Friday, February 21, 2014

~~The Scribbler: Chapter Two--Planning Time~~

It’s been a week since the day after Halloween, A week of my laptop locked up in my closet, my mom and my dad fidgeting and fiddling in the library, little Alena moping in front of the TV, Andrei going out hiking constantly, and Adalrik continually trying to cheer everyone up with his niceness. As you can probably guess, not a one of us is adjusting well to everything we make coming to life, Andrei least of all.

None the less, none of us have gone over to the pumpkin city to look at what I had wrought; all of us figuring it was best to just pretend it never happened, even though there wasn’t a thing we could do to get over it. I keep thinking of Seeder, and wondering how his little city is doing; if he’s gotten his farms up and running, whether or not he’d even looked at the library, if he had tried to go swimming in the Olympic-sized swimming pool and waterslide yet, and which food group they preferred: Veggies, fruit, dairy, grain, or meat products. I didn’t even know what pumpkins ate, or if they ate anything at all, I probably should have thought of that in my writing. But, hey, can’t think of everything.

Speaking of which, I need to start thinking about something very important: The Roseweed Family Fall Freak. You see, every year my family throws twelve super big parties: The kids’ four birthdays, my parent’s parties, Christmas, Halloween, Fall Freak, Spring Spree, Summer Hummer, and my personal favorite: The Winter Wonderland. But that wasn’t gonna be until the first real snowfall, so for now my mind needed to be on the Fall Freak. There’d be an hour-long dance at the end, carnival games, a craft fair, a potluck buffet, and if we were lucky, an Art and Literature Auction. Every year, the sales from those six auctions gave us allowances, nights out, and trips every once in a while. But, because of the whole pumpkin people thing, I doubt we’ll be doing the auction this year.

As always, it fell me to work out a floor plan for the party, then get together all the necessary supplies, enlist the assistance of Alena for the murals, and also find people broke enough or stupid enough to help me clean up after. Which, let me tell you, was never, ever fun. If you think the streets of a big city are covered with dirt, grime, and trash, than think again. Because, the very instant you see how dirty the kitchens are after a party, the other options are always the best options.

Anyways, the whole floor plan wasn’t immediately important. I still had two weeks before the Set Up Day, which was actually a date marked on the calendars at the schools us Roseweeds attend, for it is a day that not a single one of us shows up, as we need to put up booths, set up game tables, buy prizes, and sometimes, if I’m a bit late in my preparations, go sprinting through town looking for people willing to run a booth for twenty bucks an hour. Actually, you’d be surprised how often people are willing to work for us, as long as their duties don’t include the awful, back breaking, sickening clean up.

And, yet it wasn’t these harrowing thoughts on how much work I needed to do that had me going, It was the thoughts of who exactly I was gonna take to the dance: Walter, Johnny, Eric, or Jake. All four had asked, and only Walter was rich, but he also was a spoiled wannabe punk rocker, so that definitely crossed him off the list of maybes. Johnny, of course, was way, way cute, way smart, way well dressed, but everyone else said I was so out of his league I couldn’t help but be impressed for his courage by asking out a girl so much higher up the totem pole than he was it was like the earth‘s molten core was asking out the sun. Eric was your average Jock popular person: No real personality, nothing going for him, just good at being a ruthless backstabber and throwing a football around, Which left Jake; Gorgeous, just right, funny, the greatest eyes I had ever seen, and when he laughs, every girl and gay guy within ear shot melts automatically. So who was I going with: The spoiled rich boy, the down-and-out-on-the-totem-pole, the Jock, or Mr. Perfect.

Personally, I’d go with Johnny because he was way fun to hang out with, but everybody would just think I was a stickler for a charity middle-class case like him. Jake, meanwhile, would rocket me in the social circle to the stars, but he also had a horrific rep of being all hands at dances, and if the rumors were true, his habits would send me dropping back to rock bottom all over again. Walter was permanently off my list because I just didn’t want to be known as a social climber, or a social climber-adjacent, which crossed off Eric as well.

So who was I more willing to be known as: A slummer, or an easy lay? Slummer could be noble if phrased correctly and to the right people, while being known as a slut could make you a favorite of the guys, but ruin you irrevocably in the eyes of the actual important people: The girls.

So it looks like I’ll be slumming it this Fall Freak.

That decision out of the way, I grab my grid paper, happy to see my mom had kept the sheets I’d used to make a basic layout of the mansion, and select my favorite pencils, rulers, and my special binder of Party Stuff. I open it to the stencils of the Fall Freak booths, decorations, and all of that, and start work on the floor plan, making sure to leave a large, empty space at the back of the house so no one goes near the Pumpkin City. When I’m about halfway through, I close up my binder, grab my stuff, and go jogging through the house to find my mom and dad.

I find them in the upper floor of the library, sitting curled up in their favorite chairs with the fire popping at their slippered feet. I give a mental groan-it’s four in the afternoon and they’re still in their pajamas- but I’m not here to criticize their life style, as it’s mine too. Instead, I’m here to ask them about the Art and Literature Auction at the Fall Freak, because I need to know whether or not I’ll need to leave a lot of room for the tables and stage. “Um, guys? Sorry to bother you, but I need to ask you something.” I say, watching with a bemused expression on my face while they lift their heads with difficulty from their books.

It’s Dad who speaks first: “Yes, Alexis dear? What is it you need?”

“Are we going to be doing the Art and Literature Auction this year? You know I always like to be ahead of the preparations, and how I need to leave this massive space free for the auction every year, and besides I’m already going ix-nay on most of the grounds at the back because of the city back there, so I just need to know where I can put everything.” I say, speaking in a rush. I’m always freaked out when I talk to Dad about something he views as frivolous and unnecessary-Mr. Bigshot Heir to the Roseweed Family Fortune couldn’t care less about these parties if they didn’t raise us those valuable last few meters up the totem pole-and, anyways, I was never good about asking my parents for help. I actually almost failed grade five before my teacher finally figured out that it was me, not them, who had been signing my report cards and called home.

I can’t believe I’m related to either of them. They are so amazingly stuck up, and they couldn’t care a thing about a good book. Sure, my dad is willing to spend all of his life savings on a collector’s book, but he doesn’t know a thing about what it means to write and to read. Reading is the largest loss of control possible, and neither of them seems to be able to understand that, especially my mom. She thinks the sun rises just because she wants it to.

If I didn’t share the same long, lanky build, way long and graceful fingers, fire-red hair, brilliant green eyes, gently brown skin as the rest of my family, also my talent at many things creative, I would happily swear that I was not related to any of them. My mom, Aislyn, was named for a vision or a dream, but her parents spoiled her so much she should be named for a nightmare instead. My dad Akira was named for creativity and he’s a world-class sketcher of bowls of fruit, but he is so very set in his rich-boy ways he might as well be tracing the Mona Lisa and coloring it in-with a mustache-using crayons. Andrei, my eldest brother and the wood carver of the family, was named for bravery, but he’s practically scared of his own shadow. And Adalrik? How could I ever think anything mean about him, the sculptor named for exactly what he is: a good friend. No matter what, Adalrik has always stood beside all of us, through better or worse, and the only thing we can do to repay him is not thrash his rep for being a good guy.

Now, my only sister Alena is seven years old, and she’s the nastiest, ugliest little kid you ever did see. She’s the size of a horse and she still sucks on her thumb. All of this despite her name that actually means good and good looking. Mom and Dad, you couldn’t have been further off on that one.

And on to me. Alexis Roseweed, the author of the family, the only one whose art isn’t considered art. I was named after Alexander the Great, like Seeder mentioned, or the Protector of Man. I’m sorry, but whenever I hear that name, I just gotta think: What about the protector of women? If we weren’t here, there would be no men. So why aren’t there any protectors of women?

While I’m having this little mental monologue, my parents are formulating answers in their heads. Yes, it always takes them this long sometimes. Do you see what I have to live with?

Finally, my mom answers. “No, we’re not, sweetie. You know we need new things to sell for every auction, and after what happened a week ago, your father and I thought it would be best not to do so until we are… better informed about the situation with our art. Oh, and your writing as well, dearie, though of course your father and I are quite confused as to how typing on a keyboard can be classified as creating anything worthwhile. Oh, we hope none of you children are too terribly disappointed about the auction this year. We know how much you young people enjoy feeling that you make things worth keeping, like your parents.”

I wince, and resist the impulse to smack Mommy Dear across the face. It wouldn’t help matters much, even though it would make me feel a bit better. Instead, I thank them kindly, turn on my heel, and head back to my room to finish the floor plan. But, before I can get very far, my mom calls out for me to come back. “Oh, I just had the most-oh, how is it that you young people say? Cool?-cool idea ever! Why do we not turn this little mishap city of ours into an attraction at the Fall Freak this year? Like-like a petting zoo, or maybe a tourist attraction. Wouldn’t that be fun?”

My father applauds his wife’s idea. “Yes! Aislyn, my vision of beauty, that idea of yours is nothing but a dream! Why, it’s perfect! It solves our problems about the city; we can even charge admission and donate all of the funds to charity! After all, the only true charity cases are the rich people who can’t go to Venice for Christmas this year!” my father cries, his first-edition copy of Dean Koontz’s famous Book of Counted Sorrows falling to the ground. Once again, I wince, and force the thought of smacking them both sharply across the face from my head before I got into trouble.

And it’s not only about the way he treated that book of his that cost $750, and that’s the cheap version.

But what can I go? I can’t do anything without being punished, as I haven’t yet learned the skills of a diplomat. And there’s no way I am going to criticize my mom and dad without an escape plan, or at least a way to talk myself out of trouble.

“So, I’ll start work on the signs, and move everything around again?” I ask, impatient to get myself away from here.

“Why, yes, dearie. Make sure you get your sister Alena’s help on the signs-you know how helpless you are at drawing. And, oh, yes, dearie, don’t forget the invitations need to be in the mail by noon tomorrow at the latest so the guests can come for a five to midnight party next Friday, that‘s the fifteenth of this month, by the way; we would hate for you to get the date wrong like you did last year and have everyone come a week late.”

I nod pleasantly, and excuse myself with a little mock curtsy, taking my floor plans and temper with me.

Once I’m out of sight and earshot, I start giving a mental rant. Why, those evil, spoiled rich childish brats! How dare they insult me like that? Isn’t it me who arranges these parties, who does up the invites, the guest lists, the stupid floor plans-all the stuff they see as beneath them, but the very stuff they need to get these parties running.

This rant continues all the way to my room, with many variations on its common theme. When I climb the last creaky wooden step up to my top floor bedroom, I collapse on the bed, letting out a loud groan. I’ve just started to punch my pillows and start crying when there’s a knock on my door, and Adalrik walks in, the boy who was named for exactly what he was: A good friend. He shuts it behind him, and sits on the edge of my bed, his eyes on mine. He lifts his voice, and sings Will I, one of my favorite songs at times like these. When he gets to the second verse, I join in, and we sing it in the round until my tears stop and we’re both smiling.

“You okay, honey?” he asks, winking.

“An angel of the first degree,” I reply, laughing, winking back. Me and my family spends way too much time watching Rent. “Yeah, I guess I am. Just pissed off and confused, you know? Everyone’s relying on me to give these great parties ten times a year-it’s just too much to handle, even though I’ve been doing it for, what, three, four years now?”

He nods, and touches my cheek, wiping away the last of the tears with his thumb. “You’re a great kid, little sis. Just plain great. So, who are you gonna take to the dance this year? Do ya know yet?”

“If I tell you, you’ll just beat him up, and I’ll be left going with Mr. Perfect, or-god forbid-our very own Richie Rich.” I reply, pulling his hand away.

“Yup; that’s my job as a big brother. To beat up the middle class, and give away my sister to the rich mob waving torches and pitch forks. Or, in other words, beat up Johnny and give you to Walter instead.”

I stare at him, open mouthed. “How’d you guess?”

“What, how did I know who you were going with? Why, that’s simple, dearie: You’re my little sis, the best kid I ever did meet.”

And so we go on to lighter topics, poking fun at each other, just as if he had never walked in on me crying and beating up a pillow like it was my enemy.

We stay up there for almost an hour before I sit up with a start, and shoo him out of my room. “I gotta get the party ready, man. I need a shopping list for the materials and food, and I also need to talk to Seeder about the folks’ mad idea about a petting zoo with the pumpkins as the animals. So, shoo, man, shoo!”

He doesn’t shoo. Instead, he lays his big hands on my shoulders, and stares down at me with brilliant green eyes: “Alexis, did I ever tell you about Atlas Shrugged? Do you remember the question I asked you: If you saw Atlas, bent down under the weight of the world with a trickle of blood down his left shoulder, what would you tell him to do?”

“Shrug?” I asked, and when he nodded and gave me a look that meant clearly follow that line of thought, I groaned. “You want me to shrug? To march up to my parents, the dictators of the universe, and tell them to go screw themselves, and that this party is something they should do themselves instead of me?”

“Well, not exactly in those exact words, but generally, yes. Alexis, you’re thirteen years old. You’re three years younger than I am, and you never see me running these things. Honey, you’ve been doing these parties every year since you were nine, Holy hell, Alexis: You planned your own birthday parties for the past four years in a row. So live a little, and think for yourself. It’s the Fall Freak, for god’s sake: You should be out buying a dress instead of cheap streamers and plastic forks. All those millions of plastic forks…” he groaned, his hands over his eyes. “Remind me never to volunteer for clean-up duty ever again.”

I shake my head, and tell him, “No, sorry, man; it’s just that, even though I rant and rave about how much I hate doing these parties, they’re kinda fun to do. Even though I wouldn’t mind not having to shop for my own birthday gifts, for a change. But, hey, wait a minute there, big brother mine: Why don’t you and I go, and see if I can weasel my way out of buying my own birthday gifts?”

He brightens, and off we go to face the music.

“Absolutely not. Dearie, you know how busy your mother and I are, and how little time we have to spend keeping track of all of your little phases and wants.” My dad tells me, and Adalrik just squeezes my arm in that ‘well, we tried’ sort of way, and we leave our parents to their books.

Much later that afternoon, I’m standing two feet away from Seeder, his wife Gutsy who is also the leader of the Cult of Pies-I must have gone a bit off when I gave them the ability to create a religion-her servant Whipped, a bard, a loner, a geek, a mentally slow person, a rather crispy person with an insane fascination with fire, and a massive crowd of other people, every last one of them a pumpkin. Seeder is shaking his head, frowning. I’d just asked him whether or not he would allow us to use him and his people as an attraction, and he seems rather adamant about his decision.

But there’s no way I’m going back to my house without his approval. I mean, you saw how my folks treated me about that mistake with the date last year. Anyways, it was their fault, not mine. They’d told me it was the Friday after the day of the actual party, and by the time we realized what was happening, it was too late and everybody had missed the Fall Freak that year. So imagine how they’d treat me if I dared go back there without my task completed.

So I say: “Please, man, please. You owe me for giving your family life, so would you please help me from losing mine?

Seeder sighs, and nods. “All right, Alexis, I will. But if anything goes wrong, it’s your fault.”

Point for the non-diplomat. The score is now one-zero, and it’s time to kiss up to ease hurt feelings. “Thank you so much, Seeder. I promise, not a thing can go wrong. You have my word!” I call, already turning around to sprint back to the safety of my job-whoops, I mean home.

One more checkmark to mark down in my binder.

But, before I go, I turn back, my head flooded with a sudden tide of questions. “Seeder,” I start, quailing as I turn to face him, “Why is it that you knew my name, and the name of who created you? There’s a lot of stuff you said when we first met that I need an explanation for. I know you’ve already repaid me for bringing your family to life, but I’ll be in your debt for good if you just tell me. Oh, and how and what do you eat?”

He smiled at that last one. “We eat everything humans do, except pumpkins,” Seeder’s smile faded, his brows pursed again, “Alexis, when Andrei made me, just like all of you do, he gave me some of his memories: Language, math, all of it. Including who you were, who all of you were. Everyone is born in magic, and as people age, it passes away from them. Children recognize creatures that only exist because of magic for what they are, not what they pretend to be, because the knowledge and power of magic has not yet passed away. You and your family, however, grew up differently than others, and somehow attract magic like a lodestone. Andrei reached it sooner than you, as he is the eldest, and he also has a strong magic attraction from his parents as well. This is why you can harness it, create things simply by using your talents. Andrei, however, did not see me when he finished me; he automatically left me on display while I was still adjusting to life, without him noticing that I possessed it.”

I nod. I guess I can accept that answer. But there’s still one question: “Seeder, if Andrei created you, couldn’t he have created the others?”

The King shook his head, laughed. “Alexis, when he found out he made me, how did he react?”

Oh. Now I get it. “When I told him, he screamed and ran away. We found him an hour later in his closet, crying like a baby and hitting his head on the door. Yeah, I can guess why he couldn’t give the others life.”

Seeder nods, and asks, smiling, his fiery eyes shining, “Alexis, if you do not mind, I must prepare my people for the coming hardship.

Without further ado, I leave him be.


  1. Hi. Sorry if this is the wrong place to post. Couldn't find a contact section. Anyway, I thought your blog is interesting and have nominated you for Liebster Award. If you choose to accept, just head on over to my blog for the rules/questions and see your fellow nominees. Have a good day!

    1. :D Thank you so much! I'll definitely go and get that award. I'll pass it on soon. Have a good day! And I just posted a contact page.

  2. The character's voice sounds so realistic and interesting. I really like

    1. Thank you for the compliment. A new chapter of this is posted every week, but I might end up speeding up the posting if I get enough people into the story :)


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