What I Wrote Today – An excerpt from my work in progress, Beanstalk & Basket. Jack is stuck on the last page of his story and would be completely bored – if he hadn’t just met the girl from the story next door.
Coming to you fresh and unedited – subject to change before future publication. Enjoy!
Jack’s mother was where he left her when he returned to the mansion that night — sitting at the long, shiny wooden table in the dining room, counting gold coins, stroking the magic goose, Gertrude, who sat peacefully in her lap. She was chatting with the enchanted harp, Penelope, who was sitting on the table strumming herself and clearly not listening. Penelope looked like a normal harp, only with a woman carved into the bow, and her enchanted arms stretched out and her nimble fingers strummed herself expertly. Jack had gotten rather tired of harp music, but he couldn’t exactly complain about Penelope. He’d rescued her from a giant and she was eternally undignified in her gratitude towards him.
“There’s my hero!” Penelope called, waving merrily to Jack.
“Hello, Penelope,” Jack said, waving back and hurrying past the dining room to the stairs that would lead up to his room in the tower at the back of the mansion.
“Jack!” his mother called sharply.
He stopped short and poked his head into the dining room. “Yes, Mum?”
She looked up from her stack of coins and looked at him over the top of her small golden glasses, which she’d bought after he landed them in the lap of luxury with Gertrude and Penelope. “Where have you been?” she demanded. “The servants told me you never came round for supper,”
“Uh…just out chopping trees,” Jack replied.
“Ugh,” his mother grumbled. “I wish you wouldn’t do that. You don’t need to work. If anything you should go out and play, not work,”
Jack shrugged. “I enjoy working,”
She scoffed. “Imagine that. A boy who has reached his happily-ever-after, with a fine home and all the comforts of life, feeling any sort of need to go out and work!”
Jack sighed. He and his mother simply did not understand each other. For her, work meant survival. For him, it was…necessary. Fun at times, yes, but it was more that he felt like he’d go crazy if he wasn’t doing something.
“I’m tired, Mum,” he said. “I think I’ll go straight to bed,”
“That’s what work does to you, Jack, it wears you out. Isn’t that right, Gertrude?”
Gertrude looked up, honked as though in agreement, and closed her eyes again.
“Goodnight, Mum,” Jack said.
“Goodnight, Jack,” she called back. “Rest up. Maybe tomorrow you’ll have a little fun,”
Jack thought about that as he climbed the spiral staircase to his room — the only room the servants weren’t allowed to clean. Whatever happened tomorrow, he was pretty sure it was going to be interesting. He was going back to the gap. Maybe he’d see Red.
Thanks for reading, God bless!
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