The World of Troodainia~Book One: A New Oric (Prologue) *EDITED* *EDITIED YET AGAIN*
Posted September 26th, 2011 by TheAshWolf
Wow. I've been a member of KidPub for 364 days. I posted this prologue the day I joined. Now...it's time for me to edit my work and hope you all will like this as much as the old version.
Basically, I'm going to go in, fix as many typos as I can find, bump up the description a bit...you know, give WOT a little polishing. Nothing major will be changed, I assure you.
To keep everything neat and tidy, I will be deleting the original chapter posts. Your comments mean too much to me to just get rid of like that, so I will save them on a Word document. :) The original number of comments and reads I will also save. (Even though the reads are inaccurate. XD)
ANYWAY, I hope you all enjoy this. :3 Tell me if you see any typos or have some CC.
Here's a link to the official WOT webiste, if you want to check it out: http://troodainia.weebly.com/
(Author's Note as of 02/29/2012:)
Hey, all! :) I decided to update the Prologue ONE LAST TIME. XD Just wanted to smooth things over a bit, you know? Change the flow a bit. I hope you take the time to re-read it. <:^J
(Author's Note as of 10/11/2012:)
I am NEVER going to be satisfied with this Prologue, am I? <:^D
(Author's Note as of 02/26/2013:)
Typos, typos, everywhere typos.... >_>
ALL MY LIFE, tragedy has been looming over my family. The moment something goes right, the universe decides to slap us in the face with a disaster. My life is a constant emotional rollercoaster—one second, pure joy, the next, pure agony. And I’m not talking about little things like breaking the garbage disposal or finding twenty dollars lying in the street. I’m talking about the kind of events that shape your life, ruin favorite songs, and leave emotional scars so deep they practically split your sanity in two.
For example, let’s take a look at my mother. The day I learned to walk was the day she learned she had cancer. She battled the disease until I was five years old. She died the day after I enrolled into kindergarten.
Two years later, my twenty year old brother boarded a plane to California despite his fear of flying. The plane he took never even made it past the Arizona state line. Decades have passed since his death, and we still don’t know why that plane crashed.
Not two months after my brother died, my grandfather on my mother’s side won the lottery and bought a boat. He and my other grandfather went on a fishing trip. The search and rescue teams gave up looking for them when months of searching only turned up their broken fishing poles and the splintered remains of the boat.
Imagine being the shy, impressionable seven year old girl that I was. More than half my family was gone. I didn’t know why they were gone or where exactly they went. All I knew is that I missed them. I noticed the pain and sorrow in my father’s usually brave face. He was all I had left in the world. My mother’s mother had died before I was born, and my father did not permit me to be around my other grandmother or my mother’s only brother. According to him, neither one were “good associations” for a young child like myself.
Meanwhile, I found very little comfort in school. I got good grades, but it didn’t win me any friends. Instead, it gained me approval from my teachers. This earned me the honorary title of “Teachers Pet,” despite the fact I disliked my high-and-mighty teachers just as much as my classmates did.
Without my trusted sibling, grandparents, a mother, or even a friend, I turned to my father for solace. He became my confidant. I told him everything that ever came to my mind. A joke, a problem, a passing thought, a simple opinion—he listened to them all. In turn, I listened to whatever he wanted to say, whether it was a lecture, a lesson, or a problem he was mulling over. I learned how to listen, to look at life logically, and to read a person’s face. He taught me everything school couldn’t. By the time I was ten, I could take care of myself better than the average adult. I could cook, I could clean, I could hunt for bargains at the store. The trust my Dad and I shared was so strong, we hardly ever fought the way fathers and daughters tend to do. Since we always talked, we always understood each other. It got to the point where we could even finish each other’s sentences. We were inseparable. He valued my word just as much as I valued his.
But there is a danger in building your life around a single person like that, and we both knew it.
Behind the mask of a grin I always wore, back in the farthest corner of my mind, I was always worried that tragedy would strike one more time. I couldn’t help but wonder how I would cope with losing my father. Just the thought of not being able to see him every day terrified me.
Just a few years after our family had been torn apart, my worst nightmare came true.
When I was in fifth grade, my dad lost his job. His company was downsizing, and he just had to be one of the workers they let go. Then the car broke down and needed a new transmission or differential or something expensive like that. Getting to school became a serious challenge. We didn’t have the money to buy me a bike, so I had to walk five miles to school and back for a whole week. I could have taken the bus, yes. But on the bus were the kids that tormented me day in and day out. The less I saw them, the better.
The car was fixed on May 28th, 1990. I went to school in high spirits that day. How could I have known that a day with such a positive start would end so tragically?
I was calmly sitting in class when it happened. Like so many other days, I was reading a book by Jules Verne and waiting for the rest of my classmates to finish their math worksheets. Without warning, the irksome sound of the telephone muffled the soft, familiar scratch of pencils on paper.
I paid the disturbance little attention. An office lady probably needs some test results or something, I assumed. Even before the dark-haired Mrs. Mackintosh answered the phone, I had already reabsorbed my thoughts in the book in front of me.
My teacher answered the phone with a cheery hello, as always. Her smile suddenly lessened. “You want Ambretta?” Mrs. Mackintosh said, tossing a glance in my direction. “Who is this?” A look of concern crossed her face. “Oh. Yes, of course. Hang on a moment, please.”
My brain still refused to focus on anything but the novel in my hands. Why pay attention to a boring phone call when I could be off in another land, embarking on a perilous adventure with my favorite characters?
Trying to catch my attention, the thirty-something teacher cleared her throat and called my name. “Amber? Would you come here a moment?” Mackintosh beckoned.
Only vaguely aware that my nickname had been said, I refused to bring myself back to reality. Instead, I smirked at an amusing joke in the story and read on.
Raising her voice slightly, Mackintosh called, “Amber, the phone is for you.”
The orange haired girl sitting next to me poked my arm. “Amber! Ms. Mack wants you,” she hissed.
I jumped a little and looked around the classroom absentmindedly. “Huh?” Noting my teacher’s irritated expression, I grinned sheepishly. “Sorry! I got caught up in the climax.”
She ignored my apology. “There is a man on the phone who wants to talk to you right away. He says that he’s your uncle.”
I paused for a moment. Uncle? What uncle? I asked myself, drawing a blank. I hastily searched the cluttered and unorganized filing cabinet that my brain becomes during school hours for an answer. Then, all at once, I remembered. My mother had one younger brother. The last time I saw my uncle was the day my mom died. I honestly didn’t know anything about him. According to my dad, he was, and I quote, “rich, secretive, and just downright weird.”
Why would he be calling me?
The eyes of my classmates traced my every step as I made my way over to the phone. Taking the receiver in my hand, I said into the mouthpiece uncertainly, “Uh…hello?”
“Is this Amber speaking?” a man’s voice said on the other end of the line.
I was tempted to scoff, “No, I’m sorry. It’s the Queen of England! Who else would you be talking to?” Suppressing the sudden wave of hostility, I muttered instead, “Yes, it’s Amber.”
“You probably don’t remember me very well. My name is Vinny. You know, your mom’s brother?”
“Yeah, I remember you.” I paused and I glanced at my class. Everybody was staring at me. In the far corner of the room, I spotted a familiar, cruel clique of girls whispering and motioning towards me. Their prissy, golden-haired leader shot me a sickly sweet grin, as if to say, “Oh no, we’re not talking about you! We’re talking about some other loser.”
I nervously brushed a piece of dirty blond hair out of my face. In a softer tone of voice, I added, “Look, I don’t want to sound rude or anything, but why are you calling me?”
Vinny cleared his throat. “I’m currently at the hospital. Amber, I hate to tell you this, but…your dad was in a car crash this morning.”
I swear, the sound of a scratched record shrieked inside my head. My heart sank into my shoes. I felt my blood turn to ice.
“He was unconscious for a while, but now he’s awake and asking for you. The doctors…they told me he might not make it through the day.”
Hot adrenaline suddenly revived my dormant heart. The image of my father’s car ramming into another car and bursting into flames flashed in front of my eyes. “W-what?!” I stammered. That’s impossible! He’s always been a careful driver. Always. He’s fine, he has to be, I thought, denial beginning to encase my thoughts.
“I’m sorry Amber, I really am. I’m coming to pick you up and take you to the hospital right now.”
My words caught in my throat. Probably looking a lot like a landlocked tuna gasping for breath, I opened and closed my mouth in a pathetic attempt to form words. “Uhh, w-wait. Do you know where m-my school is?” I managed to stutter after a moment.
“What’s the address?”
“Err, it’s…uh…uh…” I babbled. I could feel my mind beginning to shut down, to start blocking out the impending pain. “It’s 102 East Arabian Drive. It’s right across the street from the library.”
He paused. “Okay. I’ll be there as fast as I can.”
To my surprise, he hung up without another word.
“What’s wrong, Amber?” Mrs. Mackintosh asked, worry gleaming in her hazel eyes.
My head was spinning. This just had to be a nightmare. My heart pounded in my ears. My stomach churned. I felt my hands beginning to sweat. Panic was slowly setting in. I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming. This isn’t happening, I chanted in my mind, hoping it would calm me down. I’ll wake up any second. I have to wake up sometime. I waited for my alarm clock’s screech. I waited for my little dog to nudge my hand and wake me up. I waited for my dad to gently shake my shoulder and tell me I was going to be late for school. I denied that what I had heard—what I was living.
Unfortunately, you can’t wake up from reality. My teacher, my class—they all stared at me, patiently waiting for an answer.
After a minute of icy silence, I finally muttered, “My dad was in a car crash.”
Less than an hour later, I was running down a hospital corridor looking for room 287. My heart was pounding. He better be okay! He just HAS to be okay! I screamed in my mind.
“Hey!” a portly nurse yelled after me. “Little girl! The Intensive Care Unit is off limits to visitors! Get back here.” I could hear her shoes clomping down the hallway behind me, but I didn’t care.
Finally, I found my dad’s room. I quickly threw open the door and stepped inside. My eyes settled on the hospital bed in front of me. My heart skipped about three beats.
There, lying in the bed, bruised and bandaged, was my father. All sorts of wires and machines surrounded him, many of them emitting some sort of irritating noise.
I flocked to his side. “Dad?” I breathed, choking back tears.
His eyes flickered halfway open, revealing the hazy blue eyes I knew so well. “A-am…ber? Is…that you?” he whispered hoarsely.
“Yeah, dad. It’s me,” I responded.
“Oh, good. Good…to hear…v-voice,” he rasped. “Amber?”
A long pause followed. All I heard was the hammering of my heart, and the rhythmic beeping of a nearby pulse monitor. I held my breath, not wanting to miss a single word.
“I wanted…to tell you…you’re…th-the best daughter…in the world…and I love you…and I’m sorry that I…” he trailed off.
My heart froze in my chest. Tears clouded my vision.
“…haven’t been able,” he added after that suspenseful moment of silence, “…to…fill in for your mother…very well.” A tear trickled down his bruised face. “I’m sorry.”
I felt the scalding hot tears beginning to spill over. My throat burned and I felt dizzy. I wiped at my eyes hurriedly. “Oh, Dad! You don’t have to be sorry for anything! Y-you’re the best dad in the world. I love you t-t-too!”
Another long pause followed. A faint smile flickered across my father’s face for a split second. “Thank you, sweetie pie…” he whispered. His eyes slowly went blank.
“Dad?” I breathed.
He didn’t even blink.
I felt my heart sink to my shoes. “Hey…Dad? You okay?”
My pulse quickened when I noticed that he wasn’t breathing. The pulse monitor beside me began to beep faster.
I could barely see through the tears. My throat felt like it was on fire. “No…” I whispered. “You can’t…you can’t leave me, too…”
It was as if the room was collapsing around me. The lights dimmed. The walls and the ceiling slowly pressed in, cornering me.
I started hyperventilating. “Dad! Wake u–”
The pulse monitor yelled, “Beeeeeeeeeeeeeee…” and didn’t stop.
I buried my face in my hands. I didn’t even notice when the nurses scrambled into the room. My dad was gone. That’s all I could focus on. I was alone.
My dad once told me, “Broken hearts heal the same way broken bones do. You need to set it straight, or it will heal crooked.” In the months following his death, I came to realize how true that was. My heart was healing slowly but surely. But it was healing crooked.
Original number of comments (not including replies to comments): 34
Original number of reads (aka times clicked on): 1,352
© 2012 - 2013 Ashley Briarwolf. All rights reserved.
See more stories by TheAshWolf