The first couple of chapters for Fade to White were a collaboration between me and my best friend in high school for our creative writing class. I quickly took over and completed writing the novella on my own, since I was the one who enjoyed spending hours and hours alone lost in my head.
We had a falling out after starting college, and I went back and completely rewrote the first two chapters so that the events would be entirely in my own words. Truthfully, it was more about preserving artistic integrity than petty revenge, because I thought that the differences in writing styles stuck out like a forum role play.
For the life of me, I can’t remember if my former friend ever saw the completed novella.
Fade to White
Early morning sunlight spilled from the sky and danced around in patterns on Jerek’s white shirt as he sat on the ground with his back against a tree. Two horses stood tied to a branch nearby, one of them stomping his hooves impatiently. Turning her head curiously toward them, Tryne smiled and set her bucket of water down, wiping her hands on her apron before hurrying over to where Jerek lay. His eyes were closed.
“Hello,” Tryne whispered, kneeling down next to him, but Jerek didn’t stir. Gently, she touched his shoulder and he still didn’t respond. Quivering slightly, Tryne reached to brush the bright white hair away from Jerek’s face, watching the strands shimmer in the sun, then slid her hand down the side of his cheek, marveling at how soft and smooth his hair was. Glancing over at Jerek’s face, Tryne jumped back when she saw that his rainbow eyes were open and watching her. “I’m sorry,” Tryne stammered, “I thought you were . . .”
Jerek stood up and looked down at Tryne for a second before holding out his hand to help her to her feet. “I brought your horse back,” he said, turning to his own stallion to pull down the reigns, but he found himself feeling very reluctant to leave.
“You know, when I first saw you lying there I thought you had run into a tree again.” Jerek grunted and scowled, causing Tryne to smile. “Thank you,” she added, walking around the tree to reach her own horse’s reigns, her smile fading.
“Uh,” Jerek began, feeling very uncertain, “Do you have anything . . . that needs to be done?”
“No, not really.” Tryne sighed, patting her horse’s nose. “I’ll be going into town today.”
Sensing something in her voice, Jerek felt slightly alarmed. “Is there anything wrong?”
Tryne hesitated. “My mother never came home last night.”
“Hm.” Jerek shifted from leaning on one foot to the other, fiddling with his hands.
“I’m really surprised you asked to help,” Tryne said quickly, her voice sounding unnaturally lighter. “Yesterday you seemed so mad when I sent you out to chop wood. Perhaps you want to show off your manly muscles some more, and that’s why you came back?”