Saturday, April 5, 2014

Paperback Day Dream

Paperback Day Dream

A Short Story

     Shurri wasn't sure what time it was exactly when she woke up from her fantasy world. The wind had changed directions and the long grass she laid in tickled her nose distracting her from finishing the novel that had engulfed her senses. Her finger between the pages paused the fantasy world, and she stared up at the blue sky watching the soft white clouds drift on the lazy breeze. Shurri had decided to skip school to avoid the lectures on things that could be read in books, thinking of her friend Ming, who could read historical fiction without getting bored. Even at the young age of sixteen, to her and her friends books were the vital spark they needed to get through life. Shurri had lost many suitors because of her fondness to her paperback pals. Her mother often scolded her for skipping school to read of princesses and princes who fought valiantly for the one they loved. Oh how Shurri wished to have an adventure similar to the ones in fairy tales.
     Now she lay in her favorite reading spot, clutching a copy of The People Could Fly. It contained a collection of American Black Folktales told by Virginia Hamilton. Shurri loved to explore the fairy tales and folktales of other cultures. With each tale brought another adventure into her imagination, bringing the whole story alive letting Shurri join its characters.
     Shurri was of some African decent, but only one fourth, which was enough to give her complexion a golden brown tone, and her chocolate hair a slight curl.
    The wind danced in her hair and played with her light green printed dress and stirring the leaves in the trees a few yards behind her. Today was a perfect day for an adventure.
     Shurri sighed, rolled onto her stomach and propped herself up on her elbows, gazing across the sea of grass that led to a beaten dirt road. A ways down the road she could see the small one room school house that held grades first and up. She knew that in a few hours, kids of all ages would burst through the doors and race home to play games of stick ball and football.
    Shurri felt detached from the world of frivolity, because of all the knowledge reading had lent her, many thought she was too smug to join in their games. Even her teacher and some adults held disdain for her and the arsenal of information she carried. She took no offense. The words on the pages seemed to dance before her eyes and create worlds in which battles were waged, lives were lost, and the end held the beautiful lessons of life. She was addicted to the excitement of discovering the mastermind behind the evil plot or the saving of a damsel in distress. This addiction lead her to new, harder novels to read, subsequently expanding her knowledge, vocabulary, and grammar.
     Besides her daily chores, she worked a few hours at the bakery downtown, but only to earn enough money to buy more books. She couldn't help it if older folk suddenly felt jealous because she dared to read while they worked, that was their choice not hers. She chose reading over working and liked it that way. Any other chore seemed to waste her time.
     It was then that she heard it, the small chime of the metallic bell being struck repeatedly, jarring her from her thoughts. The doors to the red school burst open, and a flood of bodies surged out and then divided into different directions. Each heading for a place Shurri could only imagine.
     It was time, she sighed, time to blend back in with the crowd and ask her friends what the lessons for today had been. Shurri stood and brushed the dirt from her dress. She tenderly plucked a strand of grass and placed it between the pages of her book, and began her trek towards the dirt road.
     At the edge of the field stood three people, each with a different expression on their face. The shortest held two bundles of schoolbooks and a sorrowful expression that would melt your heart. The owner of this puppy dog face was Emma, about seventeen years old, her straight strawberry blonde hair was cut level to her chin, with bit tied off to the side in a ponytail.
     The person on the right was Jade, she stood a head taller than Emma and was of Asian descent. Her jet-black hair was tied up in an intricate bun and decorated with a bead-studded hairpiece. Shurri noticed her nose was buried in a book, and that the pages were quickly being turned. She must be at a good part, Shurri thought.
     The tallest was male. He had a standoffish attitude and wasn't even facing Shurri as she approached, he was staring down the road as if interested in something in the distance. His dark hair was disheveled, and his shirt was untucked. Ever since he hit puberty and had a growth spurt he liked to act all high and mighty, but really he was a sweetheart. Together they made an odd group. Emma was the worry wart, Jade was the levelheaded one, and Jack was the know-it-all big brother figure.
     Shurri had known these three for her whole life. They were her friends; they were her second family. It seemed, at times, they were the only ones who understood each other. Shurri felt it was a bond that no one could break.
     “Yo, yo yo!” Shurri sang out in greeting. “So how was class today?”
The Asian girl shrugged, and continued reading indicating she had hardly paid attention.
“Shri,” Emma called her by her nickname, “please don’t skip again,” her voice squeaked, “I hate having to make up excuses for your disappearance. Plus, I hate carrying your text books.” She lofted the stack into Shurri’s arms.
“I know, sorry. I just can’t help it ya know? The fields called my name! It was too beautiful outside to be inside!” Shurri gestured dramatically and laughed. She patted the girl on the head, “I felt the pull of my book whispering, ‘Come! Read me!’ I couldn’t resist. I hope it wasn’t to much trouble-”
“Damn straight it caused trouble!” Jack turned on her suddenly, “Do you know poor little Emma here stammered to find an excuse for your damn absence? She was scared sh-spitless! It ain’t fair to her that you can up and leave whenever the hell you want! You’ve been in and out all fu- frickin’ week! You can’t keep this up, or Ole Miss Berry gonna ‘spect somthin’!” As the boy vented his southern accent came through and he was barely able to keep his swearing to a minimum.
There’s only one way to remedy a flustered Jack, Shurri thought, and that’s to bat your eyes and sweet-talk him. Typical.
“I’m sorry Jack,” Shurri scuffed a foot on the ground and played ‘the cute scolded child’s’ attitude, “I should take more responsibility for my actions,” Shurri chanced a look up and found Jack scratching his head and looking a bit embarrassed. Shurri grinned on the inside, but kept her solemn face.
“Well, just don’t do it again…without a warning,” He added.
Shurri grinned a cat’s grin, “Ok! So…can I borrow your notes?” she asked without missing a beat.
Jack was taken aback and then caught on she had played him, “I ain’t never gonna let you borrow ‘em!” He yelled, his face flushed over the fact she had tricked him, “You can just find another person to leech onto, I’m done letting you suck me dry!” He stomped off down the road muttering curses under his breath.
Shurri pouted, “How am I supposed to pass the test now?”
Jade glanced up from her book and watched the retreating Jack. She smirked, then turned back to her book saying “Don’t ask me for anything. You did this to yourself,” She turned a page and started walking, “Besides I didn’t take notes, its all up here.” She taped her head and continued walking and reading.
Shurri sighed and turned to Emma, her last hope, “I don’t suppose you took notes for me?”
Emma stuck her tongue out at Shurri and ran to catch up with Jade.
“What? Hey wait guysssss come on! I thought we were friends.” She stood there waiting for a response. Jack held up his middle finger.
“Well, so much for our special ‘bond’,” Shurri muttered to the wind, then followed her friends down the dirt road. She smiled knowing that they would later get together to study anyways.
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Just a quickie I wrote at midnight, because the rain kept me up. Hope you liked it.
I wrote it to get out some creative energy. I understand that it doesn't have a plot or any deep substance. Thank you for your lovely comments ;)

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