Okay, fine, I’ve decided to let you read the atrocious first draft of the awful first chapter. I take no responsibility for burned eyes.
Have fun with my talentlessness.
“Trees are Earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”
The night was unnaturally still as she wondered if the trees knew the world was about to meet its end.
The girl drifted silently through the forest, twigs cracking and leaves crunching beneath her bare feet. She reached up and lightly brushed the rough, brown leaves above her head with her hand, tugging a few off and watching them fall to the earth with blank, miserable eyes.
She aimlessly circled one of the bigger trees, running her hand across the jagged wood and staring dejectedly at the forest floor.
On an impulse, the girl gripped the rough bark of the massive tree and climbed lithely onto a low bough. Sitting on the woody seat, she dangled her legs in the air and stared up at the dim sky through a canopy of various shades of brown.
Closing her eyes, the girl clenched her fists on her lap, twisting her night clothes in her fingers, as she felt the first few tears well up and spill over her cheeks, marking glistening tracks down her pale skin.
A week? she thought miserably, gritting her teeth. I have been here for seventeen years and now I only have a week left. Oh, God, Angelique you are so useless.
A sudden gust of wind almost unbalanced Angelique from her perch in the tree. She gripped the wooden limb hard, her eyes flying open in a split second of panic. Her long blonde hair whipped around her face, and a whirlwind of dry leaves – brown, red, and yellow – spiralled around her, a few tangling themselves in her long curls.
She raised her eyes back to the pale sky, where a thin line of orange was just beginning to reveal itself in the dawn.
“Why me?” she asked the empty expanse above aloud. “I’m not special. I didn’t even train to become an Envoy. I’m just a stupid, useless girl. Why do you want me to do this?”
There was silence. No one, and nothing, answered.
Angelique let out a derisive snort.
She clambered down to the hard ground and pushed her hair behind her shoulders, dragging a few leaves and twigs out of her golden locks.
I can’t do this, she thought as she began to make her way out of the forest. Weaving through the tightly knit copse of trees, Angelique stared at the ground ahead of her in a grim, silent stupor.
How do they expect me to find the other Envoy without help? I have no idea who he is. They haven’t given me a name, or an address. I don’t even know what he looks like!
A bird began singing above Angelique’s head, twittering gaily in the early morning. Its voice was loud and clear, ringing out through the leaves. The song, to Angelique, sounded like one of love and hope, life and joy.
It only made her feel worse.
“Why in Michael’s name did they pick me?” Angelique murmured, dragging her feet through the piles of rotting leaves, crushing them beneath her toes and sending a pleasant odour wafting up to her nose. “How am I important? Why did I have to be the bloody Envoy? Anyone would have been better than me. I’m not worth this. Why pick me?”
All of a sudden stopping in her tracks, Angelique clenched her teeth, curling her hands into tight balls, all of her muscles tense. Holding her breath hard, she stood as if she were a statue until she felt as though she would pass out. She finally relaxed her body, gasping in great gulps of air. Although physically weary, Angelique now felt a little calmer.
Her breath finally level, Angelique began moving again, slowly slipping through the trees, weaving in and out of the great wooden towers surrounding her, pensive. What was she to these great beings looming over her? Nothing, it seemed. Insignificant. But they were rooted to the ground, unable to move. Angelique was the one who could run, jump, climb, travel. She was the one who could truly live.
Yet why did she still feel so hopelessly lost?
Angelique liked to walk through the forest. It made her feel real, substantial. It gave her perspective. But most of all, she liked the peacefulness. There were no people here, no traffic, no busy streets with people rushing around totally blind, inconsiderate of the other lives they brush past. There was no one here. Just Angelique, her thoughts, and the musty odour of rotting leaves.
She at last stepped out of the shelter of wood and leaves into the open, where the wind had no resistance and smacked her in the face with its icy breath, tugged at her hair, and bit her exposed skin with frosty intensity.
The sky was turning the colour of blood as the sun peered over the distant hills. Wrapping her arms tightly around her body in a feeble attempt to keep the warmth escaping through the thin layer of fabric of her night clothes, Angelique trudged up the steep slope of the hill before her, eyes watering in the curt breeze.
When she reached the peak of the hill, Angelique reached out a shivering hand and groped at the empty space before her.
Or was it empty space?
Angelique’s hand closed around a round, solid object, invisible to the eye. Immediately, a door appeared in front of her, her hand clasped on the golden handle. Following the door, ornate, creamy brick walls materialized. Glass formed windows, slates shimmered into existence to form a roof, and a doormat rose from the ground beneath Angelique’s feet, tickling her bare toes with its coarse bristles.
Not paying any heed to this strange appearance, Angelique swung the door open and quickly stepped inside, where the furnishings and décor all sat as if the house had been there for countless years.
Angelique glanced up at the grandfather clock in the front hall, groaning inwardly when she saw the bronze hands inform her the time was six thirty.
“Sleep,” she muttered under her breath as she climbed the staircase, shivering with cold. “What a nice idea. I should try that sometime. Sleep …”
Reaching the top of the staircase, Angelique stumbled to her bedroom, feeling the weight of weariness hang over her as if she were carrying the dead weight of a baby elephant on her shoulders.
Angelique toppled face first onto the mess of tangled bed sheets and buried her face into the pillow, embracing the soft, cushiony comfort of her mattress.
Sleep, the exhausted girl thought, repeating the word over and over again in her mind to lull herself like a slowly rocking ship. Sleep, sleep, sleep …
At last, she fell into blissful unconsciousness.
You can also read the prologue here.