Saturday, July 6, 2019

THE BOY - prototype prologue


I was seven when I was taken to Misselthwaite. As the car neared the castle through the gravel path between the tall, dry from winter trees, I’d been impressed, overwhelmed by the sight that looked so much like the beautifully illustrated books mother would read me not so long before she died, in worlds of princesses and dragons, and I thought it was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen. A first impression, because then, after being dropped off with a single bag and a doll tightly pressed against my side, I thought it looked somehow cold, bare, with vines growing on the stone walls outside, uncared and untamed, just like I would be in the years I spent there.

Inside, even the furniture seemed bony, uncomfortable, not made for sitting. The halls were cold, but the rooms warm, and the walls would wail at night, but aunt Martha would shush me about any thoughts of ghosts, even though she couldn’t stop my imagination from running wild. While she tended to the place, I roamed around, alone, exploring the manor and the grounds, finding my way through the woods and making friends with stray dogs, and then I would go to my mostly empty room at night and stay there. The owner of Misselthwaite was Mr. Craven, a rich, old and lonely widower, and my aunt told me never to bother him, that he didn’t like children and that it would take very little for us to be kicked out, so I was sure never to walk in his part of the castle, where most of his quarters were. I also never came out at night. Ghosts.

It wasn’t until several months later that I met Colin. 

It was day, and I heard the sounds coming from the East Wing — Mr. Craven had left that morning to take care of his business in town, so I felt brave enough about going there. I followed the sounds to the third floor, finally convinced that it wasn’t the wind, or the ghosts, that it was too human and too real. It led me to a door that wasn’t entirely closed, and so I could see what was going on inside. A big woman walked around this large bed, and it took me a moment to realise that a boy was lying in front of her, and she was bending and straightening his legs in repetitive motions, like a stretch. Curious and eager, I stayed there and watched, until the boy’s head fell to my side and our eyes locked. I waited, my feet ready to bolt at any time he decided to rat me out to the woman, who would then report back to Mr. Craven who would then punish us, but he never did. She would keep massaging and stretching his legs, and those strange sounds left the back of his throat, but our eyes didn’t part once. When she seemed ready to leave, I hid so she wouldn’t see me and then shyly walked inside once I was sure no one could see me.

The room was bigger than mine, and the walls were beautifully painted like a garden, with birds and trees and a castle at a distance, and I recognized the view as Misselthwaite itself. Then I stared at the boy. He looked about my age, very thin, ashy blonde hair, pale skin and dark eyes that seemed as interested in watching me as I was him.  

“Hello.” I walked closer. “I’ve never seen you here before.”

Not a word from him. 

“I’m Mary. I live here.” I’d been starving social interaction with anyone other than the dogs and the much older kitchen staff, so I was rather impatient. “Why won’t you talk to me? My mother said it’s rude not to introduce yourself.”

Soon I would find out that he couldn’t talk, only make those noises I’d heard before. It took me a while to realise that his fragile frame was wrapped around the blankets and that his right arm seemed smaller, pressed to his chest, his wrist bent awkwardly at an angle, and that there was a big wheelchair next to the bed.

“You can’t talk?” He made those sounds again and I frowned, trying to decipher them. “I can’t understand you.” It seemed like he was used to that. I pointed at the wheelchair, “Is this yours?” He nodded yes. I narrowed my eyes. “Are you sick?” No. “Can you walk?” He rolled his eyes. I guess it was pretty stupid of me to ask.

I heard some noise outside and, startled, moved away. Before I could walk out the door, he called me in his mysterious language and I turned around. His eyebrows were up. “I’ll find out your name,” I said. I promised. “And I’ll come tomorrow.”

And I did, for the next several years. 


  1. A very promising beginning! I would gladly find out how the story goes on!
    Thank you for writing and sharing!

  2. Thank you for sharing. Great start.

  3. Catarina, I am so excited to see this teaser for a new story...and that you're back! The Secret Garden was such a favorite book of mine as a kid, so the premise of this story really excites me. This last line really cinches it. :) Can't wait to read more!

    Now I'm off to read the latest update of Onde Anda Voce... :)

  4. Oops, forgot to sign in when I made the above comment. :) It's from EJ!

  5. Can’t wait for more!

  6. Please, post the next chapter asap, i might find a new addiction 😇

  7. Very excited to hear more!!

  8. Please! Continue! Love this story!