This second story… Wow, it was hard choosing which one to post! There were two other stories plus this one that I had to keep going back and forth with. Each one had certain elements I enjoyed and I didn’t want to pick the wrong one.
Plus, I didn’t realize what it was going to be like until the stories were mostly all in, but then I got to thinking “Wait a second, I’m going to be choosing three stories… Only three stories. That means everyone else who entered the contest isn’t going to make it. What if they think I chose the wrong story? What if I do it wrong?” So yeah, I had a hard time because I didn’t want to make anyone feel bad.
In the end this story won above the other two that I was thinking of because I really liked a few of the sentences. Especially at the end. Come back tomorrow to read the last story and then vote!
So, please, sit back everyone and enjoy this story by Sierra (you can find her blog here).
Cassia’s Home By Sierra
“You’re worthless. You’re dirt!”
The hurtful words fall from the four year old child’s mouth without thought. She’s only repeating what she has heard the older girls say to me. She has no idea what the words mean, not really. She almost innocent. I would like think she might grow to know better. Or I would if I didn’t know what the little ones favorite story is. My story. The tale of how I was scrubbed to try and clean me when I was first found on their doorstep. Only they couldn’t. They tried. They tried to get a family to take me in too. But who would have me when you could have someone like this little girl? Her eyes are big a blue. Not like mine. She stares at me for a moment before skipping off to rejoin the large group of girls heading to lunch. I stay. I’m not allowed to have lunch with the others. I’m not allowed to sleep with the others too. I close my door as far as I can, which isn’t much. They stuffed a small bed and blanket into a storage closet and the door can’t really close. I finger the blanket that has been my only friend and resist the urge to curl up into it. But the lunch tray will be coming up for me at any second. And I don’t want to be seen like that. Just another thing to talk about.
“Cassia is such a big girl, eight already,” They would say, frowning slightly. “But she still cries into her blanket like a baby!”
So instead I cross my ankles and straighten my dress. I wait like I always do. Wondering what the weather is like outside. Wondering if I have a family. If there is anyone like me in Reuin. Wondering if there is anyone in the world who will play with me. Wondering if I was too ugly and that is why my mother gave me away. I sigh and rub my hands together. Autumn has only just arrived but my room is cold already. Last winter I was the coldest I’ve ever been. Even with all my clothes on in bed I couldn’t get warm enough. I asked for another blanket finally. They gave me another thin one that barely helped.
I don’t think they care really. I’m a problem. Who cares about a problem? I listen harder for footsteps on the old creaky steps. Harder and harder until I finally do hear them. Perhaps old Miss Lily because the footsteps are tired and slow. I straighten my shoulders and back and wait. At least a tock of the clock passes before she enters the other girl’s room. And slowly makes her way to mine. Without knocking she pushes the door the rest of the way open. There is no tray in her hands. I don’t ask why.
“Cassia there is someone here to see you.” She turns and slowly begins her trip in reverse. I don’t ask because she won’t tell. I almost do. Why would someone want to see me? Am I in trouble? Is there a problem? A problem besides me? Instead I don’t ask. I just follow. One shabby shoe after the next. Down the hall into the Headmaster’s office. My hands shake so I clasp them together as hard as I can. But they won’t stop. Miss Lily opens the door and shoves me in before closing it behind me. Before is the small wooden desk that has always been the headmaster’s. He sits behind the desk with his hands clutched together leaning toward to mana sitting across from him. They stop talking once I enter.
Two pairs of eyes look me up and down. I wonder why this mana is here. Why she wants to see me. What reason could anyone have to see me? Her eyes catch mine and I almost jump. She’s actually looking at me! I wrench my eyes away and glance toward the headmaster. He has a frown on his face that always seems to be present. I don’t know if I’m the cause or if he is simply fond of frowning.
“Cassia this is Hianna, she owns a shop of herbs and candles and such. She has been getting older and has had trouble working as much as she used to. Thus the Vilown Priest has suggested that she get some sort of companion and worker to help her and live with her.” He pauses and rubs his forehead before continuing. “Well Hianna has chosen you to be her companion of sorts.” Headmaster exhales and leans back in his chair, glancing subtly at this Hianna. No doubt he is wanting to know why she has asked for me. Why would she ask for me? I’m small and not very strong and well…I’m me. The outcast. The dirty girl the gods have cursed.
“Why?” My voice sounds small. I don’t like the orphanage but it’s all I’ve ever known. I don’t want to leave the place where I know every day what will happen.
“Well you are one special girl. I am getting old and, despite what that Priest may say, I haven’t been having trouble working. But I do get lonely and I could use just a small bit of help.” She glances back and forth between the headmaster and I. “Not much mind you, just cooking so I don’t have to stop working and maybe some cleaning. I can handle my shop best when I have no distractions. Will you be a distraction child?”
“No. I’m quiet.” I try to look at her without seeming to. She seems nice. I don’t know if I can trust anyone who is nice to me. She’s probably lying. She’ll probably do…something to me. My nose which had grown cold upstairs in my room has now warmed up and decided to run. I sniff and try to hold in a sneeze. I glance up to see if they’ve noticed. The headmaster looks revolted. I turn to Hianna to see if I can catch a glimpse of the same fear of me in her eyes. Instead she stands. Steps forward and bends down in front of me. She has gotten handkerchief from somewhere. She leans closer and takes my face in her hand and wipes me face. I gasp and try to pull away but she doesn’t let me until she done.
“Why did you touch me?” My voice shakes and I stare up at her. She isn’t that tall but I’m small for my age. Everyone is tall to me.
“Your face needed to be cleaned and I guessed you didn’t have anything to clean it with.” She glances at the headmaster and asks in a lower voice, “Do you?”
I shake my head and she reaches down to take my hand. I flinch. She asks in a whisper. “I am here to help you child, I will not hurt you. And I’m not afraid to touch you. So will you come with me?”
“I..I think so. Will you never hit me? And let me cook for you?” She nods and rubs my cold hands in hers. White against black. Black against white. My vision blurs.
“Yes. I’ll come.” And I tighten my small hand around hers. Or I try. I’m not really sure how to hold someone’s hand. Hianna turns back to the headmaster and meets his eyes. They aren’t nice eyes, they never have been. Cold and loathing. He pushes a paper towards her and she writes something on it. Then she tugs on my hand toward the door. “Do you have anything you need Cassia?” I shake my head. My old blanket will be thrown away once I leave. Maybe it’s best to let the past and the orphanage go. I can be strong enough to leave without it, with this mana who touches me. Touches me! I glance up as we exit the orphanage. She smiles down with the sun behind her. I hardly ever seen the sun. I love the sun. I love touching. Am I allowed to love? Maybe I’ll ask Hianna when we get to her home. Home. I think I might smile back at her.
8 thoughts on “Story Number Two….”
Wow I can't believe I made final three!! I'm really excited to hear any criticism and thoughts! Please note though, I didn't edit and probably should have tweaked some things a little. But I want to hear what other think 🙂
Also, thank you so much for holding this fun contest Aidyl! Sierra
Keep growing beautiful!
I really liked this story!! I think it's my favorite so far. “One shabby shoe after the next,” is my favorite line. 😀 I wasn't sure what a mana was, and the editing wasn't superb, but Sierra's writing voice is beautiful! And the story was touching.
Great job, Sierra, and keep writing! 🙂
Love it, minor flaws, overall beauty! Well done!
I was kinda worried about the “mana” part. That's what I'm calling the women in my book. Like man & mana. And occasionally adding o/a to the ending of words or titles. Like there are female and male terms in Spanish and possibly other languages. Thanks for the thoughts 😀
I liked this, but it was a little hard to follow at first – but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it.
Very well done. Liked this a lot
I loved it and I love Cassia..I want to read more about what happens to her next..I love the way Hianna has already given her a gift of touch, letting her catch a glimpse of her worth as a person! It's the deepest need of the human heart, to be wanted, worth something, loved..I think that is why I loved this story so much, because it resonated with that need in my own heart! I love it, Sierra, wonderful story! (This is a completely objective opinion, even though I admit I am Sierra's proud mom!) 🙂