About a month ago I posted a couple of attempts at some fiction writing, which my number one fan Brian very much enjoyed. So much so that he has been working on his own part of the story on his blog, Extremely Average. I did promise Brian I would write some more, and he has been very patient, but I have kept him in suspense long enough.
Please bear in mind this is just a first draft, so obviously I need to cut about 70% of it and change all the words, but apart from that… It carries on (vaguely) from where the last post stopped, and finishes rather suddenly due to my having a bit of a headache and quite wanting to go and have a little lie down. All constructive criticism very welcome.
As they approached the source of the noise Beatrice broke into a trot. She moved gracefully – she was much more elegant than Amy ever imagined a camel would be.
Amy hung back though, hesitant about what they might find, not sure if she wanted to bring a baby into their lives. She’d known Beatrice less than an hour and it really felt too soon to be starting a family.
She remembered feeling the same nervous dread when her Dad had taken her to meet her brother Dan for the first time. She was five when he’d been conceived, and had been quite happy as an only child. The arrival of an extra person in her carefully ordered world wasn’t something she was looking forward to, particularly when she had only recently finished rearranging all her dolls alphabetically. She needn’t have worried of course, she had fallen in love with Dan the moment she saw him – lying in his plastic box at the Farnham Centre, wearing the tiny brown hat with the puppy ears that she’s picked out for him the month before at Mr Panther’s Baby Emporium.
Amy thought back now to the last time she had seen Dan. It was a Thursday night, less than a year ago, and the sky had been grey, threatening thunder, the air sticky and oppressive, charged with the expectation of a storm.
Amy had been late back from work – the electrics on the tram through Greenhill had failed again, and four carriages full of weary commuters had been forced to trudge the half mile to the smaller boarding point at Wentworth and jostle for a space on the next link out of the city centre.
When she had finally arrived home, Dan was sitting on the steps outside her apartment. She saw him before he saw her, and had stopped for a moment and looked at him. He really was beautiful. Not in the way most men became beautiful by having their jaws widened and their cheeks chiselled, but genuinely beautiful. Like Amy, Dan resisted the Self-improvement Programme as much as possible, only giving in to the compulsory procedures – the annual blood renewal and the laser surgery to correct his short sightedness.
Six years younger than Amy, he had so far escaped any more intrusive surgery, and his face retained a naturalness that many lacked. His nose was bigger than average, with a slight bump on its ridge, and a spattering of brown freckles that came out in the summer and added to his boyish charm.
She had watched him for about half a minute, fiddling with his watch, before he’d looked up, seen her standing in the hazy blue-green glow of the street light, and stood to meet her. He’d smiled, a smile as enchanting as his first, and Amy’s heart had melted. He’d held out a parcel for her.
“Hey badger, I bought you something.”
Amy kicked at the side of his leg affectionately. “Why?” she asked teasingly. “What have you done?”
Dan smiled. “Can’t I buy my favourite sister a present without arousing suspicion?”
“No,” said Amy, raising her eyebrows, “not when the last time you bought me something was after you forgot to come and feed Amos for the whole week I was in Greece. And besides, I’m your only sister.”
Dan tried to look hurt. “Well, this time I’m in the clear, I just thought it would be nice for you to have a little something to remember me by.”
“Oh Dan, don’t talk like that. It’s only your IDICA, they do hundreds every week, it’s nothing to worry about, just a simple implant. See, look at mine.” She pushed forward the base of her palm, like Spiderman shooting a web, to reveal a small black socket, less than a centimetre across.
“I know,” Dan sighed, “I just don’t like being messed about with – you know that. Last year it was the eyes, now this, soon they’ll be transplanting all Dad’s facial features, whether I want them or not.”