Printed from WriteWords -


by  Max Drayton

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2019
Word Count: 2765
Summary: This is the first draft, of the first chapter, of the novel I am currently working on. It spans the Universe, with Rose developing into a Galactic Traveller. Later adventures will have romance and action, as well as mind spinning new worlds. Itís a work in progress, so any comments will be welcomed. Does it intrigue you?

Rose was lonely.
She spent much of her time on the green tiles. Up on the roof when lonely, always the roof. For twenty years this roof was her home and the house underneath it. Her father had carried her up there a week after she was born, showing to his world as if the Lion Queen. The same view, stretching to infinity in the mist of distance. Several more houses in the valley now, more roads, more people, but still remote and silent. Even the animals respected her need to be alone and quiet.
Hugging her knees Rose felt the silky elegance of her favourite dress, white, dotted with tiny pink roses, scattered in abandonment. In her blonde hair, the scarlet rose, made from paper, years ago by her mother. Now pleading for repair and TLC, the petals slouching along with her mood.
The wind moved caressingly up here. A tall construction, on a hill, soaring above the valley floor. Secluded from the sounds of life and the cares of the world below. Chin on knees, she closed her eyes and smiled. Reminiscing. Rose Amie Taylor was always reminiscing.
The Satellite Dish, Diana, was her best companion, after her cat, Nigel. Rose confessed her secrets, desires and hopes into the silver ear. At times Diana talked back. Not out loud, that would be preposterous. But Diana did speak in Rose’s mind.
Rose’s parents and her relatives that lived with her understood this friendship. Her fellow students in college, not so much. She stopped mentioning Diana when the banter turned to persecution. Rose and Diana agreed with this decision, so their conversations remained forever private. She had enough to contend with at college when immature students realised Rose Amie Taylor spelt out, RAT.
Today a melancholy emotion swirled around Rose as if the breeze had carried it. Still early summer, the air warm and aromatic. All college work completed in record time and any further study could be ignored for a few weeks. Uncle Aden and Auntie Evelyn were again exemplary when assisting with the coursework. A soft purr announced the arrival of, Nigel, a black and white moggy.
Rose was reminiscing, absently stroking, Nigel.
Uncle and Aunt were now Rose’s only family since Mum and Dad…..left. They never appeared to age over the years. Always there, always supportive, as Dad said they would be. Relatives are not just for Christmas, he said. They’d be downstairs right now, doing something …. quietly, they rarely left the house. Rose used to find this peculiar, but it was just the way they chose to live.
Mum and Dad rarely left the family home in the later years. Now, Rose spent almost all her life here too, apart from going to college. Aden drove Rose in the twenty-year-old Volvo, dropped her off in the township six miles away and was standing by to pick her up at the end of the college day. Always. Always there, always dependable. Always with a wistful smile.
The verdant valley was still and silent, nothing moving – except a small pink dot. Far in the distance on the single narrow road out of the township. The single most compelling thing occupying her mind.
‘What’s that, Diana?’
Diana lacked an opinion, so didn’t voice it to her friend. But Rose felt … something, an uneasy stirring in her thoughts. She stood tall, peering into the hazy distance. The pink colour intrigued her, the uneasiness puzzled her. It was growing nearer. Nigel had stopped purring and was washing his left ear.
The familiar pressure started in her bladder. ‘I need to pee.’ Rose told no one, in particular, Diana wasn’t interested enough to comment. The pink dot was coin-sized in the valley and it drew awareness away from her biological needs. To pee or not to pee? That was the decision. The pink coin won. She sat, waiting to see the coin get bigger but sitting made the pressure greater.
‘What could that be?’ 
Diana still didn’t know. If she did, she wasn’t telling.
Biting fingernails is something young women rarely do, Rose never chewed hers. Until now. ‘Why am I doing this?’ she said looking at the torn nail hanging off her ring finger.
‘Bringer of Change.’
Rose looked around for the owner of the voice. She and Nigel were alone on the roof. It wasn’t a sound, it was in her mind. Diana finally had a comment to make.
‘What do you mean? Change…what?’
The pink object looked like it might be a small van, driving rapidly along the tight lane, heading straight for the house. It would be here in minutes, so would her stressed bladder. Decision?
The bladder won. It always did.
Through the tall window, nimble as Nigel and into the storeroom. Run down one floor and into her personal bathroom. The relief was blissful. No time to appreciate the amelioration of pain, a pink object needed investigating. A quick flush of the toilet, a rinse of hands in soap from the dispenser and rapid towel dry. Back to the roof.
The doorbell sounded.
Rose heard subdued voices coming from downstairs. Indistinct, no vocal inflection to understand what the caller wanted. The front door closed with an angry thud.
Rose hurried back to the roof. Nigel working on the other ear as she peered over the railing at the edge of the rooftop balcony.
On the gravel drive, a tall man looked up at her, just watching. On a leash, a huge white dog, Rose imagined it might be a wolf. They were now both staring straight at her. Beside them the open door of a large pink van. Nigel had stopped washing, a low growl in his throat and his ears were pulled back.
Without a sound, Aunt Evelyn was standing next to Rose with a melancholy look in her eyes.
‘Who was that?’ Rose whispered, concerned the two below might overhear her.
‘Wrong address.’ Said Evelyn quietly. ‘We must talk, Rose.’
‘What about?’
‘Your birthday. Twenty-one in two days’ time.’
Evelyn had consistently appeared sad and Rose had never questioned why, it was just the way her face … looked. She was the same height as Rose but much slimmer. Auntie‘s blond hair was always pulled back tight into a bun to her neck. Long sad face with pale skin. Dark eyes hardly blinking, dead eyes, no life to them. They‘d always looked that way, but only now Rose thought them strange.
‘One birthday is very much like another.’ Rose spoke with a grin.
‘This was supposed to be a special birthday, Rose.’
Evelyn peered over the railing and Rose followed her gaze. The pink van, tall man and white dog had gone. Rose saw a flash of pink between the trees as the van silently bumped along the rough lane. Nigel was washing his bottom.
Evelyn sounded distracted as she murmured, ‘We need to bring it forward a few days.’
Rose accepted that her surrogate parents had always been … unusual. Quiet, secretive, aloof, distant, but they’d always cared for her. She’d wanted for nothing since her parents … left.
The unsettled feeling crept over Rose again. What did that voice say? Bringer of Change. Was she being over-imaginative? A school teacher had accused her of that many times. Dad removed Rose from that school and eventually into another. Now she felt the same old sensation. Now stronger, more ….. real.
Evelyn reached out and held Rose’s hand. ‘Things are about to change, Rosy.’
Bringer of Change.
‘Because of my birthday?’ a catch in Rose’s voice, a nervousness squeezing her vocal cords.
Evelyn shook her head. ‘No. This time was always coming, we hoped it wouldn’t be so soon.’
‘What time? Coming? What’s coming?’
‘Aden and I must leave now.’
‘Now? Why? What do you mean, leave? I don’t understand …?’
Evelyn’s hand felt dry to the touch, the skin smooth and without blemish. Rose wondered how old was Evelyn? She must be eighty…something. She looked the same as she always had, around fifty. Uncle Aden…about the same. Always looking the same.
Evelyn’s other hand held onto the rail, her eyes peering straight into Rose’s. The old lady’s sight was questionable these days, several times Evelyn had walked into a door frame or dropped something. Eve was growing old. So where were they going….an old people’s home! Rose couldn’t let that happen.
‘What’s the matter with you, Aunt Eve?’ concern obvious on her face.
No change of expression on Evelyn’s face. ‘With me, nothing. We now have to leave, and we’re concerned about you being on your own.’
‘You don’t have to leave at all. Stay. I….will look after you. It’s my turn.’
‘This will be very hard for me to describe and very difficult for you to understand, sweet Rose.’
Despite the total lack of emotion in Evelyn, Rose felt a tear forming in her eye. Something was wrong with her Aunt.
‘We’re not from here and it’s time we went home.’
‘What do you mean? This is your home.’ Evelyn was shaking her head. ‘Where is your other home then?’
Evelyn looked upwards into the blue sky. She was seeing past the birds, the clouds into a greater distance.
‘You’ve forgotten?’
‘Not here.’
‘Not….England?’ a shake of the head, not a hair moving out of place. ‘Europe? Somewhere in Europe?’
‘Much further.’
Rose liked playing games with her Aunt, but this sounded more serious than that. What continent did she mean then, America?
Again a glance into the sky. ‘Out there. Many, many miles away from here. Too far to explain, too distant for you to accept.’
Evelyn’s lost her mind!
‘No, she hasn’t’. The words came from inside Rose’s head, but it was Diana’s voice. Rose glanced at the Satellite Dish, it had turned part way towards her.
‘It’s me that’s gone mad.’ was her silent thought. ‘Diana?’ was said aloud.
‘We knew this would be a difficult time for you, Rosy.’ Evelyn was trying to smile.
‘We? You mean Uncle and you?’
‘No, dear, Diana as well.’
Rose recalled the times when she’d discussed her talks with Diana the Dish. Evelyn and Aden always sympathetic, never questioning or ridiculing. Now, this was going too far, Eve believed in Diana too. She had lost her mind.
The thought struck Rose like a physical blow to the chest. ‘Evie, Diana doesn’t really exist, you know.’ Rose said breathlessly.
Evelyn smiled, a sad upturn of the lips. ‘You used to think so.’ Evelyn turned to the Satellite Dish. Slowly it moved, directly turning to face Rose.
Rose’s heart beat faster. What was going on?
‘Rose? I am real and am here for you.’ The voice inside her mind had the very distinct tones of her long-time imaginary friend, Diana.
‘What‘s happening to me?’ Rose’s confusion obvious as her hands covered her mouth and she closed her eyes. Would everything be back to normal when she opened them? She opened them.
Everything looked the same, the dish looking at her and Evelyn smiling.
Rose was shaking her head as she said, ‘You can understand why I’m struggling with this, can’t you? It’s insane. Satellite Dishes don’t talk, and you don’t come from…..’ a dramatic pointing towards an unknown source in the sky.
‘I‘ll try to explain, Rose dear. Please hold all thoughts and reactions until we’ve covered everything. But time is a problem here, right now.’
‘I’m sorry…I’m …confused…..’
‘Breathe Rosy. Breathe. Like we used to do when you were younger. Remember?’ Rose nodded. ‘Breathe, everything will be all right. Just a little change of direction in your life.’
Rose was hanging onto the rail, her mind struggling to grasp what was happening, her eyes in the distance. The pink dot had faded into the mist.
Evelyn followed her gaze and said, ‘He’s the reason we have to leave. He’s found us.’
Gasping, Rose said, ‘Who?’
Evelyn pointed down the valley. ‘Him. The Bringer of Change.’
‘The man with the big dog? I’m not following any of …..’
‘We’ve been in hiding, here in this valley. Now we’ve been found, we have to go.’
‘What, you and Uncle….?’
‘And Diana.’
‘Diana doesn’t exist.’
‘I do.’ The statement in her head, the voice of her friend. ‘There are three of us, Rosy. Always have been.’
Where had she heard that before? ‘But … this is a Satellite Dish!’
‘Just a conduit, a way of communicating with you. Diana is real, an entity. Nothing you can recognise, not skin and bones. But then, neither am I. Or, Aden.’
‘But…you’re relatives. I’ve known you all my life…..’
‘We’ve hidden here for many more years than that. Finally, we’ve been discovered. For our safety, and yours, we must leave before they return.’
‘They? Who are they?’
Another saddened gaze towards the horizon from Evelyn. ‘The Bringer and his pack. They’ll be here soon, and we must be gone. We need to make sure you can survive on your own, Rosy. We’ve prepared a package…..’
At a noise behind her Rose turned to see Aden holding out a large shoe box. He looked unhappy as always. Pale rimless glasses on a pale thin face. Hair almost gone completely, his eyes staring at her without emotion. He moved next to Evelyn, still holding out the box for Rose to take.
Rose’s mind froze. She accepted none of this. Her natural independence rose to the surface and poured out in a burst of emotion that was summed up in her one-word wail. ‘Nooooo!’
‘You must take this and leave the house now, Rose. Please.’ Aden’s voice gravelly and quiet.
Evelyn was looking to the horizon again. ‘Take it Rosy, they’re coming.’
‘Take the present and leave now, Rose.’ Diana in her head.
 Rose tried to form words to say. Words of defiance, of common sense. Words to break this spell, words to wake her up from this fantasy. Nothing came.
With a synchronised turn, her relatives were both looking to the end of the valley, Rose followed their stare. In the misty distance, she could see a hint of colour, pink. It seemed to expand as she watched.
‘Two minutes.’ The warning voice of Diana.
‘Go, Rosy, please save yourself.’ From Evelyn.
‘I need to understand….’
‘We don’t have time to explain. It’s all here in this box. Take it and run.’
‘Where to? Where can I possibly go to? I have…nowhere to go to. No one…..I have no one, only you two. And Nigel. I’m not leaving. I’m coming with you.’
‘Not possible.’ From Diana.
‘Then I’m staying on this roof and take what comes.’
There was a moment of silence when Rose was sure her relatives were silently communicating with each other, and possibly the imaginary, Diana.
‘Not possible. Everything must leave, including the roof and the house.’ From Evelyn.
‘What …. now?’
‘We take her.’ The voice was Diana’s but harder now. ‘We bring her back when we can.’
More silent communication.
The pink horizon was bigger now, sweeping towards the house. The time was ticking away, and everyone sensed it.
From far away a sound reached their ears, to Rose it sounded like baying dogs.
‘Time to go.’ Diana sounded in Rose’s head, quiet and calm.
Aden and Evelyn both took a hand each and Rose felt the smooth dryness of their grip. Aden placed the curious box on the floor and gripped the rail with his free hand, Evelyn did the same.
The baying was louder now, and a sea of pink was rushing towards them.
‘Now, Amie, now.’ Aden’s voice calm, but the tone sounded distorted.
‘Who’s Amie?’ thought Rose as her world changed forever.
 Rose was never certain what happened. Even much later in her life could she recall what happened next. Her mind was so confused, her plight so weird. Nothing made sense, nothing would be remembered clearly.
The floor beneath her feet throbbed as day turned to night. Not night, just an incredible blackness. Then came the stars, so many she couldn’t count. Everywhere, all around her, bright points of light. It was only seconds before Rose realised she was in space, but a lifetime before she could comprehend the spectacle of the moment.
Rose felt her relatives release their grip on her hands. She was standing on the roof of her own home and looking into deep space. No sense of movement, then the stars blurred.
‘Adieu Earth.’ Was Diana’s comment.
Spoiler Alert!
Amie is a spaceship that can morph into anything she wants to.