Just Agnes

Just Agnes

Agnes Lamb is your average sixteen-year-old: bored and desperate, majoring in procrastination and a hundred percent done with her current life.

Willing to do anything it takes to simply feel again, Agnes starts to explore the workings of her inner mind - but "anything it takes" is quite the gray area, and Agnes is blissfully unaware that in her struggle for self-improvement, she might very well be destroying everything else.

Constructive criticism and ratings are appreciated!

Chapter 1

In Which We Meet Agnes

The sky is sweet outside, sweet like fruit and sweet like love and sweet like regret. It smells of oranges and cinnamon and the summer’s laughter – and as if all of that that isn’t alluring enough, the slight lisping of the late spring trees joins in. It’s a harmony to the ear, sounding much like waves gently lapping at the beach or the whispers of two lovers or the prattling sighs of a child; a peaceful noise, something that sinks into your soul and just settles there with a content wriggling of the elbows.

I lean out of the window and inhale more deeply this time, catching it again: a hint of the oncoming summer, the tang of flowers on my taste buds, sultry heat settling on my lips. Sunlight plays over my arms, kissing its way up until able to stroke my face gently. Warmth envelops me slowly, carefully, tenderly. I close my eyes.

A bird’s whistle, water dripping from the valve, the growling and thudding of my mom’s baking machine. A faint aroma of tomatoes, cheese and dough drifts by, beguiling my empty stomach. It rumbles loudly in response, seemingly ready to detach itself from me and run towards the kitchen. I stifle an inhuman noise and stretch a last time. A joint pops, a cloud of relaxation drifts over me and just like that, I’m ready for what’s to come next.

Sauntering towards the front door, I pull the sleeves of my sweater down further and whistle some tune, unrecognizable even to me. My hand lingers on the doorknob, gently pressing against the cold bronze. It’s such a contrast to the temperature outside, warmth that I’ll feel again as soon as I open this door and step over the threshold. That thought encourages me, and I throw it open with a dramatic flair of my arms; bright rays blind me at once, so that I’m forced to shield my eyes until I’m on the middle of the road, protected by a giant oak’s shadow. It’s the only tree on the street, positioned on a rather random spot. No one, not even old lady Bertha, really knows how and when it got there. It’s just part of the neighborhood, I guess.

Little waves of heat dance above the gravel, huddling together under the upwards curve. I sit down and wrap my arms around myself, enjoying the soft wind and watching people get ready for the day. I can tell Neighbor Bob is yelling at his wife about something and Little Tommy is flexing his nine-year-old arms in front of the mirror and Old Bertha is basically just watching everyone else. I’m sure she’s going to call my parents on me someday, but I hope that today is not that day.

There’s a car approaching. I can see it in the distance, a little red blur of perfect peril. My legs are shaking already, betraying my inner fear. I find that kind of reassuring. At the very least, it means my brain is working hard to warn me. It means I haven’t gone totally mad yet.

There’s a loud bang: Mr. Fern has thrown the door to his veranda open. I know this because I can sense his eyes burning holes into my back, and it results in this nasty sort of feeling in my stomach that I only ever get when he’s the one doing the weird staring. I suppose it’s needless to say, but I don’t like Mr. Fern. Or, for that matter, his cat Pebbles (who is probably the only reason he’s currently braving the warm weather outside).

“Hey!”

I ignore the call and focus on the car again. It’s not really red; the color is closer to raspberry, almost like the thing has been standing in the sun for the past few decades and faded to a softer pink.

“Hey, you!”

I should note that Mr. Fern has lived here since I was two years old. Not only have we met about fifty times at all sorts of vague local parties and obligatory visits, but Mr. Fern also likes to haphazardly stumble into our home and ask for sugar cubes. I must have told him my name roughly a hundred times – and I only say roughly because I lost track when I was nine years old – but apparently Agnes is a very difficult name to remember and Mr. Fern has a limited hard drive. Judging by the occasional animalistic screeches I hear from Mrs. Fern at night, she has been trying desperately to update him for the last half decade.

My hand comes up in an irritated half-wave to acknowledge him. By now, the sound of the car’s engine is becoming audible. It’s the signal for me to get up and move back towards the safety of the sidewalk, head bowed to avoid the sun’s increasingly hot glare.

“Kid, are you crazy?”

I look up to discover that Mr. Fern is standing only a few feet away. His furry eyebrows cover most of his eyes, so I can’t really tell if he’s trying to be a judgmental grownup or if he’s seriously pondering the issue of my sanity. I go out on a limb and assume the first, since that’s what most people do in these sort of situations.

“You don’t understand.” The words fly out of my lips before I can stop them, soaring briefly in the air before plummeting to the ground like wingless birds. Mr. Fern moves his foot, rubbing them further into the dirt as he grunts incoherently. I catch “nutcase” and “youngsters think they’re invincible”, but the rest is just a ball of adult nonsense gathered together to form yet another complaint about my generation. It’s all very unsurprising.

I glance up at the second floor of Mr. Fern’s house. The boy there is watching me with a weird expression. It’s like he wants to roll his eyes and scowl and frown at the same time. It’s a Lee face, and only Lee can ever pull it on Mondays without making me want to laugh. Only Lee; only on Mondays.

*


Index of chapters:


http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iE_eMs4/Just-Agnes?story_chapter=2 (・Just the Lamb)

http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iE_eMs4/Just-Agnes?story_chapter=3 (・A Heroic Fern and Lamb)

http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iE_eMs4/Just-Agnes?story_chapter=4 (・A Blooming Bromance)

http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iE_eMs4/Just-Agnes?story_chapter=5 (・The Parakeet's Plunge)

http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iE_eMs4/Just-Agnes?story_chapter=6 (・The Bird's Broken Wings)

http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iE_eMs4/Just-Agnes?story_chapter=7 (・Impressionist Afternoon)

http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iE_eMs4/Just-Agnes?story_chapter=8 (・Regarding Terrible Authors)

http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iE_eMs4/Just-Agnes?story_chapter=9 (・The Merry-Go-Round)

http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iE_eMs4/Just-Agnes?story_chapter=10 (・Rooted Tears)

http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iE_eMs4/Just-Agnes?story_chapter=11 (・The Old Man and the Painted Lady)

http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iE_eMs4/Just-Agnes?story_chapter=12 (・Parallel Worlds)

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