“RORY!” I sighed and reluctantly sat up, slowly running the thick blades of grass through my fingers, sending grass seeds sailing through the air like dust in sunlight.
“What?” I yelled back at the voice pulling grass from my hair, irritated that I’d been disturbed from my thoughtless lazing.
“GET AWAY FROM THOSE WOODS” the familiar voice yelled back. I growled under my breath and grabbed my shoulder bag before standing up and straightening my shirt. Quickly trudging through the waist high grass to The Old Cottage. The only house near here was a ten minute walk away; The Old Cottage was farthest away from the rest of the town. I hated living in Applebry, my only comfort being the way our cottage looked lusciously romantic as it basked in the delicate rays of soft golden afternoon sunlight. I loved the way the ivy seemed to play as it clung tightly to the old stone work, weaving its way towards the roof gently pulling splinters of wood away from the window frames.
“How many times must I tell you to stay away from those woods?” my Grandmother snapped I rolled my eyes her as I crossed my arms and thoughtlessly stomped through the house.
“We live in a town surrounded by woods.” I bit back moodily instantly regretting my answer. The old woman inhaled heavily and fixed me with an icy stare. She opened her mouth as if to start her rant again but I hastily ducked past her and stumbled awkwardly up the stairs. I stopped at the top and decided I might as well go the full mile and span to face her.
“I know what you’re going to say ...... stay away from the woods, Rory, don’t ask about leaving Applebry, Rory”. I yelled, mimicking her voice while imitating her wild hand gestures from the top of the landing. She crossed her arms, her eyes blazing in fury. I turned and skipped into my room, knowing that I didn’t really have the guts to stand up to my Grandmother, and that hiding away was probably the safest option.
I loved my room it was my favourite place in Applebry, small yet comfortable. It had a slim wooden desk that was heavily laden with my art work. A large window with a window seat that was covered with old blankets, cushions whilst piles of my favourite books surrounded the seat, leaving only a small path like gap to the window. Also fitted into the small space was a twin bed that took up most of the room.
I sunk into my desk chair and grabbed the nearest pencil. I began to quietly hum absent minded while I doodled. After a while I was completely engrossed in my art. The pencil skipped and danced over the paper as if it were a part of me. Before long, a huge castle surrounded by giant walls and dark forests commanded the page. Great swarms of people scurrying away from the looming building.
A knock at the door yanked me from my dazed state and I groggily pushed myself from my chair and stomped across my room. Lazily I opened the door; already knowing full well who it was before the door swung open.
My one and only friend Birch stood there, beaming at me. I smiled as his green eyes sparkled mischievously. He bounded into my room and dived onto my bed, briefly creating a blur of gangly limbs and scattered cushions. I laughed at him as I carefully stepped over the books and sat down on the window seat. I glanced over towards the forest as Birch started wittering on about cars and how hard it is working for his dad. A flash of silvery blue caught the corner of my eye, and just for a second I could have sworn a person was staring at me from the forest, but when I tried to see better there was nothing there. I was yanked back into the room when Birch started waving and clicking his hands in front of my face.
“Huh?” I asked as when he looked at me expectantly.
“You wanna see my car, I finally finished it.” He grinned at me; eyes alight at the thought of showing off his work.
“Sure” I shrugged and jumped up grabbing my hoodie and headed to the door. Birch shot passed me and down the stairs before I had made it to the door.
When I got downstairs Birch and my grandmother were in deep conversation. They shot apart when they noticed me my grandmother bustled away through the old cottage muttering angrily to herself.
Birch has been my best friend since I moved here as a baby. Although he’s the only other 18 year old in the village, he’s six inches taller than me and never lets me forget it. He’s skinner than me which makes his awkwardly long limbs look like a new-born pony when he runs. He looks just like his father, Axel, except for his light brown hair which he wore in a buzz cut.
I grabbed my red shoulder bag from the hallway hooks, shaking it to see if my keys were in there, smiling to myself as I heard a satisfying jingle. I glanced up at the old grandfather clock that my grandmother kept wound up and in perfect condition; it read four thirty.
“Rosanna?” I yelled through the cottage, my grandmother glared at me as she shuffled in from the kitchen and put her hands on her hips.
“I’m going to Birch’s.” she nodded and shuffled off into the depths of the house. I rolled my eyes and jerked open the door, stepping out onto the porch. I waited for Birch as he yelled goodbye to my grandmother before skidding down the hall and hopping down the front step. I flinched as he slammed the door, knowing I’d get a lecture from my Grandmother about it later.
“Come on.” We’d walked the ten minute trek from the old cottage to Birch’s house. I raised my eyebrow at the car parked in front of me. It was a light blue Subaru Impreza WRX-STI 2004. It had been collected by Birch’s dad on his travels and left rusting for years before Birch had begged his bad to be allowed to work on it.
Being such a small town and us the only young people within it, there was no need for school, unfortunately that meant we were home schooled. Birch’s dad taught us English, and mechanics, my grandmother taught us Maths and cooking. I hated Applebry’s secluded nature. It only featured eight houses in the centre of a huge forest and running through the forest is a huge river in a huge spiral.
The only way in or out of town is either a tiny bridge or a very long swim.
Birch and I used to go swimming in the lake in the summer time. We’d found an old building that looked like it had been burnt down, it was surrounded by odd purple flowers that stood tall like guards at the top of their stringy stems. The plants leaves fascinated me; I loved the way they spiked off in all directions. My grandmother found one of the flowers I had collected in my pocket and had banned me from the forest. In the time I had been grounded I had studied all of the plant books I could find but none of them had my purple plant.
“Hhheellooo?” I shook my head and snapped back to reality. Birch was sat on the hood of his car trying to get my attention.
“God you’re such an air head Rory.” I grinned at him and grabbed him by the ankles and yanked him of the car before he could react.
“Take that back” I said in mock fury as I knelt down on his chest and twisted his arm behind his back. He grinned devilishly
“NEVER.” He yelled amongst he laughs before rolling over, knocking me off of him in the process. I released his arm as I tried to brace myself for the inevitable contact with the brick driveway. He grinned and held his arms above his head as if he was enthusing a crowd. I took this time to kick out at legs, I heard him swear as he collided with my legs, he grabbed at me but his retaliation was cut short by Axels booming voice coming from the house. We looked at each other before peering over the bonnet of Birch’s car, ready for Axel to join the fight.
“What?” Birch yelled when nothing happened, a muffled yell drifted across to us. We looked at each other and shrugged, I was about to conk him on the head when Axel came out to the front of the house.
“Are you two coming to eat dinner or not?” Birch was up and running to the house before Axel had finished speaking. He may be skinny but he ate like a pig. I laughed to myself as I ran into the house trying to catch up with my friend’s retreating figure.
“It’s late I should go.” I yawned not really talking to anyone in particular. Birch was absorbed in the dirt race we had been watching. His only response was to wave an arm in my direction absentmindedly. Axel gave me a hug and told me he’d ring my Grandmother to tell her I was on my way home. I thanked him and grabbed my bag from the coffee table before stepping out into the icy blackness. I mentally scolded myself for not bringing something warmer to wear on the walk back home and pulled my hoodie up as far as it would go.
I slowly trudged home. I was about half way home when a flash of blue caught my eye. I turned to where I thought I had seen it but there was nothing there, I shrugged and started walking again. There was another glimmer of light blue that flickered through the woods, I began to turn to look at it but froze when I saw a dark shadow followed it. I started hyperventilating as a huge grey wolf stepped out of the forest, and proceeded to sit on the pavement across the road. His almost glowing yellow eyes never left mine. I began to back away slowly until my heels hit the curb, for a few seconds the world around me seemed stiller than ever, frozen and lifeless. Then all at once time restarted and the wolf raised itself onto its feet, bowed its head and returned to the forest. I blinked rapidly unsure of how much I had seen was my imagination and how much was real.
“RORY.” I jumped out of my skin as my grandmother hurried down the road.
“What are you doing away from the house?” I asked, surprised that she had left her lair. Even as I spoke to her I didn’t take my eyes off the forest. Sensing I wasn’t giving her my attention she stepped in front of me. I looked up at her, she had always scared me. She was small but well-rounded and always wore her grey hair in a bun that looked far too tight, her piercing blue eyes made me feel tiny under her unbreakable stare.
“What’s taking you so long? You left Birch’s house twenty minutes ago.” I looked down at my feet, if she knew how close I was to a wild animal she’d freak out, even if the wolf did just watch me. I jumped as my grandmother grabbed my arm and started marching me back to the house at a speed I didn’t know she possessed. When we finally got home I ran up the stairs two at a time. I slammed my door grabbed the nearest set of pjs shoved them on and dived under the covers of my bed. I was asleep instantly.
I woke up to pale morning light sliding in between the gaps in my curtains. Rolling over I saw the clock showing six thirty. I knew there was no way I’d fall back asleep so I slid out of bed and grabbed a pair of old paint-y skinny jeans and a checked shirt and snuck across the landing to the bathroom and jumped into the shower. Ten minutes later I was dressed and eating an apple while shoving my sketch-pad and a couple of pencils in my shoulder bag before sneaking out the back door. Once outside I stretched and headed straight to the edge of the forest. A few minutes from the old cottage there was an over grown field full of tall grass, I dumped my bag on the ground where Birch and I had flattened the grass from sitting here too much and pulled out my sketch pad. I quickly flicked to a fresh page before pulling out a pencil and starting to sketch the tree line. I was so wrapped up in my work I hadn’t noticed a boy about my age with electric blue hair and matching eyes leaning against the nearest tree. I stared open mouthed at him for a moment; he pushed himself of the tree and smirked at me.
“Have I grown a second head or have
you never met an attractive man?” I quickly shut my mouth and ducked my head as
a deep blush set across my cheeks, the boy flopped down next to me and pulled
my pad from my hands, I blinked and froze, not sure how to deal with the
“Are you new in town?” I finally asked as he thumbed through my work.
“Not really.” I frowned at him, the small town was such that everyone new everyone.
“How can you ‘not really’ be new?” I muttered, more to myself than the strange boy. He looked up at me, his blue eyes glittering.
”It’s a long story.” He laughed as if he’d made the joke of a lifetime and handed me my pad before getting up and heading back into the woods. He turned and waved at me, I waved back cautiously, feeling utterly confused and more than a little creeped out.
“I’m Flint by the way.” He called over his shoulder.
“I’m…. Rory.” I said not really sure he’d heard me. I became aware I was alone again. I shook my head and continued sketching the plants and bugs around me until I heard my name being called. I stood up and caught sight of Birch wadding through the waist deep grass, holding a bag of sandwiches above his head. He was covered in oil and car gunk. Once he reached me he handed me a sandwich that didn’t have a huge bite out of it.
“How long you been out here?” he asked through a mouthful, I shrugged.
“Dunno, what time is it?” I muttered as I continued drawing while munching absent minded on my sandwich.
“Bout one.” He said as he gulped down the rest of his sandwich.
“Oh all morning then.” He grinned at me, he stretched out in the grass basking in the afternoon sun. I looked at the woods wondering about the boy, Flint.
“Hey has anyone new moved into town?” Birch opened one eye and shrugged.
“I don’t think so, why?” I hesitated before telling him about Flint. Birch frowned but went back to lolling in the grass, after half an hour of messing around and mindless chatter we could hear Axel calling for Birch.
“I gotta go help dad finish that old truck.” He waved to me and ran off.
“He’s weird” I jumped and turned to face where the voice had come from, Flint was gazing after Birch.
“He’s not weird, you’re the ones who watches people from the forest, that correct me if I’m wrong, and I don’t think I am, is weird.” Flint laughed.
“You don’t talk to people much do you?” I scowled at him and crossed my arms.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” he chuckled and sat down next to me.
“Just the way you talk, like your reading a script no one else can see.” He reached for my sketch pad and I slapped his hand away, he raised an eyebrow and looked curiously at me.
“You don’t know anything about me or Birch.” Flint chuckled to himself and yanked my pad from me. I scowled at him. I barely knew him and he was driving me mad.
“What are you doing?” I snapped sharply at him he smirked but continued to flick through my dog eared book. He paused on the drawing of a huge silvery wolf basking in moonlight, silvery blue fog whisped around him as he gazed up at the full moon.
“I like this one.” He smiled and handed me my book. We sat in silence for a while, I kept drawing as the afternoon turned to evening and it gradually became nearly too dark to continue. Suddenly Flint shot upright and stared into the distance, I turned to see what he was looking at but I couldn’t see anything. There was just misty darkness.
“What are yo…?” I blinked several times and the world returned, however Flint and my sketch pad were gone. All that was left was a light blue fog. I was about to yell into the forest at him when my grandmother appeared.
“I told you to stay away from the woods.” She scowled at me. I grabbed my bag as she yanked me towards the house. I turned back and saw a smiling Flint leaning against one of the trees. He shook his head and turned to head into the depths of the forest, I looked at my grandmother who was staring at me unaware of the boys vanishing presence.
“Go to your room, you’re grounded until further notice.” I rolled my eyes and raced the rest of the way home, slamming my door extra hard to make a point. Furiously I yanked off my red converse and threw them at the door. At around seven my grandmother brought me some food and went to bed, I ignored the food and continued reading my book. I jumped and almost screamed as Flints smiling face appeared at my window. I yanked the window open as carefully as I could so it didn’t creak.
“What are you doing here?” I hissed at him, he wobbled as tried to stay balanced on the swirl styled trellis that supported my Grandmother’s beloved roses.
Flint pulled himself up and climbed into my bedroom, dangling my notebook in front of me. I snatched it from his hands and closed my window as a nasty cold breeze blew through my room upsetting the paintings I had tacked to my wall. I turned to see where Flint was doing, he was half way through the door, I panicked and shoved him into the wall with a loud thump and carefully shut the door. I leant against it trying to hear if my grandmother had woken up. Flint copied me after a while he tapped my shoulder.
“What?” I whispered, he narrowed his eyes and listened to the hallway before replying with a grin
“I don’t think you woke her.” I scoffed at him. “I woke her?” he smiled and crossed his arms.
“You threw me against the wall.” He smirked at me. I’d never seen someone smirk and talk at the same time; I had already decided however that I hated it. I growled under my breath. He was impossible.
“What are you doing here, and how did you find where I live?” He grinned and was about to answer when the floorboards creaked. I dived into my bed and pulled the blankets up to my chin. I cursed to myself as I realised the light was still on, it flipped off just before the door opened and my grandmothers shadow swept across the room.
She shuffled to my window and there were several clicks before she left. As soon as I heard the door shut I flipped on my bedside table lamp and had to stifled a laugh, Flint was squished up behind the door where he’d chosen to hide. He looked too afraid to move. I chuckled causing him to shoot me a nasty look. I smirked to myself and silently crossed the room to my window and pulled at it to let Flint out, it wouldn’t budge, Flint crossed the room to help me but we still couldn’t move it.
“I think she locked it.” I said as I chewed my lip, Flint rolled his eyes.
“Really, captain obvious, tell me is it dark outside?” I gave him a confused look.
“Yes it’s nigh… oh.” I blushed as he gave me a questioning look, I stood still and chewed the inside of my cheek as I concentrated, Flint sighed and lay on my bed.
“What. Are. You. Doing?” he punctuated each word as he spoke.
“I’m thinking.” I replied feeling defensive. Flint always put me on the back foot. He snorted.
“Why don’t you go to sleep before you hurt yourself and I’ll sneak down stairs.” He patted my head like I was a child, I smacked his hand away from my head.
“Fine, just be quiet, and don’t get caught!” He raised an eyebrow before crossing my room and heading out the door. My eyes widened as he thumped down the stairs I shuffled after him hoping over the creaky floor board and collided with a furious looking grandmother.
“What are you doing up this late.” I looked down at myself and realised I was still fully dressed.
“Urm… well…” Flint poked his head over the banister and held up my keys before blowing me a sarcastic kiss and vanishing into the darkness. My grandmother turned to see what I was looking at.
“I was tired from my rebellion so I didn’t bother to change, all I wanted was a drink but no I guess I’m not allowed.” I held my breath as my grandmother seemed to shake with fury. I turned and retreated into my room, I quickly got ready for bed and picked up my sketchbook from the window seat and placed it on my desk. I didn’t notice the piece of silvery blue paper float carelessly to the floor.
“I hate Flint.” I said to myself sternly as I clambered into my bed and drifted off to an uncomfortable sleep.