Thirty in Thirty Day 2


I am using the prompts from 30 in 30 as a way to get to know some of the characters in one of my Works-in-Progress, a middle grade dystopian fantasy. I started it in a free-writing circle group using a prompt 2 years ago. I have worked on it as other prompts in the writing group suggested a scene. What I have are a lot of scenes and not much else. I need to know more about the characters that have shown up in the timed writing exercises.


Prompt: “The problem with going through life one day at a time each on order…”


Yesterday I let Olen have the stage. Today his mother, Mariah gets her turn.

The problem with going through life one day at a time, each in order is that as far as I can see down the dim corridor of the future, there is nothing but bleak sameness to look forward to. Each day I stay shut inside this dreary hut, hiding from the prying eyes of the village, knitting or tending the fire, or boiling the clothes. The only break in the monotony is market day. Oh no, I don’t go to the market , I send Olen. Poor Olen. I know he is tormented by the other boys about doing women’s work, but I cannot bear the looks, sneers, and hissing whispers from the women. No, on market day I go to the cemetery to visit my other children. While everyone else is in the shops I can slip off through the side streets without being noticed. I go talk to Bryan, Cecilia, Althea and Anna. I tend their graves and tell them how much I miss them. I also tell them how lucky they are. Yes, lucky. It’s the ones of us who remain who are the unfortunate ones. This life is no life at all. It is hard, dark, and uncertain. If my dear ones had remained, I would have watched as their innocent laughter and sparkling eyes turned to grim resignation and tears, just as I have watched it happen in Olen. He is a good boy, but he does not fit into the village any more than I do. We are dreamers, he and I. Tirren is no place for dreamers. It crushes dreams and hopes into dust. It has ground me down to almost nothing. I think of leaving. When I am in the cemetery, I watch the comings and goings out of the gate nearby. Only men, the Elders and the Sky Harvesters, are permitted to leave. I observe and plot ways to escape. The men say it is unsafe and unpleasant in the Outside, outside the gates. I cannot think it could be much worse than inside. It would not trouble me much to leave Josiah. He is so busy with his work and away for longer and longer periods of time as the harvesting becomes more difficult. He has no patience with me anymore. He tells me to stop hiding at home and get out. He doesn’t understand. He used to though. It would be hard to leave Olen. But, it might make life easier on him to not be the boy with the crazy mother. He is tough, a survivor. And he is smart. I think it might be time to show him my books.