This past week I have been writing quite frantically. After setting myself a goal of writing at least some of the many short stories I have ideas for, I have been completely caught up in one in particular. It doesn’t yet have a title, but what I am starting to realise is that it is beginning to turn into something a little longer than a traditional “short story” (though there are no real hard and fast rules for that). I wrote a rough outline in the first few pages of this notebook about a year ago, and now, in about a week, the rest of the pages have almost all been filled.
The story is about a high school teacher who tries to help an introvert young girl with a troubled past, firstly with her upcoming exams, then with her abusive home life. Soon, however, he finds he is a little bit more involved than a teacher really should be. He tries to convince himself that he can remain professional, but his desire to help then turns into a dangerous obsession, as the secrets of the girl’s past turn out to be more compromising and more deadly than he ever could have imagined.
“It was after that, after my sudden rush of protectiveness, that I began to see things a little differently. All those questions I had asked myself about Caroline, about what she might have been through; I suddenly had to know the answers as a matter of urgency. I told myself I wanted to help her, not just ignore her, and not just get her through her exam with discussions about King Lear and contemporary women poets. There had clearly been a change in her, and for the better, since we started the extra tutoring. Plus, I reasoned with myself, if I wasn’t the one to investigate this further, then I was sure as hell no one else would…”