For her whole life, all Bel could remember was just her and her father. Ever since she was little, it was the two of them against the world; never staying in one place and always on the move. It made it difficult for Bel to make friends, and even when she did, she couldn’t stay for long. But this didn’t bother Bel too much. Her father always said everyone else felt the need to feel grounded, that it’s comforting for most people. But that they were different from others, she was different, and that wasn’t a bad thing.
Besides, Bel did have a friend. A best friend. Her father, Jude.
Wherever they went, it never ceased to be an adventure. They explored the environment around them, took long hikes through woods, searching for hidden places undiscovered by man or visiting the nearest town to get books or antique treasures. However, every little adventure for every move always ended shortly. For reasons unknown to Bel, they didn’t stay in one place for long. All except for their current homestead: a small cabin in the middle of the dense Canadian woods.
The cabin was small and quaint, with only one floor. In one corner, a kitchen with a small square table, with two worn wooden chairs on either side. A simple couch stood in front of a brick fireplace and a short coffee table, rarely covered with coffee, but accumulated stacks of books. On the other corner of the house, was her and Jude’s bed. However, Jude hardly slept in the bed. Bel would hear him rustling at the table amidst her sleep, talking to himself about how there wasn’t enough time. After an hour or so, the mumbling would stop and he’d migrate to the couch scouring through his books and journal. Bel would wake in the morning to find him curled into an uncomfortable position on the couch, his silver stranded brown hair wild and matted, glasses falling off his face.
The house did have another story, if a dusty old attic counted as a story. It’s only use was storage for Jude’s collection of books and treasures from his travels.
Jude was a writer, who’s few published stories ranged from fantasies about fairies and goblins, to environmental guides. With his exploration across the world, he’s uncovered knowledge others have not. Jude logged every strange place they’ve been in his journal: weather patterns, wildlife, plants, even the local stories and history. This gathering of information, which Bel assumed was just for his work, was the reason they moved from place to place. They’d go somewhere in Washington or Maine, stay there for a month at the most, then leave for another place across the continent. It wasn’t until recently that they were drawn back to Canada once again.
While Jude says he doesn’t like to feel grounded to a place, Bel didn’t think that was entirely true. No matter where they went and how long they were gone, they always came back to this tiny cabin outside of Ottawa. This place must’ve held memories for Jude, because whenever they went to a certain part of the house or a special place around the woods, he would always smile and get a pensive look in his eyes. And her father may not say so, but there was a sort of invisible tether connected between him and this place.
The only thing that tethered Bel to this place was her garden. Her plants here flourished more than they ever had anywhere else she’d tried to grow.
Bel hummed as she kneeled down to observe an allium. The purple puff of a flower amused her, as it was flopping in a strange way, unlike it’s other siblings surrounding it. She let out a soft chuckle when it seemed to spring to life at her delicate touch.
Bel loved her garden. It was like having hundreds of colorful and unique children. She loved caring and nurturing them, watching them grow up from tiny little seeds. In their off-seasons, they’d hide away but always came back to her in the spring and summer. Jude always told her she had a natural prowess when it comes to plants, that they always bloomed when she was around.
Just like her mother.
Out of everything in Bel’s minimalist life, a mother was the one thing she wished to have. A sliver of envy would creep into her mind when she saw other kids in town with their mothers. Children holding their mother’s hand, the younger teens her age bargaining for a sleepover with their friends, even the older gossiping about school and relationships.
Bel loved her father and loved spending the time that she did with him on the adventures. However, she wished for something different. Bel didn’t quite know what that was. Maybe it was the desire to have a simple life, like everyone else seemed to have.
No. Jude always says it’s a privilege to be different.
Yet something was pulling at the back of her mind. It was saying she could be doing more, she was meant to do something more. That she must have a purpose other than following her dad across the world for some underlying reason unbeknownst to her.
“Bel!” Jude called to her from outside the back door, jolting her out of her thoughts. “Dinner’s ready!”
Bel didn’t respond immediately. She froze as the hairs on the back of her neck stood. She felt like someone was watching her every move; Someone that wasn’t Jude. She darted around, forest green eyes scanning over her garden. However, when she saw nothing, she promptly headed back toward the house in a frantic rush. “Coming!”
When she wandered into the tiny kitchen to sit at the table, Jude noticed something unsettled her. “Everything okay, Bel?” He asked.
Don’t tell him, a voice in her head told her.
What do you mean, “Don’t tell him..?”The better half of her mind questioned. I tell Jude everything.
Bel didn’t like how her mind was betraying her. She could never lie to her father.
Words bring trouble. The voice said.
“Bel?” Her father pressed, concern starting to lace into his voice.
She couldn’t lie. She’d never..
Words bring trouble, Bel.
“I’m just thinking about what flowers I should add to the garden next season.” Bel said. “Maybe even some fresh pumpkins for your pie, Jude.” She smiled softly, a facade. It sickened her. Why did she lie..?
Words bring trouble, Bel. She didn’t know where her head thought up the saying, or what it meant, or why it was constantly echoing in a mantra.
Words bring trouble.