Hello readers. I am coming to you with yet another chapter from my work in progress Clandestine. This is chapter one: In fact I owe a lot to this chapter. The thing is I had no idea what the first chapter was going to be. I was starting to get really worried that I was going to be behind on the first day of NaNoWriMo. I had tried a couple of attempts to start, but none of them sounded right.
So to get to the point, this chapter ended up highly influencing the direction of the story (in a very good way)
Again I am going to say sorry for any punctuation/spelling/sentence structure mistakes. This again is from my first draft. Though this chapter is one of the best worded ones I have written. Let me know what you think in the comments below, I would appreciate the feed back.
|Picture source Pinterest. All text and editing credits Rachel Day.|
I walk along the scuffed dirt path; it’s mixed with last night’s early snowfall. I can’t believe he’s dead! The wooden coffin is carried by the group of Iciest council members. That includes my father, Levi Mistral. The family walks in front, along with the minister. Cuffed into huddled groups. No one left astray but me. I stay at the back of mourning, frightened people. I walk at the back, Not cause I didn't care about Griffiths. I did, he was like a grandfather to Priss and I. We grew up with his company. He was fathers mentor. He was one of the most powerful elders in the council. His word stuck.
I choose not to grieve like the others. The pain occupies my chest, I’m still too struck by the news of it, and I don’t even have time to grieve. I clutch my sketch book to my chest. The black leather lined book with blank pages was the last gift he had ever given me. He told me to fill the pages with the meaning of my heart. He knew how much I loved to draw, filling my pages up with many random sketches.
We draw further too the Neverland ground. I can see the large cluster of trees in the distance. The woods that draws the line between us and the Outer-land. The trees leafs are almost all gone. I can tell that autumn is coming to a close. Winter sweeping in with the northern winds. The golden grass comes to my knees in some places. The frost has yet to disappear. It’s like the world has stopped for him in a way. Not a single breeze blows; the sky is a peaceful, yet hurtful gray. The sounds of boots crunching the earth beneath are the only sounds I hear.
I rub my fingers over the leather binding. It makes me think of him; and the way he would run his withered fingers over our book collection. He liked historical books, books with facts. He would say that the truth is all we need to here.
I spot Priss with Loy, Griffith’s grandson. I can tell by the way he has his arms around her that she’s crying. Priss always had a very strong connection to Griffiths. To her he was like another father. But to me, he was like a guardian. A friend from a high place.
I hear a crow screech a cry from one of the bare trees. A cluster of them sit carelessly on the sleeping branches. One of them looks at me and caws. Like he’s saying “What’s a thing like you doing on this domain?”
I almost answer him back, but think about it before I do. Father would not like me to go talking to animals like they were humans. So I just scowl as him and move on.
The ground is scattered with countless graves stones. Some of the names on them are now unreadable, the stone crumbling, fallen among the grasses.
I would never say it, but I come here often. Sitting at mother’s grave, telling her all about life. Telling her about Priss and Father. I will just sit and draw, letting time pass like it no longer exists.
We have all heard the stories of the Neverland, and the beyond. The heart pounding tales of how the world does no longer exist out there. How the ghosts of the lost world wander the paths. The Neverland is only a grave yard to us. The place we bury our dead, say our last words over them, and then leave their bodies to the earth.
And that is what we are here to do to Griffiths today. To send his body to the resting place God intended for us.
We all stop at the hole in the ground. Dug the perfect size for the simple wooden box the carries his body. At one end I see the grave stone. It’s new. The stone is freshly cut into a flat dome.
Father and the other members set the coffin on to ropes. They lift the ropes, lowering Griffiths into the ground. I save a scream, as the last of the box disappears into the ground.
I squeeze my book, Griffith’s book, closer into my chest, so it’s almost hard to breathe.
The words of the minister rise into an echo, filling the space that was before then, only accompanied by the sound of breathing and boots.
“Today,” the minister start’s “We send Kilister Griffiths to the ground!” I remember we always just called him Griffiths. He said that his first name was not important, that he was more proud of his last name, the name that was passed down generations of his family. The minister continues.
“He held our city together for 60 years in the running. His dedication to our home, his love for the people… The way he gave so much for the lives of the citizens. The care he showed to the other races as well as his own. We thank him gravely for the work he did over the years for us! May none of it be in vain!” He takes a moment of silence, the murmur of thank you’s spreads through the crowd. Heads nodding down to the words.
“In the scriptures!” he says “The Lord takes the first man from the earth. After the fall, he says that as we came from the ground, and we shall also return to it! And in our fall, we shall also return. Dust to dust!”
He says the last words with such passion. “Dust to dust,” we repeat.
“Old friend… we bid you farewell.” He leans down, taking a handful of soil from the pile. Holding his outstretched hand over the hole. Then releases it. The dirt falls silently into the pit. I hear the sound of it topple on to the wood. The male family members pick up shovels and start to move the dirt into the hole. Filling him in forever.
One by one they stand at the dirt filled hole, saying words, crying, placing flowers on the newly turned soil. Most of the flowers are white. All to go by the race, the whiteness of Iciest. I have no flowers. All I hold is my book. The blackness of it must stand out next to my white clothing. I hold my cardigan over it slightly. To keep in the warmth, and to keep the last of him safe next to me.
All I can do is think about what he would say about all the white. He never really liked white flowers. His favorite where Irises. The purple flowers that grew in his back garden. He loved things with color. I always loved the fact that I was named after a flower.
More flowers more words, dropped to the earth. The white flowers looked like soft snow. The crowd dribbled away. Everyone wanting to leave the haunted graveyard of the Neverland. Priss and Loy stand together. Priss dropping memories, Loy doing the same… They stand close, holding each other. The comforting of it hurts me. I clutch the book close, like hug. Tears well up in my eyes.
Loy kisses Priss on the top of the head, they turn around. Her face is red. The mascara that she had unsteadily applied earlier that morning was in tear drops, staining her face.
She brushes a hand over my arm as they walk past. I see I am the last one. I stand stiff and still. The silence of it sends a sudden chill down my spine.
I let the tears fall. They fill my mouth, threatening to drown me. But I don’t care. Hanging my head low… I had not wept since the news came to our door. I had just sat at the table, staring into space. As Priss ran to her room crying. Father even wept. I had never seen him cry before. Like me, Grandmother sat there silently, sipping her tea, taking it back in hard gulps. I don’t even know what I was staring at. It was like my life was going before my eyes. His memory invading my mind. Bitter pain invaded the spaces. But now I could let it all out. I had no room for words. The tears just chose to come.
The death of Griffiths meant more than the loss of an elder. But the start of something! The start of what Father had been working towards his whole life. The place as an elder in the council. Griffiths had spent most of his life dedicated to working the city. But also mentoring father for the position of becoming an elder himself! For him to become one of the high leaders of the city.
Now father would take the responsibility to mentor Loy Griffiths for the place.
All of this would come to plan. It was going to happen in the end. The death of a member meant the passing of one of the mentored for the position. The knowledge of this dulled nothing. In the end it was the death of a friend, a loved one. I was death itself that was the end result. It happens to everyone. But we never accept its timing!
I take a moment to look back. The procession is almost at the bridge. I think of what father would say if he knew I was staying back like this. Even in his grieving, meant nothing to his treatment.
I take in a shuddering breath. Swallowing the mouth full of tearful saliva that had built up. I wipe my eyes with my sleeve; then with the back of my hand. I turn seeing through my fogged up eyes a crow standing in silence next to me. It looks from me to the grave. Letting out a small sad cry… It hops over to the pile of flowers, plucking one in its beak, then lifts its wings and flies off.
I breathe again. Watching its flight. Then turning on my heel I start walking in the direction of the bridge. I don’t look back. But in my mind, I have already said “Goodbye!”