“Come on! It’s just a bit further. If we can find a computer, and then maybe things will start looking up.”
“Alex, you need to slow down.” We were scrambling over the rubble and debris of collapsed houses, to where our scanner was telling us a computer was still in operation. Alex was keener than usual, understandable since we ran out of food a couple of days ago and hadn’t had any money to buy any more.
“We’re nearly there, Renee, we can stop when we find it.”
I had to get this over with. He needed to be told and I couldn’t put it off any longer. I stopped, standing on top of a rock and called out, “Alex, there’s something I have to tell you.” He turned around and, realising I was no longer following him, came back to where I was standing.
I hopped down off the rock I was on so that we were at the same level, though I couldn’t meet his eye. He sensed something was wrong and placed a hand on my arm.
“I… didn’t finish your book.”
“I didn’t finish it. It’s not that it was bad, it just… wasn’t really my thing. The protagonist was too young for me to identify with. I couldn’t get into it.”
“But… you said that you…” Alex trailed off, looking stricken.
“I know, I’m sorry.”
Alex turned and began walking again, and I couldn’t blame him for wanting to put some distance between himself and me. I walked a little bit behind him, quite happy to give him some space. We’d been silent for about ten minutes when he turned back to me.
“I could write one for you. You could edit it so it sounded more like you…”
“Alex, you know what the penalty for false reviews is…”
He bit his bottom lip. “I know… it’s just… I was looking forward to eating tonight.”
“I know. We’ll be okay. There’s a library on the edge of this town… even if it’s knocked down, there might still be books there. Then we can find this computer we’re hunting for and leave all the reviews we like.” I had caught up to him by this stage and punched him lightly, but encouragingly, on the arm.
“You’re right,” he agreed finally, “let’s find this library.”
So this doesn’t make a huge amount of sense, and the reason for that is that it’s based on a dream I had, and dreams never make any sense. But for some background, last year at the NaNoWriMo Kick-Off party in my region, I met Jack Heath, a local published, and quite successful author. I didn’t see him again after this initial launch party but next time I was in the bookshop I bought his first book, The Lab. It was interesting, and quite well-written, but just not my thing. I ended up not finishing it, and it is in my box of books to take next time I visit the second-hand bookstore. Then a few weeks ago, I had a dream that I was living in some kind of post-apocalyptic world where writing and/or receiving (it was unclear) positive book reviews was some kind of currency… but you couldn’t just write a review, you had to have genuinely enjoyed it. For some reason, in this dream, I was travelling around with Jack Heath, and had for some reason promised him a review which was all fine and dandy, except… I never finished the book, and I hadn’t told him that, and I spent the whole dream being conflicted.
Had I not left it until 10pm to write this, I might have managed to world-build a bit more, but… it’s bedtime, so we’ll all have to make do. I’m off to the shower now, and then it will be sleep time. Tomorrow is Wednesday, which means a big post! Yay!