This post is a part of the Flash Fiction Chain #5 hosted at PhoTrablogger. It is inspired by the photo below. You can check out his blog for some amazing photography and also the complete version of this story which I have the honour of beginning. I am new to this, so please be kind. 😀
The characters are:
1. Rick – a not so ordinary ten year old.
2. Jenna – a social service employee.
3. Mrs.Montgomery – the foster mom
4. Jake – Mrs. Montgomery’s only son.
A child’s life is a lot more complicated than we take it to be. There are all these hopes and dreams but never any means of reaching up to them. Kind of like shooting stars you can only wish over but never really catch, feel in the palm of your hand. At ten years of age, Rick had gone through a lot more than any average kid. Spending a significant part of your life being juggled between foster families can give you a pretty good idea about what the world has to offer. The expectations are much lower and the hope begins to waver. Little Rick, however, was hard headed and quite proud of that. The determination and resolve he possessed for his age set him apart from the rest of kids. A bit too far apart.
His list of allies comprised of one to zero people. A kind hearted social service worker, Jenna, had a soft corner for him and made sure he had a roof over his head when things didn’t work out with his new foster family. And that, was a bit too often. Now, Rick was no brat who brought on complications for himself. His personality did it for him. He was not much of a people person. Not that he disliked them but that he was so…. unlike them. Whilst any boy of ten would love to play out in the rain or roll around in mud, Rick would much rather spend the day reading. Conversations weren’t meant for him. People were just too ordinary to be amusing. Getting sucked into a whole new dimension through paper and printing ink was all he lived for.
Naturally the world chews up and spits out anything that stands out. Every family he was assigned to described him as cold and distant and simply wanted him gone. Things were getting out of hand. Jenna spent what felt like forever explaining to Rick, the effect he had on people. He needed a home and for that he had to behave. Rick who never really let many people get to him, felt bad for Jenna. She believed in him. He understood how self destructive faith could be. But to let his actions affect Jenna was not something he wanted. Jenna wasn’t so bad. She was nice. Pretty. Always had a brilliant smile for him. He didn’t quite understand what a mother could be like but he imagined someone in the likes of Jenna.
A few fake smiles and friendly gestures, just like that Rick was in. A Mrs.Montgomery was thrilled to have him. She was a serious philanthropist. So serious that she had about 12 foster kids in addition to her only son Jake. Jake was not a big fan of his mother’s work. In his home that was meant for him and his mom ran around 12 screaming, annoying children. You can see why he has as a problem with that. So, he was constantly irritated with them and was something of a bully. The thing about fresh meat is that it does not go unnoticed.
Rick easily made into Jake’s hit list and for some reason never got off it. Jake had some sort of aversion to him and as a result of that he was a victim of constant bullying. He often had his books snatched away or simply laughed at and ridiculed. It made the other kids keep their distance from him out of fear of being targeted for association. It was usual for him. He grew up in loneliness. But it was a whole new thing to feel completely alone in the middle of a mob. To be avoided like that, stings. It’s tough being a kid. He couldn’t help but let it get to him. As always, he shrugged it off and tried to make it on his own.
One winter morning he woke up to the sound of a mockingbird. It was one of the less terrible ways to begin a day. He felt as though the bird’s song was a reminder. He had to keep up his charade to go unnoticed. The last thing he wanted was to disappoint Jenna. She worried too much….. It was a beautiful day, he noticed as he went out to the porch. He liked the quiet. Loved it actually. The world seemed less threatening without all the jarring noises. It was a blessing to be aloof from all that hassle. The moist air soothed his nerves. He was hardly ever at peace. Unfortunately, with peace came thoughts and they brought along sorrow. It starts small and then just drags you down, emotions spiralling out of control. He blinked away tears and stood there in the cold.
There was a strange noise. He felt like he was being watched. You know.. that eery sensation? He looked up to find a monkey hanging upside down from the overhead cables. It was like he could see him looking at him. The monkey peered at him with curious eyes. Rick darted back into the house partly terrified and excited at the same time. He came back out with a ripe Banana in his hands. He’d read about monkeys liking Bananas. It was time to test that theory. He waved it frantically in the air hoping he could catch its attention… was he going to make a friend? It was a new day…