I’m working on a new crime thriller set on the outskirts of Manchester and told through central character Wayne (12). The biggest challenge, I think, lies in the narrative style and getting it to reflect the age of the character. At the same time, the character, an only child, seems to have developed in ways that other twelve-year-old boys might not have.
The following section tends more towards the psychological thriller aspect of the story:
Ginger and I finalise the arrangements for tomorrow, and I set off for home, shivering from the cold and wishing now that I’d taken up Ginger’s mum’s offer of a lift. I could go back, I suppose, and say I’ve changed my mind and that I’d appreciate a lift, but it would probably look awkward of me or rude. In any case, the cold isn’t the real reason why I regret accepting the lift. It’s what happened last night after I left Zipper’s place: the weirdo chasing me along the main road, ducking into shop doorways and following me into the side alleyway, down to the mews at the back of the maisonette where I live. Tonight, I chicken out of walking home via the usual route, cutting through quiet side streets and crossing roads further up from the main road, until finally I have no choice but to face the main road and run the two blocks home. I leg it as fast as I can, racing those final yards, and then I’m tearing up the concrete steps like I did last night, my heart hammering hard in my chest, just like then.
Empty. A thundering silence greets me in the hallway, and suddenly I don’t want to be home at all. The maisonette has a bad feel to it, as if someone’s come in and wandered through all the rooms, touching things, looking at things. I keep expecting the figure to leap out at me – or, worse, for someone like Tara Wilde to appear. I jump when the phone rings unexpectedly and hurry to the kitchen to answer the call.
The line goes dead.
I dial 1471.