Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)
TITLE: The Beginning of Summer
By Amy Stanbury
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They had arrived last night in the dark. Six hours away on a plane and six million miles away from a life in the city. A slow thaw had begun and each leg of the journey had lightened their load. Summer was coming.
Lugging the heavy case behind her, it slid smoothly onto the carpeted stairs. With a heavy bump, bump, bump she pulled her precious cargo down the eighteen steps to the bottom. Through the front door windows she could see the sky, bright white and glistening. The light poured in from the doorway, warming the beeswax varnish, filling the hall with brown, honey warmth. Stained glass blobs of red and blue chased each other on the floor.
The girl sat down on the bottom step. Her elbows rested on her knees, her face hidden, a sombrero siesta; waiting. The kitchen door opened.
“Eleanor? Are you there? You’ll have to close your eyes. It’s ready!”
An elderly lady appeared from the kitchen and walked to the stairwell.
“Are you ready sweetheart?”
Eleanor didn’t move, except to peep sideways from under her straw hat. She squinted her eyes and played out the scene like a movie on the backs of her eyelids. After a time, she opened one eye and then the other, looking from side to side; expectant and hopeful. She grinned widely and looked up into her grandmother’s face whose smile was full of fun. “Is it outside? Grandma?”
“Come with me. I’ll show you.”
Taking her grandmother’s hand they walked the small length of corridor to the back door of the house. Eleanor grabbed at the hem of the enormous sundress she was wearing, lifting it up as she walked. There, beside the door was a large bucket and a pink spade for digging. The little girl just stared at the gifts.
Leaving her suitcase behind in the hall, Eleanor picked up the bucket and spade like a crown and scepter, waving them in the air. She stepped outside, like a princess emerging from her royal carriage, into the glorious morning sun. Hitching up her skirts she ran into the garden that smelt of mint and earth. She saw her Grandpa, not far away, on his hands and knees in mounds of sand. Where the old frog pond had been there was now a big, smooth, creamy, beachy expanse, spreading out in front of her. It was the beginning of summer.
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