To mark National Writing Day 2020, all week (beginning 22nd June) we will be sharing a selection of new writing from members of Lockerbie Writers.
Our penultimate story is by the group’s Events Manager, Kerrie McKinnel.
This is our sixth day of new stories and poems on the theme of ‘lockdown’, produced by Lockerbie Writers.
As today’s story comes from yours truly, it seems like an appropriate point at which to reflect on my own experiences of this process.
I will admit that I was apprehensive when I first suggested this week of blog posts – mainly because I had been rather late in thinking about it. In 2019, we had spent several months doing drafts, editing and peer review ahead of the publication of our second collection of writing. To ensure these posts would be ready in time for National Writing Day, I could only allow 3 weeks: 1 week to write, 1 week for everyone to read and review the work by the other group members, and a final week for each writer to reflect on the feedback which they’d received via the peer review and complete their final edits.
Thankfully, the group did not disappoint. It has been a busy month, but I am incredibly proud of the work which everyone has produced.
Today’s new writing is a short story which I wrote inspired loosely by the traditional tale of Red Riding Hood. I aimed to give the plot a modern-day twist by plunging poor old Granny into lockdown …
Several peer reviewers commented that they would have liked to read more – that Blue’s story was only just beginning when it ended. When editing, I toyed with the idea of writing more, but decided not to for this particular blog (word limit in mind!) … perhaps in the future I will come back to Blue’s tale.
Read on and enjoy – and don’t forget to share!
Blue by Kerrie McKinnel
Once upon a time there was a girl called Blue. Now, please don’t ask me whether or not this was really her name. It sounds unlikely, doesn’t it? But that was her name, and that’s the end of it. Blue lived up to it too, in her turquoise t-shirt, lapis leggings and sapphire sneakers.
Blue’s days were taken up with college, helping on her parents’ llama farm, and daily jogs to Granny’s to do a few chores and have a chat over a cup of tea. Pretty standard. That was, until a terrible plague hit the land. Overnight, Blue’s classes were cancelled, and Granny was instructed to stay at home with immediate effect for her own protection.
‘I know it’s rough,’ said Granny when they video-called a few days later.
‘Rough?’ exclaimed Blue. ‘Understatement of the century! What will you do?’
‘I don’t know.’ Granny sighed. Her tablet slipped down her lap, giving Blue an excellent view up Granny’s nose. ‘G.D.S. said they’d help, but so far I haven’t even had any food.’
‘The Goblin Delivery Service? Oh Granny, you know better than to rely on them!’
‘Well I don’t have much choice, do I?’ scolded Granny, and then she sighed again. ‘I’m sorry Blue, I’m just a bit … well … fumbleglasted with the whole situation!’
Blue gasped. She’d never heard her granny swear before. She told Granny she’d sort something out.
‘Don’t go getting into trouble.’ Granny sniffed and cuddled down into her brown dressing gown.
‘Would I do that?’
‘Have those sores on your hands healed yet?’
‘Granny!’ Blue rubbed at her palms. ‘Honestly, litter picking is completely inhumane. I was in so much pain.’
‘I’m sure that girl from your college class was too.’
‘I keep telling you, if she didn’t want me to punch her then she shouldn’t have wound me up.’
‘And I keep telling you, you don’t go around punching people.’
After she’d finished on the video call, Blue went down to the kitchen and found an old picnic basket. Apples, bread, chocolate cookies … she piled it high and slipped in a bottle of wine out of the pantry.
‘Don’t you dare take the long way to Granny’s,’ shouted Mum. ‘I don’t need you coming face to face with that poor girl again.’
Blue jammed her headphones in and strode off into the wood. Why did Mum make such a fuss? Blue had no intentions of meeting that “poor girl” again. She didn’t want to end up back on community service, or worse. She was deep in thought, rubbing at her scabby hands, when someone tapped her shoulder.
‘Sorry, can I …’ she began as took out her headphones and turned around to find herself face to face with a wolf.
‘Good morning, my dear,’ he said. He looked as if he was trying to smile, but all it did was show off his perfectly white teeth. He laid his paw on her shoulder. ‘How lovely to …’
‘AAA!’ Blue screamed as she punched the wolf square in the jaw.
‘Ouch! You horrible girl! You’ve broken my jaw.’ A low growl erupted from his stomach as he lunged towards her.
‘Stranger danger! Stranger danger!’ yelled Blue as she punched him again, and then once more for good measure. She took off through the wood with the wolf following right behind her. Leaping over tree branches and loose stones, she sprinted as fast as her sapphire sneakers would take her, and she didn’t stop until she reached Granny’s house. She burst in, slammed the door behind her, and stood gasping for breath.
‘Blue? What’s wrong?’ cried Granny, and then she noticed Blue’s bleeding knuckles. ‘Oh, Blue. What did I say about getting into trouble?’
Kerrie McKinnel is Lockerbie Writers’ Events Manager and a founding member of A Novel Approach group. Since completing her MLitt Creative Writing (University of Glasgow), Kerrie has run a number of successful events and workshops for both groups, and compiled and co-edited their two books, Lockerbie Writers’ Anthology (2016) and Behind Closed Doors (2019). Kerrie is a self-employed writer and also runs creative writing workshops through her business, Kerrie McKinnel – Writer. Her writing has been featured in publications including Gutter, Southlight and From Glasgow to Saturn. For more information visit: www.kerriemckinnel.com.
Thank you for reading my short story!
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this piece of new writing from Lockerbie Writers. If you have enjoyed it, why not check out our books, Lockerbie Writers’ Anthology and Behind Closed Doors?
Check back tomorrow for our next post!
If you’ve missed our previous posts, you can read them here: