Today I am delighted to share with you a guest post from the lovely Kim Curran for the Delete blog tour. Thanks to Faye for organising the tour and Kim for the great post!
The country is at war. Beset by enemies within and without. And all because of the decisions changed by one boy, Scott Tyler. In this ravaged alternative reality, Scott hardly recognises himself. He’s a war hero, a leader of a unit of Shifters and maybe the only one who can prevent the country’s frail defences from crumbling.
But all Scott wants to do is find a way back to the world he knew, without losing the girl he loves. With every Shift he makes, Scott edges closer towards oblivion. With no one to trust – not even himself – how much is he willing to risk to get home?
Delete is the third book in the Shift series and is published by Xist Publishing in ebook (March 31st 2015).
Top Ten Mistakes – Scott Tyler
It’s safe to say I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. And when you have the power to change your decisions it makes you think about them. A lot. It’s not easy to get over a mistake if you know you could undo it. It niggles and niggles at you. I’m constantly picking at the things I’ve done, like a healing scab, wondering what would happen if I’d done this or not done that. Aubrey tells me I need to let go more, to forget about that past. But if I did that… well, that’s a different story.
The problem with fixing mistakes is the consequences. Take going out that night with Hugo and trying to climb an electricity pylon. Big mistake, really. If I’d just stayed at home playing my videogame, then my life would have carried on just as it always had done: no surprises, no cannibals, mind-controllers or world wars to worry about. But then, I’d never have met Aubrey Jones. The girl I love. And even now, after everything, she was worth it all.
But there are things I do look back on, before I knew about Shifting and ARES and all, that I wish I could change. Although it’s too late to track the consequences, so I have to just let them be. But if I were a normal teenager, if I didn’t have to worry about creating a new reality just by thinking about my past, here are ten of the things I’d change in a heartbeat.
- Putting a whoopee cushion under Sharon Connor’s Chair.
This was back in primary school. I must have been nine, maybe ten. Sharon Connor was a shy, tiny girl, who never spoke and spent the whole time hiding behind her long fringe.
One day, me and some of the other boys were daring each other to make her speak. Some of the boys were going to bribe her with sweets. Others were going to steal her bag and not give it back until she asked for it. Me? I came up with the genius scheme of slipping a whoopee cushion on her chair. You know the things, pink rubbery pillows that make a fart noise? I know, hilarious. Well, the day came and I had the whoopee cushion blown up and hidden under my jumper. When the teacher came in, we all had to stand up and say good morning. When Sharon sat back down, this enormous Ppppppfffffffff! sound came from her chair. Everyone froze, staring at Sharon. And then, one by one, they all started laughing. Even the teacher couldn’t help but laugh. I was feeling pretty please with myself, I can tell you. I waited and waited for Sharon to say something; to deny that it was her, to tell people to stop laughing. Instead, huge tears rolled down her face and she ran straight out of class.
The balloon of smug joy that had filled me up when the laughter started deflated just like the whoopee cushion. I felt awful and wanted to cry too.
Sharon changed schools after that, and I heard she’s getting on OK.
- Playing pirates with Katie.
My little sister and I have always had a competitive relationship. Mostly because she’s better at practically everything even though she’s five years younger than me. Better at school, better at martial arts, better at swearing, better at life really. One day, when she’d come back from school with yet another gold star for something and mum had given me that ‘why can’t you be more like your sister’ look, I decided to get some payback.
I’d been building a tree house in the garden. It was mostly just old bits of wood shoved in between branches, but I’d painted a skull and cross bones on it and that was enough for me. Katie was desperate to get up there with me, but I always said no. I told her she was too young, too small. But not that day. That day, I told her she could come play pirates as long as she was willing to walk the plank.
Katie has never backed down from a challenge in her life. And she wasn’t going to back down from that one. She clambered up into the tree, hauled herself up onto the plank and started walking. There was an almighty thwack as the plank snapped in two.
Katie looked up at me from the ground, cradling her clearly broken arm, and I wanted to throw myself off the tree, too. She never told mum or dad what had happened. I tore the tree house down and Katie never asked to play with me again.
- Making a total pratt out of myself in the school play.
Let’s just say trying to sing a solo as the angel Gabriel when your voice is breaking isn’t the best way to have your theatrical debut and leave it at that.
- Smashing the headmaster’s window.
It was the last day of the summer term and I was playing cricket in the playground. I was bowler and Hugo was up to bat. He’d done something to annoy me that day, so I decided to make the bowl especially hard. I took an extra long run up, and threw the ball as hard as I could. Only, instead of bouncing into the wickets like it was supposed to, it soared straight through the stain-glass window of the headmaster’s study. As punishment, I had to come to school over the summer holiday and paint a fence. Which wouldn’t have been so bad had it not been for mistake number five…
- Jane Nagle.
When you go to an all boys’ school like I did, girls can feel like a bit of a mystery at times. And never was that more true that of Jane Nagle. She was the headmaster’s daughter so lived at the school. We’d see her walking across the school grounds every morning on her way to her own school, tartan skirt way above her knees. She became a thing of legend – the great whale that every boy in school was hunting. But she ignored us all. That is, till the summer I had to come into school every day (see above). It wasn’t even that hot a summer; more the usual drizzly July you get in London. But for whatever reason, Jane took to sunbathing every day. In her bikini.
I didn’t know where to look. Well, OK, I knew exactly where I wanted to look, but I managed to keep my eyes firmly fixed on the fence. Five whole days, I turned up, painted the fence, and went home. Then, just as I was getting to the last panel that needed doing, I felt a tapping on my shoulder.
It was Jane. In her bikini. Holding a bottle of sun cream.
There are loads of things I wish I’d done. Say something witty and charming. Casually rub the sun cream into her pale, soft skin. Scoop her into my arms and kiss her. Spilling my tin of paint all down her front was not one of them.
- Peach schnapps.
Whatever you do, don’t, and I repeat, don’t, drink a whole bottle of your mum’s peach schnapps. Even if it does taste like liquid gummy bears.
- Listening to Hugo.
Hugo is supposed to be my best friend. But all he seems to do is find new ways of getting me in trouble, like the time he told Christopher Gravett that I was the one who drew the picture of him in the boys’ loos. Or when he dared me to break into the sport’s hall at night. Hugo can be a real dick.
- Being angry at my parents all the time.
I spent most of my youth being angry at my mum and dad. Only slightly less angry than they were at each other. I’ve realised now, that they were just trying to do their best for me. They pushed me to focus at school because they wanted me to have options, they nagged me to try harder because they wanted me to reach my potential. If I could, I’d go back and say sorry for all the times I rolled my eyes at them or stomped up to my room because I didn’t want to listen to them any more. Sure, they’re still annoying as hell. But they’re the only parents I’ve got.
- Kissing Ella
So, it wasn’t exactly my fault, as I didn’t have control over my actions at the time. But I’ll never forget the look on Aubrey’s face when she caught us. I’d drink a thousand bottles of schnapps and paint a million fences if I could wipe that memory away.
- Worrying about what people thought about me.
All though my early teens I was terrified of doing something that would make me look stupid, that would draw the wrong kind of attention to myself. And so, I mostly did nothing. I hid behind other boys, kept my head down, and didn’t make waves. All because I was worried what people I didn’t care about thought of me. What a waste. If being able to change my past has taught me anything it’s that I wish I’d done more with it. Wish I’d made even more mistakes. Because being too afraid to take chances because you’re worried about what people thing, that’s no way to live.