Checkpoint page
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Let's put everything together in a checkpoint piece. Here's the original snippet:

Wait... wait on... I can hear a car. No, it was someone passing. Someone leaving the city. If you climbed the dying jarrah trees down there towards the creek, you'd see the lights of the city. From here, the only lights in sight are from Cherry's roadhouse a hundred yards along the highway on the other side of the road. You can see their bowsers glowing, and sometimes you think you can actually see the numbers rolling in them, but you're just kidding yourself.

The tail lights of that car burn the bush up and go slowly out. Burke and Wills.

Ah, another car. That'll be the old man. He's late. Boy is he late. Mum'll be mad.

The car comes up the long drive towards us, but the engine noise is all wrong. Mum is going out. If I could, I'd go out too, but I'm all stuck, like the chair has hold of me. I'm scared, a bit. I am scared. I'm scared. There's fast talking out there. Isn't anyone gonna turn that engine off?

Here are the examples we've been building:

Hey hey hey... who’s that… Someone riding towards us. No, it’s an old man. Carrying groceries on his handlebars. If you went upstairs to the empty hair salon and looked out from the balcony over the rooftops, you would see the supermarket, very bright and busy, just blocks away. From our doorway down below, all you see are dark shops and empty windows running up and down both ends of the long dark street. If you see someone move in the shadows you jump, heart racing because no matter how old you are you still think you have seen the dead, just like on TV. 

The old man’s knees brush against his shopping bags as he pedals away. Dinner time.

There, a courier light. Definitely her. The job was more complicated. Sent her backwards and forwards. Emmanuel will want to charge extra.

The rider hits the edge of the light from our shop window, but it’s a man and he’s ringing his bell and shouting. Emmanuel is stepping towards him. I am holding the door frame, gripping the metal, like I’m keeping the building from collapsing. I feel sick. Sick in my stomach. Sick in my chest. Emmanuel and the man are making noises at me. Why don’t they use words?

There! I hear a bridle clinking. Wait, it’s from behind the house. It’s only the horses nosing in the stable. When I was a little girl, Mother and I had a pair of blonde ponies called Hansel and Gretel who were good for the small trails between villages. But when the Woodsman came to live with us, he brought two tall mares built for speed and named only for their colours, Oak and Chestnut. Chestnut smells like her name, and although I know she belongs to him, I like to believe that really belongs to me.

I hear the bridle jingle again and then Chestnut’s head appears at the stable door. Checking the mask. 

Ah, now a different bridle. That must be Grandma. She’s come back. She must have realised she wouldn’t make it. Mother will be relieved. 

Now I can hear hoofbeats coming down the path but that’s not right a pony wouldn’t gallop like that. Mother is opening the door. I would go out but somehow I’m trapped, the wash tub holding my hands like a snare. I might be afraid. I’m definitely afraid. I’m full of fear. The rider is shouting. Shouldn’t he dismount and come in for tea? 

And below is your version, joined together. You might need to delete some excess paragraph breaks.

Is there anything you want to edit? This is your last chance to make improvements before we conclude the lesson!

Do you:

  • use contrasting sentence lengths?
  • select evocative details?
  • reincorporate details from previous passages?
  • stretch out the action?
  • show point of view through the narrator’s commentary?
Delete excess paragraph breaks and polish your scene.