The Life and Times of Helena Andree -Nanowrimo 2011

Extract of my nano this year, words unleashed and streaming: 

Both her mother and father were informers and spies working for HQ – which endorsed supporting the good of all humanity. This was a difficult job, getting it right was very important and people like Helena and her parents played really important roles in this. Not to say that the world would become a perfect place and people would stop being bad, but things would definitely be a lot less worse and eventually the world would become a happier place. 

Helena’s mother was from the Isle of Skye, a bona fida local lass belonging to the clan Donald, she had played a part in helping Bonnie Prince Charlie and supporting the Scottish fight for independence, her influence had been phenomenal, acting as an inspiration for thought and action in her people. She wasn’t hugely fond of traveling, but would disappear occasionally and that was when she met Helena’s father – Tomislav. He was from Russia of course, with a Mongolian heritage -a true traveller and nomad. He relished persuing missions across the world in all eras.

Their meeting was a romantic one during the French resistance in the second world war, both young and on a job to enable the resistance movement in Paris. Helena’s mother, Flora worked in communications deep in the HQ base in Paris in the basement of The Louvre. Her father, Tomislav worked above ground on the Parisian streets as a gendarme, a disguise of course. He kept contact going between significant individuals and passed on information to HQ which is how he met Flora. It was love at first sight, as love often was during war. They married within six months of courting and stayed in Paris after the war, also owning a retreat in the Scottish Highlands near Flora’s beloved Skye. This was where Helena was born, just after world war two ended in 1946. Her brother Jamie came two years later.

Both Helena’s parents were dead. Time traveling doesn’t buy time. All humans age despite being able to cross zones, life can not be extended. There was no elixir for life despite what the Chinese Confucian mythical figure Chang-O believed. The hare on the moon could only promise eternity for Mother Earth, but not for its inhabitants. Helena was a little like Chang-O, she believed in the impossible’ the unattainable and was determined to find a way to live for ever.

Helena rarely saw her brother, he worked at HQ and she had never visited. It was advisable not to until a spy had passed a certain age. She had another fifteen years or so to go. She wondered where John was. It was now almost midnight and time to get out of the bath for a night cap.

Helen Andree was a real-life traveller from  18th century Scotland.

Murder on the Mound Extract (in editing mode)

Walking along the busy street, Jake noticed that there was something flitting about again. He wondered if Iain could see it. He seemed not to. Then again he was looking at his phone, probably texting some girl. They strolled down to the statue and went into the big department store – a crazy mixed up building which he used to get lost in a lot when he was a small kid with his mum. There was always interesting stuff in there for mums and other people in the family. Something flitted past again. This time Iain noticed.

“What was that?! “ he stood startled. “It was bigger than a fly – it was enormous. Where did it go?” Iain looked round about himself.

“Don’t know”, said Jake. “But I’ve already seen it twice today. Looks kinda small and round. Moves fast. I think its got wings, but couldn’t say.”  

They chose their presents – a box of Turkish delight for Jake’s mum, and Belgian chocolates for Iain’s. They both nodded in approval at each other’s ideas. Time was moving fast, it was getting close to home time. The boys decided to go over to the mound and check out the film company.

Dusk had arrived, the sun had long since gone, and the sky was grey and blue. A large, full moon, which had been in the sky all day, looked bigger now above the monument on Prince’s Street. Jake had an idea.

“Let’s go up the monument. We got time, and we can see the film crew from there with our phones, if we want to zoom in that is.” Iain thought this was a great idea. They paid and shot up the four levels of winding staircase to the top. There was no one around, it was nearly closing time, as the attendant pointed out. He asked them not to hang about and he would be locking up at five promptly. It was now four o’clock, they had plenty of time they thought.

At the top of the monument they could see for quite a distance. It was a clear night, the smoke over the railway station had gone. The birds were all chattering away and roosting in the ledges of the buildings, most of them were starlings. At the mound they could see a small film crew, maybe no more than fifteen people standing about, drinking coffee and chatting. Jake noticed the flying object again. He grabbed Iain, and pointed in front of them. “There”, he whispered. “It looks like a really small bird”. Iain saw it too, it was tiny, round and fast. It darted about, sometimes landing on the monument, sometimes flying through the air, at a huge speed, like a little fighter plane.

“It can’t be a humming bird” said Jake”It would freeze here, it must be a native species, and so tiny, I’ve never noticed them before. Wonder if they’ve always been around, and what they are doing just darting about everywhere?”

Iain shrugged his shoulders. The bird they were watching landed in front of them on the rail. Iain got out his phone and took a photo. “Right we can check that out when we get back home.” The small bird looked at Jake and Iain for a split second, then bombed off down into the park, out of sight. They turned their attention to the film crew, both lads watching what was going on through their phone cameras. Nothing too interesting was going on, but they had taken a few film and photo shots. More for investigation when they got home.

Time was rolling on, they decided to go down on to the street and  wait for the bus home. It was dark now, but still busy. The city never stopped being busy it seems. Both the boys were tired and ready for some dinner. Jake and Iain got off the number twenty- six bus, nodding at the driver in a thank you kind-of-way, and went off to their own homes.

“Speak to you tonight” said Iain. Jake nodded.