Claire Simpson’s story “Never Fade Away” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 2 August 2019.
The whole of this story grew from the opening scene, which is unusual for me. Usually when I write I have some concept of the plot, or at least the ending, but here I had nothing more than the image of the old woman working in her garden and the kid showing up to drag her out of retirement.
The rest of the story was essentially a dialogue between the two characters; the kid expected a gun-toting hero so of course there was a revolver in a box under the bed; the old woman said any fool could fire a gun, and there had to be another reason why they needed her specifically, and that’s when the pouch of seeds appeared. And so it went on, right the way to the end when she told me what was going to happen to the kid.
When the first draft was complete, I was lucky enough to have a beta reader pick up on what became the main theme of the story: the choices we make when there are no ‘good’ options beyond survival. There are no heroes in this world, only people trying to make it through another day. The later drafts were worked with this in mind, along with the knowledge of how the story would end. It really is a shame; he was a good kid.
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