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Writing….More Than This by Patrick Ness

Today I’ve decided to do something a bit different and share a piece of my writing. I’ve recently started going to a writing squad which has been really good and encouraged me to write more, and this is one of the pieces I wrote for it. We had to write like an author that will be at Bath Kids Lit Fest and I chose Patrick Ness, whose event was fab, even if we did turn up late. This piece is a scene written just after More Than This ended and should contain only minimal spoilers, but I can’t promise anything.

Here is the boy, waking up.

He’s drowsy at first, disconcerted. There’s something covering his eyes and body, something that feels entirely wrong. He feels restricted, claustrophobic. Where is he?

And then he remembers. I’m Seth, he thinks, I’m Seth. And suddenly he has a purpose. I’m Seth, and I am an anomaly.

It’s suddenly a rush to break free from his restrictions. The bandages are tough to remove but he struggles and struggles with them until suddenly he’s granted freedom. Freedom. Will anybody ever be truly limitless in this world where people are living in simulations, not conscious of the fact that there’s more out there, just out of their reach? And speaking of the simulations, where is he now: online or living reality?

He starts to think about his life online, as he now knows it. What will his parents, Owen, Gudmund, be doing at this moment? Just thinking about being reunited with them fills his heart with an inconceivable amount of joy. He’s missed them. He never thought he’d say it before. You take things for granted when they’re always in front of you. His time in the real world had taught him that. How many times had Tomasz or Regine nearly been torn away from him? In those days when he had been truly alone, he had learned that sometimes it’s the silent companionship that matters. Knowing that someone is present, looking out for you, guarding your back, can sometimes mean the most.

He strains his ears to hear something, anything. He yearns for human activity at this time when he can’t rely on his vision; it’s pitch black in this enclosed space, and his eyes hurt from when he ripped the bandages off. Frustration overwhelms him and he wants to scream. Where is he?

And then suddenly there is light. It takes him a moment to adjust to the brightness, a moment of fast blinking and squinting.

His heart sinks.

The face peering at him once reminded him of his brother, Owen. The face peering at him is attached to a body that saved his life countless times. He should feel happy that he is seeing Tomasz again, and somewhere deep down he is pleased to see this boy who was braver than anybody he’d ever known, but he couldn’t help but feel a plummeting in his stomach: it hadn’t worked.

               ‘Mr Seth? Mr Seth?’ Tomasz always had a positive note in his voice.

Quietly, ‘It didn’t work.’ Again, and much louder, ‘It didn’t work.’

               Another voice surfaces. ‘You knew it was a possibility, Seth.’ The to-the-point tone makes it clear that this is Regine.

               ‘It’s my family, Regine! What did you expect?’ Seth grabs hold of the edge of the coffin, perhaps a little too tightly, and heaves himself up with the help of Tomasz.

               ‘We don’t have family either.’ Seth is surprised at the tone of Regine’s voice. It’s not often that she hints at her emotions, only when she’s thinking of her life before. ‘You and Tomasz are the only family I’ve got now. We need to stick together.’

               ‘Family,’ Seth whispers. He’ll never see his parents or Owen or Gudmund or H or Monica again, not unless they find another way to get Seth online or take them offline. And maybe he will learn to come to terms with that. He has Tomasz and Regine now and they need him as much as he needs them.

 He’s ready for the future.

Hope you liked it!