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Location: United Kingdom

Member Since: January 2018

Last online: March 2018

Open for read requests: Yes

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In January 2009, acting on my doctor's instructions, I admitted myself into a local hospital. My doctor had advised me to expect an overnight stay. As things turned out, I was in there for over eight months.
For most of my time in Airedale General I was bed-ridden and virtually paralyzed, although my brain kept on working as normal (as normal as it ever was, anyway). 24 hours a day is a long time to spend staring at a ceiling. My arms/hands didn't work enough to pick up a book and my laptop was gathering dust beside my bed. Apart from bickering with nurses and care workers, I had nothing to do.
So I wrote a novel inside my head.
Heather Hunter was intended to be a bit player in that novel. She was one of the main character's many girlfriends and, quite frankly, not very nice. Prototype Heather was early twenties and good-looking but spoilt. Her father was a businessman who had bought a bit of farmland and funded a barn conversion. In his opinion that gave him the right to don green wellies and call himself a farmer. Father did, of course, overindulge his beloved daughter and she duly milked it to the full. Little did she know her only reason for being was to end up as one of my murder victims.
Back in Airedale General I began to slowly recover. The carers could get me out of bed for short periods. Then longer periods. Then all day. I still struggled to turn book pages but I could tap away at a keyboard in an awkward sort of a way. Things were definitely looking up.
One sunny August evening I felt the urge to record my mental novel. I had written before and knew I should start with a character list (including characteristics, etcetera) and a chapter-by-chapter outline. That would take ages, though, and I only had a couple of hours. Postponing the Grand Depart until the morrow, I decided to write a random scene.
Don't ask why, but I chose a sex scene (by then I'd been incarcerated and free from sex and alcohol for over six months, so maybe that had a bearing on the decision). Often fumbling with the keys, I had Heather and her friend, Mary Rose, visit the main character (Sean) to give him a rather physical birthday present. Re-reading it I was impressed. Okay, it needed a lot of editing, but it started and finished in the right places, and it hit all the waypoints in-between. Mary Rose and Sean behaved as they should, too. I was just a little confused by Heather, who was stronger and wittier than expected. Much stronger.
It never gets dark in hospital. Not in Airedale Ward 5, anyway. An hour after powering down my laptop I was back in bed, staring at nothing in particular, tuned out from all the coughs and the clack, clack, clack of nurses' shoes on hard floors.
Then I saw her.
Prototype Heather was about five foot four, blonde and full-chested. The woman standing at the foot of my bed was more like five ten, with a mane of jet-black hair. Supermodels would have killed for a body like hers. Helen of Troy would have envied her face. Not that she was smiling and trying to look pretty. Even in the semi-darkness I could see her green eyes flashing angrily.
I knew who she was without question.
She was the Real Heather.
Satisfied she had my attention, she stamped her foot.
Kill me off! she snapped. In your dreams!
I never did kill her off. That mental novel turned out to be a series of seven volumes. Heather features prominently in all of them and will doubtless be heard of again.


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