12152017 The First Three (Albedo)

The First Three (Albedo)

March 10, 2020

As an owe to my fictional writing, I felt the pull to post the first three chapters of three different books I have written or am writing. Only one is being professionally edited. 

 

They will be posted in separate blogs. I hope you find some extreme of emotion from each. Please note, these are not fully edited versions. 

 

Albedo: Chapter One - Seesters

 

Ada, my sister, slurps at her cereal obnoxiously. I glare at her from the side of my eye. She smirks, and white milk slides down the side of her face and back into the bowl. I stick my tongue out at her while rolling my eyes before stabbing my spoon back into my cereal. My teeth crunch down on the remaining hard edges of my Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

 

Currently, I am living at home, a luxury while attending college to obtain a required degree. I look down at the brown squares that bob with the white waves my spoon makes. They toss and turn with every slight movement. I sigh, pick up the bowl, and down the remaining sweet milk.

 

"Jack, watch this," Ada says as I look up just in time for her to pull back her spoon, flinging soggy squares at my face.

 

"Ada! You're too old to do this shit!" I say.

 

"Dad, Jack cursed at me!" Ada replies.

 

"She threw her food at my face, what the fuck else am I supposed to say?"

 

We both turn, my dad, stands in the kitchen with one hip popped, one eyebrow cocked, and a face-eating grin. 

 

"Well, you could say, Ada, thank you for sharing your breakfast with me."

 

"Yeah, Jack. You could have said that asshole," Ada says.

 

"Are you kidding me right now?"

 

"Nope," Ada gives me a food infested grin.

 

"That was a rhetorical question," I sigh.

 

"You're a rhetorical question."

 

"Oh, my God. How old are you? Because you most definitely aren't acting like a 16-year-old. Dad, please help me out here."

 

He looks from me to Ada and starts to laugh. 

 

"Look, Ada," he says with a pause before walking over to her, "puhlease don't throw food at your sister. I mean, unless she has the means to retaliate. And well, she's out of cereal. What is the rule: A fair fight, or no fight at all."

 

Ada grumbles, "Yeah, yeah. I know the rule."

 

My dad pets her hair before turning to me. "And Jack, feel free to continue to curse at your sister."

 

"What!? That's not fair," Ada whines.

 

My dad bends down and kisses me on the top of my head.

 

I smile and pick up my bowl, toss it in the sink, and run upstairs to my room.

 

The wooden floorboards creak under my feet as I take one step after another.

 

While running up the last step, I trip and crash to the ground.

 

"Jack, you alright?" My dad shouts.

 

"Yeah, I'm fine."

 

Laughter bubbles from the kitchen. I pick myself up and run the rest of the way to my room.

 

The door glides open, and I see the giant moon mural I painted on the wall to my right. Enormous bay windows face me directly, allowing natural light to illuminate the rest of the white walls. Paints, pictures, clothing, and more are all scattered about the messy space.

 

"I need to clean my room," I say. 

 

The wooden rod that holds all my clothes wobbles as I filter through the dangling garments. Quickly, I change into a white tank top and my mom's old short overalls. Today in class, we'll be work-shopping, which can get messy.  

 

"Now, where is my stupid biology book?" 

 

My hands find their way to my hips. I puff out air through my lips.  

 

The search begins at my work space, a haphazard mess of crumpled papers, blank CD's, and sketch pads. Underneath it all is the light at the end of this very dark tunnel, my biology book. I swear it smiles at me before I cram it into my leather bag that now bulges.

 

"Stupid biology," I mutter and turn to leave. 

 

A floor-length mirror stands at attention by my door. I stop when I see myself — black eyeliner smudges under my hooded blue eyes. Vibrant red hair sits on top of my head as if at any moment, the hair tie holding it together will crumble. I yank the band through the entanglement before forcing a comb through the knotted tendrils.  

 

"Ow, ow, ow, ow! Not worth it."

 

The comb lands with a clatter to the ground, and I sprint back down the stairs to the kitchen. 

 

"I'm leaving, dad," I say, kissing him on the cheek. "C'mon Ada. I'll drop you off at school."

 

"See you, girls, later. Love you!"

 

Together, we say, "Love you too, dad!"

 

After dropping Ada off, I speed to Ipse, the local community college. My major is art history, but the bureaucracy requires general education classes, aka science.

 

The sun shines down on me as I race across campus through dilapidated structures. My skin starts to sear from the rays. It settles as I enter my building. Two brawny guys with thick shoulders block the door to my class.  

 

"Hey, are you guys using that, or can I get by you?" 

 

"Using what?" The one on the left says.

 

"Um, the door? I'm kind of already late."

 

"Oh, yeah, sorry. Go ahead!"

 

"Thanks," I say, walking past them with a wave. They step aside, the other one looking at me with pursed lips until suddenly I can't see them at all. My nose starts to burn, and my eyes involuntarily water.

 

"Shit," I say, and stumble back.  

 

My vision slowly settles, and I see the door to my class swinging.

 

"Are you alright? That looked like it hurt," One of the guys says.

 

"Yeah, thanks. I'm fine."

 

"Hey, man! Aren't you going to say anything?"

 

Through blurry eyes, I see the person who opened the door. He stands a few feet off with his body pointed away like he didn't want to stop. I wipe away the tears to get a better look. His skin is the color of mocha, and he has dark brown eyes.  

 

"Sorry," He says.

 

There's no more time to ingrain his rude face into my head before he waltzes elsewhere. But, I do catch a tattoo peeking out under his t-shirt — a thick black line engulfing his upper forearm.

 

"What an asshole," I grumble, making my way into the class, being extra cautious of the door. 

 

I take a seat in the back and try to tune into the lecturing professor in an attempt to ward off daydreams of revenge on my doorman.

 

The day drags on as I move from one class to the next. Once lunch comes, I find a seat at my favorite bench outside. My drawing pad grimaces as drops of mustard fall onto its clean surface. I use my hand to wipe it off, sketching around the drying stain.

 

The sun warms my porcelain skin, and I can feel myself starting to burn, again, praise be to the Irish. 

 

A disturbance across the yard draws my attention. An ever peeking tattooed arm mocks me from afar.  

Infuriated, and burning, I march over to him. He stands in the sun with some blonde girl. She looks pristine in the glowing sunlight: Hair pinned. Lips glossed. Smirk broad. 

While he, on the other hand, looks like a nuisance with his backpack hanging open, T-shirt riddled with holes and stupid toned arms. 

 

"HEY, YOU!" I shout at them. They ignore me. "You! Door, boy!"

 

The blonde turns to look at me with an upturned forehead, and her mouth moves, and then he turns to look at me. His eyes squint like he's trying to figure out how he knows me.

 

Amid my rage, I don't realize that the ground dips slightly, and I trip and fall.  

 

"For the love of God," I mutter to myself.

Quickly, I stand back up and kill the rest of the distance between us.

 

"Yeah, you. You're the one who hit me in the face with the door," I point my finger.

 

He smirks at me. "How do you know that you didn't fall into it? From observation alone, you're not the most, how do I put this delicately, graceful."

 

My lips purse.  

 

The blonde's eyes go wide, and she looks anywhere but me. "Text me later," she says with a wave, walking away. 

 

He holds his arms up as if to say, wait, please don't go, before turning back to me. He crosses his arms, and I follow. 

 

"Well, are you going to say anything else, or can I go?" He asks.

 

"Yes, I still have more to say. You can't just go around—whether intentionally, or not—and hit people in the face with a door and then just walk away without saying anything."

 

"Is that so," he pauses, "what's your name?" 

 

"Jack."

 

He laughs. 

 

I stare at him.

 

"You're serious?" His eyebrows shoot up.

 

"Yes. My dad always wanted a boy, and so he thought to name me Jack," now I pause, "wait, why am I even telling you this? Back to the point!"

 

"The point about how I shouldn't hit people in the face with doors? Yeah, I got it."

 

"Oh. Right," My cheeks burn. "Well, I've never done this before," I say.

 

"Done what? Confront someone about something inconsequential publicly?" He smiles and tilts his head.

 

"I'm aware that I'm embarrassing myself, thank you. No need to rub it in."

 

"Is that your stuff at that picnic bench?" He says.

 

"Yes, why?"  

 

He points behind me — three birds peck, at each other, and then my sandwich in turn. Their tiny feet are stomping all over my sketch pad.

 

My eyes rapidly blink as I come into focus from my daydream of what would have happened had I approached door boy.  

 

"This is what happens when you get lost in your head, Jack!" I lecture myself.

 

My hands fly angrily in the direction of the hungry eyed birds who squawk and circle my stuff: pens, sketch pad, biology book, pencils, and sandwich. 

 

My lunch sits with tiny holes like a smile in it.  

 

I pitch everything into my bag and say, "Leave it for the birds," as I walk away. 

 

***

 

By the time I get home and lie down in my bed, I'm exhausted. I look up at the ceiling. One hand rests on my heart. 

 

There is a knock on my door and then the sound of feet pattering against the wood — my bed dents.

 

"Jack, I'm scared."  

 

My head rises to look at Ada, who sits Indian style at the end of my bed. She looks down — her thumbs twiddling. 

 

"Why is that?" I say, propping myself up on my forearms. 

 

"Some kids at school were talking, and rumors are going around."

 

"Rumors about what, you?"

 

She inaudibly swallows.

 

"No, Albedo."

 

My breath hitches, it's here at least, Albedo the recurrent ice age that happens every five years. Anyone who lives above the 37th north parallel is required to migrate south during Albedo due to inhabitable living conditions. It started around 50 years ago when global warming was at its peak.  

 

The people of Earth didn't do enough, fast enough, and mother nature gave them her middle finger creating one hell of an ice age that lasts for an entire year, every five years. It devastated everyone and everything, killing millions of people and setting Earth back decades. The world finally came together at that point, and the Albedo migration was implemented. The December before, everyone takes trains down south to live. Now here we are 50 years later, trying to pick back up where we left off.

 

"We know how to handle Albedo now. So, I wouldn't worry."

 

"Well, a kid at school, his dad is a meteorologist, he says the storm is coming earlier this year, but no one believes him."

 

"That's a pretty big claim to go ignored, don't you think? I bet this kid is just trying to get attention."

 

"I mean, yeah. That could be it. I don't know; he seemed pretty worried."

 

Rising further on my forearms, I gaze at my sixteen-year-old sister, Ada.

 

Puberty was not a friend to me, but it's different for her. She's filling out in the right places, and losing it in others. Her high cheekbones and full lips accentuate her dark skin perfectly. Yet, there is still a sense of innocence in her. We may have different parents, but she'll always be my little sister regardless of how grown up she appears.

 

"Ada, come here." 

 

She bites her lower lip. Her eyes welling. Then she crawls over and cuddles up to me. We lay back, and her head rests gently on my chest. I play with her hair. 

 

"Look, I don't want you to worry. Even if this kid's dad is right, we know how to handle it. We drill this all the time, and the trains are always on stand by.

 

There's nothing to worry about, I promise."

 

Her head moves in a nod.

 

"You're right. I'm sorry. I just always think the worst possible scenario you know, ever since," Ada trails off.

 

"Hey, look at me. I am NEVER going to leave you. Ever. I'm not my mom, and you're not yours. Different women may have abandoned us, but we are sisters, and we are better than them. Genetics, physical traits nothing can change that. I promise."

 

"I love you, Jack."

 

"Love you too, kid."

 

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K. J. Rocazella

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