Jefferson Middle School newsletter
Chapter Three: In Which Snow and Flake Have Conversations, And Flake Has A Dream
“What will we do? How will we act? How does the Great Sycamore look like?* What will the chiefs talk about? Will any other kids be there? What will I wear?” Snow asked, bouncing in circles in her room. Flake was sitting on Snow’s fluffy bed, his eyes following Snow as she jumped around. “Do we sit down on comfy seats or just the ground? Will we be able to speak? Who starts the meeting? Hello? Flake, are you listening?”
“Yes,” Flake said. “And my answer to all of them is I don’t know. Shouldn’t you ask Dad about that stuff?”
“Well, Dad might be busy,” Snow answered. “Besides, I don’t want to say something that might make him decide for me to not go. One time I wanted to go to the toddler sing along in the nursery, and Dad let me go, but then I accidentally mentioned the snake incident that happened there. Then he ordered the whole sing along to be relocated, and said I couldn’t go. It’s been ages since I did anything fun!”
“As you may recall, we had the Snowflake Harvest just last week, and you said that it was the most fun you’ve ever had,” Flake pointed out.
“It’s called exaggeration, Flake. You don’t have to mean everything you say word for word,” Snow said, doing a grand jete, then pirouetting. She landed perfectly and did a bow. “I’ll have to skip my ballet lessons, won’t I?”
“Yes, if your ballet lessons is during Dee’s Cember, the seventeenth, nine to twelve post meridiem, counting round trip travels to Sycamore Tree,” Flake answered, looking at Snow’s calendar hanging near her desk. “And they are, assuming the little pictures of ballerinas on that date represent ballet lessons.”
“No, they represent Valentine’s Day,” Snow said. Then, looking at Flake’s confused expression, she sighed. “Yes, they do mean ballet lessons. I’m being sarcastic. Again, you don’t have to mean anything you say word for word.” She yawned. “Now, if you’ll get off the bed, can you go out of the room to let me get some shut-eye? I’m as tired as a dog. That, by the way, was a simile, not to be taken literally.”
“But you were just jumping around! How can you be tired so fast?” Flake exclaimed. He knew that Snow could change emotions like lightning sometimes, but it still unnerved him. Nevertheless, he tiptoed over Snow’s stuffed animals, heading for the door.
“Yeah, well, now I’m tired. Maybe because of the jumping around. You should sleep too. It’s already afternoon. You’ll need all the energy you can get for the journey tomorrow.” Snow yawned again, then collapsed on the bed, fast asleep. Flake tiptoed out into the hallway and gingerly closed the door, making sure not to let it creak.
That night, as he was sleeping, Flake had a dream. He often did, meaningless thoughts in the brain that he couldn’t quite grasp, like catching water in your hands and having it spill out. He often only remembered bits and pieces. This dream was no exception.
Flake remembered sounds of waves crashing into a shore. He could taste the salty air and feel the wind. Where was he? At the entrance to the Coral Kingdom? He was brought out of that place with a high-pitched screaming, too high to be human. The smell of smoke, the sensation of danger. Flake wasn't in the Coral Kingdom anymore, he wasn't sure where he was. It was somewhere dark.
Then flashes of images came to him. Snow was wandering in an unfamiliar cavern. A young man chanting an ominous tone. He also recalled a face, a boy he didn’t recognize, with white hair and blue eyes and a smirk on his face. The face looked uncannily like his, without the smirk. But the thing he remembered most was a young girl reciting a poem at the end of the dream:
One will be on death’s door,
With not a soul to spare
One will try and try, what for?
He’ll never make it there
One already is no more
But he is still somewhere
Flake had heard this poem before. At least, it seemed familiar, but he couldn't quite grasp where he had heard it. Did it mean anything? Should he even care? Should he ignore just ignore it? That was what Dad told him when he first reported the dreams. Everyone has dreams, the chief soothed. The brain sometimes likes to take creative liberties. It doesn't mean anything. Flake sighed and did what he always did before: ignored it. Whether that was a good choice or not, well, that can take some debating.**
*Um, a sycamore? It’s called the Great Sycamore for a reason.
**Hello? Debate team? If I had to decide, I would say it was a horrible choice. Of course, this is in retrospect. If I were is his shoes, I would have done the same thing.
Chapter Four: In Which The Twins Get Dressed And Ready to Go
Flake woke up to a sharp rapping on the door of his room. He blearily opened his eyes and stared at the soft blue ceiling of his room, thinking about the dream. He couldn’t have seen unfamiliar faces. Dreams only included faces of people you had seen before. But Flake was pretty sure he never seen the boy before. Maybe it was just a slightly dream-warped version of him.
The knocks became louder, more urgent. Flake sighed, then got up from his bed. He walked toward the door and opened it. As he expected, Snow was standing in the doorway, fully dressed in a nice skirt and a jacket, with a packed bag in her hand.
She looked at Flake, with his messed up hair, rumpled pajamas, and tired expression with concern. “C’mon!” she exclaimed. “The meeting is only a two hours away! Do you want to look unpresentable in front of all the Kingdom leaders?”
Flake groaned. “Now? It’s six in the morning! And the meeting is actually three hours away, but we have to leave at two and a half hours. It’s plenty of time to get ready. I’m going back to sleep.” He turned around to go back to bed when Snow tugged him by the sleeve. “I already have an outfit picked out for you!” she said. “At least see it!” So unwillingly Flake was pulled along to Snow’s room.
An hour later, Flake came out of the bathroom, decked out in the formal outfit that Snow had gave him. He felt quite weird dressed in the silvery-gray jacket, buttoned white shirt with a tail, and tight woven gray pants. He usually just wore a t-shirt and jeans, and was planning to wear that to the Conference, but with Snow’s persistence, that probably wasn’t going to happen.
“It looks great on you! And it fits really well, too!” Snow exclaimed, looking at Flake while he looked at the mirror. It did fit Flake very well, which didn’t allow him to use it as an excuse not to wear it.
“Where did you get it?” Flake asked.
“From January. Her brother grew out of it, so she lended it to me. Don’t worry, her brother doesn’t sweat,” Snow said. “Jan said you can keep it. You don’t have formal clothes anyways.”
Flake sighed. There was no way out of it. So another hour later, he found himself dressed in formal clothes, with a ridiculously informal backpack, and Snow next to him in a silver dress that seemed to glow. They were standing in front of the palace, with their father, waiting for the carriage to arrive and bring them to the Conference. Snow was fidgety, which was normal for her, and she was bouncing on the tips of her toes. She was also talking way too much for Flake’s comfort.
“Aren’t you excited? I know I am! I mean, to see the Great Sycamore! Once in a lifetime opportunity! Well, actually, we’d probably be seeing more of it when we’re older, but that’s in ages! How will the other kingdom leaders look like? I hope I can talk to Dowager Chief Alya of the Breeze Kingdom, I heard she has a great fashion sense…” She trailed off at the sound of hoofbeats against pavement. “They’re here!” she then squealed, then took off running to where the carriage had stopped in front of the palace. Flake suppressed a smile and jogged after her, soon breaking into a run. Chief Frost walked to the carriage too, followed by two of his advisors.*
What they didn’t see was a person in an invisibility cloak** in the background, quietly trailing the carriage as it headed to the sacred tree.
*Advisor North & Advisor Colden, North being the superior. They get mentioned more later.
**Quick brief about invisibility cloaks- they are extremely hard to make, they are illegal in the Silver Snake Kingdom and most others (not Flame or Breeze Kingdom) , and they don’t hide the sound you make or your smell. How this person got ahold of one, I don’t know. (Or maybe I do.)