Annica Sees -Chapter One

Fiction By KatieSara // 9/7/2009

 

2 weeks earlier.
 
   She didn't want to go. She really didn't want to go. 
Her mother, however, insisted. She always had a strong sense of familial duty, even when it meant sending her seventeen-year-old daughter to visit her husband's cantankerous aunt for three weeks. Annica pleaded, begged, fought against it, but all to no avail. Mother was resolute on the subject. The problem was that Annica detested her great-aunt. Positively detested her. She had a way of sticking her nose into everything that drove poor Annica wild. It would have been no use to say to her, "It's none of your business," not only because it would have been unaccebtably rude, but because she made everything her business. Aunt Eldira was not very fond of her niece either, and Annica knew it. They simply didn't get along, and every moment in each other's presence was a fight to maintain an appearance of civility.
   With all of this in mind, Annica sighed and packed her things. She would leave on the morrow. As soon as she had mostly everything ready to go, she went out to say goodbye to her friends, taking her little brother Georgie with her. It had rained the day before, so they spent the entire walk hopping over puddles and trying their best to avoid the inevitable mud. First stop, Annica's best friend, Ariela. Ariela's family was of another country, which they left when Ariela was about six years old. She and Annica had met by chance when accompanying their mothers to the marketplace, and upon discovering that their names both began and ended with "A" and that they both liked to read, had formed a fast friendship which had lasted ten years so far.
 Ariela took Annica to her room to talk, leaving Georgie to play with her little brother.
  "Well, she is your aunt," was Ariela's initial response to Annica's complaint.

"So?" demanded Annica. "I detest her! I know, I shouldn't say such things, she's my aunt," upon seeing her friend's look of wry reproval. "But really, I can't stand her. Three weeks with her will mean three weeks of not being able to call my life my own!"
Ariela laughed as Annica dramatically grasped her dark hair in her fingers and pretended to pull on it in agony. Annica let her hair drop and smiled back. "I'll miss you though."

"Of course you will. Who wouldn't?"

Annica rolled her eyes. "Yes, of course."
 Ariela changed the subject,
"Are you going to go visit Jonathan too?"
"Well, of course. He's my friend too, you know."
 Ariela's eyes twinkled. "Just a friend?" 
Annica threw a pillow at her.
"Are you never going to let that go?"

"No, never," she grinned.

   After leaving Ariela with promises to write, Annica and Georgie made their way once more throuh the damp cobblestone streets until they arrived at her friend Jonathan's house. His mother opened the door and smiled at them. "I'm sorry, but my son isn't here. He left to visit with some relatives, several miles out in the country. Are you leaving soon, Annica?"
"Yes, tomorrow."

"Well, give my greetings to your mother and tell her I'll be sending her some more of that quilting fabric. I'll tell Jonathan you stopped by. Have a nice time with your aunt!"

"I'll try," said Annica dryly. "Goodbye, then."

"Goodbye."
   Annica woke up bright and early the day she was to leave for her great-aunt's. More like dark and early, she thought crankily. I am definitely not a morning person, if there is such a thing. Ow! Oh!! Bother! She stubbed her toe on her bed in the dim light. Frustrated, she kicked it. Stifiling her own cry of pain mingled with a growl of rage at the bed, she dressed and went downstairs. Mother was waiting for her.
"Goodbye, dear. Write often and have a lovely time!"
"Unlikely," was the ungracious reply. Annica was too tired to play the part of happy traveler.
"Dear, you should probably figure out as soon as possible which side is the right side of the bed, so that you can be sure to wake up on it more often," said Mother. Shortly afterwards Annica climbed into the carriage that was waiting outside; the rest of the family was still asleep and she had said goodbye to them all the night before anyways.
And so she left, too tired and grumpy to turn around and wave goodbye to her mother who stood in the front door. Without the slightest idea that the house she grew up in would not be there much longer, she fell asleep on her way without once looking back at it.

****

   The journey was uneventful, with little that was interesting to look at, and Annica spent most of the 5-hour trip sleeping or reading. Shortly before noon she arrived at her aunt's manor. The large house stood tall on a grassy hill, built out of stones both light and dark, with elegant small towers rising here and there and balconies looking out from rounded windows. Neatly trimmed gardens surrounded it, and here and there rosebushes had been allowed to spread and grow up against the house. Part of the wall by the front gate was covered by a vine that bore yellow flowers. The manor looked out over a small green valley spotted here and there with houses, and a colorful orchard that provided fruit of many kinds for the manor table. Annica's mood lightened because of all this, as her carriage drew near to the house. At least the place was beautiful, if not the companionship. Even so, it had been a long time since she had seen Aunt Eldira. Memories change over the years according to what one is willing to believe....could it not be that perhaps her aunt wasn't as bad as she thought? Annica thought of these things in the seconds before she got out of the carriage.

   Then she saw her, the Lady Eldira standing in the courtyard, wrapped in arrogant dignity as though it were a cloak. And Annica knew that every single unpleasant memory had been perfectly accurate. Her good humor and hopefulness disappeared. She curtsied, and waited for her aunt to speak first. The latter inclined her head slightly and stepped forward, her enormous red dress rustling slightly.

"Welcome, niece." Her voice still sounded the same way Annica remembered it. Strong, stern, resonant.
"Thank you, aunt. I am very grateful to you for inviting me here," replied Annica stiffly.
"Come in, child. I wish to speak to you, and then you shall be shown to your room where you may change out of that...dress." She looked distastefully at Annica's blue and green travelling gown.

"Yes, ma'am."
 With a swoosh of her skirts, the Lady Eldira turned and went into the house. Annica rolled her eyes and followed.

Comments

Hello!

I'm not sure if this will be the whole chapter or if I'll be moving some of chapter two to this one. It's rather short. :-/

KatieSara | Wed, 10/07/2009

Katie:-)

"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"
-Idris/TARDIS

Hey, I like this! The

Hey, I like this! The Prologue was good as well... can't remember if I commented on it. Too bad nobody else has commented! :)

Laura Elizabeth | Sun, 11/15/2009

*************************************************
The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

I like this!

I wonder why I didn't see this before? I really like it so far! Write more soon! :)

 

Teal | Sun, 11/15/2009

Chapter was nicely done

 Hi, Katie!

I thought this Chapter was nicely written. It reminds me of a good book for kids like me. I want to continue reading, but I have to get off the computer soon. 

-Lily (pray4priests)

Anonymous | Thu, 06/10/2010

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