Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
Walking on Broken Glass [Prologue]Once again, we're on the road.
Riley pulls at the car-door which is thankfully child-locked; Adrian's eyes are glued on his mobile screen and Mum's tapping me on the shoulder, excitedly pointing every tiny bit of metal. I have my earbuds stuck inside, pretending not to hear her. Dad's behind the driver's wheel, debating more politics nobody listens to.
There's hardly any room to breathe. Especially with Riley screaming and Mum not doing anything about it. An overall red colour fits the scene. A dark almost defeated colour.
I grit my teeth. How much longer? I can barely survive another minute.
"We'll have to walk from here on," says Dad, after almost two centuries. His nose wrinkles in disgust. "Through the worst place in the world: Parker's Paradise."
The "paradise" part isn't exaggerated. Suddenly, from the red environment inside the car vanishes. All I see is a bright yellow, shining so optimistically and reminding me tomorrow's mine to determine.
Smooth, clear water clawing at the sand and the brightest sun shining. Only a handful of people walk; the rest are in the water, splashing and swimming. Seagulls swoop down, discreetly filling their beaks with chips and a handful of children sit together, eating their ice-creams.
We walk closer to their hotel. None of us want to, but it's the only way to access our own. As expected, Daniel Parker smirks. He's been expecting out visit, like he does every summer.
"The Graingers are back," says Daniel. "Ready for another round of friendly competition, Bryce?"
The mood changes from yellow to a darker yellow.
"Friendly competition? You set rats free in our hotel, wrote illegal cheques from us and got your son to convince our customers to leave. Come to think of it, where is the little imbecile anyway?"
"I don't appreciate you talking of Kieran that way." There's a strange look on his face. "He's my son, no matter what."
My heart leaps at the mention of his name. After I confessed my little crush on Kieran, he never spoke to me again. Two summers ago, we'd be on the phone after midnight, lying about talking to a school-friend. It was exciting, that feeling of forbidden friendship.
This year, however, there were no phone-calls --or any form of communication. Although we were never close, it hurts to think he forgot me completely. A state away from each other and he pretends I don't exist? I'll never forgive him for this.
"You still mad about Kieran?" says Adrian, as we walk towards Grainger's Bay for another summer of hotel-maintenance.
He can read my mind.
"Of course I am!"
"Tell you what: after we pack, we'll go to Parker's Paradise and give that jerk a piece of your mind."
"This is why we're related," I say, grinning.
Adrian kept his word. The minute we unpacked our essential things, we headed straight to Parkers’ Paradise, where everything seemed better compared to our hotel. The lights hanging from the ceiling are at least four-hundred dollars each; all the seats are pure leather and everybody wears flashy clothes.
Strangely, we make the same amount of profit as the Parkers. They have less customers because the rates are so expensive. But one customer in their hotel is equivalent to three at ours. Once upon a time, perhaps it really was friendly competition between our families. But that time’s over.
I’m surprised to see Kieran behind the reception desk. He still hasn’t noticed me, so I seize this moment to assess him. His overall colour is a dark blue. Everything about him screams gloomy, from his lose jaw and red puffy eyes. Even his t-shirt is a dull grey.
There’s almost no connection to the lively, exciting Kieran who wore the brightest (and extremely unfashionable) clothes on his regular tours. His bright yellow colour mixed with an orange harmony was so different. But there’s no denying the dark mole under the left tip of his mouth. It’s definitely him, although I’m having severe doubts.
He sees me. His eyes widen.
“Oh, hey. Didn’t see you there,” I say dismissively. “We’re back for the summer, as you’d probably know.”
“Yeah, I know.” He smiles. It’s so wide, it’s most definitely fake. “Although we’ve known each other for three years, I’ve never asked you why you go away each summer.”
“Mum doesn’t believe in home-schooling. She thinks you and Aurora would end up socially awkward,” I say, referring to his older sister. “No offence.”
“None taken. We never want to end up like you.”
I slap him on the arm. Although his grin grows wider, it doesn’t stop being fake. That annoys me. I feel as if I’m another customer he’s trying to deceive into paying extra. Perhaps if I hadn’t known him that well, I’d see that smile as real. But unfortunately, I can tell when Kieran’s trying too hard.
“I’ll take you to Aurora. She’ll be so happy to see you.”
The mood changes to a dark yellow. Cautious, but hopeful. I smile at Kieran. “Yeah, that’d be good.”
When he exits from his reception desk, everything changes. He doesn’t walk out like he used to, bursting with colour in a black-and-white world. No, he wheels out. A wheelchair’s beneath him, brand new.
“Wheelchair,” I manage to get out. “It must be a replacement for crutches, seeing as youse are so rich. It’s temporary, right?”
Kieran doesn’t answer. He simply puts on that cheery smile and pretends he didn’t hear me. “Aurora’s gonna be so glad. She’s been talking about you for days, and how she’s planning to teach you how to surf–”
But I’m no longer listening. My eyes fixate on the set of wheels under Kieran.
There’s no yellow, blue or grey in this scenery.
Just blinding white light.
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