I found a story yesterday. It was late, and I was half-heartedly sorting through a box of stuff that I hadn't opened since I moved four years ago. I was working on the assumption that there was nothing in here that I'd need and the contents would end up in one of three piles: charity shop / recycling / bin. And yep, pretty much the entire box was headed that way. Most of it was paper of one sort or another; none of it of much relevance.
Then, about two-thirds of the way down the box (which had a couple of paperbacks in that went straight onto the charro heap) a folder. A plain blue cardboard slip kinda folder. The sort you might stick last year's tax bumf into. There wasn't anything written on any of the top-right-hand corner lines to indicate if there was anything of value or relevance tucked within. I gave the folder a squeeze. If there was much inside, there could only be three or four sheets of A4.
Worth a peek anyway. You never know, after all.
Inside were half-a-dozen printouts, old handout sheets from a class I'd taught somewhen. Quite possibly from more than one week's work, because there were sheets on planning a short story, on the 8-point arc, on first lines, on prompts for writing. One sheet went through story archetypes.
One of the sheets was handwritten. A page from an A4 refill pad. Lined, margin. My ungainly handwriting all over it in a black gel-type pen that was fading to a muddy brown here and there. Some smudges; I'm a leftie and I drag my hand over what I write. If I've been scribbling down notes, then I'll like as not have a smear of ink on the outside of my little and second fingers.
It's a story. There's a title and three acts blocked out, with characters, locations, the main beats plus a few additional ideas. It reads OK. I've no recollection of writing it. There aren't any notions I've used elsewhere. it all fits onto a single side of paper.
I assume I made the notes in a class while the students were doing the same task; fifteen minutes, get your ideas out of your head and onto some paper. That kind of thing.
I'd guess the work is five years old. Maybe a touch more. I'll have to write it now. The title I gave the notes is Horseshoe Point. Keep an eye out for it. I'll keep it. If the story ever comes out, gets itself into a competition long-list or a magazine, then this is where it started. Just bear in mind it spent half a decade in a box of oddments, forgotten. Or just waiting for the right time to reappear.
Makes me wonder what else is boxed up, waiting to be found.