#AmWriting: Writing a Short Story Step-by-step – The Beginning (Draft 1)

This story is part of the Writing Fiction course I’m currently taking. You had to switch on the radio and use the first thing that you hear as inspiration for a story or a character and write a story/beginning of a story of less than 500 words. I got a news report about this blogger who received a suspended sentence. This is what came out of it thus far… (caution: this promises to be a very dark story).

As-yet-untitled-storys opening (draft 1)

She shifted her weight slightly to one side and felt the thin prayer cushion, with its embroidery of a trinity knot, give way under her knees. Tendrils of hair that would not be tamed by hairspray fell over her face. Around her the church had fallen silent after the end of the sermon. Outside were the sunlit sounds of cars leaving the premises, of people talking animatedly, of a newly baptised baby crying. Behind her, on the worn wooden pew, lay an open prayer book that did not match the others in the church and bore her grandmother’s name on the inside of the front cover. Beside it was her laptop, purse, and a Bible as worn as the wood below it.

“Our Father,” she mumbled below her breath, but the next words of the well-known prayer would not come; the words drowned by her racing thoughts and the comments she had just read. No words would come.

A tear dropped from her chin onto the red shirt she was wearing, leaving a darker red stain on the fabric. She wiped over her face with one hand, not caring if she smudged what little makeup she wore. She was after all, she thought, hardly the stock photo, picture perfect blogger that she’d hoped she was going to turn out to be when she first started leaving posts on her own site. Long but frizzy auburn hair, a face covered in acne marks and arms always covered by long sleeves to hide the lines of scars that marred them, hardly said ‘cover girl’. “All she really has going for her,” she’d overheard her mother once say, “is that her eyes are two different colours”.

She clutched her hands together and leaned her forehead on them as if the act of supplication could reverse time and take her back to before she had opened her laptop and read those comments. In the darkness behind her eyes an old demon awoke once more and bared its razor teeth in a wide grin. “Just one cut,” it whispered to her and she wondered how it was possible for this demon to have not only woken up again, but to be whispering to her in the very church she sat in every Sunday. Just like that he’d invaded her safe space, just like the trolls who spewed their vitriol into the ether of the internet ruined the one way she had of showing her true self to the world. Just like that, with one whisper from within, her holy space had been defiled. She looked up at the wooden cross that hung in the front of the church, stared at the coloured glass scenes of the windows on either side, and saw the world blur around her as more tears welled up in her eyes.

To be continued…

By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.


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