Posted in The Path of Moonlight, Writing Endeavors

The Path of Moonlight: 8

Short recap. Charlotte found a hole in the crawl space under the house and dug it out till it was wide enough for her to fit through.  It led on to a tunnel which Charlotte unknowingly crawled through until she fell out the other end some time later.  The world she fell into was green and lush, nothing like she anything she had ever seen before in her city, though she believes she must be in a park.  A stranger confronts her and agrees to show her the way out of the forest. She’s convinced he’s either a homeless crazy person or an escaped lunatic from a renaissance festival (or asylum) because he’s dressed like someone out of LotR.

Wow. That was a very short recap. If you’re just tuning in, you can stop over at The Path of Moonlight: 1 to start from the beginning. I try to keep each installment under 1000 words for ease of reading.

======== The Path of Moonlight ========

“Please, believe me.  I don’t know where I am.”

“Did you come here to die then?” he asked as he watched me.

I shook my head as weariness crept into me.  How much time had I spent crawling through the dirt and then walking through the jungle-like park?  Hours?  It felt like hours, like many hours.  Too many.  I wasn’t used to this much physical and emotional exertion.

“I don’t want to die,” I said.  My words had to squeeze past a sudden lump in my throat and came out small and weak.  Tears filled my eyes.  I worked so hard to escape my guardians only to be caught and murdered by some escaped or homeless lunatic.  A stray thought entered my mind that, if he was homeless, the police should’ve confiscated his weapons a long time ago.  He was obviously a danger to society.

“Get up,” he said.  I blinked away the tears fogging my vision and sniffed.  “Get up,” he repeated and gestured up with his blade.

I stood, my legs shaking, and wondered if he was going to show me out after all.  But if he was, why not put his weapon down?

“Where are you from, girl?” he asked.  “None but the forest born travel through these woods.  If you didn’t come to die by them, then why are you here?”

He didn’t believe me.  In despair, I told the truth.  “I ran away from my guardians.  I couldn’t stay there.  You don’t know what they’re like.  I don’t know how I got here.”  I threw my hands up.  “I don’t even know where here is.  I just want to get as far away from my guardians as I can.”

He studied me for a minute longer before sheathing his weapon opposite his other blade.

“And so you came here though you claim to not know where here is,” he said.  “You must have lived a sheltered life if you don’t know of the forest born.  You would have been better off staying with your guardians than coming here.”  He looked her over before sighing and shaking his head.  “Come, I’ll show you the way out.”

A part of me wanted to argue with him, to make him understand why I had had to get away, but I knew there was no reasoning with crazy people.  He would show me the way out of the park and then we’d part ways and I’d be free.  Free to do what? I asked myself.  Starve perhaps.  I shoved the thought from my mind as I fell in step behind him. The moment I did though, he seemed to think better of it and stopped.

“Not behind me,” he said and gestured me forward.

“But I don’t know the way.”

“Walk beside me.  I don’t want you at my back where I can’t see you.”

His words held little patience, as if I should have known better.  I wanted to ask if he thought I’d smother him with my jacket or something – I literally only had the clothes I was wearing – but common sense dictated it wasn’t smart to antagonize crazy people, especially ones who held two blades sharp enough to separate my life from my body.

We walked in silence for more than several minutes.  I noticed he was alternating looking ahead and watching me.  Despite his lack of undivided attention on the less than smooth landscape, he didn’t stumble or slow his pace.  I, on the other hand, was constantly shifting my gaze from the ground and the trees to avoid rocks, stumps, and hanging lichen-covered branches.  Soon I was panting trying to keep up with him though I did my best not to show it.

“Where do you come from?” he asked.

“I’m not going back,” I said and was surprised at how mulish I sounded.

“I didn’t ask if you were going back.  I asked where you were from.  I don’t recognize your garb.”

“My garb?” I asked then remembered he thought he was from the renaissance or from The Lord of the Rings.  I shrugged and skirted the question.  “I don’t recognize your clothes either.”

He seemed puzzled over my comment.  “I wear the garb of any traveler.”

I decided it was easier to go along with his delusion and eyed his weapons.  “Are you a hunter?” I asked.

“Sometimes,” he said.

“What do you hunt?”

“It depends.”

I was trying to be polite but his short answers were exasperating.  “On?” I asked, trying to sound encouraging instead of impatient.

“On what needs to be hunted,” he replied and stopped to face me.  “Why ask me all these questions?”

I searched my brain for an answer that wouldn’t be construed as rude.  I didn’t think my real reason of “I figure no one else will give you and your delusions the time of day” would be good to share.

======== End of 8th Installment ========

Come back next week to find out if this mysterious stranger ushers Charlotte out safely or if he decides that she’s a danger that must be chopped up and left for dead.

What’s his name anyway? My girlish mind has two questions: 1) is he cute and 2) will he be a future love interest. I’m doing my best not to think of these things as I write though. Keep it casual, people, keep it casual.

I still think he’s a slave trader. The moment they get out of the forest, he’ll knock Charlotte over the head, tie her up, and sell her as a not-so-exotic specimen of forest born!

Stay creative!

imagine

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Posted in The Path of Moonlight, Writing Endeavors

The Path of Moonlight: 7

Did you like those pics I added in the last segment? I love the Hoh Rainforest. Most beautiful place I’ve ever been.

And my writing enjoyment continues.  Here’s the 7th installment in PM.

======== The Path of Moonlight ========

I stared at the blade, my mind strangely calm though my pulse hammered in my throat.  What do I call that? I thought to myself.  It was too long to be a kitchen knife or a dagger, too short to be a sword.  I couldn’t take my eyes from the sharpened implement being pointed at my face.

“Who are you?” a voice asked.

For a moment a crazed part of my mind thought the knife was talking.  Then I remembered there was more to the world than the tip of a blade and the realization that a person, a man was on the other end of the weapon sunk in.  I didn’t answer him.  I couldn’t.  I was transfixed and knew without thinking it that the moment I moved or looked away from the blade was the moment when it would strike me and I would die.

“Are you mute?” the man asked.  “Where’s your tongue, girl?”  When I continued to stay silent, he brandished the weapon in front of me and demanded I answer him.

The sudden movement and harsh tone made me wince.  I blinked, my eyes burning, and began to breathe again.

“Charlotte,” I said.  Squeaked actually so I had to repeat myself when he frowned at me.  “My name is Charlotte.”

“And what are you doing out here?  Nobody comes to this forest unless they wish for death.”

None of what he said made sense to me and I gaped, unable to grasp what to ask first.

“Did you hear me?” he asked, lowering the weapon a trifle.

I stuttered, trying to gather my wits and answer him.  “I…I don’t understand.”

His frown deepened as he stared at me and his stance became more wary.  I saw that he carried another blade at his waist about the same length as the one he held.  It didn’t make me feel better.  A small part of me briefly considered running if I ever saw the chance but I doubted I’d make it far.  His clothing was odd – nondescript, worn leather made up the majority of the outfit; he looked like something out of a romanticized medieval movie.  Even I, as out of touch with pop culture as I was, had seen pictures of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.  I had heard others talking at school about Renaissance festivals and such and wondered if he participated in those kinds of things.

The more I watched him, the more suspicious I became that he was an escapee from an insane asylum.  If I wasn’t careful, he may get violent and I might find myself skewered on those blades of his.  They looked real enough and sharp, but how would anyone, especially an escaped lunatic, find weapons like that?

“Are you one of the forest folk?” he asked and I saw his free hand curl around the second blade.  I tensed, sure now that he was an escaped lunatic, and wondered if I would be able to run away before he attacked.  I didn’t know how to swim so I couldn’t retreat backwards.  I didn’t know how deep the water was either.  Either I would drown going that way or it would be shallow enough for me to walk through in which case he’d be able to follow and, being stronger and faster, kill me anyway.

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“You don’t look like one,” he said and seemed to be speaking to himself as he studied me.  “But they’re known to change shapes.  You could be one.  I’ve never come up on one unawares.”  He was silent as he stared at me.  I stayed as still as one facing a wild animal might.  He sighed.  “Life is made up of firsts.  It’s a lucky man who catches a living forest born.”  He frowned again.  “Or unlucky.”

I licked my lips and attempted a timid request, hoping that might bring him to his senses.  “Sir,” I said, “I was walking through the park last night and got lost.  Could you help me?  My parents must be worried that I never came home last night.”

He looked at me strangely, as if trying to make sense of my words though we spoke the same language.  Then he pointed the blade at me again, his wary stance renewed with purpose.

“I will not listen to your lies, forest girl,” he said.  My hope that I’d break through his delusions and appeal to his better nature crumbled.  He obviously didn’t think he was Robin Hood or he might’ve helped a damsel in distress.

“I’m not lying.”  I stared at the weapon pointing at me and the pleading note in my voice was real.  After all I had done to run away, I didn’t want to die now that I was free.  “My name is Charlotte.  I have no idea what the forest born are.  I just want to get out of here.”

He didn’t move and his expression was hard as he stared at me, debating my words.

======== End of 7th Installment ========

Will this renaissance escapee lunatic believe her or will he capture her and sell her to the highest bidder of forest born oddities? Where’d that come from? No idea. Just making it up as I go along.

Come back later this week for the 8th segment. And try to do more that just trudge through your work week. Enjoy yourself!

smiling baby

Posted in The Path of Moonlight, Writing Endeavors

The Path of Moonlight: 6

We’ve got pictures this time! I wish had access to my own pictures, but I don’t. They’re on another computer that I have no access to at this time. It’ll be about a month before I can get my hands on them again so I’ll have to make do with other people’s photos.

Enjoy!

======== The Path of Moonlight ========

I didn’t stop to think that I had crawled farther than the house was long.  I didn’t wonder about my mother’s parting words.  My only thought was getting away from my guardians.  Long before I reached the end my arms and legs ached from shuffling forward on my belly for so long.  I had no idea of the time that passed, only knew that I had to hurry forward away from my guardians.  I had left them trying to widen the hole I had made.  They were both bigger than I, my father especially, but he was also stronger and could dig faster, crawl faster.  I could only hope his size would hinder them long enough for me to get above ground.

Fresh air cooled my face when I would have given up to rest.  Hope spurred me on that I would soon be free.  I was barely aware of my surroundings when I tumbled out of the ground.  I laid there on my stomach for a moment, head craned to the side as I reveled in the fresh air and wide space.  I pushed myself up on my hands but gave in to the desire to just lay there and rolled over on my back.

olympic-national-park (2)What I saw was green.  Green all around me.  The tops of trees soared above me, their leafy crowns thick so that the sun’s light was dimmed and pleasant.  Moss and lichen covered much of the bark, turning the trees into furry, unresponsive creatures.  Plants grew all around me, some large, some small, all various shades of green.  That was my first impression anyway.  When I sat up to get a better look, I saw purples and yellows and reds accenting the greens.

A tunnel was cut into the hillside in front of me.  It was small but so was I.  I peered into it but could see nothing after a few feet.  My thoughts swam in confusion and a wave of dizziness had me crouching on the ground.  I concentrated on breathing slowly till the world had steadied itself once more.

Tears burned my eyes and my heartbeat quickened in helpless fear.  I had so many questions.  How did I get here?  Where was here?  What was I going to do?  I looked around again as a thought shot through the others – where was the moonlight I was following?  It was daytime.  Had I crawled so long that the night had turned to day?  That was impossible!  I looked around and bit my lip.  Everything around me was impossible.

“Sssooo,” I said, prolonging the word for several heartbeats as I thought it through.  “I crawled through the city, underneath the city, and…came out in a park?”  It was the only idea I had that made any sense no matter how implausible it sounded to me.  “And the house’s crawl space just happened to be connected to an old, forgotten tunnel.  That leads out into a park.  And no one’s seen it because…it’s…off the path and…hidden by…plants.”  I looked around me and saw nothing but more trees and plants.  “Way off the path,” I said.  “Maybe the tunnel was used for…hiding priests or…runaway slaves.”

I was grasping at flimsy ideas that didn’t ring true for me, but what else did I have?  I stood up, body aching, and wondered which way I should go.  There was no path that I could see.  I was probably right about the tunnel staying hidden due to thick vegetation – no matter where I went, I’d be tromping through ferns and climbing over stumps and generally causing havoc that some unknown gardener or troop of gardeners would have to take care of later.  I sighed and shrugged my shoulders – there was no way around it.  I couldn’t stay there.

It occurred to me that my guardians might go to the police to report me missing.  I didn’t know what they’d say, how they’d explain the situation.  Shaking my head to clear the questions I had no way of answering, I started off.  Though it wasn’t cold, I put my jackets on so I wouldn’t have to carry them and then tried to wipe the dirt off me as best I could, but I was filthy and needed a bath.  How I’d get that bath, I didn’t know.  Nor had I figured out what I’d do when I got out of the park.  These questions gnawed on my mind as I trekked through the unending vegetation.

f68ab01543de6721ad61e570fc11d417I looked around as I walked and marveled at what I saw, but I didn’t stop until I spied a pond.  It was as green as the plant life around it.  Indeed, many of the plants were growing up out of the water and not just at its edges but in the middle.

I peered in and saw my reflection.  Its sharp face was streaked with dirt and its long dark hair hung down in straggly tendrils on either side.  With a noise of disgust, I tilted my head back and tossed my hair till the rain of dirt had stopped.  Then I twisted it a few times and tucked it into the back of my jacket so I could kneel down by the water’s edge.

The water was cold and clear against my skin when I scooped up a handful.  Having learned of animal bacteria and germs in unpurified water, I was careful not to drink it as I splashed my face and scrubbed the dirt off.  It felt good, refreshing.

I wasn’t aware of anyone else until I turned and saw the tip of a blade poised inches from my face.

======== End of 6th Installment ========

Hope you enjoyed the pictures! It’s a real place in the Olympic National Forest in Washington. The most gorgeous place I’ve ever seen. Completely and totally in love with it. I always thought my dream home would be in a place like Hawaii or something. Then I discovered places like this. Maybe I can have two dream homes? And then I’d vacation in Greece!
PicCollage

Posted in The Path of Moonlight, Writing Endeavors

The Path of Moonlight: 5

I feel like I need to hurry the action with these blog segments, like I’ll lose my audience (or never gain an audience) if I don’t.  I have to remind myself that everything comes in its own good time and that I’m doing this for me, not for others. Sometimes I want to hurry myself along merely for my own instant gratification.

It’s never a good idea to hurry things and this is no exception.

Here’s installment #5 of The Path of Moonlight.

======== The Path of Moonlight ========

My mother picked me up from school and was shocked when she saw the dark purple splotch blossoming around my eye.  The ice had kept down most of the swelling so I could see, but the tenderness was painful.  She was furious when I told her what had happened and I panicked that I had overshot my goal.

I hadn’t intended for the girl to elbow me in the face.  I thought our legs would get tangled and I’d fall again like before.  I’d come home with scraps and grass stains.  We did fall but she fell on top of me and my black eye was the result.

My mother locked me in my bedroom when we got home and gave strict orders that my homework be done by the time she came back.  She didn’t say when she was coming back.  Hours later my homework was done and the sun was down.  My empty stomach had been rumbling and twisting in pain for some time before she came back and pronounced my sentence.

I was to have no dinner and would go straight to the crawl space for the rest of the night.  In my shock I blurted out, “Till morning?”  Her smile was slow and unkind.

“You’d better put on some warmer clothes,” she said.  “The weatherman said it’s going to be unseasonably chilly tonight.”

Her advice surprised me – I hadn’t thought her kind enough to think to give it.  But it occurred to me that she wanted to see my dread of the coming night.  That sounded more like her.  It also would’ve looked bad if I died from exposure.

My clothes weren’t all that warm but I managed with jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, a hoodie and a jacket.  I was thankful holey, threadbare clothes would’ve raised unwanted questions and attention.  Even if my clothes weren’t the most fashionable or the best quality, at least they were whole and not drafty.

As I waited for my eyes to adjust to the dark of the crawl space, the realization that I was going to get out made me dizzy and sick.  I crawled on my belly to the hole that I had dug out.  I would have to go through headfirst on my back and that didn’t thrill me.  What was waiting on the other side?  How would I survive on my own?  Where would I go?  How would I stay hidden?  It occurred to me that I had no money and no food but it wasn’t likely that I’d have another chance like this.

I hesitated, staring at the hole I’d made, the moonlight shining through it.  Then I stopped thinking and began to shimmy and slide my body through the hole.  I had to take off my jackets in order to fit through and even then it was tight.  While going through on my back allowed me to bend and curve at the neck, along the spine, and at the hips, my knees didn’t bend that way so I almost got stuck.  But I still had my trowel and fumbled enough dirt aside to get my legs through.

It was a difficult procedure and it took some time, but I wasn’t worried.  The whole night was open to me.  With that hurdle crossed, I was able to take stock of my new surroundings.  They looked much like my old ones.  With no flashlight to guide me, I had no choice but to follow the original path of moonlight.  But where was it coming from?  The more I crawled, the farther away the source seemed.

I heard a noise behind me and stopped.  My heart was beating in my ears; I held my breath as I listened.

“Charlotte, get up here.  Your father and I want to talk to you.”

It was my mother’s voice.  Fear paralyzed me.  Panic swirled my thoughts into an incoherent mess.

“Charlotte?” she called again.  I heard movement, a scraping of shoes on concrete.  “Charlotte!”  The call came louder.  Then the glimmer of light from a flashlight peaked through the hole I had made and there was a gasp.

“Harold!” my mother screamed.  “Harold!  She’s gone!  Damn it, Harold!  Get over here!”

There was a pounding of feet nearing the opening of the crawl space and the sounds of scrambling through the dirt.

“Get back here, Charlotte!  So help me, if you don’t get your ass back here right now, you won’t be eating for a week!”

When I saw her head poke through the hole, the flashlight illuminating me, fear released me and I struggled forward as fast as I could.

“I can’t get through.  The hole needs to be bigger.  Hurry up!  Come on!  She’s getting away!”

My mother was screeching like I had never heard before.  There was a growl of frustration behind me and a sound as if she had punched the wood.  She probably had.  Fear of capture now spurred me on and I refused to look back, even when her voice floated to me as if on a spiteful wind.  It sounded like a far-away echo but I could hear the venomous words and they filled with me with ice.

“You haven’t won,” my mother said.  “There’s nowhere to go, Charlotte.  No one has ever escaped the Dosanya.  There’s nowhere you can hide where we won’t find you.  And we will find you.  Believe me, we will.”

======== End of 5th Increment ========

Thoughts? Comments? I’m a little worried about calling them the Dosanya because Dothraki popped into my head the moment I started the moment the letter D entered my head. It felt right to have them start with D and be 3 syllables long but I’m worried GoT fans will be reminded too much of the Dothraki.

dothraki_khal_drogo

Posted in The Path of Moonlight, Writing Endeavors

The Path of Moonlight: 4

The 4th installment of my story is out! Things are moving along. Charlotte has a plan for her escape but can she accomplish it without getting caught?

This segment resumes during her talk with her school counselor who’s worried that she’s not being social enough and wants her to join a school club in order to interact with other people. Maybe make some friends. Conform to the social norm! Conform conform!

======== The Path of Moonlight ========

“If you’re worried about your grades falling, think of it as a science study period,” she said.  “If your parents say no, tell them it looks good on college applications.  I might be able to convince your science teacher to give you extra credit for being in the club but only if you interact with the other club members.  According to Mr. Fitzroy, they’re doing some kind of botany experiment right now.  The student in charge of the experiment is convinced it’s going to look fantastic on his college application.”

My annoyance disappeared as interest took its place.  Botany was plant science.  They would need to work in the soil for any experiment involving plants.  I cared about botany about as much as I cared about any of my classes – it was something to study and a grade to earn.  Perhaps science was easier for me than some of my other classes but that only meant I didn’t need to spend as much time on it.

“I like botany,” I lied.

Ms. Grot smiled and I could see the relief in her face that she wouldn’t have to fight me on this.  “That’s great!  The club meets every day after school and then again during the free period on Wednesdays for those who want and can make it.  You can talk to your parents and if they have any qualms, tell me and I’ll talk to them.”

I wasn’t looking forward to talking to my guardians but I managed a smile and nodded.  As expected, they weren’t happy with the news that the school counselor wanted me to join a club, but the struggle was easier than I anticipated.  My guess was that they didn’t want to make a fuss over it and have the school pay more attention to them.

The next day I signed up for the science club and had to suppress a smile at my luck when I saw how many gardening tools the school shed held.

One of the club members, the one in charge of the current experiment, was an avid botanist and hoped to create a new plant hybrid.  He saw himself as an undiscovered prodigy.  This undiscovered hybridization would make him famous throughout the world and top brass universities would be clamoring for his admission.  “Delusions of grandeur,” the other students said.  But they all agreed that it was a good enough idea to be pursuing at the moment.  One of them told me in an aside that that meant nobody else had any other ideas.  And because there were so many gardening tools available, no one noticed when one of the smaller trowels found its way into my backpack.

Stealing the trowel made my stomach flip and quaver.  A quick glance around showed no one had seen me; however, I knew that the security camera had caught me and that someone would come to take me to the principal’s office and call my guardians.  What kind of punishment my actions would bring down on me caused my head to spin till some of the other students asked me if I was going to be sick.  But no one came for me and when my mother picked me up, I left with no difficulties.  The real difficulty came when I had to hide the trowel in my clothes at home.  After much consideration I tied the trowel to my thigh, positioning it on the inside of my leg and wearing a knee-length skirt so the bulge wouldn’t be noticeable.  Getting sent to the crawl space was the easy part – I “accidentally” dropped a plate when I was washing the dishes.  When my mother was finished yelling at me for being clumsy and breaking her plates, I was sent to the crawl space.

It took several minutes for my eyes to adjust but when they did I scooted over to the patch of light and started digging.  I couldn’t get it all done in a single session so I left the trowel by the growing hole rather than sneak it out and back in every time. I kept stopping, my ears straining for sounds from above, sounds that would warn me my guardians were about to let me out.  I also had to take care not to get dirtier than usual or it might arouse suspicion.  In my imagination everything I did ignited or could ignite their suspicion and I was sick from anxiety and stress every day.  It was almost a week and a half later when the hole was big enough.

Those last few days as I waited for my final opportunity it took everything in me to appear calm and still my alternating pale and flushed appearance made my mother question me.  She didn’t like taking me anywhere, including the doctor, but I had been acting unusual despite my efforts otherwise and I looked feverish.  I had gotten sick before, of course, and didn’t want to wait days cooped up in my room while she nursed me back to health.  I told her I was tired but fine.  She shoved a thermometer in my mouth and waited till it beeped before yanking it back.  My temperature was normal; she was satisfied and dropped the matter.

If I had to keep waiting like this I really would get a fever so I took control that day and made an aggressive play for the soccer ball.  The PE teacher was proud that I had gotten into the game instead of passively waiting for someone to kick the ball to me.  My reward was an ice pack for my black eye and a trip to the crawl space when my mother found out.

======== End of 4th Installment ========

Come back next week for Charlotte’s long-awaited escape from her rotten guardians! Where will she go? What will she do? And what on earth does this have to do with moonlight?

writing

Posted in The Path of Moonlight, Writing Endeavors

The Path of Moonlight: 3

On with the show! Without further ado, here’s the third installment of The Path of Moonlight.

======== The Path of Moonlight ========

The next day held a welcome surprise though I didn’t welcome it at the time – the school counselor called me to her office.  Panic seeped into my system – attention for me was a bad thing.  My guardians didn’t want people noticing me in any way out of the ordinary.  The notion often arose in me that they sent me to high school instead of continuing my home-schooling as a new form of torture.  I knew I would be punished at home if I drew undue attention to myself at school so every day held a note of fear even if it only simmered unnoticed under my calm.

As I waited the nervous tension built up in me till I thought I would throw up.  My breathing exercises did little to control this new perceived threat to my safety.  There was no way my mother would be satisfied with locking me in a closet or the crawl space this time.  Or perhaps she would but leave me there overnight.  I would have to use the bathroom at some point.  I cringed at the thought of lying huddled in my own filth, but I wasn’t sure what was worse – reeking of pee alone in the dark (and my clothes showing it) or reeking of pee in front of my guardians.  The imagined humiliation brought a cry to my lips but I bit it back before anyone could hear it.  The growing tears were harder to conquer but I was dry-eyed when the counselor ushered me into her office.

“Charlotte, I’m worried about you,” Ms. Grot said after she had folded her hands on top of her desk.

The recently banished tears sprang to new life.  I didn’t trust myself to speak so I cocked my head to the side to try to show my interest.  Either it worked or she saw the tears gleaming in my eyes because she continued.

“You’re a good student, Charlotte,” she said.  “You have solid A’s in your classes with a couple high B’s, you’re never late, and you never cause trouble.”

I frowned, the lump in my throat lessening with my confusion at this good account of me.  “Then what’s the problem?”

Ms. Grot pursed her lips.  “I have reports from your teachers that you’re not social enough.  I understand that you were home-schooled before you came here and I’m worried that you’re not adjusting to the social environment here.  It’s been almost three years and you still don’t talk to people unless you have to.”

“But I always do my part in group work and I always participate in PE when we’re doing team sports,” I said.  There were too many tears in my eyes and they had nowhere to go so I let them fall and didn’t bother hiding them.  Perhaps Ms. Grot would see the emotional distress she was causing and drop the subject.  It was a misguided hope – a school counselor had experience with tears.  She handed me a tissue and moved the box closer to me for future use.

“That’s true,” she said.  “You don’t shirk your responsibilities and you always participate but only when you have to.  According to these reports from your teachers, you don’t talk to other students nor do you do things with them unless it’s required group work.  You do your part but keep yourself separate.  It’s not healthy, Charlotte.  You’re seventeen.  You’re supposed to have friends.  You’re supposed to hang out with them and talk and laugh.  What do you use your free period for every week?”

“I study and do my homework,” I said.

“What do the other students do?” she asked.

“They walk the halls, talk to each other, ask teachers questions….”

“They do stuff,” Ms. Grot said.

Defensiveness reared up in me and my tears evaporated along with the lump in my throat.  “I do stuff.  Isn’t my studying a good thing?  I’m a good student and I never get in trouble.”

“Of course it’s good,” she said.  “I love it that you’re such a good student and that no one has to worry about you getting into fights or failing your classes or anything.  Grades are important but so are social activities.  You need to exert yourself more with that.  It wouldn’t take much effort – joining a club would be enough.  According to one report and your grades, you have an aptitude for science.  You may consider joining the science club.  They’re always happy to have new members.”

“But I can’t stay after school,” I said.  “My parents want me at home studying.”

My fear of the encounter with the counselor was gone but it had been replaced with annoyance.  I wasn’t in trouble but I was now expected to make my life more difficult by annoying my guardians.  If they had wanted me to join a club before, I was sure they would have picked one out for me.  I was positive I’d be going to the crawl space that night after I told them the good news.

======== End of Third Installment ========

I hope everyone is enjoying PM. I know nothing has really happened yet so there’s not much to pique your interest but every story needs a beginning and not every beginning can be heart-stopping. By now I hope you’re wondering who Charlotte is and what will happen to her. Look for the 4th installment sometime next week!

Happy weekend!

love-to-write

Posted in The Path of Moonlight, Writing Endeavors

The Path of Moonlight: 2

If you’re just now tuning in, I’m doing a little story just for fun here. I’m not trying to get this published or even make it publishable – it’s just a fun story to pass the time. Well, fun for me anyway.

If you’d rather start at the beginning, The Path of Moonlight: 1 is the starting post. This is the second installment though so you haven’t missed much. FYI, the “idea” my main character is referring to in the first sentence is to run away from her guardians.

======== The Path of Moonlight ========

Though the idea had merit, I hadn’t a clue as to how to accomplish it.  How did one go about running away?  When I was at school, the teachers were there and security cameras aided their supervision.  When at home my guardians watched me.  It was a two-story house and my bedroom was on the second floor.  The windows didn’t open to my knowledge.  I tried them but my mother caught me and locked me in the hallway closet.  There were shelves in that closet so I had to lie on my side on the floor, my limbs held tight to my chest in a fetal position.  By the time she let me out my bladder was screaming and my arms and legs were cramped and going numb.

There was a straight fall from those windows anyway.  They wouldn’t have done me much good.

Months passed before I saw my opportunity.  I had been sent to the crawl space again.  We had been playing soccer in PE class at school and one of the other girls had collided with me.  I didn’t have the ball.  It wasn’t because I shied away from sports – I was all right at most of them – I just wasn’t aggressive.  I’d take what was thrown – or kicked – at me, but I wouldn’t run into the middle of things.  This time had been an accident.  We hadn’t seen each other.  I went home with a skinned elbow and PE clothes streaked with grass stains from where I had fallen.  My mother wasn’t happy and my punishment to teach me to be more careful and aware was to send me into the dark under the house.

This time I had no school books and no flashlight.  I had long ago learned to quell my fear at being there.  I cringed and quickened my breathing, schooled my face to show a fear I no longer felt so my mother wouldn’t dream up some new form of punishment, but I dropped the act when she was gone.  Fear wouldn’t help; it wouldn’t make my time shorter or easier.  But the flashlight did and I didn’t like not having it.  It had been years since I had been faced with total darkness.  Before I had to force my breathing to be fast, now I had to force it to slow down.

I hadn’t forgotten my tricks for calming myself and, though it took several minutes, my heart rate did slow.  That was when I saw it, my escape.  Though I didn’t feel despair at my situation, I felt hope now that it would end.

The crawl space was just that – a small space under the house.  It led nowhere and light had never found a chink in its wood and concrete armor.  But there was a sliver now.  I crawled toward it on my belly.  I didn’t need to go far before my hands found the wall.  The light was coming from underneath it.  There was a hole in the dirt big enough for my hand but the ground was hard and I couldn’t dig through with my fingers.  I needed a tool and I knew where to find one.

======== End of Second Installment ========

Hope you enjoyed this second installment of The Path of Moonlight and I hope to see you back next week (or perhaps later this week as today is Sunday) for the third. Hope your weekend’s been good to you!