First Draft Fridays #1: Sticks by Rachael Axelby

firstdf_bannerI can barely contain my excitement in releasing this! My good friend Rachael has agreed to let one of her short stories be featured on megamad4books. Maddison and I have always wanted to have a place where we could showcase the works of amazing unknown writers, and we are delighted to announce that the moment is finally here. Rachael is looking for feedback, so please ensure that any response is in line with our commenting policy. I am aware that it is not Friday, but I just couldn’t wait! So without further a due:

STICKS ~ by rachael.axelby

I was lying on the grass, under the warm sun. Below me was the valley where I lived. There were rainforests down there, as well as rivers and little houses. On our stretch, the biggest house had three bedrooms. All the houses were two-storey and the staircases took up enough space for a whole new room. The designer didn’t think too clearly when he created these houses; I often thought I could have done a better job than him. Maybe one day I’ll show them – I’ll renovate our house and make it proper.
I’ve used heaps of paper and ink on making our house. And sticks; I’ve used nearly a whole tree’s worth of little sticks making different models of our new house. It’s especially easy to make models after we’ve had a night of rain. The ground is soggy and under the tufts of grass there’s brown goo. I rip the grass out and put the frame of my little models in the soft ground, and I use the mud for glue instead of twisting long stems of grass around my sticks to keep them in place.
Well, lying on the grass under the warm sun on top of my hill that looked down on my valley, I was staring at the sky. I do that often. I stare and stare at the blueness until tears run down the side of my face into my ears. I like crying when I lay on my back, my nose doesn’t run. I cry a lot. Most of my family’s dead. Now there’s only mamma, and us two boys left; me and Mick. Anyway, I was lying there. And there are often no clouds above us, above the valley or hill. It’s always been blue or grey. Once it was black and that was when we all had to climb the hill, just in case the houses were struck by lightning or something like that. We got pretty wet, it rained for a while. One person died of having too much water in his lungs. They said the rain went through his skin. But he was old; he would be dead today anyway. His wife cried for a whole week; mamma still visits her every day.
Well, back to where I was. I was lying on my back looking at the sky. I did this all my life. I’m 12 years old now. Mamma said I did it when I could first walk, too. I’d climb the hill and fall asleep with my face looking at the sky. I can remember that.
This day, looking at the sky, something odd happened. I had my eyes closed to let them dry for a bit and I felt cold all of a sudden. And my eyes dimmed, like a blanket was hovering over me. So I opened them.
There, sitting in the sky above me was a cloud. It had floated over from somewhere while I had my eyes closed and it was waiting for me to look at it. As soon as I did, we exchanged nods like we were old friends, then he smiled and floated right on by me. He floated and floated until I couldn’t see him.
Nobody knows about my friend. He told me to keep him a secret.

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