Most Fridays I will be posting a book review, hopefully, but I wanted to add something else. Reviews are wonderful but some Fridays just need a little something extra, especially those weeks that I don’t have a review to offer. In comes Free Write Friday.
The concept – Free Write Fridays will contain a short passage, poem, excerpt, letter to a senator, or anything else that has gone from my brain to the page during the week that is not a part of my main writing project. I often find myself jotting down a random free write when I’m frustrated with my main project and then it ends up moldering in a folder. Instead, I think I’ll share them with you. Could be fun!
These pieces will appear in their original form which is often unedited and are my intellectual property alone
So, not long ago I had this brilliant idea for a fantasy MG with three kids who have the blood of Pandora and they have to restore the evils of the world to the pithos, or Pandora’s Box. This was my first attempt at that story. It is pretty terrible but I promise the third draft is much better.
Marco couldn’t remember applying to any private school, especially not one so far from home. As his father made the turn in their old pickup truck into the school’s entrance, and he got a glimpse of the school itself, he was more sure than ever that it was some kind of mistake. Towering marble statues of men and women lined the drive, glowering down at him as they drove by. He shrunk down into his seat away from their gaze.
The only thing he wanted to do was go back to his quiet town, with his quiet school, and continue his quiet life helping his dad, Chuck, at his construction business. He didn’t want to go to some fancy school with statues that looked like they were out to get you.
“We can just go home, you know. Just turn around, forget this ever happened, and finish building Mrs. Feeny’s garage.” Marco said to his dad, “It’s supposed to rain on Tuesday so it needs to get done!” he added, inspired, hoping work would convince his dad to go home. His dad just chuckled and patted his arm. Marco had to try not to pout.
“Son, just look at this place!” His father beamed. “One of the top rated schools in the US and you get to go here on scholarship. I’m so proud of you, boy.” Chuck grasped his son’s shoulder again, as close to a hug as the bear of the man ever got.
Resigned, Marco leaned on the door. He knew this was an opportunity that no one in his family ever thought he would get but all he wanted to do was go home, not to some fancy school that had taken nearly three days to drive to.They made a last turn down a drive lined with perfectly trimmed hedges and the front of his new school came into view.
The main building was enormous and the towering white marble structure shone in the mid day light like diamonds. Pillars wider around than Marco was tall stood like sentinels along the front, holding up the roof far overhead. It looked like something straight out of the gladiator movies he and his dad loved to watch on Sunday afternoons.
All around were kids near his age standing with their families on the carefully trimmed lawn. Some were staring at their feet, others were nearly racing around pointing at the different statues and buildings that dominated the landscape. Marco felt like staring at his shoes, too, but didn’t want to let his dad down. So, with effort, he lifted his head to look around with a smile on his face. He was sure it looked as forced as it felt but that was the best that he could do.If this would make his dad happy, he would suck it up and do it.
Together, he and his dad walked up to the portico where members of the school’s staff were standing. A line of kids and their parents were waiting to be checked in. It looked like there were students of all ages waiting to be seen. From little girls with their hair still in pig tails to guys who looked like they could be college linebackers. For some reason he thought the school was only for the higher grades but it looked like he was wrong.
“Name?” A perky blonde armed with a clipboard aimed her attention at Marco. Her name tag read Mandy and it was difficult to tell what she might actually look like under the pound of carefully applied makeup stuck to her face.
“Marco Villanueva.” Mandy flicked through a few stapled pages.
“Ah, here you are! If you would just sign by your name, please, as well as your guardian.” She passed him the clipboard and pen with a fuzzy pink ball bouncing on top. He felt silly signing his name with the pink fluff flopping in his face. Mandy stooped to rummage in a file box.
Once Marco and his dad had both finished signing, she thrust a file folder at him.
“Inside you will find your building and room number as well as some information about the school. You have a few hours to settle in before this evening’s orientation which will be held in the building here behind me. Parents are not permitted beyond this first building.” She gestured at the small doorway between the towering columns, “Welcome to Parthenos!” Mandy smiled, revealing her perfectly straight, white teeth, and was already focusing her attention on the next family before Marco could even thank her. Thank was fine. He was used to being shoved aside by the perky, perfect looking girls in his old school. It was almost comforting knowing that this fancy new school wouldn’t be any different.
Marco and Chuck made their way back to the truck to collect Marco’s duffel and backpack. He knew it was almost time for his dad to leave, but Marco didn’t want Chuck to go. Since his mom had died Marco and his dad hadn’t spent much time apart. He might be 16, but he didn’t want to be apart from his dad. They had been there and held each other up when Mariana had been taken from them by that drunk driver four years ago. He knew he could still pick up the phone and call his dad but he didn’t like it.
Marco settled the backpack on his back and wondered what the heck he was going to do. He didn’t want to be here, he just wanted to go home. Chuck turned and looked around the grounds once more and was silent for several moments. Marco shuffled his feet on the ground.
“Your mom went to school here, you know.” He said finally, watching his son intently.
Marco stopped and stared at his dad. “Mom did?” He blinked in confusion. They never talked about mom.
“She did, boy. She talked to me about it a few times. Always said she hoped you got to come here, too. That it was a once in a lifetime experience.” He pulled Marco into a one armed hug. “She would be proud of you, son.”
Marco blinked the tears out of his eyes. “Thanks, dad.”
“You have you folder, all of your information?” Chuck asked.
“Yeah.” Marco mumbled.
“Alright.” Chuck gave his son another quick squeeze. “If you need me just call, son.”
Within a couple of minutes Marco’s dad had driven off and he was left to find his way on his own.
Calliope dumped her bags on her bed and ran to the window. The sun was just starting to go down and the tops of the building were gleaming in the evening sun. Where the dimming light hit marble it shone like stars. It made Cal itch to paint it. She could imagine the swirling colors she would use. Everything at Parthenos had her just itching to paint. The different buildings and grounds looked straight out of a history book on Greece. Cal pressed her face to the glass as she watched the other students trying to find their rooms. The youngest kids were accompanied by a member of staff but the older ones were left on their own.
She turned and flopped backwards onto her bed. She couldn’t wait for orientation this evening. Her mom, who had gone to this school when she was a kid, had hinted that it would be something spectacular.
I promise, it got better in the next two drafts. I was trying to shove way too much into this first one and it was a hot mess. I’ve had very little feedback on these Free Write Friday pieces so I hope you all like it. Have a great weekend!