NaNoWriMo: The Islands Beyond, Day 11

Day 11

Today was tough. I was only 266 words behind from yesterday, but somehow it seemed as those extra words were like Sisyphus’ boulder, always before me, always needing to be pushed uphill.

But I kept writing, and got to 18350 words. Here’s an excerpt:

The woman only shrugged. “Sorry lad, I can’t help you there. But if you’re searching for someone, have you checked the noticeboard?”

She drew the boys close and pointed between the tables. Her blouse smelled strongly of sweat and garlic and smoke. She pointed at a wooden panel on the wall at the back of the tavern, just to the left of a dark hallway. A man was seated on a stool beside it, eating alone.

“You see those notes?” said the woman. “Those are left here by folks who come wandering to Fikskoljan. My guess is, if your father came here, he left a note on the noticeboard.”

“But what about the Governor?” asked Pete.

“He lives in a stone fortress up on the hillside,” said the woman. “Way up a long flight of stairs cut right into the stone. No need to go traipsing off in search of him at this hour. It’s too cold for that. Just go see the board. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, then you can always go see the Governor in the morning.”

Someone nearby shouted for the woman to bring more soup and bread. She gave the boys one last shove into the room before turning her back on the boys and disappearing into the rear of the tavern.

“Now what?” said Ethan. He looked at Pete, waiting for him to protest.

But Pete wasn’t sure what to think anymore. He was hungry and tired, and even though it still scared him a little to be inside the tavern with all these strange men, the thought of going back out into the cold wind, just to climb up some mountainside, was immensely unappealing. Enoch had told them to find the Governor, but what if the Governor wouldn’t meet them at this hour? What if he didn’t want to meet with them at all?

“Ok,” said Pete, “we can at least go check out the noticeboard.”

Now that they’d decided to stay, it was much easier to enjoy the smells and the music, and even the sight of the men around the tables was not so frightening. They were a rowdy bunch, with thick wool coats and sweaters, and faces that were leathery and hidden behind tangled facial hair. A few glanced up as Ethan and Pete passed, but they didn’t seem particularly interested by the sight of two boys.

Up close, the noticeboard was much larger than it had appeared from over by the door. It was made of four or five wide, wooden panels nailed to the wall. There had to be at least a hundred scraps of paper attached to it, held fast with nails or short brass tacks. Some of the scraps were new, and the paper was white. Others were old and yellowed, and the paper was brittle and curled, like onion skin.

Ethan and Pete leaned in for a closer look, examining the papers. They were notes, most of them short—just a name or two, and a brief message.

Pete read one aloud. “Look at this one. It says, ‘Fred, Hope you see this. I am waiting for you with the plane at North Brigantine Island. Amelia.’”

“I don’t care about some lady named Amelia,” said Ethan. “I want to find one from Dad.”


About jackfrey
Jack Frey lives somewhere in Northeast Asia with his wife and two young boys. He finds the letter K to be the most aesthetically pleasing of all the consonants, in both its upper and lowercase forms. Like many of us, he is currently seeking publication of his first novel.

One Response to NaNoWriMo: The Islands Beyond, Day 11

  1. Nice analogy, that’s so how it feels some days. I swear I spent half the day just staring at this chapter and going “I don’t know who should tell this.”

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