Ah, holidays are great. A chance to catch up on everything you’ve missed out on doing while busy at work. Appropriate, then, that this week’s writing workshop is about ‘Missing’ things. As always, this is interpreted with a fictional slant, and a continuation of an ongoing series. To read the rest click here.
Hope you enjoy!
by Liberty Gilmore, 24/10/11
Adam’s trail reminds Ava of the things her childhood was missing.
August 12th, Age 10
Ava looked down at the post-it note in her hand for the twentieth time as she paced back and forth in her room.
August 12th, Age 10
It was from Adam, had to be. There was no one else who would ascribe any sort of significance to that date. Was he trying to lure her out? Trying to get her attention? To what end?
Ava knew she shouldn’t have ignored him for so long, but the thought of talking to him was harder. It was cowardice, she knew, but Holly and Adam had been the one consistently good thing in her life, and she didn’t want to jeopardise that, didn’t want to ruin it.
But she had. Already. And it wasn’t just because she’d ignored Adam – she could have done the same to him as she did to Graham, and things for him would have gone back to some semblance of normality. But for her they never would, because like Eve in the Garden of Eden, she’d taken a bite of the forbidden fruit and now she was filled with knowledge: knowledge of how Adam’s lips tasted, how wonderful it felt when he tangled his fingers in her hair.
Her bedroom door opened, and Ava spun to face her mother, balling the post-it note in her fist.
‘What are you doing, Ava?’ Natalia asked, arching one slender eyebrow.
‘I was just thinking about everything we were discussing at dinner,’ Ava lied.
Natalia gave a close approximation to a warm smile. ‘Your father and I are pleased that you’re taking your duties more seriously of late.’
Ava didn’t respond to that – it was a minefield. Anything she said would be confession that she was decidedly more Human that her mother and father thought. If Natalia knew she’d been replaying the memory of a Human boy’s lips on hers, she would be dragged back to the Court. The punishment would be severe.
‘Tomorrow we should discuss the next stage in your duty. You recall I mentioned our Lord and Lady have taken a personal interest in you? They have decided on a match for you.’
‘Decided?’ Ava said, unable to keep the inflection of surprise from her voice.
‘Yes,’ Natalia said with a cruel smile. ‘Another Fey raised in the Human world. He’s already at Oxford, studying Law. You are to meet at University and fall in love, but our Lady, in her infinite, wisdom thought it would prudent to introduce you before.’
‘I look forwards to it,’ Ava said, her fist pinching tighter around the post-it note.
Natalia treated her to one last withering smile, then left her.
As soon as Natalia’s footsteps were out of earshot, Ava opened her fist and looked at the note one last time. She tucked the post-it note into her pocket and, after bolting her bedroom door, climbed out of the window.
It was a balmly night and the sky overhead was littered with stars. Ava took a lungful of air, smelling the tang of fresh cut grass on the light breeze. It made her feel better, chasing away the chill of Natalia’s presence, filling her body with vitality. Silently, she dropped from the roof outside her window, her legs bending to cushion the impact. It jarred her little – the grace of the Fey had advantages beyond seduction.
Her destination was a short walk across town to St Mary’s Church, or more specifically, the churchyard there. It wasn’t a place Ava had been to often, but she remembered that August day as clearly as she remembered the taste of Adam’s kiss.
The gate to the churchyard creaked when Ava pushed it open, but her heart didn’t race, her eyes didn’t start to see ghosts in the shadows. She could sense every living thing in that graveyard, just as she could when she was ten years old.
She’d been visiting Holly and Adam while her parents were away at a business conference. It was one of the rare occasions where Natalia had bowed to human custom, deciding it would attract too much attention to leave her ten year old alone, even if it was just overnight. Ava had been delighted at the idea of spending the night with Holly, though even at ten she’d learned to hide such emotions from her mother.
It should have been a wonderful night, but the warmth and colour of Holly’s family home just served to remind Ava of what her own childhood was missing. By the morning she was miserable. Holly’s mother thought she was homesick and tried to take her mind off things with a trip into town.
A trip that had lead Ava to this graveyard, looking for Adam, who had wandered off – as he was very prone to doing. His mother had been panicking, but Ava could sense his energy among the crowd, and followed his trail right to a point at the back of the graveyard, tucked away between two trees. As Ava retraced her footsteps, she could almost see Adam’s eight year old self, stubbornly planted between the trees.
‘What are you doing all the way back here?’ Ava asked him.
‘Hiding,’ Adam said, folding his arms as if to prove his conviction.
‘I hate shopping.’
He had sulked about the decision to go shopping all the way into town.
‘Can I hide with you?’ Ava asked.
Adam looked up at her and, after a moment’s consideration, nodded. ‘What do you want to hide for?’
‘Because if they don’t find me, maybe I won’t have to go home,’ she had whispered.
Even now Ava felt the pressure of unshed tears behind her eyes. She had wanted – wished so hard – to be a normal little girl back then. She had imagined a new future, where she could live free of her mother’s oppressive ideals, become human and be adopted into Adam and Holly’s loving family. If only she could stay hidden for long enough.
Adam said to her afterwards that it was the first time she had felt like his friend, not just Holly’s. He assumed, with childish innocence, that she didn’t want to go home because she was having too much fun with him.
Pinned to the bark of the tree they had sat under was another note. Ava snatched it up.
When I think about it, you were never really happy, were you?
You’ve always been good at pretending otherwise
but it’s not just lately that things have got too much, is it?
March 9th, Age 14
Again, Ava knew exactly where he meant for her to go. She pocketed the note and began walking.