littlealbatross: (Laine- Nature)
[personal profile] littlealbatross
Sidenote: Wtf? I used the wordcount in Word and got less than 1700. This handy wordcount tool says I'm at 1862. Yes please!

Also as an aside: Piggy, this is my MayNoWriMo stuff. I'd definitely like it if you read it and gave feedback but it's still in it's raw form so it might be confusing or disjointed or whatever. I'm really doing my best not to edit as I go, otherwise I'll get caught up in doing that.

1862 / 50000 words. 4% done!

Dear Duncan,

I’m not sure if you even get these. You should reply to one if you do. I worry about you a lot and when you don’t email me it makes me sad. L

For the rest of the email I will just talk to you in case you are getting them. I don’t want you to think I’m like dad and just yelling! How are you? I am doing okay I guess. Basically just doing the same old thing- going to school and then back home. Dad never lets me go out of the compound, so I try to find things to do around here. Did I tell you last time that I have been helping Sgt Brown with the dog-training program? Well, I have. I don’t get to do a lot, and most of the times that means I have to help clean out the kennels and stuff (gross!) but at least it’s something to do other than homework. All of the dogs are very cute but one of them is named Greyfrair and he always comes up and wants a treat. I don’t know why they named him that but I just call him Grey because he’s that color. Anyway, Sgt Brown said that they would be getting new dogs in and maybe I can help train one because I have been working so hard! That would be so much fun. I keep asking Dad if we can get a dog and he just keeps saying no. I don’t think he realizes how boring it is at our house.

Do you have lots of homework at your school? If you don’t, you are lucky! I have to read every day and practice my math, and most days I have history homework too. Sometimes I email Uncle Walker for help with that but whenever Dad hears about that he says I have to do it myself. I try to tell him that I’m confused but he just gets mad and makes me sit at the kitchen table without my computer! Sometimes I really understand why you left.

“Laine?”, a voice called from behind her. “What did I tell you about staying up late again? You couldn’t even get out of bed this morning!”

She turned to face her father as her left hand reached for the computer screen, pulling it down and dampening the pale blue light from the screen. “Daddy, it’s not that late. It’s barely 10!”

He crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. “You know what your bedtime is. Are you emailing your Uncle again? You know what I think about that.”

“No! It’s just a… friend from school”, she said, glancing at the computer. With only a corner of the screen slightly visible, Duncans’ email address wasn’t immediately visible. She pushed it down the rest of the way, just to be safe.

Her father shook his head, then glanced down at his watch. “You need to be off the computer and in bed in 15 minutes. I don’t want to have to take your computer away again.”

She listened for his footsteps down the hall, then released the hinge and the screen popped free. Pulling it the rest of the way open, she sighed, and then placed her hands gently upon the keyboard again.

I just got yelled at because I’m up too late. I am almost 15 years old, and he says I have to go to bed right at 10! Do you think there’s any way I can come there with you? Do they make you go to bed at 10 too? I bet it’s great not having parents around all the time to boss you around. Are your teachers bossy? I’m sure they can’t be anywhere as bossy as Dad!

Anyway, I better go. Dad says if I don’t get off the computer soon he’s going to take it away, then I’d really never hear from you. I hope you’re having a fun time at school and I really hope you write me back soon.

Love, your sister,


She hit “send”, then shut down the computer and moved slowly from her desk to her bed. With one last glare to the door, Laine threw herself across the embroidered down comforter, her face buried in mounds of soft pillows. She laid like this for a moment, cursing her misfortune for being stuck in a house with only her father to keep her company. Feeling sufficiently full of pity for herself, she moved to turn off the bedside lamp. Suddenly, a flash of white streaked across the window pane, followed by the light pink of a rough pink tail.

A squeal escaped from her lips with the force of two lungfuls of air behind it. Laine threw herself back onto the bed, crawling like a crab back towards the wall and trying to meld into it. A few doors down, her fathers’ door wretched against its’ hinges and slammed open and he stormed into the room. His face, which was normally pale, was devoid of any color and looked stark against his bright red beard. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

She pointed at her window and stammered. “There’s… there’s something out there! It looked like a huge rat! It stared right at me!”

Aiden took in deep breaths as he leaned against the bedroom door, and Laine realized he was trembling slightly inside his silk robe. “A rat? You screamed because of a rat?” His voice was calm, though she could tell he was holding back anger.

She blushed and looked down at her hands. “I… I didn’t mean to. It startled me. It looked like it was right there.”

Her father crossed to the window and peered through a lacy set of blinds at the sill outside. “Well, it looks like you sufficiently scared it away.” He pulled the heavier set of drapes shut and turned to her. “I’m sure you’ll be fine.” He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead and tussled her hair. “Go to sleep, and please don’t give your poor father a heart attack like that again.”

She smiled up at him and nodded, then pulled herself under the covers. When she was ready, he pulled the chain on her bedside lamp, cloaking the room in darkness, and then moved to the door. She closed her eyes dutifully, but couldn’t help but notice that he stood at the door a moment longer, his silhouette framed by the dim hallway light, for a minute before heading back to his room.

Laine wasn’t sure what time it was when the scratching sound from the window woke her from a deep sleep. She was sure it was a dream, so when she finally awoke she was confused and disoriented. The room was lit only by the power light on her laptop, which cast a tiny pool of green light around the top of her desk. The scratching continued. She pulled her comforter up to her face, squeezing her eyes shut and willing away the sound. “It’s nothing”, she thought, despite the sound becoming louder and seeming to echo in the room. “The house is settling, or it’s raining outside, or…” Her eyes flew open. “Or one of the dogs got out!” she whispered excitedly to herself. Throwing aside the blankets, she sprung quietly from her bed and pulled open the drapes.

There was an animal face in the window, but it wasn’t Grey as she had hoped. A slim, black cat balanced deftly on her window sill, batting at the painted frame and knocking its’ nails at the glass. She inhaled sharply, startled at the thing. It had a deep, shiny coat and appeared to be well-cared for, but something in its’ eye scared her. The cat seemed to be staring at her intently as if she had the answer of some urgent question. Immediately she felt uncomfortable and vulnerable in a way she’d never experienced before. Every fiber of her being told her that she needed to drop the curtain and run for her father, but she stayed frozen in place. She was sure that, to this feline beast that crouched outside her window, she looked just like the white rat she had seen a few hours ago.

The cat finally broke its’ gaze with Laine and butted its’ head on the window, seeming to want to play like any normal housecat. She exhaled, not realizing she had been holding her breath, and took a step back. The curtain fell gently against the window, creating a tangible barrier between her and the cat. It was just fabric, but she was glad for it. With something to separate the two of them, Laine felt like she had some kind of control over herself. She stood, silently, the tip of one of her fingernails between her teeth, and waited. She wasn’t sure what to do at that point, but somehow the bed felt too close to the window to risk. Far off lights from the tall fences that surrounded the compound threw off just enough light that she could see the animal was still perched there, although it had stopped scratching. Her heart pounded in her chest in time with the slight sound of waves crashing against rocks in on the coast, but the cat made no sound. Laine thought that if she were brave enough to pull back the curtain once more, she would be pulled into the cats’ gaze again and may never be able to get back out. So she continued to stand and watch, still frozen but at least by her own choice.
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May 2009

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