Living in New Zealand is a wonderful thing but when it comes to being an author is it a disadvantage? Tyranny of distance and all that. My books/manuscripts rely on me to advocate for them in every way and I am considering some new strategies to help me escape the gravitational pull of my physical location. While I explore these (I will report back with my findings if I find any) here is the beginning of a small junior fiction WIP called Pirate Eye.
“What’s wrong with you?” The big boy at the school gate asked.
“Nothing,” I mumbled as I hurried on through, putting my head down. I hoped no one else would notice
I have two beautiful blue eyes. Mum says so. Often. But they are not a matching pair. The doctor calls my left eye lazy. Dad calls it my naughty eye. I call it my curse. While my right eye looks where I want it to, my brain has forgotten about my other eye. Or maybe my left eye has a mind of its own. It certainly looks that way sometimes.
When I was little things looked fuzzy. Sometimes my head hurt from trying to see things. Then my left eye just sort of gave up and stopped following my right eye around. I could see better with just one eye but sometimes I’d bump in to things. I couldn’t play two-eyed games like rugby or soccer, tennis or softball but I could swim if I was careful.
It didn’t matter about my eye so much at my old school. It was a small school where we all knew each other from kindergarten. Every one got used to my eye before they knew it was odd. But Mum got a new job and we moved house. I had to move to a new school; a big school where they weren’t afraid to tell me how bad my eye looked, where it made them laugh if you were different. I didn’t like it but there wasn’t much I could do. I kept to myself. I felt pretty miserable until Mr Cleverly came to my school to be the new teacher for my class.
“My goodness, that’s an interesting eye you have there,” Mr Cleverly said the first time we met.
“You don’t need to tell me, I already know,” I grumbled back.
He ignored my rudeness. “I had one just like it,” he said, smiling at me all the while. As I looked back at him his left eye seemed to shiver. “They made me wear a patch for ages, but I’m just fine now.”
“Yeah right,” I muttered thinking of that shivering eye. “I’m never wearing one of those.” Mr Cleverly just smiled.
The very next day Mr Cleverly, (“call me Bill,” he said), brought along photos of when he was a lad. Sure enough in every photo he had a black pirate patch over his left eye. His hair stuck out every which way and he had black pants with jagged edges and a striped t-shirt on in every photo.
“I fancied myself a pirate back then,” Mr Cleverly said. I didn’t know what to say.
Then it became my turn. I hadn’t been to the eye doctor for a long time because of moving house.
“We must fix that eye,” the doctor said when I went for my appointment.
I made a face at him.
“We’ll start straight away with an eye patch.”
“We have to try now. Soon it will be too late.”
“The eye patch goes over your good eye.”
“I won’t be able to see at all!” I cried.
“Of course you will. Your bad eye will figure it out. It hasn’t had to do any work. It’s forgetting how. We have to remind it now. Or it will forget all together and never work properly again!”
“I can manage,” I snarled.
Mum patted me on the back and gave me a big cheerful smile. “Come on dear,” she said. I twisted and squirmed in my seat. “It’s for the best.” And she squeezed my arm.
This was the most awful, horrible, dreadful thing that could ever happen to me. It was bad enough that everyone thought I was weird. Now I’d look stupid as well. But it turned out to be the best thing. And not just because it helped fix my bad eye. If it wasn’t for the eye patch I wouldn’t have had my adventure.