Lana Skyward had lived in Texas all her life.
Married to Lance Skyward, the two had been married for eight years, and both were thirty one. They had no children, but enjoyed the peaceful serenity of their farm for eight glorious years. They'd known each other for their entire lives, and had been next door neighbors since forever.
On July 3rd, 2012, their lives were changed forever.
Lance gave another futile attempt at asking me for kids. I declined, as usual. Besides, we'd have to home school it for its entire life. There are no other houses out here, I'd hate for it to be lonely. I'm not a very good teacher, either.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
Lana froze mid-sentence in her diary. Nobody had ever, ever come to visit their small cottage way out here.
Lance slid open the glass door to the patio and stepped inside.
"Was that the..." he stammered, eyes big as plates. Lana nodded stiffly. The couple hurried to the door.
Taking a deep breath, Lana swung open the door.
It was a small girl. She was dirty and scruffy. What was she doing alone in the middle of no where?
LANA: Where are your parents?
LANA: Pear-ants. Your mommy and daddy.
GIRL: Oh!! Mommy go boom boom, daddy go bye bye.
Lana glanced at Lance.
LANCE: Your mommy and daddy are dead?
GIRL: Yes! Mommy go big, big boom. And fire. And Daddy in bed in big place with tube on face.
The girl acted like a three year old, but she was obviously ten or eleven.
GIRL: Man in mask say I am funny in here.
The girl pointed to her head.
GIRL: They say I have to go to big, smelly place with old lady who treats me like dirt.
She stomped her bare foot, sending up a cloud of dust.
GIRL: So I go out window to road. I walk. Many people try hurt me. I walk more. I am tired. I knock here. Hello! What name?
LANA: Excuse us for a second. Stay right here, okay, honey?
GIRL: Right here!
The girl stiffened and squeezed her eyes shut, rooted to the spot. Lana turned to converse with Lance.
LANA, WHISPERING: She said that a doctor said that she's crazy. Her father died in a hospital and her mother died in some sort of explosion or a fire. She's got no where to go. I think they were going to send her to an orphanage, but she wasn't happy so she sneaked out.
LANCE: Thank you, I was having trouble understanding.
LANA: Let's take her inside until we figure out what to do.
LANCE: All right.
They turned back to the small girl.
LANCE: You can open your eyes now.
The girl opened her eyes and relaxed.
LANA: Come on inside. What's your name?
GIRL: I called Kid.
Lana and Lance looked at each other.
LANA: Okay... so why don't you choose a name for yourself?
The girl entered the house.
LANA: Are you hungry?
GIRL: You mean food?
LANA: What else?
GIRL: If you have oats or carrots, I have that. But if too much to ask, I have grass.
LANA: Grass! Is that what you have been eating for the past year or so?
GIRL: Years. I been walking for four years.
LANA: My God!
LANCE: Would you like some cake?
LANCE: Yes. It is a rich pastry.
GIRL: I guess.
Lance served her some cake and all three sat at the table. The girl dug in with her fingers. Lana wanted to say something, but didn't.
GIRL: I like cake!
The girl then put her fingers at her lap and looked around impatiently. She hadn't even eaten a quarter of her cake.
LANA, SOFTLY: Aren't you going to finish your cake?
GIRL: Oh. No.
LANA: Why not?
GIRL: I already eaten more than have all week. Very full.
Lana stared pitifully at the small piece of the cake she had eaten.
After Lance cleared away the girl's plate, Lana took the girl's way too small dress off and weighed her in the bathroom. The poor scrawny thing only weighed seventy pounds. She said that she was about to turn twelve. She marked the days on her stomach, where little faded tally marks stared at Lana when her dress was off.
The girl changed into a old nightgown of Lana's, and they headed downstairs.
GIRL: I choose name now. Should I be called Kid, Child or Girl?
LANA: That's not normal names. Like, my name is Lana.
GIRL: Oh, nice name! Can I be... Anal?
LANA: No, I don't think so.
Lana removed her Baby Names book from the shelf. On one of their rare trips into the nearest town, Lance had bought her that book against her will, and forbid her to throw it away. She brushed off the dust and handed it to the girl.
GIRL: Help me?
LANA: With what?
GIRL: With reading. I out of practice.
LANA: Well, okay.
Lana and the girl settled into the couch to read.
Lana and the girl slowly navigated their way through the book. Soon, they came to the section UNUSUAL NAMES, and the girl was getting better at reading.
GIRL: Spark, Nah... nah...
GIRL: Nahzeen, Adara, Freyja...
LANA: What is it?
GIRL: I been called Spark before. By another girl.
GIRL: Not sure. I was walking by festival. Big signs with fours.
LANA: You must have been walking by a fourth of July festival.
GIRL: Yes, yes! That's it! It was year into walking. I was in Nevada. There was a girl, my age. She took me over to her family after I had told her my story. Her parents looked at me funny. They looked concerned. And then girl said, 'You are very tough and brave. You shine out in the darkness of your life like a firework. Someday, your spark will be a fire, and you will be happy.'
LANA: Then I suppose Spark suits you.
Lana closed the book. Spark spotted Lance heading out into the fields to farm.
SPARK: Hey! What his name?
LANA: His name is Lance.
SPARK: Lance! Hey Lance!
Spark ran straight at Lance, and in full force smashed into the sliding glass door. Lana gasped and hurried over to help her up.
Spark just stared at the door, absolutely dumbfounded, until Lana opened it, and then she snapped out of it and bolted after Lance.
Lance turned around when he heard Spark calling. He held a small knife, helpful to cutting off corn.
Spark gasped and grabbed Lance's hand. In a moment she had twisted it out of his fingers and flipped his stunned body over her own and had her foot on his throat.
Lana screamed as she sprinted towards them. Lance was frozen beneath Spark's bare foot.
LANA: Spark!! What are you doing??!!
SPARK: He was going to cut me!
LANCE: No, I...
SPARK: Be quiet!!!
She pushed her foot harder against Lance's throat and he let out a mangled gurgle.
LANA: Spark!!! Let Lance up RIGHT NOW!!
Spark stared at her. After what seemed like years of silence, Spark lifted her foot and let go of his hand. She let Lance stand.
LANCE: How did you learn how to fight like that?
Spark began to walk away, hugging her dress close.
LANA: Spark! Where are you going?
SPARK: You mad. I leave now.
LANA: No, no!!
She hurried to catch up with Spark. It was unbearable, letting this small child go on, walking the dusty road for the rest of her life. She knelt down beside Spark.
LANA: Nobody's mad. Just, you can't attack people.
SPARK: He was going to cut me!
LANA: That knife was used to cutting corn. He wouldn't ever, ever cut you. I promise.
Spark's eyes glazed over. She quickly blinked the tears away.
LANCE, APPROACHING: Where did you learn how to fight like that?
SPARK: Along the road. People try take what little I have. I have to fight to keep it.
LANA: Are you crying?
LANA: It's okay to cry.
SPARK: No. Crying is sign of weakness.
LANA: Crying is a sign of feeling, honey.
Spark was quiet.
LANA: Nobody's mad at you. Would you like to come in and finish your cake?
And Spark followed Lana inside.
Spark was staring at herself in the mirror when Lance pulled Lana aside for a chat.
LANCE: One night.
LANA: Of course. Spark, honey, brush your teeth.
Spark picked up a hairbrush.
LANA: No, no...
She handed Spark a toothbrush and patiently explained what to do with it. Then she returned to Lance.
LANCE: Honey? Honey? You've named her, and now you're calling her as if she was your daughter.
LANA: Do you remember that kid in the fourth grade back home in Austin?
LANCE: Of course. Everybody hated the poor twerp. But you didn't.
LANA: Yes. He was so corrupted... I felt like I could... fix him.
The couple stared at each other for a while, and then Lana spoke again.
LANA: It's the same with Spark. If we can fix her...
LANCE: You said you didn't wanted children.
LANA: Yes, but...
LANCE: Well, all right. It is for just one night, right?
Lana took Spark to the guest bedroom and tucked her in.
SPARK, YAWNING: Why this fluffy?
LANA: It's called a bed.
SPARK: I know what bed is. My daddy died in one. But when I hopped on it, it was hard as rock. When I held his hand until he died, I sad that he had to die on such a hard one. So I never slept on bed again. But this bed fluffy. I sleep in it tonight.
LANA: Glad you like it. Good night.
Lana stood and walked out the door. As soon as she was gone, Spark climbed out of bed and curled up on the hardwood floor.
The next morning, Spark was already sitting down at the table when Lana emerged at 7 AM.
LANA: Spark! How long have you been up?
SPARK: Since the sun.
LANA: Well, would you like some breakfast?
Spark looked puzzled.
LANA: Would you like some food?
SPARK: Oh. No. I'll eat later.
LANA: I'll make you an egg, anyway. You need to get used to eating at least three times a day. It's not healthy to eat as little as you do. Your ribs are like handles.
Lana put the pot on the stove.
She cracked an egg into it, and then, after she had cooked it, served it to Spark. Spark looked up at Lana, and then tore a tiny, tiny bit off with her finger, and put it in her mouth.
LANA: Here, come with me.
She led Spark to the bathroom and taught her how to wash her hands. Then she returned to the table, and showed Spark a fork.
SPARK: I never used this since I went to the mean lady's place for a day.
She picked up the entire egg and stuffed it into her mouth.
LANA: Why don't you eat smaller bites? If you eat too big of bites, you could choke. Here's a knife.
Spark hissed and ran from the room.
LANA: Spark! Knives are used to cutting food, not yourself! Come back!
Spark peeked around the corner to the living room.
SPARK: Put it away.
Lana obediently returned the knife to its drawer. Spark crept back towards the table.
SPARK: Knives are bad. No matter size, shape, color. They mean. They so, so, mean!!
Spark closed her eyes and scrunched up their face.
SPARK: They kill daddy. They give me this.
Spark moved away her uneven hair to reveal an ugly scar right in front of her ear that trained down the side of her face.
LANA: Knives can be dangerous, if the wrong person is holding it. It wasn't the knives fault that it killed your daddy or gave you that scar. It was the man controlling the knife. If you control your knife, it won't hurt you. Let's practice cutting up food.
Lana moved her toast to Spark's plate and Spark sat down.
Soon, Spark was wielding a knife better than Lana, and cut up an entire salad for Lance by the time he came downstairs.
SPARK: Cutting is good! If do right!
She put the knife on the counter and skipped away. Then she stopped.
SPARK: I thirsty.
Lana filled a cup of water from the sink and handed it to Spark. She guzzled down the entire glass, and then put her face beneath the faucet.
SPARK: Never know when drink again. Need drink now.
LANA: Oh. Well, we'll send you off with some water and food.
SPARK: Okay! I leave now.
Spark waited by the door as Lana and Lance packed things for Spark. They both were silent.
When they returned to Spark with a bindle, (Yes, it is a word. It is a knapsack on a stick) Spark was gone.
They stood there, puzzled, until there was a knock on the door. They opened it. Spark stood there, holding a squirming mass of fuzz, smiling.
SPARK: I bring dog! As thanks!
LANA: Oh, that's okay, honey. You don't have to thank us...
Ignoring Lana, Spark released the animal inside.
SPARK, TAKING BINDLE: Bye!!
Spark marched off down the road without another word.
Lana and Lance just stood there. They closed the door to not let the dog escape and then watched her walk off from the porch. Spark never turned back.
Images flashed through Lana's mind.
Lana sprinted after Spark.
Spark turned when she heard Lana coming.
LANA: Spark, won't you come and live with us? I can't bear the thought of you walking the road for the rest of your life! Please! Come live with Lance and I!
LANA: We'll teach you how to go to school, how to behave, all those things! We'll even move back into town, if you like! Please!
SPARK: And no bad men hurt me?
LANCE, RUNNING UP: No. Never. If they hurt you, they'd have me to answer to.
SPARK: And cake?
LANA: Yes! All the cake you want!
SPARK: Yes! Yay!
LANA: Oh, Spark! Welcome home!
All three hugged, and walked back to begin their new life.
When that small girl showed up on the Skywards' doorstep, they couldn't imagine how fast she would enchant them. Soon, Spark was ready to begin 6th grade, and they moved back into Austin. Spark's story was known all over town, and soon she became a legend.
Spark graduated from high school with straight As, and got picked up by Baylor University almost immediately. Spark is the author of a novel, Roadrunner, all about her adventures on the road.
Spark grew up to have four kids and marry a small boy from school. Lana died when Spark was 45, and Lance died when Spark was 60. Spark died on October 4th, 2078, at the age of 77. She actually learned to sleep in a bed.
Nobody would forget her.
Little more serious than usual, but hope you liked it anyhow! :)