Apples to Apples
Finding AppleApple Kippling. It was written in the top, left corner of the notebook, where the owners title usually went. Jack knew things were not the same here, but Apple seemed like an outlandish name for even the strangest of people. It was blank where the class was supposed to be written, same as the space for the school year this "Apple" was supposed to be in. Jack turned the book over, but the back was bare cardboard. It was oddly wide, shaped like an over sized check book.
He looked over at the corner of the room, which he'd just learned was used for detention, where he'd first located the book, to see if there was any hint to the lost owners true identity. But the radiator on which it was left was bare and silent, leaving no clues.
Jack didn't even know why he'd noticed the book in the first place, just a faded red one with no logo or pattern, the metal spirals that bound it bent like spider legs.
He could hear silence all around him as he waited for his headmaster to return from the lavatory, his wheezing acting as a siren. Though there were no witnesses, Jack was hesitant to open the book, seeing as he'd never snooped before. He rolled his eyes at his cautious and (there was no other way to put it) well behaved self and carefully, so as not to let the paper crinkle, he peeked at the first page. In the left hand corner May 21 was written in meticulously neat writing. In a list, top to bottom, were words, all complicated and packed with syllables and their definitions.
Jack felt a guilty disappointment creep into his ribcage as the use of the book registered as English notes. He chewed his lower lip as he admitted to himself that he'd maybe been hoping for a diary or something at least as scandalous and exciting. He stared at it, convincing himself of the pleasure of a clear conscience.
Jack snapped the book shut and shoved it into is jeans pocket, feeling the metal spiral ends jab his thigh. He was certain he hadn't heard the heavy breathing of the headmaster, but was still surprised to see it was not him that stood in the doorway. She was obviously from the reservation on the other side of town that Jack had walked past a few times. Her high cheek bones, bronzed skin, and black hair were dead give aways. He wondered why she was at Cedar Grove High instead of on the res, but he didn't ask. Instead he managed a hoarse, "Do you need something?" He cleared his throat and looked at her apologetically.
She ignored Jack's question and took a small step into the room. There was something odd about her, but Jack couldn't quite put his finger on it.
"Are you in detention?" She didn't have a trace of an accent and Jack was coming to terms with the fact that he knew nothing of modern Native Americans. He also noticed that even though she didn't go to that school, she somehow knew that the particular room was used for detention when the plaque on the door only read 203A. When he realized his pondering had made him forget to respond, it was too late.
A lawn mower outside roared to life, causing Jack to knock into a desk, and, still not having totally forgotten his meddling, guilt and embarrassment spread on his cheeks like a stain. She narrowed her eyes at him and he realized what had seemed strange about her. Her eyes were metallic, like liquid silver, which seemed strange for her ethnicity. Then, with a small nod, she strolled out as though someone had called her name.
It was never going to rain. The tension in the air no longer fooled Jack, repeated too often without a hint of relief. The gray clouds blocked the sun, but trapped the heat, pressing it onto the town like a toothache. The occasional tree swayed, but no breeze ruffled Jack's hair, which stuck to his forehead with sweat. Lightening toyed above, but no low rumble followed, no announce of rescue.
He watched cars disappear into the gray horizon, wondering where it was raining, miles away. The stuffy silence was oddly accented by the chug of a distant train, the whir of all of Cedar Grove's air conditioning, the yells and whoops of soccer players not far from Jack's porch.
Angie, Jack's only parent, had the sprinkler running, and Jack watched it spatter the edge of their short stone walkway before switching to spray the opposite end of the grass. He was mesmerized by this seemingly simple pattern so much that he didn't notice the jab in his leg until a tiny trail of blood appeared under the hem of his shorts. Remembering Apple Kippling, he tugged the book out of his pocket, careful to not allow the metal spirals to do anymore damage.
He knew how stupid and paranoid he looked by glancing over both shoulders, but he checked anyway before opening to the first page, as though he'd expected the contents to change. May 2010 had only been three months ago, but it reminded him how much could change in that amount of time. He shook his head to clear it before reading on. For six pages there were only lists of definitions, but then Jack paused, seeing the same May 2010, but beneath it the format changed. He took a deep breath and read.
Once upon a time there was a girl born to a family of trapeze artists, who traveled the world with only the most famous of circus'. The whole family, the girl's mother, father, sister, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents had once or still worked on the art of trapeze, each more talented than the next. The whole family was built like stick figures, long and thin, able to bend and twirl like a leaf in the wind. And this girl was to be no different.
She was born on July 4 in Chicago, when nothing seemed to stand still, not even the blacktop. Parties and parades filled the streets and most would say it was an auspicious day to be born. However, after hours of labor, the doctors had all but given up on the girl's delivery, but the mother, exhausted and frantic, refused to quit on the final token to her legacy.
Henry, the loving husband, watched helplessly for hours as his wife slowly disappeared for a child that refused to be born. When he could take no more, he threw himself at her side, determined to have his daughter. The whole time he focused on the fragrance of his wife's golden hair, one of apples. But his wife couldn't hold on despite Henry's care, and with a final cry of anguish, she closed her eyes. Moments later was the yell of a newborn girl, as if echoing her mothers dying lament.
The girl, being trapped in the womb for too long, was born with her eyesight damaged so she'd never see the light of day, or even the man that slaved by his sacrificed wife to deliver her. Also, her skin was a deep brown, and needless to say, she didn't have either of her parent's yellow hair. The father, seeing "his" daughter and the nervous glances of the doctors, was crushed, and began to sob for the loss of his wife, his faith, and the only life he knew.