This is number nine in a series of posts where I document the complete process of writing a novella - Day By Day!
I am documenting (via my blog) the complete start to finish experience of writing a novella that I will be releasing for FREE once it is written.
I will be writing approximately 900 words per day and I will post each day's writing the following morning, unedited, on my blog. This means you get to see my draft with all its original spelling mistakes, bad grammar, and clumsy sentences
The timeline for the experiment is as follows:
- Plotting, Characters and Scene Outlines - April 1to April 20 - COMPLETE
- First Draft Manuscript - April 21 to May 18 - IN PROGRESS
- First Manuscript Edits - July 1to July 5
- Reader Proofs - July 6 to July 25
- Final Manuscript Edits - July 26to July 31
Today's Date: April 27th
Progress: Day 6 complete. Following is the day's writing (Chapter Three continued)...
Ryann took a step back and turned around. It was no good, she was going to have to get cook. Megan wasn’t looking well at all. She ran toward the door and, once outside Megan’s room, she raced along the corridor toward the kitchen.
“Cook, cook,” she shouted as she rounded the corner to the kitchen. “Come quickly. It’s Megan!”
“Whatever is the matter?” cook replied, looking up from rolling out some pastry.
Ryann reached cook’s side and tugged at her arm. “Come quickly. It’s Megan. She has a terrible fever and she’s fallen asleep. I think she’s going to die.”
“Now, now, don’t say that, little one. I sent her back to her room earlier, to rest, after rubbing some fat on her cuts. She’s likely just tired.”
“No, cook. It’s not that. Please come back with me.”
Cook put down her rolling pin and rubbed her flowery hands together. “Just let me wash my hands.”
Ryann pulled harder at cook. “Now, cook. There isn’t time.”
Cook made a tutting sound and, resigned, followed after Ryann as they made their way back toward Megan’s room.
“Look, see. She’s not moving.”
Cook rubbed her still flowery hands on her apron and leaned over the young girl. She put a hand to Megan’s forehead and lowered her head over Megan’s chest. She shook her head. “I don’t understand it. She’s right poorly.” She turned around and shouted at another girl who had followed them into the room. “Get me damp cloths, girl. Immediately.”
“Is she going to die?” Ryann asked, fighting back a tear.
“I don’t know. Let’s see what we can do.”
Ryann took a hold of Megan’s hand and squeezed it. “Wake up, Megan. Open your eyes.”
“Here, let me through,” cook said, pulling Ryann away and applying a damp cloth to Megan’s forehead. “Now child, let’s see if this helps.”
Megan’s eyes flickered and briefly opened, before closing again. “Tell me some more, Ree,” she whispered. “More story.”
Ryann took a step forward and knelt down by Megan’s side. “Well after Lord Cala bought me from the market, they made me walk all the way here behind their horse and cart. I was tied to the back of the cart and the nice dress I had worn to the market had been changed out for a sackcloth. All the journey here neither Lord Cala nor the steward paid any attention to me. It was just like I didn’t exist. Then when we finally got to the keep, they just left me outside in the yard, still tied to the cart. I sat down on the ground and cried. I even rubbed my feet and tried to put some spit on my blistered feet.” Ryann paused while cook changed the cloth on Megan’s forehead for another.
“After a while the housekeeper came for me and took me inside. Then I was stripped down and cleaned up and given a talking to. The housekeeper told me I was now in the debt of the Lord and until I could earn twenty silver pieces I would have to serve him. She told me I was lucky though, luckier than most, and I was to have a special job. Do you hear me, Megan?” She laughed. “They said I was to get a special job.” Ryann looked down at Megan and thought she saw the faintest of a flicker on her lips.
“Yes, I got a special job alright. They gave me to Master Bramwel as a sclava.”
Cook glared down at Ryann. “Manners, little one.”
“What does it matter, cook? Manners ain’t going to save Megan, are they?”
“None of us are here to judge, Ryann.”
Ryann dropped her head. “I’m sorry.” She turned to Megan once more and whispered. “But you know what I mean, don’t you?”
Megan’s eyes flickered open and she smiled a little. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out.
“Water!” cook shouted. She took a cup from a girl and poured a little into Megan’s mouth. Most of it flowed down the side of Megan’s face and onto the bed, but she did manage to swallow a little.
Megan reached out a hand toward Ryann and waited for her to take it. “You,” she whispered. “You can have my earnings.” She managed another half-smile toward Ryann and closed her eyes again.
“What does she mean?” Ryann asked cook.
“She’s telling you her sclava savings are yours when she dies.”
Ryann pulled Megan’s hand toward her face and kissed it. “No, don’t die, Megan. You don’t have to die. You can keep your money. You and I can both earn enough to be free. You’ll see.”
Cook leaned over Megan once more. “Do you want me to be oath witness, Megan?”
Megan opened her eyes and half-nodded. “Yes,” she mumbled. “Oath witness.”
“What does that mean?” asked Ryann.
“If any sclava gives their money to another and it is oath witnessed then it is done. The Lord cannot take their money from them if they die.”
“Die? Don’t say it’s so.”
Cook shook her head.
Ryann leaned forward and lay on Megan. “Don’t die on me, Megan. Hang on. You can get better. Please wake up.”
“Come on, little one,” cook said, pulling Ryann off of Megan. “Let her go in peace now.”
“No!” screamed Ryann, struggling to escape from cook’s hold. “Megan!”
Cook clutched Ryann tightly to her and rocked her to and fro. “It’s too late.”
Ryann pushed her face hard into cook’s shoulder as the first of the tears flowed from her. Soon she was sobbing so uncontrollably she didn’t even hear cook order one of the girls to send for the steward and to make sure that Megan’s body was burned outside.
“Now, now, Ryann. That’s alright. Just let it all out,” cook whispered in Ryann’s ear.