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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Eeli’s quiet when Nat shoos her away once her hair is scattered on the floor wiff mine, lookin even liter against the darkness of mine, you can tell they’re different textures too. Hers soft and silky, mine bouncy an thick. She says noffink as she rises, she just takes my hand an heads upstairs.

I give her a quick skweeze as we disappear into our different bedrooms. I hold my breath before enterin, hopin the screamin will stop when I open the door. It don’t. That’s because Atticus is holdin Mason by the legs over the side of his bunk.

“Hey!” I grab Mason’s torso an put him back on the ground. “What do you fink yer doin?”

“Playin The Fall.” Atticus snickers. “Like you said we was gonna.”

“I dint mean kill each other.”

“That’s what happened in The Fall.”

“Brothers dint hurt brothers, kay? Play on the ground next time.”

Mason hides behind me. “We’re not brothers.”

I sigh. “Yes you are, we all are.”

“But,” he tugs on my hand.

“No buts. We may have come from all over but living here as chillren makes us brothers. It don’t matter what the truth is, if anyone asks me I’ll tell them I’ve got dozens of brothers an sisters.”

“Cormac said that when he left an he hasn’t come visit.”

I skweezed Mason’s hand. “I know. But he’s busy. I’ll be busy too. I’m sure he wants to come visit an as soon as he’s settled he’ll be back here drivin Nat crazy like old times.” My smile was as brite as I could make it. I’d believed Cormac too. I never really expected him to leave like everyone else. My eyes drift to Atticus on the top bunk that used to be Cormac’s. Now there was a space at the bottom, Leon havin moved up to the middle once Cormac left. This room used to be so crowded and once I leave it’ll seem so empty to them. If Nat don’t git given no more chillren it’ll be so quiet round here in five years. They’ll only be six of them, almost five. An what’ll Nat do in ten years when it’s just her an Dixie? I try not to fink about the space I’ll be leavin behind.

I have to remind myself that I want to go, have always wanted to. Me an Eeli’d bin talkin about leavin since we could talk. It’d always bin our fayvorit game.

I listen to Leon chatter away about his story as I git washed an change into my jamas. He’s bin tellin it for almost ayte moons now. It started off as somefink to quiet Harvey wiff when he cries at nite but Leon couldn’t stop. Somefink took hold of him and won’t let go. Every nite he’s got somefink new to tell me, whether it’s the next part of the story or somefink I dint know about a character. I swear I can almost see his head grow wiff ideas every day.

“When I come back I expect to hear the end of this story you know?”

He nods. “Course. I already know when I’m thirteen years an I can leave I’m gonna go somewhere an git it written down.”

“You could learn to write it down yourself.”

“You fink?”

“You can do anyfink. Yer smart.”

I gather the boys up and we head downstairs. I try an pull my bottoms down a bit so they don’t sit so high on my ankles but noffinks gonna fix it. Both my teeshirt an my bottoms have got loads of holes in too. I’m gonna have to find some new clothes from somewhere on my travels. Maybe I can have two pairs. Then if it’s not sunny when they git washed I won’t have to sleep in damp jamas.

I grin at Eeli as we make it downstairs an into the livin room. She’s curled up on the armchair, as far away from the other girls who are all gigglin tryin to all fit on the two seat sofa at once. The two seat is fairin better than the three seat. The two seat has ugly flowers all over it an the colour has faded an faded until it all kinda blurred together. It’s got holes in an dark stains from I don’t even want to fink what. But the three seat’s made of leather an has scratches coverin it. It’s rough to sit on and sometimes the leather flakes off. The armchair is doin pretty well. The high back don’t look too battered. We had to fix one of the legs when it snapped a few years back but it’s doin well considerin how many people have sat in it, sometimes all at once.

Atticus bundles his sister an Leon charges an dives onto the girls. They squeal an Mason an Harvey jump on top. I ignore them an go an sit on the arm of the armchair wiff Eeli.

“How’d you git them down here so fast?”

“Easy, I told em the quicker they git down here the quicker we can have some fun. Why dint you do that? What took you so long?”

“There was an incident wiff Atticus an Mason I had to take care of.”

Devlan’s scream pierces strate through me. “Yer crushin me! Git off!”

Nat appears in the doorframe, pushin her hair off her face. “Alrite you scamps, cut it out.”

She picks Devlan out of the pile and pulls out Harvey an Mason an Renie, sending them over to the three seat. Andi an Atticus git sent to the floor leavin Hazel an Leon on the sofa. Leon sticks his tongue out.

“Rite,” Nat skweezes in between Hazel an Leon. “What shall we do first?”

“Charades!” Renie answers fastest.

“No, we should go round an tell scary stories,” Leon says.

“Hidin an findin,” Harvey jumps off the sofa as if ready to hide rite that second.

“Shut up!” Nat takes a deep breath. “It’s Tye an Eeli’s last nite, they get to pick.”

Ayte pairs of eyes fix on us all big an pleadin.

Eeli looks at me an I shrug. “I dunno. I d’mind.”

They all start squealin again.

“Shut it!” Eeli shakes her head. “You scamps gotta learn to cool it.”

“You can talk,” Renie larfs, hidin her mowf wiff her hand.

Eeli scowls at her an looks back at me. “You pick, Tye. I picked on my birthday four moons back. It’s yer birthday around now.”

I look at the rabble, quiet for the first time since they was all asleep last nite. Each pair of eyes is fixed on my face and I smile at them. “Why don’t we start wiff . . .”

They all lean forward. Eeli giggles beside me an Nat shakes her head.

“Hidin an findin.”

“Yes!” Harvey jumps up and wraps his arms around my legs.

“I’ll count first. I’ll count to a hundred. Mason, I fink I’ll need yer help wiff that. The rest of ya need to git into pairs.”

I could’a told you how they all paired up. It was always the same. Atticus an Andi, bein twins, always went together. Devlan shot to Eeli’s side to take her hand. Hazel an Harvey were a pair for the same reason me an Mason were. Hazel spent a lot of time teachin Harvey the same way I did for Mason. Eeli an Devlan try but always end up shoutin at each other. Leon an Renie look at each other an give a funny smile. I catch Eeli’s eye an raise my eyebrow.

“Ready, set, go!” I cover my eyes an star countin all quiet so Mason can take the lead. I’m impressed that I only have to nudge him once.

“A hundred!” He yells, openin his eyes an beamin at me.

“Well done, Mason!” Nat ruffles his hair. “I never knew you were so clever.”

“Yeah,” I agree. “You’ve bin practicin haven’t you?”

He nods so fast I fink his head will come off.

“Come on then, let’s git em.”

We head upstairs first an hear Atticus an Andi mutterin to each other from the girls’ room. Mason points at the wardrobe an I nod. The wardrobe is covered in cracks an the wood has faded in most places. You can see six or seven places where we’ve tried repairin it but it’s still standin at least.

Mason an I creep forward an yank open the door.

“Gottcha!” Mason shouts makin Andi jump rite up an pull a face. She collapses into larfter when her brain realises it’s just us.

Atticus punches her on the arm. “Yer such a baby.”

I offer Andi my hand an pull her out. “You two need to learn to shut it when you’re hidin.”

“I told you.” This time Andi’s the one doin the punchin.

We leave em to it an head into the boy’s room. I see a shadow under the bed at once an Hazel looks strate at me. Harvey’s under the other one but I don’t say noffink. I hold my finger to my lips as I catch Hazel’s eye an point to Mason who’s tiptoein around like there’s glass all over. Hazel shuffles over an when Mason’s back is turned she sticks her hands out from under the bed an grabs Mason’s ankles. He shrieks so loud I flinch. I’m larfin so hard I double over, holdin my stomak. Harvey crawls out from under the other bed, snortin wiff larfter.

“Harvey,” I chuckle, pokin him. “Yer supposed to stay hidin.”

Mason hurries out the room red faced. I take a deep breath an look up at the ceilin to compose myself an that’s when I see a lump on the top bunk movin up an down as though larfin.

“I think there’s people in here, Mason!” I call back to him, climbin to my bunk on the rite hand side of the room.

There’s definitely a person under there, I can see their outline. I dig my finger into the soft flesh of their side an stick my head under the blanket. Before I know what’s happenin, I git a kiss on the nose. It’s Eeli o’course.

“That was the funniest fing.” She can’t stop herself gigglin.

“You should’a seen Mason’s face. I’ll never forget it for as long as I live.”

Eeli’s larf is soft an warm under the sheet. She just looks at me an calms herself. “Once we’re on our own we’ll have this much fun everyday.”

“You promise?”

“Promise.” We hook our little fingers.

Devlan squeals as she’s found an I pull myself out from under the blanket. Mason’s already waitin for me at the door. “Come on, Tye!” We’ve only got Renie an Leon left. This has gotta be a record!”

I jump down an hurry after him as explodes into Nat’s room. My heart almost jumps outta my throat an I clamp my hand over Mason’s mowf. We both stare at Dixie, tryin not to breathe. She makes this quiet sighin kinda sound an moves her arms but don’t wake up. Wiff my spare hand I grab Mason’s arm an yank him back inta the hall.

“What were you finkin, stoopid! Do you want Nat to kill you?”

“I’m . . . I’m sorry, Tye, I fort . . .”

“Git downstairs, you.”

I gather up everyone and lead em back into the living room as Mason decides to look in the kitchen first. I search in a few of the bottom cabinets, knowin they was too chokka to hold a person. The cabinets look like they was white once but now they’re goin green an grey an yellow. I stand up an give the kitchen a once over. The oven is gas which means it’s fed us since we was born, unlike the stoopid electric ones that are useless. Even though the door is rusty an the shelves inside are grimy, it’s got us through all twelve or so years of me livin here an for that I was grateful. A few tiles were missin from the floor an it was all black in between em. I remember once when Eeli an I was dressin up that Eeli once fell flat on her face when her high heel went down a gap where there was a tile missin. I chuckle to myself as Mason moves on into the dinning room.

We find our winners only because Renie’s hair is spillin off the chair she’s hidin on. They were under the table lyin on the tops of the chairs so a quick look wouldn’t have found em.

“Brill,” I tell em as they crawl out. “Nice one.”

Back in the livin room, Mason announces the winners an everyone claps.

“Can we dance now?” Devlan asks. “Eeli said there’d be dancin an singing.”

“I never said noffink about dancin, Devlan. I said there’d be singin.”

“Course we can dance, Devlan. If you ask Eeli to sing.”

“Please,” Devlan, Harvey, Mason, Leon an Renie all sound together. Atticus an Andi cross their arms and roll their eyes and Nat an Hazel grin.

“Well I’m no song writer so I mite need some help.”

She starts off wiff the song she always sings, her mum’s song. She swears she can remember her mum singin it to her when she was little. I fink she’s makin it up. I can’t remember my mum’s face or voice, noffink. I can’t remember a single fing about her. None of us can, not really. We was all too young, orphaned in the back lash after The Fall. There’s no way Eeli can remember a whole song if I can’t even remember if Tye’s my real name.

I sit wiff Nat as Harvey tries to find a rithum, Devlan tries to lift her leg too high, Mason waves his arms around, Leon tries to spin Renie around as fast as he can, an Atticus an Andi try an turn a fight into a dance. I smile at them as Hazel takes Harvey’s hands an tries to show him how to step in time to Eeli’s song.

Nat sighs an turns to me. “I’m gonna miss you, Tye.”

My cheeks feel heavy all of a sudden an it aches to keep smilin.

“You was younger en Dixie when you was given to me all wrapped up in a blanket that stank of smoke along wiff that nife o’yers.” She shakes her head. “The man who handed you over must’a been only twenny years or so. He thrust you into my arms an said,’you take it, I dunno what I’m doin wiff it’. When I asked what yer name was he just shrugged an told me he’d rescued you from a buildin that was comin down. He said there was no other people in site. Then before I could ask another fing he was runnin down the path. You was so tiny in my arms. You was the youngest I’ve ever had.”

“Younger’n Dixie?”

She nods. “Dixie was one year when I got her. You must’a bin only five or so moons. I knew the only way that you’d survive was if I watched you day an nite. So that’s what I did.”

“So,” I dig my toe into the carpet. “Did you give me the name Tye?”

“No,” she bends down to pick somefin up from under the sofa an hands it to me.

It’s a blanket. It’s the bluest and the softest thing I’ve ever seen before in all my thirteen years. I unroll it an at the bottom in a brite white are three symbols which I reckon must be letters. The first one’s a strate line up with a smaller line across the top of it. The second and third ones look confusin an hard. The second one looks kinda like a dip wiff a tail and the third one’s all squiggly.

“What’s it say?” I ask, though I think I might’a guessed.

“It’s yer name, Tye. That’s what yer name looks like.”

I trace the letters with my fingers, tryin to work out how to put them together. “So this was the blanket I was wrapped in?”

“Sure was. I was gonna use it for everyone but I couldn’t bring myself to. It’s got yer name on it, no one else’s. I fort you should have it.”

I rub my hands over the blanket, so softness ticklin my hand.

“I dunno what we’re gonna do without you, Tye.”

The achin smile returns. “You’ll be alrite.”

“Yer so good wiff everyone, I dunno how everyone’s gonna be when you go.”

“They’ll be fine,” I say, more for me than her. I don’t wanna think about leavin them behind. They was the only family I’d ever known. They was the only friends I’d ever known. They was the only home I’d ever known. They was everyfin.

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