Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A Chapter by Cheshire

     Fate is a fickle mistress, sometimes dealing people great hands, their lives full and rich. Nice houses, full stomachs, great friends, a steady, fun job. Everyone has met someone like that, a person who just seems to have it all. Not everyone gets the chance to shake hands with Fate and walk away smiling though. There are those who no matter what they do, get dealt a raw hand, and curse Fate daily. Then, there are those who Fate seems to enjoy beating down, yet don't curse Her. Instead, they fight back, and take their lives out of Fate's hands, daring Her to try and stop them. The consequences of fighting Fate can be dire.

     Katherine Cheshyre, or just Kat as most people knew her, was in trouble yet again. It wasn't the first time, nor would it be the last, but she knew that nothing she did would change that fact. She couldn't count the number of times that she had been berated by her parents, their scathing words rolling off of her like water on oiled leather by now. Kat was snapped back to reality sharply as her mother's hand collided with extreme force against the table she was seated at. Flinching, Kat stared upwards at her irate mother, casting a quick glance at her father sitting at the table with her, but he was ignoring them, quietly eating his breakfast as if nothing was going on.

     "Look at me when I'm talking to you, little brat," her mother snarled at Kat, drawing her gaze quickly back to her face. "How hard is it to simply do your chores quickly and quietly, and not cause any problems?"

     Kat opened her mouth to reply, but shut it quickly at the look on her mother's face. Nothing she could say would quell the large woman's anger, but her childish mind wanted her to spout out some kind of defense anyway. She was only six years old, yet she was expected to take care of herself, even though her older brothers did practically nothing for themselves. Her life seemed very unfair to her, but she had learned long ago not to voice her opinion on the matter, that it wasn't wanted. She was expected to clean the house, feed and clean up after their few hateful and sometimes violent chicken and pigs, and basically be a servant to the entire family. Her older sister usually helped, but she was busy lately with her marriage preparations and her last year at school, leaving Kat at the mercy of her parents more often than not. Kat didn't blame her for it, but the loss of the one person who cared for her cut into her tiny heart deeply. She would never show it, but she yearned to be like the other kids at school, with carefree lives and a caring family.

     "I said pay attention!" Kat's mother roared, grabbing Kat by the shoulder and reaching her hand back as if to slap her. Kat gasped and squinted her eyes, waiting for the blow to come, but it never did. Instead, she heard her father cough loudly, and looked up to see her mother's hand frozen in midair.

     "Not where people can see, Iracebeth." Her father growled deeply, not turning his attention up from the food in front of him. While he usually never yelled or hit her, her father's indifference to her plight hurt Kat just as much as her mother's words and actions. He would never raise a hand against her, but never helped her either. Kat's mother slowly lowered her hand and a sneer twisted her lips as she released Kat's shoulder.

     Leaning close, her mother got within inches of her face, making her wish she could melt through the chair behind her to get away. "Never forget that you're a mistake. We never wanted you but we can't just get rid of you either. Step out of line one more time and we'll send you past The Gate, where no one will look for you!" the woman spit at her venomously. Kat shuddered, horror spreading across her features. From the moment she could understand words she had been warned of the dangers that awaited beyond The Gate. No one ever went through the only exit from the valley they lived in, the ancient crumbling portal whispered only in ghost stories and dire warnings in the dead of night.


    Katherine's schoolmates had all gotten together before dinner, as they usually did, including her two older brothers and older sister. Kat was only six, and had just started school, while her brothers were ten and eleven, her older sister seventeen. This year was her sister's last year at the school, and they were all getting together to play before Maddie had to graduate. Normally Kat wouldn't be allowed out with them so late, but since this was one of the last chances she would get to be with Maddie before she got married to the local blacksmith, her parents had grudgingly obliged.

     There was no love lost between Kat and her parents, as they made no qualms about saying that Kat was a mistake. They hadn't planned on having any more children after her brothers Deever and Dumfree were born, but ten pints of ale on the spring equinox proved that planning isn't always perfect. Kat was born nine months later on the winter solstice, a horrible time to have a child for their village, as food was always scarce during the winter.


      Deever and Dumfree were complaining to Maddie about having to play with Kat as she walked up to the group, but Kat ignored it, she was used to the siblings arguing about her. The boys readily adopted their parents stance towards Kat, taking every opportunity to pick on the little girl, sometimes violently. They were the reason that Kat couldn't usually play with the other kids, because one day Kat had come home with a broken arm and bruises on her face. Of course, her parents were horrified, and yelled at Kat for antagonizing her poor brothers into violence. Of course it was her fault, and she was sent to her room for weeks, lest the neighbors think Kat's parents were abusing her. Kat knew firsthand they would never leave bruises where people could see them, but she also knew better than to argue the topic.


     "Aww, why do we have to play with the reject..." Deever started to say, before Maddie cuffed him in the ear with a look of anger on her face.

     "Because I said so, you uncouth sod," Maggie snarled at him, glaring at Dumfree as he started to open his mouth to complain too. "Don't you start too, you little parrot. She's your sister for crying out loud!" she said loudly, starting to yell. Deever and Dumfree cowered slightly towards Maddie, knowing how angry she could get. There was a reason the blacksmith had fallen in love with her, as Maddie loved to spend her time at the anvil just as much as with her family. Maddie was close to six feet tall, her frame thin but well corded with muscles. If anything, they only added to her beauty, her chest and hips well filled out, long raven colored hair flowing down her back. Her green eyes were sparkling dangerously at the two boys, and young Kat sighed quietly in her own head, hoping that she grew up to be as beautiful as her sister.
 
    Kat quietly approached the trio as Maddie put Deever into a painful looking headlock, her wiry arms flexing and causing him to cry out, tapping her arm quickly in submission as his eyes bulged in his face. Kat knew her brothers were weak spirited, always willing to pick on those smaller than them, but too scared to actually put up any kind of fight with anyone that could put up a fight in return. Seeing the youngest daughter walking towards them, Maddie quickly broke into a dazzling smile that made Kat's heart soar, overshadowing even the sight of her older brother being bullied. Just barely.

     "Kat! C'mon slowpoke, I'm getting married tomorrow, I have so much I wanna do with you guys today!" Maddie called out cheerfully, just now noticing that she still had Deever under her arm, pushing him away lightly.

     Kat ran up to her sister and threw her arms around Maddie's neck as she bent down, picking Kat up and tucking her arm under her butt to hold her against her. Maddie chuckled softly and rubbed her sister's back as Kat nuzzled quietly into her neck, breathing in the scents of her sister. She always seemed to smell so good, like lemons and rosemary, even though she didn't actually own any kind of scented soap or perfume. Those kinds of things were extravagant, and her parents wouldn't waste money on mundane things like that.

     "Soooo... I've got a big day planned for us," Maddie began excitedly, hugging Kat tightly to her chest. "You guys are all mine today!" she said brightly, her eyes twinkling. Even the boys managed to forget about Kat's unwelcome presence in the sight of Maddie's enthusiasm, as even with her rough demeanor, she was still their idol, along with every other young boy and girl in the village. Something about Maddie just seemed to draw people like bees to honey, and it went beyond her looks. She was someone who always stood up for what was right, and would trade the shirt off of her back to a complete stranger.  Anyone would be excited to be able to monopolize her time, and knowing that she was getting married tomorrow, the kids weren't going to waste any time.

     Kat would have happily laid nestled in Maddie's neck all day long given the opportunity, but Maddie had other plans unfortunately. Turning away from the town, Maddie pointed into the woods with a mischievous smile.

     "What would you guys say if I told you I had gotten you each a special gift?" Maddie said lightly, feigning indifference. The three younger siblings immediately perked up, their attention riveted on the older. Their parents never bought them gifts for no reason, only getting them things like clothes and school supplies when they absolutely had to, for public decencies stake. They would never want to look like the neglectful parents they were in public, although with Kat they came extremely close. If it wasn't for Maddie and her fiance, Kat would probably not be wearing the fur and leathers she was wearing now, but a simple shift and leggings that would send her back inside in minutes from the freezing temperature.

     "On this map, I've drawn the location of each of your presents," she said, laying the paper gingerly down on a nearby table, using a rock to hold it down. Kat gasped, as paper was something that they rarely used in the town. Long ago it used to be abundant, but they had lost the ability to refine it from the trees, so they were stuck with writing on hides or bark. As scarce as paper was, books were practically forgotten, and Kat knew of only two in the entire town, both owned by the priests, written by someone named James. She wasn't sure who James was, but he had been a king apparently, and the priestly brothers liked to read from them aloud to everyone every Sunday. Kat thought the guy must have been crazy, but she kept her ideas to herself.

     Looking down at the map, she noticed that her name was scrawled by an X a fairly good distance from the village, even farther than the boys "treasure". She didn't mind though, as she knew exactly where it was without even having to think about it. Kat knew the forest like the back of her hand, and the X was very close to the outer edge of it, by the large entrance to the valley they lived in. Known only as "The Gate", apparently it used to be huge wooden gate standing over fifteen feet tall, braced with iron bars, and securely fastened to the concrete walls that closed the valley off from outsiders. Over the decades, the wood had rotted away though, and the gate was never needed anyway. The large boxes on top that Maddie said people had once stood in to watch the entrance hadn't been used since her parents childhood days, and recently a simple small wooden fence had been erected out of the wood that was least rotted to keep the sheep and cattle from running out.

     Giving Maddie another big hug, earning her a deep chuckle from her sister and a fond pat on the back, she missed the telltale look between her brothers and the sparkle in their eyes. Maddie didn't however, and she glared at them, wondering what they could be up to now.


     "Guys, don't you dare..." Maddie started to say, but Dumfree quickly reached forward, snatching the paper and running into the woods with his brother. They were headed in the wrong direction, Kat thought quietly to herself, and then realized with horror that they were headed straight for The Gate. Cursing loudly, Maddie put Kat down and looked her in the eyes for a second.

     "You can beat them, I know you can. Don't you dare let them win. Right now, you're small, but one day, these kinds of things will make you stronger than anyone else. Use these troubles to temper yourself, and one day they will regret strengthening you so," Maddie whispered to her furiously. Kat would never forget that saying for as long as she lived, and would always use it as a mantra when times got hard in the future. Nodding, Kat turned to sprint away but stopped, something making her pause. Turning back around, she flung herself back into Maddie's arms, tears burning her eyes, a crushing feeling in her chest as if she would never see her sister again. She felt silly, knowing that Maddie was only getting married tomorrow, not leaving the Valley (not that anyone ever did).

     "I love you Maddie," Kat said quietly to her sister, her young voice bright in the cold air. Tears welled in Maddie's eyes too, and it almost felt like a farewell embrace as she hugged Kat furiously.

     "I love you too, little kitty," Maddie choked out, furiously wiping her face with her sleeve so Kat didn't see the tears threatening to flow down it. Regaining her composure, she set Kat down on her feet and smiled widely at the young girl.

     "Now go show those big bullies who's boss," Maddie said with a toothy grin and sparkling eyes.

    
 


© 2013 Cheshire


My Review

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Featured Review

Your storytelling is incredible. The setting and characters are very well developed. I think you could make some improvements to the language. I can make some detailed notes if you want me to, to show you what I mean.

So I might say that this chapter is divided into three parts -- the part with the rabbit, the "flashback," and the rest. The rabbit part isn't bad; I'm guessing you decided to start with that because it thrusts the reader immediately into the action, but I feel like the beginning of the "flashback" is plenty interesting, and the rabbit part is just a needless diversion. The transition from "flashback" to present day was confusing to me. I would transition using something like "That was X months/years ago..." or something like that.

Great job overall. I'll definitely be reading on.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cheshire

7 Years Ago

Perhaps making the second "present day" scene a bit longer.
Aaron Browder

7 Years Ago

If you don't want to get rid of it, I would suggest extending the first section into a brief prologu.. read more
Cheshire

7 Years Ago

Yea another friend of mine suggested wiping it out completely, but then I have to think of a better .. read more


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Reviews

This chapter is soo good !!! I love it !!!!!

Posted 4 Years Ago


So good!! :D I love it. ;)

Posted 7 Years Ago


Hi! This a great start. It seems like you know where you're headed with the story. As for advice, here are few things which I can point out, which will work to make your story even better:

1. When you write: "She couldn't count the number of times that she had been berated by her parents, their scathing words rolling off of her like water on oiled leather by now. Kat was snapped back to reality sharply as her mother's hand collided with extreme force against the table she was seated at."
a. I'd say your sentence would be more "efficient" if you used active voice instead of passive. For instance, it would read something like, "She couldn't count the number of times that her parents had berated her, their scathing words rolling off of her like water on oiled leather. Kat's attention snapped back to to the present moment as her mother's handed collided with extreme force against..."

2. There are also some issues with sentence structure; I don't know if that's in part due to creative license. Here's an instance: "Deever and Dumfree were complaining to Maddie about having to play with Kat as she walked up to the group, but Kat ignored it, she was used to the siblings arguing about her."
a. It should be something like, "...but Kat ignored it; she was used to the siblings arguing about her."

I think that tweaking the little things here and there would really bring the story together and make it more seamless and easier to read.

Let me know if you'd like more feedback!


Posted 7 Years Ago


I love it! i cant wait to read more. You got a good story here. 9 definently

Posted 7 Years Ago


Your storytelling is incredible. The setting and characters are very well developed. I think you could make some improvements to the language. I can make some detailed notes if you want me to, to show you what I mean.

So I might say that this chapter is divided into three parts -- the part with the rabbit, the "flashback," and the rest. The rabbit part isn't bad; I'm guessing you decided to start with that because it thrusts the reader immediately into the action, but I feel like the beginning of the "flashback" is plenty interesting, and the rabbit part is just a needless diversion. The transition from "flashback" to present day was confusing to me. I would transition using something like "That was X months/years ago..." or something like that.

Great job overall. I'll definitely be reading on.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cheshire

7 Years Ago

Perhaps making the second "present day" scene a bit longer.
Aaron Browder

7 Years Ago

If you don't want to get rid of it, I would suggest extending the first section into a brief prologu.. read more
Cheshire

7 Years Ago

Yea another friend of mine suggested wiping it out completely, but then I have to think of a better .. read more

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Added on January 13, 2013
Last Updated on January 21, 2013
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Author

Cheshire
Cheshire

Merritt Island, FL



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Feel free to review my stories as harshly as you like. I'll be working on it more as I go, thanks for visiting. After a bit of a break, I'm back! My current focus has shifted from The Forbidden Mel.. more..

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