We are already on Week 3!
Time is just flying for me and I am loving each new week. This week we were paired with two Critique Partners to help us with our edits. Getting a different set of eyes on the story really helped me start to narrow down my cute little story. I feel like it is really coming along. I want to thank both of my amazing Critique Partners for helping me with this round of edits. In the effort to try to stay below the word count, I had started ideas that didn’t make it to page or I had edited out in Week 2 but I didn’t see them. Fresh eyes really do help you find the little things that you gloss over without meaning to.
Check out their stories here:
It was supposed to be an hour-long hike—keyword supposed to. Quinn had managed to stray off the well-marked path and climb a completely non-beginner friendly hill. That was what her quads were screaming at her. Lifting her phone, she checked for a signal. No luck. It had the same lack of bars as when she had tried two charlie horses ago. At least it wasn’t summer. She paused to rest her legs for a second and get a picture of the sun through the blanket of trees. It would make a good post on Instagram when she found her way back to the correct path or at the very least, it would make one hell of a last one.
Quinn came out of the thick blanket of trees. It opened into a field of grass that someone clearly kept neat. Judging by the mountains in the background and lack of higher ground, she had made it to the summit—the wrong summit but the top nonetheless. There was a small field of flowers tucked away from the world below, which surrounded a small house. There were no windows that Quinn could see, but there was a door. Curiosity getting the better of her, she crossed through the flowers to get a closer look. The walls were grey, and had a knotted wood door. She placed her hand on the biggest one to balance herself as she looked for a peep hole. The door caved in, sending her forward off-balance.
Surprised by both the door opening and the floor’s softness that broke her fall, Quinn lifted her head to brush away a mop of hair and saw worn black leather shoes. Shoes that were attached to legs.
“Do you always wander around strange houses on top of hills, or am I special?” The owner of those shoes sounded amused to find a grown woman on their floor.
“Only on days I’m supposed to be hiking, it seems,” Quinn said, pushing herself up. The stranger offered a hand which she gratefully took. Their palm was rough, reminding her of sandpaper.
“I’d ask if you had a name, but I’m not convinced you aren’t a fairy here to steal mine,” the stranger said.
“I’m not a fairy!” She scoffed. “I’m human, but barely before coffee. And it’s Quinn.”
“Well, Quinn, what are you doing on my mountain?”
“I was hiking to Rosewood Peak, but I think I took the wrong path.” They looked at her with amusement, which Quinn did not find funny.
“The wrong path is an understatement. If you had been any more wrong, you would have ended up in a different state. Come sit down while I get a sweater.” They motioned to a well made wooden table. The inside was much bigger than she would have guessed from what she had seen outside.
“Can I ask you a question?” Quinn said, sitting at the log bench watching the homeowner as they moved to a carved coat rack.
“Is it my name?” The smile was back. Quinn would not have been in such a good mood had someone fallen in her doorway.
“Yes, but also, why does this house have no windows?” The grey walls were lit by candles. Quinn didn’t see any electricity at all inside.
“If I want to see outside, all I have to do is open the door. And it’s Alex.” It was a start, at least. “Place keeps plenty warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I find that the things you really need are always right in front of you.” Alex pulled on a lightweight sweater. From how rugged everything else was, Quinn would not have been shocked to find out they had knitted it themself.
Together, Quinn and Alex left the grey shelter with no windows and started walking back down past the lavender and white wildflowers and out of the mushroom created fairy ring protected from the woods and technology. Quinn realized just how out of the way she had really taken herself. Alex was the perfect guide. They knew the woods surrounding their hilly home and could point out things Quinn hadn’t seen on the way up. She hadn’t even noticed that the trees leaned toward the peak or that rocks created natural stepping stone paths. The company of someone was nicer than trying to stop and take pictures for Instagram every five steps. The last had been the whole reason she had strayed off the easy hike path. It had been a hard and painful lesson to learn. Her legs would probably feel like they were falling off for at least a week.
“Well, here we go. The path should be marked from here.” Alex said.
” You know, I have to admit, this was probably one of the best accidents I’ve ever had. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t tripped into your floor,” Quinn said, trying to laugh at her embarrassing first impression.
“I don’t know. Probably kept going until you ended up in Tennessee or ran into a bear. One of the two” Alex flashed their grin at her. Quinn felt utterly comfortable. She was happy she met Alex even if it had taken a bit of an adventure to meet them.
“Nah,” She smiled. “Then I wouldn’t have met you. So do I send a smoke signal or try to get lost to see you again?”
“Might not have a phone, but I promise if you meet me back here on Saturday, I’ll be waiting. Possibly with food.” Alex said, brushing their hand back through their hair.
“That sounds like a plan, Alex.”