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A Girl and a Cloud

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Chapter 1

 

A small boy looked up at his adoptive parents from where he lay. He knew he was adopted, and couldn’t care less. He loved the odd pair that had claimed him, and he knew they loved him even more. However, what lay before him was a momentous decision. The hardest decision he would probably make all day.

“What story would you like to hear for bedtime” his mother asked, in her strangely accented voice. He knew that she would read him any story he wanted, all from memory. His mother had an exceptional memory, and actually taught at the local school. He had been waiting for story time all day, ever since the idea occurred to him this morning after breakfast. He wanted to learn about how his parents met. He had heard rumors or little pieces from here or there, but he had never heard the whole story. After he got the idea, he simply could not sit still. His mother, who also happened to be his teacher, noticed his excitement, but thought little of it.

By the time dinner rolled around, he couldn’t finish dinner fast enough. Afterwords were chores. He folded his clothes and cleaned up the dishes from dinner. He missed a few spots on the plates, and his clothes were rumpled but they were done. He ran to his room, put on his bright yellow and red flannel pajamas, and jumped into bed. After a few moments, which to his child mind felt like an eternity, his mother and father entered the room. His mother had a bemused expression, while his father’s eyes smiled.

“Now, what’s gotten into you?” His mother asked.

“I know what story I want you to tell me” he said in his most professional voice that he could muster.

“What story would you like to hear for bedtime?” his mother asked, in her strangely accented voice.

“Can I hear the story,” he breathed in, saying the next line as fast as he could “Abouthowyoutwomet!”

His mother tilted her head. “Say again?”

“I want to hear about how you two met!” He repeated.

 

His mother and father looked at each other, a silent conversation going on between them. After a tense moment, they looked back at him.

“I think I will let your father start this one.” The boy was over excited, he was ecstatic, enlivened, thrilled-

“But first, I think someone forgot to brush his teeth.”

__________________

A few moments later and one child with slightly cleaner teeth sat back in bed.

“Well?” He asked, after a second or two. His mother had gone back into her office to grade papers from the day, leaving him alone with the overcoat clad father. From his head to his toes, not a single inch of skin was shone. The only hint that someone existed in it at all was the pair of large green eyes that shone out from under the hat perched on his head, draping his face in shadow, even in the brightest room.

“Hmmm?” The father hummed.

“The story?”  

“Oh right. Just thinking about where to start. I figure the best place to start is the beginning. . .”

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Our story starts in a small College town-

“Hey dad?”

“Yeah?”

“Whats College?”

“School after school. May I continue?”

“Sorry”

“Ahem, as I was saying…”

Our story starts in a small college town, where a young adventurous man by the name of Aaron lived. He studied there, hoping to learn the Ancient Arts of Accounting. Now, accounting students are not always known for their physical prowess, but Aaron was a bit different. See, Aaron was the type to work very very hard for a few days of the week, and then spend the rest of the week hiking, spelunking, kayaking, and doing various other very fun activities.

Now, one day after a particularly difficult set of workdays Aaron decided to go on a hike. He wanted to try out a new route that an acquaintance of his had told him about. Normally it is advisable to bring along a friend when hiking a new trail, but Aaron was a bit of a loner type person. He knew many people, but not a single one of them he could consider a close friend. It may sound sad, but it was just the way he liked it. So, when he accidentally wandered off the trail a bit, no one was there to notice where it went. Or, when it started raining, no one was there to grab the tarp as it blew away in the wind. Or, when he found a cave, and no one was there to tell it might be a bad idea.

He was no novice when it came to caves however, as he had spelunked many times in the past. In the mouth of the cave he was shielded from the wind and the rain, but the cave appeared to go a bit further back than originally thought. Since he decided that he would want to know of any other residents of his temporary dwelling, he decided to delve a bit deeper. First he tied a bit of rope he had on him to a small hook-like rock jutting from the top of the cave. The other half he tied around his belt, as he ventured in. He figured that the rope would serve the purpose of keeping him from going too far in, while also allowing him to find his way out, should the cave begin to branch.

Thus, his hike turned into a spelunk, and he dived deep into the cave. There appeared to just be one tunnel that ran a surprisingly long distance back. After about 30 seconds of walking, Aaron noticed the walls beginning to widen. He decided to stick to one side, figuring that following the wall should be safe enough. After about 30 more seconds he lost sight of the other wall, even when he shined his flashlight in its apparent direction. About a minute later, he noticed the ceiling was missing from view, making him wonder just how big this tunnel was. About another minute later, he realised he should've ran out of rope by now.

Aarons heartbeat began to pick up as that came to him. He forced it back down, thinking that he could just reel it back in. He began reeling.

 

10 feet.

20 feet.

30 feet. . .

It was at this point that he could see the end of his rope.

Closer inspection revealed that it appeared to have been burnt in two, as if by a torch. Panic began to rise in his throat, but he forced it back down. He followed the wall here, he can follow it back. With his plan in mind, he set off back down the way he came.

 

A minute passed.

 

Another minute.

 

Another.

 

Aaron began picking up his pace.

 

The exit should've been here.

 

He should’ve seen it by now.

 

Where was it?!?!

 

His heart pounding in his chest as he began sprinting along the wall, eyes frantically searching for something, Anything at all. In his panic he lost sight of the wall. He was running in darkness, his backpack shrugged off, and his flashlight flickering in the darkness. He ran and ran and ran, until eventually even the fit young man that he was felt like he could run no more. He pushed on, blindly running in a direction. He tripped over something on the floor, causing him to throw his flashlight out of sight. He fell, darkness surrounding him, panic clearly setting in as he lay on the smooth stone floor. His muscles ached, his lungs burned, and his mind was a mess of confusion and fear.

 

Slowly, his heartbeat came down. His muscles reduced themselves to a dull throb, and his mind went comfortably numb.

As he lay there, he came to realise just how tired he was. His eyelids drooped, and slowly he succumbed to a mental darkness known as sleep.

His last thought that ran through his head was

“At least the stone floor is nice and cool. . .”

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The child looked at his parent expectantly.

 

“Well?” He asked, confusion on his face. “Thats enough for tonight. Your mother would have my head if I let you stay up too late.” The man responded. The man bent over and wrapped the child in a warm hug. The mother walked in behind him, hugging the child as well. As much as the child would like to complain, he knew it would do no good.

“Ill tell you more tomorrow night, ok?” The father said.

 

“Ok!” The child said excitedly.

 

“Goodnight Carnelian.” Said the mother.

 

“Sweet dreams.” Said the father.

 

“Love you.” They said in unison.

 

“Love you too. Goodnight.” Said Carnelian, as the light in his room turned off, and he quickly felt the warm darkness of sleep take him over as well.