Nanowrimo update…

Hello!! I hit the 20K mark yesterday and currently on 21677; so only 3478 words to write today to catch up…then I’ll need to write 1667 for tomorrow because it’s writers’ association meeting day and I have to go for a drink afterwards…priorties, people!

The story is coming along nicely. Here’s a little snippet…

‘How’s the writing going?’ Phillip had to spoil the evening.

‘Umm…you know it’s harder than I thought…’

Phillip and Camryn both burst into peals of laughter. Ella sat in mortified silence as they both laughed, setting each other off again as they struggled to gain control of themselves.

Ella stood up and crumpled her napkin on the table. Camryn spoke first. ‘Ella, please I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to offend you, but it was funny…you have to admit that.’

Ella smiled and took her seat.

‘Yes…I guess so… Please?’ She held her glass up for Camryn to fill.

Normally Ella wouldn’t be able to let go of something like that but she found Camryn’s presence comforting. She had a quality Ella couldn’t quite put her finger on; it was as though she actually liked other people.

The conversation flowed as they learned a little more about each other. Ella was surprised to find she had much in common with Camryn and even Phillip dragged himself away from his laptop long enough to join in the conversation a few times but when he did, somehow it was always to talk about Ella, her project and the various daft things she had done in her career. He seemed to enjoy watching her squirm and it was Camryn who was her saviour each time. She was kind and…caring and had an almost motherly quality to her, even though she was probably only a few years older than Ella.

Phillip began to recount some of the crazier stunts Ella had pulled on her YouTube channel. She found her cheeks were burning.

‘You know, I read English at Oxford…’

Phillip looked up at her. ‘What? As in you went to a pub in Oxford and read the menu?’

‘Ha bloody ha ha…as in I attended university at Oxford and actually graduated. I am actually quite smart, ask anyone who knows me, I just act like a mad woman; it’s my stage persona.’

‘So you were on stage during the drive here…you certainly acted like a mad woman.’

Camryn sat watching them both. ‘Oh, you kids are fun,’ she said.

‘Look I know I am a bit of a joke to you, but I write a lot on my phone. I have nearly a million folowers. I’m not a complete twit but I’m finding it hard without my laptop. Writing by hand is different from typing, don’t you think?’ She looked Camryn to Phillip.

He nodded and took a sip of his water. He didn’t seem to care that she was upset by his tone.

‘There are a couple of old typewriters here if you want to use one of them. They were left behind by some old writers who stayed here back in the day when it was an artist’s colony. You want to come to the cave and take a look? Cam, you want to come?’

Camryn was already on her feet. ‘Perfect timing; we need another bottle. C’mon ‘Melon.’ The little dog leapt down from his seat and bolted to the concealed door in the wall.

Phillip went to the sideboard and took out two torches. He walked over to Ella and handed one to her. ‘You’ll need this at night. The power isn’t connected to some rooms while the work is being done so don’t leave home without it.’

He led the way through the semi-concealed doorway that Camryn had used that morning. Ella was feeling the effects of the wine. She had eaten everything on her plate so that was soaking it up at least. Watermelon stayed close to his mistress as they took the long hallway lit only by Phillips torch. Ella flicked her torch on and for an instant Watermelon was distracted by the new pool of light in front of him.

‘He’s a great dog, does he ever bark.’ Ella smiled at Camryn.

‘God, don’t tell him he’s a dog, he thinks he’s people!’ Camryn said in a stage whisper. ‘He only barks at the ghosts, eh, Phil.’

They stopped at a double wooden door. Phil handed the torch to Ella to hold while he opened the door. He took the torch again and told them to wait. She watched as his pool of light bobbed away down the stairs to be replaced by a bank of temporary lights on a stand. The sight nearly took Ella’s breath away.

‘It’s a fresco. We were all surprised when we found it.’

Ella switched her torch off and stared up at the ceiling. Camryn went straight to the wine stored at the end of the cavernous room. Phillip waited for Ella under the painting. The ceiling was a shallow dome carved out of the limestone surrounding the chateau.

‘The figures look as though they are dancing when you have candle-light down here,’ Phillip said. He was whispering. ‘The former owner mustn’t have even known it was here because he wrote endlessly about this house and there is no mention of it. We’ve had it dated to the 16th century. Apparently, the chateau belonged to a mistress of Good King Henri…the Henri the fourth…she was a musician and wrote music for the court. She was quite a remarkable woman. An expert from Paris said this might have been done by a Venetian master.’

‘I’ve never seen anything like it…’ Ella said in a whisper. The deep colours looked as though they had been rendered yesterday. ‘It’s the nine muses…’

They stood in silence.

‘I’m sorry… I deleted them…’ Ella said.

It took a few seconds for Phillip to respond. ‘Uh, oh…it’s fine…thanks…yeah…let’s get you that typewriter.’

He walked away.

After looking up for five minutes Ella found her head was swimming. She walked over to the stairs and sat down heavily. ‘Okay, hen?’ Camryn asked.

Ella nodded. ‘Tired. A bit drunk. A long way from home…’

Phillip joined them. ‘I err thought you were going to follow me…I brought this one back but there’s two or three more. I know this one works because someone’s been using it.’ The typewriter had a sheet of paper in it and a few words had been typed.

Summer in this valley is not kind. It’s hot and bright and the storms can tear the roof right off a structure. The lambs of spring no longer bound about, but find shade with their…

Phillip put it down and tapped out a few letters.

‘It’s perfect,’ Ella said and stood up. Her head had started to tap out a few letters of its own. ‘I think I need to head off to bed…’

Phillip picked up the typewriter and handed it to Ella. He walked back into the room to turn off the bank of lights, leaving the group in darkness until he could fumble around and switch his torch on. Ella sucked in a breath in the darkness and Watermelon began to bark.

I’ve seen a few very sexy writing spaces on Instagram. Mine is not sexy at all. It’s a messy splodge in the corner of my bedroom. One day I’ll have an office with a door and everything…

Feature Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash