Friday, July 25, 2014

Jessica's Summer - For Kendra's 5&3 Week

That's not the official name of the week; I'm just calling that because I like the name of the sound.  Pop over to Kendra's blog, Knitted by God's Plan, for the party.

Come to my Party!

So, Kendra had several fun things that we could do throughout the week, but I especially liked the idea of writing a story that used one of her ideas.  I picked Jessica's Summer.  Here is what she wrote about it:

How would you react if two complete strangers come up to you, announce that they are truly your sisters, and that you are the personification of summer?  Jessica doesn't bite, either.

I don't know.  This prompt just speaks to me.  Of course, I had to pop over to Kendra's Pinterest board and raid it in order to make a cover (which, I believe, is another one of the fun thingies we get to do this week.)  Unfortunately, I couldn't find a perfect picture, so I sort of did my own thing.  I hope it works.

I'm tweaking this story a little, partly because I don't have any sisters.  I'm giving Jessica one sister and two brothers.  I hope it's not too much of a stretch.  I just love brother-sister relationships, dontcha know?

Jessica's Summer

inspired by Kendra E. Ardnek

written by Joan Bassington-French

The problem with living in a large mansion in Florida and never ever seeing anyone is that you don't know a good many of the things that are going on around you.  Of course, there were Mr. Kenton, my guardian, and Mrs. Kenton, my guardian's wife, and Celia Kenton, their nineteen-year-old daughter, and Louis Kenton, their thirteen-year-old living terror of a son.  I lived with them and never thought anything of the fact that while every single year Celia and Louis went on vacations for their birthdays, I never did.  And while Mr. Kenton and Mrs. Kenton were always rushing around to dinner parties and get-togethers and barbecues-on-the-beach, I never went.

In fact, I didn't even know if I had had a birthday.  For all I knew I had been . . . whatever age I was . . . for my whole life.  And that never seemed strange to me.  While I dimly recalled Celia and Louis as being much younger, I never had any memories of childhood.  I was always just a young woman who looked about twenty-five or so, living in a mansion on enclosed grounds with the Kentons.  The only reason it made perfect sense to me was because I never knew anything else.

And then those two young men dropped over the wall right in front of me.

The wall surrounding the Kenton's mansion, I should explain, is a healthy twelve feet tall.  I was surprised to see them, which means that I screamed and leapt so high that I could nearly see the other side of the wall.  The young men looked nothing like the one young man I could remember--Louis.  While he was a weedy sort of boy with acne and a need for a good haircut, these young men looked as though they were around my age.  One of them, dressed in blue jeans and light green sports shirt, with golden hair and the physique of Apollo (I knew about that from a Grecian statue owned by Mr. Kenton which dated back to 300 B.C.--the statue, not Mr. Kenton.), held a stick in his hand that was probably as tall as I was and covered with dead moss and leaves.  The other young man, taller and thinner, but with a pale face and whiter hair than any I had ever seen, was clad in grey jeans and a black t-shirt with some funny white design on it.

"You scared her."  The guy in the green shirt punched the guy in the black shirt in the arm.

"YOU scared her."  Black Shirt punched back.

"Ha!  I'm not scary.  Girls are never scared of me, right, Leto?"

I stared.  "I'm Jessica.  Jessica Anne McConnald.  May I help you?"

"You're Jessica?  No you're not!" Green Shirt stepped forward and held out the stick.

I backed away.  "What do you want?"

"Do you know who we are?" asked Black Shirt.

"No, should I?" I asked.

"What have they done to you, Leto, er, Jessica?" said Green Shirt.  "Don't you know me?  I'm Veshna, and that's Zima, and we have a sister named Osen.  We're your brothers, remember?  What about our parents?  Do you remember them?"

"I don't have any family," I said.  "Well, I have the Kentons, but they're not related to me."

"What have they done to you?" snapped Zima.

"Nothing!  They're very good to me!" I almost whimpered, backing away as quickly as I could.

"That's why her staff wilted," said Veshna, slapping his forehead.  "What idiots we all were."

"What an idiot YOU were," said Zima.  "Look, Le--Jessica, you're our sister, but you're not an ordinary human.  Whatever you've been thinking lately is probably false, and it was put there by the Kentons, or at least by someone who then handed you over to the Kentons for a reason we know not.  You're not human at all, in fact."

"Stop running on," said Veshna.  "Why do you always do that?  It's why everyone hates you."

"Everyone does not hate me," Zima retorted.  "Everyone hates you.  Especially when you first get around and bring mud and slush everywhere."

"I don't bring mud and slush; you leave it.  It's up to responsible me to clean it up.  And everyone loves me.  Everyone writes poetry about me, but the market is pretty shabby when it comes to poetry about you."

"Poetry?" I said.

"Yes, and you even have some pieces dedicated to you, sis," said Veshna.

"Look, who are you two?" I asked.

"We're your brothers, you know."

"But how am I not human?" I asked.

"You're immortal.  You were born after the Days of Water, the fairest of all of us children."  Zima spoke as if he were reciting a book.

"Excuse me.  Everyone knows that I'm the fairest," said Veshna.

"You're conceited," said Zima.  "Our sister Leto is the fairest.  And you, Jessica, are our sister Leto.  You are the person of summer, just as I am the person of winter and our dolt of a brother is the person of spring."

"I am not a dolt!" protested Veshna.

"Yes you are," said Zima.  "The thing is, Jessica, that you disappeared over ten years ago, and Vesh and Osen and Father and Mother and I have been searching for you that whole time.  It's lucky we found you, too, because the summertimes up north have been so cool that crops are being affected and things are starting to mold.  You know how it gets when things can't dry.  The mildew is dreadful.  Of course, I wouldn't mind just taking over the whole operation, but Mother won't let me."

"You're crazy," I said.

At that moment Louis stalked out across the lawn toward us.  "What are you doing, Jessica?  Who are these idiots?  Did you two know that you're trespassing?  Dad will sue you both for everything you own.  Mom wants you in the house, Jessica."

"Do you need proof?"  Veshna grinned at me.  "Watch this."  He snapped his fingers and instantly the ground around Louis' feet began to bubble.  Enormous green sprouts burst from the earth and twined themselves around Louis' legs, growing all the way up to his neck.  Huge white lilies sprung out of the tops of the shoots.  Louis was, for once, quiet.  I was also quiet.  Zima was not quiet.

"You know we're not supposed to do stuff like that," he said.

"If you don't tell Mother, I won't tell Mother," said Veshna.

"Do you believe us now?" asked Zima.

"I believe you, I guess, although I still don't know.  The Kentons aren't bad.  Mrs. Kenton has always been so kind to me."

"Well, naturally they wouldn't want you to stay here.  It was all an act.  Let's go before the kid figures out how to get free," said Veshna.

"Wait," said Zima.  "You're moving too fast for her.  Isnt' he?"

I nodded.  "If I'm summer's person, then I should be able to do something similar to what Veshna did, right?"

Zima nodded and took the stick from Veshna.  "This is your staff, Leto."

"He didn't use a staff," I said.

"Yes, but until you take it you can't very well do anything.  Look at it.  Do you think this is what it's supposed to look like.  You're summer, not a dusty old attic."

"Thank you," I said, reaching out for the staff.

Suddenly the shot of a gun rang out, and the staff flew from Zima's hand, shattering into two separate pieces.  I whirled around to see Mr. Kenton standing on the balcony of the house holding a gun.

"Come on, we've got to get Leto out of here," said Zima.  "Take care of that man, Veshna."

"With pleasure," said Veshna.

At the exact second that the next shot sounded, a sapling sprouted out of the perfect lawn and stopped the bullet.  Zima blew at the wall, and his breath came out blue.  Suddenly a cold wind came up and the entire wall turned to ice just as another bullet whizzed towards Veshna's head.  Veshna ducked, and the bullet slammed into the ice.  The entire wall cracked.  A sapling suddenly burst through the ice, shattering the wall.  The three of us ran through.

I could not recall seeing the outside world before, but I did not have very much time to take it in, because we had to run.

The running was interesting enough.  Veshna and Zima each took one of my hands and we almost flew through the air.  Our legs were moving, but a wind lifted us a few inches from the ground, and everything passed us in a bit of a blur.

"Where are we going?" I shouted.

"We're going north, of course," said Zima.  "Osen is holding down the fort up there."

"Osen being the person of autumn, correct?" I said.

"My, what a genius you are," said Veshna.

"Shut up, brother," said Zima.  "What I want to know is, why did Florida get you?  I mean, they already have nothing but summer.  Why did they get you instead of a place that needs you?"

"I don't know anything," I said.  "By the way, now that the staff's gone, how am I going to remember anything and restore myself?"

"Good question," said Veshna.  "You'll have to ask Father about that.  Oh, look, here we are in Michigan.  Just in time for the big spring thaw.  Oh, wait, that's my job.  One minute, people.  Zima, take her to Osen."

Veshna let go of my hand and suddenly he was gone.  Zima and I kept travelling for a few more minutes until Zima declared that we were in northern Wisconsin.  We were surrounded by woods, bleak and grey with crusted snow that had obviously been around for a while.

"I need to cover this," said Zima.  "It's so ugly.  One moment, sister."

Suddenly it started to snow.  Nothing heavy, of course.  It was late March, after all.

"These people have winter for a while longer," said Zima.  "Now, believe it or not, Osen is somewhere near here."

"Right over here, brother."  A young woman close to my own age stepped through the trees.  Her hair was the color of flame and it fell down to her knees in thick shining waves.  She was not dressed in normal clothing, like the brothers, but in a long gown of orange and brown and red and yellow.  She wore a crown on autumn leaves in her hair.  "I am Osen, Lady of Autumn," she said.  "And there is no doubt that you are Leto."

"Am I?" I said.  "I truly do not remember anything."

"They must have done something to you," said Zima.

"Who?" I asked.  "Who did something to me?"  Then my jaw went slack, for Zima's clothing changed before my very eyes from normal clothing into long robes of white and grey with a black shirt and trousers beneath.  He also wore a crown, but it was of ice and snowflakes.

"We aren't really sure," said Osen, ignoring my face.  "But why did you not give her the staff?"

"It was broken by her captor.  He shot it with a gun," said Zima.

"Did he indeed?"  Osen groaned, and a light wind suddenly whisked around her, whirling around a few red and yellow leaves that I know had been nonexistent before.  "Do you know what that means?"

"Maybe we should have brought her to the staff instead of the staff to her?" said Zima.

"I don't know what will happen when Father and Mother hear about this," said Osen.

"Who are Father and Mother?" I asked.

"I am your Father.  I came as soon as I heard."

The man that stepped through the trees might have been any man in his middle age except that he wore a mottled grey robe and seemed to float along as if on nothing.

"Father, what are we going to do?  Where is Mother?"

"Why is it that children always want their mothers when they're in trouble?  Your mother is busy at the moment.  She's in Japan, trying to keep things warm enough for the rice to grow.  It's not easy, you know.  She knows that Leto is back, though.  I sent a wind to tell her at once."

"Thank you, Father," said Zima.  "I sort of forgot."

"The last thing Japan needs right now is one of your winds messing up their rice crop.  Now, let me see my Leto."  He held his arms out and seemed a little offended when I did not go rushing into them.

"You're my father?" I said.

"Father Time, in the flesh," he said.


OK, so this is turning out to be really long.  I'll have to post more tomorrow.  By the way, if you were wondering about the names, each of the seasons has his corresponding Russian name.  Just so you know.

Thanks for reading, and God bless,


  1. I like it! No, I don't mind that you changed it up - the challenge was more put your own story to my title - premise didn't have to come with it. I like it. I want to read more of it. And it's also going a very different direction from my own version, so I don't mind if you decide to finish it ...

  2. I really, really like is! That's cool, about the names. I was wondering.

    I can't wait to read the rest of it!

    the writeress || barefoot in the snow


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