Thursday, June 12, 2008

The old Inky story.

Found the old story. Okay, it was written years ago for my daughter. Needless to say--it needs work.
I have something to tell you that you are never going to believe. But it’s true. As a matter of fact, it's so true, that I’m still, to this day, coughing up hairballs over it. Yes, hairballs. That part is true too. As you will see, when I tell you my story.
My name is Jacqui Taylor and I guess I’m your average fifth grader. I go to Cove Port School in a small town in New Jersey. It’s an okay school. Kind of small, but that’s all right because it just means everyone knows everyone else. I have hazel eyes and blond hair. I think my hair is my best feature. It goes all the way down to my waist and it’s real curly. Everyone I meet comments on it. The only thing I don’t like about it is having to comb it in the morning and the fact that Justin Roberts is always trying to pet it. Like it’s a kind of animal or something. Justin is a little strange. I’m kind of tall for my age. In fact, I’m the tallest kid in my grade. I like that because I get to look down on the other kids. Especially Jolene Harmon. I don’t like Jolene. She is always calling me names like geek face and muggly. She calls me muggly because she says I have an ugly mug. My mom says she probably doesn’t get much attention at home so she does things, like call people names, to get attention in school. I just wish she’d pick someone else to help her with her attention problem. I’m kind of tired of it. I call her fly. You know how pesky flies can be. When she comes near I ask someone to hand me a fly swatter. She hates it when I say that and usually she goes away.
Enough of that stuff, let me get on with my story. It all started one day on the way to school. I was waiting for my best friend, Jennifer Bates, on the corner near her house when I looked down and saw something shining in the grass.
I never should have picked it up. I never should have been so curious, but Jennifer was late and I was bored---so I reached down and pulled the shiny object out of the grass. It was a golden strip with colored jewels set all along its length. There was a little gold buckle at one end and little holes for the buckle to fit in at the other. It sparkled in the early morning sun, beautiful.
Just then Jennifer came running out of her house. “Come on, Jacqui!” she shouted as she ran past me, “We’re gonna be late again!”
I shoved the bracelet into my pocket and ran with her. We had been late twice last week and Mrs. Murdock, our teacher, said if it happened again she was calling our mothers. We raced into the schoolyard just as the last bell rang.
Jennifer and I slid into our desks as quietly as we could while Mrs. Murdock was writing on the blackboard. When she turned I was just pulling out my assignment book and trying to look innocent. For a minute I thought she was going to yell at us again. But she just pursed her lips together in a mean line and she looked from us to the clock on the wall and back again. Grabbing my pen, I flipped open the book and pretended I was trying to see what was behind her on the black board. Mrs. Murdock blew out a hissy breath between her teeth and turned back to the board. Jen and I looked at each other and she made took a hand and wiped it across her brow. We were safe.
At recess Jen and I met on the playground. That was when I stuck my hand into my coat pocket and remembered the bracelet. I pulled it out to show Jennifer and some of the other girls.
“Wow! It’s so sparkly!” Lindsey said taking it from my hand without asking.
“Yes, it is, isn’t it?” I answered as I reached out to snatch it back.
Lindsey was always taking things off other people’s desks without asking. She took pens, pencils, hair clips, anything. Like the whole world was hers to take at will.
“Are you going to wear it?” Jennifer asked.
“Yeah!” I answered, I hadn’t thought of that yet. I was just glad to have it. Wrapping it around my wrist, I was just buckling it on when Jolene came up to stick her big nose in.
“You’re wearing a cat collar? She asked in her nasty, I’m-better-than-you, voice.
“It’s a bracelet.” I said patiently while I rolled my eyes.
“My aunt’s cat has a collar just like that.” Jolene said smugly.
“Does anybody care about your aunt’s cat, Jolene?” Jennifer snapped. She didn’t like Jolene either.
Jolene glared at Jennifer. “Does anyone care your ugly?”
“Does anyone care you’re stupid?” Jennifer shouted.
“Does anyone care you’re a jerk?” Jolene yelled back at her. Her face was all red now and she crossed her arms over her chest like she was Mrs. Murdock. All she needed was that steel gray hair and slanty glasses.
“Quick! Someone get me a fly swatter!” I yelled and everyone laughed. Everyone, but Jolene that is.
“You think you’re so cool, Jacqui Taylor!” Jolene’s face got even redder as she screamed at me. “But you’re not! You are so mug ugly it hurts my eyes to look at you!”
“So leave!” I screamed back. “No one invited you over here anyway!”
Just then the bell rang and it was time to go back to class. Jolene had me so steaming mad that I forgot all about the bracelet. Mug ugly, mug ugly. Everytime she opened her stupid mouth that’s what came out. It was like it was the only thing that rattled around in that empty head of hers. I was so mad that I almost failed my history test. I decided if I did fail I would tear it up into little spitballs and fling them at Jolene’s hair. After I decided that I felt a little better.
It wasn’t until that night when I went to bed that I remembered the bracelet again. When I got into bed my cat, Inky, climbed up onto my pillow and stretched out. I named her Inky because she is all black, like the darkest ink. She’s big and soft and sleeps next to my pillow every night. She’s my best friend. If cats could talk I’d be in a lot of trouble because I tell her all my secrets.
For a cat, Inky is kind of weird. She lays on her back with all four legs sticking straight up in the air and sleeps like that all the time. People who come into our house and see her always ask if she’s dead. She is always sneaking up to drink my Mom’s coffee when no one is looking and when we set the table for dinner she sits in a chair and waits to be fed. Mom says Inky thinks she’s human.
When she climbed up onto my bed that night I took the bracelet off my wrist and showed it to Inky.
“Isn’t it pretty, Ink?”
Inky purred and rubbed her chin against the bracelet. When I held the gold bracelet against her black fur the jewels in it seemed to glow brighter. It flitted through my mind that Jolene might be right. Maybe it is a cat collar, but I brushed it away. Jolene wasn’t right about anything. Ever.
“Would you like to try it on, Ink?”
She moved onto my lap and rubbed her head against the bracelet again. I took that as a yes and attached the collar around her neck. When it was all buckled on the collar seemed to glow again. Just for a minute, then it looked normal. I blinked my eyes. Did it really glow like that or was I just getting tried? I blinked my eyes again and Inky meowed. She bent her head as if trying to see what was on her neck then she looked at me.
“Come on Inky lets go see how pretty you look.”
I scooped Inky up and took her to the mirror over my dresser. We stared at ourselves. Inky meowed again and then the bracelet started glowing. I mean this time it really glowed. The jewels blazed as if there were fire inside them. The golden band was so bright now it seemed white hot.
I didn’t have to wonder if I saw it or have to blink it away. I knew what I was seeing. It looked like it was hot, close to bursting into flames. Even Inky was staring at the bracelet in the mirror, her green eyes as big as quarters! I slowly reached up to touch the bracelet. It was warm and seemed to glow brighter when I touched it.
“Oh my God. Inky, what’s happening?”
Then I started to get scared and Inky was starting to squirm and meow. Only it sounded more like “Yeeeoowwie”.
She was scared too. Suddenly, I wanted to get the bracelet off Inky’s neck. I mean, what if it was going to burn her or something? As I took her back over to the bed she fought to get away. I practically had to lay on top of her to undo the buckle. As soon as it was off Inky jumped to the other side of the bed. I tossed the bracelet onto the bed and the glow slowly faded until it was just plain gold again. Then I relaxed a bit. I rubbed Inky’s neck where the bracelet had been.
“Its okay now, Inky.”
With a sniff in the direction of the bracelet, she climbed back onto my pillow and stretched out on her back with her legs in the air.
I looked at the collar again and remembered how it seemed to glow like a hot coals. That was so weird that I suddenly decided that I didn’t want it any more, I didn’t even want to touch it. I took a hanger from my closet and hooked the bracelet with one end of it. I opened the window and let the bracelet fall into the garden below. Once it was out of my room I felt better. I looked at Inky all stretched out on my pillow and decided to join her. Now that the bracelet was out of my room I felt better. It wasn’t so scary. Maybe it was just the light or something, right? That’s all.
I turned out the light and climbed into bed.
“You’re okay, right Inky?” I stroked her belly, then worked my hand up and around her neck. She felt fine, normal. No burn marks or anything. “It wasn’t anything.”
I had the strangest urge to put my feet up in the air but instead I just drifted off to sleep.


spyscribbler said...

Hah! Love the feet up in the air closing. That's perfect. That's exactly how my one cat sleeps, right up next to me. He thinks he's a human, too.

Charming story!

Aimless Writer said...

Thanks Spy!
I think the opening is slow and needs a big rewrite. But this was written sooo long ago I can only claim I didn't know what I was doing at the time.
Thanks for reading.