Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Sorry about not posting last week, we got a surprise visit from our friends that live in L.A.  We were really busy with Independence Day being that week too, so I just thought I'd wait until this week to post.

I finally finished my short story for writing class!  If you remember, I posted the first paragraph or two of my rough draft (the first rough draft, actually...there were four or five) on Misadventures.  If you want to read that, you can click here.

But today I am posting the finished draft, which was completed last month.  Enjoy!

New Beginnings

As the Woods family loaded the boxes into the moving van, Aurora spotted Erica running down the street. 
“I’m gonna go somewhere really quick,” she muttered to her sister, Courtney, and took off towards her best friend.  “Erica!” she hollered.  “Erica, wait!”
Erica turned and beckoned to Aurora, then kept running.  “Come on, Aurora!” she yelled back.  Aurora knew where she was headed--the abandoned playground where they used to hang out after school last year.  It’s the only place where they’re sure to have any privacy.  Reaching into her pocket, Aurora rubbed the five string bracelets she made for Erica.
“I thought you’d never get here,” Erica giggled as Aurora ducked under the slide and scooted towards her.  But then her ever-present smile collapsed and it’s suddenly obvious how hard she’s taking this.  How hard the move was going to be on her, too.  “Why do you have to go?” she whispered.  “What am I gonna do without you?  The school paper, Aurora.  You taking photographs, me writing the stories...all our plans, gone!”
It was too much, and then they held each other and cried, and without any words they knew how much they’d miss each other.  “I’ll email you every day,” Aurora promised.  “And you have to sign up for the school paper!  One of us should.  Here, these are for you.”  She held out the friendship bracelets, each of them woven with a blue string to match the one in each of her bracelets.  “Because we’re different, and we’re going to change, but we’ll always be friends,” she explained.
They slowly walked back to Aurora’s house, grabbing mint-chocolate ice cream cones even though it was cold out.  It usually is in San Francisco, but ice cream on the first day of July was an Erica-Aurora tradition that went back to elementary school.  When the moving van came into sight, Erica grabbed Aurora’s hand and held it tightly.  “Aurora!”  she heard her mom yell.  “Come on, we’re making lunch and then we have to leave!”
Then, somehow, she’s said goodbye to Erica and May, her 20-year-old cousin who had been helping them pack, and she was on the road to Hollis, California, her new home.
The car ride there was long and boring.  Aurora checked on her cameras, which she had stashed in her backpack so she wouldn’t have to wait to unpack them.  But looking at the flat, brown landscape she thought that maybe it wouldn’t have mattered if her cameras were packed away.  It’s not like there was anything to take a picture of anyway. 
“Meow,” her orange tabby cat, Sea Biscuit, protested from inside his crate.  He didn’t want to leave San Francisco either.
“Sorry, Bud.  We’re stuck here for another half-hour.  As soon as we get to the house, we’re gonna go give the Canon some air and explore, sound good?”  He gave a grunt-like purr in response and she put on her headphones for the rest of the trip.
True to her word, when they stopped in front of their new house, Aurora immediately opened Sea Biscuit’s crate, grabbed her cameras, and set out to wander the streets of the small town.  Her small town, now.  But even after wandering around for twenty minutes, she only had a few lame pictures of cows and cornfields to show for it.  When Sea Biscuit and Aurora arrived home, the whole “adventure” had turned out to be an epic fail. 
Aurora’s mom showed her up to the second floor, where her bedroom was.  It was big and white, empty except for an air mattress and the row of boxes stacked against one wall.
“Why don’t you start unpacking, honey,” her mom suggested gently.  “Or at least organize the boxes so we can move everything in neatly when the furniture comes.”  Aurora nodded numbly, sitting down on the floor in the middle of her new room.  She wrote a quick email, telling her best friend that they were here, Hollis was boring, and she missed her already, then resumed sitting on the floor, doing nothing.  After staring at the boxes for a long time and determining that she really couldn’t use The Force to unpack them without moving, she got up and pulled one toward her.  It was labeled ‘Aurora, grades 3-5’.  Opening it, she began pulling out stuffed animals and books that she had forgotten about years ago.  Her Junie B. Jones books, her favorite teddy bear.  Digging down farther, she uncovered a few old CDs and finally reached the bottom, where she pulled out three model horses.
She’d completely forgotten how much she’d loved horses in third grade!  Running her fingers over the intricately painted models, she remembered how badly she’d wanted a horse of her own, how she’d begged her mom for lessons.  How her mom had tried, but hadn’t found any places close enough to their apartment.  Horses didn’t live in the city, Mom had reminded her.  They live in the countryside.
Aurora looked out her window at the rolling fields as she reminisced about her childhood obsessions.  The countryside really was quite beautiful, she thought in a moment of fondness.
The countryside!
Aurora leaped up and rushed to her window.  Throwing it open, she leaned out as far as she could, as if trying to get as close as possible to the fields in order to make sure they were real.  Dashing down the stairs, not even bothering to put down the model horse she was holding, she burst into the kitchen.
“Mom!  The horses!  I found them!  And then, I realized about the countryside!  It was an epiphany!” When Mom’s expression went from wondering to downright confused, Aurora jumped up and down, waving the horse she was holding.  “Don’t you see?” she exclaimed.  “I can finally learn!”
“Whoa, slow down!  Could you tell me that again, in complete sentences this time?” Mom laughed.
“Well, I was going through my boxes...” Aurora told her mom what had happened.  “Since we don’t live in the city anymore, can I take horseback riding lessons?  Please?”
Two weeks later, after many phone calls and Google searches, they’d come up with nothing.  Hollis’ only horse stables were at private residences, and the owners didn’t offer lessons.  The only other option was a few towns over, and it was too long of a drive to make twice a week.  Closing her laptop, Aurora’s mom sighed and looked at her apologetically.
“I’m so sorry, sweetheart,” Mom said.  “I know how much you wanted this.  Don’t worry though...maybe something will end up working out.”
Aurora knew her mom really was sorry that they couldn’t find anything, but that didn’t lessen the disappointment.  “It’s okay,” she mumbled.  “Thanks for trying, Mom.”  Then she walked slowly up to her room, picked up her Canon, and went for a walk, only pausing to call, “I’m going out, be back soon,” so Mom wouldn’t worry.
She knew there wouldn’t be anything to photograph, but having her camera made her feel better.  Photography always calmed Aurora down.  Suddenly she felt something fuzzy brush up against her leg.   “Sea Biscuit!” she giggled weakly.  Her cat always knew when she needed company.  After snapping a few pictures of the tabby, Aurora set out, not knowing exactly where she was going, Sea Biscuit trailing behind her.
They ended up at the edge of a field.  “I should have known we would reach one of these eventually,” Aurora told her cat, laughing a little.  The walk had lifted her spirits considerably, though she was still kind of down about the riding lessons.  Raising her camera, she adjusted the focus and took some shots of the yellow grass, then prepared to take one last photo before heading home.  Just as her finger pressed down on the shutter, a horse galloped into the frame.  The rider seemed to be a girl, though Aurora was too far away to tell how old she might be.  The mysterious horse and rider turned toward a barn not too far off the road.
“Come on!” Aurora called to Sea Biscuit, sprinting towards the place where she could see the horse and now-dismounted girl.  The tall, dry grass whipped at her legs, but she barely felt a thing.  She just wanted to see the horse.
Reaching the barn, completely out of breath, Aurora wheezed toward the girl.  She knew she must look terrible, but still she approached the rider.  “Can...can I pet your horse?” she gasped.
The rider turned around and tried to keep a straight face.  “Did you run here?” she joked.  Aurora nodded, unable to speak.  Then she giggled, making the other girl chuckle too.  Soon both of them were doubled over, nearly crying with laughter.  “Why...” the girl began, “Why on earth...did you run...all that way?”
“Wanted...to see...your horse,” Aurora responded.
That sent the girls into a fresh round of hysterics.  Once they both caught their breath, Aurora introduced herself.  “I just moved to the big house on Third Street,” she explained, figuring that in such a small town, the girl would know where that was.  She was right--the girl did.
“I’m Nyssa,” the girl replied.  “I’m going to be a freshman in the fall.”  Aurora was too, and they talked for a while about school and San Francisco, where Nyssa had never been, before the horse whinnied, getting their attention.  “Oh, that’s right!  You wanted to pet him.  Hey, Sunny!” she patted the horse.  “This is our friend Aurora!  She’s super nice, you’ll love her.”
Tentatively, Aurora ran her fingers down the animal’s back.  Once she was confident that the horse wasn’t going to spook, she began petting it’s neck and nose, too.  “She’s beautiful,” Aurora whispered.  “I’ve always wanted to ride horses,” she added, almost as an afterthought.
Nyssa seemed to think about this for a moment, then noticed the camera around Aurora’s neck.  “You like photography?” she asked.  Aurora nodded, still stroking Sunny.  “Well then, how about this,” Nyssa proposed.  “If I give you riding lessons, will you teach me about photography?  I have this great camera at home, but don’t have a clue how to use it.”
Aurora whipped around, staring at Nyssa in disbelief.  “You’d do that?  Really?”  Nyssa nodded.  “Deal!”  Hugging her new friend, Aurora grinned from ear to ear.  Finally, she thought, things were starting to look up.

Original story by Blue.  Many thanks to Mrs Dudley!! :)

Hope you liked it, and talk to you soon!



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