|Stormfly (standard:adventure, 665 words) [1/3] show all parts|
|Author: Brian Cross||Updated: Sep 29 2005||Views/Reads: 2222/0||Part vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Prologue and first chapter of childhood drama set in Suffolk, UK|
PROLOGUE I suppose it began with the summer of '63. Annie, Tom and me; three fourteen year olds deep in the Suffolk countryside, having a picnic in a clearing surrounded by knee high corn swaying in a humid breeze. In the distance the whirr of my uncle's combine, pale sunlight reflecting from its green sides. I remember thunder rumbling in the west, where the sky was changing from blue to threatening brown. It was hot and stuffy. And then came the flies, tiny things that hung in the air, like they always seemed to do – Just before a storm – * CHAPTER ONE ‘You're not listening to me Jack.' She stood up, hitched up her jeans, looked to the west and turned back, eyes all fire – ‘We'll get caught in the storm, there's no shelter between here and...' I laughed; action Annie, that's what I called her. No, that's what we called her; me and the crowd she hung out with – she actually seemed bothered, no frightened, and that was a first. ‘Take that look from your face before I do it for you.' I felt her hand clasp my wrist, tight, as she hauled me to my feet, expected a slap at least for my insolence, but she'd already turned her attention to Tom, where it lingered. It always seemed to linger on Tom, and I felt my first stab of jealousy that day – or at least the first I can recall. She was beautiful, you see. Standing there in her multi-coloured T-shirt and jeans, wisps of long auburn hair around her face. Tough but beautiful, and I was an envious fourteen year old, envious of Tom's attraction to her. ‘Yeah,' Tom got to his feet, his eyes seemed locked on hers, ‘Annie's right, storm's coming quickly,' he tried to swat away the swarm of flies that had descended as though released from a giant fist. ‘We'd better make tracks.' ‘Yeah, Annie's always right,' I muttered, reddening, aware of her steely gaze on me. We scooped up the blanket we'd used to cover the bare patch of earth, slipped the remnants of our sandwiches into the holdall we'd brought along with the half dozen or so cans of consumed cider, illegally purchased from the corner shop by Annie, because she was tall, had a great figure and everyone said she looked eighteen at least. ‘Shift yourself,' I felt the palm of one of Annie's hands on the flat of my back, even a push from her was enough to send you a yard. I was in front of the pair of them as we trod our way through the path in the corn, a path that two people could tread together, but not three. So that didn't include me. There was a five bar gate at the end of the first field, my uncle kept it locked. I scrambled over it ahead of the other two, conscious that if I wasn't quick enough Annie's arms would wrap around me, heave me over. I wouldn't have minded her arms around me of course, but I wasn't being made to look pathetic in front of Tom. And it was Tom her eyes always fell on the longest. We were headed west, where the sky got darker, and the rumbling heavier; the flies itched our eyes, our noses, and our mouths. ‘Leg it,' I heard Annie say to Tom. They were behind me, still side by side, but her message meant me as well, and that was tough; tough because it was hot and sticky, the air burned my lungs like an invisible furnace – and of course there was another thing – Annie was quick – greased lightning quick – the fastest girl in our school, but no way was she leaving me behind. In fact it was Tom who got left behind, and I recall feeling elation at that. Because we were now side by side and Tom was falling back. Yes I felt elation. But that elation was short-lived... Tweet
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