Check out this story starter that I wrote recently. I hope that it makes you wonder about the characters and upcoming drama. I would love to read your feedback below.
Chapter One (Jack)
There are lots of exciting things going on in this town at any given moment. When I moved here, though, I had no idea that a place could be this messed up. Just three years ago I packed up all of my belongings and made the bold move up North, away from the London fringe that encapsulated my rather sheltered childhood. It had taken me about three years to save up enough of a deposit to lay down on a two bedroom house in what appeared to be a beautiful historic town, nestled between the hills of Yorkshire. Little did I know, this place was full of weirdness; riddled with gossips, intrigue and a strange sense of community which presents itself as a shield under which dark personalities seem to lurk, menacingly. Who would have thought that it would be my job to draw out these menaces and expose them?
Having worked in advertising for some time, I felt I was now in a position to start my own business. One of my old mates from University was working for a law firm near York and he had offered me a contract to begin designing a package to help advertise their continued expansion. The advance for this alone had secured my office right in the centre of this fascinating little country town. I also had a former colleague who had just moved to Yorkshire with her girlfriend and she had offered her services if I decided to go it alone. Seema was a graphic designer and already had most of the equipment she needed to get us started. It seemed only fair that I made her a partner when we registered the firm. Everything was set in motion. Back then it all seemed perfect. Such a wonderful business opportunity. A chance to move away from the folks and make my mark on a new community.
I was determined to throw myself straight in by joining a club, maybe trying the local gym, getting onto a dating website and keeping myself as busy as possible. It was going to feel so refreshing not living at home and having to sneak in quietly after a night out. Finally I had the freedom to do whatever I liked, whenever I felt like it. This town, Olding, was going to be the place where I made my fortune. I could already feel the good vibes as I took my very first stroll down to the local supermarket.
Small but convenient, this independent little store had absolutely everything you could need. Next to the groceries were shelves full of DIY tools. Just around the corner was curtain fabric, right before paints and brushes. Then, before you reached the checkout, there was even a selection of underwear to peruse. It was a supermarket with a difference. It bordered on being a mini-department store but with slightly less sophistication. The owners certainly tried hard though. It was very clean, lit well and had useful signage.
I had followed the sign that led to beverages and noted the two diagonal arrows reaching down from it. One stated, ‘fizzy drinks’, whilst the other was labelled, ‘booze.’ I chuckled as I read that one and picked up a four pack of lager before moving on. Five packets of crisps and a sausage roll later, I was in the queue, feeling entertained by the seemingly elderly lady processing the goods at the checkout. She was incredibly quick. If scanning products was to become an Olympic event, she would win gold, hands down. The fascinating thing was that she worked swiftly but was still able to chat non-stop, engaging with the customers on a very personal level, without breaking a sweat or showing any signs of being out of breath. For what seemed like an eighty year old, she had a lot of stamina.
She glanced at me briefly, smiling as I placed my stuff onto the conveyor belt. The young guy in front of me was busy checking his phone.
“You going to pack your bags, Tom?” she asked politely.
He looked up, surprised that his shopping was already through.
“You get faster every day,” he sniggered as he went to collect up his milk, eggs and bread and shove the lot all into a flimsy plastic bag.
“Mind it don’t break. These bags are getting thinner and thinner,” she warned before reading out the total.
She went to open up a few more bags for me but I stopped her in her tracks.
“I have my reusable bags with me.”
“Oh, you’re one of them.” She turned to Tom and winked.
He smiled back at her and looked at me curiously.
“Don’t worry. You’ll get used to the yocals. It just takes a bit of time.”
With that, he marched off, holding his bag in one hand and trying to text with his other.
“If you buy two of these you get a quid off,” she pointed out as she raised the sausage roll to scan it.
“Thanks. Can I go back and get it?” I asked, backing out and returning to the chiller.
By the time I had returned, she had packed my things and was waiting for me, expectantly.
“Wow! You didn’t have to do that!”
“Haha I even used your special bags,” she grinned as I handed her my tenner.
“Not bad value either,” I said as she gave me fifty pence change.
She seemed to hang on to it a bit longer than expected. As we both touched the coin, she whispered, “I like you. You will be popular around here.”
Nobody else was in the queue but I got the feeling she was trying to tell me something.
“Just keep your wits about you. Have a good day.” She seemed to mutter the first part and announce the last bit confidently, so that anyone overhearing would tell that she was using good customer service etiquette. Not being a very suspicious person, I came away thinking that this very friendly cashier was a reflection of the new town I’d chosen to live in. Lovely, genuine people in a picture postcard setting. You never would have imagined that she was going to be so important to me in the months ahead. She was to be my guardian angel.
This is taken from a draft that I started a year ago and recently rediscovered. Now that I look at it with fresh eyes I wonder if it will make a reasonable beginning to my next novel. Let me know what you think. I won’t be offended if it seems dull. For a sample of my new YA book simply click here. If you enjoy my writing then please consider following my blog for similar future content.