Whoooo! Big week, huh? It’s been long on photos and games so far, so it seems like a perfect time to reach for some fiction in Reader Art of the Week.
Luckily for us, we have lots more of the novel-in-progress blog reader Nicole sent me back in September. So let’s check out some more of the first chapter of Peratants: Year 1, shall we? (Click here to read the first part of the first chapter I posted.)
Note: last time we saw Emma Williams, our narrator and protagonist, she was sitting on the roof of her orphanage after a blow-up with one of the girls on her floor.
Here we go:
Chapter 1 (continued)
Why did I react like that? My head aching, I struggled to remember why. Then the dream came flooding back in. The room with the singing, and the man and the lady. In desperation, I gazed down into a puddle at my reflection. My reddish brown hair was a mess, loose strands hanging over my face. My dark skin looked ghastly, pale from the effect of what had happened inside. Only my blue eyes looked the same, the deep, warm shade that they always were.
“Psssst. Emma!” A voice came from down below. I walked over to the edge of the roof, distorting my reflection, and peered down. There stood one of my favorite people in the universe — the owner’s eldest son, Derek.
“What are you doing?” I asked him in amazement. “It’s like one in the morning!”
“I could ask you the same thing.” Derek, a well-built boy with brown hair and hazel eyes, gazed up at me. Yet, his face, one that had always been filled with merriment and a desire for video games, was empty, filled with concern and worry.
“Listen,” he continued. “I was asleep, and I had a sort of vision thingy.”
My heart pounded quicker. Was I about to find out what my dream meant?
“What was it about?” I asked as nonchalantly as possible.
“I dunno…” Derek seemed very uncertain. “I had to go somewhere — a river or something — and find a thing that was very important…” He screwed up his face in concentration. “It was like a paper thingy or something.”
“And why do you need me?” My voice was surprisingly calm.
“Because!” Derek was more agitated than I had ever seen. “I’m hopeless by myself! In the vision thing, you were there!”
“All right.” I was starting to get excited in spite of myself. “Where was this river?”
“I don’t know!” Derek began grabbing fistfuls of hair. “It was long…”
“That’s all I remember.”
“Um… the lake over by the boating pond?”
“No, it was shallower.”
“The wading river behind the supermarket?”
“A bit deeper.”
“It was longer!”
“Okay, okay! The Nile River?”
“Um…” I racked my brains. “The stream over by the old mill?”
Derek’s eyes lit up. “That’s the one!”
“How do you know?” I asked him nervously. “You realize that we’re about to go out to an old stream at one o’clock in the morning? I’m not sure…”
“Fine!” Derek snapped suddenly. “I’ll go by myself. I don’t know even why I bothered.”
He stormed off in the direction of the river. I stood still, staring after him, while a battle raged inside my head.
He said I didn’t have to come! One of the little voices inside my head exclaimed.
It would be the right thing to do! Now the voice that always told me the right thing to do chimed in.
It’s one in the morning!
So? That’s never stopped you before!
It’s really late!
Eventually, my instincts won, and I set off in hot pursuit of Derek. Unfortunately, this was easier said than done. I was up on the roof, and down below were people that would surely send me back to bed. So I was left with the only other option: jumping.
Springing from the roof as a cat might, I easily tumbled off the small, one storey building, and landed on the ground harshly. Muttering mutinously under my breath, I began the short walk over to the old mill. About 100 years ago, the mill was our town’s main attraction. People from the neighbouring towns would come, to use it or to benefit from it. Now it’s all broken down and old, but the river along it is what the fishermen in our town still use.
As I neared it, I spotted Derek, casually slouched against a tree.
And that’s that! I’m really liking this story so far — partly for the suspense (what is the paper thingy Derek saw in his vision? Will Emma and Derek find it at the old mill? Was it just a coincidence they both had visions on the same night?), but also for the humour. I love it when Emma is arguing with herself: “Boo hoo!” Awesome.
Many thanks again to Nicole for sending in her story. I’ll try to post more of it as soon as possible.
Talk to you next week!