First Chapter of ‘Water Valley’

I’ve been writing a few things here and there and tho is my most recent work. Inspired by a few writers based in South Carolina and Mississippi. But This is placed in The lovely U.K.
Chapter one.
Samantha woke up with a start, small droplets of sweat beading across her forehead and tears streaming down her face, the forest was singing again. She sat up and grabbed her red silk dressing gown at the edge of her bed and allowed the silk to hug her body as she walked onto her bedroom balcony that faced the forest. It’s branches moved with the wind in the purple darkness and the moonlight reflecting off every leaf. It sang one more note that made another tear trickle down Samantha’s cheek before the wind stilled and the forest fell silent.


“Hush! Please, don’t sing. Your songs are making me remember the exact thing I’m trying to ignore.” Samantha’s lip quivered as she looked into the forest, the wind picked up again, blowing a strand of hair behind Samantha’s ear, whistling a mournful sound.
“I know.” Samantha whispered calmly. “I’m going to miss her too. But we have Humming to look after now and I need you more than ever to be strong. Protect her from the Faye, you know how much they love to play with the naive and ignorant, Humming doesn’t know of the qualities of having Chicory blood in her yet.” The forest blew out one huff of wind at her as if to say ‘That’s your fault.’
“And I’m paying for it now aren’t I! Please, don’t make this harder for me than it already is, Humming will arrive tomorrow afternoon. Behave.” Samantha shook her head before slamming the balcony door shut and locking the doors then pulling the dark red curtains together.
“Don’t you dare open that door again.” Samantha snapped sternly at the house before leaping back onto the bed in exhaustion, pulling her pillow over her head attempting to muffle the sounds of her crying from the house. The last thing she needed was for her to spend the morning replacing the wallpaper that her tears would cause the house to peel. One of the many qualities of the Chicory home, when you cry, the house cries too.

********************

“Excuse me, do you know how to get to Water Valley?” Hum asked the seventh taxi driver that she had waved over outside of the busy train station. Hum couldn’t help but hear the passing conversations that soon zoned out as she stuck her head through the open window of the taxi. The taxi driver raised one eyebrow; “Come again?”
“Water… Valley?” She repeated, doubtfully. The drivers eyes darted from side to side as if he was searching through his mind for the name, after only a few seconds the driver looked up at her and frowned. “Are you sure you’ve got off the right station sweetheart? There aint no Village called Water Valley, not in my 45 years of living ‘ere.”
“Oh, thank you.” Hum sighed and retreated her head from the window and backed away from the driver. It only took two breaths before a man with a heavy rucksack and torn trousers hopped into the taxi and briskly drove away. Hum could feel the painful ache in her chest that slowly travelled its way up to her throat, making her feel like she was going to burst. Hum always got this bulging ache whenever she was supposed to cry, she frowned at her feet as she rubbed her chest gently. The past couple of months had been enough stress on her shoulders to make a horses ankles buckle. She wanted to cry, she knew that if she did it would be a sense of release. It would be like freeing a bird from its cage, allowing her mother to rest in peace and allowing her to move on and start a new life at a town called… Water Valley.
Does it even exist? Thought Hum. She reached into her pocket and took out the scrap of paper that she had scribbled down the directions on. She’d followed the directions completely and then it had told her to “wait for the taxi man to take you to Water Valley Village.” She re read it, and then again. “Wait for the taxi man…” “Wait?” Humming had not waited for a taxi, only approached. But how would the taxi driver know who she was? She thought to herself as she dropped down to her suitcases and sat on the heaviest one, twiddling with the locket around her neck.
The directions had come from her aunt Samantha who Humming had only discovered she’d had an aunt the day after her mother died. Her locket was given to her by her mother once she’d passed away. Her mother had worn it every day, holding the locket in her palm whenever she felt stressed or sad, but she would never open it. Every time Humming had tried to open it up as a girl, her mother would pull her hands away and say “No.” In a stern voice and stern was never a trait of her mothers. May was a gentle, sweet woman who had the unfortunate luck of cutting her life short in a car accident. The Locket had always been one of the many mysteries of her mother and so when she had finally got the chance to open up her mothers locket, she was more than surprised to see that it contained a folded piece of paper with the name Samantha Chicory and a phone number on it as well as in the right side of the locket, was a photo of May as a young girl. As Hum reminisced of the photo she opened the locket around her neck to look at the photo again. She thought it odd for her mother to carry a photo of herself around everywhere. Especially since she didn’t have any other photos of herself as a child, nothing that May had shown Hum anyhow.
Her mother was a primary school support teacher, she was in charge of taking in the badly behaved children and giving them support lessons but instead of tutoring them in math’s or science, she taught them to bake. Giving each child different ingredients to add to their mixture telling them that it would bring them happiness or give them courage. Humming loved her mother and she will miss her forever.
Hum clicked the locket shut and leant against the wall, zoning out into her own little world of dance, twirling and leaping in her mind, creating unnatural dance moves that could only be done in her imagination. I guess I’ll wait… Humming thought to herself.

“Humming Promise Chicory.” Hum opened her eyes, tearing herself away from her personal world of dance and threw herself back to reality. A bicycle that was connected to a large, two wheeled carriage, the carriage had a curved roof that was a lilac blue with laced edges. The old man who had called her by her name was a peculiar looking man. He had a receding hairline that had made the top of his head completely bald, yet the edges of his scalp were covered with a big bush of wiry hair, his face was thin and catlike with a large matching wiry mustache that curled at the edges, his figure would first be seen as weak but when Hum’s eyes wavered down to his legs she realized where every muscle in his body had escaped to. His thighs and calves were muscle. Big, rock solid muscle.
“Yes, yes that’s me.” Humming walked up to the old man in anticipation.
“My my, I haven’t seen you since you were wrapped up in blankets, carried by the young May herself. Hope she rest in peace and float among the other scents of our Town. I’m glad you came, you have brought her with you I suppose?” The old mans voice was sweet and gentle with a slight smokers croak.
“Y-yes I have. I thought it would be best to scatter her ashes where she was born and had grown up.”
“How thoughtful.” He smiled. “The names Kin, I’m the taxi man.” Hum raised her eyebrows at him then looked back at her pile of suitcases and bags and then back to the carriage.
“Are you sure you can carry me and all of this-”
“-Now don’t you be like those Londoner’s that know nothing about nothin’ when it comes to age! The older you are, the wiser you are and the older you get the stronger yeh’ get, that’s what I say!” Kin waggled a long crooked finger at Humming, smiling as he did so. “In other words, grab your stuff and lets get crackin’, we got a long ride ahead of us.” Hum quickly twirled around to grab a few of her bags and pop them on the carriage and did so until the last suitcase with her mother’s ashes in was neatly on her lap.
“Are you ready?” Asked Kin as he set his peddles up and put his helmet on. Hum looked back at the station that still buzzed with busy people urging to grab a taxi, others running to catch their train. Hum smiled as she stroked the suitcase on her lap. “Yes, I’m ready.”

********************
Samantha cursed under her breath as she caught her finger in the wallpaper and gave herself a paper cut as she re applied wallpaper that had peeled that night. She went through to the kitchen and went to the first aid cupboard and wrapped her bleeding finger in a pink plaster. The house opened some windows and let in a big gust of wind that then swiftly blew out again, closing the windows behind it.
Samantha grunted as she flicked the hair that had been blown into her face back behind her ear.
“What are you sighing for? I’m the one with the problems, you only have to witness them so stop sulking.” Samantha rolled her eyes as she walked out of the kitchen the door swung closed and pushed her over, Samantha went flying and banged her knees on the hard wooden floor. She cursed under her breath as she looked up at the door that had pushed her.
“You’re nearly a hundred and five years old and you still act childish!” She hissed acidly as she picked herself up.
Samantha spent that morning cleaning, wiping every nook and cranny she could get her hands on in that house and then when every speck of the Chicory Cottage was clean she began to sweep the front garden, brushing away springs orange, pink and white essence that nature had left for her to clean up.
“That forest really didn’t want me to find you today.” Called out Will from a break in the trees of the forest. Samantha dropped her broom as she regrettably stared at Will, watching him carry two sacks of flour on his shoulder, his checkered shirt was fully undone revealing his snail trail that reached his belly button. Samantha couldn’t help but notice how the heat had brought him to sweat, leaving his golden skin glistening in the sunlight. Samantha swallowed the big lump of words that balled up in her throat and forced it down with a gulp.
“Good morning Will.” Will smiled a large grin at her as he lifted the sacks of flour off his shoulder and easily lowered them down by the front door.
“Hey Sam, how are you?” His face then turned into the concerned and pitiful look that she had received from every person who had heard of her sister’s death.
“Tense, but okay.” Samantha told him, honestly.
“So what time is your niece supposed to arrive?” Will asked as he reached up to stroke Sam’s arm but as always, Sam instinctively shied away from his touch. She looked down at her watch; “Her train arrives at 10am so I think Kin will arrive with her at about 12-12:30, Why?”
“Curious is all.” Will’s eyebrows furrowed and he tried to touch her again but Sam smoothly avoided his hand. He sighed heavily; “Why do you do that?”
“Do what?” Sam walked towards the front door, grabbing one of the flour bags and began to drag it into the house. Will didn’t follow after, he just sighed and turned away to walk back to his car. “Forget it.” He called from behind him. “I’ll see you tomorrow!”
Sam stopped and watched as Will reached the breaking of the forest and then called out, “Will?”
Will stopped and eagerly turned around. “Yeah?”
Sam swallowed hard, forcing down the words she wished she could say and replaced them with something simple. “Thank you for picking up my order… I … I really appreciate it.” Sam could see disappointment in Will’s eyes as he smiled and waved before turning and disappearing into the woods.
Sam picked up the broom she had dropped and continued sweeping, looking back to the simpler time when she and Will were kids, and she had nothing to hide.

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