Fantasy fiction - ongoing novel. Looking for feedback on please.
|James Wright wasn’t your typical fifteen-year-old boy. Being a shy, reserved, kind of person, he also had a passion for stories, and was often found scribbling down story ideas, or tucked up in a corner somewhere reading a good book. This level of commitment often came with a price though; and he lost a good, many friends to it, because, unlike him, they just couldn’t understand his level of dedication, and soon became bored with him.
James was an orphan and lived with his foster carer Anne. She worked forty-plus-hours a week, so interactions between them were few and far between, but that was what James liked about it. His father had disappeared when he was but an infant, and his whereabouts were unknown; assumed dead. But James’s mother had died in an accident when he was just ten-years-old, and he tended to blame himself for her death. Had he had gone to her on that fateful day when she had first called him; instead of writing his latest story idea down and ignoring her, perhaps she wouldn’t have been hit by that lorry, and he wouldn’t have to carry around the insurmountable grief which would consume him. After her death, James didn’t read or write anything for a whole year because of the guilt eating away at him.
To be perfectly honest, James’s life was quite dull unless he filled his days with stories. And even though he did not yet know it, James’s life was about to be changed dramatically.
It had been a normal school day and James was returning home alone, as usual, when he turned the key in the lock and pushed opened the front door. A pile of letters and small packages spilled across the doormat and James hopped over them, slamming the door closed behind him. The house was empty; Anne would be at work for another four hours before she got home, so James made himself a soft drink and sat in an armchair; pulled out his notepad and pen, and jotted down some ideas that he had had earlier that day. He had only been sat there for five minutes when something grabbed his attention; a noise of some kind. A faint shuffling type of noise which required further investigation. So he stood up, trying to ascertain the direction of the sound, and searched the entire room.
After some time had passed and he was about ready to give up searching, James saw something out of the corner of his eye which puzzled him. Through the lounge door and down the hallway, something had just moved. “What was that?” James muttered to himself, and made his way towards the front door. There on the doormat lay a small package that wasn’t where the others had come to rest, when he had entered the house. A small brown package without a postage stamp sat there. Even more confused, James swooped the package up and examined it. It was addressed to him, but clearly must have been hand-delivered, because sure enough, no postage marks were to be found; just a message saying: James Wright Open immediately, which looked to have been written in a rush, because the writing had a spider-crawling-across-the-page feel about it.
Taking the package through to the lounge, James placed it on the table beside the armchair and just stared at it. Who would be sending him a package? Having little, to no friends, and no family, it was unclear to him who would be sending him anything. And had it been something Anne had planned; she wouldn’t have had it addressed to him, so he could rule her out too. So, where had this package come from? James felt a little nervous and wondered whether he should just text Anne and ask her, but he didn’t want to disturb her at work, unless it was an emergency of course, which he was sure wasn’t the case.
The package however, wasn’t content with being ignored and suddenly fluttered again, grabbing James’s attention, and startling him in the process. He hadn’t been seeing things; the package had definitely moved and there was no doubt in his mind this time. James seized it and ripped it open, revealing a rather ornate, feathered pen and note. He examined the pen very carefully, admiring the craftsmanship, the decoration, and held it in the hand he would write with to check the weight of it. Who on earth would send him such a gift? And why? James opened the note in haste and began to read:
Dearest James, my name is Sophie and I need your help. Please take the quill and write the following words with it – ‘don't tell me, show me’ and you will be able to come to me. Please trust me. I have news of your father. I am counting on you James; we all are, I’m begging you to help us, please come.
Two things happened next; Firstly, James re-read the note several times with his mouth agape, and with his stomach knotting inside him. Was this supposed to be some cruel joke? Could his father still be alive? Did this Sophie person know him? And, secondly, the quill which was held in his right hand began fluttering again; quite violently in fact, as though it wished to be freed from his clutches; forcing James to release his clenched fist, to find out what all the commotion was about.
The quill elevated itself from James’s hand and bobbed up and down in the air in front of him. And James saw a wave run through its ruffled feather. Feeling quite surprised, James couldn’t help himself being caught up in the moment. After all, it wasn’t every day you got to experience something so wondrous. Yet, his elation was short lived; something more pressing now invaded his thoughts, the instruction in the note: ‘Don’t tell me, show me.” What did this mean? And, more importantly, what would happen if he were to do as he was instructed? James panicked; snatched the quill out of the air, stuffed it back into the empty package, along with the note, and placed them both under the seat cushion of the armchair.