Wednesday, 15 May 2013

LLWG - May

Last month, our homework stemmed from the group activity.  In the session we had to write the first chapter to a book entitled 'April'.  The papers were then mixed up and given out, so that we all ended up with a chapter written by someone else in the group.  My opening chapter was about a girl who was going to visit her family for the Easter holidays.  The opening chapter that I was given was about a woman who murdered people ...

April
April was a bird who was never heard.  She had thoughts that could make skin peel.

This secret serial killer was a mini Lego figure keeper.  She left a woolly hat always after her crimes.  She was dubbed "The Woolly Hat Wonderer".

Mummy never loved her.  Daddy wanted a boy.

All April wanted was a normal life but she didn't get it.

As a teenager she thought squirrels would steal her ideas, as they stole everything, according to her parents.  April was a dark girl with a mind so sharp it could cut wood.

As a child she was quietly deceptive as that was how things got done.  As a teenager she was just deceptive.  Now an adult she is more dangerous.

Never year the yellow papered sweet of Quality Street chocolate, as you might find yourself dead next to a woolly hat.

I won't tell you how she kills people but they are force fed cereal til they pop and in the background is heard playing Monty Python's "Always look on the bright side of life".  This chick will make you sick.

The crime of her not being heard has sent her berserk.  Then teased at school for her mottled legs.  Cruel teachers made a contribution.  Parents and authority figures as well.  This all was like hell.  What had she now become?

***

And I followed it up with this:


April wipes the dust from her mirror and peers at her face.  She flinches.  Her skin is so grey.  She leans in and tilts her head from left to right, staring at the lines that circle her eyes and run along her brow.  She scrapes her fingers through her hair.  Sand?  Where did that come from?  She thinks back to what she did yesterday.  The tips of her fingers find their way to her temples.  Remember.  Remember what you did yesterday.

Giving up, April makes her way to the window.  The sun is shining.  People are out walking.  Children are skipping along the pavement, singing, shouting.  Having too much fun.  A squirrel appears in her garden.  Panicked, April drops the blinds and paces the floor.  She chews a fingernail until her finger bleeds.  Her finger doesn’t leave her mouth.  Her eyes dart from side to side as she walks from her bedroom to the kitchen.

“Who’s there?” she shouts.  “I know you’re there.”  She picks up a frying pan from the hob and waves it around.  “I know you’re there.  Come out.”  No-one’s there.  She sits down at her kitchen table and picks up her knitting needles.  Over the next half an hour she knits three hats.

“Three hats, three people,” she says, smiling.  She picks up her bag and carefully puts the woolly hats into a side pocket.  She opens her pantry and scans the walls.

“What cereal is going to be our killer today?” she says, tapping her fingers on the door.  Her hand reaches out and grabs a box of cocoa puffs.  She opens the flap and takes a deep breath.

“Yep, that’s the one,” she says, stuffing three boxes into her bag.  “And now for the pièce de résistance.”  She picks up her tape player and presses the play button.  “Some things in life are bad, They can really make you mad, Other things just make you swear and curse. When you're chewing on life's gristle, Don't grumble, give a whistle, And this'll help things turn out for the best,” Eric Idle says.  April chuckles.  She stops the tape and puts the player in her bag.  She looks at herself in the hall mirror.  Some colour has appeared in her cheeks.  She pulls her own woolly hat over her dishevelled hair, wraps her body inside her coat, and creeps her fingers into her gloves.  Watching every series of CSI taught her about fingerprints at crime scenes.  She wasn’t going to slip up and make a mistake.

Pulling her bag onto her shoulder, April walks outside and stands on the pavement, watching people pass her by.  The voices in her head start up.  ‘That one.’  ‘No, not that one.’  ‘Why not?’  ‘He’s too young.’  ‘Well that one looks really old.’  ‘No, the right one will be along in a minute.’  ‘Take your time choosing.’  ‘Why do you have to be so impatient?’  ‘Why do you have to nag me all the time?’

April taps the side of her head.  The voices die down.  She knows who her first victim will be.  She crosses the road and walks with determination through town.  She takes note of the people she sees, and makes a mental list of people she doesn’t like the look of.  Walking across a zebra crossing, April finds herself outside her old school.  She looks at her watch.  It’s nearly 12:30.  The bell for lunch break will be sounding soon. 

The doors fly open and children swarm out.  They walk past her but don’t notice her.  April keeps her eyes focussed on the car park.  A few teachers follow the students out.  April straightens herself up.  A man walks out of the gate and away from her.  She follows him.  He scuffs his shoes as he walks, hands deep in his trouser pockets.  He hurries to the corner shop.  April stands outside, looking through the window.  She sees him pick up a bar of chocolate, a can of Coke, a newspaper, and he takes them to the counter.  He asks the woman for a packet of cigarettes, gives her some money, and walks out of the shop.  He walks along the road and turns into the churchyard.

April stands by the gate and watches him walk to a bench and sit down.  He opens up the paper over his knees, and takes a cigarette out of the packet.  She watches him blow smoke rings into the air, and take bites of his chocolate bar in between puffs.  Taking a deep breath, April walks towards him, and stands in front of him.  He doesn’t look up.

“Mr. Johnson,” she says.

“It’s lunch time, I’m having a break, can it wait until we get back to school?” he says, not looking up from his paper.

“Mr. Johnson,” April says again.

“What?” he says, sighing, and looking at her.

April takes a handkerchief out of her pocket and lunges at his face.  He struggles but the chloroform does its job.  His body goes limp, and the newspaper falls to the ground.  His cigarette slides from his fingers and burns the edge of the paper.  She stamps it out, before holding up her former teacher and dragging him behind a World War II memorial statue.

Laying there with his eyes closed, he looks so peaceful.  She places the tape player on the grass and presses play.  She leans over him and kisses his forehead, then takes a box of cocoa puffs out of her bag, and pouring the brown pieces of cereal into his mouth.  His eyes dart open and he lurches forwards.  April pushes him back down and climbs onto his chest.  For such a small girl, April is unbelievably strong.  She forces handfuls of cereal into his mouth.  His stomach gurgles. 

“Five, four, three, two, one,” she says, jumping up, holding on to the tape player, and running behind a tree.

Mr. Johnson explodes.  April laughs.  She tosses a woolly hat at the mess on the ground.

“Always look on the bright side of life, Mr. Johnson,” she says, skipping off towards the main road.

*****

Last session we were asked to bring along a favourite book to this session, but we all forgot *tut tut us*, but we still managed to do the planned activity without the books.  We were asked to choose a memorable character and write a story for them.

Matilda picks up the pile of books covering the coffee table and carries them over to the bookcase.  She looks at the shelves hoping that some space will appear somewhere but there's none.  Books piled on top of books.  Books lying flat.  Books resting at jaunty angles.  But no space for more books.  She walks the excess books into the kitchen and puts them down beside a pile of books on the kitchen table.  She puts her hands on her hips and takes a deep breath.  Staring intently at the cupboard doors, they all burst open.  Books adorn the shelves.  Matilda sighs.  The front door flies open and Matilda's children hurry in.  Twins Charles and Charlotte dump their school bags at their mother's feet and run upstairs.  Matilda opens the backpacks to discover that her children have taken out more books from the library.  She smiles to herself as she knows that these ones will be taken back in a few days, and she won't need to find space for them in the house.  Her children giggle at the top of the stairs, and the library books float in the direction of the laughter.  Matilda rolls her eyes and closes the front door.  She loves her children but wishes they'd stop being lazy and only use their powers in serious situations.  She walks back into the kitchen to find the pile of books where she left it.  With no space to store the books, she picks one up and starts to read.


http://www.puffin.co.uk/static/cs/uk/15/minisites/dahlday/matilda.html
I was criticised (tongue in cheek) for aging Matilda, and taking away her innocence by giving her children, but perhaps she adopted them as Miss Honey had adopted her...

*****

Homework for next time is to write a story that includes the line 'The strange noises got louder'.  We also have to include the meaning of the cliche 'a bundle of nerves'.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 11th June, 7pm-9pm, at Lowestoft Library.

6 comments:

  1. April's story...that was creepy. Just....creepy. Gave me the shivers.

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    1. I know! I don't normally write things like that. It freaked me out to write it :/

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  2. Very creepy, too creepy for me. Good thing I'm out of milk, won't have my usual cereal for breakfast.

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    Replies
    1. Hahaah, yes, you never know who is hiding around the corner with a woolly hat!

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