#WEP – Change of Heart

This post should be scheduled for August 15th, but in the midst of chaos, I failed to realise that – read the rules, dummy. If I manage to re-write this, I will re-post the new version on that date.

UPDATE: I have re-posted and you can find the correct post at: https://rolandclarke.com/2018/08/15/wep-write-edit-publish-august-challenge/

[This is my first attempt to do WEP Challenge which this month has teamed up with the Insecure Writers Support Group – http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/2018/08/writing-together-with-wep-and-iswg.html – which I hope links to the other bloggers.

So I’m hoping that this means that I’ve done this correctly…and this piece of fiction makes sense. I’ve been trying to write it despite screaming kids who stress me out and trigger my MS. Just comment below as usual – many thanks.]


Change of Heart

Copyright © Roland Clarke

Shadows in the moonlight flicker like my mind churning with every bleating sheep. What does Taid want? Does he know our secret?

My morning swim in our lake was invigorating, but after breakfast, he triggered the thoughts.

“We need to talk, Meinwen – this evening when your chores are done.”

I daren’t ask Mam what he wants – even if he’s her tad. Patience would be her answer. My siblings don’t act suspicious, but Taid has rules.

Where have I strayed?

My love is forbidden in his chapel eyes. But we kept it secret. Six weeks of passion on the beach had to end. But not with punishment.

He doesn’t know. We were careful – once the school buried the incident. Tad never dug – believed we were bullied for being different – two Goths.

It’s my parents – Tad and Mam. Their time apart, after the arguments about his work, has been hard. I chose to be with him. No, by the sea in Porthmadog – to be near Esyllt. My brothers came with mam and our sister, up here to the farm.

Is there a distance in their eyes? Am I the betrayer who stood with Tad? Am I being sent away?

I love them all. I can’t choose. But my family comes before Esyllt – it must. Or can our affair become more? Or are we doomed?

What does Taid want? A grandchild that lives by the rules. I don’t.

Are my tad and mam following his advice? Have they changed their minds? Are they getting back together – as we all want?

The porch door opens and Nain Gwyneth and Taid Hywel walk out, smiling as they hand me a cup of hot chocolate.

“Another beautiful evening,” says Nain as she sits on the couch and gestures for Taid to join her. “It’s good to have you home, cariad. How was your stay with your tad?”

“Awesome – well good.” I mustn’t be too happy as I want to be at their farm now. Well, I want everyone together. “I enjoy being here at Tyn-y-llyn – in the mountains…swimming in the lake—”

Taid takes my hands in his gnarled ones. “Your mam, our Glenys wants this to be your home. You want that?”

Leave my tad. Leave the sea…my friends – Esyllt. For a new life?

“If you want me here. But school? I was changing, though—”

Taid nods at Nain and smiles. “Your mam says that you’re going to sixth-form college – in Pwllheli. Why? We’d hoped you’d do agriculture at Glynllifon – then help your Ewythr Ivor here on the farm.”

I stare across the yard at the farmhouse where my mam’s brother is sleeping with his family. Do I want that life? I love it up here – but something is missing.

Esyllt? No, she is not my future – even if I feel the passion and the excitement…and the guilt.

“I need to keep my options open. I’m sixteen and I want to do AS and A levels in different subjects. I’m not ready to commit.”

They watch me…study me. What do they see? The guilt or vague potential?

“You’ve no idea want you want to do? You can’t be like your tad – look what he’s put our Glenys through?”

The cop-option. The one that tackling the bullies triggered – Esyllt’s suggestion. My tad’s secret desire. Or did he say it was too dangerous? I must evade this.

“I like swimming—” I stare into their eyes then glance towards the land. “And running across the fields. Okay, I can do that as a farmer. But I’d like to learn about the sport and leisure industries, whilst learning more skills – like more Welsh. It’s our language.”

They smile, and Nain reaches over and pats my knee. She takes my hands.

“If you go to Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor how will you get there – you can’t live there?”

I let the conversation move on – hoping that we are past the tough grilling.

“I’ve passed my moped test and it will only take an hour – better than cycling and quicker. That means I can stay here – please.”

They embrace me, and I think they are leaving as Nain goes inside. But Taid sits back down.

“There’s something else. We’ve heard disturbing rumours from your school…” He looks up, and I shiver. “About an incident you were involved in. What is the truth?”

As I dread. The whispers have spread into Snowdonia. It’s over. First Tad – but he didn’t tan my ass, just lectured me about vigilantes. Seems my school didn’t like the Goth Patrol standing up against bullies.

“It was a buddy system to protect kids needing friends.”

I listen to the hunting owls and Taid’s breathing. Did the family hear more? Or just about the assault in the swimming pool? I could have been drowned, but my friends rescued me – with Esyllt.

“In the eyes of the Lord,” he says, staring up into the night sky. “We can’t be the judges. But our friends talk – about our reputation in the community, and yours. Is there someone else?”

Here it is – the sin is exposed. Unless I lie.

“Not that I know – just friends.”

Lies are hard, but so is facing the truth. It won’t just be Taid and Nain. What will the family do next?

“Who is Esyllt Jernigan?”

I close my eyes and pray for guidance.

“One of my friends – another Goth like me.”

He frowns, and I realise my mistake – my other rebellion.

“Goth is darkness, isn’t it? A sin, in some eyes. You…like this other girl?”

Do I confess my sin – that I’ve slept with another woman? Or do I deny our love and perjure myself in the eyes of God? Three denials like Saint Peter is a sin.

But I want a future. Esyllt was the future but so are my family. Are the chapel rules just? Are Taid and Nain correct?

Must I change what my heart feels?

“There’s this guy – Bryn. He likes me.”


54 thoughts on “#WEP – Change of Heart

  1. A wise person once told me
    “We can’t chose who we fall in love with
    only what we do about it.”

    A story of fear
    With hearts desire
    Standing for the truth
    Or becoming a liar

    This story has merit
    With morals to see
    Will we be chained in rules
    Or forever set free

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello Roland! Thanks so much for joining WEP this month and I hope you will become a regular! Don’t worry about the early post! As Elephant’s Child says, it’s better to be early than late. Being late means you won’t get many readers.

    Now you didn’t say how much feedback you want. There is a list of feedback selections on the WEP site. I won’t comment until I know. There’s several options – Full Critique to comments only.

    Once again, thanks for posting for WEP!


    Liked by 2 people

    • Word Count 986 / words in your story
      Minor Points Acceptable: MPA
      You only want a few of their Minor Critique of your story.
      Change your story all you want till the 15 give or take a word or two LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d delete from (desk49 August 8, 2018 at 8:51 pm) to (desk49 August 8, 2018 at 10:02 pm.) And this Reply Just to clear up your space.

    I’m sure you know what Denise Covey was talking about now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Toi. It was a challenge to write from the POV of a sixteen-year-old girl trying to juggle her sexuality with her family affection. (This is part of the backstory of my novel’s bisexual MC.)


  4. Pingback: Exploration or taster? | Writing Wings

  5. Early posts are always accepted. I posted mine today. It gives the participants an opportunity to spread the reading over the week. So thanks!
    I wouldn’t go back to those years for anything. Such angst, so much emotion and confusion. Traversing the childhood to adulthood with decisions that shape your entire life isn’t something I’d ever want to do again.
    Great job of getting her turmoil across. Excellent entry for the WEP!
    Thanks for joining us, I look forward to reading more of your work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Many thanks, Yolanda. I can see plenty of wisdom in what you say about posting early. I always find it hard to ready many IWSG posts on the first Wednesday.

      I was lucky to have some input from others in similar situations as I knew as a straight white guy that tackling a teenage with a queer identity crisis was tough.


  6. Hi Roland. I’m sorry that you felt you’d done something wrong. We always have people who like to post early and for the reasons Yolanda says, that’s fine. It’s hard reading/commenting on over 30 entries in one sitting!

    Now to your entry. It was a very strong extract. Sometimes when you post an extract from a WIP, it’s good to write a few lines of context before your entry so it’s clearer. Not that I had any trouble understanding this teenager’s angst. Who’d be a teen again? I like the way you revealed the story through dialogue. An excellent mix of dialogue and inner thought.

    Thank you for sharing your entry with us for CHANGE OF HEART. I hope this month wasn’t too stressful for you. Get yourself ready for tales of voodoo and hoodoo in October. Always a favorite month at WEP!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Denise. I’m not sure if this is an extract as such, more an early draft that will grow a bit – beyond 1,000 words. It’s intended to be a stand-alone short, although the character is the MC of my main WIP, a police procedural set nine years later.

      However, your comment really helps as it gives me an idea of what to develop – and what to leave alone. It may never work on its own, but I am using it in a collection of shorts about my MC’s early story, as a ‘flashback’ linking event.

      Life is still stressful with writing being a victim, so I may just link to this post on Wednesday. Many thanks.


  7. I kept wanting to read more, but it was finished. I certainly hope you think about going deeper and developing this story even more.
    You have a good story with lots of avenues to continue it.
    Great job.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks for reading my piece, Pat. I may add a few words, add to the setting. This is just an incident in this MC’s life and at the moment, I am writing a framing story set eight years later that links this story and others. Plus the MC takes centre stage as a detective in three novels – WIPs.


  8. Hi Roland – it was an interesting story … and I liked how you gave us the settings for each snippet of life … being young was so so difficult … and as you mention challenging to write … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Hilary. As a guy, my teens were different, of course. But my parents were divorced in my early teens, and I did have momentary sexual doubts. As you rightly say, being young was so so difficult – yet at seventeen I read Tolkien and………… 😉


      • Well you were and are better read than I am – my grandmother sent us The Hobbit – but I think it was too early and put me off … such is life. But it’s great you’re experimenting with your writing … and remembering those years, or trying to from the other POV … take care – cheers Hilary

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This is wonderful! I felt the tension here. Growing up and being different and having to worry about judgment is so real and you portrayed all of it perfectly. Well done!


  10. Pingback: #WEP – Write…Edit…Publish AUGUST Challenge | Writing Wings

  11. This was a captivating read. Teenage angst and ambivalence about sexuality depicted sensitively. I agree with the other posters about the possibility of developing this further. The dialogue and the interiority of the character felt realistic. Well done. A great entry for the WEP. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The different names, Welsh?, were interesting. A conflict between family loyalty and wanting to follow your own path. I was a little confused at the end because I thought this was a boy talking and then it sounds like a girl. ‘There’s this guy that likes me…’ Or is it a gay relationship? I think that would be a big challenge for this family that seems so traditional.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I said to Olga, the Tad and Taid were Welsh for Dad and Grandpa – and others are also Wesh, like Esyllt Jernigan, the girlfriend. And yes, you are right about the gay relationship, Deborah – challenging which prompts the ‘change of heart’. This teenage girl had an affair with another girl, Esyllt, but is ‘pressured’ into turning her attentions onto a guy, Bran. But that’s another story.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Well, I’m a sucker for anything set in Wales. And I love the tensions you’ve created here, so many different facets — higher education, relationships, bullies, family troubles… I wish it were a novel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks for the comment and appreciation. It is becoming a novel, Deniz – or at least a collection of linked short stories, all set in North Wales. And there are three novels with the same MC set again in North Wales – Snowdonia – at present at varying stages of writing, What comes first remains to be seen.


      • There’s a loaded question 🙂 Only because the simplest answer is “I’ve been that way all my life!” and the more complicated answer is unknowable, because I’ve loved Wales and the language and the myths and the legends for so long that I have no idea where it started from.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I understand and I guess that unknowable origin applies to me. although it took living briefly – too briefly – in North Wales to trigger everything, inspiring me to write my Welsh mysteries. (And the next WEP Challenge is a chance to delve deeper – Calan Gaeaf Hapus.)


  14. Sorry to be late in coming by. This sums up that time when we want to be adults yet still feel constrained by rules of our elders or parents. We don’t want to disappoint, but we do want some control over our own lives. Enjoyed this Roland and welcome to WEP !

    Liked by 1 person

  15. That’s a painful story—in the sense that it hurts to see a kid having to make those choices and face that pressure. It’s a dilemma with no right answers, and you captured it well.

    Liked by 1 person

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