I participate in a weekly event on Google+ called Saturday Scenes, in which writers share scenes and snippets from their various works. It’s a lot of fun to see what others are working on. It just occurred to me that I hadn’t been posting those scenes here. So, here’s the one from this past week. I’ll also share my older pieces from Saturday Scenes as well, and in the future I’ll cross-post to my blog. Please feel free to comment! Often these pieces are brand new and unedited, so you’re getting a rough sneak peek into my newest projects.
Friends (working title)
Hannah woke with a start as the first ray of sunlight slanted across her face. It was a Saturday, and she was allowed to get up and watch cartoons if she was very quiet. Mom was a nurse, and she wasn’t back from her night shift yet. Dad was still asleep. It took a moment for Hannah to realize that she was staring at the very edge of an envelope some two inches from her nose.
She sat up, the worn blanket pooling softly around her slim legs. Nine years old, she was petite, with nut-brown hair that fell in soft curls down to her waist and wide grey-blue eyes. The girl was inclined to solemness, not because she was sad, but because she was busy imagining adventures. Yet she had the resilient happiness of a loved child, undaunted by adult worries or grief.
Hannah turned the envelope over in her hands, examining it. She didn’t know anything about stationery, but this felt expensive; the paper was thick and creamy, with a velvety feel against the soft pads of her fingers. It had no name or address on the front. After a moment, she carefully pulled the flap open and read the letter.
My name is Cadeyrn. I am nine years old, and I am writing this letter to practice my English. I hope it finds you well. What is your name? Where do you live? The name of the place I live would translate something like Land of Green Hills, but I think you would call it Faerie.
My father is king here. That makes me the prince, and that means I have to study a lot. I have to know all the human languages, except for a few small ones that my father permits me to use magic to translate. I have to study swordplay and all kinds of magic. Do you have to study?
I had better go. I hear someone coming.
Please write back.
Could it be real? Faerie didn’t really exist, of course. But someone had sent her a letter. The handwriting was a messy cursive, slightly neater than her own, and there was an ink blot near one corner. Studying it again, she detected a faint smell, and raised the paper to her nose. Yes, the ink, or perhaps the paper, had a faint, sweetish scent to it, not exactly sugar, not exactly floral, but some indefinable sweetness.
A sound by the window made her look up. On the branch outside, a large, white bird stared at her, his head tilted to one side.
Cartoons could wait.
She stepped out of bed, her little arms prickling in the cool air. She pulled her flannel pajama top over her undershirt and buttoned it, checking to make sure the buttons were in the correct holes, then stuck her feet into the fluffy kitten slippers she’d gotten for her birthday last week. In the kitchen she found a pad of yellow legal paper, her dad’s preferred kind for making his ever-expanding list of planned home improvement projects. She found a purple pen in the junk drawer and sat at the kitchen table, her legs swinging.
My name is Hannah. I live outside a big city called Philadelphia. We have snow in winter, but it’s springtime now and all the snow has melted. My birthday was last week, and now I’m nine too. I have to study math and grammar and history at school. We’re studying the Declaration of Independence. Do you know what that is?
My mom will be home soon. She’s a nurse. She helps people. I might be a nurse when I grow up, except maybe not because seeing blood makes my stomach feel like it wants to turn inside out. I have a dog named Fuzz. Do you have a dog?
I would like to be your friend. Please write back.
She frowned. How would Cadeyrn get her letter? Hannah had only a vague understanding of the postal system, but she did know that addresses were necessary. His envelope had neither her address nor his. She folded the letter into a square and took it upstairs, where she left it on her desk. Then she went back downstairs and turned on the television, finding her favorite morning cartoon.