The Society that Stole our Father: Part 2 by Natasha Minchin
Our front door is painted a deep red, the intensity of pure blood. I remember my mum requesting to paint it red, as it was her favourite colour. Even the ring gifted to her, is a large ruby, sitting nicely on top of a gold band. This heirloom is now in my hands, and I have great fear every day of being robbed since it is more valuable than any sort of ring a jeweller could sell at a shop. The safest place to carry it is in my pocket that I have stitched shut, which jacket I wear all the time and feel in that area to make sure it is still there. Our home is number 42, the smallest and oldest house on the street. We live in the poorest area of Ahoy, The Forgotten Woods. Living in the middle amongst the trees can be private and seclusive, however when the pouring hail hits, and the months of June that hold the darkest, longest hours of night hits, it becomes the scariest time of all. If Misty and I took the dedicated path to the market, it would take us hours. We have lived here all our lives, and since we were toddlers dad taught us the short cut, which goes off the path. I have been told not to take this path, for the angry monsters that lay low and the grumpy creatures that will give you a hard time passing by. Our door doesn’t have a lock, but apart from the ring, nothing valuable is held inside our home, which is why everywhere I go, the ring goes. We have a door knocker, and all I can do at night when we hear it being banged as a joke, is hold Misty tight and hope mum’s angels are looking over at us.
‘You ready?’ I whispered, my voice trembling, the bitterness of the icy air numbing my mouth.
I tightened Misty’s scarf, and took off my beanie to put on his head. I couldn’t bear looking at him suffering, so if I have to be cold, then so be it.
‘Yes,’ Misty replied, giving me an appreciative smile in return of me providing him some extra warmth.
We walked along the footpath, our boots leaving clear moulds in the snow. We held each other’s hands, and kept our eyes to the ground. Usually when we don’t make eye contact with anyone, there won’t be any trouble.
Both jumping up in astonishment, Misty and I traced where the booming voice was coming from. In the far distance we saw Brom, holding a pot of honey in his arm and licking the sticky goo right off the spoon.
‘Hi Brom,’ we said chirpily, as we ran towards him to give him a hug.
Brom is the type of bear that chooses who he likes, and who he doesn’t like. Luckily for us, he enjoys our company and always greets us whenever we take the shortcut. He lives in the Forbidden Forest, and we often come to him when we are scared, or worried about something suspicious going on in Ahoy. He is like a father figure, and he almost fills the empty void Misty and I feel during dad’s disappearance. He sticks to the shortcut because citizens usually come to him asking for a guide, though, he expects to be paid in honey. We can ask for his help anytime, but we don’t have to come bearing gifts. Brom actually worked with our father before he left with the secret society, and claims he doesn’t know anything. Dad left Brom with a letter:
I must leave far from home; I have been ordered so by the Secret Society. I am sorry to leave you, but we have been partners for long so I am sure you can continue work without me. Please look after my dear Kie and Misty, they must miss me beyond description, but I trust they are in safe hands. Tell the children to not look for me, Ahoy is an unsafe place, and they will be stuck in a muddle if they even try. I will come home with honey, when that is, I am not sure.
‘You children off to the market?’ said Brom curiously, as he peered down the path we were yet to take.
I longingly stared at Brom as he looked around, not having to put his eyes to the ground. He is big, tall and as I like to say, the master of them all. Everyone fears him, as he knows the dirt on even me, and could knock out any lanky goblin scavenging around for scraps, in seconds. I feel safe and beyond protected with him, when he leaves, I am once responsible for Misty and everything else again.
‘Yes, we unfortunately are, Brom,’ I said mournfully, cuddling up next to his soft, warm fur.
The thought of having to pass the hourglass square, that is bursting with tourists and new creatures that find it so fascinating, disgusts me like a jar of salted pickles. Whenever I pass, I watch the satisfying sand continue to pour, that has been doing so for thousands of years. I wonder what would happen if it was to be turned, even if I whisper it under my breath, I get stares as if others know the outcome.
‘Oh, don’t be so sad, Kie! The market can be a wonderful place, full of uhm, some nice people, for sure.’ He giggled.
Brom pulled Misty and me closer to him, and wrapped his large arms around us, so secure I could hear his tummy gurgle in response to all the sticky honey he had consumed.
‘That’s your experience Brom! You are strong, and big. Every time I go to the market with Misty we get targeted because we are two defenceless children!’ I huffed, annoyed at the fact that if dad hadn’t gone missing, we could have gone with him.
‘Here Kie, take some pennies and get some extra tinned pudding. William told me chocolate was your favourite,’ said Brom, giving me a soft wink.
Before I got the chance to say thank you, Brom left our tight hug that I wish could last forever, and ran off on four feet, leaving his empty honey pot behind.
‘Well that was strange,’ said Misty, piping up in response.
‘It was…’ I said under my breath, opening my hand to see the pennies laying beneath.
‘Just a couple ordinary coins, Kie. We have been in this exact spot for around fifteen minutes,’ said Misty concerned, checking his watch. ‘If you don’t want to get overwhelmed with how busy the market gets, we need to leave.’
Misty tugged on my hand in the direction of the hourglass square, while I stared at the coins, and noticed something…
‘Wait!’ I said startled, scaring my poor brother who wanted to leave for the sanity of both of us.
‘The three coins before are ordinary, alright. But the last one, it’s different, I swear!’ I said excitedly, examining it more closely.
‘Forget about the market, let me see!’ Misty shouted, letting go of my hand and turning around.
‘Shoosh!’ I yelled, but in a quiet voice. My eyes were bulging out of their sockets and I had my finger to my mouth. ‘Are you stupid? Stop drawing attention to us, Misty. You won’t even have the chance to look at this coin before everyone comes to investigate the commotion’.
‘Sorry Kie, I didn’t mean to’.
‘Come here, but you must be quiet, okay?’ I pulled Misty towards me and made sure the coin was only visible to us.
Both of our eyes were drawn to the coin. I placed all the other pennies in my bag which was hanging over my shoulder, just to reveal what was important. As I fixed my eyes onto the carves, lines, shapes, and colours that separates this coin from the others, I noticed…
‘It’s… it’s half gold, and half, diamond I think’ said Misty as he lowered his voice in disbelief. His almond shaped eyes squinted, as the sun shined its gentle rays over his freckled face.
I looked. And I smelt. And finally, I felt. This coin was special. Navigating through the middle, was a sharp line. On the left the gold twinkled, as real as my love for Misty. I could see the reflections of our faces on the surface, disformed and peculiar looking. The gold sent warmth throughout my body, which was unusual in the sour weather that was surrounding me. Carved on this side, was an ancient rune. Only looking closer I saw two words, the first having three characters and the second having five characters. They looked jumbled, mumbled, and scribbled. I couldn’t comprehend what the secret code was, and in that moment, I wished more than ever to understand.
‘I wonder what it says…’ questioned Misty, trying to think if he knew any ancient language, although he didn’t.
I shrugged, looking over on the other side of the coin.
The right side. Clearer than the water I once drank when going to a friend’s house, that I figured out was wealthy when seeing a Mercedes and pool table, the diamond also twinkled under my view. Certain parts of the coin that was diamond, had small rainbows cast over it, and it felt so magical. Fiercer than Brom on an early morning, and scarier than the women living next to Valerie, was a majestic dragon. Carved on the coin was its full body, beady eyes, and blaring fire coming out of its mouth.
I closed my fingers over the coin. We had both seen enough. The currency in Ahoy didn’t have carvings on it, nor such an expensive material such as gold. I started to feel like people and creatures were watching us, up in trees, behind bushes, and through telescopes. I felt pairs of eyes darting across the landscape, but fixating on Misty and I standing in the path. I felt like.. I shouldn’t be holding this coin, it doesn’t belong with me, and I need to get rid of it.
‘Why did Brom give us such an unusual coin?’ Misty was speaking my mind.
This was no ordinary coin. Did Brom realise he gave us this coin, or was an accident? Was Brom setting us up for something? Was this a sign, should Misty and I go looking for our dad? Should Misty and I just forget about it and go to the market?
To be continued…
Read Part 1 here: https://www.mywritersstudio.com.au/the-society-that-stole-our-father/
Read Parts 3 and 4 here: https://www.mywritersstudio.com.au/?p=1964&preview=true