Ardenstone - Page 1

From Create Your Own Story

Time is a powerful thing. It is possible to live a lifetime within a single moment, or watch it pass by in a flash. And yet time is a universal constant, every second lasts for the exact same length as every other that came before it. Only our perception of time is changed, the subconscious playing upon a weak mind. The pace of life has a significant influence on the perception of time's passage, for days often seem to disappear amongst the bustle of the big cities, while the small country villages hardly move forward at all. With little to do but to watch the rain fall beyond the window, time could loose all meaning. The tiny village of Ardenstone was one such place that apparently stood entirely immune from the ravages of time. It's population, for the most part, were as elderly as the most prominent buildings Ardenstone had to offer. The village, nestled on the western bank of a freshwater lake, was surrounded by rolling hills and farmland. It was further from the nearest city than anyone could wish to be, and so was most popular with the retired folk who came to get away from all the noise. The closest Ardenstone came to entertainment was the park, with it's set of swings, a slide and a short pier into the lake which had two rowing boats tied to it. There was a shop and post office in the centre, a small village hall and of course, the bus stop.

Like the arduous passage of time, the rain that fell upon Ardenstone seemed lethargic, dropping from the sky without any real inclination of energy or intention. It had been bright and cheerful earlier in the summer, with some blisteringly hot days thrown in. These, typically, were the days when the Sanders family first arrived in Ardenstone. The days when all the hard work had been done, unpacking and making themselves at home. Then, when the hard work was over, and they had time to explore their new surroundings, the rain had come. heir new home was a large old brick house with expansive gardens on all sides and surrounded by fields as far as the eye could see. It rained for two weeks without respite, not heavy rain, but a constant fine precipitation that had the ability to soak a person to the bone. Now there was only a week left until the new school year began, and Kas sat on the sill of her bedroom window, watching the rain outside with miserable boredom. She had already decided how much she hated their new home. It had been a good life for her in the city with plenty to do and lots of friends. The city may have been a busy place, full of danger, but in reflection upon her innocent youth she had loved every moment. However, she had grown up a lot in the past few months.

Kassandra Sanders was just fourteen, with bright blue eyes and long brown hair that was held tight in a high ponytail, as per the fashion in the city. Her father had dragged her to their new home in the country when her mother had died. It had all been quite sudden, with the funeral coming just after Kas's birthday and only days before school ended for the summer. Her mother had been a wonderful and caring person, but always busy and forever working. The police had said she had been on her mobile phone when she died, no doubt talking to some client or other. Kas missed her terribly. Unfortunately, Kas was not alone in her boredom, for she lived with her little sister and their older brother. Esme, was ten, and an annoying little brat at the best of times, but especially when there was nothing to do. Wes was no help either, he was twenty four, and worked for their father's business. He was the biggest geek Kas knew, always sat at his computer, surrounded with models and figurines from his favourite science fiction show. Their father was busy too. He ran an internet company, building and selling websites to small businesses all over the world. He ran the business, and Wes done all the technical web stuff. Kas didn't really understand that much about it, nor did she care particularly.

The doorbell pulled Kas from her thoughts, and she ran downstairs to answer it. No one had called on them since they had moved in, but this visit was expected. She opened the door to reveal a familiar, short, middle aged aunt with a toothy grin that always reminded Kas of an evil witch. Sandra was not a witch however, but a bubbly, eccentric woman with long curly ginger hair and great sense of humour. Her father and aunt had grown up in Ardenstone, and Sandra still lived nearby, having married a local farmer. There was a lot between her father and aunt, which Kas knew was the reason they had moved to the village. In his grief, her father had been convinced that he needed the warm comfort of family, the city having always been too cold and hostile for his tastes. After a short greeting at the door, Kas called out to her father, and invited her aunt inside. Sandra had not come alone though, for she had bought her son along too. David was two years older than Kas, and had often met at christmas and other family things in years gone by. But it had been three years since they had last seen each other, and David had changed quite a bit. Kas was certain that she had changed too, having grown considerably in that time, so that they were now the same height.

Her father arrived shortly after Kas had shown Sandra and David into the sitting room. Esme bounded in behind, and ran over to David for a big hug. Suddenly turning much cuter than normal, Esme insisted on sitting upon her cousin's lap, and was still there when Kas came back in with tea and biscuits. Wes eventually joined them, begging forgiveness for his work, and the conversation flowed politely on subjects from the funeral to the atrocious weather. It was by far the most excitement that had filled the house since they had finished unpacking, but as the afternoon slipped on by, Kas felt her boredom returning. David made good conversation for a while, until Esme pulled him away to look at her dolls house. Then Sandra declared it was time that they left, citing a need to feed their chickens before it got dark. The conversation came to and end, coats collected, and Kas showed them to the door.

"Are you doing anything later?" David asked of Kas when they reached the door. She shook her head. "A few of us are going over The Range, if you would like to come." Kas had no idea what The Range was, but she agreed anyway, longing to get out of the house even for an hour or two.

"The Range?" Her father asked, having heard the conversation.

"It's the farm on Millers Lane, uncle." David answered. "My friends live there. I thought Kas would like to meet some new people here." This was enough to convince her father, who felt Kas should make more friends in the village, but added a curfew of eleven for good measure. He agreed, and David replied that he would collect Kas at seven that evening.

The Range was a fair walk from her house along narrow roads with high hedges on both sides, but Kas barely noticed as they walked through the darkness and drizzle, chatting away far more freely than they ever had in the presence of their parents. She wore leggings and a short dress under her waterproof jacket, while David held his umbrella up above her head. The farm house loomed large in the valley beyond where a small stream trickled down to the lake. From the top of the hill, it was visible long before they reached it, but David stopped at a gate and declared that they had arrived. He climbed over the gate, and encouraged Kas to follow. She hesitated for a long moment, until David explained that they were not actually going to the house. Their destination in fact was a small, dilapidated barn on the hill top, which had a dim, golden light flickering within. This was revealed to be a fire, built upon the concrete floor, surrounded by hey bails stacked around the open sided barn shelter. To Kas, it looked like some great amphitheatre, the way the bails were built up into steps, in a long oval. Around the fire, a group of people were already gathered, silhouetted by the bright flames, and Kas suddenly felt nervous.

"Come on." David said, dragging her in by the hand. "Folks, this is my cousin Kas. She has just moved here from the capital." Kas stood beside him, extremely self conscious, as she was introduced.

"Come and sit with me." One of the girl's said, pulling her over to a cushion on the floor. "I'm Jade." The girl declared, trusting a plastic beaker into Kas' hand. "Welcome to my barn." Kas looked at the liquid that filled the beaker with curiosity. "It's apple juice." Jade said encouragingly, and so Kas took a sip of the fizzy drink. It didn't taste much like normal apple juice, but wasn't too bad. She smiled and drank some more. Jade looked about the same age as David, with blonde hair flowing loose over her shoulders, and a grin that accentuated her high cheek bones.

"Over there is my brother, Korvan." Jade continued, pointing to the tall blonde haired man on the far side of the fire. "And this is my boyfriend, Lawrence." Referring to the dark haired guy beside her. As if to prove her relationship, Jade leant over and gave him a solid kiss on his lips before turning back to Kas. Lawrence looked much older, more like the age of her own brother, Wes, while Korvan's age was distorted by the flickering light.

"I'm Kim." A voice piped up from the other side, and Kas turned to look at the girl who had spoken. Kim was a short girl, with long, curly brown hair, which complemented the curves of her body.

"Kim is the same age as you." David pointed out.

"We'll be in the same class." Kim told Kas, smiling at her with dark brown eyes.

"What is the matter with your hair." Jade said suddenly, and put her own drink on the floor. Kas looked at her defensively, and said it was the latest fashion in the capital. "Well, what ever it is, it doesn't look comfortable. Here." Jade replied, and taking Kas by the pony tail, she removed the hairbands, until Kas's hair dropped freely down her back. It kept it's rigid straightness, but did feel more comfortable. "That's much better." Jade said, content with her work, and threw the hair bands onto the fire.

"Much better." David agreed, "We'll make a country bumpkin of you yet Kas." As Kas drank the last of her fizzy apple juice, Lawrence pulled something from his pocket, and passed it around. It was a packet of some sort, but she couldn't make out what it was through the glow of the fire. Jade eventually took hold of it and offered it to Kas.

"Would you like a cigarette, Kas?" Jade asked.

Which of the answers below should Kas give?

Kassandra Sanders

Kas is a fourteen year old, emotionally venerable city girl who has just lost her mother. She has long brown hair, blue eyes and a smile that any guy would consider attractive. Her family have just moved to Ardenstone where her father grew up, and she is already bored. The rain has dampened her mood and she is looking for an adventure.

Option Notes

Smoking cigarettes is extremely bad for your health. Most countries have set a minimum age limit of 16, while others are looking to ban smoking completely. Cigarettes contain the chemical Nicotine, which is highly addictive. The option you choose here could have a lasting effect on Kas, her health and her future.


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