Issue 63 Aug 2018
Sam sprinted down the pavement, vaulted a bollard, lassoed a lamp post with his right arm and swung himself over the fence next to the school playground, landing crouched but balanced, on the tarmac. He was late as usual. It was impossible trying to get Millie up, give her breakfast, get her dressed, drop her at school and still be on time himself. Meanwhile their Mum lay in bed, too sad to get up, since their Dad had left.
Sam slunk into the school building, trying to be invisible. Mrs Thompson, the school secretary, sighed when she saw him.
“So what”s the excuse this time?” Her hand hovered over the Late Book. “No more tall stories like “Chauffeur Assassinated” or “The Great Goldfish Escape” please, Sam.” Her smile was kind though. Her eyes warm.
At lunchtime Sam”s worst nightmare confronted him in the corridor outside the gym. Adam was everything Sam wasn”t. Confident, tall, with perfect teeth, gelled hair and sporting the latest most expensive trainers. As usual he had two of his hangers-on with him. Lads who”d do pretty much anything to fit in with Adam”s “cool” crowd. The trio pinned Sam against the radiator. Adam positioned himself in the centre, whilst the other two held Sam”s arms.
Starling snuggles deeper into her tangle of sheets, yawning as rain spatters and pings against the porch’s old wooden steps. The shutters will totally need painting after the storm. From her room, a tiny space just off the north side of the parlor, Starling can see almost all the way down Ocean Avenue to the sea. She reaches over to her nightstand, an old chipped wooden cabinet resurrected from the basement, and grabs the wire-wrapped pendant.
Even in the dark room, the quartz winks. The purple wire had been her special request. She turns the pendant in her hands, studying the tiny chips of garnet and aquamarine, peridot and labradorite laced across the face of the frosted quartz wand. Time to try again. Juniper said to keep trying, that crystals, especially Record Keepers, don’t give up their secrets easily. Too bad most of the girls in her class weren’t more like that.
Secrets of the Ancients, answers to the Universe’s mysteries, maybe even a prophesy? Starling drops the heavy pendant over her head, the waxy black cord soft against her neck. Ok, count to ten, breathe deeply…