other bits of blog

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

new

I don't have time to talk today. We are getting ready to go to New York. Tomorrow we'll go into the city and...see a Broadway show!!!! I know, I'm very excited, and I'll tell you all about it later.
For now, here's my new story, 'Words':


Words

Prologue


She stepped over the soft moss in the middle of the forest. The girl was clad mostly in skins, and her long, black hair flowed around her small, dark face. Her chocolate-brown eyes darted from side to side, watching the move of every bug and animal in the clearing.
Drawing her sunstep out of a pouch hanging over her shoulder, she set it in the green carpet at her feet and stared up at the sky, hoping that the sun was out. It was there. The twelve-year-old glanced at the shadow that her direction finder made with practiced ease.
Knowing that she was going northeast, the girl quickly packed up her things and looked back up at the sky. It was growing dark. There wouldn’t be much time for her to get back to the village. She had to hurry.
She slung the bag back over her shoulder and started running with her long, brown-skinned legs. Only small, thin moccasins made of jaguar skin covered the girl’s feet. They were made for silence. There were tiny rocks and vines embroidered into them. The girl quickly grabbed a vine from a large tree that she passed and used it to tie up her tangled hair, so it wouldn’t be in the way as she ran.
Suddenly she slowed. There was a small figure running toward her. The younger girl came from the village, and had been sent to make sure her older sister was all right.
The older girl stopped and touched her sister, palm to palm. Closing both their eyes, their hands locked onto each other’s, the two of them silently went into their mental, telepathic communication, the younger girl sending pictures into her sibling’s mind. For, the two girls and their village, had no writing system or spoken language. They had no way to speak. They didn’t use words.


1


Jade lived in San Francisco. Past tense. Meaning that he used to live there. The last time Jade had moved, he had been five, and they had only moved to another house. It was even in the same town! Now he was twelve, and not happy about the move.
But both of Jade’s parents were etymologists. They had met each other in an etymology workshop or something, where everyone researched the word ‘love’. Sienna, Jade’s mom, and Aden, his dad, had been placed in the same group. Jade was always sure that this was some kind of match-making scheme, especially since the word historians were supposed to research ‘love’.
Because of their job, Sienna and Aden had been studying certain words, and tracing the word’s heritage back thousands of years. But this year, for their long and hard work in etymology, Jade’s parents had been chosen by the Etymologist Society to go to the jungle. The Amazon Jungle.
Jade was pretty sure they hadn’t even protested on going to only the most dangerous jungle in the world, but they had been glad to accept the offer. Not even a hesitation as to what their twelve-year-old son would say about living in a jungle.
So now, because of his parent’s ignorance, Jade was stuck on a plane from California to Brazil, and he didn’t even know why.
The boy pulled his knees up to his chin and stared out the window. Next to him, Jade’s mom was sleeping soundly while to the left of her, his dad was shuffling through papers, his research about ‘gullible’. Seriously, is there a worse word to research than gullible? Jade thought.
The blue sky was too dull. There isn’t even enough blue to make it seem like a real sky, he thought. Jade was used to California skies, always looking like summer, always bright, always cloudless, always bright, piercing blue.
But now he was looking at the sky over his new home. The Amazon. Why, he said to himself for the umpteenth time, why do I, of all people, have to live in the stupid Amazon Jungle?
He went over and over again in his mind what his new home would be like, if there would be other children there, and where they would actually live. Jade envisioned a small, straw hut in a tiny, damp clearing surrounded by towering, vine-draped trees and poisonous bugs. But maybe we’ll live in the city, he thought. Maybe we’ll live in real houses?
But Jade had a hunch that he was wrong about this. He thought that his theory of the little hut in the clearing was right. He didn’t want to be there. He wanted desperately to be back in San Fran, as he and his friends had lovingly called Jade’s old home.
Jade wanted his soft, four-poster bed to sleep on at night. The boy missed his little studio room, where he drew every day and wished for its yellow and blue walls. He wanted his friends and his pets—Kira, the dog, and Aly and Destiny, his two kittens—whom he had to give to his friends with sadness. Jade had also needed to tell his brotherly friends where he was going.
Jade’s best friends, Neal and Liam, had actually been kind of amazed when he told them of his home-to-be.
“The Amazon?” Neal had asked.
Jade had hesitated. “Um…yeah.”
“Wow! Seriously?” Liam had whispered.
Then Jade had nodded and talked about his growing uneasiness. Neal and Liam seemed to care, but Jade didn’t know if they were just being his friends, concealing their excitement when he wasn’t in the least bit excited, or if they were too amazed to really feel sympathy for their best friend.
Thinking back, Jade scowled angrily. That had been his last encounter with his friends. The day before, when he and his family had boarded the plane, Liam and Neal were nowhere to be seen.
“Jade?”
He was startled out of his memories when Jade’s father called to him.
“What?” Jade asked.
“Well, we’re almost there,” his father answered. “I thought you might want to draw something once we’re out of these clouds. Did you know that the word ‘cloud’ came from the—“
“Okay,” said Jade nonchalantly, tuning his father out.
It was a good idea. Jade was an artist, or so his parents said. But he was good at drawing. Unlike most, though, he preferred pencil to paint. Everywhere he went, Jade carried his sketchbook. Jade slipped the sketchbook out just as the captain of the plane announced in an automatic voice, “Please turn off all electronic devices and go back to your seats at this point. We are going toward Manaus, and we will be there soon.”
Smiling, he turned to the window and opened the shutter as far as it would go. Now was the time for him to shine…in his own way.
Jade stared out the window and down to the ground. The tops of buildings, trees, and roads filled his vision. Surprisingly, there was a city down there! Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Using a pencil, he sketched them all out onto a small, blank canvas. His awakening mother leaned over and looked at the drawing, then out the window.
“I can’t tell the difference,” came his mother’s cool, calm voice.
Blushing at the compliment, Jade smiled and said, “It’s not that good!”
“Oh, but it is,” said his father as he watched Jade drawing. “It’s that good.”
Jade laughed and playfully pushed his dad, but he knew it was true. Somehow he had been born an amazing artist, and he didn’t even have to try.
Finishing up his sketch and ignoring his parents’ compliments, Jade looked at his drawing and smiled fiercely. It did look like the ground below them. He smiled and packed up his notebook carefully, he didn’t want to smudge the pencil.
The plane started dropping, and Jade’s ears popped uncomfortably. But they were landing, and he would be able to get out of this plane. Hopefully, since they were at least in a small city, it wouldn’t be so bad. There would be electricity, and he could call Neal and Liam once they touched ground!
“We’ll be able to go to the bathroom and walk around for two hours,” Jade’s mom said. “Where do you want to go?”
Go to the bathroom and walk around for two hours? Jade thought. What? “You mean we’re not going to live here?” he said slowly.
“Of course not, dear, we’re living in the jungle!”
Jade was heartbroken. His fears were true, they would live in a straw hut with jaguars in their backyard. How fun.
But Jade didn’t have any more time to think, because they were all getting off the plane.

***
They were in the air again. After an hour of walking around and an hour of sitting, Jade, his family, and about nine other people boarded a small puddle jumper that would fly them to a village on the edge of the Amazon River.
Jade leaned his head toward the window, keeping his eyes closed. He hoped that he would see a modern village in which they would live. He opened his eyes.
But when he glanced out of his window, Jade didn’t see modern homes. He didn’t really see anything, but for a small road and some thatched huts sitting in the dirt a little ways away. The road looked somewhat like a runway, but not really. Then he felt the plane drop.
I’m landing in the Amazon Jungle, Jade realized. I’m landing in my new home.

Like it? Me too!

3 comments:

  1. That's a really cool story! I loved the scene in particular when Jade was looking out the window. :)

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