Rumors – Day 1

Select a book at random in the room.  Find a novel or short story, copy down the last sentence and use this line as the first line of your new story.

I chose the book Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson 

“There’s a rumor going around that the beautiful girl arriving today might be the queen we’ve been waiting for,” Kendal told his little sister in the large crowd of people who were all awaiting the arrival of a carriage.

“I hope it is!” Olive’s dirty face lit up. “I hope she will be nice! Oh, it would be grand! She would give us all money and food and make us all go to school…”

“Shh!” Kendal shushed his sister as they everyone else started to shush.

“I hear horses!” Someone cried out from the front. “The carriage is coming!

An excited murmur went throughout the people of the small kingdom as their eager chatting once again commenced. Since the queen had passed on five years before, the king had been bitter and abandoned his kingdom. The kingdom fell apart. There were no rules. Robbers robbed banks, stores, and anyone who was vulnerable. Families were not getting the money they needed to survive, so they recruited their children to work. Schools soon shut down because no one was attending. The men were gone for weeks at a time delivering the produce of their fields and products of their own hands to other distant kingdoms of where people lived who were too lazy to do so themselves.

Most people in the kingdom of Alirin Kingdom went to bed hungry and wore rags. Things in Alirin were always so bleak. Store windows and doors were boarded up, as well as several houses left vacant as families went in search of money. The kingdom now often had an eerie feeling to it. The peak hour at the market was not even that busy.

The mysterious woman in the carriage was supposed to be their saving joy. The one who would bring the kingdom back together as one. The one who would bring law and order and peace. No one knew where she was from, but speculation was that it was from one of the furthest kingdoms where people were so rich they hired servants to do all their work, and all they did all day was sit and eat and get fat.

To Olive it sounded like a dream. Life free at last. She remembered school, having gone until grade two, and now that she was three years older she wanted to go back and learn. She knew she was missing things that other girls in other kingdoms were getting.

The sound of pounding hoofs became clearer and the crowd started to back away, making a space for the carriage to park, though no one could see it yet. From where Kendal and Olive were standing in the back, they could barely see the king impatiently tapping his stick, looking into the distance from where the carriage was to come.

The prince looked bored, as if he would rather be somewhere else. He barely acknowledged the crowd. He hardly made any public appearances since the sudden death of his mother. It was as if he had died with her.

“Do you think she will give us a place to live?” Olive asked as she was squished beside her brother by the impeding crowd.

“I don’t know, Olive.” Kendal stood on his tip-toes to try get more of a view.

“Well I hope she does.”

“Me too.”

Within moments, the carriage came around the bend. It was made of beautiful black fabric, and the curtains were down so no one could see who was inside. The horses leading it were pure white, and as Kendal guessed, well-fed. It was a large carriage, enough to fit at least three people comfortably, maybe four if one was willing to squish. From the mere appearance of the carriage one could see that the occupant had some money so spare.

Olive bounced up and down, trying to catch glimpse of the prince. He still looked bored. His father, however, suddenly lit up with excitement. He stood tapping his stick and watched intently as the carriage finally came to a halt and the door opened.

The whole crowd gasped at what they saw….

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