It was clear something wasn’t right. The two young girls had abandoned their usual unrehearsed, easy smiles for more serene expressions. Almost as if someone had told them how to be. Hands purposely shoved into the pockets of their respective summer smocks. Feet consciously kicking at the ground beneath their shoeless soles. Bodies stiff like some involuntary awareness had suddenly been delivered.
One of the girls, the one that upon close observation appeared a bit taller, was looking up towards the sky. There was a storm rolling in from the southwest and ahead of it were clouds that moved like they had somewhere to be; like they were behind schedule and had to hurry along before it was too late to get to wherever it was they had to get to. She took one of her hands from her pocket and pointed skyward. Her mouth moved. She was saying something.
The other girl, the one that despite being a bit shorter looked as close to identical to the other as a non-twin could, let her gaze follow her friend’s direction. She too pointed, only not to the exact same spot. And then almost at once, their faces softened, shoulders eased and smiles returned.
Another child – a younger girl, with hair akin to something Rumpelstiltskin would have paid for, approached the two sky gazers but herself, never bothered to tilt her head upwards. She was speaking … telling them something and pointing towards a house that stood directly behind the one that’s patio was occupied by the three girls.
The older girls shifted their eyes from the clouds above to the backdoor across the yard. Someone was standing just inside the sliding glass doors but whoever it was, was partially hidden by shadows the sun had created with help from the impending weather. Simultaneously, the two shrugged their shoulders and separated – the shorter of the two turned and went towards the house and whomever had beckoned her home, while the other girls started up the patio steps and into their own home.
But then, before closing the door behind her, the older of the two sisters ran back outside and yelled for her friend.
“Emily!” she called. “Wait!”
Emily turned and instinctively ran not towards Katherine but to the giant oak that towered over their backyards.
The two girls hugged one another then sat down cross legged, each with one hand on the tree, the other intertwined at the little finger and in unison repeated their secret chant.
“Let’s swear each with our pinky
We’ll be the best of friends
Until we are old and wrinkly!”
And then they stood, sober again, hands in pockets and slowly, methodically, walked to their respective homes where …
Today’s post inspired by The Daily Prompt – Choose Your Adventure: “Write a story or post with an open ending, and let your readers invent the conclusion.” This excerpt is the opening scene from the YA novel I wrote titled, “Be Still, The Jabberwocky Approach” – it’s due to drop (if all goes according to plan) early spring 2016. Thanks for reading!