I have not been able to write the past month. Between moving apartments and work and preparing for what will probably be the biggest change in my life, sitting down to write just hasn’t happened. BUT that is no excuse. One of the reasons why I started this blog is to get my written work out there. So I’m starting this week with another story I wrote for my Creative Writing class, the theme of which seems in line with how I have been feeling about my writing.
Death of a Writer
by Rachel Kelly Davis
Nicole stirred restlessly. She checked her clock again. Four-zero-seven and the letters A and M blazed like an angry red fire, its flames slowly licking at her conscience. She sat up and sighed. Her mother used to say that the innocent sleep soundly and the guilty toss and turn.
Turning, she pulled the cord of the bedside lamp, instantly flooding the room with light. It was strange, being back in her old bedroom. The N*Sync and Backstreet Boys posters were exactly where she’d put them up ten years ago. Her study desk, with the drawers running down either side, still had a stack of colourful stationary on it. The reading chair in the corner still provided a cushiony spot for her well-loved teddy bear.
Sliding off the bed, Nicole walked to her study desk and pulled the last drawer on the right. Under some books, four or five CDs, two cassette tapes, a pair of headphones, an empty scotch tape dispenser, and an old Nokia phone charger, she found what she was looking for. A pink notebook.
Nicole took a deep breath. As she pulled the notebook out, she started to feel light-headed. Her heart started pounding and her hands began to shake. She slowly made her way back to her bed and sat down.
Closing her eyes, she heard Tina Olson’s voice. “It was a hate crime,” Tina had said. “A hate crime.” Nicole had looked away when Tina said it. She focused instead on the changes that had been made to her old high school gym and the sparkly decorations the alumni association had put up.
“It’s so hard to believe anyone could be so cruel. And such a different kind of cruel,” Tina had continued.
Nicole opened her eyes. Here it was. Jenny Currington’s thick pink notebook. The one that contained her novel. Nicole bit her lip, remembering how she’d felt that day, the day that had been her only chance.
It was the last day of sophomore year and an exam day. She finished her test early, on purpose, not caring if she’d gotten some answers wrong. Then she excused herself and walked down the empty hallway, making her way to Jenny’s locker. She’d snuck a peek at the combination weeks before. Between a history book and what looked like a chemistry reviewer was the pink notebook. Nicole took it and stuffed it in her own bag.
She remembered how Jenny had cried that day. And she didn’t care. She wanted it to stop. All year her friends would share the notebook, reading the story as Jenny wrote. Everyone hung on her every written word. It was all anyone talked about and it made her jealous and angry. So angry.
Nicole watched as everyone comforted Jenny. Then she went home and put it in the bottom right drawer of her study desk.
After the summer, classmates asked Jenny if she’d rewritten. The answer was no. They asked if she’d written anything new. The answer was no. There was strange déjà vu tonight as they asked Jenny if she had become a writer or was working towards it. And the answer had been no.
Jenny had moved on to other things. Now enjoying considerable success as an event planner. “But you’re so talented,” Tina had argued. Jenny returned a sad smile.
Nicole looked at the notebook now. This wasn’t the first time the guilt of her crime kept her awake, but it was the first time she’d ever taken the stolen goods out. “I should shred this,” she said to her room. Shred and flush and just be rid of it forever.
She looked at the notebook in her hands. I wonder how it ends.
Jenny had promised everyone that she’d let them read the last chapter after school let out on that last day. But no one got the chance.
Nicole opened the notebook and started to read. She read as the sky outside her window turned from grey-blue to light. She read as she heard her childhood home stir and as the smell of bacon made its way up to her room. She read as her mother knocked on the door and she rejected both breakfast and lunch. She read and read and read until the end.
It was such a beautiful story. No wonder everyone loved it. No wonder everyone loved her. Tears were streaming down her cheeks and she bit her lip. Wiping her eyes with the back of her right hand, she went back to the beginning of the book. “I’m so sorry, Jenny,” she whispered. Then she started to rip the pages one by one.