National Novel Writing Month; An Excerpt


CONTEXT: During the month of November, I intend to write 50,000 words of prose, which will form a slim novel. Here is a piece of material from my first three days of progress. 

The trees flew past her with as little consideration as a blade of grass to a bird, muscular dynasties of pine turned to flimsy straw by the speed of their woodland royalty. Leaves soared beneath her feet and waltzed in her wake as she ran faster and faster, breaching the shade of forest to the moonlit fields surrounding the home of her dearest friend. It was only a small patch of thickly knitted woods that separated their house from hers, and a narrow trail was haphazardly born by the perceptual footsteps to each other’s property; making the treck to each other’s houses’ had become a ritual of religion that they had partaken in each and every day.

Crossing the Virginian rolling hills of her yard, Andra slowed her pace to a jog so not to be heaving for air at her friend’s front door. The evening’s dew began to permeate through her sneakers and owls awoke to swoop from their branches in search for unfortunate mice as she trotted up the wooden porch. No light shown through the open windows, and the white shutters swayed gently in the breeze like a withering flag hanging on by a thread. Andra abandoned her ordinary routine of violently banging on the door to bombastically announce her presence in fear that the family was asleep, so she shrugged her bag off her shoulders and resorted to climbing to the roof. Unconventional, yes, but nonetheless functional.

Dropping her bag into the dirt below, she gripped the pole on the side of the porch and swung herself  to the side of the house, catching onto the firm lattice so to silently mount its wooden summit. Her arms, strong and agile, navigated the wall with the precision of a city bandit in hot pursuit. Sweeping a stray strand of long, midnight brown hair out of delicately freckled face, she transcended towards the flicker of lamp light peeking through her friend’s bedroom curtains. Jumping onto the landing with a subtle thump and padding her way to the window, Andra tap tap tapped on the glass, careful not to slip on the roof tiles and fall to the patch of rose bushes below.

“Andra!” sounded a sharp, youthful whisper from behind the glass.

“Evelyn!” mocked Andra in the same tone, “my deepest apologies for interrupting your excitingly lonely night in, but I appear to be on your roof”.

“No kidding.” she sarcastically huffed in reply, unlocking the hatch to the window and ushering her in with routine ergency.

Andra leaped, like a gazelle, from the roof and through the window to the carpeted floor of Evelyn’s room. The warmth of the house blanketed her in familiar affection, a relief after her chilly endeavor with the elements.

“Where is everybody?” Andra asked. Evelyn had a sizable family; eight people in all- a rambunctious older brother, two talkative little sisters, a free-spirited step brother, her introverted parents, a hot headed uncle and herself- contently nestled within arms length of each other in a  farmhouse prized by the provincial town of Strasburg, Virginia. They welcomed Andra, who lived with her aloof grandparents just beyond the forest between their properties. as one of their own- and she accepted their intimacy with delight.

“My parents are still here, but everybody else went for a late night hike with my uncle Charley,” she replied.

“And you didn’t go with them?” Andra questioned, flabbergasted that her friend didn’t jump on the opportunity to go adventuring with her outlandish uncle. He was a bundle of reckless fun, the kind of child-like energy Andra lacked and craved for at her own home.

“Oh god no,” Evelyn said repulsively, “I’ll take full advantage of the rare opportunity to have privacy in my own bedroom over a soggy hike in the dark any day.”

“Hmph. You need to live a little. Have I taught you nothing?” Andra teased, knowing the poking would agitate her.

“I guess not,” Evelyn smirked, looking at her with an exasperated roll of the eyes.  Andra collapsed onto the bed in the corner with a groan, gathering her thoughts to distract herself from previous obligations so to focus on an evening in good company. Admiring the artwork on Evelyn’s wall – she considered herself a budding artist and sheathed her entire bedroom with magnificent trees and fluttering birds of her own hand- she reached under the bed to pull out an old, fraying backpack.

“It seems heavy,” Andra commented.

“What does?” Evelyn asked, giving only half her attention to the conversation as she opened the door to the bathroom and began rummaging through the drawers in search for Aspirin. She suffered from strong headaches in her temple most evenings, and refused to have her activities interrupted by it.

“The bag I keep under your bed,” Andra replied, shaking her head at her friends lack of understanding simple implications. “It’s so much heavier than last night. Did you add anything to it?”

“Sure did,” she admitted, “I put a bottle of rubbing alcohol in there, in case you get cut on the wrench. Better safe than sorry.”

“You honestly think something is going to go wrong?” Andra questioned.

“Of course I do! Firstly it’s against the law, it’ll be in pitch black darkness, and I’m horrible in stressful situations. If we get caught, I’m done for. I have no idea why I’m even doing this!” Evelyn argued, the rise in her voice provoking movement from her parents’ room below.

“Shhhhh!” Andra interjected, “Your parents have no idea I’m here, and with my grandparents telling them about my habit of sneaking out at night. I can’t afford any mistrust between them and me. Everything will be fine, I promise.”

For years, Andra had ridden her bike along a long, winding road about three miles from her house called Penny Lane. Being the biggest Beatles fan you’ll ever meet under the age of twenty, it had been her lifelong ambition to steal the ironic sign  and hang it proudly above her record player at home. The one advantage, she’d always say, of living with your grandparents whose youth was in the sixties was their impeccable taste in music- and that impeccable taste had been proudly passed down to her. Tonight, that dream was going to become a reality whether Evelyn liked it or not.

“Just understand,” stammered Evelyn, “that I do not want to do this.”

“And you’re not,” Andra told her with a wink and a grin, “you’re merely providing the getaway car.”

“Because, after four tries, you still can’t pass a simple driving test.”

“That’s beyond the point! What I lack in skill I make up for in spirit. And that’s what matters! Am I right?” Andra fought back, determined not to be discouraged by this playful attack.

“Whatever you say,” Evelyn dismissed, crossing the bedroom to join Andra on the bed.

“Let’s leave within the hour then,” Andra continued. a satisfyingly mischievous grin growing across her lips. She had an audacious heart and a quick-witted mind that longed for, lustfully, adventure such as this. She’d been waiting her whole life to pull this stunt, and could practically taste the adrenalynn it would reap.

“Come on Evelyn,” Andra concluded, the excitement within her growing, “Let’s go have some fun.”