This series of posts is about the follow up I am planning to my published novel, Beneath the Surface, to further explore the lives of the characters that helped the main protagonist, Maria, achieve her goal – preventing the takeover of the human race. I also want to add some new characters, whose lives are affected by the takeover in different ways.
The last of the new characters is Valerie. She had to be female, really, as there is only one other in the list of seven characters whose story I am telling. The second thing I knew I had to include with Valerie is a sense of normality. Al of the other characters have either a unique sense of purpose (Crash looking after his brother), or an occupation that thrusts them into the spotlight (Lance, Angelo), or show the physical effects of the change that humans undergo as part of the takeover (Bethan – the child). But Valerie… she is just a regular person.
Valerie represents one of the billions of regular people whose lives have just as much potential to be shattered by such a global event, but who also don’t consist of anything out of the ordinary. Middle aged, married, children, part time job, friends and colleagues, nice house, reading the paper on a Sunday morning… Loved and relied upon by the people around her. How would she, settled into a life and a routine she knows and loves, cope with such a huge change?
But, of course, she couldn’t be that normal. She had to have something, some extra connection to the other characters. So her story will be based in White Point, the town in which Beneath the Surface is set, the epicentre of the change and where General Randall begins the takeover. Where, in another time, Valerie and her husband would have been the deceased parents of a little girl called Maria, who would have grown up to change the course of history.
It must have started before then. It probably started months, even years ago. But, looking back, to me it all started the day Mara came home and told us her friend Charlie had been found. Dead. I can still see the word tumbling from her young mouth like a hot coal, tears shining in her eyes. She didn’t know how to comprehend such an event. And neither did I, even though, as her mother, I should have been able to offer her more words of comfort than I did. I tried to, but as she described the horror of what had happened to her friend, all I could think about was the Glenn case. Those young people, out in the woods in an abandoned house… Using drugs and God knows what else. An isolated case, or so the papers said. But too many strange things have been happening around here. Too many unfamiliar people coming and going, ever since that Glenn boy apparently went crazy and killed his friends. Too many ambulance and police sirens wailing throughout the night.
I know what my gut instinct is telling me. I know we should try and get away. But how? And to where?