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This is the first chapter of my novel. For a summary go here. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.
It was close to sun rise on a warm, slightly cloudy morning in Asaea. Pablo - a twelve year old boy with medium height, he's skinny, he has light brown skin, black hair, and brown eyes - is sleeping is his corn-shuck cot on his back porch on this warm, summer morning, dreaming about the land he wants so bad to live in. He dreams of rich, green hills and deep blue skies. He forgets the small, poor village in which he has lived his whole life. As the sun comes up over the horizon, a bird chirps in Pablo's small back yard. It lifts off of the tree branch that it is standing on and flies to Pablo's back porch. It lands on a rail about 3 feet from his cot. It begins chirping madly, wondering why its owner won't get up. The small bird leaps up onto Pablo's cot. He walks over to Pablo's ear and chirps as loud a he can. The boy jerks quickly awake, wondering what had awoken him. He looked down and saw his small pet bird sitting on his cot. "Zanto!" Pablo exclaims. "Why'd you wake me up!? I was having an awesome dream!" Chirp chirp.
"Oh, Zanto. I hate living here. It's boring, I'm poor, and most of all, I can't worship my Lord Jesus freely," Pablo says sadly. Chirp... Pablo could have sworn he heard a bit of sadness in that chirp. "I'm hungry... I hope we have something to eat..." Pablo said. "You stay out hear, Zanto." Pablo opened the door that led from his house to his back porch. He walked into the little cottage and smelled bacon cooking. "Mom?" Pablo asked. "Hey, honey! How you feeling?" his mother asked him. "Pretty good mom. How about you?" "I feel pretty good, too." "Where'd you get the bacon from?" asked Pablo. "The Delgados across the street had some left over and gave it to us," his mom explained in a little bit of a disappointed voice. She knew Pablo wouldn't like this. "You took food from someone else?" Pablo asked. "Yes, baby. I'm sorry and I know you don't like it, but it's the only way we can eat. You're father doesn't get paid until next week and almost out of money," his mother told him sadly. "Ok..." Pablo groaned. He couldn't believe his mother had gotten food from someone else. Were they that poor?
Pablo didn't eat much that morning. He wasn't very hungry and he had trouble making himself eat someone else's food. After he was finished, he went to the living room (which was also his parents' bedroom) looking for his father. He expected him to be in his chair reading or listening to the radio. When he didn't find him, he confronted his mother.
"He's at work, sweetie," she explained. "It's Sunday! Why is he working?" Pablo asked. "He has to put in some extra hours this week," she told him. "Oh... ok," Pablo said. He didn't know why his father had to work on Sunday... They had always gotten by with him working only six days a week. He had a feeling that something bad was happening.
He walked to the back room of his house where the radio was kept. He still had that feeling that something bad was happening or was going to happen. He opened the door, and saw the radio lying on a desk in the corner of the room. The room smelled wet and musky, do to years of leaky roofs and dust. When he picked the small radio up, a piece of paper fell from beneath it. He picked up the paper and noticed it was a bill. It was their electric bill (Asaea had electricity, but not very much technology) for this month. They usually didn't pay much at all on their electric bill, for they didn't have the money to buy many electric things.
This month's electric bill said they owed over 700 jraons (about $20 American dollars.) He couldn't believe how much of a price they owed for electricity, of all things! No wonder his father had to work on Sundays. He would have to work about 40 hours a day for the next 3 months to pay off this bill. They were in horribly deep debt.
This was enough for Pablo. He didn't have the freedom he wanted, he was already poor, and now his family was in very deep debt. He was going to leave. Her would never have to see this horrible place again, and he couldn't wait.
The next day, Pablo woke up about thirty minutes before sunrise. He whistled for Zanto, who came to him immediately. Pablo slowly opened his back door as quietly as he could. Once he was inside, he went to the back room where he had found the bill.
He knew there was a backpack in there somewhere. He had seen it just a few days ago. He rummaged around in one of the big boxes in the corner that was used for keeping random, usually unneeded things.
All he found in the first box was some paper, a few pens and pencils, and a broken radio.
After he had gone through four boxes and found nothing but old clothes, old shoes, and more paper and pencils, he found the pack. He walked into his kitchen with the pack. There was a small wood-burning stove, a table, and three chairs. Above the stove was a cabinet where they kept spices and other cooking ingredients.
He looked around, trying to find some left-overs of the meal they had last night (he doubted he would find any considering the fact that they barely had enough food to feed three people.) After he had looked everywhere, he opened the stove and found three pieces of cornbread and a biscuit.
"Yes!" he whispered under his breath. He got the last of their aluminum foil from the pantry and put the cornbread and biscuit in the foil. He put the foil in the pack. Now he reached up into the cabinet where the glasses and plates and such were held and got out two Mason jars. He filled the jars up with water and tightly screwed on the top. These were also put into the pack. Then walked back to the back room.
He had a piggybank in there with his whole life's savings in it. He thought there were about 10 jraons (about 5 American cents) in the piggybank. He shook the piggybank slightly just to make sure the money was still there. He heard the soft cling cling from inside the piggybank.
After he had come back to then front of the house, he put the piggybank in his pack. He went to the room that was supposed to be his bedroom but he only slept in it when it was too cold to sleep on the back porch. He packed all the clothes he had in the pack, which was about 4 days worth. He went down to the bottom drawer of his chest of drawers and pulled out his hidden Holy Bible. He put the old, tattered book into his bag.
He came back into the kitchen and looked around. He was going to miss this house, but he couldn't stand living here any longer.
Pablo went back into the back room for the last time. He got a piece of paper and a pen. He wrote:
"Mom and Dad, I'm sorry that I am leaving, but I must. I can live here no longer. It's not worth it. There are much better opportunities out there for me. I'm hoping I can find those opportunities. I may never see you again. I pray to God that I will, but it's not likely. I love you both and will remember you always. Your son, Pablo.
PS: I will send you money if I can."
Next to it he drew a heart. Now he walked into the living room which was also his parents' bedroom. He put the note down on his mother's bed. He quietly opened the front door, and walked out.