Sunday, 4 August 2013

And I feel like I’m naked in front of a crowd, ‘cause these words are my diary screaming out loud…


I had such an overwhelming response to the first 500 words of HEAT yesterday (on Twitter, in case you’re wondering why there’s only two comments on it :p) that I’ve  decided to be brave and share a little more with you. Even though I only received encouragement yesterday, this is still scary as anything. I wonder if that will ever go away? But, every time I start to talk myself out of it, I remember these words:

Be BRAVE,

FIGHT for what you believe in,

and make your DREAMS your REALITY.

 

I wonder which incredibly inspiring and awesome frontman of a band said that??*

This is the next 1500 hundred words (how lucky are YOU?!) which will take you to the end of chapter one. I hope you like it...Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think :)
 

 
TITLE LYRICS: ‘Breathe (2am)’ by Anna Nalick

See! See! I CAN listen to bands besides Thirty Seconds To Mars!

…Occasionally.
 

*Come on, now. As if I can write a post without at least ONE reference to MARS.
 
 
 If you need to get caught up, you can do it HERE.
 

CHAPTER ONE:

GLOW (continued)

 
 
“Aurora.”
I opened my eyes, searching for the source of the voice.
“Aurora.”
My head felt like it was filled with sand, and I struggled to pull myself fully into consciousness.
“We’re home, honey.”
My mom smiled at me, brushing a stray strand of my chestnut brown hair off my face and tucking it behind my ear.
“Mom?”
“We’re here.”
Eva’s voice tore through the fog in my head, snapping me back to reality. I sat up with a start, rubbing the last remnants of sleep from my eyes. She handed me a bottle of water and I took it wordlessly, gulping down the cool liquid and wondering how long I’d been asleep.
“What time is it?” My voice was thick with sleep and I cleared my throat, taking another sip of water.
“About 7pm.” She switched off the engine and turned to face me, and I could tell by her expression that she was planning another condescending ‘chin up’ speech. I unbuckled my seatbelt and practically threw myself out of the car, shutting the door before she had the chance to form a single syllable. I turned towards the house at the end of the driveway, staring at the place I would be calling home for the next year. I would be out of there the second I turned eighteen. A woman I assumed to be my aunt opened the front door, smiling. She raced down the front steps and engulfed me in a bear hug before I had a chance to react.
“Oh honey,” she whispered into my hair. “I’m so sorry.”
My body went limp as I waited for her to release me. It felt too rude to shove her off me, no matter how badly I wanted to. After a few seconds she dropped her arms and pulled back, releasing me.
“I’m Maria,” she said awkwardly. “Your Aunt Maria, I guess. I am… was your mother’s step sister.” I stared blankly at her. My mother had never mentioned her to me.
“We had the same father,” she added, by way of explanation.
I nodded. “Oh.”
I couldn’t think of anything else to say and we both regarded each other for a moment, sizing each other up. She looked like she was older than my mother by a margin of at least 10 years which placed her at around 52, I guessed, noting the flecks of grey in her auburn hair. It was the same shade as my mother’s had been. I continued to stare mutely at her, unsure of what I should say.
“It’s nice to meet you,” I mumbled finally. “Thanks for letting me stay here.”
She nodded, smiling. “Of course, honey. You’re family.”
Eva walked over to us, dragging my single suitcase behind her. She and Maria made small talk and I tuned out, glad for the distraction. I stared at the black suitcase resting against Eva’s car. Everything that I owned was in that bag. Evidently when someone dies without leaving a will, the state can claim whatever they want. They took all my mom’s assets and sold them, giving me a small percentage of the profits and lining their pockets with the rest. At the time I’d wondered how my mother could have overlooked something as important as providing for my future in the event of her death. However, I’d since accepted that there were many things about her I couldn’t understand. And now I never would. The thought left a bitter taste in my mouth.
I looked up after a few minutes, realising that both Eva and Maria were looking at me expectantly.
“Sorry… What did you say?”
Maria smiled kindly and patted me on the arm. I fought the urge to jerk away.
“I asked if you would like to come up and see your room.” She gestured towards the house.
“Oh… Sure.” A small voice at the back of my mind reminded me that I needed to be nicer. While she was a stranger, this woman was at least related to me. A blood tie, no matter how tenuous, was better than living with foster parents or in a group home.
“Thank you,” I added, attempting to force my lips into a friendly smile. I imagined it looked more like a grimace, but it would have to do. I followed her into the house, dragging my suitcase behind me. The house was an old but well maintained double story, probably built in the sixties or seventies. Eva and I followed Maria from room to room, and I reminded myself to ooh and ah at appropriate intervals. The house seemed nice, though it was obvious Maria and her husband never had children. Every room looked like it belonged in a catalogue for retirement homes.
“And this,” she said, pushing opened a white weathered door, “will be your room.” I stepped inside, taking in my surroundings. The bedroom was bigger than I expected it to be, and had its own private balcony. I felt slightly happier as I looked around, realising that it was nicer than my old room in California. It was already furnished with an old fashioned queen sized bed, bedside tables, a chest of drawers, and two empty bookshelves. There was also a couch in the corner and a bare entertainment unit. I smiled in spite of myself, remembering that I did have a small amount of cash in the bank from my mom’s sold assets. I would be getting myself a TV as soon as possible.
“You have your own bathroom, too,” Maria said, interrupting my silent planning. I looked around the room, searching for the door leading to the bathroom.
“It’s over here,” she said, opening a door that I’d assumed led to a cupboard. The bathroom was also prepared for me, with snow white towels piled in a neat corner beside the bathtub and shower.
“It’s great,” I said, turning to give her a weak smile. “Thank you, I really appreciate it”
“Of course honey,” Maria said, still smiling. “Like I said, you’re family.”
I silently wished she would stop calling me honey. Only my mother called me that.
“Thank you. Well, I should probably unpack…” I deliberately let my voice trail off, glancing at my suitcase. As much as I appreciated the effort she’d gone to, I wanted to be alone. I could feel my delicate edges starting to fray.
“Oh, right, of course,” Maria answered quickly, turning to leave. “Eva and I have some things to discuss anyway. Give me a yell if you need anything; I’ll just be downstairs.”
“Thanks, but I think I’m just going to get set up and go to bed. It’s been a long day, and I start school tomorrow.”
Maria eyed me carefully, and I imagined she was debating whether or not to point out that it was only 7:30 in the evening.
“Sure,” she said slowly. “That’s probably a good plan. You want to be rested for your first day. Are you hungry? I could fix you a sandwich.”
My stomach did a somersault at the mention of food.
“No thank you… I’m not really hungry.”
“Okay. Well, you know where I am if you need anything.” She gave me a small smile and left the room. I turned towards Eva, hoping she wouldn’t try to give me another pep talk.
“Thanks,” I started, avoiding eye contact. “For, you know, bringing me out here. I know you could have just dumped me on a bus.” I fidgeted with the small silver pendant hanging around my neck. It was the last thing my mother had given me before she died. I swallowed, forcing the memory away.
“You’re welcome,” Eva said after a minute. “I don’t normally hand-deliver my charges, but since I was coming out this way anyway…” She smiled, and I felt a twinge of guilt for being so rude to her in the car. “If you need anything at all, even just someone to talk to You have my number. You can call any time. I’ll give you a call in a couple of weeks to see how you are settling in.”
I nodded, giving her what I hoped looked like a genuine smile.
“Thank you. Travel safely.”
She gave me one last look and left my room, closing the door behind her. I stared at it numbly. Everything felt surreal. I lived here now, with people I didn’t know. This was happening. My mother was dead.
I walked over to the door, relieved to see that it was fitted with a lockable door knob. I locked it, checking it once before sinking to the floor. The heat was building up inside my stomach and for once I didn’t try to stop it, didn’t try to stuff it back inside me. I spied a pillow sitting on my bed and I focused my attention on it, allowing the heat to rise from my stomach into my chest. A surge of energy passed through me and the pillow exploded, showering the room with downy feathers. I lowered my head into my now luminescent hands, allowing the tears to flow unchecked down my face as I cried myself to sleep.