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A Myth Life - Chapter 1: Foster
I stood there staring at the empty pizza box.
“It’s all gone,” I muttered.
I just learnt a valuable lesson; never tie your shoes before grabbing a slice of pizza. I grabbed the leftover chunks of warm Hawaiian ham and let them slip down my throat.
“Ew, gross!” I spat the pineapple out. One thing more annoying than the girls here was pineapple.
“Oh dear” said a Carer as she walked past. “I should have ordered more. Riana sweet, help yourself to a sandwich,”
Yeah, I’m Riana Leah, looking for a place to call home, seven years in foster care and counting.
I got myself a sandwich. The bread looked as if it had been run over by a truck. I carefully spread the butter and vegemite and placed a slice of cheese on the bread. The cheese looked thicker than the two slices of bread together. I ate the sandwich, which tasted like cardboard, before sneaking into the hall to use the phone.
Lesley was naturally a big girl. Her arm fat sagged as she held the phone to her ear.
“Hurry up Lesley; I need to use the phone!” I demanded after waiting for ten minutes.
“Shut up.” She snapped, making a stop signal with her hand, and continued “Oh no, I love you babe.”
I rolled my eyes and started mimicking Lesley with the whole miming lips, eyes looking at the roof and wiggling hips. I even did the twitchy nose. It caught Lesley’s attention and she took her shoe off and threw it at me, I ducked and glanced at the shoe print on the wall.
Five minutes later Lesley was still on the phone. In the end I got the nerve to steal the phone from Lesley and hang up.
“Great! Your done, my turn,” I surged and picked up the phone again.
“Uh no, it’s not,” Lesley protested stealing the phone back.
“You’ve spent all day talking to your boyfriend; rules are you’re not even supposed to have one. Now let me call my friend, it’s urgent,” I said
“So is staying in love, dobber.” she bragged
“Tough” I said sternly dialling a number.
Sarah picked up the phone within two rings
“Hello?” whispered Sarah
“Hey,” I said cheerfully
“Oh my god! What took so long?” Sarah’s tone rose.
“Certain people were busy.” I frowned at Lesley watching me with a stern face, before turning around.
“There’s a crazy reality show on about people stranded in a foreign city,” Sarah added
“Really isn’t that called, Ahh!!!!?” I replied relaxed and cheery before suddenly screaming to Lesley pulling on my brown hair. Sarah was listening to the catfight on the other side of the line.
“Stop yanking my hair, you psycho!” I yelled.
“Get off the phone!”
“Go put on a full mask of make up! It’s thicker than the Twilight books!”
Lesley reached over my shoulders and hung up the phone. Sarah listened to the phone dial.
“Uh… Hello?” Sarah said before hanging up.
Lesley slammed me against the wall holding me by my shirt.
“Why are you doing this?” I pleaded.
“Don’t go all book smart on me you useless cow!” Lesley snapped.
“I simply wanted to use the phone, take a chill pill, geez!”
She let go of my shirt and pouted before walking to her room. I was pleased with myself; forget guns and violence, acting innocent is the ultimate weapon to victory. After making sure Lesley was gone I called Sarah again.
“Hello,” Sarah answered
“Back, sorry technical difficulties,”
“From who? Lesley?”
“Uh, is that a trick question?”
“So, how’s the adoption?” I asked
“It’s a lot better than that shack; I got a new phone as a welcoming gift.” said Sarah
“I know it’s got a touch screen.” Sarah replied
I looked down on the floor in jealousy.
“Don’t worry Rhi, someone will take you in; there’s a lot of people out there looking for a child to call their own that isn’t screaming in nappies.”
My tone dropped. Bringing up this subject was always sucked all the joy out of me.
“Look I gotta go I have homework due tomorrow,” I sighed.
“Ok c’ya,” she said joyfully.
“Bye.” I hung up the phone.
There was no homework due tomorrow; there was no homework at all.
I finished it all yesterday. Homework was my solitary pleasure; everything would disappear as soon as I dipped my mind into a big pile of work. Maybe it was time to simply call it a night and read, anything to stop the cattiness and animosity in a girl’s foster home.
I walked up to the bedroom and put my hand under the bed, trying to find the book I was looking for. From a Birdseye view, it probably looked like the bed was eating my arm as I was digging deeper and deeper for my book. Several dust bunnies, three packets of chips and other gross surprises later I finally found it. I sprawled onto my bed and blew the dust off the cover.
“Courage” read the cover. This was a really good book about a knight in medieval times. I searched for the point I was up to.
Maurice rode like a maniac on his black horse. Constantly whipping the horse on the hind leg has left scars, to symbolise it was under his power. Now was not the time for his horse to reject or buck him off leaving him drowning in pain on the hard, merciless ground. The approaching moat of the castle was covered with a thick layer of smoke from the dragon. Maurice halted and imagined the smoke inside the castle. Seconds into entering the castle, he struggled to breathe but powered on. The castle was twice as bad as he imagined, it was as though the skeletons themselves that hung on the wall were still alive, coughing and spluttering. Maybe it’s was the hallucinations occurring as he preached death row.
A sudden roar came from the back of the tower; finally all those favours for goblins, confronting werewolves and killing witches, had all paid off. The dragon had met its match. Maurice was confident he was going to break the dragons 105 times in a row-winning streak. The doors opened wide, the dragon let out a breath-taking roar. Maurice was speechless. How could this thing possibly survive these hot, smoky conditions? The dragon’s beady yellow eyes lit up as it saw Maurice. His horse was shaking with fear. Holding up his sword and in his medieval accent he let out “Surrender thy mighty dragon! Before ye dies a horrible death!”
The dragon’s tail smashed against the floor. Maurice was so focused he didn’t even feel the ground shake. With a huge grunt, he tossed his sword at the dragon’s neck but the dragons’ move was so sudden he had no idea where the sword disappeared. Jumping off his horse he dashed across the room dodging the dragon’s colossal feet. His mind was racing, his sword was gone and his body was tensing up. This much time in a smoke pit was not good for any man. When life itself seemed to disappear, he saw his sword wedged in between two bricks. He dashed to the corner and tried to pull out the sword heroically only to find it would not budge. The dragon found him cornered and defenceless. The dragon seized the opportunity to defeat Maurice by blowing fire and smoke in his direction. Maurice collapsed on the floor feeling his armour burning.
Was this the end of his life? Was it his time to visit the Holy Land?
I read the last few rhetorical questions just before the chapter ended and tossed the book under my bed. This was the safest place to store my possessions. No one would dare look under a bed. Many people think it is a gross, dust contaminated, dark place set at room temperature. Not even the carers have the guts to look under the beds which is a relief because my foster home is like a school camp that never ends; no privacy, scheduled events, timetables and lots of rules to follow.
The main rules are:
Without permission. Be home by five thirty.
Permission was needed to stay out longer than five thirty.
No snack until homework is completed.
No providing personal information on social networks (though many still do)
Dinner at six, quiet time at nine, and lights out at nine-thirty.
Nobody has a room to themselves and has to share with another person. In the meantime everyone goes to the same school, has the same food and if one person can’t have something, then no one else can (unless you’re me on pizza night). I stared at the clock reading quarter to nine. My mind was relaxed. I tossed my book on the floor and huddled under my doona cover.
“Riana, can I use your toothpaste?” A girl wearing pink pyjamas asked.
“Can I use yours?” I ask back.
“I don’t have any left” she answered
“I’m almost out” I said
“Please only you have the stuff for sensitive teeth” she pleaded
I pulled my toothpaste out from the draw of my bedside table and tossed it over to her.
“Thanks Riana, I owe you one!” She smiled, catching the toothpaste, before running off.
“Yeah, you owe me for the fifth time now” I murmured under my breath.
I put the blanket over my head again and tried to drown out the brightness of the light shining through the blanket. Trying to sleep, take two. I daydreamed about the possibility of fantasy life, even if the human race is too curious to keep anything covered up. As a human, it was our job to be cruel, bitter, and judgemental and what adults call “sticky-beaks.” We make chimps look civilised. It was our job to learn and know as much as we possibly can in the seventy year, or so time limit we have; good or bad. Even if it meant destroying someone’s reputation, property or physically injuring someone but that is call cruelty.
I removed the blanket from my head to see who entered my room. I crossed my fingers and got out of bed, it was Lesley. She stared at me with her mascara coated eyes. Yes, of all people I had to share a room with, I got stuck with Lesley, and after so many attempts to switch rooms I was punished to live with her till one of us was adopted.
“Go back to sleep bookworm, I’m only grabbing some things” She intensely spoke.
Her bed was next to mine and I pretended not to watch her grabbing her things. I could never – and never will – trust her. She grabbed her makeup bag and suddenly stopped to pick something up from the messy floor.
“What’s that?” She asked.
“This” She answered holding my precious book.
“Uh... a book” I answered. “Now give it back”
Lesley did the exact opposite, she jumped onto her bed and started reading it.
I waited about twenty seconds for her to say something.
“This is boring” She claimed.
“Then give it back” I said
“Wait, I haven’t finished reading! This is all about dragons and crap, this is stupid”
“Then just give the book back” I whispered closing my eyes
“How can you believe in this stuff?” She insulted.
“Give it back, damn it”
“And to think people look on you as smart…”
I cracked it. Within a flash, I jumped on Lesley’s bed and stole the book, from her soft and pale hands. I was quick but she was faster. Lesley tugged it towards her large and heavy chest like a mother protecting a child. We tugged it in opposite directions, the book was old and weak compared to our young and strong grasps. The book made a brief tearing noise before splitting into two. Lesley and I both fell off the bed landing on the floor. She tossed her half of the book at me before she stormed out the room, probably to gossip with her friends about me turning into a maniac and other unbelievable stories.
I got onto my knees and froze. Stiffly and watery-eyed I stared at my favourite book. It was the only childhood possession I still had and there it sat in two big chunks. I scooped up the pieces of my book, climbed into bed and pulled the blankets over me before I burst into tears. This is what I meant; this is evidence to prove humans are vicious “sticky-beaks”.
Forget the fantasy life in the book, it did not exist, it never did and it never will. It was a myth, a myth created by pure imagination.