|Cover art work by Dan Foy (Creative Commons---Attribution)|
Hey guys. I thought I should post a chapter of my New Adult novel Daphne's Book every day. The writing probably isn't very good. This is my very first novel in English. But I love the characters and this story meant a lot to me, so I hope you like it. Feel free to leave a comment.
Oh, I believe there's another Daphne's Book out there. My book isn't fan faction, though. It also isn't based on that story. It just happens to have the same title. I didn't know about the other Daphne's Book until I was done bringing my Daphne to life. Sorry.
DAPHNE'S BOOK, By Rebecca Carvalho
Daphne Chase rested her forehead on the window. The cadence of the bus, summed up with her low spirits, left her drowsy. She soon fell into a half awake, half asleep state of mind.
She could hear her father telling stories, his tone of voice going up to emphasize certain words and build up climax, like an actor excitedly reciting a monologue. Her mother's and brothers' laughter completed the chorus. They were happy together. Happy without her.
Daphne could hardly understand what her father was saying, and was eager to join her mother and brothers in praising his genius. A type of eagerness that was more out of obligation than genuine interest. Her father was Abelard Chase. The famous author, hero of his generation. She listened, and listened, and when she thought she had discerned the word 'ridiculous', she was pulled back from them with a jolt.
The bus had stopped and the lights were on. It took a while for her eyes to adjust to that sudden brightness. She blinked, confused, and tried to pick up here and there bits of what her fellow passengers said.
“This is ridiculous,” the man sitting next to her murmured to himself as he rummaged in his backpack. He found his cell phone and dialed a number, his fingers pressing each button with discontent. A quick glance at his wristwatch showed that it was almost 9:00 in the evening.
When he started complaining on the phone that he would be late, Daphne's attention shifted to the two women in the seats in front of her. “Maybe we should call a cab,” she heard one of them say. That was alarming. Why did we stop?
A little boy started crying. His screaming left her anxious.
People got up to leave. They wanted to get outside, even though they hadn't arrived in Middleton yet. That couldn't be the stop. But, then, how could she know? That was her first time traveling by bus to a different town. She was on her way to freedom.
Confused, Daphne mechanically grabbed her backpack and stood up on the corridor waiting for the passengers to move. The line was long, the kid was wailing, and the lights inside the bus were too bright to let Daphne take a peek at the world outside. She didn't know what to do, but nevertheless followed the others.
She had just stepped out of the bus, when the bus driver – a scrawny, nervous looking man – announced that the bus had really broken down and he couldn't fix it. Daphne saw on his name-tag that his name was Ennio Calisto.
A group of particularly tall women surrounded him and dangerously waved their bags at his face. They complained that he had to do something, or else. Trembling and stammering, he told them he had already called the bus company. Another bus was on its way to pick them up. His life was then spared. Visibly sweating, the poor man then occupied the next thirty minutes with handing luggage back to their owners.
It was cold, and Daphne wished she could go back in the bus, but all the passengers were outside and she didn't want to be different. Woods were at each side of the road, and everyone seemed to think that sitting by the trees was a good way to pass the time as they waited. Daphne, then, hauled her briefcase away from the bus, and sat on it by a tree.
She thought it strange that there were no other vehicles on the road. But, then, Middleton was a small town. It was like no one else in the world wanted to go that way. That's, in fact, why she had chosen it.
People started forming small groups. Some of them were smoking, and the smell of tobacco and wet wood left her sleepy, again. Even the bus driver had joined a group and was then joking about his bad luck. Daphne was alone, and that strange cramp she got at the bottom of her stomach, something she felt whenever she realized she was the only one who still hadn't socialized, started to kick in.
She tried to overhear their chatting.
The group closest to her, one with three short, plump ladies, debated whether it was best to cook scrambled eggs on a frying pan or in the microwave. Daphne didn't think her opinion would interest those ladies, since her family's kitchen was terra incognita for her.
Another one, this one with two men and a tough looking woman, talked about tattoos. They showed the tattoos they had with pride, and seemed oblivious to everything else that didn't have ink on. Daphne didn't think that fountain pen ink stains on her fingers counted.
There was, also, a couple sitting on the same suitcase and humming a song together. But it was better to avoid looking at them.
Finally, Daphne found a group discussing politics. They looked civilized enough. Joining them, perhaps, wouldn't hurt. She took a deep breath, and confidently stood up.
“I don't think teenagers should have the right to vote,” she overheard one of the men say.
Daphne sat back on her luggage and sighed. It was, at least for the moment, safer to remain alone.
She rested her chin on her hands, elbows on her knees, and looked at the woods nearby. She let her mind go blank and remained staring with eyes that didn't focus on anything in particular, until she realized there was someone standing behind a tree. At first, she thought it had to be one of the passengers, and looked away. She looked down at her shoes for a few minutes, bored, touching a few rocks with the tips of her already dirty sneakers, when a thought crossed her mind. She quickly looked back at the tree, but nobody was there.
“I wonder,” she murmured to herself.
Had he had followed her all the way from Lavinia?
“Daphne?” She heard someone say, but didn't bother looking back. She knew that none of her acquaintances would be there, and spared herself from finding out that the person was addressing another Daphne. “Daphne Chase, from Lavinia?” He insisted.
Lavinia was her hometown. Daphne turned immediately, her heart racing.
A tall boy then pulled his luggage closer to hers and sat on it.
“Benjamin?” She asked instinctively, although she knew exactly who he was.
Benjamin Wallace was Daphne's old high school's academic adviser's son. Although they had never talked with each other, she had known him since they were kids. In fact, her first memories of him were from kindergarten. He had always been a very quiet, polite kid, very good with numbers. Throughout high school, his manners always struck Daphne as shy.
“Yes,” he said, stretching out a hand to greet her.
She shook his hand feeling a little awkward.
“What are you doing here?” She asked a little confused.
“I'm going to McAdams College,” he said with a smile. “Yeah, my mom told me you'd be going to McAdams too. We were going to call you yesterday to check if you needed a ride. She was going to drive me, but her car broke. So, I took the bus. And now this happens. I guess I'm just that unlucky.”
“Oh, Okay. Well, thanks, anyway,” she said. It was funny to think that Ben Wallace, even though they weren't friends, had her phone number. Well, her adviser was the one who did, but since they were related it meant that through osmosis Ben had her number as well.
She blushed, and averted her eyes. She waited for him to leave. But he didn't. Instead, Ben remained where he was and quietly observed the people talking nearby. She didn't know what else to say to him, and felt bad. His presence wasn't that disagreeable, it's just that he reminded her of her hometown. And, thinking of her hometown, she thought of her father.
“Do you know what actually happened?” He asked.
His sudden question started her.
“Do you know what happened to the bus?”
“Oh. Um, no. The bus driver didn't say, I guess.”
They were quiet, again.
Bright headlights in the beginning of the road brought a tense excitement to the people waiting. Some stood up, while others simply craned their necks to get a better view. The headlights soon proved to belong to a car. The man driving the car wanted to know if people were all right and left when he heard they were just waiting for a bus to pick them up.
Daphne and Ben exchanged a nervous look. They wanted to leave. It was strange sitting there, surrounded by woods, in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, that was a bright night. The moon was full up in that cloudless sky and it helped that the bus lights were still on. But, still, it wasn't like they felt safe there.
“I don't think we're too far from Middleton,” Ben said.
For a second, Daphne pictured herself hauling her luggage down the road all the way to Middleton. She was tired, her stomach was burning with anxiety and hunger, and she was feeling too restless to wait. She was ready to start walking if someone suggested the idea.
“Maybe we should go on foot, then,” she joked.
Ben raised his eyebrows, surprised, and stood up.
“Shall we go now?” He asked her.
It was Daphne's turn to raise her eyebrows.
“Go where? To Middleton? We can't!”
“Because we'd get lost?”
Ben smiled. “I don't think we'd have to worry about getting lost. We just go that way to reach Middleton. And I don't think there are any turns to make. And it helps that it's actually not that far.”
“How do you know?” Daphne asked. Ben then sat beside her once again and leaned closer to her shoulder. Daphne blushed, but concentrated on keeping a straight face as Ben used his cell phone's GPS to show a map of where they were. Middleton, like he had said, really wasn't that far.
“See, I think we could walk to Middleton,” he said and smiled again. His teeth glistened, reflecting the bus lights.
He always smiled a lot. She now remembered that. More than once, she had overheard the school librarian, an old lady who smelled like parchment and old books, commenting with fellow staff what a nice boy he was.
She thought so, too. But what impressed her the most was his willingness to accept her crazy idea, when it had only been one of these things she said only to make her ego, which was most of the time cowardly, feel better.
Daphne was ready to give him an excuse, but her words choked in her throat. A woman started crying that her little boy had disappeared.
“My son! Did you see my son?” The lady yelled for everyone to hear. Her fingers were tightly closed around her hair, which she was pretending to brush off her forehead, but seemed on the verge of yanking it off in despair.
The passengers gathered around the woman trying to calm her and asking questions about her kid. Daphne had seen him earlier that day, when he hopped on the bus holding that woman's hand. That had been around two hours after the bus left Lavinia.
She remembered thinking that the lady, no older than twenty, looked too young to be a mother.
“He was here. I might have fallen asleep for a minute and he left,” she sobbed.
Daphne wanted to help, but she didn't know how to reach that woman. Other passengers were talking with her and assured they would find her kid, who turned out to be called Andre Molina. She introduced herself as Tammy Molina.
Tammy told them that she was afraid Andre had gone into the woods, and the thought of it made her cry even more bitterly.
The passengers immediately divided themselves into groups to go search for him in the woods. The bus driver wanted to go, but the passengers decided that he should stay by the road in case the other bus arrived while they were searching. An old lady holding a cane, also, stayed behind, since her sore legs didn't let her join the rescue team.
Shyly, Daphne started following the group of people closest to her. But, before entering the woods, she instinctively looked back. Ben was closely following her.
They stopped and looked at each other. She felt she had to say something to him, but didn't know what. That sudden alliance between them deserved acknowledgment, even if it was just a polite glance or a subtle nod.
“Be careful,” he told her, finally.
Daphne felt more at ease.
“You too,” she said, and grabbed the small flashlight she had hanging from her key chain. Ben took his cell phone and used it to shed light on the way.
Daphne's heart was racing as she wondered what her family would say if they could see her now. No, they simply couldn't hear a word of it. She gave her head a little shake to concentrate on her mission, took a deep breath, and entered the woods.