Lovely, Dark and Deep.

This is the story of Fawn Petty, a young girl who lives in a book shop.

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1. Chapter 1.

1993

Before

Chapter One.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

There were nights, as rare as they might have been, when I would sleep through the noise, their voices rising and falling, crashing like waves in the ocean. A sad ocean that should never lull a child to sleep, but did.

I was laying in my room, on my bed , and I was listening to my parents. It was hard to hear their exact words but I recognized the sound of my mother shouting and the angry tone of my fathers voice. I knew they were arguing, and I knew it was serious, because I could hear the record player in the back round. They thought the music would drown out the sound of their voices but it never did.
As their voices grew louder I lost hope of sleep that night. I sat up reached for the lamp which sat on my bedside table and in the half light of the early morning. 

This, unfortunately was not one of those night when I would sleep though. So I wondered to my book self and sat pensively before it, carefully reading all the spines before choosing the one I wanted.
Before I could read, I used to sit in the dim light,legs cross, in my blue and white striped pyjamas and watched the dust, dancing in the air. 
It reminded me of parties, dances I’d heard stories of in books my mother used to read to me, with princes and princesses in beautiful gowns. It made me smile. It even used to make me laugh sometimes, but then I’d hear my parents voices and watch my imaginary world vanish before my naive little eyes, princesses turned back to dust, like someone had turned out my bed side light.

I can never understand why having such a vivid imagination is inherently a good thing. I was thankful for the company and amusement on lonely nights as such. But often, what I imagined frightened me. Is that small black bundle on the floor a sock missing it’s pair, or  a mouse. Or worse, a rat! Was it just going to lay there still all night or was it going to  move around my battered wooden floor, and climb the leg of my bed,  hen get into my bed, and under my quilt, under my sheets and then maybe it could try and make friends with me.

That light was my friend. I saved me from monsters under the bed and boogie men in the closet. When I thought there was a spider on my pillow it would show me my own mousey brown hair,spreading itself across my pillow as thought my it was wearing a mask.

I was shy, painfully so, and although I was frightened by things that go bump in the night, I was terribly afraid of friendship. The apparent problem was my lack of interaction with children my own age, or anyone for that matter. I spent most of my time alone, some time in the company of my parents and very little time with customers in the bookshop and my parents friends,but I rarely spent time with children my own age, and when it happened it was almost unbearably uncomfortable for all parties involved. 
Me being socially inept and most other children my age not know how to handle the strange child sitting in the corner. meant it was difficult to interact. And although by the time I became the age it was deemed appropriate to make friends I had read enough dialogue to know how it happened, I was never one for taking part. I to think I was more of an observer but I was just  nervous. 
I thought too much, meaningless small talk turned into a game of questioning a child’s morals or rather, those of their parents.
For example if I was asked a simple question like, “How are you?” I could never reply. More often than not I wasn’t good but I wasn’t exactly bad either. And I didn't have a word for the place in between. So I had two options to describe that I was feeling indifferent but both of them were too strong in opposite directions. Then again, good was the generally the most acceptable answer, and if I said bad there would be follow up question but there was nothing ever wrong but there was never a whole lot right. 
So I’d open my mouth to say“I’m good thank you” because good was seemingly the best way to both answer the question and finish the conversation, and  thank you was what my mother told me so say, because I was a polite young girl but then I’d think about my manners and remember that telling a lie is frowned upon so I’d quickly close my mouth and suck any sounds back in and all my good intentions with it.
.
I was sitting on my bed, armed only with a colourful paper back book. I had an escape route, a door to another world. And that’s how I spent those nights when the violent wave of words came crashing at my bedroom door and I wasn't lulled to sleep. Eventually the voices would stop and the needle of the record player would spin it’s way to the centre of the record, though each groove until it ended and it would be left there until morning. It would be found and changed and a new day will have begun.

That night though, I didn't sleep. The world in my book door was too real for me to leave. So I read  until the I reached the second half of the cover. Like the end of a film roll, my new world disappeared. At which stage I had noticed the record had finished it’s loop and been and replaced by another. 
I returned my book to it’s place on  my bookshelf and ventured to the opposite side of my room to open the curtains. 
I liked the sound the curtain hooks made as they flew, sweeping across the curtain pole. It was the definitive sound for beginning and ending a day. That sound was to the day what “once upon a time” and “the end”are to a fairytale. When I opened the curtain there was a face starting back at me. My own, it was still dark outside so I could see my reflection. I watched the little girl the window and she watched me back. I stood there for awhile in a kind of a trace. The girl said “this is you’re world.” She  taunted me, she was saying, “you can read all you want but you’ll never be a princess, or a fairy.” But as mean as is sounded, her words were true, comforting and welcomed.

Then I  noticed  a  faint light, barely bight enough to notice. There were no voices just the record playing and the light, and so I followed the trail. I outside my bedroom door I saw the light was coming from down stairs.  Curious and slightly bewildered, I took a deep breath and tiptoed down the stairs. I first encountered this method of creeping around late at night, in an old black and white video and although I used to sneak around my room in broad day light with nothing to hide, I had never really put this skill into practise. When I did it failed miserably. The floor boards sang creek as I started down the stairs. When I reached the end of the steps I was slightly embarrassed but I resumed my original position and followed the light.

My mother was sitting in the back of the bookshop at the typewriter. This was new to me. I had only ever seen my father using the typewriter and when he did use it, it seemed unnatural, he worked slow and awkwardly almost resentfully pressing each key and hesitating before finding the next.
My mother however was like a beautifully in sync with the machine  her fingers danced on it’s keys like a ballerina in swan lake. She was bent over and he hair concealed her face. I counted the fact that she clearly hadn’t heard be sneaking down the stairs as a triumph and smiled, proudly to myself before becoming entranced in my mother movements once again.
Tap tap tap tap tap tap ping!
Tap tap tap tap tap tap ping!
The type writer sang as my mother danced and I stood enthralled at the door , waiting for her to notice me. I wanted to speak but I didn't want to disturb her. I felt as though I had stumbled across something precious that night, too precious to be disturbed and so I retreated to my bedroom.

The following morning my mother was gone.

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