Saturday, January 20, 2007

Drafts: Frog Haven, Chapter 11

Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8 ,Chapter 9, Chapter 10

Chapter 11: The Cabin

It was a log cabin with a small, screened porch, a chimney, and a woodshed. Following the hill down to the right with her eyes, Sissy spotted what looked like an old, falling-down outhouse near the bottom of the hill. The whole place looked deserted, but Sissy felt a sudden icy shiver run jaggedly down her spine. The hair on the back of her neck prickled and goose bumps raised all over her body. All the warnings about not going into the woods beyond the pastures came back fresh and sharp in her mind. It was clearly forbidden and yet here she was, disobeying a direct order.

“Oh, Garryd, I think that cabin has something to do with why we’re not supposed to be here. Do you feel spooky at all?”

“A little,” he admitted.

“Look,” said Sissy, holding up her watch, “now we’ve got to really hurry. Come on, let’s go. Please Garryd, don’t tell anybody about the cabin! I’m sure we’ll get in trouble for being here!”

“Okay, Sis!!”

“Oh, Garryd, I wish I were your sister!” Sissy exclaimed as they charged through the woods. “Do you want to be my blood brother? You’re so special and understanding and different than my real brothers.” They walked quickly down the old road.

“Sure, why not, let’s do it, Sissy!”

“Maybe we can do it after supper. Do you have a jackknife?”

Garryd pulled a small knife out of his pocket and held it up for Sissy to see. It had a mother-of-pearl handle and a small sharp blade.

“Good. Come over to my house at six o’clock. I should be done eating by then.”

“Why don’t you eat at my house?”

“You haven’t asked your Mom if I can.”

“Don’t worry, it’s okay.”

“You have to ask her; I’ll wait in the garage.”

“Don’t be silly, come on!” Garryd pulled Sissy into the house and started signing rapidly to his mother. She looked puzzled. She wrapped her hands around his rapidly moving hands and cocked her head to one side, almost as if she were listening. She turned and looked questioningly at Sissy. Sissy smiled. Elke smiled and nodded her head.

With Garryd at her heels, Sissy ran home and asked her father.

“Are you sure it’s all right?”

“Yes,” she said. Garryd nodded.

“Okay, be good.”

“I will, Papa!” She gave him a kiss.

“Just a sec, Garryd, I’ve got to get something in my room. For the ceremony,” Sissy said, mysteriously. She reappeared a moment later and they sprinted back to Knudson’s.

Supper was on the table. Sissy and Garryd washed up in the bathroom together. They sat at the table next to each other. Sven signed grace and Garryd said the words aloud for Sissy. They had steak, stuffed baked potatoes, succotash (which Sissy loved) and homemade rhubarb pie. Everything tasted delicious, a miracle for Sissy, whom some people considered a picky eater.

Supper conversation was a combination of signs, grunts and words. A grunt and a point meant, “Please pass the whatever.” Sissy figured that out without Garryd’s help. Elke kept jumping up to get stuff for everyone. She smiled fondly toward her family and her warm, loving smile included Sissy as well. Sissy felt welcomed and comfortable, after a few minutes adjusting.

After supper, Sissy offered to help with the dishes but Elke shook her head and pushed Sissy gently away. She and Garryd went down the hall to Garryd’s room. The doorway was partly blocked by three cans of paint, rollers, trays, brushes, and a stack of newspapers.

“Dad’s project for tomorrow,” Garryd said, grinning, “and I can’t wait! Green for trees, not pink for puke!” Sissy’s room was green, too. Green with yellow woodwork. Pink, Sissy thought, was a Francie Coover color, fine for girly-girls.

Garryd had a huge collection of Teddy bears on his bed. Big ones, small ones, all kinds and colors.

“Wow! These are neat!” Sissy said.

“Look at this one,” Garryd said, pulling a medium-sized bear from the pile. It looked like a real bear.

“Is it alive?” Sissy asked, laughing. “I never saw one like that before.”

“My aunt gave it to me.” Garryd opened the door to Tweety’s cage. The bird flew out. Sissy pushed the bedroom door shut to confine the bird and tried to catch it. She was anxious to do the blood siblings ceremony, but she couldn’t catch the stupid bird. It flew around and around the room. Every time it landed somewhere, it flew again before they could get close enough to catch it. Sissy was getting more and more annoyed.

“We’ll never catch it,” she moaned.

Garryd’s arm shot out and he grabbed Tweety in mid-flight. “It’s easy,” he said, "if you really want to do it.”

Sissy was surprised and impressed, but eager to get on with the ceremony. “Do you have any alcohol, Garryd?” she asked, when Tweety was back in his cage.

They went in the bathroom together where Sissy wiped Garryd’s knife with alcohol, using toilet paper to clean it. Then she got her own knife out and showed it to Garryd. It was exactly like his. She smiled, wiping the blade with alcohol.

“It’s perfect that we have matching knives for the blood siblings ceremony.”

“Blood siblings? What’s that?”

“Siblings are brothers and sisters. We learned all about blood brothers and sisters last year in 4th grade with Mr. Sharpe. We were studying Indians, Native Americans and reading lots of stories and we all got to have a blood brother or sister. They did it again this year but you just missed it, by coming late.”

“You didn’t tell me you had the same knife.”

“I wanted to surprise you! Let’s go up in the weeping willow in your backyard.”

Sitting on the branch opposite Garryd, Sissy instructed Garryd to take his knife and carefully cut her wrist. “Here,” she said, pointing. “Just a little cut. I don’t want to bleed to death.”

“I don’t want to cut you. I’d rather cut myself.”

“Come on, Garryd!” Sissy held out her wrist and Garryd made a small careful cut. A single drop of blood oozed from the incision. Sissy grabbed Garryd’s arm and cut a quick slice in the side of his wrist. It was small, but not as small as hers.

She picked up a drop of blood on his knife and he did the same. The pressed the drops together with the knives. “They used to press their cuts together to mingle the blood, but Mr. Sharpe said there is some disease you can get doing that, AIDS or something. He said never to let our blood mix inside our bodies.”

“What about transfusions, people in accidents and stuff?”

“I guess they look at the blood to see if it has germs. Some people die though, or they did, he said.” She touched her fingertip to the mixed blood after checking to see if there were any cuts on her finger. Then touched the mixed blood to his right cheek and kissed him on the left. “I hereby promise to be a faithful sister to you, forever and ever.”

Garryd solemnly followed her lead, doing the same, swearing to be her faithful brother. Then Sissy dug down in the pocket of her cut-offs and took out two rings. Each had a tear-shaped drop of bright red ceramic “blood” attached.

“Mom got these when she donated blood at the Red Cross,” she said. She slipped one on Garryd’s ring finger. It was a little loose. “You’ll have to put a little adhesive tape around the back,” she said.

“Okay.” Garryd slipped the other ring on her finger. “You’ll need a little tape too. I never had a sister before,” he added shyly.

“Well, I promise to make up for it. I’ll be an even better sister than a real sister.” The whistle was blowing shrilly next door. “I’ve got to go do chores now, Garryd, see you tomorrow.”

“What about the frog run you told Lyssa she could come on?”

“I don’t know, maybe we could let them go somewhere else.”

“I want to find out what’s in that cabin. I don’t think anyone lives there. Aren’t you curious?”

“Yes,” Sissy said nervously. “But I’m not supposed to go there. And . . . I’m scared, a little,” she admitted.

“Well, Sis, blood siblings or not, if you don’t want to go with me, I’m going by myself.”

“I guess I’ll probably go with you, Garryd. Yikes!” The whistle sounded again. “I’ve got to go. See you in the morning.”

Chapter 12; P365-07W

No comments: