This is the first thing I’ve written which I know will never be in my novel’s final draft. Today’s prompt from Story-a-Day is to write a refusal. Stories begin because a protagonist accepts the quest, the call, the challenge. But what if my main character said no? What if she refused the inciting incident? The story would end before it started, of course. But it is an interesting insight into the character, her fears and doubts. For me anyway.
So, in the alternative history, Miracle June says no to the call. It makes me a little sad.
Thanks for reading!
Miracle June didn’t believe the letter. She couldn’t have been chosen. It made no sense. But everyone knew the contents of the letter. People stared at her in the market. Her coworkers asked to see it. Her mother had cried without explaining if her tears were of happiness or horror.
“You’re going to see the stars,” her mother said. “I always knew you would.” Her voice shook.
“How could you know that?” Miracle June asked.
Her mother got up from the sofa. “I’m going to send a message to your sister. She’ll want to know.”
“Mom,” Miracle June said. Of all the people on Earth, of all the people who had applied, it made no sense she should’ve been selected. It was mistake, and if she boarded that, how long would it take them to realize? Then what? She’d be sent back. “Please don’t tell Rarity.”
“She’s going to be nothing but happy for you, sweetheart.” Her clicked on her computer. “You can’t take those things she said too seriously. You know how stressful life at the convent is right now for her.”
“That’s not it,” Miracle June replied, folding the letter and placing it on the coffee table. She wouldn’t argue with her mother about what Rarity had said. Her mother always chose to believe Rarity meant well, but at the moment, none of that mattered. “I’m not going to go. See? There’s no point in telling her because I’m not going to accept the position.”
“What?” Bless Far turned away from the computer. “Say ten prayers to the Pleiades, Miracle June. You do not mean that.”
Miracle June stood. “I can’t leave you alone. With Rarity a the convent, I can’t go running out into the stars.” The stars. How beautiful they would be to see! But she had no business on a starliner. Starliners were for girls at the top of their class. Girls with important parents and dazzling talents. Not even that. Starliners weren’t for girls but for women who knew what they were doing. She may have graduated from the training program and manage to keep a job for over a year, but she was at the bottom of the instructor pool, where she belonged. “And I’ve got a good job already.”
Her mother opened her mouth to argue, but Miracle June cut her off. “And there’s Val. He’s talking about marriage. I can’t just leave him. It’s a ten-year contract. I can’t ask him to wait that long.”
“Oh, I’m sure he would. Of course he would. You’re a beautiful girl.”
Miracle June sighed. Her mother believed that as determinedly as she believed Rarity Vaine never meant the brutal things she said. “It just doesn’t matter. The Sovereignty doesn’t need me. They have a universe of people to choose from. Okay?” She took two big steps forward to stand in front of her mother and take her hands. “I want to be here with you. I don’t want to get mixed up with the Sovereignty. That’s nothing but trouble, and you know it.”
Bless Far’s eyes watered. “All right, sweetheart. If that’s what you want. Really sure.”
“Of course I’m sure,” Miracle June replied. She took a deep breath. “I’m happy here.”