Sunday, March 15, 2015
First 5 Pages March Workshop - Saint-Laurent Revision 1
Name: Sarah Saint-Laurent
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction
Title: The Mender
Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
I understand rules. In fact I have kept a running list of rules since I was three. The process started out slow at first. I only managed 23 rules in my first six years of life. They are officially known as The Rules according to Vivienne. They would be everyone’s rules if I ran the Universe. Most of the rules are general rules of life… good things to know or at least note, and practically helpful to anyone.
At age 14 I currently have 247 rules. For instance – I came up with Rule 19 when I was five and my sister Guinevere was two. Rule 19 simply states: Never attempt to secretly give a 2 year old a total make-over using permanent ink markers. This means literally Never. It’s useful information that anyone can benefit from.
And Rule 27: Never attempt to hide the evidence after you have covertly snuck the remainder of your Mum’s ice-cream birthday cake from Harrods’s under your bed so you could enjoy it late at night all to yourself – and then forget about it. That was a mess. In fact the whole year turned out to be a mess – just a blatantly bad year all together.
‘The Rules’ sprang to mind just now only because I am busy concocting a plan which clearly brakes several house rules. My curiosity is running amok and I have lost all sense. But I can’t help it. I am determined to find out what secret my parents are keeping from my little sister Gwen and me.
Last night I overheard them speaking in low, hushed tones in their bedroom. The door was cracked so naturally I peeked in (don’t judge me.) My father was holding a small wooden box in his hands. It looked extremely ancient and seemed to be causing some friction between him and mum. I overheard my mum ask him to put it back in its hiding place. What hiding place? My parents are hiding something from me?
My mind began to splinter at the thought of all the possibilities this held. What was so important about this box? What else might they be hiding from me? I felt a strange sensation surge through me. It felt like… excitement. This really is strange considering nothing exciting ever happens to me.
You see, around here I am the odd man out. Why? I am the Goddess of Typical living in a family of quirky-exceptionals. The only thing above-average about me is my curiosity.
The worst part is they all have loads more fun and excitement than I do precisely because of this quirky-gene they possess and I do not. I’m entirely blah: average height, average weight, average intellect, athletically average, average friends… the list is endless.
The only thing about me that is remotely unique is the color of my eyes, and even that trait I share with the other females in my family. You see we all have green eyes, but each has a variant of green, either emerald or mossy or Kelly. Of course I have the most average shade of green eyes in existence. I would call it pine. Other than that there is not one thing about me that is notable. I am, in fact, quite unnoticeable.
I manage to fit in at school because there ‘blahness’ is sort of revered. I attend St. Polycarp, established in 1647 and while not nearly as posh as King’s Cathedral, what it lacks in poshness it more than makes up for in strictness.
The St. Polycarp school uniform and code of conduct are hallmarks of the schools legendary attachment to tradition and neither has been updated since 1947. Being ‘non-compliant’ with dress code is considered practically on the same level as plotting with terrorists. Each student wears the same ancient uniform of cardinal blazer with badge, crisp white shirts, sensible and exceedingly plain black shoes and grey bottoms, pants for the boys, skirts for the girls. Any other form of adornment or individuality is strictly prohibited and includes: no make-up whatsoever, no nail varnish, no lipstick or gloss (even clear mind you), no jewelry and no extreme hairstyles. ‘Unnatural’ hair color is forbidden. Individuality is altogether frowned upon.
I flew home after school knowing I would need as much time as possible to locate that box. I can’t risk botching this up. If I’m caught snooping in my parent’s bedroom I’m doomed. Luckily Mum and Gwen were at the orthodontist and dad was still at his office. I would be alone for just a bit, no longer than thirty minutes. I zoomed up the staircase straight into my parent’s room. I had already ruled out the attic this morning before going to school. That box must be in my parents’ bedroom.
We live in a three story Georgian on a lovely little street in the extremely quiet (and dull) part of our village in county Cambridgeshire, about 10 kilometers from the University and a bit over an hour from London. My parents’ bedroom was one of my favorite rooms, large and airy with beautiful picture windows that overlooked the massive gardens. I hurriedly began my search, looking under the bed, through the chest of drawers and even the dark mahogany wardrobe. No luck.
I’ll admit small, dull daggers of guilt were beginning to poke at my conscience. But, I just didn’t care. I intended to find that secret box. That annoying little guilt thing kept popping into my mind but I kept pushing it right back out.
I made my way over to the enormous chest at the end of their bed. It had to be in there. I heaved open the heavy lid with the tarnished brass fitting and laid it backwards over the end of the bed. It was jam-packed with an assorted array of what I would consider mostly garbage; photo albums of all sizes, some seemed incredibly old… like from the 1970’s, a small collection of velvet jewelry bags, some containing rocks and pebbles, others containing coins, one containing what appeared to be dust. What in the world was all this junk?
My instinct told me the box must be here. I groped further into the deep chest. At the very bottom was a large leather satchel buried under some odds and ends. But where was the secret box? I decided to look in the satchel. I spread my knees apart on the tapestry rug and began to pull on the satchel, which was much heavier than I expected. I looked at my watch. Holy Hell, I knew I was about to get busted if I didn’t get moving. As I tugged on the satchel with all of my strength it became dislodged and I feel back on my rump, hard.
I winced in pain. And then I heard the most terrifying thing I have ever heard in my life.
“Just what do you think you are doing Vivienne Louise Catesby?”
My stomach felt like it hit the kitchen on the floor below me. I looked up into my mother’s face staring at me, her green eyes piercing into mine and her face a bit contorted and crimson red with a small vein on her forehead sticking out a little. It was the worst face I had ever seen my mother make. My mum literally looked like a volcano about to explode. Then the volcano turned purple and then, it started moving toward me.