Flora & The Shadowlands

Oct 20, 2013
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#1
Part of a children's writing unit in university. Thought you might like to read something. I dunno. Lemme know what you think.

1. In which I introduce myself, Flora, and Imaginary
Peaches
When I set myself up to write this, I had to ask some
questions. First of which was, of course, "where did this
typewriter come from, anyway?" It wasn't here before. There
aren't any doors or holes it could have come from. It probably
won't be here when I finish. My captors had no reason to give me
a typewriter in the first place, and I have no other story to
tell than this one. But it is beyond my control and there truly
is nothing else for me to do in this empty room, so I suppose I
shouldn't think too hard about it. The next question that came
forth was a lot harder to answer. "Where do I start?"
This isn't my story. I'm hardly even in it, more's the
pity. Everything before I come in has been cobbled together by
hearsay, interviews and perhaps the ramblings of the homeless
man who lives on my street corner. It is a story of a little
girl by the name of Flora who refused to do what her parents
told her.
Maybe if she had I wouldn't be in this tiny prison. But if
she hadn't, I shudder to think what would have become of
everyone. Despite her defiant streak and insatiable curiosity,
Flora's bravery would prove to save Shillsworth from
destruction, and possibly the world as well.

But before we get into this story, perhaps you'd like to
know where we are to begin. Shillsworth, a small town in a quiet
corner of our countryside. This tiny town is not well known, and
may never be. It achieved some fame in the early nineteenth
century from a new miracle crop of imaginary peaches. This
imaginary sweet was a delicacy across the country, imaginary
peaches and cream becoming the dessert treat of high society for
the year. But winters are hard and imaginary fruits do not keep
well in any climate. It is in this town that our story begins.
Flora Edgar Clarke was the third child of Edgar Clarke and
Deloris Clarke, a well-to-do family situated on the edge of
town.

Unlike the rest of her family, Flora was known in most
circles as one most disrespectful. You see, parents of this town
subscribed to the view that children should be neither seen nor
heard. They were to sit quietly in the drawing room until it was
time for their parents to deny them a meal or time to harvest
the imaginary peaches. I once took the time to visit before I
found myself in this prison and I found it still much the same.
The streets are silent of the afternoons where children would
normally be running wild and free. Truth be told I saw no
children at all during my three-day stay. It really is quite
unnerving to experience and I suggest you try it. Go on, find a
town where no children play of an afternoon despite very well
maintained public parks and facilities. While you may not find
it as bizarre as I did, television and the Internet did not
exist at this time and children were forced to use the outdoors
to enjoy themselves.

Moving on, as I was in town I also took the
time to see Flora's home. Their family had since left and I can
only assume that the boards on the windows were not there
before. The grey paint was peeling from the walls, and the
stilts that held the home aloft had begun to bend and bow under
its weight. But behind the house was more important. A huge
field of empty dirt that once held one of the many imaginary
peach orchards that kept the town afloat. Not too long ago,
Flora would have been running through this field despite her
father's muffled grumbling. And this is where we join her for
the start of the story.

Flora wandered the orchards, her eyes darting back and
forth. Her ragged dress was filthy from dirt and the faint blood
of her adventuring days. Her dark hair was dishevelled, her face
spattered with mud and dust. When cleaned up she could almost be
considered pretty, but children in these times might not
recognise the wonder in this girl's eyes and cheerful grin
developed through days spent ignoring her parent's demands and
running outside to play. However, that grin had faded this
afternoon to caution and worry. Something was dangerously wrong
here. Shadows crept around her in the late afternoon sun.

This was concerning for a couple of reasons. First of all, in an
imaginary orchard there were usually very few shadows. Their
presence in what was essentially an empty field gave her cause
for concern. For another, they stood upright and wandered around
her like you or me. Shadows are not usually in the habit of
walking upright, being typically two-dimensional. The way the
sunlight glinted off of their teeth and claws (Do shadows even
have teeth and claws? Here is where I began to suspect that
these were no ordinary shadows) proved to Flora that she was in
really, really big trouble.

"FLORA!"

The shadows vanished. Instead of the strange black fog
monsters that were surrounding her, now Flora could only see her
father waiting at the gate to the orchard. His typical look of
disapproval had twisted into his lesser-used scowl he had always
reserved for when Flora had truly done something wrong. This
proved to Flora that she was -still- in really, really big
trouble.
Perhaps it is time you learned of Flora's father, Edgar.
Edgar was a man not unlike an oak. Huge, stocky and powerful, he
also had the expressive abilities of the oak. Perhaps less so,
as an oak's branches would sway, given a strong enough breeze.

Edgar's brow was locked in a disapproving furrow, as if he had
made the mistake of making this face in a cross-breeze and was
cursed to remain this way forever. But this theory fell through
when one remembered that Edgar not only never smiled, he also
never laughed or seemingly felt or expressed anything that would
be out-of-place from this expression through words, gestures or
some well-hidden diary under his mattress. That diary, much like
Edgar himself, consisted of barely-legible grumbles. It was only
when he yelled that his mouth opened enough for his words to be
understandable, as you may have noticed before. Where Edgar's
voice was usually a muffled rumble, when his ire was raised it
became a roar. She made her way back to him, head bowed in a
calculated attempt to appease him.
"Inside."
No luck. His voice was low, measured. A sign of him being
truly furious. He stopped mumbling when angry. She hurried
toward the household he had come from.
Behind her, something beyond the sight of Edgar's furrowed
brow shimmered in delight. It just has to wait for the girl's
father to keep her away and then all will be perfect. The other
shadows began to shift into being once more to observe Flora and
her father return to the house.