chapter 1 of The Key to the Golden Gate. Fiction-first person
|The girl ran down the cobblestone streets as the roads turned and twisted through narrow bends and long steep roads. A bitter gossip sturred through the village, words cutting through the girl like steel. Her breath rasped, feeling her ribs rumble inside her hollow chest. The energy rose through the crowded streets as she shouldered against the sea of others crowding the open streets like a dam of villagers. A booming voice broke the mubble of gossiping pedestrians that broke into a dim silence. The stuffing, tread;feet so fast they had hardly brisked the top of the stones. Her hair flew behind her like a flag, feeling the tension and shouts of men behind her tail as she dove under the feets of others. Out of breath, the salty beads of sweat beaded down; hot and sticky as they ran down her neck. Upon her currency situation, the girl whirled her head on a swivel until she fell apart a whole in a gate and slipped beneath it; hiding behind the fence as the guards ran, their bulky arms raised in a riot as they ran down the street. The juice of sweat and tears bled into a stream of water. As her legs were silent, her mind still ran, chest throbbing as it burst from her open chest. That was it, the library! THe bitter aroma of dust and unkept pages drew her closer until she reached the house and slammed the door shut tightly behind her.
The girl stumbled her way through the door. Her red hair was wild and curled as it ran down her back like a main. Freckles spread across her face like constellations. Her grey eyes pierced the air. “Excuse me, do you need anything?” the librarian asked. The girl just continued walking, her eyes still facing forward. She walked into the isles of books, towering over her head. The shelves twisted and turned like a labyrinth, the isles so big you could gett lost in the many books and would not be able to find your way out. Laters hung over shelves, the only thing holding them together being old wooden bars, still frail and worn from time. She ran her fingers along the backs of the books, feeling the titles embedded into the bided covers lined in silver and intricate writing. Apon pondering the many books she fell upon a particular book that caught her eye. She took the book out of the shelf. A thin layer of dust had accumulated along the cover, it was clear knowone had touched the book in some time. Upon further inspection, she noticed one of the pages had been torn rather haphazardly, likely torn out in a rush. The corners were lined with copper and books tidal were etched in gold lettering. She ran her fingers along the tidal. The Key to the Golden Gate, it read. Turning the page she opened the book up to a strange map, being the kingdoms, and the valley of thorns that eventually lead to a strange gait with no name. Her eyes widened up as she turned the page.
She was a peculiar person. Some would say wild, or cursed. She was a girl known by many names. She had no name, an uncertain past unknown by most. She usually kept herself hidden, not the most open person. Quiet, and introverted, but no one really knew her true self. Most people typically avoided her, covering their children's eyes or veering the other way as they passed her along the street. She wasn't known to be a rule player herself, and often disagreed and refrained from obeying the new order; being banned from many arias as a result. At the time knowledge other than the facts given to you were often not regarded and forbidden to outsiders, however as the girl had no job or role to play, therefore often spent the many hours of her days, pondering upon the thousands of books, each page concealing knowledge held within its paper grasps. She had no family. No friends. The only qulue of her past was 3 dots branded on her wrist. She was not proper. Her hair is often filled with leaves, or her face smudged by dirt and mud. Her legs were cut and calluses formed on her knuckles. She often kept to herself.
Quiet as not to be noticed by passing guards or old fows. She grabbed the book, stuffed it into her satchel, and left the library. The librarian saw her take the book but did not mind. They felt sympathy for her and simply pretended not to notice. The girl often went by the nickname Skruff, or so many called her. Some people would be kind enough to smile or wave, but she was often seen as an outcast. She ran through the cobblestone roads, pushing past pedestrians and small kids. Eventually, she reached a small shack at the end of the rode, built up of birds and sod roofing. Opening the wooden door to her hut she stepped in.
Light pardes through the caps through the warped wooden walls. Hearps and tools hung from the ceiling. At one corner of the house was a small bead, made from wood and pegs. At the other end was a small wooden desk, littered with papers, drawings and books. A large map of the civilization lay pinned above the wall, its thin paper edges curling against the grain. She laid out the book and sat down, lighting a small flame in the gar next to it. Opon flipping it open, dust rose and the books warped pages.
She brushed the dust off the first page and began to read. Past the villages and the valley of thours laid an aria known as the gate. The edge of the world some believed. Knowone had been across the aria in a long time. Since the second war, hundreds of years ago, knowone had spoken of the land until little knowledge of the area was ever known. It was believed that a kingdom of wild creatures had lived in the area, killed off over war and colonization. It was said that somewhere through the Fog Forest and Valley of Thorns lay a key to the gate, locked up and forbidden over many years; long forgotten. The gate was said to be made of gold, although this may have gotten the name from the golden color, caused from the rust and condensation of minerals in the middle of the golden key twitch it was said to have been able to open the gate. After the war it was said the key was hidden, never to be found again. The girl filled with fascination put down the book to rest on it.
However, she could not sleep, her mind filled with the pictures of the strange magical creatures beyond the walls and the mysterious gate leading to a forbidden land. She woke up in the morning, the gentle light peeking through the boards.The inside was cool, but not cold. Plants and vines hung from the roof and dangled over her head. She woke up, pushing herself out of bed and walking over to her desk. A pool of water held still and calm, that had collected from the previous night's rain. She washed her face and dried it off with a torn piece of shirt, using the water to brush her teeth. Next she slipped on her shoes, woven of tree bark and straw, bound with leather and dried animal hide; grabbing a baskett and heading out the door. A few people wave, “ Hi Skruff. “ They would call. She did not speak, but responded with a smile and a small wave. Walking along the cobblestone path her shoes click like lagoes against the carved stone. At the end of the block was the dump, filled with wood and broken pieces of furniture. Skruff shifted among the piles, digging out pieces of wood suitable for making furniture. Shuffling among the piles of boards she pulled out suitable nails and cloth as well, placing the items into her baskett. The sun began to hand low to the ground and she headed home, using both hands to carry the load. On returning home, she relitt her candle, bending over her pisces until she mapped out a picture of her project. She worked for hours that night, laboring over the wood until slowly it began to take the shape of a chair. When she was finished she sharpened a rock on wrought stone, using it to carve intricate designs into the sides and legs. When she was finished she stood back to admire her work, tilting her head and shading her eyes from the light. Happy with her results she set the chair until it eventually sold. The next day she went to the door. A man came up and walked around the chair for a while, running his finger along the markings on the legs. He mumbled some notes and looked up at the girl. “ Is this your work?” he tilted his head slightly to the right. Skruff sturdered for a minute.``yes, it is..” “I'd like to buy it, how much?” Finally, She'd been working for a while, selling her furniture to gett some money in her spare time, although as most people avoided her, she didn’t make much. The man weighed for a while as she thought. Then he walked up and placed a large bag of gold coins in her hand. This is 300$. Will this be enuf. Skruff stood in shock. “Yes...thank you!” The man smiled and walked off. Scuff waved and stood there for a while. “Yes!” she whispered under her breath.
The now setting under the lowering sky was now glowing on a bright orange hew. The girl stretched her back and looked outwards towards the enge of the village near the crest of the brimming forest. Shielding her eyes, she gassed at the edge of the tree line, gazing into the trees as it backed deeper into growth of trees. She stood there for a while. Knowone had gone there for a long while. Eventually Skruff headed inside and went to bed. Carefully heading in through the frail door and carefully closed it and shut the lock behind her. As she walked into bed she curled up on her bead, placing a small stuffed toy wolf next to her head. She had found it as a young girl in a dump and took it home, and so she kept it. It felt strangely comforting, almost…...alive. Her heavy eyes drew close and fell down over her eyes as she fell into a world of strange visions and thoughts.
She woke up in a cold sweat to find herself in an open field. Looking around she sat up as she frantically turned, looking around. She found herself in an open field, leaves of golden oranges and brilliant greens topping the ends of the branches in the trees. She felt a small spark in her fingers as he jumped up to her feet. All around her buzzed little lights, glowing like small stars that had fallen out of the sky. Skruff reached forward, wanting to draw her hand back but once again her curiosity drew her forward as she reached up to grab the small ball of light; its brilliant glow illuminating light a small but of starlight. As she reached her hands forward to grab it the light flew out from her grasps, just further that the tips of her fingers. The girl ran up, nearly tripping before pulling my head up. The light moved around as Skruff chased it with her eyes, wandering back and forth as the light darted back and forth, gliseing against her amber eyes, flashing like a cat at night. As the light spun back and forth it drew back before flying forward. Watching the light flash in her eyes Skruff ran after it, watching the fall leaves drift in her hair as she ran, nearly brisking her fingers towards the star. Running through the field, the trees that sprung from the ground like pillars now drew into a field of golden flowers and yellow grass that blew gently in the wind. After running for a while the light stopped, the girl following in its tracks. At first while her attention was focused on the glimmering ball of light her focus now turned as she paused and vired around to look out. The sun now glimmering with light ducked over the horizon, the lights now shimmering in the grass; the starstruck sun now looming over the horizon, its light cascading across the brum mountains that picked from the ground, barely visible over the vast horizon. The shy now drew into a peaky hew, the sunset, the fluffy clouds stretching across the glowing horizon. The girl hazed upon the field for a while, a gentle wind blocking her hair in the breeze. She stood there for a while. The spire of light flew next to her, as she reached out her hands she felt the light against her pale skin, spurred with freckles on her worn hands. The light sat, hovering over her hands, its delicate light floating in her grasps. Its daunting glow lit her eyes. From the crest of the forest a large wolf stepped from the edge of the pines, its feet silent as it walked towards her. At first she turned to walk, but looked at its eyes, directly gasing into hers. Looking at its tail, it was not up in aggression, but held down into a neutral position, swaying gently at its sides. The wolf walked up, before stopping abruptly at her feet. The girl stood there for a while, and held out her hand. The wolf sniffed it, and lowered its head. The girl paused for a moment, before reaching out to stroke its head. At first the wolf flinched, but soon let its head rest at her hand. The wolf then stood up, reaching out a nakalise, an amulet at the end filled with a swirling ball of light. The girl stood for a while, waiting for something to happen but then just stood there, its head out. Finally the girl took the nekalise. The wolf then nonned its head in aprovel and the wolf faded away. Waking up the dream still fresh in her mind, the thought of the light glided in her mind like sliding on ice. The blurry darkness in her eyes soon filled the cracks in her eye lids as she fluttered her eyes back open again, feeling the gently warm light hit the back of her face.
She opened her eyes. The plants that hung from the boards on her roof now suede in the cool morning breeze. The frost that had once laid out, frosting the thin tips of the paper grass had now melted, the little drops of dew rolling down the blazes of grass in the morning dew. The crest of sun now rose over the sunburst horizon, shaded by the orange glow of the rising morning that dawned on the rooftops of the village. A raven's hawting crow rang out as it rang across the quiet village. She wiped her eyes and sat up.