The Sky and the Roses

The Little Watson Girl's Dreams on Paper

Chapter 5 April 27, 2010

Filed under: Novel Project — lilwatsongirl @ 3:56 pm

The boat was much lighter with Wanderer helping her push.  He had few belongings, only the clothes he was wearing, (which hadn’t gotten a day more ragged in a hundred years), a set of reed pipes, and a dagger.

The pair filled the boat with provisions: skins of fresh water and a variety of fruits from off the island trees.

One good thing about bringing Wanderer along was that he knew how to use the oars.  Getting off the island was much simpler than getting onto it had been with the strong boy pulling away at the oars.

Lyli was a little bid sad to see the beautiful island vanish into the distance, but she knew that she had to go on.  She had to find a place where she could live, permanently.  That island was not one of them.  And the whole trapped-in-time thing was not exactly Lyli’s cup of tea.

* * *

Wanderer did not make a very good conversationalist as he had no opinions whatsoever.   Didn’t mind as much as most people would have, as she was used to long silences.  Occasionally Wanderer would speak up to tell her about a fish or a bird he saw, but usually they sat in silence.

It would have been awkward, but it wasn’t, since he so obviously didn’t think it was.

They went on for a day like this, and when night came, they were presented with a problem.

If we both lay down, we won’t fit inside the boat.” Wanderer commented when Lyli began to yawn.  It was about three hours after sundown, and Lyli was very ready for sleep.

She stopped mid-yawn.  Sleeping on the boat hadn’t even crossed her mind.  This would be a problem.

We’ll have to take turns sleeping.” She concluded. “You can sleep first if you want, since you lent me your bed last night.”

“Okay.” Without another word, Wanderer slumped against an oar and began to snore.

“Wow, that was fast.”  Lyli muttered to herself.  She hadn’t spoken in human for a while and it was a relief to her throat to speak naturally again.  She wasn’t used to speaking wolf for such a long period of time.  “If I go on like this, I’ll end up thinking in wolf!”  she stared out into the darkness, black as ink.  “I wonder if it was right to bring him.”

The darkness did not reply.

* * *

The next days became blurred in Lyli’s memory.  Did she and Wanderer sail on that endless blanket of blue water for fifty days, or a thousand?  She could never be sure.

She did remember the day that was different, the day they first saw the land.

It was just a dark blotch on the horizon, but Lyli laughed so gladly when she saw it that she fell out of the boat, and Wanderer had to pull her, dripping wet, back in.  Lyli didn’t mind falling in the sea, she was just so happy to see land at last that getting a little more wet than she already was seemed a trivial matter.   What mattered was getting to that land as fast as possible.

It didn’t feel like a long time from that point till the time they reached the shore, but it must have been all day because the sun had set when they finally pulled their little boat up onto the sand.

The pair collapsed from exhaustion, panting for breath.

“We should wait for morning, and then go exploring.” Wanderer mumbled, his voice just barely audible.

Lyli merely nodded, unable to muster the strength for words.  Right now, she only wanted to rest.  Morning will come, in its own due time. Lyli thought as her eyes closed.

If only she had known how very, very wrong she was.



Chapter 4

Filed under: Novel Project — lilwatsongirl @ 3:55 pm

A Heartless.  How had she not seen at the first second?  His hair was unusual, as most Heartless had darker brown or black hair, and his was that soft, light blonde.

Are you a Heartless?” The question seemed to startle the boy, Wanderer, did he say they called him?

“They say I am, how did you know?”

Your blue eyes.  Only the Heartless have eyes that blue.” That explained his missing piece.  This boy, this Wanderer, had no emotions.

The Heartless were a race of people who had no feelings.  They had all their internal organs intact, but the name “Heartless” had stuck none-the-less.  They had come about through a defected human, a prince, who had been born with no emotions.  He married for politics, since he could not love, and had three children, a boy and two girls, and his son and youngest daughter, like him, had no emotions.  Thus the race spread, and they became feared outcasts, living together in small, run-down villages, marrying not for love but for money and situation.

Wanderer’s voice broke into Lyli’s thoughts.  “I didn’t know my eyes were blue.” For the first time Wanderer looked away from her face and walked over to a little pool nearby, fed by a quiet little stream, to look at his reflection.  “Yep, they’re blue.” He looked back at Lyli. “Your eyes are very pretty. They look like my wolf mother’s eyes.”

Lyli turned pink.  She had never been given a compliment like that before, much less from a boy.  She hadn’t really ever talked to any boys, but she was sure this one was very, very different.

“Thank you.  Most people fear me because of my eyes, saying it’s unnatural.”

“It is unnatural, but that’s why I like it.  I’m unnatural to they say, since I can’t do this thing they call loving, and they all can.”

“Who is they?”

“The island of course.” He gestured out over the land, as though trying to show her everything at once.

“Will you show me?” Lyli was eager to meet the creatures and plants of this place, it was so alien, yet somehow, so very close to home.

He nodded, and began walking.  He explained everything he saw to her, and as her fingers brushed the leaves and the dew drops and the surface of the still lakes, she began to feel more at peace.  She knew how to handle this.

Wanderer’s voice was unlike anything she had ever heard before.  It was wild and wolfish, yet calming in some insane way.  As he explained things, snarling and barking in his animal way, Lyli imagined what he would sound like if he spoke human.  It would be beautiful, like the sound of the wind in the trees, like the sound of raindrops on a pond, like waves on the shore.  He speaks like he is part of the forest. She though to herself. His voice cracked occasionally, proving that it wasn’t changed all the way.  Lyli laughed to herself when she realized that his voice had probably been changing for a hundred years, but when Wanderer asked what she was doing, and she realized he had never heard laughter before, she sobered up.

He was explaining the odd rough-barked tree with the large green fruits.  “It’s called a coconut tree.  The bark is really easy to-“

Lyli’s thoughts kept getting distracted by little things like the beauty of the sun glinting off a birds red wing.  I wonder what it feels like to fly.

“And once you get to the top you only have to-“

If I could fly I would want to look at the ocean from above.  I bet that’s pretty

“…they come falling down, you have to make sure no one is underneath though—“

I bet he has a nice laugh.

“And then you split them open and—“

And thus it went on.  Lyli did learn quite a bit though, and every bit of it was interesting.

The sun climbed higher and higher until it began dipping down again, and finally it burned its way right down into the ocean, leaving a blazing sunset behind it, and Lyli and Wanderer made their way up to the highest point on the island, where they could see out over the entire island and over miles and miles of ocean.

“Wow” Lyli breathed. The sunset was incredible, the reds and pinks and golds streaming out over the water, painting a picture of pure beauty.

Wanderer didn’t even glance at the sunset.  It occurred to Lyli that maybe he could not appreciate it, maybe it took emotions to see beauty like that.

“What are you staring at?” Wanderer was watching her stare at the water.

“The sunset.” She watched him carefully out of the corners of her eyes, trying to see what he thought of the beauty.  Nothing.  His face was as unreadable and empty as ever.

How odd.

“Where did you come from?”

Lyli looked back at Wanderer, a little surprised by his question.  He had yet to ask her anything about herself, but she supposed it was beyond him to be curious.

“I came from Caamden.  It’s three days sailing across the east sea.”

“What’s it like there?” his voice cracked.

“Well the part where I lived was all forest.  There was a village not far away but I—“

“What’s a village?” he interrupted.

“A place where lots of humans live together in houses, those are like caves only people make them above ground and out of wood.”

“Oh.” His lack of curiosity was bizarre, he asked questions but it was almost like he didn’t care about the answer.  Maybe he didn’t even care if he got an answer.

Lyli sat in silence, a few paces away from Wanderer, who was absent-mindedly weaving blades of grass together.

This boy didn’t deserve to be stuck here on an island, never to grow up, never to be a man.  He was indifferent of course but still, it wasn’t right!  He should be taught to speak like a human, taught to socialize, and besides, his voice should be allowed to change all the way.

She would ask him in the morning.  For now, she needed to sleep.

Wanderer took her to the cave where he lived, tucked away in a pretty little corner of the island.  The doorway was almost invisible since it was hung over with wisteria, but once the flowers were pulled aside, the cave inside was comfortable and spacious.  There was a single bed of leaves in a corner, and Wanderer insisted that Lyli use it for the night.

The bed was surprisingly comfortable for being made of leaves, and Lyli slept well, and dreamed of home.

* * *

Lyli awoke to the sounds of a wolf barking.  For a moment, she was sure that she was home, in her own forest, and that the mob, the boat, and Wanderer had all been part of some bizarre dream. But when she opened her eyes, it wasn’t a wolf, it was Wanderer, his light hair sticking up from his nights rest, and his blue eyes fixed on Lyli.

It’s morning.”

Lyli rubbed the sleep from her eyes, and sat up.  “Yes, I can see that.” She thought about taking wanderer with her when she sailed away.  Would he want to go with her?  Well he couldn’t want to…  but he couldn’t not want to either.  Something about him had piqued Lyli’s interest and she wanted to be able to, someday, understand him.

But how could she ask something like that of him?  She knew what I was like to be forced from your home, to be forced to leave the place you had known all your life.

Your eyebrows are doing something funny, they’re pulling together… why?” Wanderer was watching her.  Again.

It’s something human’s do called frowning. We do it when we are upset, sad, or angry.”

“What’s happy?”

What a terrible thing, to not even know what it was to be happy.  “Wanderer, being happy is… it’s when, well, when something good happens, you feel…” he won’t know what ‘feel’ means either.  “Okay, the difference between happy and sad is like the difference between touching a soft animal and getting cut. One is soft and warm and the other is, well, it hurts right?”

“So it’s pain versus no pain?”

“Um, not really.  Sort of yes, but not really…” how could one ever even attempt to explain emotions to someone who had never felt them?  “Never mind.”

“You know sometimes I wonder what it would be like to get off this Island, because I don’t know any other place.  They can’t all be the same, and maybe I could learn something new.”

He was almost talking to himself, but it was obvious Lyli’s mentioning Caamden had set Wanderer to thinking.

Lyli saw the perfect opportunity and seized it.  “I’m going away on a boat.   I could take you if you like.  We could go find some new place and learn everything there is to know.  I can…” she hesitated, then plunged on,  “I can even teach you to speak the tongue of the humans if you like.”

He looked at her, and spoke as though he had always known his answer.  “I will go.  If you are sure you will take me that is, and if you are certain you can teach me to speak in the language of the humans.”

Lyli was a bit surprised at his readiness, but her face broke into a smile and she clapper her hands.  “Of course I can teach you!  I’d be ha…” she stopped herself, “Yes, I will teach you if you will come.”

They shook hands on it, and the broad, blue-eyed boy and the fragile-looking golden-eyed girl prepared to set out on a journey that would change both their lives forever.



Chapter 3

Filed under: Novel Project — lilwatsongirl @ 3:54 pm

The boat they gave her was a solid log, hollowed out to make a boat, and flattened on the bottom so it wouldn’t capsize.  Lyli hadn’t ever been in a boat before.  She had swum in the ocean but a boat was an entirely new experience.  At first she clutched the sides of the boat for fear of falling off, but after a few minutes she was brave enough to let go and even to stand up.

The sea was beautiful.  The light from the rising sun shone off it, causing it to look like a vast ocean of diamonds.  Lyli had never been far from shore and it amazed her how big the water was.  She wondered where it all came from, and if the water was getting bigger all the time, since it rained pretty regularly.  And when the water fell from the sky, where did that water come from?

Time seemed to pass differently out on the sea as well.  Some days seemed only an hour long while others dragged on for weeks.

Lyli missed home already.  She missed the trees and the animals, and even though the salt-water fish were friendly, they never stayed long to chat, so Lyli often sat in silence.

The gulls told her of the land before she actually saw it.  The black line on the horizon was the only relief she had from the unending sameness all around her.  It seemed to be the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

As she drew nearer, she could make out trees and a little waterfall.  It was a pretty little island, small but picturesque.

Lyli watched as mist rose from the waterfall, seeming to shape pictures in it’s midst.

Yes, it was definitely pretty, and Lyli definitely approved.

It was hard work, getting to shore.  Lyli had no clue how to use the oars, so she swam, tugging the little boat after her.

“I should have asked-“ a wave smacked her in the face and she spluttered, “should have asked how to—“ smack, splutter, “how to use the—” smack, splutter, “oars!”  she gasped gratefully as her feet touched bottom, and with one final heave, she pulled the boat ashore.

She coughed out water and collapsed.  Her peeling, sunburned skin was soothed by the soft sand, but she only allowed herself a moment of rest.  The boat had to be secured or it would be lost.  Lyli tied it to a nearby tree with a bit of rope, hoping her knot would hold.

Then, finally, Lyli took stock of her surroundings.  The island was even more beautiful than it had seemed from afar, as it was covered in flowers, from tiny, baby blue ones, like shards of the sky, to vibrant red ones as wide an Lyli was tall.

And the birds.  Oh, the bird song was beautiful, it almost seemed to have a melody.  As Lyli ventured farther into the island, she discovered all kinds of birds, ones she knew and ones she had never seen before.  She even came across one that was brightly colored, like the rainbow, and howled like a wolf.

That sound made Lyli homesick.  She missed the mother wolf and her litter of seven little cubs.  She missed the trees, the old willow, with its emotional spouts and hysterical fits, the hazelnut, with its beautiful stories, the pines…

She missed it all.

Sitting down hard beneath a tree, (not the kind she knew, but one with an odd, rough trunk, spiky leaves and large green fruits hanging high up) Lyli began to cry.  She wasn’t the kind of girl who often cried, she thought it was a silly waste of good water and that there was enough salt water in the ocean and the world didn’t need more pouring from the eyes of girls like open faucets.  But this was an occasion where crying was acceptable.  She had just spent three days out at sea, her eyes burning from the salt spray and the glaring sun, her skin peeling like a snakes.

So she sat there, her head in her hands, her long hair hanging matted around her face, and tears flowing.

It was a while before Lyli realized that she could feel something touching the top of her head. She jerked up, and smacked at whatever it was, thinking perhaps some animal thought to make it nest out of her hair.

She could not have been more surprised to see what had been touching her head.

It was a boy.

A boy of around thirteen or so, with soft, light blonde hair falling into his eyes, which were a beautiful shade of bright blue, and for some reason, his eyes rang a bell in Lyli’s mind.  He stared at her with those big, blue eyes, and she stared back.

“Um, Hello.” Lyli stood to face him, noting that he was several inches taller than herself, and much broader, and that there was no way, if he came to fight, that she could beat him.

He cocked his head in an oddly canine way, as though he were a dog listening to an odd sound.

Lyli coughed uncomfortably.  The boy had yet to take those blue eyes off of her and it was making her nervous.  “Who are you?” she asked, trying to sound polite.

He only stared intently.  His gaze was not malicious, or happy, or even curious.  He just stared as though he intended to memorize every detail of Lyli’s appearance, from her bare feet to her round, sun-tanned face and golden eyes.

Then he did the most unexpected thing in the world.

He barked.

The boy barked.  And it wasn’t a pitiful little yap either, it was true wolf speech.

Lyli was so startled that she did not understand him, so he repeated himself.

“Who are you?”

Lyli’s mouth was hanging open, but she quickly closed it and responded, trying not to gawk. “Lyli.  Who are you?”

“They call me Wanderer.”

“Whose ‘they’? And why do you speak wolf?  Do you speak human as well?”

“Human?” The boy tipped his head again, and he reminded Lyli forcefully of a puppy who does not understand a direction.

For the first time, Lyli really looked at the boy.  He was rugged, with muscles that only a grown man should have, and he wore torn and dirty clothes that were several sizes too big for him.

Yes, human… don’t you know what a human is?” that was a stupid question, of course he knew what a human was.

No I don’t.” His expression wasn’t embarrassed, or even curious.  His eyes were full of life, yet they seemed oddly blank in some way… as though a piece of him was missing.

“But…” Lyli stuttered, almost reverting to human again, “You are human!”

The boy looked down at himself, “So by human, you mean a two-legged?”

“Uhh… I guess so.” This was a very strange boy indeed if he didn’t even know the proper name for his own race. “So um, Wanderer, why do you speak wolf? You never told me.”

“I speak wolf because I was brought up by a wolf.  I came to this Island, before it became trapped in time.  I was just a babe, and the mother wolf found me, and raised me with her own pups.  She taught me to speak, and to hunt.”

Lyli was staring at him again, her mouth hanging open like a fish’s.  “You were raised by a wolf?”

“Yes.  Why do you speak wolf?  Were you raised by one too?”

Lyli shook her head “No, I was raised by the forest, and I learned the languages of all the creatures, including the wolf.” Something occurred to her, and she suddenly became worried. “Did you say this island was trapped in time?  What do you mean?”

“I mean that this island can only continue to travel through time if it has love.  It had love for thousands of years, the same love that the wolf mother gave me when I arrived.  When she died, the entire island stopped aging.”

“How long ago was that?  How old are you really?”

“It was over a hundred years ago.  And I’m fourteen.”

“A hundred and fourteen you mean.” Lyli imagined being a teenager for a hundred years. She thought about the boy, his wolf mother dead, and him alone for a hundred years. “I’m sorry.  About your wolf mother I mean. It must have been… hard… to lose her.” Lyli knew well the pain of that kind of loss, she felt it every time a tree was cut down and its spirit went on, and every time an animal died, she felt it as it passed.

“What do you mean by sorry?”

Lyli’s eyes were getting tired of staring, but again she gaped at the boy.  What did she mean by sorry, what kind of a question was that?

His eyes bored into her, as though he knew her thoughts, but still it was as if a piece of him was missing from those unreadable eyes, and it clicked.

There were tales of people with eyes as blue as the sky, as blue as the sea, bluer than blue.  They were a race of people, who generally kept to themselves, a race that was both feared and respected.

This boy was a Heartless.



Chapter one: Autumn March 9, 2010

Filed under: Novel Project — lilwatsongirl @ 4:54 pm

It’s strange how every year, without fail, the leaves on the trees change.  They start out all the same, all green, but then one by one they turn the colors of autumn.  It was just the same this year, the year two kinds of autumn were born: the autumn the world brings to pass every year, and Autumn Free.

* * *

Autumn’s blue eyes opened, and she peeled her forehead off the window.  Her red hair was tangled and sticking to her face, and she had a print on her forehead from the window.   She glanced at the clock, which was glaring at her in angry red numbers that said it was seven in the morning.

The sun was just peeking over the tops of the oak trees, painting the sky a vibrant shade of pink.  The leaves on the trees, already orange, turned blood red in the sunrise.

Autumn slid off the window seat, smiling and yawning at the same time.  This was a special sunrise.  It was the sunrise of Autumn’s sixteenth birthday.

Just as Autumn was wondering if she was the only one awake, the door flew open, and her older brother burst into the room, singing and dancing as he came, “Happy birthday to you!  Happy birthday to you!  Happy birthday dear Autumn!  Happy birthday to you!”  He pinned Autumn to the wall and began tickling her.

Gideon was an interesting brother, he was really cool and all the girls liked him, and his ability to make people laugh was endless.

Autumn was gasping for breath and laughing, trying to throw Gideon, who was two years older and much, much bigger, off of her.

Gideon finally stopped and let Autumn get her breath back.

“So, how’s the birthday girl?” he asked, rumpling her already messy scarlet hair.

“I’m great, how’s the un-birthday boy?”

“I’m great too.”  Gideon flopped down on the floor and sighed.  He looked nothing like Autumn, with his green eyes, brown hair (it was extremely talented hair tht was able to stick up in the back in the mornings, no matter how short Gideon cut it.) and straight, Roman nose.

“You’d better get dressed, little missy.  You don’t want Luke and Blossom showing up with you still in your pajamas.”

Luke and Blossom Pinomaki were Autumn’s two best friends.  They were a year apart, but they looked enough alike to be twins.  Both had blonde hair, the same profile, and the same round, intelligent eyes, even though Luke’s were brown and Blossom’s were green.

“Luke and Blossom are coming over?” Autumn asked, happily tossing shirts into her brother’s lap, from where he would absent-mindedly pick them up and toss them on top of Autumn’s drum set.

“Mhmm.  Apparently Luke tried to make you a birthday cake yesterday… What is this?”

“Oh poor Mrs. Pinomaki, I hope she made Luke clean up after himself, and I hope he didn’t make anything explode like last time, and that, dear Gideon, would be a leg-warmer.”

“Oh.  I was thinking you had tried to sew a puppet or something…”  He stuck his arm through the leg-warmer and folded the ends around his fingers, making something similar to a sock puppet.  He began speaking in a high, falsetto voice.  “Hi!  My name’s leggy!  I live in Autumn’s closet, which she really needs to clean, and-“

Laughing, Autumn chased Gideon from the room with a t-shirt, and just before she slammed the door in his face, the leg-warmer/puppet, still on his hand,

said “Bye bye!”

Laughing to herself about her bizarre brother, Autumn got dressed.  Having red hair really limited her choice of clothing color.  She couldn’t wear red or orange, because it looked so dreadful with her hair, and pink was even worse, but blue looked nice.

Autumn made her way downstairs, just in time to see Luke and Blossom coming up her front steps.  She flung open the door and was promptly confronted with another loud chorus of happy birthday, as well as hugging and more hair-rumpling.

Autumn expected Luke and Blossom to come inside, but instead they pulled her outside.  “We have somewhere we want to take you.”  Blossom explained, smiling in her shy way.

Autumn consented to having her hands duct taped behind her back and a blindfold being put over her eyes, and finally a pillowcase over her head.  Luke then picked her up around the waist, and threw her in the back seat of Luke’s old Junker.

They drove for maybe ten minutes, and the road got bumpier and bumpier.  Autumn had an idea where they were, since the only place this close with this bumpy or a road was the forest park.  She knew the forest quite well, after having been living here for almost her entire life, but she didn’t have a good enough sense of direction to know where they were.

A little while later, after much gear-shifting and jolting, the car rolled to a stop.  The back door opened, and Luke pulled Autumn out of the car, and Blossom pulled off the pillowcase and the blindfold while Luke cut the duct tape off.

The place was beautiful.   Autumn had been right to guess that they were in the forest.  There were oak trees and pine trees all around, and leaves covered the ground, which dipped down to a gargling river.  Morning light filtered through the leaves, a bright golden color, and spread out across the grass was a picnic blanket, with breakfast food covering it.  Right in the center was a big cake, with “Autumn Sky Free” written in yellow, in Blossoms beautiful handwriting.  All around the edges there were yellow and pink roses, real ones, devoid of thorns, bent together in a weaving sort of pattern.

Autumn laughed with delight “Did you make this?”

Luke smiled, brushing a strand of blonde hair from his face. “I helped with the frosting, but Blossom did the baking.”

“Luke put the roses on.”  Blossom said smiling.

“It’s beautiful.”  Autumn hugged both of her friends, feeling more appreciated than she could ever remember feeling.

* * *

“It is incredible how many odd looks one gets when one goes through a store, dripping wet, with pink and yellow roses in ones hair.”

“They’re all just jealous.”  Autumn said, handing a couple shirts to Luke, who, like her and Blossom, was soaked from the river, and who had all the roses from Autumn’s birthday cake in his hair.

“Oh I’m sure they are.  Didn’t you see that guy with all the tattoos and the earring?  He glared at me like ‘How dare you look cooler than me?’”

Blossom’s laugh rang out from inside the dressing room “You should go to D.C. like that, Luke.”

“Oh I plan to.”

Autumn smiled.  Right at that exact second, her life seemed to be perfect.  She thought ‘I hope it stays like this  forever.’

Little did she know that this would be the last day of happiness that she would know for a very long time.

Chapter summary

It’s Autumn’s Sixteenth birthday, and she and her friends have the best day ever.  Autumn marvels at how wonderful her life is.  Little does she know that she is heading straight into a time where there will be almost no happiness.