Chapter 1 of my first novel. A young girl wakes in a new house.
|A new beginning
It’s the early morning; the birds are just starting to sing their tunes. Clara yawns to the start of a new day in a new town she is relatively foreign to. Her mother has been relocated to a new city once more; this time she told her daughter they would be here for good. The story her mother has fabricated for her ears is only partially true, but that doesn’t concern Clara. What concerns Clara is a new school and a new set of friends. It’s been years now since it’s been just the two of them, going from place to place, not staying long enough to lay down some roots. Clara can only briefly remember her previous life in California, since then it’s been Michigan, Maine, and their previous home in Tampa, now there in a new country, Canada. It’s the early fall and Clara is not used to the Canadian weather, its cold for this time of year. She liked her last home in Tampa it reminded her of a time when her family was still together, the time the four of them lived in California. The school year has already started, which means she will be joining a little more than a month later than the rest of the kids. She will probably go in a few more days just to give them time to settle in to their new house in Toronto. The U Haul should be arriving soon, her and her mother drove down the night earlier to get the keys to their new place and do some cleaning. Clara was so tired from the drive she fell asleep almost right after the arrival to their new home.
Clara opens her eyes to find herself in a new room, she had forgot for a second about last night’s drive and was expecting to be in her old room. Her neck hurts a little from sleeping in her sleeping bag; her bed has yet to arrive.
”Mom” she calls out, but there is no immediate response.
Clara decides to crawl out of her warm environment and explore her new house. She can tell right away from her surroundings that the new house she is in is rather older than she is used to, starting from the high wooden baseboards and the rustic wallpaper. Her mother told her before that wallpaper was a sure sign that the house was an old one. As Clara started to walk for the door she could hear the creaks and moans of the old wooden plank flooring. Her first attempt to open the door was unsuccessful; she had to give it a shove to jar it open into the hall. At first glance, the empty house looked rather uninviting, all the colours clashed. Some of wallpaper was peeling in this old house. She walked over to the staircase only to find it looked kind of crooked.
“Mom… hello” still no response, so down the stairs she went, carefully down each steep as the creaking of the stairs was even louder than the floorboards.
The main level was one big open room, it looked better than the upstairs; the bay windows added more light. Clara finally heard some sign of life; she could hear the moving truck reversing down the driveway. She looked out the window to see her mother directing the orange and white U Haul. Clara’s mother was an athletic thirty four year old woman, although you wouldn’t guess she was that old. Vanessa was a petit firecracker, for a short little dark haired woman she really packed a punch. As an independent mother she didn’t allow anyone to eat off her plate. With no man around she had to learn how to play both roles in little Clara’s life.
“Right there, that’s enough” she called out to the truck driver.
Vanessa was always prepared, for any situation especially when moving. Today she had her hair tied back, and her casual grey sweats on. Clara thought her mother looked like she was going to the gym, but her look just meant that she wasn’t going to sit on her rump while the movers did all the work. Vanessa considered herself a tomboy from a very early age, when she was a kid: all the other girls where playing with dolls, she was outside climbing trees with the boys.
“good morning Clara…get back inside the house, and go put some clothes on. There is some in the duffle bag inside the living room”.
Clara didn’t even realise that she was outside in nothing but her old pink t-shirt and undies. She went back inside to find her stuff, and maybe see if there was anything in the kitchen to eat. She wasn’t happy with the selection of clothes her mother had picked. Clara and her mother had very different taste. She found a pair of purple track paints and a black hoody, not the best look but it was sure warm. Clara hoped she would have better results on her journey to the kitchen. The kitchen is far from anything spectacular; Clara thought the kitchen was dreadful. The tiles were brown with almost an Indian pattern on them. The cupboards were old and had multiple layers of built up paint; yellow with brown stains were their current colour. Maybe there would be some food in the fridge thought Clara. The fridge creaked open: the girl gave a disappointing glance inside.
“Nothing, that’s just great” she could hear the movers bringing some of the large furniture up the stairs to the bedrooms.
“So tell me what you think of this place,”
“Honestly mom, it’s kind of dark and scary, did you look at this kitchen, gross.”
“Come on dear you know it’s the best I could do with such short notice,”
“I just hate that we had to move again, it’s not fair” said Clara. At this point her mother looked like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders
“Sweetheart please don’t be so hard on me, I know this isn’t easy but just like before we have to make the best of this. Why don’t you take this, its twenty dollars take it and see what you can get us, I think I saw a corner store down the street.”
“Get real mom, I can’t buy anything with that monopoly money” Clara reached out to get the bill from her mom’s hand.
“Don’t waste it on junk food; get something we can both eat please.” With that said she gave her daughter the money.
Clara brushed past the movers and grabbed her shoes by the front door. On her way down to the road she stopped, realising that she hadn’t taken the time to look at the house she was now living in. The house was a mix of dark black and red brick; it had a private porch with a few stairs to the driveway. The unusual thing that caught her attention was the round stained glass window on the second floor right above the front door. She didn’t see that room from the inside. It had an air of majestic about it; she calmed instantly looking into its panes. At that moment she discovered stillness within herself, she thought that this might not be a bad place to live after all.