Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

Post  VotreReine on Tue May 27, 2008 12:47 am

It was the morning of March 23rd. The sun had begun to peek above the horizon. At the trees whispering with the wind. At the chorus of birds calling for its warmth.
The light swept through the town of Gimston. It shone off the corrugated iron and terracotta tiled roofs. The town’s surrounding bushland awoke in a faint orange glow.

At the white wooden number 14 house of Kynastan Road, the morning’s breeze passed through an open window on the second floor. The gumtree by the window rustled against the window sill. The wind chimes rang cheerily in response and the wind continued through the curtains to stroke the face of a girl.

She sat quietly at the end of a single bed. Silent and still, she appeared strange in her surroundings. She was far too neat and fair. Her bright eyes watched the owner of the room, who was tucked beneath the blankets. The teenage girl she watched slept with her head buried into her pillow. Despite this, she snored and mumbled loud enough to be heard.

The watcher was fascinated by the girl. By her messy red hair strewn across her neck and pillow. The way she grasped her blankets tightly and tugged them around her like it was a protective cocoon. The strange and harsh sound that appeared to be coming from the girl’s mouth. A sound she had never heard and had never expected to stem from a girl so small in stature.

The room held the same marvel to her. Clothes were strewn about in disarray. Cupboard doors were left open. Strange objects were pilled up on any flat surface available. She considered it remarkable the girl managed to find her way to the bed to sleep. It had given her a considerable amount of trouble to reach the bed.

She slid down from the quilt-cover mattress to stand. The sun illuminated her white blonde hair. Her delicate and pale dress tumbled in folds to her ankles. She bit gently into her pale lips, continuing to watch the other girl as she slept.

Birds began to sing louder, welcoming the new morning, and the sleeping girl began to stir. She kicked at the blankets and sheets covering her as her grumbling grew louder in her frustration.

The watcher had never seen such ferocity. Her heart beat faster. Her teeth pressed harder into her lips. Her throat became dry and her eyes widened in concern. She stepped backwards from the bed and rested a hand on a set of drawers to hold herself up.

“Rowan!” yelled a strange voice from outside the bedroom door, “Time to get up, Rowan!”

The sleeper groaned in response and the watcher jumped, knocking an alarm clock to the floor. Her eyes darted to the bed then back to the clock as it let out a metallic scream. She nudged it. Nothing. She tried again but it continued.
"Please be quiet. I didn't mean to disturb you. Please." She spoke in an urgent whisper, putting it back in its place.
The sound continued.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Please be quiet. Please! Why are you making this noise?"
She tried touching it to calm it down but the volume of the shrill increased.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” The girl named Rowan said croakily to her pillow. Grumpily, she pushed herself up, punched her pillow and turned her head towards the end of her bed. In her blurred view, Rowan could swear she saw a girl that shone with unnatural white hair and skin. Her eyes were wide, staring back at Rowan’s pillow-marked face. She stood stiffly in front of the chest of drawers. In the light barricading through the window, she appeared like an illusion.

Groaning and with strain, Rowan sat up properly, closed her eyes tight, yawned and looked again.
There was no girl there.
Rowan rubbed her eyes and tucked her messy hair behind her ears. She looked again.
It was just the chest of drawers and a small metallic alarm clock dancing on its spot.
She lunged to the side of her bed. Her fingers grasped for a slipper on the floor by her bed and with a weak throw she silenced the alarm clock.
Confused and tired, Rowan curled back onto her bed and buried her face in her pillow.


Last edited by VotreReine on Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:37 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Chapter 1

Post  VotreReine on Wed May 28, 2008 9:39 am

Two hours later, the bedroom door flung open, hitting the adjacent wall with a loud thud. A teenage boy ran in with heavy steps, determined and hurried. A baseball cap on his head with shocks of light blond hair poking out from underneath.
At the bed’s side, he ripped off the blankets to reveal Rowan curled up on her side and asleep in her pyjamas. Monkeys with crescent smiles stared at him from a folded field of bright yellow flannel. His lips tightened across his face as he considered his options. He didn’t like any of them but he had been given orders.

He gave her shoulders a shake. She didn’t respond. On the second attempt her hands pulled her blankets around her tighter. On the third, Rowan rolled over in a huff.
“Time to get up,” he demanded loudly, “and you know it.”

The only sounds that he could hear were the birds warbling outside. If only they would stop. They had been singing ever since he had knocked on the front door an hour ago. He could have even sworn they had followed him from his home to the gum tree outside Rowan’s bedroom window.

As he looked up he gave a frustrated sigh. Normal people, he was sure, didn’t snore and toss and complain as much as she did while she was sleeping. The idea of waking her up on a Sunday, her designated sleep-in day, made him rather unhappy. However, it was an order and the longer he waited, the longer his growling stomach was forced to wait for food.

In his impatience, he began to stroke the bottom of her bare feet. Instantly, her back straightened and she bit her lip. When his fingertips tickled her faster, she burst into a giggle fit, rolling and flailing her arms until she begged for mercy between bouts of breathless laughter.
“Stop it!” she cried, and he stopped, satisfied that she was now awake.

She pushed herself up to a sitting position. Yawning, she slipped her feet off the side of the bed.

“You better hurry. Your mother’s made a hot breakfast today,” he said as he walked towards the open door.
“Hot breakfast?” It took Rowan minutes to be able to see clearly but an hour or more to be able to properly converse and understand anything said to her.
“Pancakes, crumpets, bacon, eggs. Enough to be a three course dinner.”
“Nice.” She blinked, slowly.
“Better get down there before it gets cold.” With that, he walked into the hall.

He let out an exhale of relief, knowing that sounds the grumbles echoing inside would soon finish. Hours waiting for food in the morning weren’t part of his usual practice and as such, he was beginning to feel ill.

Even the wallpaper made him hungry for it was covered with orange trees of dark green and with bright orange fruit, lined in columns. Each column’s pale green backing was divided by lines of white. The orange tree wallpaper lead to the other bedrooms and, just like the cream carpet below his feet, connected both floors by the stairs.

He couldn’t help but notice this family’s favouring of green, orange and white extended to most of the furniture, walls and items in the house. White doors, white plates, white curtains, green cutlery, green walls, green tiles and the bit of orange that was in every room whether a tap, a doorknob or a cushion.

Whilst he pondered colour co-ordination, Rowan made her way to her drawers and upon finding her slipper, she twirled it in her hands thoughtfully.
“Scott!”

He popped his head back in the room. “Hmm?”
Standing at least a head and half above her, she always had to look up to catch his green eyes. Whilst she had not grown at all for quite some time, to her he seemed to have jumped up to the sky and stretched his legs and his arms. Though, he had never made a point about their height difference.
“Did someone come into my room earlier?” She eyed her alarm clock suspiciously. The hour hand on 6; the minute hand on 3 and the second hand right on 12.
His eyebrows furrowed, he stepped into the doorway and his expression turned to confusion. “Nope. Why do you ask, Reid”
“I... I thought I saw someone. A girl, but she didn’t seem… normal.”
“Reid, it’s called a dream.”
She glared at him. The glare she gave anyone that seem to imply that she was being childish or stupid.
“What?” he said, putting his hands up defensively, “You were asleep when I found you.”
“I guess you’re right.”
“Okay. Just hurry up. I’m starving.”
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Re: Chapter 1

Post  VotreReine on Sat May 31, 2008 6:15 am

8:13 am

The kettle was whistling as Rowan walked into the kitchen. The smell of breakfast caught her nostrils and dragged her in. Freshly squeezed orange juice, stacks of pancakes, waffles and crumpets, jars of jam, marmalade and honey, a plate of eggs (scrambled, poached and fried), a tray of buttered toast and two smiling faces awaited her at the table.

“Happy Birthday!” Scott and her mother said together, both wide awake and smiling, as Rowan sat at the table. She didn't share their enthusiasm.

“Would you like a coffee?” She asked as she stood.
Rowan considered the line of grey roots of the woman’s hair between the sides of brilliant red, pulled back into a loose ponytail, and the tired but warm brown eyes returning her gaze.
“No thanks, Mum. I don’t drink coffee.”
“Tea then?”
“I don’t drink tea either.”
“Okay. Fingal, would you like something while I’m up?”
“Mum! He prefers to be called either Fin or Scott.”
“Well, I think it’s a darling name.”
“Mum!”
Embarrassed, Rowan turned to her friend. He wasn’t bothered and merely replied, “Thank you, Mrs Reid, and I’d love a coffee. Milk and two sugars please.”
She nodded and proceeded to the kettle, quietly adding, "How many times do I have to tell you to call me Charlene?"

Rowan stared at Scott. She couldn’t believe he would let her mother call him Fingal, but not her, when they had been friends for as long as they could remember. Or that her mother still continued to call him Fingal after all those years. How many times had she told her? How many times had she faced the embarrassment of him being reminded of the name he hated? Didn’t she have any respect at all of either of them? And what of him, not making a fuss at all? No awkward silence, no fake smile, no leaving the room. A polite thank you and a smile.

Normally, she would have demanded an explanation but not with her mother in earshot. Instead, she began a silent, almost telepathic, conversation with Scott once she caught his eye.

She flipped her hands from the table out to her side, palms up, whilst she stared intensely at him. Her left hand jerked demandingly in her mother’s direction.

She meant: What?! You still let my mother call you that?

His eyebrows rose as he pointed an angled, palm up, hand in Mrs Reid’s direction and almost seemed angry. Next he turned to Rowan and shrugged and smiled apologetically.

He meant: It’s your mother. It doesn’t really matter.

She scoffed and pointed to her chest with one finger. She repeated but pressed harder and lastly slapped her hand in the same place.

She meant: What about me? I don’t get away with calling you that.

He shook his head and rolled his eyes. Looking at all the food spread out, he put both his hands heavily on the table.

He meant: I can’t believe you. It’s nothing. I just want to eat

She crossed her arms as her mother returned to the table with two steaming mugs.

She meant: Fine!


“There you go, Scott.” Her eyes glanced to her daughter, then back to Scott.

She tried to smile and offer pancakes despite the awkward tension in the air. The air was uncomfortably thick. So much so it may have suffocated her if her daughter caught her looking her way. She successfully managed to cover every white spot on Scott’s plate, much to his delight, but gave up trying to convince Rowan to eat. Usually she loved large warm breakfasts. Both would have contested for the last speck of food since both of them ate at such meals like they have been starved for weeks. Not today and she couldn’t help but feel disheartened by the fact it all came down to her saying the wrong thing, but the right name.

As Mrs Reid began to load the dishwasher after she and Scott had finished eating, Rowan covered her won plate but ate slowly and a small smile crept onto Mrs Reid’s face. She was careful not to let her daughter see.

Mrs Reid watched her for a while and though she wished to ask her daughter what was wrong, she felt it best to leave her be and had a fairly good idea what the answer was. None of her questions would have received more than a huff.
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Re: Chapter 1

Post  VotreReine on Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:16 pm

8:58am

“So would Miss Grumpy like her presents or is it off with our heads?” Scott asked as he carried in a box covered in red and white checkered wrapping paper.
Rowan smiled. Even in her worst moods, he managed to make her smile and she always found she forgave him.
“Is that…?” Scott joked, “Wow, it’s a smile!”
He placed the box on the table and looked at her expectantly.
“Well, isn’t Mum coming?” Rowan said turning around and turning back. Her mother had gone to all the trouble of cooking breakfast but she wasn’t around now?
He shook his head.
“Where is she then?”
He shrugged. “I think she left.”
Rowan looked down as she folded her hands in her lap. Guilt was circling through her head. Her mother probably didn’t want to see her after the way she acted.

Scott quickly grabbed her arms, brought them up above the table and dropped them so her hands landed on her present.
“Open it,” he said as he poked her in the shoulder with his finger.

Gently, Rowan removed a piece of tape and unfolded some of the wrapping. She unfolded it further, giggling to herself as she did. Opening presents was one of her favourite things to do. There was a rip as she unfolded the next piece and unable to wait any longer she began ripping through the red and white squares until she found a white cardboard box. Paper was thrown across the table before she gingerly opened the white box.

When she saw her face reflected back at her, she gave Scott a smile and with a little squeal like noise, pulled the round object out. It was a snowglobe, whose glass shone tints of blue, pink and green with the slightest movement. The bottom was flattened and covered with a round mahogany piece of wood as a stand. Inside the glass orb was a small village by the mountains, surrounded by a miniature forest and what appeared to be a piece of light blue glass as the frozen lake nearby. Everything inside the globe was covered with small white snowflakes that followed every movement of the water inside.

Rowan gave it a shake. Bubbles and snowflakes mixed for a moment. She set the globe on the table and slowly the snowflakes began to settle on the village below.

“Thank you!” said Rowan as she jumped up to hug Scott. He nodded as she threw her arms around his mid section and squeezed. When she looked up, he returned the smile but the look in his eyes told her she’d squeezed a little too hard. Rowan whispered an apology before adding, “Let’s add it to the rest.”

She led the way up the stairs to her bedroom. Up the carpeted steps she ran. In her hurry, she missed every second stair and nearly tripped. Scott, however, wandered after her at a much slower pace, amused by her enthusiasm.
“Come on Scott!”

When he reached her bedroom, she was standing impatiently at her chest of drawers. She opened the top right drawer with one hand whilst the other placed the snow globe in it. There were many other globes already in the drawer. Some had forests and lakes, mountains and valleys, cars and houses. One had a cave behind a frozen waterfall.

15 snow globes for 15 years. All shining brightly back at her. Rowan fully understood why she liked them. They were so small and delicate in design. Something she would never have the ability or patience to create. Something that remained intact although its intended purpose was to shake it. They were fragile and beautiful. Perhaps she liked them as they were so different than she was and they fascinated and entertained her.

When she turned to Scott, his eyes had widened. He hadn’t seen them all together before but had still known of their existence. He had given them all to her, although the first four had technically be given by his mother.
“That’s a lot of glass balls.” He muttered, never moving his eyes from them.
Snowglobes.” Rowan corrected.
“It’s still a lot of shiny globes.”
They glanced at each other, considering what to do. They promptly began to shake all of the globes, as many as they could until the snow in each began to settle at the same time. It took a few tries and they nearly broke two but they accomplished it in five minutes. They broke out laughing at themselves and closed the draw with a click.
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