Okay, this is one of the many, many books I'm working on. It's just a rough draft, so any comments or suggestions will be helpful. This story does take place in some other world, which will be pretty obvious a little while into it. It's not really a humor story (which is about all I write, normally), but I decided to give it a shot, anyways. So, read and tell me what you think!
When I close my eyes, I can pretend I'm somewhere else. Anywhere else. I leave reality and enter a dream. My dreams are the best places to be. No one dislikes you in a dream. No one can hurt you in a dream. In fact, you're not even really there. You see faces passing before you -some of them familiar, some of them not- but you know that they can't do anything to you. You are invincible. You are immortal. You are powerful.
I open my eyes. My dream vanishes. Then, it all comes back to me.
I'm not a fair princess off in a distant land. Instead, I'm a fifteen year old girl that nobody ever pays attention to. I'm not in a castle with a thousand rooms and hidden passageways. Rather, I'm at an orphanage, because my mother and father were so poor that they had to send me, my sisters, and my two youngest brothers here. I'm not beautiful and famous. Rather, I'm plain looking and hardly ever noticed. I'm not hopeful that someday I'll be a great woman. Instead, I'm just hopeful that Mother and Father will raise enough money for Nelly, Cissy, Jer, Terry, and me to come home.
Dreams are so much better than reality.
Looking around me, I see many people my age, none of which I've ever talked to. Most of them are actual orphins. They're supposed to be here. Me, I'm just here because it's the only place I could go. My parents couldn't afford to keep me home, so I'm here.
I remember the day I left, just a few months ago. "Take care of your little brothers and sisters, Esma," my father had said. "Maybe we'll be able to get you in a few years, if the crops turn up all right. We love you."
Thinking back on it, I cringe. It just doesn't seem fair that they sent me off with the babies and kept Al and Hans. I could have worked on the farm, too. But, instead, I'm stuck at this horrible place, wondering when I'll get out.
I look up from the book I've been pretending to read. I know most of the others, even if I've never spoken to them. Cherry and Lyn giggle over some joke the other just made. Danny, Jake, and Aaron sit around, looking as arrogant and proud as ever. Tristan, Mark, and Will walk around campus, sneering and scoffing at their bullying victims. And then, I notice someone new.
He's a tall boy, about seventeen years old, sitting by himself. He is staring blankly at a book. I don't think he's reading it. For a moment, I have an argument with myself over if I should go talk to him or not. My smart, introvert self tells me not to, but my other, more outgoing half, says, "Why not?"
So, the next think I know, I'm walking towards the tall, quiet boy.
"Hi. I'm Esma. Are you new?" I ask.
The boy stares at me, a blank look in his eyes.
"Er, I'm Esma," I repeat, knowing that I sound stupid. "What's your name?"
The boy just stares at me. For a moment, I panick. Why is he just staring at me? Why isn't he talking? What's going on?
"I... I got to go," I say, turning and running. My face is red with embarrassment. I know that the boy is still staring at me as I run away. Why does he just keep staring at me? Why doesn't he respond? What did I do?
Once I'm a safe distance away, I collapse against a tree, leaning against it as I sigh. I look back at the boy. He's looking at me.
Now, I'm angry. I march right back up to him. "Listen here! I don't know what your problem is, but you're being very rude!"
He just stares at me.
I realize for a moment that this is the most I've talked in several months. "Well? Aren't you going to answer me?"
He doesn't. He just stares back, that blank look in his eyes.
People are crowding around now. Aaron steps up. "Is he bothering you, Esma?"
"Oh, no," I say. "He just... he won't... I don't know." I look up at Aaron. He has nice eyes. For an arrogant jerk, that is.
"Is he new?" I hear Cherry whisper.
"I don't know. I've never seen him before," Lyn whispers back.
Why doesn't the boy talk? Everyone's talking about him, and yet he won't say a word.
"What's this?" A cruel, mocking vice asks.
I cringe. I recognize the voice. It's Tristan Durant.
"Go away, Durant," Aaron says. "It's none of your business."
Tristan looks lazily over at me and then the quiet boy on the bench. "Don't waste your time with him. He'll never answer."
"Yeah? Why not?" Danny asks.
Tristan smirks. I hate that look. Like he knows something the rest of us don't. "I'm just saying," Tristan begins, "That retard won't answer."
Aaron and Danny step up, looking as proud and moronic as ever, but heroic, none the less.
"Hey! Don't insult him in front of us!" Aaron says, growing several inches as he stands up straighter.
"Don't do this..." Jake begins, quietly. Poor, quiet Jake. Always overlooked, never heard.
"Why? He doesn't know what you're talking about," Tristan says. "Do you, retard?"
The boy just stares at Tristan, that blank look in his eyes.
It's then that I realize Tristan isn't lying. How stupid am I?
"What's your name, retard?" Tristan asks the boy.
Something strange flickers in the boys blank eyes every time Tristan calls him that. For a second, it almost looks like his eyes turned orange. But, then, my thoughts are stifled as the boy speaks.
"I... I'm... I'm Jodie," the boy says.
I shudder when I hear him speak. How was I supposed to know he was mentally challenged?
Of course, everyone else breaks into laughter. "Well," Tristan begins, turning around, "See you later, Jodie." He enphasizes the name and laughs.
Jodie laughs along with everyone else, though I doubt he knows why they're laughing. Poor, poor boy.
For a moment, I hate Tristan more than anyone else in the world. More that my parents. More than my older brothers. More that the girls that should be my friends, but ignore me. More that the arrogant, rude boys I know. More than the other, stupid bullies.
Every one starts walking away. Aaron and Danny still have clenched fists and Cherry and Lyn are still whispering.
"I am sorry," I say to Jodie, slowly.
"It's okay," he says, his lisp making his S's sound like Th's.
"Do... Do you know how to read that book?" I ask.
Jodie looks down at the book. "No. I can't read. But, I'm going to learn how."
A pang of sympathy flows through me. "If... If you want, I can teach you."
Jodie's blank eyes light up and he gives me the goofy, confused smile. "Okay. You're a good friend, Esma. Good friend."
I sit down next to him, pulling out a pen and piece of paper from my book bag. "Do you know your alphabet?" I ask.
Jodie shakes his head furriously, that smile still on his face.
I put the pen on the paper and draw a large A. "This is an A."
I put the pen in Jodie's hand and help him draw an A. It's large and messy looking, but an A, all the same.
"I drew it! I drew it! I made an A!" Jodie says, excitedly.
"Good," I say. "Good job, Jodie."
I draw a large B. "That's a B," I say.
"B," Jodie repeats, drawing what looks like an eight on the piece of paper. "I made a B."
"Good," I say. It's then that I realize how slow this is going and that it'll take a very long time before I actually get him reading. But, I can't help but feel a strange kind of obligation to Jodie. It's odd, but I feel this pull towards him. Like I've known him all my life. Like we both have a secret and we're the only ones in the world that know it.
I've had practice teaching people how to read. I tought Cissy and Jer. But, this is so much more difficult. How, after every letter, I have to draw it again and prounounce it a few times. But, Jodie seems to be catching on. Even though I've only known him for a few moments, I'm proud of him.
I look up at the big clock on the school house wall. It's almost one o'clock, time to go back in for class. "I'll be back in a couple hours," I tell Jodie. "How about you go back to your room. I'll be back in a little while."
"I'll stay here and wait for you," Jodie says. He takes his book back out. "I'm going to try reading."
"Good, good," I say, absent mindedly, walking away.
As I enter my classroom, I'm greeted by Eileen's warm smile. Eileen is my teacher, though I've never called her by her last name in the time I've been here. She's in her mid twenties, I'd say. She's thin, with her short hair sticking up all around her face. I wonder how she got to be a teacher, being so young, and all. But, I'm glad that she is one.
Eileen starts writing something on the board. I sit down at my rickity desk. We don't have enough money for books or anything very nice, but it's not a bad classroom, really.
I see Cherry and Lyn enter, side by side as always. Aaron and Danny follow, Jake tagging along, that uncomfortable, sad look on his face as he enters. Mark and Will enter, pushing the door open with such force that it slams into the other side, making a dent in the wall.
"Alright," Eileen begins, "I want to continue where we left of yesterday with our discussion over the Durillian-Araphith War. As I was saying yesterday, in the year 1363, the king of Durill tried to take over Araphia, which was just rebuilding after the war four years prior. So, King Hilsha of Durill..."
The door swing open. "Miss me, anybody?" Tristan asked, walking in, smuggly.
Eileen rolls her eyes. "Tristan, why are you late?"
Tristan smirks and looks at her. "I can honestly tell you that I haven't the slightest clue."
"Well, next time, don't make such a distracting entrance," Eileen says, her eyebrows curving down as she crossed her arms.
"How could I resist?" Tristan asks, sitting down. "Distracting entrances are so much better than quiet, nice ones."
Eileen sighs, brushing her short, brown hair out of her face. "Anyways, as I was saying..."
As Eileen continues on her lesson, I look over at Tristan, my eyes narrowing. He's talking to Mark and Will about something, very loudly, too. His blonde hair falls into his eyes as he laughs about something, probably bragging about some ten year old he pushed down or something along those lines.
I can feel my anger rising as I watch him. I clench my fists. Then something strange happens. I feel this rush of energy go through me. And, for a second, everything turns this almost purple hue. In my ears, I hear this buzzing sound.
I blink, everything returning to normal.
My eyes go back and forth around the room as I look at everyone else. It seems normal, like nothing just happened. What just happened to me? Why did everything turn purple and did I hear a buzzing sound?
But, I decide to ignore it, looking back up to the front of the room.
Please tell me what you think! I've only had two people read it so far, so I'm really not sure what to think of it. Oh, and thanks for reading! Rock on!