Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Carving, Part Two

Part one

Please forgive any factual errors, I didn't want to stop for research because I would likely never stop. The story is also probably set in 1996, or somewhere around then or maybe it'll be 20 years earlier. I have no idea at this point :P I also apologize for the muddling up of the tense...I want it to be in present tense, but sometimes I forget.
_____

The only books that fill her shelves are encyclopedias. 1921, 1933, 1946, 1958, 1976 (the year she was born), 1985 and 1992. The 1976 edition is her favourite. She collects the knowledge held within them like other people collect feathers or rocks.

"Why don't you try reading something else for a change?" he suggests, no hint of an ulterior motive in his tone. She stares at him as though no one had ever suggested this to her, as though she had no idea there were other books to be read. When the encyclopedia stage started just after her seventh birthday, the doctor cautioned to leave her be; this was a harmless quirk that for once they could satisfy. But Ryan had to try.

"Pardon...me?" The tone of her voice matched the look on her face.

"Alice In Wonderland, some Grimm fairy tales, Peter Pan, even." He waved his hands as he spoke. Her eyes grew wide, but then they shut and she shook her head firmly.

"No, no, no. I have read about all of those and I am not interested. Now leave me, I am reading." She opened the book and immediately became [engulfed] by the pages. Ryan did as she commanded, but he continued to watch his sister from the shadows. He does not see her again for three days. It is easy for him to avoid her. She moves slowly, drifting like a wisp of smoke from her room to the garden and that is if she moves at all. It is easy for him to remain unseen.

"I've got something for you," he says at breakfast again. When he wants to simply give a carving to her, it is always at breakfast. She will play with the carving for seven hours, no matter what else she may had planned for that time.

"Is it a carving?" she asks. he longs to hear a hint of anticipation in her voice but it is flat.

"What else?" and he produces a miniature tea set, the labour of the past three days. He cups five pieces in his hands: three cups, a teapot and a lid for the teapot. She plucks them from his hand. She sets them piece by piece on the table.

The tea set is painted with vibrant colours. The pot is red, with swirls of cherry pink. The lid, yellow. The teacups, one blue, one green, one purple, each painted with the same swirling pattern as the teapot. She regards them with an almost curious expression. He voices her thought.

"I know it's fairly different from my usual. I just hope you like it." The tea set puzzled not only his sister. He was not sure why he had to make it, but he always followed his instinct. The tea set would help her in some way, he was certain of it.

"I do. Thank-you." She observes the tea set for a moment and then collects the pieces and takes them to her room. Ryan stays in his seat, reminiscing about times long past.

Her third birthday. His gift: a fairy not unlike Tinkerbell. She gave him an enormous hug, the thing he missed most nowadays. he scooped her and help her high above his head.

"And what does the Princess Mairie want to do?"

"Tea party!" she squealed, grinning while she tried to escape his hold."

He sits in that spot for the rest of the day. The family eats outside so as not to disturb him.

In the following days, the temperature climbs to 40. The droning sounds of fans can be heard throughout the house. They do little to keep its occupants cool.

She is sitting in the centre of her bed. She has opened the windows as wide as they will let her, but no breeze flows through them.

Her hair is tied back into a high ponytail. She tied it with a frayed green ribbon. Her hair is beginning to frizz and curl from the humidity. She is wearing her lightest dress. None of her measures to keep cool seem to be working, as she can feel the sweat pooling in the small of her back.

It is noon. Her window faces south, and the light floods in. She does not move. She knows the heat cannot last forever, nothing does, and she is determined to out-wait it. She has been sitting on here since nine.

A knock at her door. She turns her head slowly, noticing her hair clinging to her back. It scratches and drags sweat with it.

"What do you think, a ice cream would be good right bout now? C'mon, I'm craving a Fudgsicle, let's go." He leaves the doorway without for a response.

She does not hesitate as she rises from her bed and follows the sound of his footsteps. She is stepping through the doorway when she hears her mother: "Put on your shoes, love." She glances at her bare feet. Her mother is right, she is not wearing shoes. She puts on a pair of sandals and runs to catch up to him.

He is waiting in his car. it is red, rusted, cracked, broken, and old but it moves. All the windows are down. She can see the heat leaving the car. He is listening to some rock song but he turns it off when she opens the door. She hates that sort of thing.

She feels her legs stick to the leather seats as soon as she sits down. She had not thought it the temperature could climb higher than what it was in her room, but clearly she was wrong. He started the car as she clicked on her seatbelt.

It is a five minute drive to the corner shop where they can buy ice cream. She feels as though the heat will kill her but she never complains. He chats with her the entire way. she gives the customary responses to all he says and he does not push her.

The shop is [atop] a hill, next to an abandoned gas station. It is only open during July and August, for the owner cannot afford to keep it open any longer. When Ryan parks the car, it is the only one in the lot. He does not bother to roll up the windows or lock the doors.

He holds the shop door open for her and [watches her intently. He is unsure about what he must do, but he knows it must happen. He follows to her to the ice cream [chest]. He does his best to ignore the whispering teenagers in the corner, though he cannot help but give them a protective brother glare. They role their eyes at him. Mairie is obvlious to the exchange.] [I think this paragraph needs a lot of work and expanding]

"So, what'll it be?" he says as they look through the ice creams. He cringes at the amount of enthusiasm in his voice. He follows her gaze as she tries to settle on one. [Suddenly], she jabs the glass with her finger.

"That one, please. Tropical cyclone."

"Sounds good to me." He slides open the lid and grabs her popsicle and his fudgsicle. He pays for their treats and they go outside. The snickering children have moved to the only bench outside. She is watching them now, uncertain of where to go. One sticks her tongue out at Mairie, and Ryan quickly steers her away from them. he does not want to see her upset, especially not now.

"Come on, we'll sit on my car. I'll grab the blanket."

they sit together on the hood of their car, trying to eat their ice creams before they melt in their hands. They face away from the shop and towards the [scenic vantage the hill provides them].

They lick their treats in silence. why is it that the one day he so desperately wants, needs, to listen to her, is the day when she is so silent? He struggles against the urge to pry her open. He fears she will crack instead of open.

The heat would melt them as fast as it did their ice cream if not for the breeze that starts to pick up. It lifts her hair and tangles it in her face. she sweeps her hair back only to have it swept into her face again. She does this over and over and over. Her hair tie has long since been lost.

He has begun to feel sick. It is a feeling he has not known before. His stomach churns and his head spins. He shuts his eyes, hoping the feeling will pass. It does not. Is this what guilt feels like? He knows he must act soon. Just get it over with. He tries to distract himself from the nausea.

"Let me throw that out for you." She nods and passes him the wrapper. Her fingers stick to his for just a moment and he realizes that this may be the last time he will have contact with his baby sister.

He walks to garbage faster than normal. His palms are sweaty now. He feels only a hint of relief when he sees the teenagers are gone and the shop is closed. It is only now that he realizes dusk has arrived. How long had they sat there? He throws the trash out and hurries back to his car.

He opens the door without a sound. He sits down without a sound. But then he must start the car: It roars to life. Her head snaps around. She stares at him. The expression on her face gives nothing away. he wishes his expression was the same, but it is not, he can feel it. It betrays every emotion warring inside him.

She asks something and though he can barely here her over the sound of the engine he knows exactly what she said.

What are you doing?

He shuts his eyes, grips the wheel and slams on the gas pedal.

Her shoulder hits the windshield and she rolls over the hood of the car. She bounces off the trunk and flies toward the road. She can hear the sound of her head hitting the asphalt before it does. Then there is darkness, and she is gone.

_____

Whoo, cliffhangers! :P I know how this entire story is going to play out, essentially, but this is the one tricky bit I haven't sorted out at all...I've written one more page but I've been having trouble moving on from there. Hopefully I will have gotten past the roadblock by next week.

Part three

No comments:

Post a Comment