This piece of writing is something very special to me and that’s mostly because I became quite attached to the characters while writing it and it’s one of the very few, rare short stories I’ve actually written to completion.
I’m one of those terrible sporadic writers that tends to write only when I feel inspired. I try really hard to write every day, but some days the well runs dry and I can’t force myself to write if I don’t feel like writing. I am working on this, but it’s not an easy habit to break. I’ll go through phases where I’m feeling happy about the direction of my writing and then I might wake up the next day and be like “Nah, I don’t feel that any more” and that will be the end of it (usually). I don’t know why I’m not more disciplined, I am actually a very disciplined person in general. And this discipline has led me away from some very bad situations in life so I know that it’s there and it’s a force to be reckoned with when it wants to be. I just can’t apply it to my writing like, at all … it’s stupid.
But anyway, to the task at hand – here’s a snippet from the first chapter. To give you a bit of background on this story, it centres around a young girl named Milly who lives alone. She doesn’t go to school because she feels like she is too old to go to school and she is constantly teased and mocked by the school children for being homeless. Milly has experienced a world of hurt for her very young years and with no one to look after her, she is a wanderer, a free spirit in the truest sense. My story begins with Milly and the “Angel in the Bathtub” which Milly thinks is a tale the school kids made up to taunt her. At first, Milly doesn’t believe it, but as the days pass, Milly finally decides to find out the truth behind the “Angel” in the bathtub. The story is set in a fictional town in the USA, the time period is around the early 18th century – probably between 1820 – 1830 or thereabouts. I started writing this in 2014.
But nothing would get Milly down today. Milly was going on an adventure! Those good-for-nothing school children had teased Milly long enough about the bathtub up near the old Miller farmhouse.
After the big shoot-out a few months back, nobody went near the abandoned farm. A few men from the town got themselves shot dead. And now the place was said to be “cursed” and the dead haunted the old farmhouse. Well, that’s what all the townsfolk said anyway. Milly didn’t believe a word of that. Well, not entirely.
Everyone in the town stayed well away, especially now that members of the Jackson brothers and their gang were still hiding out near the hills behind the farm. But Milly didn’t care about that either. Milly only wanted to see the bathtub because Milly believed what all the school children were saying about the angel.
Milly had listened well to all the stories about the ‘angel’ bathing in the bathtub way up on the hill near the old Miller’s farm. She remembered the school children saying how the sunlight reflected off his wings. Well, of course, Milly had to believe in angels. That was how she was brought up. And a story or no, Milly just had to see this angel for herself.
Milly walked for a long time before she realised where she was. She was humming and jumping along and whacking her stick about in the air at the birds flying overhead when she could finally see the hills looming up in the distance. Milly stopped in her tracks and looked around. She was getting closer. The bathtub was just over the next rise.
Suddenly, Milly didn’t feel too good. Fine beads of sweat started to form on her forehead and upper lip. She felt the whole ground start to move as if the earth decided to dance a little jig right then and there. Milly finally caught her breath. She looked down at her tattered and worn shoes with her toes poking out. She took her stick and jabbed gently at her big toe. She was delaying the inevitable. If she didn’t do this now, if she didn’t go and talk to the angel in the bathtub, she would surely be the biggest joke in the whole town forever and ever and for all eternity.
And that was a long time.
And she would never get to ask the angel about her Ma and Pa.
Milly took a deep breath. She could do this. She held onto her stick and crept up the side of the hill around the bushes to where she was told the bathtub would be.
But when she got there, there was no bathtub.
Milly felt that familiar feeling in her stomach. That hollow, empty feeling like she was dangling off the edge of a cliff. She looked around in a panic. She looked high and low. No bathtub. Milly felt tears welling in her eyes but she quickly brushed them away with the back of her hand and kept running around, looking everywhere for the bathtub.