So here it is, the very first view of the big project. The first chapters. Please do not copy without credit and so on and so forth as the copy right still belongs to me (just a little reminder) for all that is on this website (a reminder can be found on the about page but if here is a little reminder here too: “Please be aware that unauthorized use and or duplication without permission from the author and owner of this blog is strictly prohibited. Links and excerpts may be used on the condition that clear credit is given to the author/owner A. R. Appleby.”). Thank you for your patience.
Perhaps this could be considered my Christmas present to you.
I know I have mentioned this project many times, it is part of a series called “Promitto Memorari” and this is the second chapter of the first book entitled “Just Say Yes”
As life-changing moments happen to go, this is perhaps my best work. The most hidden, insignificant moment in this teenage boy’s life.
“Christopher Giry. Sit.” I keep my voice cold and bored, even if everything is riding on this moment. My office is a mess; it is basically a cupboard nested beside a high traffic stairway. It’s cluttered, I know, full of books, papers, folders. As it happens the evenings I spend in here marking stacks of repetitive boredom is matched with bad coffee.
Since my permanent selection for detention duty, my social life drained away, and I spend more hours in my office than any other teacher. I am a jar of “Marmite”, you will either love me or hate me.
But it seems no matter what, I like to discover all kinds of potential. Christopher, as yet, is untapped. A key that’s stuck in the draw. He is sat in the cheap plastic chair opposite my desk. This time he is being held back after detention for my chat, and I know his slouch and mask scream indifferent.
His toe tapping gets worse the more I flick through papers on my desk ignoring him. Chris exhausts a purposeful sigh, waiting for a lecture that he has heard a thousand times from everyone else. I thumbed the corner of Christopher’s file. His eyes watching his name. I flick it against the wall and let it slump on the pile, splaying open revealing typed pages.
“Chris, you know the lecture, you have potential, etc. Day after day I see you in detention with me. Did you know the teachers in the staff room get to go home and I am stuck with you in the cold hall? Those teachers have given up; you have given up. You could do so much good instead you take pleasure in breaking hearts. We are running out of time.” I try to correct my pacing; I need to maintain the self-control I want Chris to abandon the notion of. Chris snorted, staring at his shoes.
“Chris, you and I both know that with a bit of effort you could pass this year, turn it all around and prove everyone that you are not just some hopeless case. Are you really that afraid of failure?” Chris looked up. There, I have it. There isn’t the usual lazy bored look in his eyes, this is anger.
“Sir, can I go now?” I have it.
“No.” I rolled my eyes. “You won’t listen to me, or anyone else. But you know that this doesn’t just impact your future, it impacts on those you love. Whether you believe you can or you can’t do this you will be right. But just remember, all it could take to pass would be something as simple as finding a tutor.”
“Sir with all due respect,” he twitched, a moment of tension from his shoulders to his hands clamped into his pockets, “we both know that won’t happen.”
“Like I said.”
“Is this some kind of trick?” Is that hope in his voice or am I mistaken?
“No Chris. This is perfectly simple. I promise I will do what I can to help you, but you know all it would take is a little tutoring from someone like, Katie, you could change the world.”
“Yeah right. That nerd? Don’t think she’d do it anyways. Can I go now?”
“Fine. See you in detention.”
“Count on it sir.” Chris dragged his bag behind him on the way out the door.
From this point on the floor, the branches snapping under me, the deliberate fall. I had heard the voice of the stranger. “Here take my hand” her voice soft, she had been running. I take her hand somewhat reluctantly as she helps me up. I feel her eyes on me, examining my frame. I know that I am slight, a deceptive kind of handsome, or so I have been told.
She offers me conversation, asking where I am headed. Trying to distract me a little, I take a moment, “I am not sure, I just followed the road.” I catch her staring at me, “I am Marvel Thomas, and yourself?” I offer my hand to her, she flinches a moment, unsure. I make her uneasy, no matter how she tries to make herself feel less exposed, the lonely female traveller having to be cautious.
“Estrella. So where are the winds of chance driving you now?” I see the caution.
“There is a town ahead, a castle beyond that. But what are you looking for.”
“I don’t know.” She knows. I can see it; she doesn’t want to say. I am gentle with my next question. “Really? There must be something that you are searching for? Or perhaps if not something, perhaps someone?” There it is, she smiled.
“Home?” I feel like a parakeet. But I see her begin to open up.
“I grew up travelling so much that I passed from home to home, family to family.”
“Perhaps I am cursed.” She smiles, I can’t help but think she wants to blame the cause on something she has no control over, something she is not wrong about but she doesn’t truly believe her own words.
“I don’t think you are cursed.”
“You don’t know me. I got passed around till they handed me to a traveling fayre, they were the first real family I had.”
“We travelled land and sea, you have to understand how amazing that is. But we went to this place they had been a hundred times, but this time, with me, they were sent away. So I left, stole away in the dead of night. By the morning, they were burned for witchcraft and hiding me. I have been running ever since.”
“You have been running all your life. This was nothing to do with you. Do you really want to settle down?”
“Yes… No… Yes, I do. But what do I do next?”
“Try and see what you find in the next town, or if you can slip into the right circle you might find the forever home?”
“Or spread my curse.” She laughs but it doesn’t reach her eyes.
“Regardless, make sure you spend some quality time around the Sheriff, he will like you.”
“How do you know?”
“I like you.” I smile, forcing the smile to my eyes, hoping it appears genuine. The smile she returns shows me she believes it true.
One step after another, she walks with me, still. She is telling herself to keep moving, to keep pushing forward through her exhaustion. When I suggest a break and sit down blaming the fall causing a few aches she is eager to take it as truth. Determined to reach a destination she has not yet decided on for certain. I let her talk to me about whatever crosses her mind.