Wednesday, January 30, 2013

special january feature: nina milton

Today we are excited to feature an extract from a new e-book for children by writer and OCA creative writing tutor Nina Milton. It is called Tough Luck, is available here from Amazon, and, in my opinion, is a very enjoyable read, full of links between past and present, and lively characters.

...I began skating round the edge, keeping with all the other skaters. Every minute or two, I passed the café window, right under the noses of the gang just the other side of the glass. I wanted to keep their minds off Helen.

It’s funny, but when I think back to that time, the five or so minutes I spent doing my impression of a goldfish on blades, I always think of Jake Silver. Which is very odd because I’d never heard of Jake then.
I think it’s because we had to make him up, partly, fill in the spaces of his life by imagining it, like doing a jigsaw where a lot of the pieces are blank, tossing ideas between us, trying to work out what it would be like to be Jake.
      He’s standing on the dockside. People walk round him, eye him up, check if his teeth are sound. He doesn’t exist for them, except as something that might be of use.
      When Helen and I tell each other Jake’s story, I remember the ice rink and think; that’s how they looked at me through the glass, eye-balling me with a look of possession, as if they could pick me off a shelf, something to buy and enjoy later.
      They looked at me as those slave masters must have looked at Jake and right away I knew how must have he felt. I knew that he wouldn’t look back at them, just stare down at his feet and shiver as the breeze blew through his thin clothes. There was no point in trying to run away. That look tells you – they’ll get you in the end.

When the slush-machine cleared the ice, I knew I’d have to act quickly. I got off at the very other end of the rink, so they wouldn’t spot me in the crowd. For a bit, I thought I’d fixed them. I headed for my locker, the key in my hand. I slipped into a bog and changed my skates for trainers. Then I stood on the toilet seat to see if the coast was clear.
     I took a couple of deep breaths before bursting out of the toilets, out of the locker room, along the rink side and out through the heavy glass doors. I was three flights up from the street. I looked across the concrete banister over the city and suddenly had this silly wish that I could fly – just take off – sail homewards. I’d never longed to be at home as much as I did then. I raced down the steps, turning corners like I was at the Olympics. I was almost at the bottom when I heard a cry from above.
     “That’s him! Down there!”
      I shot into the street as if the steps had spat me out like a gob of phlegm, and pelted in the direction of the Centre. The Centre was where my bus stopped. It was also a nice, busy place on a Sunday evening.     
      I might have made it, if I’d gone a better way. But there’s a bit of old Bristol between the ice rink and the City Centre, a maze of narrow lanes filled with tall, elegant, houses with tiny railings at the front. I was beginning to get lost.
      They were gaining on me. Each time I reached a corner, their footsteps were louder – footsteps that rang on cobbled stones. A shiver went across my back like I’d fallen on the ice rink.
They were not wearing trainers.

Nina blogs at the delightfully named Kitchen Table Writers. I highly recommend her site to anyone seeking motivation or tips, as well as good recommendations of writers.

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