The Secret Pond – Chapter 6 – Abigail

Here is the last installment of The Secret Pond. I hope you have enjoyed this writing journey with me. I feel good about completing the story. I learned a lot along the way about myself and my writing style. Writing this story in installments every week as a “pantster” has been challenging for me. I found out that I could do it, but it isn’t where my writing strengths are. It adds an element of pressure for me to not only create it within a timeline but also have it well edited and ready to publish. I envy those writers that write with deadlines like these every week.

Chapter 6 – Abigail

Continue reading “The Secret Pond – Chapter 6 – Abigail”

The Secret Pond – Chapter 3 – Sally

Even with the editing and reworking of the story line that I’m doing, writing the story as I go is challenging for me. I don’t know if you have heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.) If not and you are a fiction writer, you should check it out. They have events throughout the year, but their annual event occurs in November. I won in November 2015  by writing at least 50,000 words during the month. It lead to me having a rough draft of my second middle grade novel, The Bully’s Way, done and ready for first round edits.

While participating in NaNoWriMo, they have two categories that writers tend to fall into and it is based on how they create their works. Some writers are known as pansters (ones that write by the seat of their pants) and others as planners (ones that outline and plan what they are going to write). I tend to be more of a planner, but do some of my initial work as a panster. A true panster may have better luck at writing this story the way that I am. Thanks for hanging in there with me guys. It has been challenging, but a good exercise for me to battle through.

I need to remember that I am writing for me first. I want people to enjoy what I write, but that can’t always be my motivation to type the words and create the stories. Even though the writing journey may be challenging, it also needs to bring out my passion to write for me and my readers.

Chapter 3 – Sally

When Sally got back to the house, she ran up to her room. She could hardly wait to write about her adventures with Lila today. From seeing the turtle to finding a nest of baby warblers. The mama bird had the nest hidden underneath the low hanging branches of one of the jack pines in the woods. Sally decided to look up some information about warblers and found out they are endangered birds. She decided she would keep an eye on and take extra care of them. 

She took out her yellow notebook and started to write. She took what actually happened and added some of the story she created with Lila’s fairy character. 

Lila wanted to go and see the unicorn so bad today, but it was a little far for us to go with the chance of rain popping up all afternoon. I told her we would try to get there sometime this week. Then we started talking about the turtle.

We went to the pond last week and learned that we had a new neighbor move in. There was a snapping turtle swimming in the pond. We named her Gloria. When we walked by her today, she was in the process of burying the eggs she just laid. We waited on the path far enough away from her to not startle her. She stopped for a moment to make sure we were just watching and continued to build the protection around her eggs. We are so excited to see the babies after the eggs hatch.

Sally closed her notebook and placed it on her bed. She thought about Lila and was feeling sad about having to leave her when she went off to school. Coming to school with her wouldn’t be what Lila would want, but Sally didn’t want to leave her here alone either. She didn’t want her to feel the loneliness that she felt for such a long time.

She loved to share her stories with Abigail. Maybe Abigail could take care of Lila while she was at school. Sally thought maybe she could bring Abigail to the pond and show her around? Sally had always seen it as her secret place though, and didn’t know if she wanted anyone else to know about it. But something told her that she could trust Abigail.

********

The next morning, after getting dressed and grabbing her backpack, she went downstairs to the family library where she and Abigail met for her lessons. The room was located at the end of the hallway and was two stories tall. It  was one of the tallest rooms in the house with the walls lined with shelves and filled with books from floor to ceiling. It was decorated in rich dark browns and reds. When Sally walked in, Abigail was reading a book at the long wood table in the middle of the room.

“Hi Abigail. What are you reading?”

Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickins.”

“Do you like it?”

“It’s pretty good. It was one of the books here in the library. I’ve been picking one out of the collection each week to read.”

She stood up from the table and closed the book.

“Should we get started?” She asked.

“Sure,” Sally replied.

“I thought we’d would start with math and get your least favorite one out of the way. Did you fill in those tables I gave to you yesterday?”

“Sure did. Stayed up pretty late to get them done.”

“Let’s see how you did.”

Sally nodded her head as she pulled the paper out of her folder and handed it to Abigail. She took out her red pen and began to touch each of the squares with it as she checked the numbers. Sally held her breath until Abigail was done.

“Looks like someone is finally getting the hang of this. Nice job Sally. Now I’d like to give you some problems to solve using the information in these tables.”

“O.k.,” Sally replied.

They both sat down next to each other at the table and Sally started working on the problems that Abigail had given her to do. After about an hour, Abigail sat back in her chair.

“You have really started to retain this information. That will be enough math for now. How about you read one of your stories to me?”

“O.k,” Sally replied and pulled her  yellow notebook out of her bag, “I’ll read you the one I wrote yesterday by the pond.”

“What pond?” Abigail asked.

Sally stopped. It was her secret pond. She wasn’t sure she was ready to tell anyone about it yet. She did think about telling Abigail yesterday though. Then she sighed. She had to tell her now.

“There’s a pond back by the stone wall in the woods. It is a secret place that Lila and I have been going to on our adventures,” she replied, sounding a little defeated.

 “I kind of wondered where you wandered off to after our sessions. Is it someplace that you can take me to? I would love to see where you and Lila explore.”

“I guess I can do that,” she replied starting to perk up.

“How about after our lessons today?”

“Sure,” Sally replied, kind of excited to share her secret place with Abigail.

“So, are you going to share your story with me?”

“Yes,” she said.

Sally opened up her notebook and started to read her story about Gloria. She hoped that Abigail would see her when they went to the pond today.

The Secret Pond

Inspired by the A to Z blogging challenge and the Morning Walk blog entry from June 9th. This is the first installment of The Secret Pond story.

Prologue

Abigail lived in the garage apartment at their country estate just outside of Superior, Wisconsin. She not only helped Sally with her studies, she also helped Sally’s Mom with planning for the events she hosted at the house. From teas, to lunches, and dinner time parties, the house was always a bustle of activity.

The school day was from 8:00 AM to noon Monday through Friday. They covered four subjects, English, History, Science and Math. English was fun and her favorite. Sally got to read stories and write about them. History was fun, she learned a lot about how things happened and there were lots of stories to explain it. Science was o.k. She loved the earth science part and when they went outside to find insects and animals, but didn’t like having to learn about continental plates, weather patterns and theories. Math was the worst. Abigail just started teaching Sally about multiplication and division. Memorizing those math tables was just not working for her.

Her parents could give her any material thing she wanted. But what she really wanted was a friend. Abigail was nice, but she seemed to be there more for her Mom than for her. After their school sessions, Sally would ask Abigail to come and explore the grounds with her. She would always say that she had too much to do. Just like her parents would say when she asked them.

The one thing that Abigail would do is let her tell the stories that she had created in her yellow notebook. Sally was happy to have an audience. At the end of her school session, they would take time to let Sally read what she had written.

She seemed to get the best inspiration for her writing from the secret pond, probably because it got her away from the craziness of her house. The pond was at the back of the property the opposite way from the garden. Sally loved to go there with her Dora the Explorer light green backpack and she would always bring her stuffed bear, Clyde, her little yellow notebook and her Hello Kitty pink pen that wrote with pink ink. She loved to write stories about fairies and gardens. And she also loved the imaginary friend she was creating through her writing.

They would go on adventures together in her stories. One time Sally had seen a movie with her Aunt Judy about a unicorn that lived in the woods and wound up saving the entire forest. Then Sally was inspired to write a story about how her and Lila would meet up with a unicorn. As she shared her adventures with Lila to Abigail, Sally longed to have a friend just like Lila.

One day, Sally decided that she would create a friend for herself. Sally needed a companion since she was an only child in a big house put out in the country, away from town. Her great-grandfather had done well in the shipping business. And the family continued to live in his house and off of the money made by his hard work. So, she changed Lila from a fairy in her stories into a girl, just like Triton did with Ariel in the movie The Little Mermaid.

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She brought her books back to her bedroom after class. Looking out of her bedroom window, she saw the clouds building and the wind picking up. She grabbed her yellow rain slicker to keep warm and dry.

“Make sure you grab your yellow jacket, Lila,” Sally said, “we don’t want to get wet.”

And they headed out together to the pond.

U is for Unicorn

A unicorn is legendary mythical animal that looks like a horse with a single horn coming out of its head. As a young girl, I was intrigued by the uniqueness of the unicorn. They seemed very mythical to me because I couldn’t go to the zoo to see them.

Rainbows were also a big thing when I was growing up. I remember having a three-quarter sleeve shirt with red sleeves with a rainbow on it. Where there is a picture of a unicorn, there seems to be rainbow somewhere in the picture too.

Time to get creative again. Story time!

Sally went for another walk in the garden. When she got over by the lilacs, she saw Lila appear.

“Hi Lila.”
“Hi Sally. Did you come to see me again?”
“I was hoping to see you again. I was looking for someone to play with today.”
“Well, let’s go to the Land of the Lilacs and see what’s going on.”

They went back through the gate and to the secret door in the garden wall. Lila waved her hands again and the secret door opened.

“Let’s go for a walk down to the creek,” Lila suggested, “there are pretty flowers there and we can wade in the water. It isn’t very deep and the water runs pretty slow this time of year.”
“O.k.” Sally replied.

They started out down a path that ran between two rows of lilac hedges. The sun was shining bright and Sally saw the reflection of some water off of the green grass.

“Look at the rainbow Sally!” Lila exclaimed.

Sally looked up where Lila was pointing and saw the most vibrant colors across the sky.

“You came at the right time,” Lila said, “it just stopped raining about ten minutes ago.”
“It’s so beautiful,” Sally replied.
“Yes, and the leprechaun will tell you that there’s a pot of gold at the end of them. I tried to go find one once.”
“Did you find any gold?” Sally asked.
“No, but I did see a unicorn.”
“What’s a unicorn?”
“It’s an animal a little bigger than a horse. It has a horn that sticks out of his head. They live in the woods by the creek. We may be able to see one when we get there.”

Once they got out of the hedges, the path started to run between prairie grasses and wild flowers. Sally felt the warmth of the prairie and it was very comforting. She saw a bunch of trees up ahead.

“Is that the forest?” Sally asked.
“Yes. And the creek isn’t too far into the trees. Come on, let’s run!”

The girls starting running down the path, giggling all of the way. When they arrived at the trees, Sally could hear the water running over the rocks in the creek.

“I thought you said the water wasn’t running very fast,” Sally said, “I can hear it running over the rocks.”
“That’s from the waterfall. By the time the water gets down here, it’s moving pretty slow.”

They followed the path as it wound through the trees. They saw a deer with her fawn and some squirrels running around on the ground and finally up a tree. When the girls arrived at the bank of the creek, Sally looked to her left and to her right.

“You were right, Lila, the water is moving slower here. But, I don’t see the waterfall,” she said.
“It’s that way,” Lila said and pointed to the left, “it is a ways down there. Do you want to cross the creek and see if we can find the unicorns?”
“Sure,” Sally replied.

The girls took their shoes and socks off.

“Oh no, Lila!” Sally exclaimed, “your robe is going to get wet.”
“It’s o.k. Sally, it dries quickly.”

They started making their way across the creek. There were a couple of places where the water went up to their knees.

“The water is kind of cold,” Sally said, “but it does feel good.”

They climbed up onto the bank on the other side. They sat down on the grass and put their shoes and socks back on.

“Let’s go this way,” Lila pointed to the left as she got up, “the unicorns are usually closer to the waterfall.”

The girls walked together down a path that ran parallel to the creek. The sound of the waterfall became louder and louder as they got closer to it.

As they rounded the bend, the girls heard some rustling coming from some of the bushes in front of them. All of a sudden, out came a big white horse and two little horses. Sally noticed that all three of them had a single horn coming from their heads.

“Are those the unicorns?” Sally asked.
“Be still Sally,” Lila said, “otherwise we’ll scare them.”

They both sat on the grass as still as they could be. The mother unicorn was showing the two babies how to eat the grass.

“Must be very young,” Lila said, “I was just here last month and the mama unicorn was still pretty fat. So the babies weren’t born yet.”
“Why was she fat before and not fat now?” Sally asked.

Sally sat up in her bed and shook her head. She didn’t know what Lila was talking about. Her Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Chad just had a baby that was delivered by the stork, her Mom had told her that. And she would know.

L is for Lilacs

One of my favorite flowers. Reminds me of growing up in my childhood home. We had two big bushes of them in the backyard. My Mom would have multiple vases of them in the house in the spring. When I walk by them and catch that scent, it always brings me back to that time in my life.

Going to put my creative hat on and write a little story,

Lila the Lilac Fairy

Six year old Sally loved to walk in the garden at the family villa. She saw many varieties and colors of flowers. Everything smelled so nice together. Nature is good at making that happen.

She got back by the stone wall to the lilac bushes. The smell of them almost overwhelmed her, they were so fragrant. That’s where she saw a small girl who was about a foot tall with dark hair. She wore a floor length lavendar robe and had a garland of lilacs in her hair. Sally couldn’t believe what she saw and had to rub her eyes and look again. The girl was still there.

“Who are you?” Sally asked.
“My name is Lila and I’m the garden fairy. I live here in the garden and take care of all of the flowers.”
“Where do you sleep?”
“In the land of the lilacs.”
“Where is that?”
“Come with me and I’ll show you.”

Lila took Sally’s hand and led her down the garden path to an opening between two lilac bushes. Lila pulled the branches apart just enough for them to get through. After they were both in, there was a white picket gate. Lila opened the gate and walked in with Sally following.

When they got back by the wall, Lila waved her hands and all of a sudden a door slid over to the right, with just enough room for them to get in. They walked in and when they were both clear of the door, it slid shut. They could hear the stone door hitting the stone wall.

“Welcome to the land of the lilacs.”

Sally looked around and all she could see was lilacs. She turned slowly in a circle and looked up at the tall lilac bushes and into the blue sky.

“Look at all of the lilacs,” Sally said.
“I know. There are so many. I’m thirsty. Let’s go find Lenny.”

Lila and Sally walked together down a path between two lilac hedges. After they got to the end of the row, they saw a man sitting behind a light blue and yellow checkered lemonade stand.

“Hello, Lila,” the man said, “did you bring a friend today?”
“I did. This is Sally,” Lila replied, pointing at Sally, “and Sally, this is Lenny the Lemonade man.”
“Nice to meet you Lenny,” Sally said and reached out her hand to shake his.
“Pleasure is all mine miss. Do you two want some lemonade?”
“Yes please,” they both responded in unison.

Lenny poured each one of them a glass and they sat down together on the grass by the edge of the lilacs.

“You must love it here, Lila,” Sally said.
“It’s a pretty nice place to be.”
“I wish that I could live here with you,” Sally replied.
“Wouldn’t you miss your family?” Lila said, “I wish that I lived in the big house with you. The one with the glorious garden.”
“It’s nice,” Sally said, “but it’s kind of lonely. I’d much rather live here.”

Just as they were finishing their lemonade, Lenny walked over.

“Sally, just so you know, look under the bed and you’ll find the locket.”

****

When she woke up, she was in her bedroom. She saw her teddy bear, Sam laying on the pillow next to her. She ran to the window and loooked out at the garden. Everything looked to be in its right place. She sighed, it must have been a dream.

She looked under her bed and there was her mother’s locket. The one that Sally had lost when she wanted to look at the pictures of her grandparents that her Mother kept in it. Sally missed Lenny and Lila, but they helped her to give her mother’s locket back.