Set your story in the 1880s, in a mid west, tumbleweed town. The doors of the bar open, the piano stops playing and all eyes are drawn to the figure in the doorway…… Now keep going..
Elizabeth closed her eyes and took a deep breath as Ernest pushed the swing doors to Ye Ole Ale House. She prayed when she opened them she’d wake up, that this was just a dream.
One eye opened, then the other as her heart sank. It was real. Ernest was stood there grinning in front of her in his ‘best’ (to Elizabeth just ugly) , the gap where her brother knocked his two teeth out last year gaping at her. She wanted to blame BillyBob, but knew it wasn’t really his fault. The O’Briens had always had it in for her family. Now with Mr O’Brien the town sheriff they could do something about it.
Like blackmailing Elizabeth for a date. She didn’t truly believe Mr O’Brien would shut down her father’s blacksmith business – but with her mother off work with her broken leg and BillyBob still looking for another job after being fired from the farm, it wasn’t a risk she wanted to take. Her family were already in debt because they were sending her to school, she wasn’t going to make it worse, just for the sake of her dignity in not being seen with Ernest.
Ernest grabbed her hand as the door opened and he walked through it. It was hot and wet, and made her feel sick instantly. She had less than a second to think about it though, because as soon as they walked through the door, the piano stopped playing and every single head turned to the door. Even blind Benjamin Doors sensed something was up and lifted his frail head in their direction.
Elizabeth swallowed down the sick she was feeling in her throat and hung her head as they made their way to the bar. She knew without looking that Ernest, in direct comparison to her, had his head held high and looked proud.
She just hoped Willie and Daniel weren’t in the bar.
‘Nice filly you have there Ernest,’ Nora said. The vomit threatened to come back up again. Elizabeth swore she’d never come in this place again. ‘What’ll it be m’lovies?’
Unfortunately that’s as far as I had a chance to get. I’m quite interested where it will go, so I might actually carry on with it. Might.
My favourite thing about this challenge, was finding out names for characters. I found an awesome website that gives the top 200 baby names for that decade. Luckily the decade it started with was 1880s. Doubly luckily it’s an American site, so the names fit in with the setting I imagined of the mid west. If you’re interested this is the website – it’s the American Social Security website. I have an idea I’ll be using it a lot!
Anyway, back to my story, please let me know what you think – positive and negative comments totally welcome!