Hello once again on this fine Saturday. Word count: 12, 837. And……. yeah I really have nothing to say today. I mean, it’s the weekend, and on the weekends I….. play a lot of video games. Yup. Here you go, chapter 7 of “Home For The Unwanted”.
“Rock. Paper. Scissor!” Ryan looked at the hands in play. Sunflower had rock, Runner had paper, and Ryan played paper.
“Alright! Let’s go, mister!” Runner said as he jumped up and down preparing himself for the final round.
“Rock. Paper. Scissor!” Ryan opened his hands to reveal a pair of scissors’ while Runner played a rock.
“Yes! That means I’m the king!” Ryan sighed in dejection, and the players huddled around the circle all braced themselves for the kings rule. Sunflower, Spear, Lorna, and Winter all looked at each other with ease. Ryan was the only one who wasn’t aware of what a kingdom ruled by Runner would be like. He was prepared for the worst. He was prepared for tyranny. He was prepared to run.
“Mister! I demand…. a cookie!” Ryan gasped in complete agony. And once he realized what his order was, he sighed in relief.
“That’s completely it! I demand a cookie. You can get it from the kitchen.” Ryan got up from the circle and walked over towards the door. As he opened the door from the room and peered out, he realized that he didn’t know where the kitchen was. They were playing in a living room at the end of the right wing, however, the kitchen could have been in any of the many doors that lined the building. Ryan turned back towards the room and called out, “One of you guys mind showing me to the kitchen?” Runner stared back at Ryan with great swagger and great posture; despite his height, and spoke out, “The king demands only one servant! Sorry, you know the rules, I would help you if I could.” Runner’s words became more of his near the end of his sentence. Ryan sighed once again and left the room with his head held down. He was going to have to check every room, he thought. Ryan cursed silently at Lorna for not placing name plates on any of the doors. And more so, he was surprised that the kids could remember every room in the building.
Ryan began systematically opening doors from the right wing. One door led to a bathroom. One door led to a bed room. One door led to a storage room. Strangely enough, Ryan even found a class room. The list of strange and misplaced rooms were endless for Ryan, but the fact stood that he couldn’t find the kitchen. Once Ryan finished opening the doors from the right wing, he walked over to the left side. Ryan tried his best to make a mental note of every door he opened, however, he quickly figured out that those notes were very flimsy.
The first door that Ryan had entered had greeted him with four desks. The room itself was very wide, with a chalk board on one side, and chairs and desks stacked all around the base of the room. In the middle, there were four desks positioned in a row near the center. What caught Ryan’s attention even more was the girl that stood by one of the desks. She was a person that Ryan had never saw before, but, Ryan knew instantly who she was. She had short soft golden hair, and her eyes were dead focused on the notebook that she was reading. Her height was just about the same as well, and Ryan only knew of one more girl that he had never met yet in the building. It was no surprise to Ryan that the young girl who dressed brazenly like a boy was Hailstone. Ryan refrained from speaking to Hailstone as she was focused on reading, however, it was to little avail as Hailstone noticed Ryan.
“What do you want?” Hailstone spoke in a brisk and assertive manner. It was even more intimidating to Ryan as Hailstone didn’t look up from her notebook, and simply spoke to him as if he was a nuisance.
“I got lost. I was looking for the kitchen.”
“The kitchen? Why are you here then? The kitchen is at the back of the stairs.”
“Well, no one told me, and–”
“And what? You couldn’t ask? You come all the way here just to interrupt my reading? I’m not the only one here.” Ryan felt like hitting Hailstone, but realized that he shouldn’t. It was true to some extent that he did walk into Hailstone, but he knew that he couldn’t help it.
“What are you reading?” Ryan decided to drop the topic, and instead ask Hailstone a question. If anything, she would either ignore Ryan and he would go to the kitchen, or she would answer and Ryan could salvage his first impression status. Although at this point, Ryan was a little dry of patience and couldn’t care either way for Hailstone’s abrasive remark.
“What am I reading? What’s it to you? You’re just an outsider.” Ryan had no comeback, as for Ryan, it was true. He was an outsider, he didn’t even have a name, nor was he a person who could reside within this building. To him, this was a norm that he had broken into recently, and even then, it was his second norm.
“But…. Lorna did say that you were family now. A second cousin or something.” Ryan’s ears perked up at Hailstone’s ending remarks. For just a brief moment, Ryan’s image of Lorna had improved, albeit by a miniscule fraction.
“Wait, no, it wasn’t a second cousin. I think she said you were a temp worker.” Ryan took back the minuscule fraction and threw it into a dark corner in his mind so that it would never be found again. What made it even stranger was how Hailstone could even confuse cousin with a temp worker, Ryan thought. Perhaps she was just messing with him, and that thought wasn’t too farfetched for Ryan to believe.
“Temp worker or not, if you don’t want to talk about it, I won’t pry,” Ryan said.
“Nah, it’s cool. If Lorna says you’re okay, then you’re okay. Hopefully. And if not, I’ll punch you. Lorna said if you did anything bad I could punch you. I’ll really punch you.” Ryan grew ever more worried by Hailstone’s obsession with punching him.
“This is an exchange diary.” Ryan didn’t understand the concept of an exchange diary. He had heard of it before, but he had never participated in one. Nor did he really know why one would be made.
“An exchange diary?”
“Yeah. You know, one person writes in it, then the other reads it and replies. It’s kind of like sending mail. Except, since we’re all here, this way is much faster than mail. I hate mail.”
“So who’s the other person?”
“It’s not my sister, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“Wouldn’t have guessed it.”
“I don’t need your smart remarks.” Ryan was taken aback as he was genuinely answering Hailstone. However, since Ryan was unaware of his tone, and of how he should reply to not be misunderstood, he didn’t let that criticism get to him.
“It’s Winter, okay. It’s Winter. Everybody’s been talking about us. God, they just need to shut up before I break their arms.” Ryan full heartedly believed in the last sentiment.
“Or I’ll break their legs.” Ryan believed in Hailstone’s added sentiment as well.
“Or maybe I’ll just send them packing. I’ll give them a good one and then they’ll stop running their mouths.”
“If you’re mad, why don’t you just tell them?”
“Because of Lorna, okay. Lorna’s…. I can’t cause trouble for Lorna. You know…It’s Lorna. I hate Lorna. But I love Lorna. But I hate her.”
“So which is it?” Hailstone gave Ryan a dangerous look that Ryan took with great caution. Without words, he knew exactly what she wanted to say, and took it to heart, making more than just a mental note to not make Hailstone angry.
“Well, last I heard, you guys were fighting. But it seems that you and Winter are okay now. That’s good.”
“Yeah. It was stupid. I’m stupid. I didn’t realize it, but Winter isn’t that bad of a girl. From reading this, I can even see how much she really cares. She’s a really cool person. And I hate myself for not realizing that.” Ryan smiled at Hailstone, he was happy that Winter really did make up with Hailstone, and that they were on good terms now. For some reason, he was joyous that he was able to make a difference in their lives.
“Thank you. You helped Winter out. She wrote that. If it wasn’t for you, I don’t think I could smile like this. Thank you.” Hailstone smiled back at Ryan, which to Ryan, was the strangest thing he could ever see. The notion of a smiling Hailstone that wasn’t smiling deviously with violent intent gave Ryan chills even stronger than when Hailstone was threatening him. It was awkward, out of place, but most of all, Ryan saw it as sweet.
“But if you ever tell anyone about this, I’ll definitely send you packing.” Hailstone said with her usual tone. It was at this point that Ryan realized why her smile was still chilling.
“Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me.”
“And by the way, thanks for playing with my sister. She seems more cheery recently.”
“More cheery? She seems pretty normal to me.”
“It’s because you don’t live with her. Trust me, I’m her sister. I notice these things.” Ryan couldn’t help but mentally agree with her. It was true to Ryan, who was an outsider, and a person who had no familial ties to anyone, he couldn’t relate. The feeling of being able to spend enough time, or having a sibling and just being able to understand another on that kind of level was new to him. Ryan had never been in a situation where he could notice the small things, or the big things. To Ryan, they were all a norm that he just had to figure out; they were all a puzzle that he had to solve.
“You make things a bit more interesting around here, you know. We haven’t had a new kid in a while. I hate boring things. So stick around. If you don’t, I’ll make you regret it.”
“I’ll make sure I do then. Wouldn’t want you to punch me.” Ryan ended off with a sarcastic tone, much to his purpose, as Hailstone gave him another dangerous stare. Ryan left the room, and headed around the stairs, and finally opened the door to his prize; the kitchen. It was a standard kitchen, and Ryan was easily able to locate the jar of cookies and made his way back with his objective in hand. As Ryan opened the door back to the living room they were in, he was instantly taken aback as the only one remaining in the room was Winter.
“Where is everybody?”
“They went to play tag.”
“They what!?” Ryan felt completely betrayed.
“Why!?” Ryan demanded.
“Lorna won the last game, and when she became king, she demanded a game of tag,” Winter replied softly with great caution as Ryan leaned in towards her with anger seeping through his eyes on the mention of Lorna.
“Wait, so who’s it?” Ryan suddenly realized.
“Lorna said that whoever leaves the room last is it.”
“So why are you here?”
“I felt bad and wanted to tell you.” Winter got up and quickly left the room behind Ryan before he could realize what was going on.
“Oh, and Runner still wants his cookie,” Winter then ran off, leaving Ryan behind. The cookie in Ryan’s hand began crumbling as his hands tried to form a fist. Ryan slowly calmed himself however, and then cursed once again at Lorna. Ryan knew full well that Lorna was messing with him. There was no other way, he thought.
“No other way,” Ryan said out loud.
“Lorna!” Ryan said out loud, knowing full well that Lorna was hiding somewhere that Ryan could never find and was laughing at him. As Ryan sighed, he made another mental note to go along with the one he made earlier. In fact, he had about three that day, three notes to make for his norm. One; there were a staggering amount of rooms in the building. Two; never make Hailstone angry, unless you can escape. Three; always assume Lorna is out to get you, if she hasn’t made fun of you for one day, then be ready for even more torment the next day. However, despite all of this, Ryan was still able to laugh and smile at the end of the day. And he was still able to curse at Lorna the next time he saw her. The latter was the most important part for Ryan.