January 21, 2009

The Treachery of the Hills

Well, today was my first day back tutoring! It felt good--without a couple of staunchly Republican, over tanned, over fake elements there (what?) it went very smoothly. I had so much fun!

You'd never know I had walked thirty minutes in the snow in freezing temperatures uphill just to be there!

Yes, even now I can't quite type because my hands are so, so frosty. It was way too cold to bike so in my logic I walked. I've GOT to find out where these school buses come from, SURELY I look like a middle schooler.

But it was great. Me and my normal kid did vowels and he was very well behaved, then another girl read to us (very well!) and I helped another with homework. Then it was over :/ ...and I had to walk back.

You know, I love snow, but this shit right here? This shit right here?

So...I've been working on two separate stories lately. They're more or less kiddie stories. One I've posted excerpts from before and is the mermaid tale I've been trying to work on so long. The other I'm working on now is more or less a fairy tale...I love fairy tales as I've mentioned a few times before. Older ones, some contemporary ones...I try my hand at them every now and then but lately I've been feeling lucky and I think I've gotten better at combining my favorite elements almost seamlessly into something coherent and readable while still being myself.

Yes, it is time for an excerpt. This story is about a little girl lost and loster still. It's a strange mix of Alice in Wonderland and one of my favorite gruesome tales, Bluebeard. Those are the two main inspirations, then of course the typical "magical elements" I suppose. If it doesn't turn out too freaky I think I'll post the whole thing here.

Annabelle was hopelessly and irretrievably lost at this point. All it was, was a few right turns on a dirt road, behind the trees, through a field…she should have known when the houses she recognized began thinning out, and she should have realized for sure when the houses abruptly disappeared completely. There was no denying it now, she was quite a ways from home.

“Drat it all,” she muttered softly. “I do hate getting lost.”

She sighed and flopped down in the grass, staring at the clouds as they sailed by. Her golden ringlets sprawled like spilled silk across the emerald plain and she twirled a finger absently through the strands. The sky was so beautiful this afternoon, the grass so soft and warm under her that she was loath to rise again. The countryside was always so beautiful in the summer, she had never adventured out this far before and it was more wondrous that she could have hoped for. She would have to visit this quiet place again, if she ever figured out exactly where “here” was.

Another languid sigh and Annabelle rose to her feet. She didn’t have time to lie around and lounge, although being on the ground certainly meant she wouldn’t get anymore lost than she was. Still, it was foolish to hope that she could just lay there and be found; after all, who would think to look for her way out here? She trudged on with her school bag hanging heavily from her shoulder, switching it from left to right as she moved along, but all that did was make both her shoulders ache at the same time. To add to her frustration, the pretty, soft grass was becoming drier and drier, itching at her bare ankles.

After walking what felt like an entire mile in the seemingly never ending field, Annabelle spied a grey wall in the distance. Now dragging her book bag on the ground, she hurried toward it. As she came closer, she realized the wall was perhaps about waist level and appeared freshly built. The stone was very cleanly and uniformly cut and just beyond it the grass was visibly much lower and, best of all, she could see a well-worn path. Annabelle stopped at the wall and hesitated, panting in exhaustion.

“Well, it’s not quite right to just hop over a wall is it?” she pondered aloud. “But then again, I am very lost.”

With a shrug, Annabelle tossed her school bag over the wall. She waited a moment, but to her surprise she didn’t hear the dull thump one would expect from a heavy object hitting the ground. Annabelle blinked then peered over the wall. What she saw made her gasp: instead of land, what lay below was a very deep, deep valley, so deep that if she had jumped along with her bag she would have surely broken her neck, or worse. The beginning of the path was at the foot of the wall several feet below, where her bag now lay, her books all spilled out in the dust. Annabelle pulled back from the wall in fear that she would fall over as well.

“That certainly isn’t the way,” she said, voice trembling.

And now I'm going to defrost my nipples.

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