Tuesday Inspiration: Comfort Zones

Tuesday InspirationI came across a book title generator site that offers up an often hilarious solution to your titling problems in a choice of genres. So I challenged my 10-year-old niece to a story title competition.

She chose her own genre, and I chose a title for her to write a story from. She asked me to choose a genre, but wouldn’t let me choose horror as that’s what I write anyway. So I chose children’s. I’ve never written for children, so I was enough out of my comfort zone to give me the handicap and level the playing field.

But then something happened to the story. I tried, I really tried, but I returned to the familiar, and it came out as horror. I just can’t help it!

Just for fun, here’s my story, and the title she chose for me…

Bunny of the Moon

As Hannah slammed her bedroom door, the following ripples along the wall knocked two books from her shelf, and dropped a photo frame onto its glass front. Groaning, she dropped forwards onto her bed and screamed into the pillow.

Everything about their new house was awful. Everything about their new town was awful. It didn’t bode well for Hannah starting her new school next week. The whole house had a funny smell, her parents were stricter here, and her little brother even managed to squeeze a little bit more annoying out of his already more than frustrating personality. But worst of all, her best friend, the only person who understood her, and the only other person who knew about Bunny was no longer living across the street. She was more than 300 miles away. Was it so unreasonable to want to Skype her? To let her know that she was ok, that she missed her, that this new town totally sucked.

Hannah couldn’t believe that her internet ban was still in place. It had been imposed back home, back in her real home, surely it didn’t still count. She had to be able to Skype Cassie. For all Cassie knew, she could be dead. Lying in a ditch at the side of the road, or abducted and being held prisoner. Was it really so much to ask for just five minutes to chat? Apparently so.

* * *

Two hours later, a gentle knock at the door roused Hannah from her boredom-induced nap.

“Are you coming down for something to eat?” came her mum’s voice.

Hannah replied with a grunt.

“We ordered in pizza. We’ve got your favourite.”

Were her parents really trying to bribe her with pizza? “I don’t care,” she called back.

The door creaked open just a tiny bit.

“You’re invading my space,” Hannah groaned.

Unrelenting, her mother’s foot appeared, and then a hand, and finally a face. “Sure you don’t want pizza?” She waved the pizza box back and forth, filling the room with the mouthwatering scent of melted cheese and still-sizzling peperoni.

Hannah rolled away from the temptation. “No. I don’t.”

She heard her mum sigh, pad across the room in the ugly pink slippers she insisted on wearing, and felt her weight settle onto the bed.

“I know how you feel,” Hannah’s mum said.

“No you don’t.”

“I do. When I was your age, my parents moved us a long way from home too. I left everyone behind. But you know what?”

Hannah sat up. “I know. You soon made new friends, loved your new home, and forgot all about the people you’d left behind.”

Her mum smiled and then shook her head. “No. I hated that new place. Sure, I made new friends, but I never stopped missing home. And we didn’t have luxuries like Skype and Facebook back then. Me and my best friend wrote to each other every week for more than two years. But the letters became less frequent and, finally, stopped altogether. But I never forgot her. I still have all her letters in a box somewhere.”

“So what did you do?”

Hannah’s mum stood up, leaving the pizza box on the bed, and crossed to the window to pull open the curtains. “I looked at the moon and the stars.”

Hannah slipped a slice of hot pizza from the box and cradled it in her hands. She moved from the bed and stood next to her mum.

“It’s the same moon you looked at before, and the same moon that Cassie’s looking at too. No matter how far away you are, there are some things that will always stay the same.” She ruffled Hannah’s hair. “Why don’t you set up your telescope?”

* * *

Hannah peered through the eyepiece and focussed her scope on the moon. It was the same moon, the same pits and craters, the same shadows and ridges. And there was Bunny. Poor, abandoned Bunny.

When Bunny had been new at their school, with her dorky plaits, her clunky shoes, her geeky glasses, Hannah and Cassie had latched onto her straight away. She taught them about the moon, the stars, the solar system. She taught them how to use telescopes, and taught them about orbits, rockets, and propulsion. They almost liked her. Almost. But she was everything they hated. Everything they hated about who they had once been. Everything they tried to escape from. So she had to go. A one-way mission to the moon.

Hannah sat back from the telescope and smiled. However lonely she might feel, she’d never be as alone as Bunny.