Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Next Generation...

I haven't had much to say over here lately. Not really much going on in my little corner of the world to give me anything worth jotting down.

So, today, I thought I would spotlight something that is near and dear to my daughter.  She is certainly growing into her own, just turned 14, bright, sweet and beyond precious (no, I am not biased in the least) ;) But, I also think she's enormously talented!  Her dream is to be a writer...she makes Mama so proud. And, I have to say, for her age, I think she may well be on her way.

Without further ado, I would like to present chapter one in her novel,

Riverbed by Isabel V.

Toward the east, the sun hung low in the sky, peeking through the top most trees of the mountains. Violet pink streaks of early sunlight lightly painted the clouds with soft color. Between the clouds, patches of turqouise-blue sky peeked through. The sun, the clouds, the golden rays of light made the whole sky a patchwork quilt of incredible wonder. 

Outside my bus window, blurring by much too fast to get a clear glimpse, was the thick, verdent forests. The pine trees' and maples' branches were thick and heavy with leaves, and distantly I could hear the faint chirping of birds as the too noisy bus rode by. Occasionally, a stream or river would flow by; the sunlight making diamond-dimensions on the water's surface. Inside the bus, it was much too loud. Well, if you're in a bus full of screaming teenagers then you know its going to be too loud. 

I sit in the back of the bus, trying to keep my eyes away from any eyes directed at me. There is always somebody whispering rumors and lies about me; of course if you're a social outcast, then you get so used to hearing things about you, that you stop caring. But this time the others' conversation is not about me, for which I was grateful, it was about the trip to Tremont they were excited about.

Tremont is the small summer camp located in the deep, mysterious Smokey Mountains. Right now, my entire sophomore class is going there as a year-end field trip for the entire summer, something I was feeling a little nauseous about. Sure, I am excited for all the activities the camp has, its just that I'm scared of meeting new people, since there would be others not just from my sophomore class, but from other schools and kids who have been left there by their parents. The mere thought makes me sick to my stomach. 

Frantically, I searched for something else to think about. I could remember my mom telling me goodbye before I got on the bus...

My mother looks like me only a bit taller than my five-foot-three height. She always smiles, and there's always life in her eyes, but now all I could see was worry as I put my one piece of luggage into the small trailer that would carry all of the kids' and my luggage.

" Lia, honey, you don't have to go", she had said, looking like she's about to cry. I smiled sympathetically at her, with my father dead before I was even born, I'm all she has left. Often I heard stories that before my father died, my mother used to have the most beautiful singing voice. They say when she was out in her garden, she used to sing old, beautiful songs no one has ever heard of. My mother does smile and look happy now, but sometimes I would often see a look that would make me think that sometimes I don't realize how much real pain she's in. I've never heard her sing.

" I'll be fine, Momma", I assured her, as I gave her a warm hug, "I love you."

When I broke out of the hug, she held my hand tightly and gave me a small smile, observing my face

"Alright, just be careful," she spoke, her voice gentle. We both knew about the kids and what they thought of me. My mother smiled sympathetically.

"If anyone gives you trouble, call me. You can come home whenever you want to, baby girl."

"Okay, Momma. Love you"

"Love you too, baby."

Soon I got onto the bus that would take me to Tremont, and she was gone.

People didn't scare me, but it was the fear of talking that made who I am. I try to talk to people more often, yet at the same time I'm not sure what to talk about. Most teenagers my age would worry about where the next party is or who's wearing this or that. Myself, I try to look into the deeper meaning of things, and not focus on the material things that most kids would worry about. My lack of friends and my muteness made me the target of harrassers and, ostracizing by my peers. Now, when I say muteness, I don't mean the muteness that has to make you do sign language or Ariel in The Little Mermaid. I mean the muteness that comes on you for fear of how others might think or react to what you say or do. If only there was someone out there who doesn't judge me based on how I act. Is there anyone out there? Anyone at all?

Aggravated at my unanswered questions, I pulled my earthy-green jacket hoodie over the top of my eyes, hoping that I'll probably sleep the whole way there. As soon as I pulled my jacket hoodie over my eyes, I focused on nothing but silence. Yes, silence. Which is difficult to do in an atomosphere where its so loud, but not impossible. I focused on that as I slowly slipped away. . .

A loud scrapping sound made my eyes fly open in shock. At first, my eyes were blurry and my muscles stiff, but there was something else. Something played in the back of my mind, but it was dense and opaque like looking through thick clouds of smoke. I think it was the dream I had when I was napping, and as I tried to remember I could see a face. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman's, but it was a face I could tell you that.

Before I could make out more features of the face in my opaque memory, the bus door suddenly creaked open. A few impatient fifteen-year-olds, got out of their seats as quickly as if the devil himself was on the bus. The driver looked exsasperated at the recklessness of them. Unwillingly, I followed the kids out of the bus. The driver looked pleased that I was the only civilized person in the whole crowd. As I passed, he gave me a smile while I got out of the bus. I quickly smiled back out of politeness. 

As I got out of the bus, I surveyed Tremont. We were parked in a small parking garage that is right next to a small, wooden building that said Office. In front of me, was a steep hill that led up to two much larger buildings that I suspected were the mess hall and dorms. Although, there is one remaining factor that remains the same as I look around: trees. 

And how tall these trees are! Their canopies were hanging heavily with leaves, threatening that if there are anymore leaves their limbs will break. Toward the west, the evening sun cast glorious hues of orange and red into the sky. Nearby I could hear the ever-rushing of the river. I was so immersed in the beauty, I hadn't realized that our small group was headed toward a small field, where we will stay here until the luggage truck will arrive, as the camp counselors said. Immeadiately, the girls and boys quickly seperated and were now situated in small groups. All of those groups I did not belong. Trying to keep from unwanted eyes, I went to a small space in the clearing that was completelyempty of people. Laying down, my entire being felt as if it were being pushed down gently by some kind of massive force. Then, I suddenly felt strangely drowsy, if there were incense in the air, but there wasn't any. Fanning my hair out above my head, on the ground, I had a sudden urge to close my eyes, though before I could slip away completely into unconsciousness, I spotted a subtle movement in the tops of the trees to my right, that at first I mistook it for a gentle breeze, making the leaves bow. Though, as I closely examined it, a sudden gasp leapt in my throat, a quiet shiver softly rolling down my back. I never seen anything like it, even though I've seen that type of creature before in some of my biology books.

For in the trees, staring intently at me, was the largest hawk I've ever seen.

It was a beautiful hawk though, with silky, brown feathers and a well, formed beak; its eyes are a rich, warm brown color, but its eyes seemed too intelligent for a wild animal though.  Even though its eyes are beautiful, they are what startled me the most. In its eyes, I could a look so cold and so possessive, it seemed to stare deep into the basis of my soul. I shivered delicately; I wanted to look away from them so badly, yet at the same time, behind its eyes, I could see a look of longing as the hawk continued to gaze at me. 

Finally, after what seemed like hours, the hawk glanced away to the distance behind him, then made one final glance back at me, then spread its wings, in a manner that looked like it was showing off, then leaping from its strong claws, soared away, into the the forest before it finally disappeared. 

For a few more seconds longer, I stared into the direction the hawk had taken; I was completely frozen in place. The sharp sound of a whistle made me jump, making my heart beat fast. From where I sat in the little plot of land I dominated, I could see the rest of the kids again dissolved into one immense group. A few counselors told us that the truck that carried luggage is finally here, so they'll be showing us to our dorms after we get our luggage. The group started moving up the steep hill I recalled from earlier, though I couldn't concentrate much on where I was going because of the thoughts swirling around in my head about the hawk. And also the new feeling of fear in my stomach.

 No, not the feelings of nervousness I described earlier, this was a new fear. One of total paranoia and the feeling of eyes boring into my back. I looked around nervously a couple of times, making the preps whisper under their breath. Even though I tried to shake the feeling off, I kept thinking that the hawk was watching me. The feeling pricked all over me in uncomfortable pinches, and I felt as if someone was behind me, but when I looked back there's no one. 

When we finally got to the top of the rugged hill, the small truck that held our bags was there. A few camp counselors started relieving the truck of luggage and putting the bags into a small pile so the kids can dig into the pile to find their bags. As if the kids were bees and there was honey being thrown into a pile at their feet, they immediately started to dig at the pile. I couldn't get to the pile because I was, unfortunately, too short to see over the kids to look for my bags. So I, being already irritated and tired, had to wait a few minutes longer for the crowd to disperse. Being bored already, I tapped my foot just for something to do and to keep my mind off the hawk and the new feelings that still churned within me. 

Eventually, the crowd slowly turned into just a handful of kids that I know that are nice and friendly to me, but not exactly my friends. Alecsis Paige, a blonde headed girl, is in my English class, and we're often partners during projects in class. Liberty Mason, is a withdrawn girl, but more sociable than I am. Matthew Johnson is the quarterback back at the high school, but when off the field, he would rather read and write. They all waved nervously at me; I could tell­ they were just as nervous as I am, minus the creepy feelings that I had gotten from that hawk. They each went before me to get their bags; I insisted they get theirs' first. I went to get my bags, but there was another girl waiting there, not just me. She was the exact same height as me, and had an expression on her face that I could only describe as nervous and unsure. She has long, dirty blonde hair, and large blue eyes. I motioned with my hand for her to get her bags first before I did. Looking at me, she hastily shook her head and instead motioned for me to get my things first. Not wanting to start an argument on who gets their bags first, I did as told and got my scrawny little duffle bag. My mother and I pooled our resources to supplement me for my entire trip, but it was still scanty. 

A camp counselor pointed out the way to the girls dorms, and I followed his directions perfectly, leading me up a steep stair case that clung to the side of dorms. The counselor told me that the first floor was the boys' dorm and the stairs on the side lead to the girls' dorm. Once I'm finally to the top, I hesitate outside the door. I took a deep breath before opening the door, then I slowly go in. 

The room is long and rectangular, with little clumps of bunk beds going down through the middle of the room. Small pathways went inbetween the bunks, so people can easily move around. On the sides of the room, are small little "rooms". I say ' rooms' like that because it is'nt really a room, but it isn't really part of the bunk beds either. Each of the "rooms" have two beds on either side of the small space, and a small window was set inbetween the headboards of the two beds. Most of the bunks and "rooms" were already taken, with girls scurrying everwhere, some talking to others while laying on the beds or looking through their suitcases for the hairbrushes, since their hair is tangled and messy from the day of travel. 

Feeling like an idiot just standing there staring, I quickly took one of the unavailable "rooms"to my left, I didn't want to share a "room" with someone who doesn't like me, and there was no hope in heaven that I would be sleeping in one of those bunks, so without any idea where to go I just went to the nearest unavailable space. Unzipping my duffle bag, I unloaded my blankets and pillows and preoccupied myself with making my bed to keep my mind off those stupid feelings and that hawk. After making my bed, and with nothing else to do, I got my small Ziploc bag of bathroom nescessities and hurried into the bathroom that was right down the small pathway. 

The bathroom was easy to spot; there was a large sign that said Bathroom with a large, white arrow pointing to the door. Inside, on the left were the bathroom stalls and on the right side of the wall were the shower stalls. I checked underneath the bathroom stalls for feet twice then inside the showers. Thankfully, I was all alone. I thrust my bag down on the counter beside one of the five sinks. I looked at myself in front of the mirror, my face was twisted with worry and confusion. What's wrong with me? Why am I so scared of stupid bird? Its just an animal for crying out loud. Nothing more than an animal, right? I wasn't sure. I frowned at myself. What do you mean you're not sure? I don't know.

Muttering to myself I yanked out my brush and started to comb through my tangled, dark hair. After the bristles were filled with hair, I looked at my reflection. My blue eyes, my dark hair, my light skin, I'm still me. Lia Stewart. Whom no one gave a care about besides my mother, and my few aquaintances. Still the same average, plain-looking girl I've known for sixteen years; I've never let anyone bother me. But now? A stupid, dumb hawk. I can't believe it.

I sighed deeply, covering my face in my hands. After a while, I pulled myself up and just stared into the mirror at myself, clutching the sides of the sink almost painfully, that I almost didn't notice the thick, smoke cloud that seemed to materialize in the mirror.

Wait, a smoke cloud? In the mirror?

Glancing back behind me, hoping to see some kind of mist or smoke, I could see nothing, but the pale linoleum wall behind me. Puzzled, I turned back to face the mirror, though when I looked I had to stifle a scream that now threatened to build past my throat. 

For in the mirror, was a boy.

Well not exactly a boy; he might be seventeen or eighteen, but there was already an undeniable matureness that you don't often see in a boy. Also the face, wasn't really a face at all, but a soft mist that sort of flickered like the flame of a candle. I was so frozen in shock that I almost didn't notice that the face in the mirror smiled at me, but it was an evil smile of triumph, not the type of smile that people use when they accidentally frighten people. This smile was like the kind a treasure hunter would wear when he found a priceless gem. Also the eyes. . . they looked familiar. . . Oh, my God. . .

Those were the same eyes that I saw in the hawk.

While I staggered back from those horrible eyes, as quickly as the face smiled it disappeared, like turning on the light switch. Frozen in shock, all I could do was stare at the mirror to see if the face would come back. But, after a while, it didn't and I was grateful for that; I didn't want to stare into those eyes again. Slowly, I took a deep breath grabbed my bag of toiletries, and hurried out of the bathroom. I practically almost ran for my bed. Surely that face I saw was just my imagination going over drive because of that hawk I saw earlier. Maybe it was just trick of the light, or somebody's reflection in the mirror. Maybe the person took a shower; that would explain the mist.

Still I couldn't help but feel that something, and I'm pretty sure its bad, was coming after me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, Aleksandr Voinov!!

It's hard to believe I have only known you for a year...but what a year it has been.  It is not an understatement when I say that you have made a major impact in my life.

To you, I owe so much.  You have touched my life...brightened it with your kindness and thoughtfulness, your wisdom and selflessness.  I know, I have told you all of this before, but I feel it can never be said too much.

My wish for you the coming year is all the happiness, success and love that you could ever want. No one could deserve it more.

All my love....