9 April 2013

From the "I used to write like this" series, Part I

I started this when I was 17. I'm still unsure how it turned from cute YA fiction aimed primarily at teen girls into dark, brooding and violent YA fiction aimed at mostly deranged people. This turn of events, however, will not be depicted here. I will share with you instead the glorious beginnings of Rinalda, the 17-year-old wannabe writer. Unedited, unchanged. Be kind.

       Emma – The Beginning

 “Sweetie, we know we shouldn't push you or anything, but it’s about time your powers kicked in, don’t you think?” father said with a worried smile, while folding the newspaper and placing it on the coffee table beside him. “Your mother agrees too, don’t you darling,” he added, looking at mother, who was playing with my younger sister on the living room carpet. “I mean, even Layla started manifesting elemental powers, and she’s only three,” father continued, since mother was too busy dodging all the flying dolls around her to actually pay attention. “The point is, Emma-”
“The point is, you can’t possibly be normal, and your special ability will surface, sooner or later,” mother smiled, interrupting father’s monologue.
“I think ‘sooner’ is out of the question in this case, darling,” father replied and they both started laughing.
I was born into an Elemental family, or so my father claimed ‘those’ kind of families were called. And ours was an unusual one. It might be a confusing thing to say, considering that we were already as unusual as one gets, but most such families had only one ruling element and we… well, we had the lot. We had a bloodline of fire, water, earth, metal, and now, as Layla so clearly demonstrated, air. Mother and Father were both fire Elementals, and I was… well… nothing.
“Could you please stop this nonsense? I’m fine with being normal,” I sighed, sick and tired of the same old conversation we had repeated over and over again ever since I turned 17.
“Emma, darling, of course you’re not fine with being normal,” mother replied while making tiny fire butterflies come out of her index finger. The flying toys from before now lay silently on the floor, since Layla was positively enthralled by the red and orange flutter of the butterflies. She placed her little hand under one and soon enough the poor thing was engulfed in a whirlwind generated by Layla’s palm. I don’t wanna be like that. No. Of course I don’t. Not me. No sir. No way. No how.
But I wanna make tiny sparkling butterflies toooo…
“Mother, we’ve had this conversation before. I like my life, I like my school, I like-”
“Ah, yes, and by the way…” father interrupted my little ‘I like’ speech. “We’re moving you to another school. One more suitable for you, since your powers might appear at any given time now. School’s starting in two weeks, and you will be attending the same High School me and your mother went to when we were young. It’s renowned for its facilities for… gifted children,” he continued, avoiding my gaze and lowering his voice till it was barely understandable to human ear.  But I understood him alright. Oh, how I understood him.
“You’re WHAT??” And why didn’t they ask me before doing such a thing?? No…no… this isn’t happening. Breathe, Emma, breathe. Be calm and mature about this.
“NO! I’m not going!” I screamed, and ran out of the living room with tears in my eyes. I ran up to my room and slammed the door shut. Screw ‘calm and mature’, how could they do this to me? I already have a life in my high school, plus there’s that little bonus some would refer to as Colin.
“Oh come on, it’s not that bad…” Hayley’s soothing voice echoed through the telephone. “Plus, Colin doesn’t even know you exist, so he’s not that big of a bonus anyway,” she gracefully topped the grey cake of my life with a winning cherry of misery. I could clearly hear her chewing in my ear. She was always eating weird things to lose weight. None ever worked. Ever.
“Thanks Ley, that helped a lot. I was going to fix the problem this school year you know.” And how insensitive of you to remind me of such things. Hayley was one of the few people I actually got along with in that school. Okay, maybe I didn’t like my school that much… “Anyway, I have to go, I can hear mother calling, and I don’t want to live solely on water and water for the next two weeks.”
“But it’s actually not that hard to live on wa-”
“Bye Ley,” I interrupted her weird eating habit chatter and hung up. Actually, mother was too much of a lady to call after me herself. She usually sent up one of her little fire messages. This one had been oozing from under the door all through my conversation and was currently spelling a scorching “Get dressed and come down. Now! Love, Mother.” The message ended with the flaming outline of a heart, and disintegrated in tiny sparkles which started rising towards the ceiling, where other such sparkles awaited. They usually disappeared in about a week or so and I kind of liked the starry sky impression they gave, so I never bothered doing something about the matter. My room was an incredibly messy place, but I always knew where to find my things. I looked under the pillow and found a pair of dark grey jeans. Oh, almost forgot about these. And they’d look amazing with my pinkish blouse. Now if I could just remember where I put it… Okay, maybe not always. But on several occasions I did find what I was looking for. In the end, I decided for a cute shirt which had the most adorable ribbon on the back, and the nearly-forgotten-pillow-jeans.
When I finally arrived downstairs, mother was in the middle of putting a small fire out.
“Calm down, darling, it was an accident,” she addressed my father, who looked like he was about to shoot lightning from his eyes. Thank Heavens he can’t control lightning, or else we would have all been zapped to death by now. He scares me sometimes… brr. I shrugged any nasty thoughts away, and took a step towards my quarreling parents. Hah, they’re such a pair.
“No, of course I didn’t mean to set your newspaper on fire, Alan!” Oh no, she called him by his first name. That’s bad. Very bad. Last time she did that s-
“NOW look what you’ve done!” father yelled, as the living room exuded smoke from every nick and cranny.
“You know I can’t control my abilities when I lose my temper,” mother crossed her arms in defense. I was meaning to say ‘something bad happened’, but never mind.
We usually had to redecorate or move every two months or so, because the perfect fire-proof house hadn’t been invented yet. I was actually thinking of inventing one myself. Eventually. Ah, if my guardian element were water, we wouldn’t have to go through this Every. Single. Time. They fight.
“Anyway, I have to go out now, so fix this little problem before I return,” she slyly said, scanning the charcoal and still smoking walls around us and grabbing my wrist.
“Oh, and watch Layla while you’re at it,” she added a final blow and gracefully closed the front door behind us. I could still hear father clearly, as we were marching down the stony path that connected the door to the main road. “Now, honey, please PLEASE try to make a little wind for daddy. We have to clear this smoke away. You ca….” His voice faded away more and more till it became just a windy whisper in the chilly autumn day. The alley on which we were walking was covered in dead yet noisy leaves and I loved the feeling they gave me when I crushed them under my feet. The air was incredibly fresh, and I was enjoying a wonderful early autumn’s day.
“We’re going to buy you school uniforms, dear,” mother started, as if answering a question I never asked. Did I say ‘enjoying’? I meant ‘wanting-to-kill-myself-soon-therefore-admiring-the-last-leaves-ever’.
“What?? But my last school… my last school didn’t have uniforms,” I complained, and with good reasons too. How will the boys ever notice me if I’m dressed EXACTLY like the other girls? This isn’t happening.
“Yes, and I distinctively remember your last school not being a boarding school either,” mother casually added with a flip of her brown hair. No, actually it isn’t a boar- Wait. WHAT? Did I say ‘wanting-to-kill-myself-soon-therefore-admiring-the-last-leaves-ever’? Well…I was right about that.
“Are you implying what I think you’re implying, mother?” I asked, desperately struggling to keep my voice under control. Breathe, Emma, breathe.
“Well, darling, you might not be aware of this, but the Hawkshaw Institute isn’t quite in our particular area,” she answered, sneaking a quick glance at my petrified face.
“Isn’t quite in our particular area?” I repeated on a neutral tone. The shock had been so devastating that I was now staring blankly at the pathway before me. Not quite in our particular area… Not quite in our area… Not quite… Not… My thoughts wandered further and further away in the vastness of my mind, until I could merely hear the echo of myself. It was like death, only worse: social death. Uniforms. Boarding school. I was bound not to live through the first week… or, a more probable situation, the very first day. And I was going to pass away in ugly cl-
Heeey, those are not half bad. Before I even knew it, we had reached the little uniform shop. As we were standing in front of the showcases, I realized maybe uniforms weren’t that bad after all. Not bad at all actually. In fact, they were-
“Freaking awesome!”
“Emma! Watch your tongue!”
“Sorry, mother. But they are sort of pretty,” I stated, while the shopkeeper was showing us some of the available skirt patterns. My birth-giver chose one and handed it to me.
“Go see how this looks like, Emma, darling.”
“But mother, it’s the longest one,” I complained. At this rate, I will be known as the Girl-With-No-Uniform-Fashion-Sense and banished from school grounds. I can’t let this happen.
“What about-”
“No,” her eyes sparkled dangerously.
“Fine…” I mumbled to myself, rolling my eyes in an imperceptible manner and grabbing the damned skirt from her hands.
 Damn, it looks horrible. Horrid, horrid knee-length skirt, you shall be the death of me.
“Well? Do you like it?” I could hear mom’s voice through the changing booth’s heavy curtains.
If I say no, she will kill me. If I say yes, I will die anyway. Hmm… tough call.
“Well… not really.” Indeed, I chose the quickest death.
“You… don’t, hmm?” I could feel the room slightly heating up. Not good. Not good. Abort ‘quick death’! Abort!!
“No, no. I meant… what I meant was… I actually meant…” Darn! “I love it, mother,” I finally sighed.
“Good,” she smiled as she drew the curtains to have a look. The skirt was a shade of grey that had probably inspired sidewalk-colourers when the very first sidewalks had appeared. It had finely outlined checkers in a reddish colour. I said reddish because they could almost pass as grey in all that mass of asphalt. I felt like a road. A road with checkers. Ridiculous, I sighed inside.
“We’ll take three,” she cheerfully said while shooing me back into the changing booth to reclaim my lovely jeans. I watched the buying process with solemn resignation. Curses, curses, CURSES! Please make a sharp object fall on the damned skirts, please, please, please… Preferably scissors…Okay, maybe ‘resignation’ is not quite the word for it… While I was going on and about with my little incantations towards the poor skirts, mother handed me the brown bag containing those dreaded items of clothing which would most certainly make me regret the rest of my school days and ushered me out of the store.
“But what about the rest of the uniform?” I inquired on a genuinely worried tone. Oh my, am I to go to school wearing only the skirt? That would be a sight. In any case, no-one would ever notice the actual length of the skirt in question…
“You don’t need anything else, since the third years always wear white shirts, and you have plenty of those,” mother answered cheerfully. “Plus, the students can wear whatever jackets they like, as long as they’re decent enough. We didn’t have this rule when we were going to school; we had to wear those horrible black coats lined with gold. It was appalling.” She shook her head at the mere thought of the previously invoked jackets. They DO sound appalling. Gold? Yuk.

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