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My brother’s asleep on the couch and I have a pen in my hand. At first I was going to draw on his face, but that would wake him up. So I turn the pen upside down and dangle the orange feather at the end just above his nose.

“What are you doing, Allie?” he asks without opening his eyes. I sweep the feather across his nose. He looks and his face wrinkles up. “Orange.”

“It’s just a colour,” I say. “I’m looking after you. Mum told me to.”

He pushes me off the couch with one hand and I slump onto the floor. “You’re too little to look after me, Allie.”

“But you’re sick, and you can’t look after me, so . . .” I have to look after him. It’s my job now.

“Sure, I can,” he says. “And I’m not sick, just tired.”

“You’ve been tired a lot. That might mean you’re sick.”

“Allie. There’s nothing – underline that – nothing wrong with me.”

He wipes his face with his hand, but he’s still not smiling. So I say our joke.

“Then play with me, for Pete’s sake!”

It’s funny, because Pete is my brother’s name.

“Fine,” he says (with the smallest smile). “Hide and seek. I’ll count.”

I jump to my feet. “Really? For real? You’re going to find me and not go back to sleep?”

“For real,” he says. “But there are three rules. Don’t disturb Dad – he needs to sleep for his night shift. Don’t go in the garden – you can only hide in the house. And don’t go into my room. Okay?”

“Okay.”

“Now hide good.”

* * *

I go into my brother’s room, which smells like armpits, and meander my way around his dirty clothes to look under his bed. It’s jam-packed with junk – not enough space for me. Maybe if the wardrobe isn’t so stinky, I can . . .

I stop and sniff the air. There’s a smell, sweet and new. I follow my nose to Pete’s desk. The top drawer has a keyhole and the smell is coming from inside.

It’s one thing to break a hide and seek rule. It’s quite another to open Pete’s forbidden locked drawer.

I listen for Pete downstairs. There’s no sound. Maybe he did go back to sleep. That should upset me, but . . .

I open Pete’s sock drawer, and after mustering up my courage, I pick up his pair of smelly grey socks and take the key he hid in one. Then I go back, unlock the forbidden drawer and open it. A waft of sweetness blows into my face. My nose feels clean again.

The smell comes from a handful of orange flowers. They’re beautiful, with big petals and curly styles. I have no idea where Pete found these or why he has them. He’s not a fan of flowers, and he hates orange.

So I take them.

* * *

When you’re being naughty you should stay away from the scene of the crime. I hide in my room until I hear the garden door open and close, at which point I get out of my toy box and grab my spy binoculars from the window sill.

It seems Pete is breaking his own rules. I see him through my binoculars, walking to the end of the garden. He’s walking funny. He’s walking like it hurts. I chew my lips and knock on the window.

“Pete,” I say. “Look at me!”

It takes his whole body to sway one leg in front of the other. He walks like that until he falls.

“Pete!”

He crawls, then drags himself on.

“Are you . . . are you playing a game? Pete?” I don’t think he is, but I want him to say yes and sorry.

He reaches the lemon tree, touches the bark and disappears.

* * *

I run to the garden.

“Pete? Are you hiding?” He’s not. He’s sick, not tired. For the first time in my life, I’m right and someone big is wrong. But that’s not important, because he’s disappeared and I don’t know where he is. I’ve imagined hide and seek games this bad, but only in the dark.

Pete is in danger. I’m afraid I’ll be right about that too.

I crouch down and look at the base of the lemon tree – the bit Pete touched. There’s a word that looks like it was scratched in with something sharp. It says ‘BEAK.’

I touch it, and I’m gone.

* * *

It’s sweet here. It smells so sweet I’m feeling dizzy. And it’s orange.

My brother kneels down and holds me.

“Allie, I told you to hide.” His words are soft, like when Mum used to say goodnight.

“I didn’t want to be alone.”

He shakes his head and I’m sorry I upset him, but I can’t help smiling. The lemon tree took us to another world. It looks like a fairy court in orange and gold, but there are no happy fairies here. This place is mostly empty, except for us . . . and Beak.

I know his name is Beak because his body is covered in white feathers and his head is a bird skull. I think he’s looking at us.

“My dad’s the police,” I say.

Beak twitches his head to the side, and looks at me with one empty eye hole. “Your dad is a factory worker in a car company,” he says. And it’s true. “Lying is bad. Lying is very bad.”

“Allie, go home. Go back,” Pete says. He tries to push me away, but I won’t let go.

“I don’t know how. Take me home.”

Pete mumbles something.

“What?”

He slumps and is too heavy for me to hold, but he’s already on his knees, so I guide his fall onto the floor and he isn’t hurt. He’s asleep.

“What’s happening to him? Why’s he sick?”

Beak twitches his head to the other side. “He liked my flowers too much. He sniffed them too much. Now he’s mine.”

“No, he’s not. He’s mine.”

Beak laughs like a flock of bad birds – the kind that steal the food right out of your hand.

“What do you want with him? He’s smelly. He’s really only good for me,” I say, “ and that’s because he’s my brother.” I make my voice firm on those last words so Beak gets the hint.

The feathers on Beak’s arms grow until they become wings. He spreads them and they fill the heights above us.

“Why do you want him?” I ask again. Quieter.

He folds his wings down and I breathe better. “I need a new person suit. That’s all,” he says. “My last person suit finished.”

“Finished?”

Finished.

That’s not healthy.

“There’s nothing you can do, you know” Beak says. “I’m an Other, you know, and an Other is much more worse than anything you’ve seen before. Especially here.”

“But you’re not dangerous . . . there? In my house?” Where Dad is sleeping and doesn’t know a monster is on its way.

“Oh, I’m dangerous there too, thanks to my friend, Pete. He’s left my flowers there. My precious, special flowers.”

“O-oh,” I say. “And they’re important?”

Beak twitches and he’s looking at me face on. “Why do you ask, little one? Why do you ask?”

“Umm.”

He spreads out his wings and takes high to the air. “Were you naughty?” he asks. “Naughty, naughty.” He swoops down and his sharp beak shines.

I grab the orange flowers from my pocket and shove them into my mouth and chew them into a honey-tasting mush. Beak screeches. He explodes into a rain of white feathers. The bird skull smashes onto the floor.

* * *

Pete wakes up and I jump on him.

“Oof,” he says. “Allie?”

“You’re alive and I love you. Take me home.”

He gets up and looks at the white flowers all across the floor.

“They used to be feathers,” I say and I tell him what happened. He hugs me again and calls me amazing.

“We’ll go home soon, Allie. But first take out the flowers from your pocket.”

“I already did. I ate them.” I told Pete I knew what would happen when I did that, but really I was just trying to stop Beak from getting to my house.

“The white flowers.”

“Oh.”

I take them out and let them fall to the ground. Pete checks I haven’t sneaked any.

“Good,” he says. “Jeez. All this from trying to cast a good luck spell. I’m never going to trust one of those things again.”

“It was called an Other. Did you say spell? You did a spell?”

“Yep. I’m a witch. Not a good one yet, but you know . . . practice.”

He takes my hand and leads me to the wall. At the bottom is a carving that says: PETE.

“If you teach me a spell, I’ll stop calling you smelly,” I say.

“When do you call me smelly?”

I shrug. “Almost all the time." 

"Right. Reputation ruined.”                                                                                       

He touches the carving, and we’re gone.

:iconscreamprompts:

Prompt 38 fav.me/d6g4jak

The prompt was: 'Someone is right for the first time in their lives.'
With additional parameters: The main character should be between six and ten years old.  Children's fiction.  First-person POV. Wordcount between 1500 and 2000.

I haven't written fiction for children since I was a child. I loved doing this. This is the kind of story a very young me would have liked.

12/07/2015 Edit: Tightened and polished for possible acceptance into raspil's ScreamPrompt anthology.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-11-06
:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2015

That’s not healthy.

“There’s nothing you can do, you know” Beak says. “I’m an Other, you know, and an Other is much more worse than anything you’ve seen before. Especially here.”

“But you’re not dangerous . . . there? In my house?” Where Dad is sleeping and doesn’t know a monster is on its way.

This part confuses me. I don't know if I'm not reading closely enough, but I don't know where the "That's not healthy" comes from or what it refers to. And when Allie says "there? In my house?" I also can't figure out what she's referring to.

Also, here: “Are you . . . are playing a game? Pete?” I think you forgot the word you.

Anyway, nice story. I enjoyed reading it.

Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
'That's not healthy' is regarding the dialogue just before it, with the previous person suit being 'finished'.

When Beak says 'Especially here' he means that dimension. Allie is asking if he's dangerous in her dimension. This leads to the significance of the orange flowers and Allie accidentally foiling his plans.

Thank you for finding that missing 'you.' :)
Reply
:iconfridgepoetproject:
FridgePoetProject Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I'm really glad you updated this, since I hadn't read it before, and it's quite wonderful (certainly deserving of the DD!).  Loved the clever storyline, and the bits of humor strung throughout it -- notably, “What do you want with him? He’s smelly" and "That's not healthy."  Good show!  :clap:
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconannqueru:
Annqueru Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2015
"12/07/2015 Edit: Tightened and polished"

:)  Is shiney.




..I remember reading this before, and didn't think one way or the other of it, but rereading it now, it's really good!
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Squeaky clean. :)

Oh, that's great news! I'm glad I could win you around.
Reply
:iconmelikebat:
MelikeBAt Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Featured here in the preview: India Journal Skin
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks. :) Beautiful journal skin by the way.
Reply
:iconmelikebat:
MelikeBAt Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! :heart:
Reply
:iconsphoric:
Sphoric Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013   Writer
The image of chewing the orange flowers is gorgeous :D
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! :)
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! :la:
Reply
:icongalacticpink:
galacticpink Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm going to join the army of people who thought it was gonna be drug related. However, as a fan of the young adult fantasy genre (fantasy in general but something about the everything works out aspect of most YA has always made me happy), I was THRILLED with this direction.

Kind of reminded me a bit of Lisey's Story by Stephen King in a few parts, if you're familiar with it. Not saying its not original, just something that crossed my mind. I'd love to see this setting expanded on it's one of those stories that makes me want a whole book (or series)! XD
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Haha, thank you! I don't know Lisey's story, but I do like Stephen King, so I'll look into that. :D

I was thinking of making a series of short stories with these characters, so I'm glad you think that's a good idea. :)
Reply
:iconjayjayanimelover2000:
JayJayAnimeLover2000 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Cool! I like it!:D (Big Grin) :D (Big Grin) :D (Big Grin) :D (Big Grin) :D (Big Grin) :D (Big Grin) :D (Big Grin) :D (Big Grin) 
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconjayjayanimelover2000:
JayJayAnimeLover2000 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Your Welcome! :-)
Reply
:iconaquagalaxy:
AquaGalaxy Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013
congratulations on the DD ! >W<
awesome!
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks!
Reply
:iconthesistineapple:
TheSistineApple Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013
Congrats on the DD!
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. c:
Reply
:iconthesistineapple:
TheSistineApple Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2013
you're welcome!
Reply
:iconlightningidle:
LightningIdle Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
This flows wonderfully, and I like how the imagery is more sensory than straightforward. Beautiful work, absolutely beautiful. 
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much. :heart:
Reply
:iconc-a-harland:
C-A-Harland Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Student Writer
I love the child's voice in this, it is very well done. The transition from a perfectly normal world into a fantasy one was very sudden, but never felt out of place, as if it were somehow inevitable. I also really love how Allie's first instinct when seeing the Other is to open with "My dad's the police" as if she straight away knows she is in danger and so compensates with an empty warning. 
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks, I'm glad you commented on those parts. :heart:
Reply
:iconlillasysterstormhatt:
LillasysterStormhatt Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
I loved this very very much! Heart 
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I'm glad you did. Thanks!
Reply
:iconastralkiwi:
AstralKiwi Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ahhhh another DD, and so well deserved! It's brilliant, it all flows perfectly and I like how straightforward Allie's narration is. The bit about the birds 'that steal your food right out of your hand' made me smile, I have known several birds like that and they are indeed evil.
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Haha, thank you! :meow:
Reply
:iconoomizo:
Oomizo Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013
Congrats on the DD!
A very good story.
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconriparii:
riparii Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013
Nicely done, I enjoyed this.
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks!
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Congrats on the DD! :dalove: Have a nice day! :heart:
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you, and you too. :heart:
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
My pleasure, thank you :happybounce:
Reply
:iconmizzmint:
mizzmint Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on receiving a DD! :glomp:
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconmizzmint:
mizzmint Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're very welcome :glomp:
Reply
:iconhelenburg:
HelenBurg Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing!
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks!
Reply
:iconrobson666:
robson666 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Hobbyist
congratulations to the well deserved Daily Deviation Clap
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. :)
Reply
:iconlyssamad:
Lyssamad Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
congrats on the DD well deserved
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! :D
Reply
:iconlyssamad:
Lyssamad Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
love it! so amazing!!!!! the story is so cute- I just wish it were a bit longer!
Reply
:iconcality:
cality Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
'I go into my brother’s room. It smells like armpits.' – that part made me smile a lot. :giggle:

One part that struck me as 'too grown up' for Allie was the penultimate line. '"I think I’m damaging your reputation.”' sounds too old for Allie; I'm not sure whether a child that age would understand something like that? 

I love the brother–sister dynamic of Pete and Allie – it's very sweet, and I love how it was reversed in this story, with the younger sibling taking care of the older one. :)
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the comment! :heart:

I changed the dialogue about reputation so it belongs to Pete instead. :)
Reply
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