Thanks to the wonderful Toni Owen, I’m able to share with you an extract of her new book ‘Iris’. You can find out more about the book, and Tori, by clicking here. You can also buy ‘Iris’ from Amazon or Kobo.
‘I flinch. I know she’s not going to hit me, we’ve got in arguments a hundred times before and she’s raised her hand – she’s never hit me in the face. But I flinch anyway.’
I put that because whenever you pick up a book at the shop there’s always a quote on the back, and because I’m trying to put off writing the blurb. I don’t know what to put.
This is just a book about me, Iris, and the things that I do, the friends I make, well, try to make, and everything else that happens to me – good, bad and, uh, very bad.
That sounds really boring but I promise, it’s much more extraordinary. I might seem normal, (well, not normal, a bit weird really), little Iris, but there’s so much more to it than that, more than most people can even begin to understand.
“For goodness sake Iris, I’ve had enough of your clumsy accidents.” Mum sighs, “You can spend the day in your room and think about your attitude. Now I’m going to have a bath, when I come out I expect you to be in your room, having thought about your apology” then she just leaves.
I’m scared to be out of my room when she’s done, but I’m even more frightened off moving. Something is different in my head, I can feel it. I feel hot breath on the back of my neck.
“Iris,” Waltz whispers, I can barely hear him because my ears are ringing, “Are you okay?”
I want to answer with a resounding ‘No’, but I don’t even dare move my mouth.
“Iris,” I can hear Waltz starting to cry, “You’re not dead are you?”
“No for God’s sake.” I say, even though I don’t want to move, I just can’t let him sit there thinking
I’m dead, no matter how stupid it is to think that in the first place.
“Then why aren’t you moving?”
I wish I could answer. I really wish I could identify why my head feels like it’s vibrating, but I have no idea. I can’t taste blood or anything. If there’s no blood how bad can it be really? Maybe I’m just being silly. The fall must have felt bigger than it was.
“I am moving I just need a second.” It feels weird talking, like my mouth has been moved, but it’s still in the same place, I know because I put my hand up to feel it. My face feels normal under my fingers, along my lips, I can’t taste any blood but I pull my fingers away and check them just in case. I open my mouth and feel the inside of my cheeks. Those are fine, but there’s something else missing. I scrabble to the oven on all fours because I thought I felt what it is but on the other hand I’m not sure.
I lie. I am sure, very sure, but I don’t want to be. You know you have those nightmares that you always know in the back of your head is a nightmare, because how can I be at school with no clothes on, or have bugs crawling into my mouth really? This is just like that.
Peering in the oven door like it’s a mirror I can see it isn’t a nightmare, my front two teeth have snapped in half and the tooth to the left of the front has a big chip in and the one next to that has another chip. I feel my teeth, like if I run my hands over them enough they will grow back. Of course they don’t. If I smile with my mouth open you can see them, but if I talk my mouth flashes fast enough you can’t really (yes, I’m trying this all out as we speak). I try a close mouth smile, it makes me look chubby because my cheeks seem to blow out into ginormous balloons, but on the other hand you can’t see my teeth. As long as I’m careful not to let my mouth hang open like a gormless idiot no one should notice. Who’s going to look at my mouth that closely anyway?
I repeat this in my head till my heart has stopped thudding. It’s just I know that once teeth are gone they’re gone, it’s not like skin where it’ll heal over. For one mad second I think I should scrabble around on the floor for the hunks of tooth that must be there somewhere then run to Dad’s man stuff draw and borrow his super glue and try and fix them that way. But I know it won’t work, not really, and just thinking about my teeth I’m getting upset again.
“Iris.” I feel Waltz little hand on my shoulder, I’d basically forgotten he was there while I practiced talking to myself, “Are you okay?”
Obviously I’m not, my teeth have fallen out, and I’ve just spent the past five minutes gibbering to myself in the over door, but just saying it is scary so I just shrug, “I’m fine,”
“But your teeth…” Waltz trails off, his eyes are wide and shimmering as he stares at me, and I’m sure he’s about to cry. I don’t know why, it’s not like his teeth have fallen out.
“Teeth don’t hurt silly, no biggie.” I just want to get away from Waltz, the way he’s looking at me is making me want to panic. So I just shrug and walk out. When I get to the hallway I listen. I don’t want to see Mum, I’m already starting to feel ashamed about my outburst. What was I doing? Shouting about groceries when she had them in her hands?
But I can’t hear her, so I scamper up to my room and shut the door as quietly as I can. I choose a book at random and start to read. Words don’t seem to be holding my attention though. The main character spends the entire first chapter moaning about how she wants to go off adventuring. I can’t help but think she doesn’t know what could happen to her, anything could, how stupid do you have to be to want an adventure, I mean a real one? You could get attacked, and your teeth could fall out. You see I keep trying to read but all my thoughts circle back round to my teeth, which is silly because it’s not like it matters, my head isn’t even vibrating any more, and it didn’t hurt.