Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist

Extract: Time. Stopped.

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I guess you could call this ‘drabble’ (though it is certainly not under a certain amount of words, done for a limit, or whatever-else); a little scene for you, in which I hoped to display some of the central character’s personality, without doing the whole ‘she had a mind for physics, displayed through the odd crookedness of her face, about which she had often received snide comments from smart women of the day’.

The piece- though here stand-alone- if it sounds like it should belong as part of another story that’s because I have written it as an experimental ‘prelude’ to my main novel that I have deceived to properly re-write. Said novel is about a couple living in an alternate, delayed universe, Aidelle and Phillip, who are engaged to be married. Preparing their new home, they fight and Aidelle throws a mantel-piece clock that breaks as Phillip is leaving. Little do they know that the clock contained ‘time-energy’, surrounding the house in a bubble of broken time. When Phillip returns five years later after being forced into war, he find nothing more than a wreckage and Aidelle gone; whereas she herself is actually stuck in the past. However, Aidelle and Phillip’s lost future is not just going to let itself disappear without a fight…

I say it’s primarily Young Adult romance, but has science-fiction elements, such as the whole bubble of time, et cetera. That little banner you can see up there ^^^  has the notebook I wrote in for the very first draft; ‘Time. Stopped.’ was a working name (the second draft- or the first typed-up draft, whichever you prefer- can be found under the name ‘Time. Stopped.’ on Protagonize.com), and ‘Consequences’ is the title of chapter four.

This little ‘extract’ would fit before the first chapter (becoming part of the first chapter, logistically), before Phillip goes to show Aidelle the house he has bought for their marriage. In this, I felt there no need for the central character to have a name, so she is ‘Emilie’.

 

~

The woman with naturally curly brown hair waited impatiently in what might have seemed like a barren landscape to some, but for her it rung true with the image of home, or at least that which she had known; concrete was not a reflection of a town that had fallen to the mists of the weather, but rather a sign to show how much the town had reinvented itself over the end of the 20th Century.

Her eyes lingered on the hanging clock, dutifully displaying ten of the clock exactly, a little longer than every other time in the last ten minutes. She had been early, which had been nobody’s fault but her own, the girl told herself with an internal twinge of anger. Walking from the mid-town manor had taken as long as she had predicted- in fact, almost precisely to the minute- but she had trusted her idiocy that had told her to be cautious and to depart her childhood home with time to spare; and now the taxicab itself was running late. Such a novel piece of motorised invention seemed ridiculous to be trusted with a person’s time-keeping anyway.

The summer morning was balmy under the concrete taxi-stop shelter, and most figures did not stand their ground here, wandering along quickly when they saw that the vehicle was late.

A group of fine woman stood apart from the waiting girl, and they giggled, those giggles hitting the lone figure with painful jolts. The latter pulled back her shoulders and strode up to the women, who, though struggling to hold back their mocking smiles behind ornately-gloved hands, ceased their laughter.

“Can I help you?”

“Emilie Masters?” one woman asked.

“That is my name, yes.”

“Oh, well, we were just wondering where you got that jacket from.”

“It doesn’t quite match up to the…shape of your face,” another interjected. Before she had even finished speaking, the group burst out into their giggles again, as one.

The young woman marched away, fuming in her rejection. She counted mathematical equations on her fingers as a distraction, the images in her mind stuck on the faces of her sisters, older and forever more beautiful, the treasured children of the family, along with her successful brother. But now the higher class was picking on her again, and she so wanted to hide her face, its crooked features not living up to the style of the modern-day. Of course they would laugh. Just as they always had done. Fury built to a flame in the woman’s heart.

“I’ll tell you something,” she said, spinning around to face the women again; “the world is rotated at a forty-five degree angle; it spins in space around an infinitesimally burning sun- to hot even to be miles away from- at 29.8 kilometres per second, a speed which we cannot see because the speed of light is maximum at three-times-ten-to-the-eight metres per second. It would be impossible to calculate anything else. So, could any of you ladies tell me, in relation, how an astrolabe, in comparison with a solar-dial, predicts the movement of other stars, such as the planets that also circumnavigate our system?”

“What?”

“It’s just physics.” She shrugged, turning. There was no need to fall to their tricks or to satisfy them with a full argument.

As Emilie strode back to the clock, a taxicab pulled up in front of her. The door swung open and a man jumped out. Even in his stride there was something of the artisan, rather than the arm’s-man.

His eyes connected with those of the young woman’s as a blush began to creep from her neck upwards, followed quickly be a beaming expression.

“Hello, darling. You’re late.”

~

 

What do you think?

Alexandrina :)

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Author: Alexandrina Brant

Writer with passions for puzzle-solving, singing, acting and Ancient culture. Semi-fluent in Latin, passable at Ancient Greek with roaming interests in astronomy and wine. When I'm not working on the Time, Stopped Trilogy, I'm playing Quidditch.

2 thoughts on “Extract: Time. Stopped.

  1. Very good. I particularly like once you get to the action, and you leave no doubt as to the kind of character the story is following.

    One thing I would say, though, is that there are a few too many instances of the following structure:

    The summer morning was balmy under the concrete taxi-stop shelter, and most figures did not stand their ground here, wandering along quickly when they saw that the vehicle was late.

    It could be just me, but I find the ‘wandering along quickly’ (whatever that part of the sentence is called escapes me now, probably should have paid more attention in English!) a little cumbersome to read.

    I hope you don’t mind my saying that – I really did like it, but I know that I would prefer specific feedback myself.

    • Thank you for the feedback; I do enjoy reading/listening to the points that are brought up.
      And this might be sounding dumb in myself, but what do you specifically mean by ‘instances of the structure’?
      As for ‘wandering’, I believe that’s the participle, some sort of additional clause to the sentence that needn’t really be there. *Laughs* I’m not sure myself; I work more with the linguistics of Latin than with English.
      Nevertheless, I take your point into account. It does have rather a labouring sound, doesn’t it?

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