Whoever is reading this, I am Jo’s guardian angel.
And yes, I know what you are thinking at this precise moment. What a weak opening! He doesn’t even acknowledge the fundamental laws of writing!
Oh, please! It is my book, and I will do whatever I please! And do you think I am bending your precious rules of writing? Oh no, darling, you have got it all wrong. I am breaking them. Every last one of them!
And tonight, that would be my least of concerns. Has anyone seen Jo? I was supposed to protect her with my life and hover over her shoulders for all of eternity. And now, I don’t even know where in the world she is! This is a nightmare. Have you seen Jo?
She is a young girl, age ten. Brown hair, brownish eyes, pale, thin. I wouldn’t call her the brightest of kids-- Who am I kidding? She is dumb. The dumbest there is! If you see her, I need to know.
Oh wait, I know what you are thinking. That’s not how you describe a person according to the golden edicts of writing. You have to scatter the descriptions throughout the story to preserve the freshness.
Honey, please don’t. I am not here to gratify your reading passions. And if there is one thing I need to know, that’s Jo’s coordinates. And if your writing persona feels so violated right now,
Sweetheart, we have barely begun.
Chapter 1: Graham, The Little Blade of Grass?
Alright. Let’s take this step by step.
The first question is when: When did Jo go missing?
It was somewhere between 11 and 12 in the night.
The second question is where: From where did Jo go missing?
It was from her bedroom.
The third question is how: How did Jo go missing?
I zoned out for a minute, and she was gone. Therefore, we shall draw the first conclusion that she must have sneaked out by herself. It’s an impossible window for an abduction. The odds are too vague.
The fourth question is why: Why did Jo sneak out in the middle of the night?
Unclear. Jo’s mind works in strange ways. I told you-- she is the dumbest there is!
The fifth question is who: To whom could she have gone?
That brings us to the suspects. I have two doubts.
One: Mr Derrick Watson. Eighty-year old (Neighbour). Short white hair. Black eyes. Dark brown complexion. A little plump.
Two: Ms Elizabeth Bennett. Ten-year-old (Friend). Shoulder-length brown hair. I don’t know, strange eyes? Beige complexion. Petite.
The final question is what: What can I do to find her?
Darling, you have no idea what I am capable of. Before the sun rises in the east, I will bring Jo back home. And no one will ever know a thing. Let’s set out, shan’t we?
I rise from the bed, aiming for the windows. I will need a view. A broad one. If Jo is somewhere out in the open, I need to know. If that’s the case, I am sorry, lads. The story might end quite sooner than you anticipate.
But no. Jo might be dumb, but my hovering presence around her could have brought around some change. But before we move on to the suspects, I need to collect some evidence. I cannot gather direct testimonies from the neighbour or the friend. They will never even be able to sense my presence. I need to ask someone pure of heart. And I think I have already found the perfect witness.
There she stood, above the hill. The only one in the whole region. She glistened in the moonlight, and her tender leaves shone in the darkness. She must be old. Dozens of years must have passed since her birth. She must be wise. And standing above the hill, she could see every last thing that transpires on the island. The fairy tree.
I glide through the windows, taking the first step in the quest for Jo. To be honest with you, reader, I don’t think our journey together will last that long. The moment I reach her, our adventures might conclude before they even have the chance to begin. And to be furthermore honest, I can’t really see why I should care about that. I hover, close to the grass, steadfast on my way. Nothing can stop me, and nothing will.
“Ow! Watch where you are going, stupido!” The voice brings me to an immediate halt. What is that? A little squeaking creature. Is it a rat? But rats rarely keep their pureness of the heart for long. I need to know the answer. “Who is that?” I ask aloud.
And in all fairness, the owner of the feeble voice surprised me. A tiny blade of grass! How dare a piece of nothing raises its voice against a guardian angel? “What is your name, little thing?”
“Graham.” The reply nearly cracks me up. It must have been no more than a few days old. Such a feeble, childish voice with the name Graham? “Who named you, squeaky?”
I see how irritated and disturbed the arrogant little thing becomes. Speaking against a guardian angel with such temper, he must be taught a lesson. And his reply cracks me up again, “God did.” The determination and confidence in his voice are too silly! Considering that his answer is one born out of zero wisdom and knowledge, I feel pity for the thing.
“God,” I laugh, “God named you? How relevant do you think you are for the Great Lord? You are nothing but a tiny, trivial piece of grass. Your life is meaningless. It lasts as long as one day when the cattle bite you off your roots to satisfy their hunger. Or perhaps, a little storm. How dare you even say his name?”
The determination and confidence I saw early in his eyes are long lost. Is he crying? All it takes is a little monologue, and he realises his worth. How could these beings be so absurd? I can see him struggling to hide his tears. How melodramatic! Jo was the same. She couldn’t even handle the least of insults-- Breaking down in an instant. I wish the children were given more wisdom.
“You are not an angel. You will never be one.” How pathetic! As much as I want to laugh it off and stick to my goal, I feel this rising need to let it know its value, “I am one.” Without another word, I continue my path. My valuable time is not to be spent arguing with worthless things. I have to find Jo, and I have to do it soon. And so, for the time being, I am avoiding the whimpers of the little one behind in my path.
Chapter 2: Camila, The Way Old Fairy Tree?
With Graham long behind me, I continue on my trail to the fairy tree. The closer I am, the more I realise how majestic she is. She stands like a queen-- firm on her roots upholding a trunk that stood the tests of time. She stands above everything else in her vicinity, with her branches wide like a queen on her citadel’s balcony. If she doesn’t know where Jo is, I don’t think anyone does.
I hover over the cold river, dark and deep, shielding a moon of its own. The moon underneath seems considerably closer to reach out to rather than the one in the sky. It makes me wonder why no one might have attempted the same. I hold myself from investigating the possibility right there, right then. It was bare and empty, after all. What will it change if I successfully reach out?
I am now only a few feet away from the fairy tree. And another few feet away from Jo. I bring myself to a halt when I reach a distance from where she could hear me, “Ma’am, have you seen a little girl?” The fairy tree doesn’t answer. She seems to be stargazing. I decide to ask a bit louder this time, “She is a young girl. She is missing.”
That gets her attention. Not much, though. She asks me something widely different, “Isn’t it beautiful?” I am unable to understand what she is trying to convey. “What is?” I ask. She is a wise lady. The ones with wisdom always make the simple things appear cryptic. Perhaps, it is what this is.
“The stars. The night sky. The cold wind. Look around. With your eyes open.” She says. Is this a riddle? Does she mean that I am not looking hard enough? But where is Jo? The tree continues, “Did you find what you are looking for?” Now, it’s a bit terrifying. Not terrifying. I am not terrified. But it feels weird, like a murderer asking whether their prey is happy tonight.
“I am Camila. And you?” Camila! What? Why? Camila literally means young. And she is old. Way old. Her barks seem to have wrinkles like that of Jo’s grandmother. This is hopeless. This psychic tree is not taking me anywhere. Why is everything so fruitless tonight?
I walk away from her. Some part of me still anticipates a call from behind, finally sharing the relevant details. But she doesn’t. She goes back to gazing at the blank sky the moment I take a few steps away from her. Hopeless. A small blade of grass is called Graham, and a too old fairy tree is called Camila! Who even names these people?
I know the chapter feels like a let-down after what might have seemed like a nice start. I wrote the beginning a few weeks ago, but I could never finish the chapter after that. So, this is much more of a rough effort to get things done rather than a well-written chapter. I hope you guys forgive me for that (: The chapter does follow the outline, just not good enough... I will try and make up to it with the next chapter ^-^ Hope you guys like it!