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Extraordinary Season
Writer Frances
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
90 Reads

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Extraordinary Season
A - A - A
Intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
John, England 1910
Jun 10, 2018
11 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!R7dSnkKluO4almcqHwPCposted on PENANA

John couldn't find his glasses. It was a problem he rarely encountered. He had been nine years old when his parents had first taken him to a specialist for an eye exam. His nearsightedness had only grown with the years, distressing his father who shared his son's weak eyesight. But getting his first pair of spectacles had been like receiving wings. He was never one to break or misplace them. At least not frequently.copyright protection8PENANAgoKDq25KuB

John yelped as he tripped over an unearthed root in the December wood, gritting his teeth and stomping his foot. It was stupid to have climbed as high as he had in the old oak tree. However, the branches twisted in such an inviting manner, it was impossible to resist for a thirteen-year-old boy as daring as John.copyright protection8PENANA9lJne6HYsc

“Bloody tree,” he grunted.copyright protection8PENANAMxm8TzzB6p

Snarling the word forbidden by his mother made him feel better but he was still in a predicament. Though he knew those woods by heart, the twilight shadows made it difficult to navigate. Especially when everything was a dark blur. He sniffed, forcing his breathing to slow.copyright protection8PENANAemOZZe15Zw

If only he hadn’t climbed that bloody tree. The branch had given way as soon as he’d settled his back against the trunk and down he’d gone. He hadn't broken anything, only earning himself an impressive bruise on his rump and ego, but his spectacles had been lost in the fall. He had scrambled around in the deep sea of musty leaves but to no avail. They were gone.copyright protection8PENANAG9Sqw6we5Y

“Remain calm, John,” he told himself, clenching his fists. “Someone will eventually search for you.”copyright protection8PENANAqSwN0pnA0t

“Who are you talking to?”copyright protection8PENANAZeQNdQ2fV1

John whipped in the direction of the light giggle that followed the question. “What-”copyright protection8PENANAMCaE2HKyVP

“You seem lost.”copyright protection8PENANAxmH3aItxju

The voice was strange. It could either be that of a girl or young boy and the accent wasn’t familiar to Sussex by far. It was American, just like his mother’s. He straightened his skinny shoulders and squinted in the rapidly fading light as a misty figure emerged from the blur. It was small, a little more than himself, and seemed to be wearing trousers. Perhaps a young boy, but then why would a young American boy be traipsing the woods of his father’s land?copyright protection8PENANA1jJR7XH9dC

“Lost?” He scoffed. “I’m not the one lost, Yankee. This forest is mine.”copyright protection8PENANAbZelEh2pPY

The figure halted. “Yours?”copyright protection8PENANAfnkXrvFV2Z

John stiffened at the barely restrained note of amusement in the voice. “Yes. Well, my father’s but I have more right to be here than you.”copyright protection8PENANAp4i9Vp7Czk

The figure drew closer but not enough for him to get a proper look. “You look like you could use a little help.”copyright protection8PENANAfKku5YL8oB

“Why do you say that?”copyright protection8PENANA7DYsAqXgl0

“Because you’re bleeding, your knee is all scraped up. And you’ve torn your sweater. You look like…”copyright protection8PENANAfL4yVZX2Cw

“Like what?”copyright protection8PENANAmRgHmmG7v4

“Like you fell out of a tree.” The strange boy giggled again, much to John’s chagrin.copyright protection8PENANAICHH4i82yu

John lifted his dark head and turned to leave. “I suggest you get off our land before my father informs the authorities.”copyright protection8PENANA2Og6mb6jeJ

The American boy rushed forward and caught his arm with soft hands. Not the hands of a rough and tumble village lad. “Please, just wait a second. Don’t do that. I’ll do anything.”copyright protection8PENANAQBB7iXtY4Z

“Anything?”copyright protection8PENANA2NBKvG2DIA

“Yes, just don’t tell anyone I’m here. My mom doesn’t know, and she’ll flip out.”copyright protection8PENANA8LpoRLAY5O

He wasn’t sure what the term ‘flip out’ implied but it didn’t sound good. It also sounded like a state he’d seen his own mother in a time or two. If he didn’t find his glasses before going home, Carrie Kipling would surely flip out as well.copyright protection8PENANAHVpi2HgwGl

John nodded. “Very well. It seems I’ve misplaced my spectacles. Can you help me search for them?”copyright protection8PENANAvJ87tENwiv

“Spectacles? Oh, you mean glasses!”copyright protection8PENANA6qgwO8ho7m

“Yes, of course,” John snapped.copyright protection8PENANAdPiC8lkoR1

“Fine. Chill out. I’ll help you.”copyright protection8PENANAJnKSuewhKO

“Chill what?”copyright protection8PENANANRe4n3dErk

“Never mind, let’s just find your glasses. Where did you lose them?”copyright protection8PENANA1E9jhhEBGw

John pointed in the vague direction from where he’d wandered. “There’s an oak tree over there.”copyright protection8PENANADpTnhnBOEl

The boy failed at suppressing a shrill laugh. “You did fall out of a tree, didn’t you?”copyright protection8PENANACscRwAUJem

“Be quiet or I’ll have you arrested.”copyright protection8PENANA3g1dzjveUb

The boy led him patiently towards the roots of the old oak, releasing his hand and digging through the bracken. John joined him, blindly shuffling his hands along the ground.copyright protection8PENANAKyADVS0xHF

“Aha! Gotcha!” The boy leaped to his feet. “Here they are! Holy cow, you’re lucky. Not even a scratch.”copyright protection8PENANATj76bDG6nV

John whipped them from the outstretched fingers and rubbed them against his muddied short pants. As he replaced them, tucking the curved rim over his nose and around the shells of his ears, he blinked up at the figure in surprise.copyright protection8PENANAtqbuEKN9ZI

“You’re a girl,” he stated solemnly, studying her in fascination.copyright protection8PENANAlJgWncOnJv

The girl shifted awkwardly under his searching stare. Her smooth black hair was cut short at her chin, part of it pulled back by an odd-looking ornament, a brilliant pink butterfly. She wore a light blue sweater that shimmered when she moved and contrasted prettily against her olive skin. And she wore pants. Long pants. The fabric was the rough quality seen on farmers with an embroidered butterfly at the pocket.copyright protection8PENANA3CPaI1Oo7b

“You must really like insects,” he observed, wrinkling his nose.copyright protection8PENANAjACv5ggTqf

The girl crossed her arms over her chest and frowned. “That’s a great way of saying thank you. I should have left you stranded, wandering around blind as a bat.”copyright protection8PENANABLYSHm4wJO

John shrugged. “But you didn’t. And it’s getting dark. So yes, thank you very much.”copyright protection8PENANA2MqSX9TLy1

The girl’s fierce expression softened. “So, you won’t tell anyone you saw me here?”copyright protection8PENANAWRCynIODBf

John wet his lips and stuck out his hand. “My name is John.”copyright protection8PENANASd0R5IdaeX

Her hand hovered hesitantly before taking his with a firm, confident grip. She was so different from other girls he’d met. Even his own iron-willed sister. Were all American girls like this?copyright protection8PENANAYgKp8Hy2s6

“Maria Flores-Hart.”copyright protection8PENANA4pYGXlpMZ0

“Flores-Hart?” He searched his memory, trying to recall if he’d overheard his parents mention any visiting families in the area. “Where are you from? Actually, I know where you’re from, you’re an American. That’s clear as day. Or perhaps you’re from Canada?”copyright protection8PENANA1Re2JkKWuZ

“No. American.” Maria recoiled slightly, kicking the leaves at her feet. He hadn’t noticed her shoes. They were the oddest things. Black canvas with rubber soles and white laces.copyright protection8PENANATtfETolsrO

“You are something strange, aren’t you?” he breathed.copyright protection8PENANAzvdycbUBXT

The girl retreated a step. “I should get going.”copyright protection8PENANACZKQ2tbMqG

He caught her elbow before she could run off. “No wait. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you. Only…” she met his inquisitive gaze shyly. “You’re not strange. I shouldn’t have said that. I only meant interesting.”copyright protection8PENANALk91Y3qkwR

“Interesting.”copyright protection8PENANA85nlDAwycu

“Yes. Very. And clearly you are unfamiliar with this area because you would agree with me otherwise. You are very interesting for this dull corner of the world.” John released her and scratched the back of his neck. “I need to go home. My mother will be worried.”copyright protection8PENANArOucFwGRj6

Maria released her breath and gave a weak grin. “Mine too. Hopefully, she won’t find out I came here. She’ll rip my butt up if she does.”copyright protection8PENANAx5rH6qKxKg

John blinked at her and let out a bark of a laugh. “I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it put that way, but I think I understand you perfectly, Maria Flores-Hart.”copyright protection8PENANAoSmMd0mKyz

Night fell swiftly around them, a ghostly mist rising from the forest floor. The damp chill invaded clothes and threatened to sink into bones if they remained outside much longer. However, John was reluctant to leave her out there alone, especially since she clearly didn’t belong.copyright protection8PENANAeZoJb3fSVy

“Do you want to come home with me? It’s getting dark. My father could bring you home, so you won’t have to walk.”copyright protection8PENANAZsDq9KQUiA

“Oh no! No, thank you,” Maria responded abruptly, skipping back a step. The fog ate away her figure up to her knees. “But I’m glad I could help you, John. It was nice to meet you.”copyright protection8PENANAaHtxtHxQr5

She turned and sprinted into the thick of the wood.copyright protection8PENANApG5NphRF9M

“Wait! Will you be here tomorrow?” He called out as she disappeared. Her footfalls slowed.copyright protection8PENANAe8eRyoCpiU

“Maybe!”copyright protection8PENANA0tBt05axVC

Maybe. John bit back a grin, shoving his frozen hands in his pockets, and strode through the wood for home.copyright protection8PENANADliI8IZZn8

♦♦♦copyright protection8PENANAMBh0tQp6fH

“Bird.” John approached the short writing table in the parlor. His sister was mulling over a picture detailing a garden bed she and their mother had constructed that summer. “I have a secret.”copyright protection8PENANA1gbDKbIUJE

His sister, though only a year older than him, had begun to feel superior at the grand old age of fourteen. At the hushed note in her brother’s voice, she arched an expressive, jet black eyebrow. “What kind of secret?”copyright protection8PENANAxnZQ57y57W

“One that the old folks don’t need to know about,” John replied, dragging up a chair once he knew she was keen to listen.copyright protection8PENANAeTyvU2lj8B

Around their home, the old Jacobean estate of Bateman’s with its rooms scented by their dear father’s Turkish cigarettes, his sister was called by their father’s pet name for her. John couldn’t remember the last time he’d called her ‘Elsie’, her given name.copyright protection8PENANA1aRcNBoww7

“Very well. I’m listening.”copyright protection8PENANAa3vaTAisGp

“I met a strange girl in the wood today.”copyright protection8PENANApUjXpdZLx8

“Was this before or after you hit your head falling out of that tree?”copyright protection8PENANAmyjeK7P8Dm

John growled in exasperation. “I did not hit my head.”copyright protection8PENANAgOqLYjmhM2

“But you did fall out of a tree.”copyright protection8PENANAGbW08me87L

“Yes, but that’s not the point!” Bird grinned at the reaction she’d gotten out of him. John rolled his eyes and moved to push away from the table. “Very well, if you do not wish to hear about it.”copyright protection8PENANAhtkAH5Hxdl

“No, stop it, John. Sit down,” Bird laughed, waving a hand for him to stay put while eyeing the open door for any adults lurking outside. “A strange girl, you say?”copyright protection8PENANAUuakg9ECqq

John sighed, playing with an odd silver pendant in his palm. “Very strange. She wore trousers.”copyright protection8PENANAF7BB7KYlT5

“That’s not so odd.” Bird was inspired by the blue stockings that had been invading the country of late.copyright protection8PENANA7azrLgwtOK

“Long pants though. And she was around my age or there about. She never did say.”copyright protection8PENANAPIfZ3v8H8y

Bird shrugged. “She could have stolen them from an older brother for play.”copyright protection8PENANA7NFIpNtn9m

“And she was an American. Not just an American, she spoke so strangely. Not like mother at all.”copyright protection8PENANAtgx2IjieM7

“Well mother isn’t like most Americans. She is here with us after all and not back in Connecticut.”copyright protection8PENANAZCQeBTJJAR

“It wasn’t only her accent. It was the words she used, her phrases. Have you ever heard anyone tell you to ‘chill out’ before?”copyright protection8PENANAiHFYq5LUsU

Bird wrinkled her aquiline nose. “Chill out? Used in what context?”copyright protection8PENANAhVbOXT7g8U

“I was upset because I had misplaced my spectacles, and she told me to chill out.”copyright protection8PENANAo7wel785RI

“Huh,” Bird puffed, sitting back in her chair and tapping her fingers on the table in thought. “I don’t believe I have. It certainly is an odd colloquialism. Was she from the southern part of the United States, I wonder?”copyright protection8PENANAX9qC8RHTLa

“I don’t believe so.” John shook his head though her comment did give him pause. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to recognize an accent from that part of the Americas. “She was quite vehement about not returning home with me, though I felt rubbish leaving her in the wood all alone with night coming on.”copyright protection8PENANAO260Q4TYl2

“Maybe she was shy.”copyright protection8PENANATJ9pYvx6Bp

“Maybe but there was something else, as if she was reluctant to be seen.”copyright protection8PENANAOyzfbH6TAR

“She was on our property after all.”copyright protection8PENANA4pTapKfjJA

“I suppose.” He grinned. “She said she might be there in the wood tomorrow. I’m going to try to meet her again.”copyright protection8PENANAlCkv2i1AoC

“Can I come too?”copyright protection8PENANAZdbysngygR

“No, I rather think not.” John rubbed the pendant between his fingers. “It might scare her away. Let me make friends with her first and then I’ll see.”copyright protection8PENANAqlgjwG4LZN

Bird carelessly threw her curls over her shoulder, her expression blasé as though being left out didn’t matter to her. But John knew she was annoyed from the way her fingers continued to tap the table. Like most little brothers, the sight filled him with satisfaction.copyright protection8PENANAllqFQsYR3m

“You still carry that silly thing around?” Bird commented dryly, nodding towards the small, coin-like object in his hand. “We’re not even catholic.”copyright protection8PENANAu2AFB22RBj

John held up the small St. Christopher’s medal he’d found in the wood by accident. It was impossible to tell how old it was, but he had held onto it for two years. Their father had told him that St. Christopher was the patron saint of travelers. The fact that it was just waiting for him in the forest on a bed of moss felt fated.copyright protection8PENANAJ1FZlbFpWF

“I don’t care. It’s mine. It found me.”copyright protection8PENANAdi0EYQ7WIa

Bird scoffed. “You mean you found it.”copyright protection8PENANAjccUSOXVGy

“No. It found me.” He slipped it into his pocket with a haughty toss of his head. He ignored Bird’s snickering as he stalked from the room towards the stairs to take his bath.copyright protection8PENANAfpAUpV55l2

John laid awake most of the night, thinking about the girl in the wood. He wondered whether she had made it home safely or perhaps she was still out there in her embroidered pants and hair ornaments. He wondered if she had been a ghost, a spirit of a Druid. He snorted to himself, recalling that Druids were old men with long beards, tattooed arms and amulets dangling from wrinkled necks, like Merlin of King Arthur’s court.copyright protection8PENANAKzkLdjBkgk

She was certainly something not from his world though. He couldn’t explain how he knew but he’d sensed it from the moment she first spoke. Maria Flores-Hart was otherworldly. And the most exciting thing to happen to him since his father had been named Nobel laureate and they’d built the surrounding gardens with the prize money. He drifted to sleep, palming the St. Christopher’s medal and dreaming of ancient Celtic ghosts roaming the woods that surrounded Bateman’s.copyright protection8PENANAuzxHupwrlc

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