The Silver Leaf

January 23, 2009
By Marqesha W., Rockford, IL


It all started with that one little book. Pathityme. He just had to walk into that curious little bookshop and buy it. He just had to get chased down by that dog on that particular day. He just had to be the quiet one at school who never got noticed. Why did he go into that bookshop? It was like it was meant to be; that mysterious little book was calling his name, beckoning him towards it. Did the old shopkeeper put it there? Did he know that he was coming? Did he know that he would one day become the boy who would be saving their entire planet from a prophecy as ancient as the dinosaurs themselves? As he looked down at the guarded book in his hands, Pathityme, he knew the answers to those questions—yes, yes the shopkeeper did know. And he had located the lost Silver Leaf at last. With a step forward, he crossed the barrier and entered the ruins to retrieve the miniscule object that was the prize of his enemy's eyes.

1. Impressions

Waking up was a usual part of Terrence McHartly's day. Helping take care of his little sister was also a part of his mornings. Even helping his mother cook breakfast for the three of them was an every day routine. But this particular event was not one of them.

"Terrence, wake up! You don't want to be late for your first day of school do you?" his mother yelled from the other room. Her voice was filled with excitement. Terrence's mind was filled with irritation. Never, in his sixteen years of living did he have to wake up to this. Not even after his father left his family when he was four did he have to attend school. His mother couldn't afford it, especially after the family's financial troubles when his father took mostly all of their money and fled with another woman, so she just stuck with home schooling him.

Then, four years later, his mother went out and found a job. She gave Terrence the responsibility of watching his newborn sister. This matured Terrence beyond his years, and he soon became the man of the family. His mother had found another man but he as well left her after she had his younger sister Areille. Three years after her new job, they moved from their old home in Colorado to a new home in New York. And for five years his mother decided to home school him. He went through dual grades in a single year, giving that he was a very gifted boy.

By the time he was fifteen years old, he had already fully learned material from kindergarten to ninth grade. Now, at the age of sixteen, his mother had finally saved up enough money to send both him and his eight year old sister to school. This was something Terrence had not been looking forward to. Not only was he nervous of attending a public school, but he was also afraid. He didn't know how to act around others his age. The only company he had was his blonde-haired, angel-faced sister and his kindly-faced, sweet, caring mother. Never had he been around another teenager in his life, so how was he to act?

"Okay, I'm up!" he called back, fully rested. He shook his shaggy head and dusted off his shirt. He crossed to the dresser in his small room and pulled out a sweater. It wasn't hard to find deeming his six drawers were filled with four shirts and three pairs of pants. He pulled it over his head and slugged his way downstairs, the soles of his feet hitting the hard, wooden floor. His mother was in the kitchen at the stove frying up some type of meat. Terrence sniffed the air testily; the aroma was like nothing he'd ever smelled before, and that wasn't necessarily a good thing. There was a reason why he was the cook of the family. His mother's cooking was like a disaster waiting to happen.

"Good morning, Terrence," she exclaimed, evidently in good spirits. "I've made breakfast." She indicated the table with the frying pan she held in her hand. The grease popped out and three, small, grey lumps were sitting around the ocean of oil. Terrence made an involuntary face. So instead of hurting his mother’s feelings, he turned his attention to the table and looked at what he assumed was food. Nearest him was a pile of darkened pancakes with even darker holes in the middle of them, filling them like polka dots. Terrence guessed they were supposed to be chocolate chip flavored. The only edible-looking things on the table were the plastic decorative fruits sitting in an orange basket.

"Er," Terrence began. He picked up a plate of some white, lumpy material that looked like cauliflower, but smelled like scrambled eggs. He gazed, perplexed. He couldn't even imagine how she managed to do that. "T-thanks, Mom," he said, at a loss for words. "Er, did Areille eat yet?" he added on as an afterthought. His mother's smile faded.

"She wasn't hungry, but I could swear I heard her stomach growling." She said this more to herself than to Terrence.

"I'm not hungry either," he lied. But at the look on his mother's face, he grabbed a crispy pancake and shoved it in his mouth, resisting the urge to upchuck. He mumbled his thanks through a mouth full of ash, and hurried out the house.

"Have fun at school!" his mother called after his retreating back.

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