Excerpt of my 2011 NaNo attempt. I like the development, let me know what you think
The End of Innocence
The day dawned like any other, sunrise coming too early for Jane. Jane was 15 and today was the day she began ninth grade. A freshman finally! Dragging herself out of bed, she went to shower and get ready for school. Jane was the only child in a very strict home. Perhaps if she had a sibling, her parents would not be so hard on her. As it was, she had to act as a house servant, doing the majority of the housework, cooking and cleaning. Jane dreams of graduation so she can move away, leaving behind the drudgery that has become her life. Every day, she finds a list on the kitchen counter with the jobs that must be done before dinner when her parents return from work; if the entire list is not done she knows that there will be a reckoning. The last time the list was unfinished; she was beaten and given a minimal dinner. The following day, the list was half again as long. This angered Jane, but she made sure the jobs were done by the end of the day.
Now that school started, her lists are smaller, but still it is quite a lot with the little time she has to work with. “Maybe if I join an after-school activity, I can actually have a life.” She thinks.
Leaving for school, she locks the door and begins the long walk to the bus stop. Jane is a tall girl, with a slight build and very straight mousey hair. She wears glasses that look very odd on her face and her clothes are a little large on her. She is very shy around others as she has few if any friends. She is very quiet, but now she is going to the high school, and this fills her with dread that is very clearly written on her face. She passes younger kids on the way to a different stop and they give her a wide berth, not because of her appearance, but because the stories of her parents shrieking at any whom talks to her are well known.
Dick and sue Watkins, Jane’s parents, are both very religious people who work in the local Baptist church’s counseling center. They are specialists with drug addicts and problem teens; sometimes they fall into both categories. They do not want Jane to fall into this same fate so they keep her very busy, too busy to get into any trouble. They realize that a teen needs friends and a social life, but they feel staying out of their center is a priority. Hey have seen children much younger than Jane ruin their lives before they even begin.
Dick is the disciplinarian of the family and sue thinks sometimes he is too hard on Jane, but she is a good Baptist wife and keeps quiet. Also, she is the maker of the lists so she is complacent in the authoritarian rule dick keeps. This is how things have been, and this is how they will stay as long as Jane lives in their house.
Jane gets on the bus to the high school, she is in the middle of the route, so there are many other teens on the bus, mostly older than her, but all of them are buzzing with seeing old friends and making plans already for after the first day of school. Jane finds an empty seat near the front of the bus and getting as low as possible, hides from the others, talking to no one. Once the bus arrives at school, Jane quickly makes her way to her homeroom and finds a seat. She gets her schedule and locker assignment and begins the most difficult portion of her life.
Jane’s day is filled with the average school day of math, English, geography and other boring classes. At lunch she sees that she is almost the only person who packs a bag lunch, and she sits alone in the back corner. She tries to be open to others that may want to join her, but they all just give her a sidelong glance and move on to another table. This begins to bother her, but then she remembers that it is not as if she would be allowed to talk to them for long. Her parents have ties to the school also, and receive reports of many of her activities.
After school, she succeeded in, making no friends and keeping a very low profile. She noticed boys, and some girls, staring at her all day. She is curious of this, but being as socially inept as she is, disregards the other kids. Once she gets home, she begins her list and is just getting supper in the table when her parents arrive home. They come in the house and immediately sit down at the table. “Jane,” her father begins, “would you lead us in grace?” Expecting this, she starts with a standard prayer, giving thanks for family, food, and good fortune. Jane never mentions friends, as she has had none.
“That was very nice Jane.” Her mother says. “Now would you pass your father the first place?” It is custom in her house that Dick begins all meals, followed by sue, with Jane last. Dinner passes in silence, until finally they are all done. Turning to Jane dick asks, “How was school today?” Jane begins to tell him of her classes and how much homework she has. Dick sits back and closes his eyes. Jane can tell he is not really listening, but keeps talking anyway. When she is done, sue begins clearing the table, also oblivious to the fact that Jane has started high school and this may be a time to be very active in her life.
Jane goes to her room, beginning her little homework from the first day. “Why do they give homework on the first day!” she thinks. Grudgingly, she turns on her computer to start a research project she needs to have done in a few days. As the computer boots up, she sees she has several e-mails, she opens her mailbox and sees most of them are junk about penis enlargement and Russian wives needing a new husband. Quickly deleting them, she sees there is one from a real person, a boy named Cid. Jane does not know anyone by that name, but the subject line says “I know your pain”. Intrigued, she opens the message reads it.
You do not know me yet, but I have been keeping my eyes on you for quite a while. I know how you feel like you do not matter to your family, and how they only had you to have a free servant. But I can help you, if you are interested mail me back.
Jane quickly types a reply, not much more than a yes and how. She mails it back, and then begins her homework. As she gets started, she realizes that she can not focus on her work. Frustrated, she looks at the time, and seeing it is nearly 8. She slowly changes her clothes and climbs into bed as there is nothing else or her to do if she can not do her homework.
The next morning, Jane wakes to a new email message.
I am happy that you wish to change your life and situation. Meet me at the library after school. Also, ignore your chore list, it does not matter anymore.
Fearfully, Jane begins to get ready for school, unsure if she will follow the instructions. She goes to the kitchen to grab some breakfast, and sees the list for today. It is quite large, and includes some important jobs like washing the dishes, and scrubbing out the refrigerator. But, pressing on, Jane leaves for school. She spends the better part of the day mulling the possibilities and repercussions of meeting this mysterious Cid. The library is a very public place, so she would be safe. She would probably get a big beating if she does not do her jobs, but if this meeting puts her on the road to ending her own personal hell, it may be worthwhile.
School ends without Jane noticing, she is on auto pilot as she boards her bus. The library is not far from her stop, but she has yet to make a decision. She is so involved in deciding to go to the library, or to go home, she does not even notice the other people on the bus. They are very quiet, and are paying her no mind, as if she does not exist. When she gets off the bus, she begins to walk to the library with out consciously making the decision.
When she gets there, she finds a table near the front counter so the adults working there can see if something goes wrong. She does not know what could, but she feels safer this way. After about fifteen minutes, she sees a tall boy, in a black leather jacket, black pants, and black sun glasses, enter the library. She thinks he is very cute and hopes this is Cid. She has never seen this boy before, but she wishes she had.
He looks around for a few seconds, until he notices Jane at the table and comes over, and pulls up a chair. He sits there for a few minutes just staring at her. Now that he is closer, she can see he has perfect, almost alabaster, skin. He also smells musky, like very high end cologne, and a faint scent of smoke under that. His hands are very thin; with very long thin fingers, with nails that are a quarter inch longer than is normal for men. His jacket seems very soft and supple, and she now sees her wears a black oxford shirt with a bright red tie under his coat.
“Good afternoon, Jane,” He begins, voice like velvet. She was never sure what a velvet voice sounded like, but now she is sure. She feels a stirring in her heart that she has never felt before, and that from just a simple greeting! “I hope your day was well.”
“Oh it was ok I guess,” Jane replies. “it was just a regular day.” She has never spoken to a stranger like this, just meeting at random and jumping in to conversation like he was family. “You ARE Cid I assume?”
“Of course, but you really knew that already. Would anyone else just sit down at your table? The whole town is afraid of your father when someone talks to you.” Cid said, with a wry smirk.
“I know that, but why are you here? Why did you message me and have me meet you? I am a no body, just a weird girl who no body likes.” Jane admits sadly. It is one thing to know that you have no friends, and that you probably will never have friends, at least until she moves away. But, it is another thing entirely to say it out loud; to a person she just met not five minutes ago.
“You are too hard on yourself. You could be the most popular girl in school, if you could just get your parents to let off.” Cid explains. “I will make our meeting quick so you can get started on dinner and cleaning the fridge. I can help you have a normal life, all I ask is that you do exactly as I tell you and there may be a favor or two I will need that I am not aware of yet. Think about my offer and I will mail you again at the end of the week.” With that he stands quickly, and before she knows, he is out the door.
“What a strange boy,” She thinks, “and how did he know about the refrigerator?”