Fairbanks Island – Day 10

Stephen King says that there are three things that makes a story; Narration, Description, and Dialogue. Narration is the bare bones of a story that takes you from point A to point B; description and dialogue makes the story come alive. It makes sense to me, but it is only now that I fully understand the implication of this. Before the story comes alive for the reader, it must come alive in the writer’s mind. Let’s say you’ve written a paragraph you are proud of and then the plot takes another turn, making the paragraph incorrect, or at worst, completely wrong. You have not only wasted all that valuable time but it makes it hard for you to discard that passage and you might even try to force it in just because you put so much effort into it.

I’m a bit torn if adding description and dialogue in a draft is a necessary part of my process… I would like it to not be so. I would be very happy if I could make writing as painless as possible. But we don’t choose our muse and some of us simply has a bigger crosses to bare… You can keep track of my progress on Tablo: HERE

Continuation of chapter 8, rough draft.

The next time they went out, they found her at the exact same place as last time. Even though it was a bit far off from where they had to go, they went anyway. As they came to that place and saw her, they wondered what they should be doing. One of them, that is the most unassuming, should go up to her and apologise, then he could wave at the others when it was fine to come out. They all looked at Banks. He had conflicting feelings about it because he was excited to see her, yet he was scared. But he met up with her and he apologised. She didn’t seem upset, indeed, she seemed indifferent to him. He asked her questions and he forgot about his friends and they walked up to her without giving the signal. They surrounded her and they  bombarded her with questions. The team leader made be quiet and they had one question at the time. Banks wasn’t sure if she was scared or not, she didn’t show much emotion other than patience and kindness. Perhaps she was frozen with fear, he wondered. Then, one of the guys touched her hair and sniffed it. Something in Banks broke and he punched the guy square in the face. He toppled over and the others held him back but they didn’t have to, Banks was too surprised of himself. The other guy rose and was about to hit back but was hindered by the others. The others agreed his behaviour was uncalled for, then they realised that she was gone. She had made use of the commotion to escape. They agreed to not speak of this to the others but they agreed that they should have a system, next time to choose which one of them can go alone. But Banks was mortified what had happened and he was sure she didn’t want to see them again. Then Banks worried about her safety of other groups and he have a talk with Baxter? He doesn’t want to see him.

He goes to Hjalmar and tells what happened. At first he was impressed what he had done and said he’d done the same thing and that Banks had a point, they should come up with an honor system and they create one which everyone has to abide to. If they don’t, they will be suspended. It took a long while before Banks saw her again. Banks assumed that she was hiding in her mansion from now on and he would never see her again. He hears from one of the other groups about the encounter and how one of them brags how he learned about her name which he refused to share with. Banks was so envious but apparently the system worked and apparently she hadn’t been scared off for good.

Banks and his groups went out, one man short, out on the field. The flags had been switched around and Banks wondered when they had time to do so. How many people worked at the base, really, in the shadows that was so hidden that even they didn’t know, much less the enemy, which was the point, Banks supposed. If they caught one of them… Banks shook his head. The enemy would never find it, didn’t know it existed, yet, Banks couldn’t fully relieve his fear and he kept nervous glances around him, this time not to look for the woman.

They group weren’t speak much at all, in fact, unless they discussed where to go next on the map. And when they did, they did so quietly. The mist had a way of making everything seem hostile. When something is hidden, your mind fill in the blanks, and often, the mind fills it with terrifying things. The mist became clearer as they ascended the hill. They climbed and climbed until they came to a plateau. Not entirely on the top, but almost. And there, they found her, looking distantly the other way, sitting in the grass with her dress sprawled around her. The wind was still, this time around and the hair reached almost to the ground and covered his back. The group froze where they stood and gazed, then they looked at each other, wondering if anyone will pull something stupid like last time, but nobody moved and then the team leader spoke. He drew up some straws which everyone had to pick from. Banks was last he draw his straw nervously and measured by the others. He had won. Banks didn’t know if the feel frightened and or happy. Either way, his heart was beating fast and it was only the others that made him walk towards her. He walked slowly, on purpose, trying to come up with anything to say. There was no natural way this conversation could go and he suddenly had the urge to just run away, but he kept moving until he was just a few metres away from her, her back still turned to him. “Hi,” he managed to say.

She whirled around. Her eyes were kind, like last time, neither surprised nor scared. Banks wondered if she had heard him for a long while, she must’ve. “I’m sorry about my comrade, yesterday,” he continued when she didn’t answer. She scrutinised him for a while longer before saying. “He was a frightening man, yet you seem more frightened by me,” she said bluntly.

Banks cleared his throat and noticed his back was slumping. He straightened it and it produced a smile on her face. It wasn’t a mocking smile and he smiled back. “My name is Banks. What’s yours?”

“It’s Lillie,” she said. They looked at each other for a long while until something caught her as the wind woodshed by and she looked back out into the mist. Banks noticed too how the mist seemed to on on endlessly, though, became thinner the further away it went. There were no islands in sight to measure the distance. Banks stood beside her, feeling the view washing away his anxiety. “What are you looking for?” He said.

“The wind, mostly,” she said.

“You can see the wind?”

She pointed out on the mist and Banks saw it bend by the wind. She pointed to the grass and saw it billow. Banks nodded. “Ah, not much else to look at, I guess.”

Banks winced inside. It was rude, wasn’t it? It sure came out rude and he worried he had offended her, but she answered bluntly. “No, not really.”
His heart beat faster again and he asked. “I would very much like to know you. Would that be okay?”

She looked at him and nodded.

He heard the other howling at him and he looked to the sun and saw that it had significantly lowered. He swore, time had gone by fast. “Where can I meet you again?” he said, turning.

She looked around, as if trying to determine the best place and said. “You know where my house is?”

Banks heart skipped a beat. “Yes… Sunday at ten?”

She smiled and and he smiled back at her. The beckons become louder and he waved goodbye. She waved back and turned, descending the hill towards her home. The others dunked him in the back, congratulating him as they hurried down the hill. “What did you talk about? Did you mess up?” They asked.

Banks shook his head and between breaths, he said. “I have a date.”


© Christopher Stamfors

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