When I started this project with the other authors of Writer In Motion I thought it would be a great way to do a writing project, make new friends, and learn a few things about myself and my writing. I wasn’t wrong, and I wasn’t right.
A refresher for all of you who are joining this a little late. There were 23 of us who decided to join together and working with a single prompt (see picture above) we were asked to write the story (no more than 1000 words) and then over the course of 6 weeks we were to share the story, edit the story ourselves, work with two CPs (critique partners) and make corrections based on their evaluations, and finally have a professional editor read and edit our stories and make those corrections.
None of this was easy. But we all perservered. Our stories varied. Some decided to make their little short story a novel. Some were happy just to keep the story as a short story. But all of us learned a lot about ourselves as writers and our ability to accept criticism and see the whole picture.
I think this part was the hardest. I was blessed to have Maria Tureaud as my editor. If you ever have the chance to work with her don’t hesitate. She is amazing. She cuts through all the fluff and gives you what you need while gently making sure you tell the best story you can tell. I cannot say thank you enough to Maria for her kindness in treating my story like I would. Although, she won’t pull any punches when it matters.
The next step after these edits are done is to detail what we learned. In the meantime, enjoy this version of The Folly of Youth. I still consider this story a WIP (Work in Progress) as several points Maria made still need tweaking. Without further ado here is the story.
Thank you for reading and following along on this journey.
The Folly of Youth
A dare soon became a test of courage and folly—two equal sides of the same coin. Heads for courage and victory. Tails for folly and loss. Dramatic? Yes. But all over-thought do-overs are dramatic, and hindsight is pretty much useless.
Sherry suggested the dare.
She sat on the rough stone barrier that separated the walkway into Grayson’s Cove from the beach. She was enjoying every bite of the best mint chocolate chip ice cream this side of the ocean. I reached out, wanting to tuck her long blonde hair behind her ear, but resisted the urge. Her blue eyes watched my every move, a smirk tugging the edges of her perfect mouth upward–as if she knew what I was thinking. I blushed and turned away.
“So, what’s the boat’s story anyway?” She nodded at the half-sunken ship down the beach, leaning forward eyes wide with curiosity. Sand dunes, carved by nature’s artistic hand into rough hills topped with stiff tufts of grass separated us from the boat’s view–just the weathered roof was visible from where we sat.
I followed her slender arm—soft peach colored skin was dusted with sand from our earlier sunbathing. Sherry was a Summerling—a tourist visiting Grayson’s Cove for the season—and I think I loved her at first sight
“Here’s your cone, Janie. Happy thirteenth birthday.” Lucy handed me my favorite –a strawberry double-scoop with rainbow sprinkles.
I smiled at Sherry’s giggle when some of the melting ice cream landed on my shorts. Lucy snorted. I frowned and Lucy avoided my eyes, looking down instead at the hem of her shorts where she tugged as if a string were loose. Her ice cream was long gone, the only clue to what she’d had was a small blue stain etched around her lips from the blueberry icee she’d had earlier.
“Oh, just kiss already.” Lucy said under her breath. She shifted and looked away from me. Best friends since second grade, I hated that she felt left out, but couldn’t stop how I felt even if it meant Lucy was mad at me.
“Why all the signs to stay away from the boat?” Sherry asked ignoring her cousin’s discomfort and instead looking at me for an answer.
Lucy and I said at the same time, “A boy died playing there last summer.”
“Really? Let’s check it out.” Sherry leaped from the wall, halfway down the beach before Lucy and I realized she meant it.
I hesitated, warnings to avoid the tilting hulk racing through my mind, memories of the boy they’d found last year clouding my thoughts. Caught up in Sherry’s enthusiasm I stood, heart racing, ice cream and Lucy forgotten as I watched Sherry race, gazelle-like in her gracefulness and I shifted my body, preparing to follow her.
“Hurry up, last one there has to jump off the roof,” she called over her shoulder laughing.
I tossed my cone and ran as fast as I could up the beach behind her, admiring how her legs sparkled in the sun as she ran. I loved the air on my face, the shoosh-shoosh of sand kicking up under my bare feet as I closed in the distance between us. All thoughts of the boy from last year shoved to the back of my thoughts, niggling and slowing my steps for just a second as I remembered the drama that had surrounded his death. I shivered even as I picked up my pace. Tossing my blonde curls out of my eyes, I caught up to her at the boat.
“To the top. We’re pirates!” Sherry climbed up the rickety ladder on the side of the tilting wooden structure. I was steps behind her as she kicked off her flip flops, scrambling up the side of the cabin, her body bathed in the fading light of the sun. She glanced back at me, triumphant, hands raised in victory. In that moment I saw the beauty of living for the moment, taking what you can, holding it close and then sharing it with those who matter to you. All that in seconds of her smile, the way she reached out to me inviting me to join her in her space, and I reached for her.
She laughed again and I felt my heart skip a beat. Intent on joining her on her perch I ignored the splinters from the weathered boards of the cabin as I climbed.
She turned, moving to make room for me. I watched as she threw her arms skyward as if worshipping the setting sun. Pacing in the small space I was once more in awe of her grace.
Then the inevitable happened.
I pulled myself onto the top of the boat, grabbing for her, hoping somehow to stop the inevitable from happening, but the coin was tossed, and it fell on tails.
She landed awkwardly, her beautiful neck broken.
I remember Lucy screaming, then sirens. I jumped down, clinging onto Sherry even as they tried to separate us. The stars twinkled overhead as the Summerling—my first love—left this world for another adventure.