About a week ago I decided that while I have nothing much else to do since moving in with my parents that I would really try to start writing more. I have this thought a lot honestly but what’s another go at it? A few months ago a friend asked me if I wanted to go work out with him, saying that if he had someone to go with he’d have more motivation. Our busy schedules got in the way but we did go a few times and that was fun. Well last week I asked that same friend if he’d meet me at a coffee shop and we could work on our respective arts. He likes to draw and paint and all that and he’s incredibly good at it, and while we’re talking about him I should shamelessly plug his websites so you can peruse and maybe even commission him for your own original. I know I’ve praised his work before, but some of you followers are new. You can see him here or here or even here!
So anyway, like I was saying… We met at a coffee shop and he worked on drawing stuff and I was tweeking a resume for a job and then I started writing. I finished my latest story and we talked about things and caught up because I’ve known him for at least twelve years now. We joked about my story ideas and he came up with the name Charlotte Festerbottom. I decided that would be the next story that I wrote and boy, did I start it. In fact. I’ve continued on with it about four pages and have no idea where to stop. I have no idea where she is going (but I do know where she came from, I had a lot of fun figuring out her family tree) and I haven’t yet a plot. The situation that she is in fortuneatly can have a lot of situations, which means for you dear reader….drum roll please… will have a novel to read in the near/distant future. That’s right. I stumbled upon a novel idea before NaNoWriMo is even here. Who knows, maybe I can write it all before November and have another idea for NaNo! I’ve decided to include the beginning of Charlotte’s tale for your reading pleasure.
Charlotte Festerbottom comes from a long line of Festerbottom’s from a small island in the Midfjorden of Norway. Her great great great grandfather, Charles Festerbottom moved to the small Illinois town to open up an all in one cemetery and mortuary. Meeting a local girl named Clarice, they raised their three sons in the business. Chance and Christopher both died while away at sea with the Navy. That left Chuckie who only had one eye from birth to carry on the business. He married Clara, a local school teacher new in town, and they had Chuck and Cora. Cora became a school teacher as well but never married. Chuck and his wife Cassandra birthed five daughters before Charlie finally came. He was the pride and joy of the family and understandably, the only one willing to work with the dead. The girls all took jobs in fashion and education.
Charlie had a fascination with morbidity. His enthrallment stretched across every aspect of the dead. The family home located in the back of the cemetery land was decorated in wild taxidermy animals and shrunken heads from the Africa’s. His wife was an African medicine woman specializing in the dead named Chicha. He met her on a visit to the Congo, though it was never clear what her original nationality was. They had one son, Fester, who had ivory skin and dark black hair, he nearly resembled his great great grandfather. Rumors had spread after the death of Chicha that Charlie had gone insane, his obsession with death grew and long standing customers had become fearful of the Festerbottom services. Once Fester reached high school he had taken over most of the duties around the property, except for the care of the lawn. Charlie continued to mow and fertilize and stay to himself.
Fester brought life to the funeral home. He cleaned up older grave plots and tried everything he could to restore the original stones that Charles had placed with his own hands. Fester was also the first in the family to have modern schooling. He juggled the funeral services with correspondence classes and became the official CEO. The long line of Festerbottoms lived modestly and therefore had a good amount of savings. Fester took some of the money to upgrade the morgue equipment and give a face lift to the buildings. He was even able to plant new trees and bushes in the entry way to really give the land a good home feeling. Some cousins came to help, but Fester did most of the hiring from the local college. He met and married Louise who interned with Fester in the office. She died shortly after Charlotte was born from lymphoma. Charlotte was lucky to survive.
Fester tried to give Charlotte a better life since she was the first only child that was a girl in the family ancestry. He kept her away from most of the proceedings of the family business, but that didn’t stop her from sneaking into funerals. He even offered to pay for college as long as it was something different than mortuary science. She vowed to pay her own way if it meant she could continue working with her father. It must have been something in the bloodlines that kept the Festerbottom children glued to that spot.