I woke the other morning with a story in my head. I scribbled it down quickly in the notebook I keep by my bed. It was fun to write and I thought I’d share it here (pretty much in the raw form that I scribbled it in) as a change from my normal ramblings – I don’t think I’ve written a story like this since I was at school.
Please let me know what you think and what you take from it, if anything – I won’t be offended (my eldest thinks it’s ok for the teen fiction market which I take as a great compliment)!
I’ve no title yet either, so suggestions on a postcard please 🙂
The treasure had lain undiscovered for years. Small, exquisite and priceless it had become gradually forgotten, then lost by its last owner in the hubbub and clamour of the mundane and day-to-day. Now its power and beauty was obscured by dust as it lay in the shadows, waiting to be revealed and claimed once more.
Blissfully unaware, Jonas and his friends saunter along the lane in a ragamuffin crowd, pushing and jostling with friendly jibes, excited to be free of the disapproving eyes of authority for an hour or so.
Jonas smiles at his friends’ boisterousness, but it covers a low grade anxiety and feeling of detachment. Why does he never quite feel part of this group? Why is he different?
He yearns to belong and be as natural and comfortable as the group’s charismatic ringleader Charlie. Charlie just seems to fit, somehow owning the space around him, always with an easy answer to any challenge – his the best ideas, his the approval they all unconsciously seek.
It’s at Charlie’s suggestion they’re here now approaching the row of ramshackle garages – all rotten double wooden doors, peeling paint and mustiness. Charlie’s been here before, lots of times, or so he declares, but although Jonas has known about the garages he’s never dared to break into one before. He tries to shrug off his feeling of apprehension and guilt – after-all the garages have been abandoned and empty for years – no-one will care if a few boys hide out in them every once in a while, will they?
Charlie squirms his way under the door of the largest garage where the wood’s rotted away, leaving a jagged gap. The others follow, Jonas included, trying to emulate Charlie’s nimbleness and nonchalance.
It takes a moment for his eyes to adjust, but weak light enters the garage through a grimy window and from under the decaying door. Motes of dust dance in the warm musty air as Jonas, heart beating fast from the exertion of getting under the door, tries to take in his surroundings. A breath of wind from under the door stirs some dry leaves, sending them scraping across the floor and Jonas starts, fearing rats (or worse).
But there’s nothing much in the garage – not even a rat. An old table, grey with age, with a wooden spindle backed chair just beside – as if someone had just pushed back away from being seated at the table and left; rusting paint pots stacked neatly against a wall, bits of wood, a couple of grubby bottles and jars, dusty shelves – empty apart from the odd screw, bolt and other unidentifiable bits and pieces.
The sparse contents seem surprisingly neat and ordered and, recovered now from his fear of imagined rodents, Jonas feels oddly at home here. There’s something comforting in the warm, musty, dusty atmosphere – the muted contents positioned as if with thought and care. He finds himself wishing he was alone, so he can enjoy the peace and stillness, feeling safe in a sanctuary where he finally can belong.
The garage feels not abandoned, just left ready for him to claim it. He can see himself sitting at the table in the dusky half-light, alone with his thoughts and comforted by the presence and quiet of the space. Yes, presence – there’s something here, something he can’t quite put his finger on…
Jonas’s friends seem oblivious to whatever Jonas senses though, and now the initial awe of entering a forbidden space has passed they are soon bored and starting to jostle and push, “Let’s go, there’s nothing here”. Charlie kicks a bottle against the wall as he turns to go and it smashes, shattering Jonas’s mood too.
Jonas feels a sudden flash of anger at the ignorance and disrespect, followed swiftly by a fear that they’ll damage ‘his’ space further. But Charlie’s already squirming back under the door, the others right behind and reluctantly Jonas follows the crowd – his fear of being different, of standing out and being ‘weird’ overcoming his sense that he’d found something special, just for him.
The garage held an unknown promise that touched Jonas’s soul in a way he couldn’t fathom, but he turns his back and wriggles back under the door, sulking with resentment towards Charlie “making” him leave; angry with the others for never standing up to Charlie; ashamed of himself and his cowardice, and belonging nowhere.
The noise and hubbub of the boys recess into the distance. In the still of the garage, undisturbed and undiscovered still, the exquisite treasure remains untouched…