Crys Partridge

United States

I've lived in three countries so far and hope to further travel the world in order to gain the depth I need for the stories I really want to write someday - the stories I'm practicing for now.

Message to Readers

Any feedback is appreciated.

Black and White

November 8, 2015

    Old teacher called the first part of school “Meditation.” We called it naptime. Pretty teacher called the next part of school “Lessons in Gardening; Health Studies and Practices”. We called it Mealtime. Strong teacher called the next part “The Art of Self Defense and Offense”. We called it fighting. Boring teacher called the next part “Reading and Writing”. We called in sick or injured from fighting. Next, we ate again and School Headmaster Easton taught us “Numbers and Calculations”. We cured ourselves of any sickness or injury by that time and learned as hard as possible, because this was the closest thing to real magic and the second most useful thing next to fighting.
    After that we got to go. I left with Karl at the same time as father entered the room to talk to Easton. He had two people with him, wearing bright colors. The shocking thing was their dark-as-night skin.
    “I told you they’re like ghosts. Shadows,” Karl whispered while turning to hold the door open.
    “Karl!” Oblivious to the comment, Father put a hand on his shoulder and turned to the couple. “This is my oldest son I wanted you to meet.”
I decided it was time for the insignificant not-oldest-son to leave. One of the people, a woman, glanced at me with a possibly confused expression, as if she expected me to be introduced as well. I purposely brushed against her arm just to check if she was solid, which she was. That was a relief.
    Since it was my turn to feed our animals that day, I went to the barn directly so that I could play for the rest of the day. In the daytime I went in through the huge double doors instead of a loft window. 
    Squared bales of hay sat in a long row down the center of the village's enormous collective barn, separating the length of it into two aisles. A girl was sitting on the nearest one in the whitest shirt I had ever seen with loose, flowery pants and high-laced leather sandals, smiling contentedly. The smile was actually kind of hard to see, since it melted in to the same dark skin the other strangers had. The blue eyes were more apparent. I couldn’t resist - I walked over and sat down right beside her, our hands touching, so I could compare the skin difference. Up close, she didn’t look like a shadow ghost. Her hand was like the color of brown sugar buns and mine was like crispy rice buns.
    “What are you doing?” She spoke strangely, like a warbling bird that somehow learned to talk with sophistication. 
    “Why are you talking like that?”
    “What? That’s kind of rude.”
    “No it’s not, I just want to know what’s wrong with you,” I explained.
    She folded her arms. “Normal people start conversations by saying ‘Hello’, just to let you know.”
    Last I had checked, I was pretty normal, so I retorted, “What if I don’t want to have a conversation with you?” 
    “Well, it’s a bit late for that. You’re still talking to me. Hellooo.”
    “Uh, hello." I blinked in mild confusion. "So who are you?”  
    “My name is Daira. Who are you?”
    “Griffin’s son, William.”
    “Why do you have to say you’re Griffin’s son? I don’t care whose son you are.” She was so matter-of-fact about it, as though she didn’t even realize that she was the rude one, and not me.
    “Everybody knows who everybody is and who they’re related to,” I said, exasperated. “Families are important here. Where did you come from? Underground with all the orphan shadow ghosts?”
    “Huh?” And then she laughed! She laughed at being called a ghost! “I thought this was supposed to be an educated school community, but you’re just a superstitious fool. I’m asking my parents not to make me have to go to school with you. I’d probably learn more with them anyway.”
    We were still sitting there, side by side on the hay until then, when I jumped off to speak more emphatically. “WAIT. You mean you’re going to live here?” New people didn't come to island schools anymore, especially not whole families.
    “And Griffin - I mean father - he’s already friends with your parents--and Easton is meeting them too--So you’re here for sure and for good?” 
    She nodded.
    “Why do you look so sad about that?” Then I remembered she called me a superstitious fool. “Sorry you’ll have to be seeing a fool like me around. Let me leave to go work on my foolish chores. I don’t want to bother you, Daisy.”
    “My name is Daira,” she said, following me to the section where my father's animals were kept. “Sorry for calling you a fool. You’re only superstitious. I think.”
    “No I’m not.”
    “It doesn’t matter.”
    I indignantly tugged sacks from shelves. “What are you doing here in the first place?”
    “In the barn? Exploring. Can I help you with that?”
    I handed her bags of feed to mix together. “You were just sitting there. What were you exploring? The door's wood grain patterns?”
    “So what if I was?”
    “So nothing--never mind.” The prospect of new people, shadow ghosts or not, was more interesting than arguing.
    “Do the animals stay in here all the time?” Daira asked, stroking a horse's nose.
    “Of course not. There’s teenagers paid to take them out to graze every day.” We were quiet for a few minutes as I pointed out which grains went to which troughs and shoveled out the stalls. “Hey, who else have you met?”
    “Bella. She's to show me around.”
    “She was the only girl in our class, you know? Now there’s two of you. We’ve got you outnumbered by six.”
    “I bet that if we played girls versus boys we would beat you into the ground anyway.” Slowly we both smiled. A few minutes later we were running out of the barn to find the others.
To avoid confusion: this is set in a fictional world, so the time period and setting do not match up with any historical place on earth.

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