The Taverner Chronicles: Prolouge, Two

Fiction By Marlene E. Schuler // 1/11/2012

Here you go! Prolouge, part two! Be sure to visit my writing blog for pictures and updates, as well as side-stories that I plan on doing in the future! 

www.charlieandmewrite.blogspot.com

 

For days after our first meeting, I loitered around town in the hopes of meeting her again. Even though I was still recovering from surgery, I still had enough energy to drive into town with Dad's old jalopy every day on odd errands. If there was any chance of seeing Millie again, I took it. I think some of the shop keepers and locals started to get worried about me; I was constantly hanging around the main square, sitting in the gazebo and trying to look busy. It wasn't until months later that I discovered that some of the town gossips were spreading tales that I was plotting some kind of evil crime, though the town could boast no grand stores or great hordes of money.

 

However, a full five days went by before I saw Millie come into town. Wishing that I had some reason to walk to their house, I decided to take a walk along the borders of their property. What else had I to do? I was still weak and couldn't do any manual labor, and not being the kind to sit still and read, there simply wasn't a thing for me to do but try to figure out the odd mystery that somehow connected my father with Millie. I had turned the matter over and over in my mind; trying to work things out, trying to put together a mental picture of the thing. But for all my efforts, I simply couldn't come up with any logical reason for it all!

 

Walking along with my dog Weston, I took to walking along the small brook that divided our land from the Taverner's. What I hoped to accomplish, I don't know, but it wasn't long before I came across Millie's younger sister. She was tossing stones into the stream on the other side of the bank. For the life of me, I couldn't remember what her name was, but she seemed to recognize me.

 

'Oh, hallo, Edward!'

 

I looked quizzically at her.

 

'You... you know my name?'

 

'What? Oh!' she cried, and covered her mouth with her hands. She was startled, and I had no idea what could have caused it. A quick glance over my shoulder proved that her surprise wasn't derived from anything behind me. But why would she be frightened of me, after she had seemingly recognized me and called me by name?

 

'I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else...' she finally said.

 

'It's all right. But tell me, how many other people look like me and have the same name?' I replied, trying to ease her discomfort with a joke. It didn't work; in fact, it had quite the opposite effect that I had intended.

 

'Oh- not many... I mean, none at all! I'd... I'd better go.' she fumbled, kicking some stones at her feet.

 

'No, wait, I need to ask you something. Where has Millie been?'

 

'Hm? Millie? No where. I mean, she's been here, of course, but not... anywhere else.' she said, being a little too cryptic for a twelve-year old.

 

Not knowing what else to say, I answered with a nod. Realizing that I would get nothing more out of her on that course, I decided to change the topic.

 

'By the way, what's your name? Since you already seem to know mine, it would be a favor if you told me yours.'

 

'Gianna. Gianna Rose.'

 

'Oh, that's right! I ought to have remembered. Just a bad memory thanks to Oxford filling me with funny things, that's all.'

 

'Oxford's a rotten place.' she said, almost under her breath. Then, seeing the look of confusion on my face, she started to fumble again. 'Oh, I mean, I'm sure it's fine where you go, but I've heard a lot of nasty stories about it, but that's not to say that the school you go to is nasty...' she trailed off.

 

'That's all right. Mum says the same thing. But my dad went there, so I figured that I'd keep up the tradition.'

 

A funny thing happened then; a curious look came over her face when I mentioned my father, almost the same expression that had come over Millie's face when I saw her last. Gianna said something that sounded like, 'Oh, right you would know,' but her voice was so soft, and a sudden gust of wind drowned it out. I looked up towards the sky; the blasted clouds were starting to let loose some drops of rain, and it looked like we were in for a nasty one. Gianna noticed too, and called across to me, 'You're closer to our house, come with me until the rain has stopped!'

 

'Kind of impossible right now, if you know what I mean!' I shouted back, pointing to the river. She looked at it, then pointed downstream.

 

'There's a wooden bridge just a little ways downstream, you should be able to cross there!'

The wind was picking up, rain was starting to fall harder, and frankly I wanted to see Millie again, so I obliged her and started to run in the direction she had indicated. I remembered the bridge she mentioned; but it was such an old and rickety thing, I doubt it would be able to hold anyone of my size. The bridge spanned a wider part of the stream, and it was more ornate than useful for practical purposes. It was said that in the dim past my father had built it, but I doubted that, as he was the one who had forbidden any of us children to use it. Once we reached it, Gianna looked surprised at the condition of the bridge.

 

'I didn't think it was that bad...' she cried, looking at it in dismay.

 

Neither did I. Some of the boards were missing from the floor, and the red paint that at some time had covered it was chipping badly. I took a deep breath, and was starting to think about turning back when a huge flash of lighting streaked across the sky right above me. I couldn't clearly see the other side of the bridge, for an old weeping willow had made a canopy over one half of the bridge and was in need of trimming. Realizing that it was probably more dangerous for me to go back than to try and cross, I took a few steps over the bridge.

 

It creaked awfully bad, and it scared me half out of my wits when I tried taking another step. A board was missing, so I carefully stepped over it, but nervously I looked down at the stream. Though it wasn't a long way down, there were plenty of large rocks to break my fall... and my head. I saw Gianna's anxious face ahead of me, and heard her voice calling out, 'Come on, Edward! You need to hurry!'

 

'It's not as easy as it looks, love!' I shouted back as I made my way towards her. After almost falling in twice, I looked back.

 

I was nearly there. Just a little more.

 

Pushing the bare willow branches aside, I saw, to my horror, that three boards in a row were gone. To make matters worse, one of the handrails was conveniently missing on that part, making it difficult to hang on to anything while crossing. It was either jump or get my shoes, socks and pants wet, and just as I was about to do the latter, I heard a familiar voice calling from the hill just above.

 

'Gianna! There you are! Mother was worried sick about you!'

 

It was Millie.

Comments

 I like Edward. Thumbs up for

 I like Edward. Thumbs up for how well-written this is.

Anna | Thu, 01/19/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

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