Mystery Novel Concept

So much of what I’ve written and published has been in the dystopian category. For a while now, I’ve wanted to write about something I know and something I’m more passionate about, and while it took me a little while to put together, I came up with a story centered around journalism. I’ve also always been passionate about mental health advocacy and the stigma around mental illness, so Allyson is one of my favorite characters I’ve come up with. That also means this story concept is a bit sadder then my other works, just a fair warning. Other than that, that’s all I’m giving you!

D.C.  was grey. Physically, cloudy, and very light rain hitting the window every few minutes. The sun was nowhere to be found most days, meaning the streets were almost never lit up with smiling faces walking around. She lived in the middle of a political warzone. The buildings themselves were physically dark; her apartment’s exterior was painted a dark grey, her walls were grey, her table was dark brown,  and her bedspread was almost black. Everything in D.C. was grey, and Allyson missed Maryland. Maryland was warm, it had colorful buildings and sun. Maryland had excited students and no employees who were vaguely suicidal, but just enough that it was considered normal in the American workforce. It wasn’t all politics, and there was a whole world of people out there to meet. She missed her apartment in Maryland, especially today when she woke up to a thunderstorm outside. And a text from her ex-boyfriend.

I’m sorry.

Ah. So he was sorry he left her. She wasn’t even mad that they split. She was mad that he literally left her without warning. She was so embarrassed sitting outside of the hospital on the day he was supposed to pick her up, and he didn’t show. And the smile on her face slowly dropped for each minute she realized he wasn’t coming. 

She continued to frown when she saw the reminder on her phone that this was her first day back at work in over half a year. If you had asked her half a year ago if she would be excited to return to work, she would have immediately said yes; she had a job opportunity that most students couldn’t even dream of with a kind boss and a couple of work friends she enjoyed being around. Now, she got an email saying to come in a half hour early because the “new boss” wanted to meet her. This wouldn’t be the exciting job she had just a few months ago.

She rolled over to the side of her bed, which was supposed to be seating another person. Instead, it laid a glass bottle that was filled with a clear substance that she was certain wasn’t water. Her eyes scrunched a little while trying to figure out what it was before grabbing it and taking a swing. Straight vodka; she winced but still held onto it as she stood up from bed. She didn’t remember how she ended up so disheveled, but she sighed and went to the bathroom.

She stared at herself in the mirror for a few minutes. She hated her decision to cut her hair by herself during an episode before she went away because now it was uneven and didn’t match her face shape. Her eyes were always a little closed, even if she was wide awake, and they were just far enough apart to make her think she looked like a frog. She looked like her mother, but simultaneously, she felt guilty whenever she found herself calling herself ugly because she so clearly shared a face with her mother, and it seemed unfair to call such a good woman ugly. 

When she looked at her medication bottle on the counter, she hated seeing her name fully spelled out. She wished she had a different name, like Caroline or Julia, something with more of a traditional spelling at least. But in the end, no one called her Allyson anyway unless it was on an official form. To her friends, she was Allie, Al, mostly to Scott.  But never Allyson. With a Y. Her parents gave her a good life. They weren’t really poor- not wealthy by any means, but not poor at all. They had a lovely little standard home, and they tried their best to give her anything she needed to be successful. They lived near the beach and down the road from this organic grocery store that always gave her free snacks. They took out loans for her undergrad because they didn’t want her to pay. They sent her to a journalism fellowship she got into at 15 that was halfway across the country, even though her mother was nervous about her living so far away. They let her stay out late with friends, and they didn’t care when she found a stray cat lingering outside their house and took it in. She cried to them on her prom night when her date ditched her to hang out with his friends, and she went out to Starbucks with her mom every Wednesday after school. And every day, she felt guilty for how miserable she was.  She shouldn’t have been miserable.

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