Day 1 Thirty in Thirty For Writers ( Story A Day)
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Prompt: “When I was born…”
The following is a bit of brainstorming for one of my current projects, a middle grade fantasy. Olen is the main character, age 11. I have written a lot of scenes for him in third person POV. Now it is his turn to speak for a change. This is my chance to get to know him better. I am also exploring whether I should write this story in first person POV or continue third person. Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.
When I was born, my parents had already buried four of my siblings. I was the last and only one of their children to survive past the age of two. In Tirren, that is a familiar story since The Fall. The cemetery on the edge of the village is filled with tiny headstones of children born into a place that was and is dying. Why did I make it when so many others didn’t? I cannot say. What I do know is that my mother’s grief over my sisters and brother and her worries for me have left her a sad, fearful woman who hides in our hut all day rarely venturing out. The children at school tease me and say my mother is strange and that I am as well.
They are right, I guess. Papa tells me that Before, Mama was an artist, a dreamer who laughed a lot and enjoyed music and books. Now she sits by the hearth most days wrapped in her shawl just rocking, rather than going out to the market or helping with village affairs as the other mothers do. Books are outlawed, except for schoolbooks, and there is no music anywhere. As for laughter, it only comes at other’s expense, not for joy.
The children are right about me as well. I am different and therefore frequently the object of their taunts and their unkind snickering. I am the only boy in the shops on market day. As I head home with the market basket ,the other boys chase me and ask me where my skirts are. They used to catch me and pound me, but I have grown quite fast. If I had time to join in their races and games I could beat them all. But I hurry home each afternoon to tend to the washing and help Mama with supper. If she is feeling good she sometimes tells me stories about Before, but only when Papa is gone away.
In school I am often the target of the Headmaster’s reprimands and I have been given lashes weekly for one misdeed or another. Sometimes my punishments are deserved, but often they are not. What are my offenses? Not accepting the explanations in my schoolbooks, daydreaming during the boring lessons, asking questions rather than just memorizing the answers they wish to hear, and being curious about the world. I want to hear about how things were Before and I want to know what the world is like outside our village walls where we are forbidden to go.
The only ones who are allowed to leave our village are the Elders and the Sky Harvesters. Papa is a Sky Harvester, but even he will not talk about the world outside. It is not permitted. What is out there? I need to know.