Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A New Story Treat; Tricks Included

Happy Halloween to all of my readers. As a fiction writer by trade, Halloween is one of my favourite times of year. It's hard not to adore the one day out of three-hundred and sixty four where you can be whatever you're heart desires.Whether I'm dressing up for the day or spending Halloween week on my tradition of reading Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" it's always enjoyable.

But you didn't come hear to listen to my love of October 31st, I imagine you're a very intelligent trick-or-treater and really want something! Well, I just happen to have a treat in my bag and I'm very happy to share it with all of my blog readers and the readers of the Vaughan Weekly!

Today, my new story for young adults "My Mechanical Heart" begins in the Vaughan Weekly and for all those readers across the land I'll also be posting chapters here every Wednesday. It's a treat of a tale about William Auditore and Helena Cope. These two teens attend Maple High and couldn't be more diverse. William just happens to be an extremely popular introvert and Helena is the type of girl that it very hard to classify since she's completely different than anyone you've ever met.

When the two meet, things start to change in unexpected ways and both teens are faced with unexpected road blocks...

And of course, there's a few tricks thrown in for good measure. So cuddle up to your treat bag and eat a few mini chocolate bars while you take in this first chapter of "My Mechanical Heart".

*

Chapter One

-William Auditore-

William was the kind of teenager that everyone wanted to be.
His hair always fell in exactly the right position, his smile was never crooked, his eyes were a vibrant chestnut brown and there wasn't a person who hadn't tried to be his friend.
Yes, everyone envied Will except for Will himself.
William didn't understand the attention that he was being drenched in constantly and yet everyday he still felt pressured to live up to his peers' standards. More often than not, the young man was sorely tempted to hide, dreading the crowded halls of Maple High. Each Monday it felt as if the school was impossibly packed with more teenagers than the precious Friday before and to Will Auditore it was like each person had at least one eye on him.
Their obsession with what he would do next, how he would act, what he would say, or wear made William smile outwardly but shudder inside. By now that awkward sensation wasn't so foreign to him, when it became too much he would duck into his book pile and try to avert his eyes from onlookers.
Today of all days seemed more of a burden than usual as the person who shared a locker beside him had transferred schools and now Will was to get a new locker mate.
William so often never got his way that he lacked any surprise when said new person just happened to be beside him. Thankfully with both their locker doors open neither could see the others face.
Practically letting his locker swallow him, Will wasted time until the new person decided to leave. Whoever it was, they were painfully slow though, which gave Will ample time to listen to his new peer, a girl from the sound of her mumbling voice. He couldn't make out any cohesive words but her syllables sounded so jumbled that it almost gave the impression she was mad.
Crazy mad, which wasn't particularly something people smiled upon.
Feeling that he might have a better chance of getting away before this strange girl noticed him, Will snapped his locker shut and planned to make a quick escape. But as providence was so rarely on
Will's side, the girl also chose to shut her locker at exactly the same moment. Will looked instantly horrified, but the girl before him stood still as a statue. She had dark grey eyes that although appeared to be on him, looked as though they were staring right through him. Her frame was slight as a rail and her hair was black and slightly dishevelled.
Now Will could have been accused of staring, a crime which he detested. But before William could realise that extreme irony, the girl gasped as if she realised for the first time that she was in front of someone. Her sickly pale face froze in a stunned expression and her eyes dropped to her shoes before she managed to mumble out.
"Pardon me." And run off.
Will was struck. She hadn't lingered to watch him or gawk like the other girls would have. Instead she seemed like her intentions were the exact opposite, she wanted to get away as fast a possible. Will smiled to himself, maybe this locker mate would work out better than he thought.
And as William turned to head for his first class, the strange image of that girl filled his mind, blinding him to the customary waves he received. Her gangly figure beneath two layers of striped shirts and that odd blank look on her face. Interesting as it was, Will had become curious of her. Who she was and why she seemed so different than everyone else. Her lack of interest in him piqued his interest in her.

*

That fascination lingered in the air like a strange fragrance which William wasn't sure he found pleasant. Yet he was mystified enough that it made Will glance over his shoulder casually in class to steal a glance at the wispy form of the new girl as she took notes.
Her pencil was held in a strange position as she wrote, Will thought she should be struggling to write with it but her dexterity shocked him. It was as though she had never learnt to use a pencil any other way.
Their classes weren't on the exact same schedule but each time William walked into a class where she was present, the girl had arrived before everyone else and he never saw her leave. He was starting to get the impression that maybe she had nothing better to do than school work, which seemed the strangest thing of all her peculiarities in such a group of social youth.
By the time classes were complete for the day and William was on his very routine walk home, he was distracted from his typical chore of avoiding people by watching for the young woman who enticed him with her elusiveness.
"You notice the new girl at the locker beside you?" Asked Carlo, one of the guys who always hung around Will, trying to get him to join the Soccer Team even when they all knew he had no interest in competition.
"Hm?...Yeah. What about her?" William tried to stay as neutral as possible, not wanting to give in and show his intrigue.
"I heard she transferred from downtown Toronto. Something about getting expelled after her Dad lost his job. I heard that he's some sort of half-baked inventor. No wonder she's weird." Carlo said, shuddering animatedly for extra effect.
Will didn't respond but meditated on what his acquaintance said. As if to prove his point, Carlo pointed across the street where the new girl was. He acted like her appearance was proof enough that she was strange but Will wasn't convinced. She did however have no backpack with her and instead was carrying all her books in her weak looking arms, so a venture to defend her would have been wasted.
Carlo didn't seem to notice that though, he had forgotten all about their conversation quickly and was running off about Soccer statistics which William new would lead to him being asked to join the team. Again.
"Carlo, I can't. I'm sorry." Will said without realising he had yet to be asked. Carlo looked stunned and annoyed at the same time.
"Since when did you become a mind reader, man? I didn't even ask you yet." He said, crossing his arms in front of himself.
Will knew a lecture about how much the team needed him was coming but he was miraculously saved by them coming upon Carlo's house . "We're at your place." He pointed out, staying humourless despite the fact that he wanted to laugh.
Huffing, Carlo didn't say anything but turned towards the house. William watched as the dejected Carlo stepped inside his family's townhouse and as soon as the door shut, he bolted across the street so that he could approach the new girl on her walk.
Maybe that was incredibly reckless considering the fact that he could have gotten hit by a car, but Will hadn't thought of that. He hadn't considered the haphazardness of his actions until running into the new girl and startling her so much that the two collided into one another.
There was a loud crack that sounded like a baseball nailing a window followed by the girl's sharp gasp. She looked at William astonished, staggering backwards as her arms let go of the books she was gripping onto.
"I'm sorry..." She hardly breathed out the words, hands trembling as she turned, escaping the opposite way down the street and disappearing around the corner. But as the girl ran off down the street, Will called out to her.
"You forgot your...books." He hesitated slightly because as he bent down to pick up her school books he noticed that they were covered in fine shards of shattered glass. As he brushed them away carefully, William noticed her name scribbled on top of the first book.
'Helena Cope' was the name that stared up at him, sunlight filtering through in rainbow colours onto it from the remaining glass.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Philosophies of Fear faced in Morning Light

Hello again to all my readers from ABC Life Literacy, I hope you've all enjoyed the first chapter of From Away. The whole thing was inspired by the concept of what could happen in a single moment when two people cross paths. But it grew from there into a series of events that my characters developed into amazingly.

For readers in Ontario, I don't want to give away too much but there will be a new story coming your way in the Vaughan Weekly next week! Don't worry, I plan on premiering it here too as a bit of a Halloween treat...or trick, it depends on the way you look at it.

For now, relax and soak in the curious philosophies of Erik Deror...

*

Chapter Two

There is something utterly magical about coffee in any form, but as I prepare to emerge onto my waterfront balcony in the early hours of dawn with my pajamas on, it's an irreplaceable companion.
Sitting down I take in a deep breath of morning air and congratulate myself on the smart investment of a waterfront condo when a sound I didn't take into account breaks my reverie.
"Good Morning Starshine!" A voice calls out from the distance.
I hesitantly glance recognising that glorious accent from Erik in the Coffee Shop yesterday. I didn't see him at first but a second glance on the water showed a sailboat bobbing contently on the water with an annoyingly content Erik standing on it, waving to me.
If he was trying to make a better second impression, this wasn't it.
"Coming down?" He coaxed.
As if I would listen. Would I?
How foolish it felt to clamber back into my room closing the drapes behind me.
I wonder what kind of satisfaction Erik is getting as I step out of my condo building, but seeing him with a forest green sailboat tucked neatly against the rocks by the building I can't help but shake my head.
I realise now that I'm just as amused as he is with me and my self-consciousness starts to melt away. Of course ditching my pajamas for everyday clothing doesn't hurt that either.
"What do you want?" I finally question, shakily braving the rocks to come closer to the boat.
"Didn't you see my note?" He asked incredulously.
Of course I had seen where he had sneakily written 'See you tomorrow' in my notebook, but I didn't take it seriously. Yet here I was extending myself towards Erik's outstretched arms.
"Nothing is prettier then dawn on the Atlantic." He added as I wobbled into the boat with a secure tug from his surprisingly strong arms.
He took a sidelong glance at me and I could feel my cheeks blush like the morning light.
"Satisfy my curiosity Mari, why don't you share your stories with people?" He asked me plainly.
Most people I would lie to; laugh and tell them that I hadn't thought of it. But Erik's expression made me want to bare my soul and it was as if I would be speaking into the breeze. That once I told Erik the truth he would go back to where he came from and I would go on as if nothing had been said.
"I don't share them because I'm scared." It was the ugly truth to me and without even intending it I open up to Erik. "I'm afraid that no one will like them, that they'll think me foolish." He opened he mouth to speak but my words kept spilling out. "And if they do like them, then what? I'll feel pressured to impress them, I won't feel free to write what I want to." Releasing a stressed breath, I turned to see Erik chuckling softly.
"You're quite the mess of contradictions, aren't you?" He asked. But I mustn't have looked impressed because he resigned himself to a serious look. "Watch the horizon." He directed me with an outstretched arm. "When I sail, there are times I see nothing but that surrounding me. It's beautiful, yes, but I have modern devices to tell me where I'm going. Then I think to myself what of the days of sailors in the past. They would see the horizon before them with nothing more than a compass and map to guide them. I'm ashamed to say I would have been terribly frightened. But so would they. What made them who they were was their response. They didn't see it as fear, they saw it as opportunity."
I was mesmerised by the spot where the ocean and sky kissed, the pink of the sun reflected off of the sea water and made it brilliant.
"So you see if we turn fear into opportunity it becomes a driving force. Just like those sailors of old if we take our fear, seize the horizon and turn it into opportunity it becomes a driving force of fantastic proportion." He advised sagely.
I watched Erik for a moment, considering what he said. It made the gears in my mind turn and I received, from his words a brand of courage that although I might consider irrational it made me want to go and brave that fear which was hindering me. But one thing puzzled me still and it wasn't Erik's philosophies but him as a person.
"Erik...who are you?" I asked it without even responding to his small speech but he didn't seem bothered.
"I told you, I'm from away." He said with another charming smile.
"Okay, then what do you do?" I queried on, unsatisfied with his vague answer.
"I've done plenty of things, I drink espresso, play music, help little old ladies cross the street, enjoy cinema...and I do think I've worked with the circus. Briefly." The little smirk on his face as he spoke make me shake my head but instead of protesting I let us sit in silence and focus on the horizon as we both seemed content to do that, yet there was a little piece of me that was alighted with excitement to discover more about Erik Deror.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

"Where the Heart Is"

Well friends, we have come to the end of our journey with Lillian and Jude. I thank you so much for reading "Red Shores and Pirate Anchors" and I sincerely hope that you've enjoyed it! It was a true joy to write and share with all of you at ABC Life Literacy.

Next week on Friday you'll have a very new story to look forward to! I'm so happy to be presenting "From Away", an adult serial story that exhibits just how peculiar things can get when chance meetings take place, Please join me again next Friday for the first chapter of "From Away".



Chapter Ten

"Where the Heart Is"

As the sunrise reflected in pink and yellow hues on the ocean it left a beautiful background for Jude to slowly open up the treasure chest in front of him. This was the moment that Lillian would have been waiting for, she would have filled her pockets with coins and ran to his house to dump them on the table and tell his mother that their farm had been saved. He too wanted to do something much like that but without his energetic, smiling friend beside him opening the chest seemed a somber duty. He was left wondering for a moment what Lilly was doing on the Ghost Ship with her Father while they were invisible to the rest of the world. He could picture her climbing masts and even as Jude thought about it he could imagine her calling to him.

Throwing the lid of the chest completely open something happened that was more shocking than anything else during their long journey. Jude was tackled by a hug right into the sand and holding onto him tightly was the person he wanted to see more than anything. "Lilly!!" He said happily as the two sat together in the sand, laughing and smiling. The girl nodded. "Yup, you didn’t think I could leave you behind, did you?" She asked. "But…your Father, I thought you wanted to stay with him." No matter how happy Jude was to see his friend he couldn’t understand why she had left Harlington behind to come back to the Island. "I thought that was what I wanted too." Lilly admitted. "But when I thought really hard about it and listened to what my heart wanted…I knew this was where I wanted to stay. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had Jude and even if I love my Father, he understood that I couldn’t stand never seeing you again. This is home to me because you’re here and my heart wants to be with you." She explained, the two standing on the beach together and watching as Nokomis and Meryl swam away so they wouldn’t be seen by the fishermen heading out to sea. "The mermaids meant what they said about the treasure too." Lilly said with a smile. "You can save your family’s home now!" She celebrated, pulling Jude over to the chest with her and put his hand into it so he could get some of the coins that were inside. "There’s enough here to help everyone from Souris to East Point!" Jude exclaimed.

"And the mermaids said they wanted the treasure to be used in the right way…so that means we should share it with everyone." He said softly but finding a bracelet inside amongst the jewels and coins Jude pulled it out and held the piece of jewelry to the light. "It shines so brilliantly!" Lilly said, watching the sparkling ruby that shone on the bracelet. "Just like our friendship." Jude added, placing the bracelet in Lilly’s hand. "I want you to have it as a symbol of our friendship. We’re worth more to each other than any treasure and we’re best friends." Jude said, watching as Lilly slipped the bracelet on. "We’ll be best friends forever." Lilly added, holding Jude’s hand. "Forever." He agreed as the two looked out at the ocean and wondered what life held for them knowing that together they would be able to enjoy every minute.

*****

As days went by Jude kept his promise to the mermaids and with Lillian’s help the two children explained how they had gotten such an amazing pirate treasure. Some people believed them and others thought the story was too outlandish to be real, but no matter what everyone benefitted from the generous amount of money that was in the chest. Families with many children could now afford to have food on their tables, elderly people could live in good security knowing that they would never be poor and the local store was able to set up a fund to give needy people the things they needed. East Prince Edward Island flourished from the generosity of Jude and Lilly. Of course, Jude’s family farm was saved and they got to plant a crop that grew every type of vegetable imaginable. The family that Lillian was staying with had been so worried when she was missing that they were overjoyed upon seeing her again. She had been so focused on finding her father that she never realised just how much they loved her.

"The most important part is what we do with the things and people we’re given." Her father’s words rang in her mind and from that moment on Lilly promised herself to love everyone that came into her life and realise how valuable they are and what she could learn from them. Lilly also realised that life wasn’t about what a person didn’t have or even what they wanted, it was making the most of everything they had. Seeing life through new eyes, Lilly was able to enjoy everything more. Best of all Lilly and Jude looked forward to growing up together. They walked to school, went to the beach, worked and played together. They learned from one another’s differences, taught people new ways to see things and learned from others how they could see the world. Everything was perfect on Prince Edward Island in the year 1870 not because it had always been but because that was what everyone made it to be. And on the very special day of Lilly’s Thirteenth Birthday, as her and Jude were walking home from school and taking a detour along the beach as they often did the two found a bottle washed up on the shore with a sheet of paper in it. Picking it up, Jude opened the bottle and shook the letter out. Lilly opened it and read the letter aloud.

"Dear Lilly and Jude,

I’m so proud of everything you both have done, even if you don’t know it, I’ve kept an eye on you two scallywags and I knew that the mermaids could trust you with their treasure. You’ve both learned a lot on your journey and couldn’t be growing up any better than you are. There’s a big world out there for you to experience in so many ways and being bright as you are I know you’ll find ways to learn everything there is to know. Trust in each other, depend on your families and everything will turn out for the best.

Captain Harlington Webbe

P.S. Happy Birthday to my dear Lillian, for your present I give you a new adventure. If you want to discover more things and find even more pirate treasure to share, then turn this letter over to find what you’re looking for."

Flipping the letter that Captain Webbe had sent to them, Lillian revealed a treasure map that would lead them somewhere new and exciting. It was an adventure that was no doubt to be exciting. "A map!" Lillian exclaimed. "Wow…should we follow it?" Jude asked, puzzling over the map. Lilly looked at it for a moment and considered it; this was a large map that would take them across the water. After thinking very hard, Lilly folded it back up and slipped it into her pocket. "Maybe someday…" She said. "But for now, I want to just stay here and have adventures with our friends and family because pirate treasure can be fun but sometimes just being in the place you are is an adventure that can never compare to gold coins, sailing and sword fights."

*****

So you see dear friend through this story of Jude McLean and Lillian Webbe that everything can be a discovery of fantasy and fun. The ocean is a source of so many wonders and if you’re quiet enough on a sunny day you may hear the song of a mermaid. Or maybe some night when the stars are shining in the sky and all is at peace you might catch a glimpse of Captain Harlington Webbe’s ghost ship. The world is like a story waiting to be told and each of you play a part in it. All you have to do it choose what part you play. You can be bold like Lillian, shy like Jude, happy like Captain Harlington or mysterious as the mermaids. No matter what though, be a good friend, be curious in search for answers to questions that you can’t yet answer and learn as much as you can from others never forgetting to respect them and yourself in everything you do. Because no matter what story is being told, the most important thing to always look for is a happy ending.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

"An Important Visit"

What an amazing choice Jude made at the end of Chapter Eight! It was a difficult thing to give up the treasure to help Lilly but in the end, Jude knew what meant the most. Friendship. And now Lilly has the chance of a lifetime! It's been an amazing time with all my ABC Life Literacy readers and I can't believe we're at the second to last chapter!

Now we get to see what happens when Lilly visits her Father upon the ghost ship "Wandering Maiden" and there might even be a little bit of a cliffhanger and the end of this chapter...

Read on to see!

Chapter Nine

"An Important Visit"

As the treasure they had worked so hard for slipped into the ocean, Lilly tried her best to snatch up some of the remaining coins. It wasn’t possible though, every single piece of the pirate loot had been lost to the sea. Jude unlike Lilly wasn’t bothered by this at all. In fact he seemed very happy with the trade that was made and placed a hand on each of Lilly’s shoulders to calm her. "It’s gone Jude!" The girl said sadly. "What about your family’s farm? How are we going to save it now?" She asked in distress. "Don’t worry, we’ll find a way to keep the farm. This is more important than that to me Lilly. I have my family with me all the time…you’ve never gotten to talk your Father before. Family and friends are more important than all the pirate treasure in the world." Jude assured Lilly and she was very, very quiet for a moment before squeezing her friend into a big hug.

"Thank you Jude, I won’t ever forget you." She whispered in his ear and Lilly would have said more but the mermaids couldn’t let her. "We have to reach your Father’s ship before the morning light." Nokomis explained softly. "Yes! That is very soon, so we must go now." Meryl added, reaching a hand out to help Lilly join them in the water. There was so much more that Lillian wanted to say to her friend but there was just no time, so taking Meryl’s hand she slipped into the water with the two mermaids. "Goodbye Jude!" Lilly yelled back to him as the sea women started to lead her away. "I’ll watch for you in my telescope!" Jude called back, waving to her with the spyglass Lilly’s Father had given him. And as Jude became a tiny speck in the distance to Lilly she knew that through his telescope he would be able to see her smiling at him. There were butterflies in Lilly’s tummy as she thought about joining her Father on his ship, Jude had told her how nice he was but she could hardly imagine how she might feel. "Your Father will be so happy to see you." Nokomis told Lilly as they were approaching the ghost ship.

It was huge like no ship Lilly had ever seen before and the sails were all tattered and torn, but it looked welcoming as any home to her when a man with curly black hair waved to her from it with his big toothy grin. Leaving the helping hands of the mermaid’s Lilly swam the rest of the way and grabbed onto the anchor of her Father’s vessel. "Lillian!" She heard him cry as his crew pulled the anchor on deck for her. "Father!" Lilly smiled brightly as Harlington scooped her up into his arms. He held her there for a moment as she hugged him back; this was a priceless present from Jude. "I’ve missed you so much daughter!" Captain Webbe told Lilly as he set her on the deck again. "My, my look how you’ve grown into such a beautiful girl." He complimented Lilly and started to lead her across the deck of the Wandering Maiden.

Everything was captivating and amazing, from the transparent floors to the pixies guarding the ship but most important was the presence of her Father. Yet something was nagging at Lillian’s mind, her heart felt full but an important piece was still missing. It showed on her face as she forced a smile for her Father. It was true, she loved him but this ship didn’t feel like home. "Is something bothering you?" Captain Webbe asked caringly. In her Father’s eyes Lillian saw herself and she saw a deep trust which told her she could be honest with her feelings. "I always dreamt that this was what I would want most in my life…to be here with you and Jude gave that to me because he knew it was my dream…" She started, her father nodding in understanding. "But now that I’m here…it doesn’t feel like I thought it would. I miss the Island, the fields, flowers, fresh milk…" She kept naming things but inside Lillian knew it was something else, someone else who she wanted to be with. "And you miss your friend Jude." The Captain said with a soft smile, bending down so that he was level with Lillian. "Let me tell you something, my dear. Sometimes in life we’re given something unexpected. I was given this ship and my responsibility and you were given someone very special to watch over you and for you watch over too. Not everything goes according to plan but the most important part is what we do with the things and people we’re given." Leaning in to hug Lillian he continued speaking. "You’ve bloomed into a beautiful flower, using the chances you’ve been given to help people and gain a lifelong friend in Jude. It was fate that brought us together at this moment Lillian but what I want more than anything for you is that you are happy." Letting go of his daughter, Harlington took a good long look at her face. "Tell me, are you happy here? Is this where your heart is?"

Lilly thought about it for a moment she loved her Father and he loved her, she wanted to know him more and could imagine all the fun they would have on his ship. She considered where her heart was. Maybe she didn’t get along with all the children in her class and maybe she wouldn’t always want to live on a ship. Was it possible that her heart was in both places, with Jude and her Father? "I don’t know Father…I’m so confused…" Lillian whispered to him. The man didn’t say anything for a long time, but lifted Lilly so that she could sit on his shoulder. "You think about it Lilly, I trust you’ll follow your heart. We still have a little time together which is more than we’ve ever had, so I’m grateful no matter what. You’ll have to tell me before sunrise though; because if you spend one full night on the ship you’re bound to it."

*****

Meryl’s French mermaid friends had brought Jude home from Charlottetown and as he sit on the North Lake beach looking out at the horizon with his spyglass trailed on it, he couldn’t see any trace of the fading ghost ship while morning dawned. Putting his telescope back down into the sand, Jude thought about Lilly and how much he already missed her. She was his best friend and despite their differences, through her eyes Jude had seen a whole new world on Prince Edward Island.

He could remember her laugh and how that first day they spoke she had shown him her treasure. Now she would be able to be with her Father but he had to wonder if she missed him too. Every night, he planned to come to the beach and watch for the Wandering Maiden with his telescope. But for now the sunrise would remind him of Lilly’s bright smile and twinkling eyes. When Jude was just about to leave he heard a familiar voice, it was that of the mermaids who had helped him and Lilly on their journey. Turning back to Meryl and Nokomis on the shore he was shocked to see the treasure chest that had been lost between them. He went over to the two as Meryl beckoned and both mermaids smiled with great understanding. "We’ve brought something for you Jude." The French mermaid cooed.

"Indeed, it is the treasure that you gave to help your friend. You see long ago this very chest was stolen from the mermaids by a Pirate Captain who hid it in Charlottetown. He was greedy and didn’t care for anyone but himself and the day it was stolen all the mermaids vowed that once it was found we wouldn’t let it fall into the hands of greed again." Nokomis explained. "Yes and when you and Lilly found it, we knew we must give you one test to see if you were worthy of the treasure." Meryl continued the story. "So we gave you the chance to give Lilly what she wanted the most…and you were selfless enough to help your friend." Nokomis said as her and Meryl pushed the chest onto the sandy beach for Jude to take. "You’ve proven that there is no greed in your heart and we trust that you will use the treasure for the better of your family and everyone around you. This is the one way that we can make sure no greedy person will ever steal our treasure again." Nokomis concluded, watching Jude as he stared at the chest. He was overwhelmed by what had happened and although he still missed Lilly more than anything he knew that she would want him to have the treasure. So Jude approached the chest, carefully lifting the lid to peer inside…

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

"Winner's Choice"

We're in the last three chapters of "Red Shores and Pirate Anchors"! In this chapter you'll finally get to find out what happens with the treasure that everyone has been hunting for! Not only that but Meryl and Nokomis are going to make a return too...so keep reading!

Also, in the next few week's my ABC Life Literacy readers will be introduced into the Adult Serial story "From Away"!


Chapter Eight

"Winners Choice"

While pirates ransacked Province House for treasure, Sir John, Lillian and Jude stood in the House’s Library studying their pirate map. "I still can’t tell where the treasure is…" Jude complained as the maze of lines, dots and an x were too complex for him. "The floor plan doesn’t make any sense." Sir John pointed out. "That’s not where any of the rooms are." He looked around the Library as if its walls might give him their needed answer. It was an answer they needed very quickly too as the pirates had made it to the second floor in search of gold and jewels. Lillian didn’t speak; she was trying to figure out the rooms drawn on the map. They certainly didn’t make sense like this, but if she were to fold the map in three ways then maybe the floor plan would work. "Maybe like this…" Lilly said, folding the map together and observing what she had done. It was as if the nearly transparent paper the map was drawn on had made a three floored image of Province House. "This is it!" She cried triumphantly, holding out the map for them to see. "Yes, that does make sense!" Sir John exclaimed. "And if that’s right…then we’re right where x marks the spot." Jude pointed out with a smile.

With that said the three went to work trying to find the treasure, moving books and looking under tables. But all their effort went without even a hint at where the treasure was. While Jude and Sir John searched, Lillian checked the map again. She hadn’t noticed before but after folding it, lines she had thought to be decorations overlapped one another to create words that bordered the floor plan. Reading them in a whisper, Lilly puzzled. "Not in the earth below or above you in the sky, along the books that line the walls is where the treasure lie. Find a shelf with red and black, the pirate color code. Move the books and slip inside to find a treasure trove." It was amazing how the pirate who hid the treasure had left behind this rhyme to remember where it was and Lillian quickly started to scan the many bookshelves to find a set of black and red books. There were so many of them it seemed impossible at first, but with her determination to help Jude as motivation Lilly quickly spied a group of tiny volumes that were crimson and black. "That’s them!" She shouted, catching Jude and Sir John’s attention. They went to Lilly’s side as she started pulling out the books and stacking them on the floor. Behind them was a very tiny door, so small that it could never, ever fit a person. "What’s that?" Jude asked, poking the door with a finger. It slowly sunk into the wall from his gentle touch; the remaining shelves collapsed which made the trio scramble to catch books as they fell. Once all the books were safe, an amazing scene was revealed. Behind the wall in a secret compartment was a treasure chest, it sat with its lid open and a lifetime worth of treasure revealed in it. Diamonds, rubies, pieces of eight and money that could last ten times ten families.

They couldn’t gawk at the treasure for long though as Captain Dimitri’s crew was banging against the locked door in order to smash it down. "What do we do?" Jude asked, there was no escapes route from the Library. "You two guard the chest, close it and start hauling it out!" Lillian directed them as she ran to the door. "I’ll distract the pirates." Lilly said bravely just in time for a rush of experienced seamen to flood through the door. They didn’t pay much attention to Lillian, but the last man to cross through the door did, it was Captain Dimitri with his sword raised. "You want a rematch my slippery little eel?" He asked through clenched teeth. Lilly didn’t say anything but lifted her sword to match the Captain’s. Another sword fight took place between them; it was difficult in the small area that the Library provided. Lilly did well though, she used the furniture to her advantage ducking under the table and squeezing into spots that Dimitri couldn’t catch her. The most important part of all was that he didn’t see the treasure as Jude and Sir John slipped it out of the Library and went downstairs with it. "It was a great fight Captain but now I have to go!" Lillian told Dimitri just before she dashed for the exit. But he caught her sword with his, it would have been sent to the ground if it wasn’t for the weapon’s talent of sticking to Lillian’s hand. Instead it was sent straight into the floorboards where Lilly was stuck holding onto the sword. "Haha! You can’t do anything with treasure now, little girl!" The Captain mocked, watching as Lillian struggled to get away from him. She couldn’t, not on her own, but as the sword dug deeper into the wood of the floor something that Nokomis had told her rang in Lillian’s mind. The half-way woman had said that this sword could use the powers of the sea. One word stuck in Lilly’s mind as if the sword was speaking to her.

"Water." She whispered so softly that no one could hear her. That moment was when something very strange happened, the wood of the floorboards started to spout tiny copper colored fish that flopped out of water. Dimitri DeNoir was surprised to see this but even more shocking was the water that started to pour from the hilt of Lilly’s sword. It smelt like salt and sea weed. This was ocean water and it was coming out in rushes! More fish popped out of the floor, jumping in the magical water that was filling the room like a pool and yet not hurting anything within it. As if the sword knew she were safe, Lilly was able to remove it from the floor and run just as she saw fish jumping on the pirates and confusing them. One very smart fish, the smallest of them all leapt so high that it was able to eat the feather right from Captain DeNoir’s hat. With the pirates preoccupied by fish, Lilly was able to run out of the room, following Jude and Sir John. The girl was breathless by the time she reached them, Jude grabbed Lillian in a big hug and she wrapped her arms around him too. "You’re safe!" He cried. "I wouldn’t get hurt, I couldn’t leave you Jude!" She said with a huge smile. "You two have done very well…" Cut in Sir John who looked down at the children with pride. He wouldn’t take the treasure, it was theirs after all, but he did have to go and get the soldiers before those pirates escaped. "Thank you for helping us catch those pirates, you had better go now. Don’t worry; this treasure will be our little secret." He said with a smile and a wink. "Thank you so much Sir John A.!" Beamed Lilly, she grabbed him into a hug and then went back to Jude where the two each lifted one side of the chest and ran for the harbor.

They weren’t sure how they would get home but with any luck their mermaid friends could help them. As night fell and the two friends sat at the Charlottetown harbor with their treasure between them, Jude was looking through his spyglass at a great distance; he could see the stars in the sky so close that they looked like little balls of fire and the whales so deep in the ocean it felt like he could touch them. Even more brilliant in the far distance was the flaming Ghost Ship of Captain Harlington Webbe. That was when Lilly surprised him. "Our mermaids!!!" She yelled, hopping to her feet. Nokomis and Meryl were splashing at the dock. "We have a choice for you!" Meryl said excitedly. "It is very important little ones." Nokomis explained. They both seemed to be in a great hurry. Lilly looked excited and ready to listen but Nokomis shushed her. "We have a question to ask of Jude McLean." Nokomis explained, her eyes trailing on Jude. "You need to make a decision Jude. You may keep the treasure that you have found or use it as payment to buy a place as First Mate the Ghost Ship for Lilly. She could stay with her Father…but the treasure would be lost to the sea forever." Jude didn’t get a chance to say anything before Lilly started protesting. "No!" She shouted. "You can’t Jude, you can’t! Your family needs that treasure, we got it so you could help them!" No matter how much she said though, Jude just wouldn’t reply. He stared out at the horizon thinking of Lillian’s wish to see her Father and before Lilly could say more the boy had tossed his treasure into the sea. "I want your happiness more than treasure Lilly." Jude whispered.