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Chapter Two

Writer’s Note: Meg’s name has changed to Emma, Meg just didn’t feel right anymore.

 

I awoke the next morning in the dusty haze that is morning in Kentucky. I hadn’t even realized I had fallen asleep, though I must have. I checked my phone and there was still no text message from Mom. The worry settled a little lower in my stomach, I got up hoping to find her car in the driveway. No car my mind ticked off and that meant she wasn’t in her bed either. Now hours have passed, a full night and still no word, still no Mom. This only seemed to strengthen my resolve to go to her work to find out what had happened to her. I just hoped they would have some answers. For now thought I had to get the kids up and take them to school.

I woke Marie first because she preferred her showers in the morning, also it was because she was the easier of the two to wake if I had to be honest. Plus if I woke Marie first I could plan my day a little bit better because she so rarely talked before her shower. Some days I swore it was like coffee for her, but today I was glad for it.

I walked to her room and softly rapped against the door calling her name as I did so. I heard a grunt in response and I knew she was already halfway awake. “Come on Marie, the day has begun.” I said with the slightest of snicker. I knew I would get hit for it later, but she would know if I didn’t say it that something was up.

I had to go to Casey’s school, and Mom’s work. I also had to call my school to let them know I would be by later to pick up my school work. At seventeen the pressure was suddenly obvious what Mom missing truly meant. Until Mom was found I was sole caretaker for these kids, my brother and sister. While taking care of them I must also keep it a secret that my Mom was missing. The last thing these kids, or me for that matter needed was a father who hadn’t cared in years.

My day aligned itself quickly and I pulled out my cell phone quickly flicking to Mr. Phillips number, my home room teacher and who I was supposed to check in with. The phone rang four times before he picked up. I knew that he was already at school and preparing for his own day.

“Hello this is Mr. Phillips, can I help you?” his familiar tone rang in my ears. I wanted to spew everything, Mom being missing, Casey having a fight at school, the pressure of the world that now seemed planted firmly on my shoulders.

“Hello?” he called again snapping me back to my temporary reality.

“Yes Mr. Phillips its Emma, how are you today?” I answered.

“I am doing good, finishing up the papers for the day. What can I do you for Emma?”

“I am going to have miss school today. Mom had to go to work early, and Casey has a parent teacher conference today during lunch. His…” I stuttered to find an excuse other than him getting in a fight.

“Say no more. I will have your work gathered in my room by five this evening. Do you think you could pick it up then?” he answered with a softer tone.

“Yes sir. I will be there at five,” the relief evident in my voice that I did not have to fully explain.

“You know you are a good sister, and daughter. I am sure your mom appreciates what you do to help.” he stated very matter of fact.

The words stung more than they should have. My mom did appreciate me and what I did to help out. She told me all the time, but now with her missing the words were like a knife. “Thank you Mr. Phillips.” I stated bluntly as I bit my cheek. “I will see you at five. Have a great day.”

“You too Emma.” He said before the line disconnected.

I pocketed the cell phone as I walked down the hall to Casey’s room. Casey was already stirring as I called his name through the doorway. “Casey time for school. Let’s go. And put on decent clothes. No holes or stains ok?”

He grumbled in response, but kicked back the covers. I knew it was best that I went ahead and give him ten minutes. I walked back toward the kitchen so I could make their breakfast. I pulled out the pancake mix I had made three days ago when everything was right in my tiny world. I made the pancakes quickly, this was my morning job. The only thing different today was Mom was not sitting at the table going through case notes, and talking to me about her latest case. She never gave all of the details but it was enough to ask my advice or thoughts.

I heard Marie coming down the hallway but it almost didn’t click, but not until I got the hit in the back of my shoulder anyway. I should have known it was coming, it always did.

“You know what that was for. But where is mom anyway?” She asked with a sensitivity that was evident and unlike her in the mornings.

I turned to look at her and noted the towel that was on her head, a few brown tendrils draped around her face with water dripping from the occasionally. “She is..at work early.” I said brightly as I turned around with a smile. There was no need to worry anyone else. This would be my burden, the yoke I had to carry for this family.

“Oh I was wondering. I wonder what case she is working on, she worked late last night and now at work early. It must be something big.” she said as the curiosity of a ten-year old poured out of her. “I wonder if she’s trying to put another man who murdered someone behind bars. That would definitely explain it.”

“Maybe.” I said unsure, “Just maybe Marie, but you still need to eat and go to school. Mom keeps the bad guys off the street and if you want to later you must have your education.” I looked at her pointedly, reminding her of her own dream to be an attorney for the state of Kentucky.

She smiled at my comment and sat down as she started going on about her prior day. She talked about how her math teacher continued to push her a little harder. So did her English teacher but that was where she excelled so it didn’t bother her as bad. She finished her pancakes as she continued to talk and I sat and listened while I ate. Casey finally came out right as Marie finished her pancakes.

I glanced up at him as he sit across from Marie, “Don’t blame me because your pancakes are cold. Breakfast was ready fifteen minutes ago.”

He grunted slightly as he slumped into his chair. I rolled my eyes as I returned to my hearing side of the conversation with Marie. I knew there were some battles that just weren’t worth it, and his posture was one of those. I finished right as Marie did and she took both of the plates to the sink, and ran water over them.

I then walked down to my room and began to get dressed for the day. I took into account everything I had to do today before pulling anything out of the closet. I settled on a cap sleeve black shirt and a pair of jeans. I pulled out my light grey pumps and slid my feet into them as I debated the possibility of putting on makeup. I finally decided that if I was going to mom’s office I should put on at least gloss and mascara. I quickly applied the dark mascara to my already dark lashes. I stopped and looked in the mirror as Mom’s reflection stared back. I looked so much like my mom people often thought we were sisters. With my high cheekbones, and heart-shaped face the only thing I had of my father’s was his nose, and even that my mom joked about having fixed to match hers one day. I was practically a carbon copy of my mother. My mother who was missing and could be scared, without her phone, who only Lord knew where she was and what had truly happened. I sighed softly as the worry in my heart lodged itself a little lower. I applied my pink gloss to my already thick pout without looking in the mirror. I did not need to see my mother again. Finally I pulled out a soft black shawl and stepped into the hallway.

Both Casey and Marie were sitting on the couch watching T.V. while waiting for me. I told them to turn it off and check the back door to be sure it was locked as I grabbed my purse and the truck keys. I walked to the front door holding it for the both of them so I could lock up behind them.

We climbed into the old two door blue ‘91 Chevy Cheyenne truck Mom had gotten me last year for my birthday. She had told me then that if I proved myself with this truck she would get me a brand new car when I turned eighteen. Which was fine by me, it made sense why you wouldn’t give a brand new car to a brand new driver. Besides I liked my old truck, it had class. I knew the every in and out of this truck. If I had to be honest I was scared of getting a new car, something I had to learn all over. But I was also excited, though none of that mattered with Mom missing. Just more reminders that I had to find her. No one’s world was right without her.

I turned the old truck over a few seconds later it sputtered to life roaring for a moment before I shifted into reverse as I waited for Casey to put on his seat belt. Marie, as usual was already waiting for him to get it on as she knew the truck wouldn’t move until he had it on. She really didn’t like being late to school. He finally obliged as he motioned for us to continue. I sighed heavily as I backed out the gravel driveway shifted into drive and carried on down the soft hill. This time of morning was always beautiful to me, the animals just awakening, the sun peaking through the trees as we carried on down the road. Finally the trees broke up giving way to what seemed like endless road, Marie was reading aloud from the book we always listened to in the morning. The endless highway gave way to bustling town life, people already on their way to work, parents taking their kids to school, the countless errands that were run daily in the big town. It was enough to make anyone feel small and only led my mind to wonder where Mom could be in this big, crazy town we lived on the outskirts of.

Fifteen minutes later we were pulling up in front of the elementary school to drop Marie off. Before she got out of the blue Chevy I grabbed her hand and looked at her.

“This is important. Please remember this today. I will be here to pick you up. Do not get on the bus and do not go with anyone else.” I keep her gaze and the words came out slowly and carefully. “Do you understand?”

She nodded but I was not happy with this for a response. “Repeat what I said back to me.” I demanded in a sharp voice.

“Don’t get on the bus and don’t go with anyone else.” She said as she plucked the words from her memory.

“Good. I will also call Mrs. Fields to be sure she knows. Ok?” I asked without expecting answer. I dropped her hand to let her know the conversation was finished. “I love you Marie.”

“I love you Emma.” She said softly as she got out of the truck and went down the damp sidewalk to school. At least I knew she would be safe, which eased one more worry in my mind and heart.

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She hides it so nicely

She smiles so nicely.
She looks flawless
You would never think she was in pain and ready to break down.
You would never know she’s ready to crack at any moment.
She replies everytime, I’m ok.
Waiting on that one person to see through the storm clouds…
Waiting on someone to say, no you aren’t. Just tell the truth.
She knows that day won’t come.
She knows those words won’t be spoke.
So she hides it all away, writes it down, puts it in a bottle and
casts it into the ocean, for it to swallow the pain, hoping that will help.
It hasn’t yet, but its the only hope she clings to.
People tell her that she should be happy, and she knows she should,
but its just so hard…to smile when she wants to crack…
to hide it behind a prefectly crafted facade…like the storm isn’t even there.
She’s asked again, and again she replies, I’m ok.
Nothing else is said, and she knows she must hide it once again.

Brief History of Calligraphy

Today I decided to write about something that has just happened but still pertains to my writing. For a long time I have wanted to learn the art of Calligraphy. I have never voiced this actively because I feared that it was a dying art, or worse that I would be no good at it. I had told close friends and family only of this dream.

For my birthday my brother and his girlfriend had decided to get me my first calligraphy set. I am absolutely in love with this set. I am just waiting on the ink to get here right now and then I can start practicing. This is not going to be a bragging post though about how I got something new. I wanted to talk about the history of calligraphy.

Calligraphy in its current form is believed to have originated from Rome, England and Scotland. In these areas the people would carve large intricate letters on monuments, but for simpler tasks it was much harder to use that type of writing. They would scrawl with a metal pen into wax tablets or with ink on bark. These would often be illegible and the ink would bleed together, or the wax would melt.

So when making important books, the letters had to be grand, and readable while still being intricate. The Roman writing of the time was not grand, nor readable. So the bookmakers looked to the writings carved in stone, it fit the bill perfectly. It was grand, intricate and readable. This writing style was named Uncial, it is typically made with a broad edge pen nib. The letters take a great deal of space, and this space was determined by the thick and thin of each letter. This however was a small point for the bookmakers because the books they often worked on were Bibles, and they felt it was important to have it legible, and grand.

From the Unical came the Half-Uncial this was developed in a monastery in Lindisfarne and was first published in one of England’s greatest treasures, The Lindisfarne Gospels. This style looked much like Unical except it has designs among the letters, and delicate color combinations.

Another important calligraphy style to note is the Insular Minuscule. In very early forms it looks points or spiky. This style was used in the ninth century in books like the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Vespasian Psalter. The Insular Minuscule was also used as a book hand, mainly when it became more square in its form.

These were the first calligraphy styles, aside from the Japanese and Chinese styles which are quite different. They were and still are used for entirely different purposes. The Japanese and Chinese use their calligraphy on a regular basis as their regular form of writing whereas in England, Rome and even now in the Americas it is an art form. A thing to be cultivated and practiced.

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Tragically Wrong

(I wrote this a few years ago, edited it and am reposting it here. Please let me know what your feedback is. I am thinking about making this into a novel)

 

I just want to get to class. Even though the chances of getting there without someone catching me in the halls were slim, but I still hoped to be able to slide through the hallways without being noticed. I turned the dial on the locker quickly, feeling the click as it unlocked. I slid my books from last class in, and pulled out the ones for next class, as I quickly checked my appearance. I smoothed my raven hair down quickly, it framed my square face but I preferred it down rather than up these days. I closed the door, and started on the way. I mapped the way to the next class in my head even though I knew the way like the back of my hand; I even know another way to get to this class and pass even fewer people. But I don’t want to go that way today for the sheer fact that I am tired of avoiding the problems by avoiding people.

I was just about to the stairs when I heard the familiar voice of Stacy Kingston rise from behind me. Tall, blonde, smart and looks to kill, she was almost the perfect girl. She always had a boyfriend and was always up to date on the latest fashions. “Oh you decided to actually go this way today?” Stacey called out. I didn’t even have to guess who she was talking to. I dipped my head, brushed my hair back and started down the stairs. ‘Just pay her no mind. She can’t have a conversation if I don’t respond’, I thought silently as I descended the first few stairs.

At that moment I felt hands on my shoulders and I tried to brace myself like I had been taught in karate. But I wasn’t fast enough, and found myself tumbling down the stairs along with my books and bag. When I finally reached the floor the world was spinning and I was sore as my head swam. One of my friends, Tanya I think, saw me and rushed over. Stacy wasn’t done though and I knew it. I forced myself to stand, and gather my wits as Stacy walked down the stairs calmly. “Oh Meg, you shouldn’t be so clumsy.” she said with a sneer. “No maybe some people need to learn to keep their hands to themselves” I shot back. A teacher walked over to stop the fight, and as he got closer he saw the rising red marks where the stairs had hit my face on the way down and the trickle of blood from my bottom lip.

“What happened here Katelyn?” Mr. Sanchez asked as he looked to me. “She was bullying me again, and pushed me down the stairs.” Stacy just stood there; we both knew nothing would happen to her, her father after all was on the school board. Mr. Sanchez shook his head and told Stacy that she would be expected to show up in the principal’s office in 15 minutes. He escorted me to the nurse’s office and offered to call my parents. I turned him down, the last thing I needed was for my mom to have to take off work to come get me. I would get through the day. I always got through the days. The rest of the day passed without any more excitement.

I got home and sat down at the kitchen table to start my homework. About 30 minutes more and Marie would be home, which meant dinner had to be started soon, 30 minutes after she got home Casey would be walking through the door, and then Mom about an hour later. I checked the clock and sure enough as always, it was 4:30 pm. I pulled out my trig book, and dived into the complex equations, I felt at peace doing things I didn’t have to really think about. Math concepts applied to a lot of life if you stop and think. Marie walked in right on time, and started right in on her homework, the one thing that this house lived by was schedules, always on a schedule. I got up and pulled out the chicken, I had decided on a simple Cuban rice and chicken dish with steamed vegetables.

I stopped for a minute to turn on the audio track for ‘The Host’. I had two weeks until this essay was due and I was at a loss as to how to start, so I was listening the audio book through for now. The second Casey walked in he went straight to his room, I knew something was off, but I didn’t let it settle on my mind for long. He had been having a rough time this year, maybe something had happened today…he would come and talk to me sooner or later.

I stuck the chicken in the oven to bake as I started the steamer up to get the vegetables in. Casey came out of his room toting his math book. ‘Hey Kate, I got this long algebra problem and it’s not coming out right. Got a minute?’ I nodded and sat down grabbing my pencil and paper, it only took a few minutes to work out and explain. He went back to his room without another word, something was defiantly up, and there was no question about it now.

I pulled out the chicken and glanced at the clock again, it was nearing 6, and Mom would be home soon. I checked the vegetables as I started the rice. Marie went off to her room to play, and Casey came out of his room. He sat down at the table, ‘Hey sis, do you have a minute? I need to talk to you.’ he asked softly. I stirred the rice one more time, and sat down hitting pause on the audio book. ‘What’s up?’ I asked as I noticed a piece of paper in his hands, and a worried look on his face. ‘Come on Casey what’s going on? You know you can talk to me.’ He fidgeted a bit and slid the paper to me across the oak table. I read it quickly, hoping for an explanation: “Parent Teacher Conference Requested” was the header. I didn’t bother to read the rest. I wanted him to tell me.

‘What happened?’ I asked with more aggravation in my words than I had intended. I knew he needed me to be gentle but this was the third time this year.

‘Chuck bullied me again. He and his friends ganged up on me, I had no other choice Kate. I couldn’t just let them pummel me.’ He said in a quick rush.

‘I will be at the school tomorrow.’ It was times like this I was glad I was on the honor roll and had a good reputation with my school. With Mom being a single parent and an accountant she sometimes needed me to step in for her. Mom had signed a wavier last year so I could act as guardian when it was needed.

Casey groaned, ‘I kinda also need you to sign this,’ he pushed another paper to me. This one was slightly smaller; I read this letter all the way through. ‘Dear Mrs. Yates, Casey’s grades are dropping significantly. I wanted to be sure that you were aware of this. As of right now he can make up the work that has been missed, and I have a few extra credit assignments that can help his grade. If you would like to get together and discuss tutoring I am available any time this week, just give me a call to schedule an appointment. Casey’s English Teacher, Miss Aiken” Her number was listed at the bottom of the page.

‘Your grades are dropping too? From today on you will be doing extra credit every night. Understood? I will meet with her tomorrow too.’ I scrawled my signature on the bottom of both papers and passed them back to him. I finished dinner and by now it was 6:30 pm. I hadn’t noticed that time had slipped away from me, and Mom wasn’t home. I brushed it off maybe something had come up last minute. She had been working on the tax returns for a big company. I went ahead and served dinner so that Marie and Casey could get on to bed.

It was now almost 7:30 pm and Mom still wasn’t home. I was starting to get a little worried so I called her phone and for the first time since she had gotten the phone it went straight to voice mail. 3 things about my Mom and probably the most important about things about her, the first she was never, ever late. The second she ran on a schedule like it was ordained by Jesus himself. Finally she never ever let her phone go to voice mail, because of the off chance it could be an emergency. If my mom wasn’t home, and wasn’t picking up her phone it was because something was keeping her from doing so, not because it was her own free will. That meant that something was seriously wrong and I felt the fear well in my chest like a tsunami. I stayed up all night to wait for her. She never called, never texted, and never came home. Something was tragically wrong, and I just knew it. I knew I had to find out what before anyone else did, after all I am only 17 and our biological father has been missing for five years now. No one else is around to take us in, our mom is all we have left.

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