Without a word, she dropped to the ground. She tucked the book she was reading under her arm, and folded her hands over it, leaning casually back against the trunk of the tree she had just descended from.
The boy had knocked on the door of the house once or twice, and assuming no one to be home, had just turned to leave when she suddenly materialized in front of him, armed with a book and a disgruntled look.
“Are-are you Jordan?” he managed to ask her as she stood glaring at him.
“Yes. And you are?” She replied coolly.
“I’m Chris. You know Mrs. Mathews a couple houses down? I’m staying with her, she’s my aunt.”
“My mom told me you might come over.” Jordan said, condescending now.
“Oh good. I didn’t know anyone here, and this town looks maddeningly dull when you don’t have anyone to hang out with.”
She narrowed her eyes at him, saying, “Don’t blame the dullness on the town. It must be you who’s dull.”
“Easy for you to say, you’re a kid. And a girl. Girls never get bored.”
“That’s not true! Anyways, I”m not a kid. I’m practically a teenager.”
“How old are you?”
“I’ll be thirteen next month!” She said, with her nose in the air.
“Well, I’m sixteen. Back home, I drive my father’s Volvo all the time.” He told her proudly.
Jordan was thawing to him now, the irritation at being disturbed from her afternoon tree slumber slowly disappearing. He saw that, and not wanting to lose her company, he asked, “So, do you want to get some ice cream or something?”
She thought for a moment, then a suspicious look crept over her face. “First, whatever made your parents send you off alone like this?”
He looked down, and mumbled something about ‘misunderstanding’ and ‘incident’.
She still looked doubtful, and then said assuming an indifferent, grown up stance, “I don’t think I know you well enough to go out for an ice cream with you. And besides, my mom won’t like it.”
He chuckled, “Well, aren’t you a little good girl, always doing what her parents say?”
“I’ve got this story to finish reading.” She said, turning as if to climb back up the tree.
“What story? And why do you have to be in a tree to read a story?” He asked, clearly not wanting to let her go.
“It’s the best place to read a story. It’s nice and shady for summer afternoons like this, and I can stay up there for hours with no one to disturb me!” She said in one breath, excited to talk of her hobby.
“You’re weird.” he said. But Chris didn’t want to let up a chance to spend some time that did not include serving ladies coffee for their tea parties, and running errands for his uncle. So he offered her a deal.
“All right, how about this? I’ll sit and listen while you complete your story. And then we can go out for an ice cream. I’ll even drive you to the mall if you want.” He asked, his face hopeful.
Jordan considered this offer for some time. She hated to keep asking her mom to drive her to the mall, and her friends would all be there. And she was sure her mom wouldn’t mind, after all, she knew Chris’s aunt well.
“Deal.” She said, smiling at him for the first time.
“Great!” he smiled back, knowing his offer had been too good for a teenage girl to resist. How could she say no to being seen by her friends, driven to the mall by an older (not bad-looking) boy who was not her brother?
“So what’s the story about?” He asked, following her up into the boughs of the tree, settling down below her in the lower branches.
Excitedly, she began, “It’s about this girl who is travelling across Africa with an infant across her back. And she has to brave war, hunger, thirst and predators in order to reach where the child’s father is. One night she realizes she is being followed on the moor by a hungry lion. So she climbs up a tree with her child, armed with a spear. It’s a full-moon night, and the lion is roaring at her from the base of the tree. To her shock, the beast starts clawing and scraping and clambers right up the tree…”
This story is written for The Speakeasy over at Yeah Write. The challenge this week is to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 740 words) This week’s sentence prompt to be used as the FIRST line of the story:
“Without a word, she dropped to the ground.”
And the media prompt, was: