I’m about a third of the way through my second novel and also at the point where I need to introduce a major new story angle in the earlier chapters. I’ve also changed the name of the story from Halfway House to EggHead (the central character’s nickname) and I have some exciting storylines in mind.
EggHead explores the consequences of a twelve-year-old boy’s actions following a short but particularly nasty bullying campaign against the boy. At this stage in the story, the central character, now nineteen, is struggling to rebuild his life in a remote village off the North Sea.
A couple of hours have gone, and I’m in the hut with a dry pair of socks and trainers on, sharing a bottle of cider with Angus, Terence and another man, Bill. Jeff’s gone off somewhere. Angus and Terence seem to have forgotten what happened earlier. It doesn’t seem that relevant now. I’m still here after all, and I guess I’ll be around tomorrow and the day after. We roll up old dog-ends from a tin, smoke them and take it in turns to swig cider from the bottle. My hand still throbs, especially from the icy temperature, but I’ve learnt to ignore the sensation. I haven’t eaten since breakfast, save for the sugary milky tea Angus got me earlier. I prefer the tilt and the glow that alcohol brings.
The wind blows around in circles and the sea collides with rocks further along, causing foam-like sprays to form in the air and a spectacular pulling in of the waves. Dire; yet for me the hut becomes a place of warmth and safety and belonging, a place cut off from the rest of the village and what it represents: isolation. These men are kind. They’ve stopped asking me about my background. They accept me for who I am – and I, them. We’re four men who’ve fallen through society’s cracks; that’s all anyone needs to know. Together, we polish off the bottle of cider and smoke some more of the dog-ends from the tin. We stay out till late afternoon, till after dark, huddled close together for warmth as another day slips away.
Meanwhile my debut novel – Secrets by Lawrence Estrey – is available of Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.