So…This happened. Let’s…Let’s talk about this. First of all, that stunning jungle set! CGI or not, well done, Disney. So thick, so lush, so mysterious and deadly. It looks incredible! The cinematography in this world Disney created is just brilliant (so it seems from the trailer). This new Jungle Book movie is going to be… Continue reading Live Action Jungle Book!
We ran into that ugly police gal again today. I think she had a makeover or something, because she looks uglier.
Anyway, today we were browsing the DVDs in the electronic section. Zach left Shaggy out on a rope by the lake. Shows how much he’s involved. But the dog seems to like it. No one is supposed to have dogs in Wal-Mart anyway, so we had to do something.
I don’t really know how Shaggy is taking the whole storeroom idea of a house. He has this nasty habit of thinking anyone can be a pillow, though. Technically, Alex is supposed to be allergic to dog hair. She ignores though, like a trooper. But man did she sneeze up a storm last night. She didn’t speak for a while after she realized her bed was covered with his fur in the morning.
He’s really soft though, and very lovable. Like any innocent dog would be, he considers it an honor, not a right, to be pet by a human. Zach loves him, I think. I can never be sure with Zach and his emotions. He can fake things pretty well. He played Frisbee with him in the park this morning before he tied him up. Who knows?
Anyway, back to Snow White’s stepmother. The police girl came up to us while we were looking at the DVDs. I could tell Zach was really bothered by it—he thought we were rid of her.
Why did she come up to us? I don’t know. And frankly, I don’t care.
“Aren’t you kids supposed to be in school?” she snapped.
We froze. It was Monday. We forgot.
“But…uh…hey—isn’t it a bank holiday today?” Zach asked. When Zach starts making things up, me an Alex usually nod and stay out of it. It’s mainly because we got involved once, and we barely made it out alive. We didn’t know exactly where Zach was going with his story, and it got all mixed up. He got onto us about it afterwards. And believe me: you don’t want to go near Zach if he’s mad.
So we just shut up and let the Red Queen glare down at Pinocchio.
“Bank holiday?” she shrieked.
“Well yeah,” Zach replied casually. “Actually it’s Christmas.”
“Don’t sass me, young man!” she cried, outraged. “It’s the middle of May! I can take all three of you back and drag you into that classroom if I have to!”
“It is Christmas though,” Zach persisted, “in Australia.”
“Well yeah you know Australia is on the other side of the world so when its winter here, its summer there. Its spring here now…so Australia’s Christmas Eve is today.”
She still glared.
“Not all schools are closing today,” Zach explained. “But our principal is originally from Australia, so he and his family are celebrating it today.”
She didn’t say anything for quite a while. Zach’s face was straight, mine was decently solemn, and poor Alex (who grew up learning it’s wrong to lie—how fun) was trying not to look at her. The police gal seemed to buy it…but it never hurts to let the predator stare you down to make sure.
I managed to glance at her nametag though. I guess police have nametags along with their badges? I don’t know.
Yeah. She was ugly before. She’s hideous now.
She abruptly pointed a long, gangly finger at Zach, who did not wince at all.
“I don’t believe you,” she snarled. “But I have nothing to prove you are wrong, so I will not turn you in. There’s already been one affair with runaways hiding from the law. But nothing slips my eyes. I will be watching you.”
Now that I knew her name, I found what she said even creepier.
My name’s Chrissy Cyren.
Cyren. You know, like “hi”, except with a K sound at the beginning and “wren”, like the bird. Yeah, I know. Weird last name. But it works for me. Nice ring to it, I think. Most people can say it…most people.
Anyways, I camp out with my friends Alex and Zach. I’d say we’re a pretty good trio. I wouldn’t say I live with them, even though that’s really what I do. But here in kiddom, since we like to make things sound really cool and somewhat lame, I’d say we just hang out…all the time. Literally. 12-year-olds living the dream. We’re all orphans—even Alex.
Poor girl. Really. I mean, she’s never actually gotten over it. She’s one of those timid types that, at times, likes to get all mushy and cheesy and weird. She calls it “expressing herself”. I just call it a cheesy movie coming from her mouth.
It’s not that I completely hate it. I’ve gotten used to it. Alex is a cool girl, actually. We’ve been best friends since birth. And, come to think of it, we’ve never been totally the same. I guess that’s what keeps us together. She has short brown hair, and I have long blonde hair. She has blue eyes and I have green. She loves poetry and reading and I, well, don’t. She seems to have behavior standards…and Zach and I don’t really know what that means. She’s the mother-ish person out of the three of us. What can I say? She knows how to have fun, and how to kill joy. But, that’s who she is. One time she even told me it was time for bed. What the heck?
But she’s like that ‘cause her mother was like that. And her grandmother was like that. Alex was an only child. Maybe that’s why she’s not like other…kids. Anyway, I remember when she lived with her grandmother. Her mother had died in childbirth, and her dad left long before that. We don’t really know what happened to him. During lunch at school, Alex would describe living with her grandmother. Apparently it was a nightmare, (or, so I think as she tells it to me. She thought it was normal). Her grandmother was one of those demanding women that always asks for someone to wash their hair, since they’re too “weak” to squeeze shampoo out of the bottle. And her dentures would always sit on Alex’s nightstand because they shared a room together. Come on. Opening your eyes and seeing these fake teeth in a cup? Not creepy at all. Plus, every time Alex’s alarm would go off she’d instantly sit up and yell “EDDY GET THE GUN! EDDY GET THE GUN!”
“Eddy” was her hubby. She’d go blaming Alex for leaving the door unlocked during the night. (She seriously thought someone broke in the house. Every morning. And she seemed to repeatedly forget that she did it every day).
This was all what Alex told me. She tells it with a casual air, and I’m sitting there thinking I would go insane. Day after day with my screaming grandma on the other side of the room, I think I’d bust.
It doesn’t matter anymore, though. Her grandmother died when Alex turned 11 ½. Yes. Her half-birthday. (We kids find half-birthdays as important as real ones). Her grandmother had a concussion after curling her hair. Apparently a small cockroach had crawled inside the clamper thingy, and it crawled into her hair. Then later that night when guests were over, it decided to come out on her face. Enough said. Alex handled it really well, though. She didn’t hesitate to join me and Zach on our brilliant newly-acquired adventure. More on that later.
So we got out of that house lickety-split before the police showed up to take Alex…to wherever they were going to take her. Alex claims she didn’t have any close relatives to take her in. Maybe that’s why she let me and Zach convince her to come with us. You see, we were there that night her grandma died, since we were invited to the party. For safety reasons…we didn’t go to the funeral, since the police might conveniently show up behind us.
So that’s Alex in a nutshell.
Then there’s Zach. Good old Zach. I first met him at Jumpstreet—this indoor trampoline park that was by where we live. I had my seventh birthday party there. He was jumping and running all around to his heart’s content. I don’t really remember how we got to playing together. We just did. We became fast friends though. I was seven back then, and when I was seven, I found his gelled but spiky black hair extremely attractive. (Yes, I was convinced it was black. Now that I’m older, though, I think it’s just a really dark brown. He’s never told me.) And his dark eyes and silky smile really made my stomach turn. I must have gotten used to it though, ‘cause now he smiles at me like that when he’s teasing me, and it just annoys me.
Zach’s pretty reckless, I got to admit. He will risk anything—I repeat: anything—to have some sort of fun. Even if it’s just a prank on some random person he doesn’t know, he will not give up the chance. He and Alex are complete opposites. But they get along pretty well. At least they don’t kill or yell at each other. Zach annoys Alex to no end with his love for sneaking around and prank setting and video games and awful habits. But she handles it pretty well for a girl like her. Me? I love Zach. Not romantically. I just like him because he’s fun, and he lets me have fun with him. Alex comes along too, but she draws her limits.
I really don’t know much about his past. Orphan, yes. But how?—I’m not exactly sure. Zach has lived nearly all his life alone, so he says. According to him, he ditched his babysitter one day and took off on his own. But it’s hard for me to believe that he ran away before kindergarten—it just doesn’t seem possible. Alex thinks that he was abandoned at birth…but then, how could he take care of himself from birth? As for me…how should I know? Do I care that much? I mean, at least he’s here now. He keeps a lot of his past away from me and Alex, which is sad, since we all tell each other everything. It’ll always be a mystery. I keep telling Alex that we’ll never know. And she seems to subside to that.
I guess now you want to know about me. I’m parentless. And sibling-less, at least as far as I know. My mom was actually an alcoholic. I don’t like to talk about it. They arrested her and they say she killed herself while in a really bad hangover. Dillon, my little brother, was eight at the time. I was ten. Zach, whom I had known since my birthday party, heard about what happened and asked if Dillon and I wanted to go with him. You see, Zach doesn’t have any guardian or parent or anything. Homeless is a really bad way to put it, ‘cause that makes him sound like a jobless bum. No, he did what most kids pretty much worship—going wherever he wanted, when he wanted. So I accepted that offer, since I knew CPA would be after us in less than 24 hours. So I packed what I needed and left. Dillon followed us…but not for long. He got caught by the police. I don’t know where they took him. CPA? Orphanage? Foster care? Who knows?
Zach knew I wanted to go back for him, but he couldn’t let me. If we were caught than it’d be all over for both of us. So we didn’t. Today I think of it like this: Police are nice guys, and they aren’t going to punish Dillon for anything he did. If anything they’ll find a good home for him or else somewhere where he’s happy. I can’t afford to think otherwise; I can’t do anything about it.
Zach and I were joined by Alex a year and a half later. We were three. And no one knew about us. Going wherever and doing whatever…whenever we wanted.
Oh. I don’t think I mentioned where we live—sorry—“hang out”.
Sorry about that. Yeah we live in Wal-Mart.
I’m posting this book with hesitance. For one thing, I don’t think its ready. But then, I really don’t know what to add to it. I feel like it needs more happenings. I feel like more needs to happen to these three kids.
For the record, I will say that Alex and Zach are named after two people I know. Their personalities…are…not really the same. I just felt like naming the characters something familiar. Chrissy? She’s a combination of a whole lot of people I know, including me.
Let me know what you think this story needs. I’m only posting seven chapters, but from what you read, surely you can think of something.
“There’s always something!” ~Violet Baudelaire
As most children do, M. forgot her troubles as quickly as she discovered them. Since she would be scolded about her shoes inside the house, she ventured outside again. Walking across the lawn under the shade of the tall oaks that grew near the driveway, she made her way toward the tall hedge which separated her house from next door. The towering house behind her cast a shadow on the lawn, for it was nearing the evening. M. tried to wipe her shoes off on the grass, but it didn’t do much good. She crossed the stone path through the gardens and opened and closed the picket fence. The hedge was just ahead of her. And she heard Lucy Perkins on her tree swing.
Lucy and M. were the best of friends. They lived right next door to each other. The two of them thought alike, and they did everything together. Lucy had come there with her family from Georgia. She had the distinct southern accent to prove it. Up here, in Mount Rivers, Lucy said it was much cooler and much prettier. M. was glad she liked it here, because she had grown quite fond of Lucy as soon as she and her parents moved next door to her.
The neighborhood they lived in was exceptionally old. The tall, ornate Victorian houses stood nearly a quarter mile apart, since they all had room outside for gardens and green lawns. The neighborhood swarmed with tall, shady trees, and the clean roads were lined with solitary lamp posts. Since the houses were so far apart, it was awfully big, and M. sometimes wondered if she knew how far it went on for. The street which she and Lucy lived on was backed against the riverbank, shaded by the ancient oaks.
M. ran along the hedge on her side of the lawn. Lucy’s tree swing was down by the river bend, which was behind both of their houses. The river looked particularly beautiful today. Running down to the bend, she crossed into the Perkins’ lawn.
Lucy had a green dress on with pink bows on the shoulders. Her light brown hair was pulled back in dreadlock pigtails, tied off with pink ribbons. She always looked much nicer than M., whose frock was always stained in something she had gotten into. And her dull dark brown hair lay flat on her shoulders. Even when she tried to tie it back in a purple ribbon, it never looked pretty like Lucy’s.
But Lucy had never cared. They both loved each other dearly, without paying attention to their dressing differences. Lucy recognized M. as she slowed the swing to a stop. It was a wooden slab with two ropes tying it to the high branches in the tree.
M. and Lucy embraced each other, sat together near the river, and talked about things that were only interesting to the two. Unfortunately, they are so uninteresting to the common child of that time that I will not even mention the subjects. I will take this time to describe their surroundings.
The surface on which the girls sat on was a grassy ledge which, below it, there came a foot or so of wet sand. As most small beaches, this is where the river began its waters. The river stretched for miles, and one could hardly see the land opposite them. It was a beautiful sight to look at, but the girls had seen and enjoyed it long before this meeting. So they ignored and simply spoke to one another.
“Have you finished your essays for tomorrow?” Lucy asked.
“Must we talk about school?” M. groaned, giggling.
“Well…they’re due tomorrow,” Lucy continued. “I’ve already finished mine.”
M. did not reply.
“Well?” Lucy smiled. “Did you do them or didn’t you?”
“I haven’t started them,” M. said quietly.
“What?” Lucy gasped. “M. you’ll get a horrible grade!”
“I know,” M. stated bluntly, looking away and squinting at the horizon.
“But…” Lucy started, now confused, “don’t you want to get a good grade?”
“Of course I do,” M. replied. “But I did not know what to write about.”
“M.,” Lucy rolled her eyes. “If you would have listened to Ms. Watson, you would know. One was supposed to be on George Washington and the Revolution, another on Lewis and Clark, and the last one on Robert E. Lee.”
“Why would I want to write about someone who wasn’t even fighting on our side?” M. asked, puzzled. “It doesn’t make any sense. If I’m going to write about the accomplishments of someone, shouldn’t it be someone whose accomplishments should be mentioned?”
“M.!” Lucy interrupted. M. forgot.
“Sorry, Lu,” she said, remembering that Lucy was from Georgia. “I’m sure he was a gallant soldier.” She stopped there. She didn’t know what else to say.
“It’s alright,” Lucy smiled, and then she laughed. “It doesn’t really matter. I wasn’t born then—I don’t remember him.”
They both laughed. After they settled down (which was quite a long time), Lucy spoke again.
“But anyway, isn’t about what you think you should be writing. We have to turn it in tomorrow!”
“Yes,” M. agreed softly.
“Why haven’t you done it?” Lucy asked.
“I got so tired of sitting there trying to figure out what to write!” M. confessed. “My pencil just sat there—I could not think of anything!”
“Would you like me to help you?” Lucy offered.
“No,” M. replied. She didn’t need help. She could do it by herself. “I’ll do them tonight I suppose.”
“All of them?” Lucy gaped.
“I don’t have much of a choice,” M. remarked. This was true. And it was also true that M. had completely forgotten about the essays Lucy had mentioned ever since she had given up trying to write them, which was last week.
“Well…signal to me if you need my help, alright?” Lucy said. M. nodded. They had their own way of signaling to each other. Both girls had gotten a spiffy candle-lit lantern for their birthdays one year. Just like the Old North Tower signaled Paul Revere, M. and Lucy decided that if one need the other, the lantern would be lit in their windows. Unfortunately, they did not each have two lanterns. That would have been amazing.
“One if by land, two if by sea…”
M. didn’t know what they would use the “two if by sea” for. But it interested her nonetheless. See? She enjoyed history; she just did not enjoy writing long essays about it.
She looked out onto the horizon again. They saw the piece of land that lay about five miles from the river bank. It was small, and it had a red and white striped lighthouse on the coast. Mr. Jenkins lived down there. He kept the light burning in the lighthouse, as he lived in the little shack beside it.
“It must be romantic—living alone by the sea like that,” M. dreamily remarked.
“Huh?” Lucy followed her gaze to the lighthouse. “Oh. Yes, I wonder what it’s like to live alone like that. He must get lonely.”
“Perhaps…” M. pondered, “but—”
“MISS MIRANDA!” was suddenly heard from the other side of the hedge.
M. leapt up instantly. “I have to go,” she said. And she hurried back to the lawn on the other side.
It was Britta. Who else would be yelling at her like that? She looked intensely aggravated as she spotted M. dashing across the lawn to the kitchen door.
“What in heaven’s name are you running in that dress for?” she snapped. “Go on upstairs and get dressed for dinner—your grandmother is waiting!”
It took at least five minutes to scrub the dirt off of M.’s lace-ups. She had also slipped on her light blue dress, brushed her hair, and, with the help of Ella, had tied a pink satin ribbon in her hair. As Britta had said, her elderly grandmother was already sitting comfortingly at the dining table. Across from her was her cousin Genevieve, in her nice green dress. Rather awkwardly, M. came in and seated herself in the chair beside her haughty cousin.
The dining room was splendidly elegant. M. saw it every day, so she would not think to tell you anything about it. The long dining room table was decorated with an ornate tablecloth with jeweled paisley. The brilliant centerpiece held delicate artificial flowers with swans perched on the vase, with their wings spread out as if just about to take off. The rest of the room was somewhat empty, aside from massive picture frames with various famous people that M. never took notice of.
M.’s grandmother then called for Rosa, one of the kitchen servers. Thompson, the butler, was also standing at the door. Rosa brought in a lovely platter filled with roast turkey. Thompson arrived with a beautiful array of mashed potatoes and delicately placed vegetables and bread rolls. Rosa stood by with the water pitcher as she filled each glass placed on the table. M. also received a glass of milk.
Thompson came beside M. with a silver platter of turkey. Genevieve served herself first. Very delicately, she placed each slice on her plate, as she made it slide off of the serving fork. She did this about as fast as a snail would, as M. rightly deduced.
“Is she ever going to finish serving herself?” she thought impatiently. “What if she never finishes? What if it takes so long to serve herself, me and Grandmama will both starve! And we’ll never get anything to eat!”
Her grumbling stomach made it difficult to remain still. She watched her cousin with great perplexity and annoyance.
“Will you hurry up?” she blurted out. She clapped her hand over her mouth.
Genevieve gaped. “The nerve! Grandmama…” She stopped, for her grandmother was already narrowing her eyes.
“Very well, Miranda,” her grandmother said. Her grandmother turned to the butler as Genevieve finished serving herself, “Thompson, please, do skip Miss Miranda’s share tonight. I am afraid to think that she is not at all hungry.”
Before Thompson could nod, M. burst out, quite frightened by this remark, “Oh no, Grandmama! I—er—I was simply saying…that the food would get cold and positively revolting if she waited too long to eat it.”
Before her grandmother’s eyes could narrow, M. turned to see Thompson lowering the silver platter beside her plate. After M. had hastily and successfully served herself, Thompson snuck a wink at her as he advanced to her grandmother.
Much to her irritation, M. had to wait until everybody was served and everybody had their napkins in their lap, forks in the right place, and so on. Being in a wealthy family was hard getting used to. She didn’t say much at the table, though, because of her mistaken outburst from five minutes ago.
M. ate hastily. She was very hungry.
“Slow down, for heaven sake!” Genevieve snapped softly.
M. scowled and glanced at her grandmother, whose expression she couldn’t exactly read.
“Ladies may only take small bites,” she said as if cued.
M. lowered her fork slowly as she straightened her back.
“Miranda,” her grandmother’s voice deepened.
“Yes?” M. squeaked.
“What were you doing outside today?” she questioned, not looking up from her food.
“I was walking,” M. answered truthfully. “And I went to see Lucy.”
“The Perkins’ girl?” Genevieve asked, with interest on her face. “But are they not from the south?”
“The war’s over, in case you hibernated,” M. shot back. “Her dad wasn’t a slave trader—”
“That’s enough,” their grandmother said sternly as they glared at each other. “Miranda what happened to your shoes?”
M. looked down before her heart stopped. Yes, they looked clean.
“They’re clean,” she remarked.
“I saw them earlier when you were outside. Did you get them dirty?”
“I—” There was no point in arguing this. “Yes ma’am.”
“You know it is not proper for young ladies to soil their clothes,” her grandmother remarked coolly. “I do not want to see your shoes in that state again, nor your dress. Is that clear?”
“And school is tomorrow, is it not?” her grandmother continued.
“And you have all your assignments ready and due to turn in tomorrow?”
M. stopped and lowered her head.
“Well?” her grandmother persisted.
“She has three essays to write,” Genevieve blurted out. “And she hasn’t done any of them. And they’re due tomorrow.”
M. could have said a few things, but for the sake of her grandmother being in the room, she decided not to.
“You will write your essays tonight, Miranda,” her grandmother declared.
“Yes ma’am,” M. said.
There was once a girl who lived by the riverside with her grandmother and her older cousin. She had no mother or father, for they had died long before she had grown to understand that. Her mature and arrogant cousin, Genevieve, had a similar fate. And so the two orphans were taken under the care of their wealthy grandmother whom, I must tell you, believed in mature and well-mannered young ladies. That is why she was so proud of her Genevieve, and still working on her Miranda.
And that was the girl’s name, Miranda Patient, (a last name that had been in the family for years). Even still, this young girl did not go by Miranda, but M.—plain and simple M. She chose the nickname for herself because she disliked the fact that it took 0.5 seconds longer to say ‘Miranda’. Why waste that much time, M. thought, when you could just say “M.” and get it over with? “M.” was quite simple, and not to mention not very hard to pronounce at all.
On this particularly sunny day, M. was roaming about the garden behind the tall house that sat near the riverbank. She was pacing along the paths of appealing and sweet flowers, the hedges that were trimmed so precisely. Edwin, the gardener, was in the distance working at his spade in another part of the garden. M’s brown hair flew back in the faint breeze when it decided to come, and her pink, frilly dress fluttered behind her. The neighborhood was quiet, for the most part. There were seldom faint noises coming from the park, and an occasional automobile riding noisily down the street. Big, powerful, and overall exciting, the automobiles were extremely loud and gave M.’s grandmother a headache. They had just come out with the newer models a couple years before, so everyone had some getting used to do, M. supposed.
Everything was quite still, and though she had been warned to do otherwise, M. kicked at the dirt with every step she took. She did not like the idea of keeping clean every minute of the day. She was sure that in some way, her lace-ups could be cleaned before she dressed for dinner. But sneaking past her grandmother in the parlor was another matter.
As other times when she walked in the garden, she soon grew tired of seeing flowers and impatient with the cook, Mrs. Anntrove. She was almost sure that the kind lady would offer her a snack while she paced through the garden, (as the cook rarely did, but it didn’t hurt to hope). So M. decided to go and ask for a snack herself.
She slid the glass door open and stepped inside a small sitting area. Thankfully, her grandmother was not there. She took a quick short-cut to the kitchen, which was dreadfully messy. The counters were caked with crumbs or spills. Canisters or packages of foods and ingredients were spread everywhere for who-knows-what. Steam came soaring out of the pots on the stove. And it smelled like cooked vegetables. M. inhaled it with quaint satisfaction.
Out of the pantry came Mrs. Anntrove, the elderly widowed cook. She was a short, stout lady with frazzled red hair and a pinched up freckled face. She had been a cook for M.’s grandmother ever since M. could remember.
Mrs. Anntrove didn’t seem to notice her at first. She had come out with a sack of flour and slammed it on one of the counters. The cook then grabbed a vast bowl from one of the cabinets. She glanced up while mopping her brow. She spotted M. standing in the back doorway.
“Well, come on then,” she said, grabbing for an ingredient sheet. “If it’s what you came in for, the apron’s where it always is.” M. laughed.
“Oh no,” she corrected, smiling. “I was just coming for a snack.”
“Well I’m certainly not giving you one,” Mrs. Anntrove snapped. “That dinner party of your grandmother’s is tomorrow night. Head starts are the only things that can get done around here, and you know that!”
She disappeared in the pantry again. M. shrugged, picked up an apple from a fruit bowl, and skipped out of the doorway.
M. spied her grandmother in the parlor, making slow but sure progress on her sew-ing project. M.’s grandmother was a tall woman with hair between gray and white. Narrow eyes and high expectations, she was a very mature woman. She always sat up straight, as if a wooden board was propped behind her. She never worked too fast or too slowly on any project. She always seemed to get them done no matter what they were. Her long, fancy dress covered her feet as she sat stiffly and serenely on the elaborate sitting chair.
M. glanced down at her lace-ups. Up to the ankle there was dirt that covered up the shiny white surface. Hiding stiffly behind the door of the parlor, she wished desperately that her grandmother would leave her spot. Her grandmother kept her stern eyes fixed on her sewing, and never looked anywhere else. Unfortunately, she did not make a sign of leaving any time soon.
M. had been waiting for a LONG while, (it had only been thirty seconds). She started becoming quite impatient. If she had not been trying to hide, she would have stamped her foot and let out a big “humph”. But she didn’t.
“What if Grandmother never leaves, but stays there forever and ever?” M. thought. “What if I never get this wretched dirt off my shoes? Suppose Grandmother stays there until I HAVE to go into the parlor and let her see them! What if she takes away all my dolls and forbids me to leave my room and go outside as long as I live!”
Thinking this over for a very long time, (fifteen seconds), she decided to not cross the parlor to walk up the main set of stairs, but simply sneak around to the back stairs. She crept up softly. She passed over the one creaky step near the middle that her grandmother was sure to hear, and then she came to the upstairs hall.
Passing elaborately decorated rooms, she soon came upon one of the guest rooms, where Ella, her favorite maid, was folding laundry. She raced up to the dark-headed, dark-skinned maid in uniform and bust out, “Oh Ella! You must help me find a way to clean them before supper!”
She was pointed to one of her shoes, which was dirtier than the other, so that Ella would take more sympathy than she would the other shoe.
The slender maid in her black and white uniform looked down in shock and disappointment. Her hair was back in a bun that day. And she looked exhausted.
“Miss Miranda! What on earth d’you do with them shoes?” she sighed.
“Oh please help me clean them!” M. pleaded. “Grandmama cannot see them!”
“Now Miss Miranda you know I don’t have no right to go doin’ things behind your grandmama’s back. I gots enough to do without you comin’ in with more mud and whatever else you track’d in here. You was the one that got ‘em dirty. Now you march right upstairs and clean them shoes—”
“Ella please!” M. interrupted.
Ella furrowed her brow with confusion. “What’ch’you so worri’d ‘bout? You can clean, can’t you?”
“But if I do—Grandmama’s sure to notice!” M. stated despairingly.
Ella cracked a smile. “Well.” She turned back to her laundry. “That ain’t my fault. I didn’t go out there and play in no flowerbed.”
“I wasn’t playing in the flowerbed!” M. said defensively.
Ella smiled and softened her voice. “I know,” she said calmly. She sighed and wiped her forehead. M. waited.
“Alright,” she sighed. She put a pair of bloomers down on the couch. “Come on in here,” she nudged M. toward the powder room. “I’ll get you clean’d up—”
“No you won’t!” boomed a voice near the doorway.
M. jumped and turned around. She let out a groan and put on a stubborn face.
Britta, the grumpiest maid in her grandmother’s house, always spoiled everything for her. It was quite irritating, really. Britta was stout. She was the second-to-head maid in the house, (or so she insisted), and she always had her brown hair frizzed up around her head. Her forehead was shiny. She looked tired too. She had a dust feather in one hand and an oiled rag in the other. Her raven black eyes narrowed at Ella, who stood quite still, staring back.
M. looked back and forth—from one to the other. Britta and Ella never got along well. Her grandmother had always said it was prejudice, which was a big word simply pointing out that Britta had skin like she and her grandmother—very fair and light—and Ella had a very dark brown complexion. M. never saw why this would be a problem. Ella was M.’s favorite maid. Britta was ill-tempered anyway. Now, though, Ella seemed to make her even grouchier, for no particular reason.
Britta stepped in the room, still glaring at Ella.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in the bedrooms?” she snapped.
“Mrs. Chester want’d the laundry done first, Ms. Collins,” Ella answered in a solemn tone. (Mrs. Chester was grandmother’s top house cleaner).
“When did she tell you that?” Britta inquired.
“This mornin’,” Ella responded. “She said the bedrooms could wait.”
“Well Mrs. Abilene Chester is out for the afternoon. I am in charge for the rest of the day, and I say the bedrooms have to be done! We’ve got guests coming tomorrow, Ella!”
“They ain’t sleepin’ here, Ms. Collins,” Ella quietly remarked.
“It doesn’t matter!” Britta retorted. “I said get to the bedrooms!”
There was a pause. “Yes ma’am,” Ella pronounced, in a deep voice.
As feared, Britta spun her glaring eyes at M. next.
“And you,” she said between her teeth. “You know good and well that Ella can’t be messing with you. She’s got work to do!”
“But my shoes, Britta!” M. cried. She was now quite scared that she wasn’t going to get help after all.
“I don’t care about your silly shoes! We maids have got other things to worry about. Maybe you should just become a maid and I’ll tell you to do my hair! Now get out of here—we got work to do!”
Grumpy. That was the only word that entered M.’s head.
She walked slowly past Britta towards the doorway. She made her feet drag as her head hung low and innocent-like.
“Go on!” Britta pushed.
M. turned her head and gave a pitiful look to Ella, who returned it, but mentally urged her to do as she was told. Britta was getting impatient now.
“Do you want me to tell your grandmother you’ve been dressing the cats up again?”
M. dashed away as quickly as she could, the apple still in her hand.
I’ve always loved the Victorian Era. I don’t know what it is about it. And, when I was little, I always loved reading the American Girl books–Samantha Parkington in particular. As much as I tried to create a story much different from the Samantha books, it was difficult. But tell me what you think.
I’ve posted the first seven chapters of this book. There are fourteen in all. Publishers, please email me if you would like to read and consider the rest!