Where it all started...
Avalon as we know it started off with an assignment for my creative writing course in college. For this class, everyday we'd have a creative prompt that we would have to turn into a couple page long story. One of the prompts was to write a story from first person point of view and then rewrite it from the point of view of the same character, but use third person and have the character be reflecting on the past. And so, Anna and Fay Green were born.
The story below takes place at the same house to which Anna and Jade moved at the beginning of book one, about 25 years earlier. It features older sister Fay before she became the Queen and little sister Anna before she became Aunt Anna. A lot of the inspiration for this story came from my relationships with both of my own sisters.
Anna and Fay
“Don’t go too far!” Mommy calls, standing in the back door.
“We won’t!” Fay calls back.
“But Fay,” I wade through the heavy, wet snow that rises almost past my waist. I reach out and grab the puffy sleeve of her coat. “I want to go exploring!”
“Shut up Anna.”
She shakes me off easily, making me stumble in the deep snow.
“Mom never said how far was too far,” Fay says without turning around.
The snow’s not so deep in the woods, but we can still see our footprints. Even though it’s winter, there are still lots of animals in the woods. Bunnies hop along the top of the snow, leaving tracks for me and Fay to follow. Little red birds sit up in the trees, singing pretty songs down to us. Fay sees a fox and chases it up a big hill. That hill would be so perfect if we had our sleds.
“Anna!” Fay yells down just as the bunny I’d been watching finally began to hop towards me. When Fay yells, the bunny gets scared and runs away.
“What!” I yell back.
“Come look at this!”
I struggle up the hill, slipping and sliding the whole way. By the time I reach her, my mittens are soaked from all the times I had to stick my hands in the snow to stop myself falling.
“Fay, I’m cold.” The warm tears that start falling down my cheeks turn icy cold the second the wind hits them. “I wanna go home.”
“Stop whining, and those fake tears aren’t gonna work on me.”
“They’re not fake!” I yell and start sobbing. I bury my face in my already soaked mittens, which only makes my face as cold as my hands.
“Just look.” Fay turns me away from the new house.
Still hiccuping, I raise my face from my hands and see the never ending miles and miles of snow covered trees stretching out ahead of us, their white tops disappearing into the blue sky. It looks like the best kind of Christmas day. As I’m looking at the scene and thinking of Christmas, I feel two hard hands on my back.
“Gotcha!” Fay yells as I fall, head first, down the hill.
The trees turn into one big brown and white blur before my face lands in the snow. After that, I close my eyes. Low tree branches whip across every part of my body, snatching at my clothes and scratching my face. When my body finally stops moving, I’m lying face first in a pile of snow. I just lie there for a while. When I do finally push myself up, one side of my face feels warmer than the other. I reach up and touch it with my numb hand. It stings. I pull my hand away again, and my purple mitten is stained red. I start screaming, the tears making the other side of my face even colder than before. I know that only one person could possible fix my face.
“Mommy!” I scream, knowing she’ll hear and come find me.
“Hush, Anna. Let me see.” Fay’s at my side, holding my hurt face in her hands. “It’s just a scratch,” she says expertly.
“Mommy!” I scream again.
“Shh, Anna. Mommy can’t hear you. Here, take off your gloves.”
When I don’t move, Fay takes off her gloves and, holding them in her teeth, gently pulls off my mittens, tucking them into my pocket before pulling her own gloves onto my hands. They are much too big, but so warm I don’t care.
“Better?” she asks.
I nod, but then my hands start to feel like someone stuck a thousand needles in them and then set them on fire. I start crying again.
Fay holds my hands between hers. “Shh, let them warm up and then they’ll stop hurting.”
She was right. Once my sobs turn into sniffles, she lets go of my hands, takes off her hat, and pulls off the bandanna she had on underneath. She pulls her hat back on and folds the bandanna into a square.
“Here, hold this against your face,” she says, pressing the square gently against my cut.
I hold the bandanna with one hand and with the other I reach out a grab Fay’s bare one. She doesn’t shake me off this time.
“Ok, let’s go home,” Fay smiles.
We head up the hill, hand in hand.
I remember the first time Fay saved my life. Although, I’m not sure if it really counts since she’s the one who endangered it in the first place. Fay has been saving me my whole life, but the first time, I was just four years old. I remember because we had just moved into our new house, the one Mom grew up in. Fay and I had gone out to explore the forest behind the house. Though Mom had told us to stay close to the house, Fay, like the bad influence she always is, took me all the way to the edge of our property where there is a fairly decent size hill, one that might be difficult for a four-year-old to climb.
It was winter time, and the snow was new to me, as we’d just moved there from Southern California. I watched the way the rabbits’ and birds’ feet made perfect tracks in the snow, so easy for me to follow. Fay, on the other hand, found the little animals quite boring and instead quickly found a single, lost red fox and chased him up the hill.
“Anna!” Fay called to where I sat crouched in the snow, letting my hands go numb just so I could watch a rabbit play.
“What!” I called back to her, saddened when the rabbit ran from the noise.
“Come see this!”
The climb was not an easy one for me. The snow wasn’t too deep, but as I was only three feet tall myself, it seemed mountainous. Multiple times, I had to catch myself from face planting into the snow with my hands, which meant that by the time I reached Fay at the top, my mittens and hands were soaked and freezing. The snow had melted through the layers of cotton to my skin.
“Fay, I’m cold. I wanna go home!” I complained loudly, the tears starting to form in my eyes from the cold and the painful numbness in my hands.
“Stop whining. And those fake tears won’t work on me,” Fay said.
“They’re not fake!” my frustration at being cold, wet, in pain, and not believed caused the tears to spill over my cheeks, leaving freezing cold trails behind them.
“Just look.” Fay spun me around to face the side of the hill that blended into the natural preserve where we were never allowed to go.
I still remember what it looked like the first time I saw that view, a view that became very familiar over the next fourteen years that I lived in that house. The tall evergreens stretching out beyond where the eye could see, all of them completely covered in soft, white snow. Their sharp points tuck up into the bright blue sky at different heights, but the farther away the trees were, the more they looked like one, uniform height creating a straight line separating the heavens from the earth.
The sight was breathtaking, but before I even had time to react, Fay leaned down and shoved hard against my back, sending me head over heels down the hill. I closed my eyes on the way down, but I could still feel the sharp branches of the evergreens lash across my face, leaving stinging trails in their wake. I landed face down in a snow bank at the bottom of the hill. Disoriented, I lay in the snow for a minute before I pushed myself up onto my knees, barely aware of the pain in my hands, I was still so shocked from my sudden, unexpected tumble down the hill.
After I took my face out of the snow, I became aware that half of my face felt strangely warm while the rest of me was freezing. I lifted my mitten covered hand to touch the warmth. My wet mitten was ice cold against my burning cheek. When I pulled it back, the purple cotton was stained red with blood. In a panic, I started screaming, just staring at the blood on my hand. In next to no time, Fay reached me.
“Hush, Anna. Let me see it.” Fay held my face gently between her hands.
“It’s just a scratch,” she said, but I continued to scream.
“Shh, Anna. Here, take off your gloves.” She proceeded to help remove my useless, soaked mitten and replace them with her own dry gloves, holding my hands tightly in hers when the needles started to signal the return of blood to my frozen digits.
Then, she took out her red bandanna, and made a make-shift compress for my face. I had stopped crying by then, calmed mostly because she seemed to know exactly what she was doing. And then, Fay, the girl who was always telling me to shut up and that I was stupid, held my hand and took me home to my mom.