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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5. 5

We don’t speak until the house has long since dropped from our view an our huge family with it.

“So,” I let my word hang in the air. The world felt too big wiffout any noise in it. Well, any loud noise at least. There were birds chirpin an the wind blowing through the trees but there were no voices or squeals. It was unsettlin. “So what direkshon should we head in?”

Eeli shrugs. “I dunno. I guess we’ll have to look for people an ask what they know. Maybe there’s a town round here. There must be people close. Why would Nat set up in the middle of nowhere?”

“Because she’s raisin an army of screamin chillren, stoopid. I wouldn’t want to live next to that.”

“Suppose. But the market comes from somewhere so there must be people near.”

In the distance, more trees start appearin, lookin all neat. I don’t pay much attention till I see that they look like they’ve bin lined up, called to order like soljers. I point up ahead. “Look at them trees.”

“There must be hundreds of them.”

“Maybe it’s a farm.”

“A farm of trees?”

“Could be. Why can’t people farm trees?”

“What good is it farmin trees?”

I shrug. “I dunno. We could find out. Trees all lined up like that means someone put them like that on purpose.”

Eeli grins at me an picks up her pace. I match my steps wiff hers until she does a little skip an then sprints off, her larfter carried in the breeze. I can see her arms an legs pumpin hard but it don’t take me long to pass her, my legs longeren hers.

“Hey, stoopid.” She skids to a halt, pantin. “When’d you git so fast?”

“When’d you git so puny.” I dig my nee into the back’o hers an she cries out, grabbin onto my arm for support.

“That’s it!” She pushes me away an takes off again, jumpin up as she reaches the first tree. She throws somefin up an down. I don’t like the look on her face.

“Whattcha got there?” I yell to her, afraid to git in range in case she pelts the thing at me.

“Come see.”

I creep closer, moving from side to side, makin her larf again. I make a dive for a tree an hide behind it.

“Come out, Tye.” She singsongs. “I’m gonna git ya.”

I peer past my tree an see her tiptoein to the left. I scoot round to the rite an look up.

It’s apples. I take a look round me. They’re all apples. I make a grab for a few lower ones an drop to my hands an nees, crawlin in the grass to git a better look at Eeli’s posishon.

She’s closer than I fort an flings her apple at me. I shower her wiff mine an she screeches, coverin her head wiff her hands an disappearin off. I jump up an dash towards her. She turns round an sees me advancin, the smile droppin off her face.

“You’ll never git me, Tye!” She speeds up.

“I always catch you, Eeli!”

I’m just a few paces away and she squeals. “No! Git away!”

I reach out my arms an there’s almost no gap between us.

Then the air’s nocked out of me as I crash into Eeli an we both go tumblin to the ground.

“Whaddya do that fer?” I say once I’ve got my breath back. “I nearly flipped rite over you.”

She pulls herself up, ignorin me.

“Eeli!”

Then I hear a voice in the distance. “Yer Nat’s ain’t ya?”

I stand next to Eeli an skwint into the distance. There’s a figure in the trees lookin at us.

“O’course yer Nat’s. Comin in here an messin wiff my trees! I told that girl chillren was trouble. I told er.”

Eeli looks up at me. “Do we go to her or do we run?”

“I dunno. She mite be able to help us.”

“Or she mite shout at us more.”

“Maybe she’ll do both?”

We walk forward, watchin as the woman comes into view. She’s only a few years oldern Nat from my guessin. She’s wearin jeans an a shirt like Nat does. She’s standin next to a big sine that starts at her shouldas an finishes just above her head. I recognise that it’s got letters on it an I guess it must say somefin about all the apple trees by the picture of a big shiny red apple next to the words.

“Sorry,” I say as we git close enoff to talk. “We dint know they were yer trees. We dint mess anyfin up.”

“I doubt it. I bet you picked some dintcha?”

Eeli an I look at one another.

“S’what I fort. An now I’m gonna have to take you back to Nat’s, ruinin my perfectly peaceful day.” She starts to walk forwards. “Fanks very much.”

“No, no.”

She stops an considers me.

“We’re not from Nat’s. Well,” I run my hand over my hair. “We are from Nat’s but we’re not now.”

She puts her hand on her hip. “Yer not makin sense, boy. You must be one’a Nat’s.”

“What you sayin,” Eeli steps forward.

I grab her arm an pull her back. “What she means to say is that we’re leavin Nat’s.”

“Even better, runnaways. I’ll need payin for this.” She starts off again an I have to run after her.

“No, you don’t understand. We’re thirteen years.”

She just blinks at me.

“We’re leavin to start our own lives.”

She screws her lips up all tite an looks from me to Eeli an back. “You don’t look old enoff to be leavin,” she points at Eeli.

“Excuse me!” Eeli stomps over. “I’m oldern him.”

“It don’t matter,” I try an smile but it feels like someone else’s ratheren mine. “What matters is that we don’t have to go to Nat’s an we dint cause yer trees any damage.”

“We’ll see about that.” She shakes her head. “Why Nat is botherin with all them chillren I don’t know. What a waste of time.”

“Hey!” Eeli pushes past me. “Nat saved our lives.”

“Fer what?”

Eeli’s face skrews up. “Whaddya mean fer what?”

“Why?”

“Because . . .” Eeli looks at me like I have the answer.

“It don’t matter,” I cut in before Eeli can carry on. I poke her hard. “Quit it.”

The woman waves her hand at us an turns to leave. “Git outta my orchard an don’t touch anyfin on the way out.”

“Please,” I go forward a few steps. “We need yer help.”

“You should’a fort of that before you came crashin through my orchard.”

“We was just wonderin if you knew anything about singin stars.”

“I beg yer pardon?” She puts her hands on her hips.

“You know,” Eeli joins us. “People that sing fer a livin.”

She shakes her head. “I don’t know noffink about no singers.”

I huff an watch her continue into the distance.

“Well that was a waste of time.” Eeli’s watchin her too.

“There’ll be more people.”

Eeli nods. “People niceren her.” She turns to me. “So where to now?”

“I dunno,” I shrug. “I guess we just keep goin till we find some place.”

“Should we take some apples for the journey?” The mischievous grin on her face is one I’ve seen a million times before.

I prod her on the arm but larf anyway. “No. That’s stealin, we’re not thieves.”

“She’s got millions of the things.”

“We’re not nickin em, Ee.”

She crosses her arms. “Sometimes yer no fun.”

“Singin stars, not a clue,” the voice comes from behind us an we turn. “But song writers, a fing or two.” The woman is comin back, stormin towards us. “You musta heard of Wren Song.”

Eeli an I shake our heads and the woman gives a little chuckle.

“Then you’ve got a lot to learn.”

At once she spins on her heels an hurries off again.

My eyebrows meet and I press my lips together. Eeli’s got a similar expression on her face.

“What was that?” She asks me. “Does she want us to follow her?”

“I have no idea.”

“I don’t trust her, she seems too weird.”

“Hmm. But she knows stuff we could use.”

“She could be plannin to catch us an cook us.”

“What stories has Leon bin tellin you now? An anyway, we could take her. There’s two of us an only one’a her.”

“Suppose.”

We look to where the woman’s disappearin as she calls back to us. “Come on, I ain’t got all day.”

“What’ve we got to lose?” I take Eeli’s hand as we follow the strange woman through the apple trees she was callin an orchard till we reach a little cottage.

There are flowers growin up every corner an I don’t notice the door till it’s bin pushed open an Eeli steps through it. The cottage has got lots of windows but it’s dark inside so I can’t see nofink but black. The smell of so many flowers is makin my head feel heavy an my nose crinkle so I hurry in after them, shuttin the door behind me.

The room on the other side of the door must be a livin room judgin by all the chairs. It’s small an cozy in here but it seems way to quiet. I can’t imagine a house wiffout noise. Eeli’s already settled onto a faded red sofa an taken her jacket off an the woman’s sunk into a matchin armchair. Her furniture is doin much betteren Nat’s but from the looks of it these chairs have never had chillren climbin all over their cushions makin games outta every inch. I sit next to Eeli lookin at the threadbare rug on the floor as the woman starts chatterin away.

“If thirteen years is of age now I dread what to fink’s happening in Fordon. I’ll bet there lettin youngens like you into Folk.” She shakes her head. “What is this world comin to?”

“What are you talkin about?” Eeli asks.

“Never mind that now, I was tellin you about Wren wasn’t I?”

“That’d be very helpful,” I look up an meet her face. In the comfort of her own home she don’t seem so scary an mean. “I’m Tye by the way an this is Eeli.” I sit down next to Eeli an shrug my arms outta my jacket, layin it across the arm of the sofa where I can still see it.

“Eeli the wannabe singin star an her number one fan Tye.” She looks between us. “What is the world comin to?” She mutters again. “Well I’m a little surprised Nat hasn’t mentioned me but I’m Althea Apple. But I haven’t bin called Althea since Isaac left so I guess people just call me Apple now.”

“Pleased to meet you,” I give her a small smile.

“I’m sure. You just want me to tell you about Wren. Well okay then, I suppose I’ll help you out. Wren is a song writer.”

“Yeah,” Eeli moves forward in her seat. “You already told us that.”

“Well, my dear, if you want to hear about it you better sit tite. I don’t take kindly to interruptions.”

“Sorry,” I answer.

“Why’re you apologising, boy? Yer the good cop I take it an she’s the bad cop?”

Eeli an I exchange a glance.

Apple chuckles to herself. “I guess you have no idea what I’m talkin bout. God, when did I git so old?”

I slap Eeli’s hand before she can fink to open her mowf. The return grin means she was definitely finkin somefink.

“Wren Song’s bin in the entertainment business fer about twenny years now, she started when she was little, about yer age I reckon. She writes songs an travels round wiff her singer, which I guess is what you mean by singin star. She’s had loads over the years. When she was about fifteen years she got her own band to travel round wiff her as well. She’s bin through a lot of people, each time she finds someone better the old singer or guitar player or whatever gits replaced. There’s no heart in the entertainment business if you ask me.”

“So this Wren’s still writin songs?” I ask.

“O’course. I remember when Isaac an I went to one of her shows ten years back. She came out at the end of the show to fank everyone an she said she’ll never stop writin songs cause she can’t. She said it’d changed her life in a hundred ways an she’d sacrificed everyfin to be the world’s best song writer.”

“She sounds like our girl,” I grin at Eeli an she nods.

“She’s a hard woman to please. You gotta be amazin but still leave room fer her to be the real star. After all, she wrote the song an wiffout the song you’d have noffin to sing.”

“I guess,” Eeli bites her lip. “But you’d still be a singin star if you traveled wiff her.”

“O’course. I remember all the names of the last six singers. But I’m a pretty big Song fan.”

“It’s easy then,” I sit back in my chair. “We can find her an you can sing to her, Eeli. Then you’ll be a singin star.”

Apple shakes her head. “Yer optimistic ain’t you, boy? First you gotta find where she is an then you gotta impress her. Is yer girl there really that good?”

I nod. “Best I ever heard.”

“But is she the best Wren’s ever heard?”

“It don’t matter,” Eeli don’t look put off. “I’ll just practice all the way there. Then I’ll be ready.”

“Bein ready ain’t the problem, my dear. Findin her’s yer task.”

“Well,” I lean forward again. “Do you have any idea where she is?”

Apple puts her hand to her face an finks for a moment. This time’a year she’s probably in Camrose.”

“An where’s that?”

“Couple miles off Hallow Rise.”

“An how far’s that?”

She sighs. “You don’t know where anyfin is do ya?”

I shake my head. “I ain’t never left Nat’s before.”

“Do you even know where you are now?”

“Yer cottage?”

“No, boy, where is my cottage?”

“I dunno,” I shrug.

“My cottage is in my orchard which is called Little Orchard. In fact this whole area, includin Nat’s is called Little Orchard. Did Nat never tell you where you lived?”

“I guess not?”

“How do you expect to find Wren Song if you don’t even know yer own address?”

“A dress?” Eeli’s eyebrows come together. “She’s losin it, Tye.”

Apple huffs, pulls herself outta the chair an goes into the next room.

Eeli an I look at each other until we can’t hear her footsteps no more.

“Whatcha do that fer? She was helpin us!”

“She don’t know what she’s talkin bout, Tye.”

“Yeah she does. I told you she could help us. Now we know about Wren Song.”

“Fat lot of good that’s gonna do when we have no idea where Camrose is, let alone how to git there before she leaves.”

“We’re just gonna have to keep askin directions o’course.”

“Great,” she crosses her arms. “Marvelous.”

Apple returns carryin a tray with three glasses filled wiff murky yellow-brown liquid. She offers us a glass each and we take em but don’t drink. I stick my nose over the glass an sniff, the sweet smell makes my mowf water.

“What is this?” Eeli asks, her eyes narrowed. “I ain’t never seen nofink like this in a glass.”

“Take a wild guess, blondie.” She sits herself down again an takes a big gulp.

“I ain’t drinkin that. I told you she was gonna do somefin like this, Tye.”

Apple smiles. “Do you question everyfin?”

“If I fink I’m bein poisoned.”

“You argue wiff everyone, don’tcha?”

“If I got reason.”

Apple shakes her head. “I’ll never understand why Isaac wanted one’a you irritatin little buggers or why Nat fills her house wiff em.”

“You mean chillren?”

“Devils more like. My sister had em, drove her mad.”

“You ain’t never had none?”

She shakes her head. “O’course not. Why’d I want all this pain an sufferin every day. I’ve never wanted an irritatin tiny person in my house an I hope I never do again once you two leave.”

“Hey,” Eeli puts her glass on the floor. “We’re not chillren no more.”

“No? Alrite, but yer an irritatin tiny person.”

Eeli crosses her arms an pouts.

Apple points strate at her. “Now look there. The sulkin. Always the sulkin. I just don’t git it. But that’s essackly why Isaac walked outta that door. I dunno what took him so long. He was kiddin hisself.” She looked outta the window, rubbin one’a her finger on her left hand. “Would you two want chilldren?”

“Yes,” I answer.

Eeli answers at the same time. “No.”

I look at Eeli as she looks at me, shakin her head.

Apple gives us this knowin look. “I fort as much. It’s me an Isaac all over again. You two should go yer separate ways before you git too old an stuck.”

“What you sayin?” Eeli sticks her tongue out. “Me an Tye’s best friends. Gross.”

“Yeah,” I chuckle. “She drives me crazy.” I take a drink to hide my face from them both an the flavour explodes over my tongue. I skrew my face up as my cheeks pull an I wiggle my tongue against my lips. “What is it?”

Eeli picks up her glass an takes a mowful. She larfs after swallowin it. “It’s apple juice, stoopid.” She kicks my ankle an I yelp goin strate for the soft flesh of her side, ticklin her until she’s gaspin fer breath.

I only stop when I catch site of the smirk on Apple’s face.

I drain the rest of my glass of apple juice an hold it up, feelin my cheeks goin red. “Could I have some more?”

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