Please enjoy installment 1 of this middle-grade serial story by Angela Tempest
There are two kinds of siblings. First, there are the kinds of siblings that are best friends—they were born that way. They tease each other and make fun, but when it comes down to it, they are loyal, and they can laugh together and share secrets. Then there is the other kind—the kind of siblings that are born rivals. Every aspect of life is a competition—from how much milk is in their respective glasses down to what side of the room the misplaced sock is really on.
For the record, three-fourths of the sock was on Daisy’s side, which means it’s hers. I’m not picking it up. I’d die first.
I’m Kyle and I’m here to tell you a story about my sister Daisy. It’s a story of how she ruined both of our lives. That’s what girls do, right?
The destruction of all that I held dear in my life began in the summer of 2009. For the record, I was thirteen-years-old then. Mom forced Daisy, age eleven, and I to go outside and play. This was a common occurrence. But today, mom was particularly fed up. I had purposefully poured water over Daisy’s head to get her off my side of the couch. You know…the side I always sit on when I watch TV. I wouldn’t have had to pour the water on her if she hadn’t purposefully sat in my spot. So, it was all her fault.
After I poured the water on her head, Daisy screamed—over dramatically—in a shrill tone that would have broken glass if it had been in tune to something. Mom, Ginger as we sometimes call her, sent us to our room, immediately. Why do Daisy and I share a room at this age? I ask my parents the same question and I always get the same reply. “When you can afford to pay the mortgage, we’ll buy something bigger than a two bedroom.” Don’t forget to add a pool to that…and a really cool indoor rollerblading rink.
Truth is, I normally sleep on the sleeper sofa, but for all intents and purposes, my clothes and personal things are still in the room I technically share with Daisy.
Once Daisy and I were stuck in our room together, things elevated quickly. Angry at her for stealing my afternoon of freedom, I took a marker to the front of her pink dresser. Reciprocation was inevitable, but I simply couldn’t stop myself. While I was happily creating a tyrannosaurus with a green sharpie, Daisy tore down my favorite poster of a corvette—the one I would buy someday. I began to see red when she poked a hole in the middle and stuck her head through it, complete with tongue sticking out.
I really couldn’t help what I did next. I ran to our shared art desk and grabbed the scissors. Daisy’s nice, long, brown hair was soon layered—rather well if you ask me. Next thing I knew I was on the floor and Daisy was on top of me pinching and swinging and dripping tears…and blubbering. I don’t like to hit girls, but I had to defend myself—a little.
Ginger—my dear mother—stumbled up the stairs and ripped open the door. What happened next is rather fuzzy for me, but it includes some kind of punishment of which both of us deserved and the hasty evening-out of Daisy’s butchered hair. Mom didn’t even bother to get real scissors. She simply chopped anything left hanging below the longest layer of my barber job.
“Now, get outside, both of you! I don’t want to see you until dark!”
Once outside in the humid summer heat, Daisy and I steered clear of each other. I sat on the broken-up, back, cement patio where a line of ants was excavating some old food while Daisy meandered out into our jungle of a back yard. Even though our house wasn’t much to look at, we did have a fabulous place to play. Behind our two-story, cramped, two-bedroom bungalow was a forest—a real one, complete with raccoons, a creek, fifty-foot oak trees, wild raspberries, and deer.
I sat for a while watching the ants reform lines around every barrier I put in front of them. I was lost in a daydream when I heard a big crack out in the forest. It was the kind of sound you hear right before a tree falls to the ground. I heard another crack. Then deep out in the forest of my backyard, I heard trees falling—several of them.
I jumped up and looked around. I didn’t see Daisy anywhere. But, I was certain wherever she was she would have heard the sound too. I was determined to beat her to it.
I tore off through the knee-deep grass of our back yard, down a hill and into the edge of the forest. I looked around. Smoke was coming from somewhere far into the trees and off to the right. Ignoring all in my way, I waded through the trees, vines, and uneven, leaf-covered forest ground toward the smoke. Then, I saw her—Daisy. She was further ahead on my left. Our eyes met. Silence. Then we both bolted toward the smoke.
Daisy was fast and smaller than me. I was embarrassed, but I couldn’t make my legs move any faster. Both of us ran, branches whipping at our faces, toward the smoke until we nearly crashed into each other. We both skidded to a stop. What we saw was unbelievable.
I looked at Daisy and she looked at me. “I saw it first.” She said.
“No, you didn’t. You only run faster than me.”
“If the shoe fits,” she said, sticking her tongue out at me. Oh, I really hate that!
Despite our quarrel, we couldn’t make ourselves take another step forward. We looked back at the mess in front of us and stared…