It had been a few days since she arrived and things had settled down a lot – she’d integrated well with the group and we were all going back to the work we’d done before her arrival without her really getting involved, so she wouldn’t find out about anything we hadn’t told her.
I can’t pretend that my main observation about her so far isn’t that she’s absolutely gorgeous and in an apocalyptic world where showers are sparse, that’s not always easy to find. I won’t lie – she appears to tick all my boxes, at least at face value, but I don’t know her and we don’t have time for anything like that right now; we have other priorities.
So basically, ignore it. Please.
“Do you read much then?” I asked. Jinx spun quickly to face me, her fists poised for a fight and the book she held aimed to damage.
After her immediate rush to combat and the consequent jump when she realised it was only me, she caught the book a fraction of a second later than it left her grip and put one hand over her chest, as if to steady her surprised heart.
Not that I’d tried to make her jump or anything.
“Jesus, Jack – you scared the living daylights out of me.” She breathed.
“Ooh, I’ve not been referred to as the Sun of the All-Mighty before. ‘Jesus Jack’ has a nice ring to it doesn’t it!” I teased. “So, reading?” I grabbed a book from the shelf and waved it around, reiterating my question.
“Yes, I like to read. Most people like to learn things that way and educate themselves.”
“Dickens or Brontë?”
“Dickens or Brontë? Simple enough question.” I shrugged, I couldn’t help the teasing smile I wore – her reaction when I jump-scared her was priceless.
“Which Brontë?” She asked, returning the sarcasm.
“Take your pick!” I gestured my arms wide at the books we were surrounded by – how many Brontë books had seen their time inside these walls was astounding.
“Charlotte Brontë, easy.”
“What? No way! Oliver Twist is one of the best books in all of history.”
“No way, Jane Eyre is the book for women’s independency. It’s the first book I read on my own, it’s my favourite book of all time ever and you will not spoil that.” Jinx stood, putting her book back on the shelf and walking away. I think she was sulking.
Of course I had to follow.
“So what’s your second favourite book?” I asked trivially, partially because I think it was annoying her and partially because I didn’t want to stop talking to her.
“I don’t have one – I don’t rank books meticulously. What’s your favourite book?” She smirked, slinking round the corner and down another aisle of books.
She sounded really fed up of me but she asked me the question to continue the conversation, so I followed her.
“I don’t like to choose – the other books might get sad.”
“Oh, what a gentleman you are, Sir!” She put her hands on her cheeks in fake surprise, the sarcasm dripping from her every word.
“I like reading but it’s not as fun when you can remember every word of every book you’ve ever read and listened to, it does take the fun out of it a little bit.” I shrugged.
“Oh you’re the one with the memory. I figured I’d meet someone with a Hyper High Functioning Memory in whatever you want to call this world we have left. Zed’s the one with the incomparable brain power, you’re the memory, Neg’s the war veteran slash bomb psychopath, Chang’s the historian and XP’s the Future Generation and a bit of a game nerd – sound about right?”
“A bit generic to label us like that. But, essentially, yes.” I shrugged.
“So what does that make me?” She asked, that all too familiar smirk making its return.
“Right now, you’re a question mark. We’re still trying to figure you out.” I narrowed my eyes slightly, as if I was trying to figure her out visually but she just turned around again and continued to peruse the books.
I’m actually unreasonably excited for this piece of creative writing because this is actually an excerpt of the third draft of the book I first wrote in 2012 when I was 16! I hope it makes even just a little bit of sense as an individual excerpt but also doesn’t give too much away from the book that I can only dream I will hold in hardback one day.
As I’ve said in previous creative writing posts, I’m really struggling to find time and motivation to write creatively – everything in my life feels like I’m just saying ‘everything will settle down after XYZ’ over and over again – it’s after Glastonbury (long story short my friends have all got work experience there and I have not and it hurts and they’re back on Monday), then after NASS, then after we move, then after my job at home, then after my mum’s visited and I know even more things will crop up, I just don’t know how to organise my life to include time to write and work on the book I love so dearly without sacrificing my blog or YouTube channel or work or anything else.
God forbid I have to make time for uni as well! (That’s not till late September)
But for now, I want to share an excerpt of my baby, the thing I’ve loved and cherished for five years – I want to put it into the world.
I’m going to stop doing creative writing posts on my blog I think, maybe encourage myself to write creatively outside of the internet instead.
Thank you for reading,