A/N: Hey everyone! A quick note about this. This is my very first novel, and it's still not done, i'm not even sure it will ever be finished.. but anyways.. It's my first big project. It's what I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2011, and i'm kinda proud of it. I worked so hard on it.. ahhh! I wish I could finish it, but I got tired of its plot, and I don't want to scrap it.. i'll keep it around for a side project for some day maybe.
I'm putting it up on the interwebs because I want some helpful critique with it. So please, read it and let me know what you do and don't like about it, and how I can improve. Give me tips and pointers. This may not be the novel I finish and publish but any advice I get with this, I will use with all my writing. And i'll appreciate it.
All of these characters and their stories are mine, so please don't steal.
Also, don't be rude with your criticism. Constructive/helpful only.
The moment a book was thrust into his small hands, the real world died to Elliot Davenport. Pages and pages of words drowned him day after day. Every time he opened a new book, a new world opened to him and he disappeared into it for hours, for as long as he could.
The deeper he ventured into the fantasies on those printed pages, the further away reality seemed to become and he soon began to walk through life with his nose in those worlds, his head in the clouds. Every waking second he was breathing in the smell of old and new books and tucking himself away in the corners of the library.
It wasn't uncommon for the owner to close down for the night and forget him in there, and after the first few incidents, he'd learnt to bring a flashlight and snacks for such ocassions.
Sometimes when Mr. Mann happened to notice he was still there, he would invite him to the cafe nestled against the library, and he would tell him stories, about the way things were before the war, before the revolution that brought civilization to its knees.
"It was a long time ago, before you, or your aunt was born you see." He would start, pausing to sip on the bitter coffee. "The towns you see now, were ten or twenty times their current size back then. The roads were charcoal black, paved and stretched over all the dirt and grass you could see. Trees were in the windows of shops, artificial. The real ones were tiny and stuck in front of an ugly great building. Those buildings towered so high up, as a child I would crane my neck back to try and see the tops, but it would always hurt my neck far too much. The libraries in those cities were either non existant, or they were very small, and shoved inside of a shopping mall. Few people even knew they were there! They were always stuck in the corner, and people just walked right past. Children were never brought in to read by parents. They would march their children straight by, and into the toy store, and they would buy the biggest, most expensive electronic toy they could. Then they would give it to their child, and have them run off to play, and the fools honestly thought they were providing grounds for their imaginations! It was a travesty dear boy... I was one of the lucky ones.. My parents had struggled early on, to make much money. They were forced to buy me the cheap things, and in the giant electronic cities, books were the cheap things, the things no one wanted around unless they'd run out of batteries. So for the first few years of my life, I had books. If my parents had been well off, I may never have touched one."
Elliot would listen with widened eyes and a slackened jaw. It was hard for him to believe that technology had taken over. That at one point, books were almost obselete, and libraries were torn down to become stores. He couldn't even imagine the giant cities Mann talked about, with buildings that clawed at the sky, and millions of poeple walking concrete streets. He simply could not see it.
He had heard the stories millions of times, but he would never say no to Mann if he asked him if he'd like to hear it time he sat down to listen, Elliot thanked the stars that he had been born after such a time, and that he was raised lovingly by his bookworm aunt, Nina.
It was she who had first given him a book, an old copy of fairytales she'd been read as a child. When he grew older and began to show the same love of books and the worlds in which they dragged him, she encouraged him.
Every year he looked forward to his birthday, and to the holidays, to the books he knew she would buy him. The celebrations were queer, not like the other childrens parties. She would hand him the book wrapped poorly in pretty paper, and he would tear it open, throw his arms around her, and then they would nestle up together in the living room, and read it together.
On the nights when he would disappear, forgotten in the library, or at a nearby park, Nina knew he was just off to a new world, and would wait up with a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie or two, to hear of his adventures.
"What did you fight today?" She asked each time, "Where did you go?" "Did you meet any new friends?" She'd give him the snacks, lay out his pajamas, and sit down to listen.
Elliot never fit in properly with the other children. He was too strange, and abnormal. He was different, and different was no good.
Every day he marched into that school, his messy brown hair all over the place, too big glasses slipping down his nose, book under his arm. He had no friends made of flesh and bone, only those of ink and paper, but they kept him happy nevertheless. Every day he marched in there with a grin on his face, because he was seeing it as just another adventure, or trial he had to go on.
Elliot saw his life as a big book with hundreds of thousands of chapters. He was the protagonist and as with all the heroes and protagonists of his favorite stories, he had antagonists to deal with. When Summer came round however, the antagonists went away.
Nina had a beautiful Summer home, and once the seasons changed, and school ended for Elliot, they went to stay there.
The house sat just ten minutes from the water. Tall palm trees surrounded it, and shaded the driveway. The outside was a soft cream white brick, and large windows let sun pour in during the day, and made for a beautiful view of the stars at night. Every bedroom had a skylight. Nina was another who often kept her head in the clouds, and she'd had her home designed so a day dream could happen at any time and sweep her away. Elliot's favorite room was the deck upstairs. There was no roof covering it over, instead, she'd left the trees o'erhead do the work, their large leaves catching the rain or the snow, and shading the deck floor and furniture. He spent hours reading there, and often times was accompanied by Nina.
The pristine beaches and clear water just gave him further motive to stay in the make believe worlds, where instead of plain fish, mermaids swam, and the high hills were mountains, the thick trees were harsh jungles. The stray cats were really lions and tigers, the birds were pterodactyls, even the little ones, and the house next door with the tiny attic window was haunted.
That was the story he stuck with most often. It didn't matter to him how many times Nina told him it was just another house, and the people in it were just ordinary people. Elliot believed that the place was evil, and something horrible had or was happening there. Whenever he played outside, he would avoid it as much as possible, unless of course, he was playing a scary game, then he'd grab up his bravery and travel onwards as close to it as he could. Not that there was an area to get close.
The old house had vines slithering up the sides, digging their filthy claws into the crumbling, gray bricks and rotting wooden sills. Every window along the side was cracked, gone or boarded up, and the vines greedily stole those areas up too. Where they stopped was at the very top of the house, where the attic was. The roof was sinking in a little, and it looked like just that part was lopsided. A tiny window was there, so small only a thin boy or girl could weasel through it. It was much too high up to see through, and dust covered it anyways, but sometimes Elliot could swear he saw writing in the dust or a face in the corner of it. Outside of the window, a set of thin bars were bolted in place, almost like it was a cage keeping something trapped forever inside.
Alongside the house were thick, skyscraper tall bushes, which seemed to form a fence around it to the front, where a thick wrought iron gate stood, looming over the drive. The bushes were too close together, and inside their bristles were sharp thorns and even in his fantasy worlds, he wouldn't venture near them.
So for eighteen years, Elliot Davenport ran through the wilds of the woods and along the soft sand at the beaches. He explored the dungeon that was really a basement in their castle home, and fought fierce lions. For eighteen years he believed that the words written in the dust in that tiny window were his imagination run wild. Eighteen years, and the hand prints on the windowpane were fairies playing tricks on him during his adventures.