Friday, January 30, 2009

Tonia's Happy Place (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Dorinda at Treasures In Jars of Clay. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Note: I'm terribly sorry if this is a little mixed up. I was aiming for a slightly lyrical feel, but I think I rather missed it entirely, as the character of little Tonia completely ran away and wrote her own story. *sigh* Do enjoy...Tonia had fun writing it...lol, the ending is a bit cliche, but she wanted it like that. ^_^ Oh and by the way, this is the 60th post of Fiction Fusion! Wahooo!!!


Tonia chewed her pencil for another full minute, then threw it away as hard as she could. She didn’t care if it bounced off the wall and whether it woke anyone. She was plain tired of her life, her school and the stupid assignments she was forced to do every single day.

She scowled at her sister’s homework. Dearest Dana was much too perfect to do her own homework, so Mummy had insisted that Tonia do it for her instead. Tonia had bitten her tongue twice, to keep from blurting out how the real reason behind her sister’s inability was the fact both parents refused to see.

Tonia sighed. “At least I am getting an education.” She muttered, dumping the sheaf of papers and books on the edge of her nightstand.

Her room was rather crowded, from necessity than anything else. It wasn’t the normal sort of teenage bedroom, for her parents didn’t see it fit to grant her that. Her problem was a big one, she was quite sure of that. Her parents forbid her to actually go to school, so that she would stay home and do her siblings’ chores. They worked very hard during the day and there was often no one at home to take care of things. Because she was the youngest, Tonia was elected and of course, the fact that she had flunked out of the standard school testing…well, it was enough for her parents to decided that school was not a necessary option.

Instead, she was given her sister’s school books and instructed to study for several hours per day. Once through, she would then complete their homework and have it ready. Her problem wasn’t the schooling, for Tonia was actually quite smart. Her main problem was outsmarting herself, she could never quite remember when to keep her thoughts to herself and that often landed her in more trouble than she could handle.

The village elders knew her story and often requested her services, for no one could polish a chandelier quite like Tonia. Her gift was unique in one very special way. She could talk to glass.

Tonia sighed.

She crawled out of bed and tip-toed to the door of her near closet. It was a tiny room and she crossed in within two steps. There was no brother watching the hallway, so she shut the door and tip-toed back to the bed.

If she tried to sneak out, surely she would be caught. She rocked back and forth, hugging her arms to herself as she let her brilliant mind loose to find a way to escape.

She wanted out!

Her gaze fell upon the tiny mirror fixed to the back of her bedroom door. A gasp escaped. “Of course!” She murmured, scrambling off the bed and rushing to the beautiful square.

She closed her eyes and brushed her fingers across the reflective surface. A shudder passed through her and she felt the coolness turn to wetness. Her eyes popped open. “The Well of the Elders.” She whispered, thrusting her hand deep into the swirling silverness.

There was a soft slurping sound and Tonia gave into the pull, allowing herself to be sucked through the portal.

She sprouted up through the well, moments later, as the original momentum thrust her straight up into the air. She grabbed wildly and caught the edge of the stone wall with one hand.

Her feet hung limply as she struggled to haul herself upwards.

There was a soft chuckle and then two strong hands caught hold of her left wrist and arm, pulling her up to safety.

“You know it is not safe for you to keep doing this, child.” Elder Simeon scolded, as she shook herself out, sprinkling water droplets everywhere. “Ach! Do not do that…” He looked down at his bathrobe in dismay. “Now I will have to change yet again!”

“Tis only a little water, Simeon.” Elder Anna smiled. “A little water never hurt a soul.”

Tonia squinted at the droplets. They were proudly shimmering silver. She winced. “Well, probably not water, Elder Anna.” She ducked her head lightly. “I ported through a mirror this time. They won't let me near any glass.”

The group of elders winced as one.

Elder Simeon sighed.

“Well?” Tonia prompted. “You promised, remember? And your have to hurry, because I have to be home before morning.”

Elder Janis glided forward. “We would not go back on our word, love.” She opened her arms, spreading the sleeves of her rich, velvet cloak wide.

The lovely dark blue fabric shimmered and then began to swirl, turning the Edler herself into a portal for the next leg of Tonia’s journey.

“Close your eyes.” Elder Anna whispered, guiding her forward.

Tonia squeezed her eyes shut and stuck one hand through Elder Janis. The soft slurping sound repeated itself and she was sucked into the wild ride on the other side.

When she finally slid out on the other end, it was with a rather loud thump. She winced, brushing off her pajamas as she crept up the dozens of stone steps before her.

Upon reaching the top, the seemingly lifeless monument came to life. Lights flickered on and whispered were heard. Feet pattered down the halls, sounds attached to nothing and no one.

“Hello.”

Tonia jumped, crashing backwards into a stone pillar. Her breath froze.

“Sorry.” The figure glided out from the shadows in front. “So sorry, I didn’t realize you hadn’t heard me.” The figure slowly came into focus, a very pale and very tall woman with strange, cat-like eyes. “And what do you seek, traveler?”

Tonia licked her lips. “Happiness.”

A virtually invisible eyebrow twitched. “Happiness? And you believe you can find it here?”

“No. I was told I could find a happy place here.” Tonia took a step forward. “Can I? Is it true?”

The white face stared at her for a very long time, then at last, she looked away. “Yes. It is true.” She extended a filmy hand. “Come.”

Tonia followed behind, stifling a yawn.

“Here.” The woman gestured for her to sit on a stone chair. “You are unhappy with your present life?” She inquired, tonelessly.

“Sort of.” Tonia clambered onto the stone chair and wriggled around for a comfortable spot. It was hard to find a comfortable spot on a stone chair.

“Then you wish this to be temporary?”

She shrugged. “I guess. I don’t know…I’ve never done this before.”

“Yes.” There was an exaggerated sigh. “I can tell. Please close your eyes.”

“What’s going to happen?”

“Close them.”

“Is it going to hurt?”

“Now.”

“Look, maybe this isn’t-”

Freezing fingers feathered over her face and gently closed her eyes. A soft pinprick of pain was felt in the back of her neck and then Tonia felt herself falling.

It was a very long fall. But rather uneventful.

When it ended, she was standing in the middle of her bedroom again, but wait. “Wrong room.” Tonia took in her eldest sister’s spacious bedroom with the beautiful bed she’d longed to touch. The colors were all wrong through. Instead of the ugly greenish-yellows, that her sister had always favored, the bedspread was a lovely shade of pink, sprinkled with gorgeous sprigs of flowers.

“Tonia!” Her mother breezed into the room and squashed her in a hug. “Oh Tonia! I was beginning to worry, you’re taking forever to get ready and breakfast needs to start or your poor father will be later for work.”

Tonia let herself be pulled along down to the hallway where her family was seated around the table and the seat at the right of her father was empty. This had to be a dream. A day where she could eat breakfast with them? A day where her mother was screaming for her to wake up? Where her father wasn't constantly criticising something she'd had no control over? Tonia was heading for her usual seat at the end when her mother spun her around. “And where’d you think you’re going?”

Tonia found herself sitting in the special seat as the blessing was said for the food. Her father heaped generous portions on her plate before helping himself and asked her questions about her school.

The day blurred by in a dream. Regardless of what she was doing, going to school, attending the community services and working as an apprentice with the village glassblower, the happiness came.

It was the feeling of love and friendship between her family, her and the people of the of the village.

The dream came to an all too soon abrupt end.

Tonia jerked awake.

“I am sorry, but you must go now.” The woman instructed. “A message was sent to you.”

“But I don’t want to go.” Tonia shrank away from the white, cold hands. “I don’t want to go. I like it here!”

“You were sent here by another. They are calling you back.” She repeated. “You must go now.”

“I already told you I don’t want to go-!” The white hands touched her face and Tonia was falling once more.

She tumbled out onto the hard ground, gasping for breath in front of Elder Anna. It was no use. Now she'd never be able to hold onto such a memory. A memory of a perfect day. Of a perfect life. She coughed.

It hurt.

She was quickly scooped up by Elder Brien and carried swiftly to their inner chambers within the Elder’s Housing Complex.

“You had us worried.” Elder Janis murmured, smoothing Tonia’s ruffled hair and hot forehead. “We thought…we thought that…” her voice choked and she excused herself.

“We thought we’d lost you.” Elder Simeon said bluntly. He frowned. “The next time we send you up there, don’t you dare stay that long again.”

Tears brimmed and spilled over. “You’d send me back?” Tonia croaked.

“You liked it, didn’t you?” Elder Anna handed her a glass of water.

“Well, yeah, but you’d send me back…?” Tonia stared at her, trying to wrap her thirteen-year-old mind around the one thing she’d been looking for.

She was gathered gently into a hug. “Of course. We’d do anything to give you those moments of happiness that every person has a right to.”

The waterworks turned on in full force. Tonia sobbed her heart out for lack of any other sensible thing to do. She’d spent most of her childhood life wishing to be elsewhere, wishing her parents away, wishing her life as something else, yet here, she had the very things she’d craved.

Love. Family.

Tonia had found her happy place. And she hadn’t needed to look very far in the first place.

Copyright 2009 Sara Harricharan

4 comments:

Joanne Sher said...

I was so aching for her. What a marvelous world she got to visit. Lovely, dear!

Patty Wysong said...

I'm glad this ended on a happy note, Sawa!!
Huggles!!

Teresa Lee Rainey . . . said...

OK, I'm so glad I stopped by. I love the sci-fi aspect of your writing. Looking forward to reading more.

Hoomi said...

I always enjoy the unique angles in your fiction. Another clever and interesting concept to explore!