Author's Ink

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                           The Road to Somewhere

CHAPTER ONE:  The Sale

   I was so confused. There were people everywhere I looked; in the house, on the front yard, on the porch.  I think there were even some in my bedroom!

   And they were all here for one reason, and one reason only:  to buy our stuff.  Personal items that we didn't actually want to sell.  And we weren't very happy about it--that is, my brother, Griffen and me.

   But our parents were just plain giddy.  Ecstatic!

   "Oh, Honey, it'll be a lot of fun!  Traveling can be so much fun!"

   Fun, fun, fun; that's what they kept saying.  But I don't really see anything that fun about it.  At all.

   When Griffen and I came home from school, we expected things to be normal.  Well, as normal as things ever get at our house anyway.  What we didn't expect was that there would be about, oh, I don't know, seventy-five or so people here; and we expected to have the three parked cars in our front yard, with no 'For Sale' signs on them.  And, to top that off, we definitely didn't expect everthing--every ring, stuffed animal, stray football, soccer ball, bat, all but our clothes, to be out in the yard in boxes labeled 'Yard Sale'.

   No.  We didn't expect that at all.  But it's what we got.

   "Skye!  Come over here, Honey!  I need you to help me price this!" my mother called. 

   I grumbled in retaliation and headed off to sell whatever object my mom was talking about.

   I walked slowly across the yard, and when I got there I saw a stranger holding one of my  most prized possessions.

   "Oh, no.  Nope.  Nuh uh.  No way."  I was shaking  my head fiercely.  "Mom, you can't be serious!  My desktop?" 

   I had worked on that thing for a long time, saving up money to buy things to stick all around the screen, so when you looked at it you saw a nice little collage of all my favorite things--mostly soccer stickers though.  Plus, I just bought a new mouse for it, one of those real high-tech ones, last Tuesday!

   "Mom, seriously!  Why can't I have it, Mom?  It doesn't take up that much space.  Come on!"

   She just kept smiling at me.  This was so not fair.

   "Honey, we can't have anything extra.  You saw how small the Wonder Mobile is!"

   "Oh, is that what we're calling it now?  The Wonder Mobile?" I shrieked.  I laughed humorlessly as I thought of her Wonder Mobile--a rusty, old RV back from the 80's.  It was painted purple and green too, like the van on Scooby Doo!

   "Oh, Hon, you just need to use a little imagination."

   You see, that's something about my mom.  She's very...well, she's...quite imaginative, I guess.  She's a free spirit.  She likes to, how had she put it?  Read the wind, and feel the sky!  And my Dad's the same way.

   Sometimes I wonder if we really are related.  If maybe I was adopted or something?  That would have to mean they'd adopted Griffen too.

   Griffen is my brother, and also my twin.  We have the same exact midnight black hair, mine long, about to my elbows, and his just shaggy enough to reach his ears.  He's pretty tall, only a couple of inches or so above my average five-feet-six inches, and we both have freckles trailing along the bridges of our noses.  Griffen and I are pretty close; you kind of have to be when you have such weird parents.  It's basically you against them, and it helps to have someone on your side.  I looked around our people-filled yard until I spotted his familiar dark blue eyes, just like mine.  It looked as if he was trying to salvage anything he could.

   "Mom," I whined.  "Griffen gets to keep his stupid hamster!  Why can't I keep my computer?"

   The stranger, who I was starting to despise, was looking back and forth between my mom and I.  Figures.  Doesn't even have the courtesy to walk away, to give us some privacy.

   "Hon, listen," she sighed and looked at me sympathetically.  "The desktop does take up room, and the Wonder Mobile is really small.  I thought you already knew we couldn't keep it.  We can't even bring a desk for it, Silly!  Plus, we only have enough room for all our clothers and ourselves, and knowing you two, we're probably going to get extra sports things on the way.  If we keep it, we probably won't have enough room for everything." 

   She put her hand on my shoulder, and I shrugged it off.

   "Yeah, well, the hamster's cage is big too, Mom."  She blinked, her I-Understand-You smile never faltering.  "I am not selling my computer."  My words were dripping with venom.  She just continued to smile brightly at me.  "Ugh!" 

   Mom just stared at me.  I clenched my fists and took deep breaths.  Sometimes I had to do that.  It was very frustrating to have such weird parents.  I mean, who decides, in the middle of the day, to just pack up and leave town?  Poof!  Gone, just like that!  Should we ask the kids?  Ohh, no, they'll be okay!  They're smart, they'll work it out!  And how they got all these people here so quickly is a mystery to me.

   Pft.  Sometimes I wonder what their worlds are like, because they definitely don't live in mine.

   "Hon, please.  We need a price so we can sell the computer to this nice lady."  She glanced at the stranger. 

   I refused to look at the person who was taking away my connection to the rest of the world--my lifeline.  I could see I wasn't going to win this battle.

   "Griffen doesn't even like his stupid hamster," I snapped, and stomped off towards one of the tables with my old soccer ball on it.  Some poacher--that'd be my rightful nickname for the shoppers--was trying to bounce it on his knee, and kept missing it, like an amateur.

   I guess he saw me coming, because he smiled at me, missing the ball again.  He looked to be around his twenties, had strawberry blonde hair, and brown eyes. 

   "Hey, lil' Miss, mind tellin' me how much this here ball is?"

   Awww, what a lovely country accent!  Simply adorable.  Not.

   "Five hundred dollars," I barked, and snatched the ball out of his surprised hands.  "It's not for sale."  I gave him the most menacing death glare I could muster, and he scurried off to bother some other poor person.

   Stupid Poacher.

   I looked around again, and again found Griffen, still attempting to save something, anything.  I decided to go tell him to keep an eye out for scavenging country folk.

   "Hey, Griffen," I called, and tried to squeeze through the swarms of people.  He looked up at me, and I'm sure his face was nearly an exact mirror of mine:  full of complete and utter misery.

   "Hey."  His voice sounded monotone, dead, blank.  We frowned at each other for a second.  "So, how's it, um, going?"

   "Oh, just joyous.  I'm having such a fantastic time selling all my valuables, you know.  Such a magnificent learning experience."  I rolled my eyes, and I realized my voice was monotone too, even with the sarcasm.  "Hey--I just came to tell you to keep the sports balls out of the way of these poachers.  Some guy just tried to steal my soccer ball."

   "Huh?  I feel bad for him.  You must've scared him off with your infamous, menacing glare."  He managed a weak smile.  It made me feel a little better to know he wasn't having any better a time with this than I was.  I was glad he was still a fraction of the same old wise-cracking Griffen.

   "Yeah, well, that is one of my talents."  I smiled back as best I could.  I'm guessing it looked more like a grimace.

   "All these people have no lives.  Did you ever wonder--" he started to say, but I figured I already knew what he was talking about.

   "How Mom and Dad got everyone here so quickly?  Yeah, I did, and I have no idea." 

   I smiled for real, probably the only real one I'll have in weeks, and he smiled for real back.  We always found it funny when we did some stupid, trademark twin thing without us even meaning to.

   "Excuse me, young man."  An elderly woman walked up to Griffen.  "But how much is this statue?"  She was holding one of Mom's old statues she'd made out of clay and plainted.  This one was a green and purple lizard, the same color as the 'Wonder Mobile'.

   Griffen bit his tongue, which is more than I would've done...patience isn't my key trait, especially when things are obvious, like the price right on the lizard's big, clay head:  $25.00.

   "It's twenty-five dollars, Ma'am."

   "Oh, thank you, Sonny."  And she waddled off towards my Mom and the cash register.

   "These people are idiots," Griffen grumbled.

   "Yeah," I said.  "Idiots who came to poach."

 

 

                - Madison R. Bolen