Here are the first 445 words. I will not be posting any more of the book until at least the beginning of next week (unless it somehow turns out to be amazingly good). But I'm pleased to have got started.
Molly felt the ladder slip out from underneath her. She had, of course, overstretched, which Archie was always telling her not to do, for this very reason. She tried to hook her trainer around the top rung and hoosh the rickety steps back into place, but they were too far gone, and if she tried too hard she would go with them. She let it fall. Dangling from the cross beam, she sighed heavily and waited for her legs to get themselves settled long enough for her to think about pulling herself up. She could already feel a tingle in her hands from the not-quite dry creosote (or whatever it was) on the cross beam, and she realised she hadn’t got a great hold and might start to fall soon if she didn’t do something. Her belly was suddenly cold. The zip of her hoody was stuck up under her mouth and she tried to spit it out but couldn’t. So she bit down on it, steeled herself, and tried to pull herself up. It was a really long time since she’d done anything like this. Her arm muscles weren’t quite sure how to pull her, and her joints weren’t quite sure how to lever her, and she found herself wondering if she’d put on any weight, or if her hands had lost their strength, and as she thought, with great effort but no noise, she managed to haul herself up so that she had her elbows hooked over the beam. From there it was easier to swing her legs out a bit in order to swing the rest of her up until she was stomach down over the beam, poised for a smack, but safe and willing to wait for someone to come.
It was half an hour before anyone did. She flattened herself against the beam a little in case it was Archie, making the split second decision not to let him know what had happened. She couldn’t bear to hear him complain about the whole thing one more time. It was a terrible idea. It was a stupid way to spend your life. When he had agreed to spend two years doing whatever she wanted, he didn’t think it would be anything like this. It was pure stupidness. He would say stupidness as well, and even in her impersonation of him in her head, she corrected him.
But then it was Fergus who came into the church, and although she was relieved to see someone who would just do what he was told with no argument, she was disappointed that he wasn’t Archie.