Dear Diary, it’s me, Blue again. And yes, this is my first entry since hitting the road… well running away from home. I haven’t had the energy to write sooner than now because the little cash I had was spent so quickly, I haven’t had much to eat. I think I’ve lost at least ten pounds.
Anyway, I’ve decided to be as honest as I can in my diary since I can’t be honest anywhere else. So, honestly, I think I’m the stupidest person who ever lived. There, I said it. The reason I haven’t said it out loud is because then I would have to do something about it. And I just can’t go home right now. Not when I’ve hurt everyone so badly with my careless and selfish actions.
What I can’t believe is that I was actually dumb enough to do this in the first place. And now I’m so far in, I don’t know how to turn back anymore.
When I left Hidden Springs, I went as far as I could by taxi. That ate up a lot of money, but I knew my dad would have every cop looking for my car if I took it. Besides, having a car means needing gas for it and I really didn’t think ahead enough to gather enough money to support that kind of thing. Leaving in the night on a whim doesn’t give you that many choices. Another reason I’m stupid.
I traveled all over, but it was only to confuse anyone who might be looking for me. At the time, I really didn’t want to be found. My ultimate goal was to go to Winchester Farming Community. I had tried to do some research online of that place, but there wasn’t much to find out. For some reason, there wasn’t all that much information either online or in the library. All I knew for sure, was that I’d received a mysterious note in what I figured was a man’s handwriting.
Winchester Farming Community”
Doing research on St. Cyr was a dead end, too, but not as much as the actual community was. The St. Cyr family started out in Moonlight Falls. The earliest record of them was over a hundred years old. But not long after the record was made, the family just up and disappeared. The note I got made me wonder if they were now in Winchester and, of course, who would have sent the note to me in the first place. And why? I figured I’d find that out when I got there. Yes, I know, another dumb decision.
Getting to Winchester was not as easy as it sounded. The process involved a week’s worth of train rides and boat trips. It seemed really ridiculous to me that it should be so difficult to find this place. But, the harder it got, the more determined I was to find out all I could.
When I finally stepped off of the boat onto the little island community of Winchester, the sun was setting and I had no money, no food, no change of clothing and no prospects. The only thing holding down the immense fear that was building up in my stomach was my equally immense hunger. I mean, this was a farming community. Hopefully, I’d see some fruit trees or something because I was just that desperate.
My luck only worsened, though, as a light rain began to fall. It was just enough to dampen my dirty clothes and give me a chill. My hair had become an unsightly, stringy mess and I could feel a cold coming on. Willing myself to go on, I asked someone standing nearby if they could direct me to the St. Cyr home. At least I could see it.
The person, who was dressed in what seemed a strangely old fashioned outfit pointed down a dirt road (all the roads were dirt, from what I could see), toward a tree filled forest. Then, he looked me up and down and scrunched up his tight face as if I had offended him just by looking the way I did.
My stomach hurt so badly from hunger, I tripped and stumbled down the road which, the further I went, got narrower and narrower. The trees seemed to crowd in, blocking out the setting sun so that I became disoriented, no longer even knowing what time of day it was.
Just as I thought the path couldn’t have gotten any narrower, the trees seemed to part and there was a clearing. Directly ahead was a colonial style house, standing straight and tall against the darkening sky.
I hesitated, then shuffled and limped as far as the mailbox. For the life of me, I didn’t think I could go even a step further. My stomach ached, my nose was itchy and stuffed, my head was pounding and I was wet from the rain and dirty from days on end without a shower or change of clothing.
Looking around to the side of the mailbox, I saw what I was looking for, the name “St. Cyr.” Well, I was here. But now what? What had I expected to happen? That this loving family would see poor, miserable me and usher me inside to feed, bathe me and offer me a bed?
This was, I think, the moment that the pure lunacy of my actions hit me.
What have I done? I inwardly cried. Oh, Daddy, I miss you so much.
Holding in a sob, I glanced up to see the most beautiful thing I could ever dream of. A cluster of apple trees! Apples sounded so good right then. Shoot, I would have settled for anything, really. But this was just wonderful.
I’m not sure they were ripe enough to pick, but that didn’t stop me. The first apple was really small, but I took the hugest bite out of it I think I’ve ever managed. It was slightly bitter but I didn’t care. Over the next few minutes, I ate several more, tossing the cores on the ground.
When I was done eating the glorious fruit, I spent the next few minutes watching the house. It was strange, but there wasn’t much light coming from inside. And what light I did see was wavering around like the flame from a candle or kerosene lamp. Didn’t they have electricity?
After getting off the boat, I had noticed right away that my cell phone was useless. Not only was there no service, it was nearly dead. If there was no electricity, I would not even be able to plug my phone in to charge. Scratching my head, I thought maybe the electricity had just gone out. Maybe they’d had a storm that had knocked their power out. People didn’t just live without electricity!
I was so tired and I didn’t know where to go because I didn’t feel like I had the strength to go all the way back down that dark, narrow path to town to find a park or something. But this family had a nice, large barn. Maybe I could sneak up to the hayloft and tuck myself in so they wouldn’t notice me.
The hay smelled so fresh and good, I noticed it was a little scratchy against my bare legs and arms as I settled into it. But, I don’t think I was awake long enough to care.
The sun was barely up when I rubbed my eyes and belatedly realized there were men in the barn! I scooched up to the wall as best I could and quietly pulled hay over my body, hoping I was hidden well enough.
I didn’t get a good look at them, but I think there were two and they were in and out of the barn all day. Every time they entered, I carefully hid myself and stayed as still as I could.
At one point, I thought I was dead meat as I listened to them talking.
“Apple cores, you say?” said man one.
“Yeah, all around the orchard. The horses were eating them, that’s how I noticed them,” said man two. “Should I tell Agathe?”
There was a pause, apparently as man one considered this. “I see no reason to. It was probably just kids.”
I let out a small sigh as the men left the barn and I promised myself that I would be more careful.
When night hit again, I tiptoed out of the barn, looking in every possible direction to be sure no one saw me. Once again, the house seemed dark with only one or two small, wavering lights. Maybe they were stingy and didn’t like to spend a lot of money on electricity, I told myself.
Behind the garage, was a big and beautiful garden, which I helped myself to.
I ate tomatoes, green beans, peas and raw corn on the cob until I couldn’t eat another bite, then I threw the cobs and other trash over the back fence into the bushes.
I was standing still, watching the moon, when I heard a twig snap. Jerking around, I squinted in the darkness to see if someone was there, behind me. I couldn’t see anyone, but I had that prickly feeling you get on the back of your neck when you’re spooked. Something told me that just because I couldn’t see anyone, didn’t mean no one was there.
Fear gripped my heart and my voice. I wanted to call out softly to ask who was there, but my nerve had left me.
Instead, I ran all the way back to the barn. My plan was to hurry up to my loft and press myself as tightly against the wall as I could, covering myself with hay, in the hopes that I had escaped whoever was stalking me. It was only then that I realized how lucky I’d been not to have been attacked at all while on the run.
I was just reaching out for the big barn door when suddenly, my head began to spin and my breath came in great wracking sobs. I couldn’t go on like this, there was no way. My chest hurt from running and I began to cry, making trails in the grime on my cheeks. I don’t know if it was from the fear coursing through me or the fever I’d been fighting from my cold, but I began to shiver uncontrollably.
Just as I felt like I could no longer stand, I felt strong arms lift me off of my feet and into the air. My head lolled back and the world began to spin faster as little sweat droplets broke out on my forehead. The arms pulled me in tighter, pressing my face against a warm chest.
For the first time since I’d left home, I felt safe. I probably should have still been frightened out of my mind because I didn’t know who this was or what he was going to do to me, but for some reason, the arms gently cradling my aching body brought comfort.
I must have drifted off because when I opened my eyes again, I was lying on an old brass bed in a very dark room. There was an oil lamp, very dimly lit and that was all. Feeling groggy, I blinked as if that would help me to wake up fully. Instead, I slowly became aware of the pain in my aching joints and the shivering that wouldn’t stop.
“Are you awake?” came an urgent female voice. It took me a moment to realize she was standing near the bed.
But how had I gotten here? Surely, it hadn’t been a woman who had carried me.
“I’m Alice Millet,” she said, the urgency not leaving her voice. “Can you tell me your name?”
In confusion, I studied her kind face. She had beautiful eyes and a ruddy complexion. Her hair was completely covered with some kind of scarf and she was wearing the odd old fashioned clothing I’d seen on the people in town.
Alice glanced toward the other side of the room and I became aware that there was a man standing there in the shadows. I couldn’t see his face. All I could make out was his white shirt and black suspenders which stood out starkly against the black backdrop.
“You were right to get me,” Alice said to the shadow-man. “We have to tell Agathe about this right away.”
That was the second time I’d heard the name Agathe. Was she in charge or something? Was she a St. Cyr?
When the man didn’t respond, Alice said, “She talks almost as much as you.” Then she sighed loudly, “Well, never mind about that now. This girl is feverish and filthy. Two things I hate. You go do whatever it is you do at night and I’ll take care of her.”
At this point, I was only half listening. The bed was so comfortable and I was so weak and tired. My eyes began to involuntarily close again…
“… Now what will we do with you?”
Alice’s voice was adenoidal in tone which made it easy to distinguish with my eyes still closed. Part of me was too tired to open my eyes, and the other part of me didn’t want to be hammered with questions.
As I became more aware, I came to notice that Alice must have bathed me because the stench that had covered me for the past several days was finally gone and I could feel the stiffness of a freshly pressed nightgown against my skin.
“I reckon I’ll just have to make other arrangements for Dax and you can stay put here until you are better,” Alice reasoned to the wall. I continued to listen to her in my half-awake state, her voice nearly putting me back to sleep again. “And I’ll have to tell Agathe, there’s no getting around that. But maybe it can wait, too, just a little bit.”
I felt Alice gently tugging on the covers, pulling them up higher, just under my chin, and I was lost after that, the world going dark.
Author’s Note: Blue sure has landed somewhere strange, hasn’t she? If you would like to know more about how this world is set up and what the deal is, I made a page outlining their society which you can read when it is released Wednesday, February 15!