The Fall of Us

©Molly Looby CampNaNoWriMo '14 !

Enter the world of Tye. The Fall has devastated much of the world as we know it but Tye knows nothing else. He and his best friend Eeli are ready to leave their home as soon as they reach thirteen years so that they can be off on their own and be who they want to be and do what they want to do. At last.

Tye and Eeli could never have imagined how dangerous the real world was going to be.

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The noise at the table is a mix of shrieks an cries an screams from all angles. I count to ten an do long heavy breathin, tryin to make it all go away. It don’t work much. Dixie’s still screetchin wiff this huge smile on her face like everyone’s havin a jolly old time. Tears have started pourin down Harvey’s face and Hazel’s doin her best to comfort him while Atticus and Andi are hittin each other stoopid. Renie and Leon are arguin about noffink again and Devlan is strugglin to git her usual fix of attention so she’s just started screamin too.

An there’s Nat at the head of the table, red faced and fumin. No one’s listenin to her. All I can do is hide my head in my hands and thank God this is my last nite at this table.

“Tye?” Mason plays wiff the bracelet Eeli made for me from a bit of string she found. She’s good like that, always makin stuff. “Nat said you was goin.” His eyes look all big in this moment, as if to allow a downpour of tears. I dint doubt it was comin. Tears always seemed to flow in this damn house.

I nod. “Me an Eeli are grown ups now.”

He looks me up an down. “You don’t look like no grown up to me.”

“Cheers.” I sigh and stand up. “Everyone just shut it!” I’m surprised by how loud my voice comes out but I try an hide it.

Atticus and Andi stop an look at me. Renie an Leon’s sentences fade into noffink. Dixie’s watchin me. Harvey’s tears pause. All eyes on me then.

I sit back down and look at the table.

“Thanks, Tye.” Nat sounds outta breath. “As I was tryin to say,” she glares at each of them in turn. “We’re celebrating Eeli and Tye’s big nite, their last nite wiff us.”

“But, Naaaaaaaaaat,” Mason elongates her name, the ‘a’ lastin long enoff for Delvan to huff all loud.

“We ain’t got all day, stoopid.”

“Tye an Eeli ain’t big enoff to go.”

“Yes they are,” Nat smiles at me, eyes crinklin. “They’re thirteen years.”

“Eeli was born when the flowers started bloomin,” I cut in for Nat. “And that was four moons ago now.”

“But she’s even smaller than you!” Devlan’s mouth goes all wide and she shakes her head. “I fort she was the same age as Hazel.”

“No, Devlan,” Hazel lifts her eyes from the table. “I’m only ten years.”

“Eeli an I are thirteen years now the sun’s at its hottest again. That makes us big enoff to leave, Mason.”

“But who else will play The Fall wiff me?”

I catch Nat scowlin but ignore her. “I’m sure Atticus will play it wiff you.”

Mason crosses his arms. “You can’t go. You was teachin me how to count to hundred.”

“A hundred, an Hazel can teach you that an then you can teach it to Devlan.”

I can already do it fanks.” Devlan sticks her nose up in the air.

“Fine, Harvey then. You’ll be fine, Mason, I promise.”

“Will you come visit us?”

“Yeah, Tye,” Renie pushes the thick lump of brown hair outta her eyes. “Will you visit?”

“We’ll miss you,” Leon adds.

“I can make you somefink for when you come back,” Devlan says.

Dixie bangs her hands on the table an giggles. “Tye,” she says. “Tye, Tye!”

“Alright!” Nat holds both her hands up. “Alright. I’m sure Tye will visit but he’ll be very busy doin his grown up thing so you lot better be payshent.”

They all nod an mutter to each other.

“But now, dinner time!”

We all dig in, fightin over the plates in the middle as usual, tryin to grab the biggest bits of carrot an the juiciest piece of chicken. As the biggest I have no trouble takin what I want but today I just sit an watch my huge family.

“Will you adopt me, Tye?” Harvey asks as Atticus snatches the piece of chicken right off his fork.

I take a piece for him and go round to his side of the table to cut it up for him so he don’t struggle wiff it all in his mowf at once.

“No, Harvey. I don’t have a house, I couldn’t take care of you.”

“I could come wiff you. I’ll behave.”

“No, Harvey, that’s okay. Nat needs you here.”

“But I’m almost the littlest.”

“When I come an visit I bet you’ll be taller than Devlan.”

“But she’s a year older than me.”

“Trust me, that don’t matter. You’re goin to be big an strong, I know it.”

“Like you?”

I larf. “That’s sweet.” I ruffle his hair. “But I’m just the same size as Nat an not much stronger. I’ve got some more growin to do yet. Well . . . I hope I do.”

“Then why don’t you stay?”

“I’m gonna start my new life an help Eeli start hers too.”

“Are you goin to marry her, Tye?”

“Are you going to marry Devlan?”

“Eww!” He slamms his fork down on the table and sticks his tongue out. There’s a carrot on there he hasn’t started chewin yet. “No way!”

I go an sit back in my seat as Andi slides into Eeli’s empty space.

“Where’s Eeli?”

“She’s comin.”

“Tye,” Nat catches my attention as she separates Leon and Devlan. “Go get her will you. You can’t go off tomorrow wiffout her eatin somfink.”

I leave the rabble an go strate for the garden. I know that’s where Eeli will be. I’d bet anyfink she was up the tree. As I grew closer I heard her voice in the air.

My beautiful little sweet, won’t you take that leap.

“Eeli!”

She turns an grins at me, her wild yellow hair catchin the sun an shinin gold. I shield my eyes from the glow of it as I jog over to the tree and climb up to meet her.

“Why does the sun shine, Tye?” she asks, shufflin so our legs are touchin an restin her head on my shoulda.

“So’s we can see, that’s why.” I tell her.

“It don’t always.”

I shrug. “I dunno everyfink.”

She’s quiet a moment, looking in the distance.

“You dint come to dinner.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Nat said we need our strength for tomorrow. She says it’s the biggest day of our life.”

“That’s why I’m not hungry.”

“But we’ve bin waiting to leave since I can remember.”

“But what if we don’t know what to do?”

“We’ve talked about this every day. We’re going to get you a job as a singin star an I’m goin to follow you an figure out my callin. We can do anyfink we want now.” I put my arm around her and skweeze. “We are grown ups.”

“We can stay up an tell stories an watch the sun come up.”

“An eat whatever we want when we want.”

“An we don’t have to cut our hair no more.”

I bite my lip. “Erm, Eeli, about that . . .”

“No!” Her eyes go wide an she clings to me. “No! Nat said last time was the last time.”

“Well everyone’s lookin scruffy so she’s doin it tonite before washin.”

“No!”

“One last time, Eeli. Then never again.”

“You said that before.”

“But now it’s true. We don’t have to do noffink Nat tells us after tomorrow.”

She grabs my hand. “Let’s go now then. We don’t have to wait. What’s stopping us?”

“It’ll be dark in a couple hours. We can’t go today.”

She yanks her hand back. “Then you can go inside an tell Nat I’m not eatin dinner if she’s cuttin my hair.”

“You know what she’ll say, Eeli.”

She sighs. “That’s not my concern, scamp. I know.”

I’m doin it.”

“Your hair looks like a bush after one moon.”

“I know,” I chuckle. “But yours looks prettier after hair cuttin day. You want to impress people don’tcha?”

“Yeah, wiff my singin.”

“It’ll help if you’re a star to look at as well as listen to.”

“I dunno where you git yer crap, Tye.”

“I dunno neither. It just comes out.”

She shakes her head. “Alright. But only because you want me to. An only cause it’s the last time.”

I hold her tight before jumpin outta the tree. “That’s all I ask.”

“You’re such a pain in the arse.” She lands next to me an gives me a shove before scurryin towards the house.

I grab her enormous hair an she screeches. “Let goa me!”

“I’m not havin you run off like last time. I’m too tired to play hidin an findin.”

She tries to shake me off. “I’m not goin nowhere. I want some food before the scamps eat it all.”

“Better be quick then.”

We hurry inta the house an I only let go of Eeli’s hair as we go through the kitchen. In the dinning room, mowfs fulla food grin at us as we sit down.

“Ah, Eeli, just in time. Don’t want to miss your own goin away party do ya?”

“What’s a party?” Harvey asks, directin his question to anyone who’d answer.

“When we all spend time together doin stuff,” I tell him. “Like on your birthday.”

“Nah,” Eeli captures Harvey’s attention at once. “It’s when we all have fun together, right, Nat? We’re gonna play games an sing songs tonite.”

“Really?” Devlan leans on the table trying to see round Mason an me.

“Yeah, course. It’s gonna be great.”

“Really, Nat?”

Nat nods. “Yeah. Just as soon as you’ve each had a hair cut and bin washed.”

“So it’s a jama party?” Devlan can hardly sit still.

“Yes.”

She squeals an scoffs down her food even faster than normal.

One by one, they jump up and take their plates inta the kitchen an line up waiting for Nat to find her sissors. I tell Hazel and Renie that Eeli and I will wash n dry tonite an they can line up for a hair cut. Eeli washes up so she can look outta the window an I dry, watchin Hazel hold Dixie still while Nat cuts what little wispy hair she’s grown since last hair cuttin day. Hazel goes an puts Dixie to bed an Harvey takes a seat. By the time Eeli and I’s finished, Harvey, Devlan an Mason have all bin done an gone to bug Hazel as they wash an put their jamas on.

Eeli an I join the back of the line an at once she starts mutterin to me.

“It’s stoopid.”

“You always say that.”

“It’s cause it always is.”

“Why’d we have to line up like this.”

“Because, Eeli,” Nat yells. “You need to see how to do it. When you won’t have me to cut it you’ll be lost. Especially you, Tye. You can almost see your hair growin if you sit an watch it long enoff.”

“Tye’d let me cut his hair, wouldn’t you, Tye?”

I shrug. I don’t care about my hair. I never see it anyways. Only when it falls in my eyes. I have no idea what it looks like, the image in my head is this great ball of brown fluff. At least, I fink it’s brown, like my skin. Not totally sure though. Could’a changed. I wouldn’t notice.

I watch Nat snippin away at Leon’s dark blonde hair an Renie’s light brown hair. Atticus and Andi don’t take long, Andi havin her hair short like her twin’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if them two always look like each other. Hazel has hers to her shouldas an then it’s my turn. All the while Eeli grows quieter an quieter, singin under her breath.

I grin at Nat as I sit down an she covers me wiff the sheet. She just shakes her head and starts hackin away.

“You always take the longest, Tye.”

“S’not my fault.”

I look strate at Eeli an try an look bored, conveyin to her that this is noffink to worry about. Even so she trembles where she stands. She’s got a funny fing about her creamy blonde hair. She ain’t never grown out of that colour yet an I hope she never does. It’s alive wiff gold an maybe it’d be worf a fortune if I cut it all off in the nite. Eeli never seemed to care about her hair till hair cuttin day. She’s always pushin it off her face an not carin where it falls like Renie who’s always makin sure her hair is just so. Eeli won’t brush it or let anyone else brush it. She’s a strange creature to hate that. I fort everyone loved that. Sometimes when Eeli’s finkin bout somefink she starts stroking my hair an I go dead still an let her. Like a cat, she says. She don’t tie it back neither. She’d only get the band stuck, she says, always pushin away Nat’s helpin hand.

That’s why it’s so strange that she hates hair cuttin day so much. The rest of the time she don’t give a damn. Not till you get the sissors out. I offered to cut it wif my swift nife a few moons back an she shrieked like an animal an I chased her around as Nat squawked at us. I fort we was only playin. I dint realise until Nat dragged us apart that Eeli had tears streamin down her red face. It took Nat forever to stop her screamin.

I still don’t know why.

At last, when Nat finishes wiff me an the floor’s covered in my brown, almost black hair, I jump up an take Eeli’s hand, leadin her to the chair. She never, not once, goes on her own.

“I don’t need it cuttin, Nat.” Her voice sounds all thick.

“Yes you do, Eeli. Look at it. It’s wild.”

“It’s fine.”

“Sit down.”

I sit on the floor next to her, not lettin go of her hand. She starts singin her infernal song an I join in, tryin to ignore the tears drippin onto the sheet.

I don’t git why she cries every hair cuttin day. Unlike us boys, the girls never look much different, just tidier. An it don’t hurt. She knows that. I only sit there an wunder what’s goin on in that strange heada hers.

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