ah!! omgosh, I’m so excited!! ♥ ♥ ♥
Writer’s block. Allison can’t seem to concentrate on the paper that’s due tomorrow. Time is ticking away and she doesn’t even have a story topic yet. But when she stumbles upon something in a desk in the attic, the writing becomes a lot easier. What does she find? How does it help her?
In The Attic
I couldn’t think of a single story worth writing – or even worth considering, for that matter. Lying in bed, starring up at the ceiling, I tried to concentrate. I zoned out, entranced by the teal blue wall in my bedroom. A story – something creative. It had to be about a character that had to make a decision. What kind of decision! I moaned and sighed heavily. Rolling over, I planted my face in the pillows. Why can’t I think of anything! Frustration clouded my mind. I have one day to write this paper and I don’t even have a topic yet. The vibration of my phone distracted me momentarily. It was a text from Elaine.
Fingers flying across the small keypad, I responded, “Hey sweetie. How’s yer story comin along?”
Her answer came within seconds. “Pretty good. 2 pgs down, 1 to go! Wbu?”
Chuckling, I shook my head. She never had trouble coming up with ideas. “Not so good. I’m stuck. Idk wat 2 write about.”
“Awh, dnt worry honey. U’ll think of something.” I smiled as I read her text. I hope so.
Three more hours wasted. I sat idly at the kitchen table, waiting for my spaghetti noodles to cook. Where is the time going? I should have a topic by now! Elaine probably had her paper completely written by now. Leaving the noodles to cook, I wandered through the house. Passing the office, I saw mom sitting at the computer, as usual, and saw Stephanie and Derek, my sister and brother, through the window. They were swimming in the neighbor’s pool. Lucky. Sighing enviously, I continued blindly walking through the house. Entering my room, I slumped onto the bed. The closet door was open and I looked inside. Ugh, what a mess. Shoes and other small objects cluttered the floor. Suitcases hid under the shirts, skirts, jackets, sweaters, and dresses that lined the closet. And that ladder… The ladder–leading to the attic. Maybe I can get an inspiration up there. It certainly can’t hurt. Reaching the top of the ladder, I hoisted myself up. Heat descended upon me and I found it hard to breathe, but I pressed on. Orange, red, and white bins were stacked up along attic and I stopped to peek inside a few, exploring the contents and forgetting the real reason I was there. Looking up, I saw an old, antique desk. Walking over, I sat down in the little chair and began pulling out the drawers, smiling at the old family artifact. I glimpsed inside each one, but the small drawer on the bottom right hand side was locked. Curiosity peeked, I began searching for the key.
Lifting up papers and flipping through books, I examined each space. At last, I pulled out a copy of The Sun Also Rises, and with it something hard plummeted to the ground, landing on my toes. Cringing slightly, I set the book down and bent over to see what had fallen. It was a small, shiny object on the floor. The key! Snatching it up, I held it up to the light. It’s so old. In awe, I pushed it into the little hole. A perfect fit. Turning the key, anticipation built up as I unlocked the drawer and carefully opened it. A long, wine red velvet case lay inside the drawer, containing an old pencil. Little gold vines encircled the pencil, working their way up to its small eraser. Why was that worth protecting? Realizing I didn’t even know who locked it away, I made my mind up to ask Dad that night at dinner. I stuffed it into my blue cardigan pocket and crawled back down the ladder. My spaghetti noodles had probably overcooked by now.
“So, what’s the last paper for your summer writing class about?” My mom asked, scooping a small pile of potatoes on everyone’s plate.
“Well,” I stuttered. She wouldn’t like the answer. “I, uh…I’m actually not exactly sure…” Looking at her face, I added a delayed “yet” to the end of my sentence.
“Isn’t it due tomorrow, though?” She asked, worry clear on her face.
“Yeah, but, I’ve done it before. I can do it again,” I replied with a reassuring smile. Changing the subject, I turned to my dad. “Hey, I found an old desk up in the attic today. Was it yours?”
“I think it was your great grandfather’s. So, shouldn’t you have been busy writing?” he asked, eyebrows raised and smiling slightly.
“Yeah, I was having writer’s block, though,” I stated. “So, there was a pencil in a velvet case in one of the drawers, but the drawer was locked and the pencil was the only thing inside. Do you know why was it so important?”
Distracted as he poured us each a glass of iced tea, he brushed the topic off. “I have no idea.”
Shrugging my shoulders, I moved on. Oh well.
Later that night, I sat at the small desk in my room. I was getting a little worried now. This paper was due tomorrow at two and I hadn’t even started yet. What was I doing all day? Annoyed with myself, I tried to concentrate, but my mind died again. Of course. Throwing my head back, I slid down onto the floor from my bed. Okay, I have to write ideas down, at least. Determination set in and I opened my desk drawer to grab a pencil. None were there, however. I looked in all the other drawers, but couldn’t find one. Annoyed, I whispered his name, “Derek.”Always drawing a superhero or bad guy, he lost practically every pencil he owned and helped himself to mine. Remembering that the old pencil was still in my pocket, I pulled it out and began writing down some ideas. They were flowing now. So quickly. And they weren’t stupid. They were really good. Well, all you need is a little determination. I smiled, satisfied. My little list of options was good. Almost too good. Choosing might be difficult! But that wasn’t a problem. Ah, I can finally start writing.
The digital clock flashed and I looked over at the time. 2:29am. The time had certainly flown by. I had two pages now and the story was pretty good. I was getting tired, though. I longed to rest my head on a cool pillow, hugging another and just drift off into a peaceful sleep. But I was almost done. Just a few more minutes. My eyes drooped and I decided to rest my head for just a second. But the second turned into an hour and I woke up at 3:30am. Sleepily crawling into bed, I disregarded the fact that I hadn’t brushed my teeth, put my retainer in, taken my vitamins, washed my face, or even set my alarm clock. I just need sleep.
The next morning my mind was flying. I woke up late—11:30am—giving me a sense of urgency. Grabbing the two pages I had hand written the night before, I looked for my pencil. Where is it! “Derek!” I shouted.
“Derek! Come here!” I demanded. I needed a pencil and since he took mine, he was going to replace it. “Derek!”
“I’m right here!” he said, casually strolling into the room. “What do you want?”
“I need a pencil. Hurry, I have to finish this paper. Go get one for me.”
“Why should I?” he argued, crossing his arms and raising his eyebrows. “I’ll make you a deal…”
My temper was close to the breaking point. Through choppy breathes I ordered, “Get me a pencil. Right. Now.” I stared into his blue eyes with a straight face.
Rolling his eyes, he walked away slowly, a trace of a pout evident. Returning five minutes later, he handed one of his mechanical pencils. Could you have taken any longer? I read through what I had written so far. This is pretty good. I congratulated myself. But now I was stuck. What would happen next? My mind had died again. Ugh, I should have finished this last night! The minutes were ticking away and the few ideas I had were unrealistic. Half an hour later I called for Derek again.
“What do you want now?”
“Derek, listen. You know that pencil you took off my desk this morning. I need it back.”
“Just do it, please?” I asked, too tired and rushed to explain.
Pulling the curtains over the windows, I tried to create the same environment. Something about yesterday helped the writing process move along a lot quicker. Whether it was the pencil or late night writing, I had to get it back and finish this paper.
The words were flowing again. I smiled and continued scribbling on the page. Gripping the decorative pencil in my hand, sentences came without hesitation. Line after line appeared on the page until I had to get a new sheet of paper. I looked over at the clock. One thirty. There – done! Now I just have to type it up. While typing the paper onto a word document, I fixed a few grammatical errors and spelling. Finished. Sitting in class, I thought about the paper. It had to be the pencil. Thinking about its past, my mind wandered to the desk. Great grandfather’s, huh? My mind raced back to when I was little—only five or six. Grandmother had invited us down to have dinner with them. Playing hide and seek with Stephanie, I snuck into Grandfather’s office. He was writing. Was it with that pencil? Mrs. Gaier’s question pulled me out of the memory. “Would you read this paper, Allison?”
“Sure,” I responded. I’ll find out about that pencil later.
Adalyn Clarke is completely confused when she wakes up in 2112. Everything is new and updated, and she doesn’t know how to work anything. Her husband and children have to show her the newest things and she desperately tries to learn.
“Adalyn. Adalyn. Time to get up.” Adalyn Clarke’s eyes opened slowly. Huh? Bolting up into a sitting position, she starred at it. A robot? She looked around. This is not my room. As the robot rolled away, she looked around the large bedroom.
“Honey, I’ll be back late tonight,” a voice cut through her thoughts. She stared at her husband as he quickly finished reading the last few sentences in a certain column in the newspaper. Peering over his shoulder, she read the year–2112. “The office is having one of those dinner meetings about the space tours tonight, so I won’t be back until after dinner,” he stated, distracted.
“Space tours?” she questioned.
Looking up, he raised an eyebrow. “…Honey, I’ve been telling you about this for weeks. The project…tours in space. Around the planets, remember?”
Deciding to go along with him, she agreed, “Oh yeah, that.” Still confused, she shrugged her shoulders and mocked herself. “Of course, yeah, tours around the planet…for anyone. Yep, well, that’s just great–dandy.”
Looking at her peculiarly, Dylan turned and stepped through the steel door, which automatically recessed into the wall as he stepped toward it.
Since when did we have a door like that? Shaking her head, Adalyn stared at her reflection in the thin piece of steel. Slowly stepping forward, she examined it closely, leaning in. How does this work… As she looked at the sides, the door quickly vanished into the wall and she stumbled backwards, clumsily falling to the carpeted floor.
I have a daughter? “Yes?” she replied, rubbing her head and standing up slowly.
“What were you doing?”
“Oh, that, um…I was just, uh…nothing,” she stuttered. “Did you want something?” she asked.
“Yeah, can you put the breakfast order in? Ever since Timmy broke Frinda, Daddy said we can’t use her till we’re teenagers,” she stated begrudgingly.
Apparently I have a son too. But… “Frinda?”
“Our refrigerator, silly,” she giggled at her mother’s strange behavior.
“Oh yeah, right…um, how did he break it…or, her?”
“Mommy!” Defensive and upset, she argued, “You know that wasn’t my fault! I told him not to but he just wouldn’t–”
“Never mind,” Adalyn stopped her, holding up her hands in surrender. “Alright, give me a few seconds to get dressed.”
As her daughter, still nameless, walked away, dark curls bouncing, Adalyn turned to find her clothes.
Stepping toward the large chest of drawers, the bedroom door slid into the wall, closing, and she turned to look at it once again. How do I lock the door? After several seconds of looking for a button or switch, she concluded it must take orders. “…lock,” she commanded unsurely. Not certain if the door had locked, she grabbed some jeans and a tee-shirt and changed in the walk-in closet. “Okay, you know what?” she reasoned with herself. “I’m either dreaming or…something else is going on. So, I know I have a husband, but apparently I have two children…as far as I know. But that’s okay. I can do this. Yeah.” Trying to build confidence, she stepped out of the closet and headed for the door. However, the door did not open and she brutally collided with its hard surface, her toes and nose taking most of the blow as she fell backwards once again. Half laughing at herself out of pure embarrassment and half cringing at her aching foot and face, she stood up unsteadily. “Unlock?” she questioned. Immediately, the wall devoured the sheet of steel. Rolling her eyes and hoping her nose wouldn’t bruise up too badly, she made her way to the kitchen.
Wow, this is nice. She looked around at the large stove, interesting fridge, and strange dining room table. “Alright, what do you two want to eat?” Opening the fridge door she began, “Looks like we have…too much. Look how deep this fridge is! I’m going to have to pull everything out to know–”
The two children burst out laughing. “No, Mommy!” Adalyn smiled, eyebrows raised and eyes widening; apparently they thought she was joking.
“Well, why don’t you show me how to do it,” she asked the little girl, still unsure of her name.
“But why does Tonya get to do everything?” Timmy, her little boy, interrupted.
So that’s her name. “Well, how about I promise that you can do it tomorrow. Sound okay?”
Smiling approvingly, he nodded his head. As Tonya proudly walked around the little island, she grabbed the fridge handle and closed the door. “What can you make for us, Frinda?”
Adalyn’s eyes slowly shifted towards Tonya as Frinda responded in a choppy, robotic voice. Pictures appeared on a small touch screen. “Today’s options are: omelets, Danish rolls, over easy eggs, waffles, pancakes…”
Selecting the picture depicting pancakes, Tonya also plugged in the number of pancakes and which sides they wanted – fruit and bacon.
Ten minutes later, they sat at the kitchen table, eating warm pancakes, fresh, cool fruit, and crispy bacon. “So, what are we doing today?” Adalyn posed.
“I thought you said we could go to the ocean aquarium?”
“Oh, did I?” Though Adalyn had no clue as to what the ocean aquarium was, she agreed, shrugging her shoulders. “Ok, sounds great! Are you both dressed and ready to go?” she smiled.
“So am I!” Timmy chimed in, jumping up and down. His blonde hair matched Dylan’s and she noticed that he had Dylan’s brown eyes as well.
“Why don’t you go get in the car while I put these plates in the sink and give them a quick rinse,” Adalyn suggested.
“Sinks are for old houses, Mommy.”
Looking around, Adalyn realized there was no sink. “…well, how do we wash them?”
“You’re silly, Mommy. Come on, let’s go!” Racing to the car, they left her behind, still holding the little pile of dishes.
“Well, I suppose I can do them later,” she mumbled. Setting them back down, she walked away, following the laughter of Tonya and Timmy.
Eight hours later, at five o’clock that evening, Adalyn, Tonya, and Timmy walked through the front door, worn out from the day at the ocean aquarium.
“That was so cool,” Tonya awed, slumping into a kitchen chair.
“I love sharks!” Timmy said, creeping up behind Tonya and scaring her out of her seat.
“Stop it! I hate those things. What did you like best Mommy?”
Adalyn barely heard her daughter ask the question. Wow… “Well, um…the dolphins, I guess,” she randomly picked something she enjoyed. “So…” she wondered how she could ask the question without it sounding peculiar. “Pop quiz!” she shouted, smiling playfully. “When was the ocean aquarium founded?” Congratulating herself, she looked into their puzzled faces.
Suddenly, Tonya’s face brightened up and she responded, “2100!”
20 years ago!
“Good job Tonya! How many times do you think we’ve gone there? Two or three times?”
“No way, Mommy! Teacher took us twice and you took us three times, counting today.”
“Oh…” her mind drifted off. Three times, huh? Realizing the children had not eaten since lunch, over five hours ago, she stated, “Well, I should probably fix dinner. What do you all want?” Options appearing on the touch screen, Adalyn asked, “How about basil cream chicken? We could have pizza, or…”
“Pizza!” they chimed together.
Chuckling slightly, she agreed, “Pizza it is.”
Just as Adalyn set the pizza on the table, each placemat dropped into the table and plates slowly rose from a little pole. Mr. Clarke walked in and the children ran to greet him.
He smiled and hugged them both, then handed his laptop to the robot. “We’re having pizza,” she smiled gently, inviting him to take a seat.
“Sounds great. So, what did you all do today?” he asked Tonya and Timmy.
“We went to the ocean aquarium! It was so cool, Daddy!” Tonya answered excitedly.
“But Mommy was weird today,” Timmy laughed.
Tonya, barely able to breathe through bursts of laughter, explained. “We had to show her…how to use the car! She was looking for keys!” Tonya’s face was all scrunched up as the silent laughter spread to Timmy and Dylan. Adalyn laughed along, blushing but trying to hide her embarrassment. “And then,” Tonya continued, “when we got there…she was afraid to go into the aquarium.” Laughter dying down into playful giggles, Tonya went on. “I had to explain to her that she took us there last month and that it was completely safe.”
Her mind raced back to that afternoon. Adalyn remembered the doubt she had when arriving at the ocean aquarium. The large, thick glass tunnel leading straight into the ocean terrified her at first sight. Though assured the air was plentiful and the structure was totally safe, she feared sharks and, in all honesty, the ocean itself. Tonya and Timmy had grabbed her hands and practically pulled her along into the depths of the sea. At the bottom of the ocean floor, Adalyn’s mind whirled with possibilities. All that pressure from the glass could break. And we would either be eaten alive by sharks…or go through jellyfish stings…or just drown. None of us would make it. She remembered how, as they walked around the small, circular, glass room, her heart beat increased and the room seemed to get smaller. Her head throbbed and she wanted to scream. How much longer is this going to last? Annoyed with the tour guide, who pointed out seemingly everything that had to do with the ocean, Adalyn had anxiously awaited the journey’s end.
Tonya’s statement brought Adalyn back into reality. “Mommy, being afraid to go into the ocean aquarium is like being afraid to go into a restaurant. It’s just like a museum.”
Adalyn smiled, hoping the topic would die down. Looking over at Dylan, she smiled. But his face began losing all traces of happiness. He held her hand, pressing it to his warm face and repeated her name several times. “Adalyn. Adalyn? Can you hear me?”
“Of course I can hear you,” she answered, confused. Glancing around her, the house started to blur. The children’s laughter died out and instead of sitting at the kitchen table with her husband and two children, she was lying down. Opening her eyes, she saw her mom and dad gazing down at her. Listening to the steady beep, beep, beep of the heart monitor, she turned her head slightly. Dylan was there too. A hospital bed? “What?” she mumbled quietly. He smiled and kissed her forehead gently. “You were in a car crash, honey. Do you remember it?”
Mary Stuart, or Mary Queen of Scots, was imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth, her cousin, for nineteen years in a little tower. Dreading each day, being identical to the last, Mary awaits freedom and jumps at the chance of it. However, when friends advise her the plan of escape is best not attempted, Mary considers what is important and decides whether she should go through with it or not.
Thursday Morning: Another dull day passes. Looking out the window, a gray sky stretches before me, matching this colorless room. The rain only adds to the dreariness of it all. Lately, everything has been frustrating me. Being locked in a tower certainly has negative effects and I’m sick of it all. I just want to run through fields on a bright summer day. I want to feel the warmth of it on my face and just stretch out my arms and soak it in. I know it is highly improper, but with every day being identical to the last, I want something to change. But no. Nothing will ever change. And all because of Queen Elizabeth – my cousin. How can she do this to me? Did she really consider me a threat to the throne? Well, now I am. Now I am her enemy.
Friday Afternoon:You will never guess! I have just received a letter. I know it does not sound like a very grand thing, but it is. Just listen. So I received this letter not five minutes ago. It is from a young man who has, apparently, always admired me. Here’s what he writes. “My dear lady, I was quite distressed when informed that Queen Elizabeth had imprisoned you due to the fact that you were seen as a threat to her. I confess, I rejected such news very forcefully indeed and did not believe her capable of this. But now I find it is all very true.” He really sounds quite charming. Now, here’s the important part. “I would very much like to help you escape. I understand that such a notion is treason, but I cannot bear to know this information and do nothing about it. I can provide you with a small country cottage. It is very comfortable and I never use it. It would ease my heart to know it was in such splendid hands. Please, write back soon and inform me if you are interested in hearing my plan. I should so very much like to help you.” There! What do you think! Of course, he goes on to say some other things, but that does not matter. I believe I shall write to him this very day. I am perfectly interested in the plan. However, there is one thing I am hesitant about. Later in his letter, he suggests a plan to overthrow, and possibly kill, Elizabeth. Would this be right? She certainly has showed no caring nature toward me. But would not escape be enough? I only desire to get out of this little tower. But perhaps she deserves death. It would certainly stop her before she does this to another. Or worse, finds me out. Yes, her rule must come to an end.
Friday Evening: I am now quite confused. The guards, whom I have made friends of, advise me not to respond to this gentleman. They think him quite suspicious. I know they do not side with Queen Elizabeth and their objections are simply that he is an unknown person. I have never met him in the whole course of my life and know not if he is even a respectable gentleman. They even suggested that he could be a spy, sent from Elizabeth herself in an attempt to trap me. Should I take this chance at freedom? If he is truly honorable, it would be a misfortune indeed if I passed this opportunity up. But suppose he is a spy. Or worse, perhaps it is Queen Elizabeth herself, in disguise, of course. With her I would have no chance, but if this man proves a spy, sweet words may win his heart over to me, therefore setting me free. I must try him. It is my only hope.
Monday Morning: He has responded. And with such enthusiasm that I dare reject the plan. I believe I shall accept his proposal. He is now devising a plan and I dare say, it will not fall through. The guards continue advising me not to respond, but I cannot reject this offer. I must escape. It is the only way. They will help me. Though they do not advise I go through with it, they will not turn a cold shoulder. I will write back today, letting him know that I am for the plan. I am so excited! For, by this time next week I should be comfortably settled into a small cottage by the woods. A small fire will burn brightly in the sitting room and I shall read a book. In the mornings I shall take walks in the garden and before bed I will simply breathe in the cool night air, listen to crickets, and watch the glowing bugs. It will be so good to be free of this tower at last.
Sunday Evening: Tomorrow it shall happen. I have had another letter from him. The guards, though loyal to Queen Elizabeth, will gladly help me escape. They know me too well to let me suffer here. Here is his plan. A large trunk now sits in my room – empty. I shall not pack anything, but get in it myself. Such a plan is very unladylike, I know full well, but it is completely necessary. I dare say I will be very uncomfortable, but it is only for a short while. You see, if I were to escape through the front door and with all my things, Queen Elizabeth would execute the guards without a second thought. However, I care too much about them for this to take place. So, the young man will come to pick up the trunk, full of objects that I wish to give away. I will leave it outside my room. You see, Elizabeth’s punishments are being used to my advantage and against her. She ordered that I may see no one. Therefore, by leaving the trunk outside my room, I am obeying her, so she cannot blame the guards. It will work out perfectly. He shall load the trunk into his carriage and we shall be on our way. As soon as we are out of sight, I shall crawl out and make myself very comfortable in the back, hidden from the world. I am so happy! Freedom at last.
Wednesday Afternoon: Here I sit. This cold stone of the dungeon floor gives me shivers and I wish I could just die here. No doubt, she will execute me tomorrow. Why. Why did I not listen to my friends? I should have trusted their judgment. But of course not. I was too desperate for freedom that I did not value anything but a chance at it. My cousin is keener than I expected, and much more devious than I could ever imagine for her old age. She was testing me – to see if my rebellious nature had died. But it had not. And instead of concealing it, I embraced the chance. And now I fear death. What will it bring? I always imagined it as a large dark cloud of black smoke, lurking over a person the moment before their soul left the earth. What will my last thoughts be? I little know whether I should reflect on the happy memories and try to hold on to them for as long as possible, or scorn every thought and action of Elizabeth. How cruel she is. Could I not just live my days here, if not in the tower? Could she not permit me to see my children one last time before I am gone forever? The unexpected, I think, is what I fear the most. I know not what is to come and it frightens me dreadfully. What will she do? How soon will I perish? I know nothing – only that I have been a fool to myself and my friends. I have no second chance now. I do not know how to say goodbye. These are the last thoughts of Mary, once queen of Scotland.
Andrew Mercer is on his way home from Iraq, but not on happy circumstances. His little daughter, Natalie has been kidnapped. Rushing home to comfort his wife, he is haunted by memories of his sister, who was murdered in her own room several years ago. The murderer was never found out and he wonders if the cases could be related. But why? And by whom?
Gunshots echoed through his head as his sister ran through the camp. The morning sun illuminated her smiling face and long brown hair as she sprinted towards him, arms pumping and already out of breath. Soldiers ignored her, grabbing their guns and moving toward the havoc, but he just stood there. Why was she here? Why wasn’t she in the lectures being given at her college? Why was she in Iraq? Though his mind filled with question, he stood, just waiting. Waiting to scoop her up, hold her tight, and simply enjoy her presence. He had missed her so much. Flying into his arms, he squeezed her, swinging her around as she gripped his jacket. “Andrew,” she said lovingly. “I missed you so much.”
“I missed you too, Lisa.”
But as he hugged her tightly, she faded slowly. The soldiers blurred and a strange voice in the distance woke him. “Mr. Mercer?”
Eyes fluttering open, he recognized the bus driver and slowly sat up. “Yeah?”
“We’re in Hartford, sir.”
Realizing the beautiful sight of his dead sister was only a dream, Andrew Mercer tiredly grabbed his bags, stretching his arms to stop the muscle aches. The flight from Iraq to Connecticut had been tiring and worrisome. The thought of his little missing daughter, alone and probably tied up plagued his mind. Where is she right now? Is she even alive? When the commanding officer informed him that his eight year old daughter had been kidnapped Tuesday night, his heart stopped. Panicked and thoroughly distressed, he purchased a plane ticket on Friday and was on his way home by Monday – almost a week after she had gone missing. What had happened?
Tuesday night – after nine. Tyson Gray stumbled out of the bar and clumsily crawled into his truck. Fumbling with the car keys, he headed toward the Mercer’s home. Windows open, he let the cool summer night cool his sticky skin. Slowing as the house came into view, he noticed small candles lighting every window while other lights in the house remained on. He knew everything about them. He had dated Mr. Mercer’s younger sister – Lisa – but she ended the relationship after a short month. She claimed he was too forceful – always wanting to be with her. After that, his attraction turned into a strong obsession. He recorded where she would go on certain days of the week and “accidently” run into her. However, when her college friend gained her affections and she began dating him, Tyson’s anger lashed out. Killing her did not stop his obsession, though. He continued stalking the family. He knew where they lived, what her brother, Mr. Mercer’s, occupation was, how many children he had, their daily activities, and so much more. Now, as starred at the little home, half drunk, he noticed the porch swing rocking slowly. Natalie – Mr. Mercer’s daughter. Her shoulder length brown hair matched Lisa’s and he noticed her blue eyes, illuminating the dark sky. She looked just like Lisa. In everything but age, she was Lisa. He watched her, short legs dangling over the edge of the porch swing and hugging a small teddy bear. A childish song danced about her lips. Mrs. Mercer peeked out the door, “Natalie, come inside dear. Time to go to bed.”
“Ok, Mommy. Just one more minute.”
Tyson watched as the upstairs bedroom light turned on. The mother was there. Reaching over to the glove compartment, he pulled out a small bottle filled with Chloroform along with a white cloth. Opening the truck door, he walked around the truck. The moon hid behind thick dark clouds as his lanky body walked away from the house, only to circle around. Natalie remained on the swing, changing the little bear’s shirt. Slowly standing up from his crouching position, Tyson reached across her face and pressed the Chloroform soaked cloth firmly against her mouth and nose in a very quick movement. Fear and accusation filled her eyes. Dropping her teddy bear, she gripped at his strong hands in a panic, desperately trying to push them away. She tried to suck air in through little gaps between his fingers, but her eyes slowly closed. Pulling her over the porch rail, Tyson swiftly moved to his truck, long strides covering the distance in several seconds. Tossing her into the back seat, Tyson rushed around the truck to the driver’s seat and sped away.
Andrew Mercer was almost home. The bus dropped him off ten minutes from his house. From there, he walked. What started as a normal pace turned into a slight jog. His heart beat faster as he rushed home, eager to find out what was being done to recover his daughter, to comfort his wife and son, and to be comforted in return. Bursting in the door, his wife embraced him, crying harder than he had ever seen her cry. “Where is she!” Mrs. Mercer cried, still panicked and extremely worried about their daughter. “Where is she…” Her sobs trailed off as she buried her head into his jacket.
“Don’t worry. We’ll find her,” he soothed. “We’ll find her.”
Natalie’s eyes fluttered open. It was dark…and cold. A thick rope tied her wrists together. Startled, she scooted back against the wall. It was a cellar – not her pink bedroom with the big yellow daisies. Where’s Mommy! Tears began streaming down her face as she cried silently. “Daddy! Daddy! Where are you?” she whispered, fearing her own voice in the dark silence. She wanted to scream. Hugging her knees and burying her face in them, she rocked herself. Where were they?
Emma and Clara have been best friends since they were very young; but with Emma being the baker’s daughter and Clara being a rich young woman, their lives run in very different circles. The question is, will these circles continue to overlap, or will the girls eventually go their separate ways?
“Emma!” Clara shouted in excitement, opening the bakery door. Her curly brown hair lay tangled on her perfectly white dress. As the little bell jingled, Mrs. Price hushed her. “Clara Young, you better be thankful no customers were here or I would have turned you out.” Her words proved harsher than her expression, for a playful smile lit her face.
Throwing a gloved hand over her mouth, the ten year old girl tried to compose herself. “Sorry ma’am. Emma is here, isn’t she?”
“Upstairs,” Mrs. Price answered. She quickly pounded up the old wooden stairs as Emma’s mother rolled her eyes, shaking her head while continuing to knead the bread dough. As Clara entered the room, Emma looked up. Jumping up and embracing Clara, she took her hand and pulled her over to the small tea table, decorated with one of her mother’s lace handkerchiefs and several small teacups. Emma sat cross-legged, her pale blue dress setting off the teal in her eyes. Suddenly remembering Clara’s doll, she anxiously asked “You bring Evelyn, right?”
Holding the small porcelain doll up, Clara responded, “Yes, I have her right here.”
Taking the expensive doll in her small hands, Emma gazed into her eyes before sitting her down into a little chair. Emma smiled brightly and began pouring the tea. Such a fine doll was beyond her parents’ income, but she adored Clara’s doll. “Clara, Evelyn, how good of you to come. Please take a seat.”
Clara and Emma never went a day without seeing each other. As soon as Clara and her family moved into Alberson Estate, a small mansion just outside of Randers, they became the best of friends, promising with all of their ten year old hearts that they would never be separated.
Eight years later, Emma evaluated herself in the small looking glass mounted on the wall in her room. Her light blonde hair had darkened into a light brown and she wore a beige dress. Though not as elaborate as many of Clara’s gowns, Emma contented herself with the plain attire she could afford. Clasping a locket around her neck, she heard her mother calling from the kitchen. “Emma, could you help me with this cake?”
“Coming.” Emma finished the bow perfectly. Sliding down the rail, hands by her sides, she smiled. As she swung around the corner into the kitchen, her mother instructed her. “Dear, make a batch of that buttercream icing that the Mersons like. Little Danny’s birthday is this coming weekend and you know how they spoil that child,” she smirked. As Emma pulled the ingredients out, she peered out the window. Ugh, Ada Wilkins. Even since they were young, Ada always thought she was better than the rest, flirting with every eligible man and always joining in on adult conversations. She never had fun. The young lady now twirled her parasol as she slowly walked toward the bakery. The shop bell jingled and Emma walked out to the front counter. “Ada. What can I help you with,” she smiled. Just because I don’t like her doesn’t mean I
have to be rude.
“I’ll have one of your Danish rolls, if you please.” As Emma placed the roll in a small brown bag, someone else walked into the shop. Looking up, it was Clara. Her smile brightened and she opened her mouth, but Ada cut in. “Clara! How are you today, dear?”
“I’m fine, how are you Ada?”
“Wonderful. You dinner party last night was simply splendid. I hope you throw another one soon.” As they continued conversing, Emma’s brow furrowed. Clara has always disliked Ada. Her mind raced back to when they were sixteen. Sharing a bowl of ripe strawberries, Clara and Emma relaxed on the sofa in Clara’s bedroom. “That girl – ugh! She just thinks she’s so good.” Emma wanted to smile at the memory, but she couldn’t. Clara’s throwing dinner parties and inviting her? The only thing that made it worse was that Emma had not been invited.Clara’s voice cut through her thoughts. “I was so happy you could come. It wouldn’t have been complete without you.” Her smile looked genuine and her words sounded sweet. Ada smiled knowingly and took the paper bag off the counter. Bidding Clara goodbye, she walked out of the shop. Stunned, Emma watched Ada walk away through the glass window. As soon as she was out of sight, she looked at Clara. An awkward silence filled the small shop before Emma broke it. “Dinner party?”
“Yeah, it was just my parents’ idea,” she replied. Smiling slightly, she ordered a cinnamon roll and quietly departed. Emma’s mind raced with thoughts, but she tried to assure herself that Clara’s kindness towards Ada was fake. I’ll call tomorrow.
Clara walked back to her home, her white dress swishing along with every step. The parasol she held in her hand twirled with each step and her new shoes peeked from underneath the fine lace at the bottom of her dress. Her thoughts moved to Emma—the baker’s daughter. She doesn’t understand that we can’t just ‘be friends’ anymore. I need to spend more time with people in my class. I can’t be seen with the baker’s daughter everyday like when we were little. Turning the corner, Clara stepped up to her home. Her dainty gloved hand turned the knob on the large oak door and she entered, passing her mother and heading straight for her room. I need to make it clear to her. It will probably hurt her, but there isn’t another way. She needs to take the hint and find friends more suited to her class. It won’t be hard for Emma; she’s a very likeable person.
The warm scent of cinnamon rolls filled the small bakery early the next morning. They were Clara’s favorite. Emma carefully glazed them, each one looking like little masterpieces. Arranging them carefully in a basket, she let them dry and then placed a white cloth over them and began making her way toward Clara’s home. Emma looked forward to spending time with Clara. Though best friends growing up, their visits had diminished so much since last year, and she barely saw Clara at all. As she knocked on the large door, she brushed away the few stray hairs that lay across her face. Clara opened the door and Emma smiled, “I brought cinnamon rolls.” She held them up temptingly, “I thought we could have tea and just talk.” Nothing followed her playful suggestion and Clara’s face remained solemn. “Is anything wrong?”
“I…I’m a little busy right now, Emma.”
“Oh.” Her voice echoed inside her head and she tried to peek inside for a hint at what Clara was so busy with, but the door was only slightly ajar. However, Emma’s quick eyes picked up on a figure in the background. Ada? Regaining her thoughts, she hastened in responding. “That’s fine.” Emma turned and tried to contain herself, slowly walking down the path. As soon as she could no longer see Clara, her pace increased. Each step came quicker than the next and Emma soon found herself running through fields and pastures. Hot tears welled in her eyes, eventually spilling over and leaving a cool path on her face. Clara changed. She never realized it, but Clara had. Her actions proved she cared more about image than friends.Clara forfeited their friendship to be accepted in the higher classes of society – so that she would not be looked down on for being friends with Emma – the baker’s daughter. It hurt. More than anything. She didn’t like what happened. She wanted to resist it all. She wanted to fix their broken friendship, but it wasn’t worth it. She couldn’t change Clara. It would be better not to dwell on the past and just move on with a fresh start.