The First 300 Words

Chapter One:   



The day Mrs. Dara McNulty died was the worst day of Sketch’s life.

Worse than the day Sketch’s mom had been declared mentally unstable. Worse than the day her dad had left them. Even worse than that first day of school all those years ago when everyone had laughed at Sketch’s given name, Gormlaith. It meant “splendid princess,” her mom had told her. As if Sketch’s flaming red hair hadn’t been awkward enough.

Mrs. McNulty, her mom’s friend, had been the one to comfort Sketch when she’d come home devastated and crying. Her mom hadn’t even understood the problem. “The wee beasties did what to ye, now?” Mrs. McNulty had exclaimed. “Laughed at yer, name? Ach! Did ye give ’em all a good punch in the nose?”

The young girl had smiled up at the old lady through her tears. “We’re not allowed to do that, Nutty.”

“The Hell ye say? Chloe! It’s time to move yer daughter to a new school. This one’s defective!”

Sketch was going to miss the wrinkled little old woman, her coarse wisdom and coarser language, the way she could crack walnuts with her tiny bare hands. The way she’d always taken Sketch’s side. But that was only part of the tragedy.

Now that the old lady had died, who was going to look after Sketch’s mom? Sketch couldn’t do it. She was only twelve, and had school stuff. Besides, she could barely stand to be home with her mother. She never knew when Chloe was going to have one of her “spells,” when she’d go off about being eaten by ogres. Or one of her breakdowns, when she would cry uncontrollably about the lost fairies. Without Nutty there to watch her, Sketch was pretty sure her mom would try to jump off the roof, thinking she could fly like Tinkerbell.