Hello once again. I’ve fallen into a trap again, and I’ve written way too much, well…. it’s not that bad to write a lot but you know, I didn’t expect my old ways to resurface. Back when I was writing my own novella type story on a semi-daily process, my chapters were long as hell. I didn’t expect to be able to bring out so much in such a short constraint on a daily basis. But whatever, I like what I write, and at this point in the story, I’m not really stuck with ideas. If you haven’t guessed, the gears are going to change just a bit, and you are going to see more episodic chapters, which is my intention. Word count: 8808. Here you go, chapter 5 of “Home For The Unwanted”.
“Did you watch that show on T.V yesterday?”
“The one with the famous pop star!” As Ryan walked past the crowd of people in seek of his new found norm, he began noticing things. Ryan would find himself often closing his ears, however, he began hearing discrepancies.
“It’s him again. He’s always so depressed.”
“Don’t you think he’s different lately?”
“Like he’s not that out of it anymore.” Ryan began noticing many things, one of which, is the fact that he had begun smiling more. Sometimes he would smile to the smallest things. Sometimes he would smile to the dumbest things. But the fact stands that he smiled. He began enjoying the small things that he never noticed before, and he accepted that as part of his new norm.
As Ryan made his way to the forest, he noticed a preplaced path of branches in his way. He followed it zealously and quickly found himself in front of the decrepit building. Ryan stuck his hand out to reach for the door knob, but stopped right before turning it. He remembered Sunflower’s words, and didn’t know the password. Ryan hadn’t actually entered the building since he joined it, however, he couldn’t realize the quaintness of that fact either. Ryan waited at the door, but soon realized that he still didn’t know much of the area. He figured that he had some free time now, and decided to check out the surrounding landscape.
Ryan turned around, and began circling the building. He didn’t expect much, but as he arrived at the back of the building, he noticed a child all by herself. There was a little porch area near the back, with a door leading to the inside. The young girl was sitting on the porch, tending to what seemed to be a small flower growing at the base of the steps. She had long light blue hair that seemed like it was dyed right in the sky. Her hands were small, and they seemed fragile. Her small attentive eyes were completely focused, and her legs were neatly placed beside each other. Ryan noticed a small smile form on her face as she caressed the petals of the flower.
Ryan slowly walked up to her, but before he could make much distance, he heard a voice call out from inside the building.
“Winter?” It was Lorna. She walked out with her hands in her pockets, and as she noticed Ryan, gave him a questioning look.
“What’s up? Lost?” Lorna asked.
“No, I just didn’t know the password.”
“Oh! Right. Right. Just say….. uh…. what was it again?” Lorna began scratching her head in an attempt to remember the password.
“Apples,” the girl named Winter said. Her voice was very low, and if it wasn’t for the silent winds, Ryan would never have heard her.
“Ah! Right, it was apples this week.” Lorna placed her finger up as if she had made a revelation.
“I had a craving this week. But that’s beside the point. Apples is the password.” After Lorna finished, she looked straight at Ryan. Her eyes were fixated, and Ryan failed to see that they weren’t looking at him, but that she was spacing out. Ryan grew uncomfortable with the passing silence of Lorna’s stare, and as she snapped out of it, she said, “Right. Right. No apples. No apples. Anyways….Winter!”
“It’s about Hailstone, right?” As Winter responded, she stopped playing with the flower. Her hands curled into a ball at her laps, and she looked down at the ground in front of her.
“Look. I don’t know why you guys fought again. I was sleeping at the time.” Lorna made a point to make the last bit of her sentence less audible than the rest, because of this, Ryan was unable to follow her. Lorna looked worryingly at Winter while she spoke; her eyes were filled with concern, and her legs couldn’t stop bouncing. Lorna placed one hand on her knees to prevent the constant up and down, however, it didn’t do much to stop it. In a word, Ryan described her current state; distressed.
“But, you guys can’t keep this up, you know?” Lorna continued from her last thought. Winter didn’t respond, and instead continued to look down at the ground, her feet was now tracing a circle in the dirt.
“I’m happy that you guys didn’t hurt each other. It’s a big improvement from before, but, you guys have to get along sometimes. You might think it’s your own problem, but everyone else is worried, you know.”
“You don’t. That’s why you’re still here sulking. And that’s why you guys can’t get along.” Winter’s grip grew tighter and tighter, and Ryan noticed her hands growing red.
“Look, I understand that not everyone can get along, and that having fights every once in a while is good, but, do you want that?” Winter shook her head.
“You guys will eventually come to understand one another. I believe so. I know so. So just try harder, okay?” Winter nodded her head.
“I’m going to head back inside. Once you cool your head, be sure to talk to Hailstone again, okay?” Winter nodded her head.
“I’m sorry to drag you into this –” Lorna looked at Ryan, who stood quietly as the conversation unraveled. Ryan nodded without Lorna having to finish, understanding full well what she wanted. As Lorna entered the building, Ryan was left with Winter, who was still staring at the ground looking at the circle she had drawn. Ryan walked over, and crouched in front of Winter, however, he didn’t make eye contact. Instead, he asked her a question.
“Hailstone… Sunflower’s sister, if I remember. You hate her?” Winter didn’t answer. Ryan sighed, and then went over to the steps and sat beside her.
“Hailstone, huh? I remember Runner saying that she was scary. Sunflower is so cheerful all the time, however, she is a bit shy around strangers. A bit wary, maybe, but, I can’t see someone related to her to not be like that.” Winter looked over to face Ryan, however, Ryan was looking ahead into forest.
“What did you guys fight about?” There was silence yet again, but that didn’t bother Ryan. In fact, this felt all too natural for him, and thus, he could relate.
“No!” Winter responded immediately, which startled both Ryan and herself. She covered her mouth in embarrassment, but slowly lowered her hands. She looked at the ground again, and began erasing the circle with the sole of her shoes.
“It’s… All my fault.” Winter paused, stopped her legs, and then thought. Ryan noticed the series of actions, and figured that all she needed was some sort of push.
“Did you say something to her?” Winter nodded her head.
“What did you say?”
“I told her that she could have the last cookie.” Ryan almost choked at what Winter had said, but he let her continue.
“We were having breakfast. Runner, Sunflower, Walker, and Hailstone were there. Usually, we would let Lorna decide, but she wasn’t up yet. So we all went around and asked.”
“Let me guess, you and Hailstone were the last two who still wanted it?”
“I told her that she could have it, but before I could hand it to her, she turned away. I didn’t understand why she did it, but when she got up, she started yelling at me.”
“What did she say?”
“She said that if I gave her the cookie, that Lorna would give one to me anyway. She started saying that I was trying to be her favorite, and that I was really arrogant. I didn’t know why, so I started yelling back. I told her that she was wrong, and that she didn’t know anything.” Winter stopped, and her hands began trembling. Ryan noticed, and also noticed that the tone of her voice had begun fluctuating.
“I told her that she was angry because Lorna didn’t like her. I told her that she would always get in trouble, and because of that, Lorna wanted to throw her out. She then told me that I–” Winter cut herself off. It looked like it was hard for her to continue, and just before Ryan could tell her to stop, she pressed on.
“She told me that I should just go and die. She said that I was a kiss up, and that the only reason why people liked me was because I act cute and girly to get on their good side. She told me that people like me are making the world wrong, and that I was the reason why Lorna had to take her in.” Winter’s breathing began increasing, and Ryan immediately jumped in to stop her, “That’s enough. I think I’ve heard enough.”
“That’s when I ran out. I still don’t know why…. she said that to…. m–”
“Stop!” Ryan had yelled, to both Winter and his own surprise.
“Do you think anything you said was true? That Lorna didn’t like her? That she would get thrown out?”
“No! I don’t. I know Lorna likes everyone, and that she would never hate any of us. But I…. I just–”
“Do you think anything Hailstone said was true?”
“I don’t know why she said that. I’m just acting like myself. I don’t try to act cute or anything. I’m just…. I just don’t know how else to be.” Ryan looked up into the midday sky, and sighed. For once, he understood, and for once, he cared. Ryan didn’t know why he cared, but he did. He cared about the norm and he cared about these people. Perhaps it was because Ryan saw something within Winter that made him want to care. Perhaps Ryan saw a lonely misunderstood kid. Perhaps Ryan didn’t know what he was doing, but nonetheless, he talked.
“What you guys are doing, is misunderstanding each other. Do you want to make up with her?”
“Then go and talk to her. Just say what you told me, that you didn’t mean it. And just make sure she understands that you’re just you, and that you can’t change who you are.”
“What if she doesn’t want to talk?”
“She will, trust me.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Because she never said that she hated you, did she? She was just fed up. She was just angry. When you’re angry, you say a lot of things. To me, Hailstone is just a person who is really expressive.”
“Yeah. Like she really knows how to say what she thinks, you know. But people just don’t think the nicest of things, and when you say it, you regret it, right?” Winter considered Ryan’s words, and finally got up.
“You’re right. I’ll talk to her. Thank you, mister.”
“No problem.” Winter turned around and entered the building. At this point, Ryan didn’t feel like getting up, nor did he feel like doing much of anything other than staring up at the midday sky. For some reason, Ryan felt proud. Ryan felt happy. But most of all, Ryan had finally felt part of the norm. Ryan wasn’t just a piece of it anymore, he wasn’t just a doll in a collection of everything. Ryan felt at home, he felt like he mattered. He had finally realized what joy it was to help someone. He was a part of their family now. Whether he knew it or not.