched, the shadow mutated and grew in dimension.

I felt sick. I knew what it was. I watched it with apprehension, my hand slowly going towards my knife. It turned towards me. I don’t know quite how I knew which way was its front. A part of it curled out and formed a temporary finger, beckoning me, asking me to follow. 

“I’ll be back in a minute.” I said to Luke, as I walked back past him. He looked up from his awful dancing with a frown but I smiled and he shrugged. 

I followed the shadow down the stairs. It led me out of the door, down the stairs, past the car and out onto the street. It darted to the left and crossed the road. I walked in the Shadow, blending in, making sure no one could see me. I stalked it through the town, past WHSmith and into the dark alley by the library. It stopped and hovered above the ground, waiting. I grasped my knife.

“Well?” I said in a voice much more confident than I felt. “What do you want?”

“I have….a message.” It said in its cruel whispering voice. 

“From who?” I asked, frowning a little. 

“My master, the one true king, the overlord, ruler of these….”

“Ok cut the loyal lovey dovey crap. What does the Shadow Master want?” I cut across it. It hissed. 

“He wants….to warn you.”

“To warn me?” I said, confused. 

“To warn you…not to try to find him. To warn you…..that you’ll never succeed, so stop trying. To warn you…that crossing the border into his land will be no easy feat.”

“Cross the border?” I wondered. 

“He also….wants to give you a message from your loved ones. A man named Jared.”

“Dad?”

From the shadows mouth (is that what you would call it?) came my dads gentle yet firm voice, pleading me not to try to find him.

“Please Chloe. It is far too dangerous. You are not trained and you will get hurt. This is the man who would make haggis out of your brains if he caught you. You are so fragile, like glass, though you would fight your way as hard as you can, you will still shatter. You may think you can just waltz in like royalty, and take us from his lair like you would with money from a bank, but my darling daughter you are wrong. Don’t try and save us. We are already lost.”

“No you’re not dad. I will find you!” I cried. 

I looked back at the shadow but it had already disappeared. I curse at the Darkness. At least I knew he was still alive and well enough to say that. I will find them, no matter what the cost. Grudgingly I walked back to the party, my hand never leaving my dagger. For a while I would lose myself in the music and drink. And then the nightmares would come.

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