Warning: not Beta-read

Stone Hearts


A Fairytale

It was the delicious smell of bacon and steak that brought me out of bed and into the dining hall. I'm a devoted meat lover.

Food was already laid out on the giant table and everyone was seated in velvet backed chairs, waiting for the food. Sparkling plates, goblets, and utensils sat patiently on the table. I flopped onto one of the chairs and rested my head on the table. If you can remember, I was sleep deprived last night and was very tired. It wasn't until I heard a small cough that I realized everyone else was sitting up straight, their hair combed and pulled away from their face, fluffy dressing gowns covering their pajamas. I became extremely self conscious of my frazzled hair, baggy, lopsided pajamas, and sleep crusted eyes. My back shot up into a rigid pole and I folded my hands in my lap.

"I trust that this morning's appearance will not continue, Ariel Rose?"

"Yes, Grandmother," I said into my plate.

Soon after, waiter brought the food out. Heaping plates of bacon, mounds of soft, gooey eggs, a whole, T-bone steak, greasy, buttery tater tots, and pitchers of milk and orange juice. I must have been drooling.

Then, I disgraced myself again by spearing an egg with my fork, and stuffing the whole thing into my mouth before the waiters had gone back to the kitchen. As I was chewing, I noticed everyone else was tucking their napkins into their laps and daintily picking up their silverware. Tamara was smirking, dad trying to hold back a laugh, Elise looked amused, and Grandmother was glaring, her face red.

"Ariel Rose! Your mother was never this ill mannered. James, you'll have to teach her better manners before the next time we eat. This is atrocious and I will not stand for it!"

"Sorry, Mother," dad chuckled, "she never was taught proper manners."

"I apologize," I said.

"Apology accepted."

We finished breakfast with no more major incidences. I spilled some orange juice on the table cloth because I was drinking out of a crystal goblet. Seriously, who uses those for breakfast anymore?

"Come," Grandmother said when our plates had been cleared and we were finishing the last of out drinks, "Into the sitting room. We're going into town today, but it's drizzling a bit outside, and I want to wait until that fades away."

"Of course. Let's go. And, Sport?"

"Yes?" I turned to dad.

"Go clean up. You look horrible." He laughed and shooed me upstairs.

I caught Elise's question: "What's in the sitting room."

"Magic," Grandmother said, a bit mischievously, "Music, other places, different times. But most of all, stories." It was odd seeing Grandmother like this. I didn't want to miss any of the action, so I hurried upstairs, dragged a brush through my hair, threw on the dressing gown I found on the foot of my bed, (it was bright blue and had obviously been there for a while. How could I have missed that?) and practically flew down the stairs.

They had just been sitting down and getting comfortable.

"Wow, you really want to hear the story, hmm?" Tamara arched a perfectly curved eyebrow, not letting me forget that I hadn't wanted to be here.

"I though it would be interesting," I said, trying to sound nonchalant. Tamara tutted but turned her attention to Grandmother who took a sip of her morning tea then settled back into the couch.

"I'm going to tell you a story," she said, "and they all relate to the same thing. Kelpies."

"Oh, really, Mother?" dad said, annoyance and disbelief laced through his words, "are you really going to poison their head with that nonsense. It was bad enough that Riall believed in that, I don't need my children having nightmares."

"You may think that they're just made-up tales, but we know better. These stories are true, and kelpies are something the children have to watch out for. The kelpie here had taken too many children." Grandmother was flushed in anger.

"That river is the most dangerous body of water on the planet, and not because of your so called 'kelpie.' That river is so choppy, and almost nothing but rapids. It doesn't surprise me that people would die in there." Dad's face was red and he rose to his feet.

"I think we can decide for ourselves whether Grandmother's stories are true, or merely just tales," Elise interjected, always the voice of reason.

"Yes, I think that would be best." Grandmother smoothed her hair and patted her lap, inviting Elise to sit. However, the girl politely declined.

"Alright, let's begin.

"A very long time ago, there were five children who lived in a nameless town by a nameless river. Those five children were the best of friends. Three girls and two boys. Their favorite place to play was by that nameless river. It was a swirling mass of churning waters and beautiful pools. One of those days, the children found a horse by the river."

Grandmother's voice was so enticing and melodic, I was totally drawn in. I was merely hearing her words, not comprehending them. So I didn't make the connection when Grandmother said, "river" and "horse."

"It was a beautiful white horse with black mane. The children were immediately entranced. It was one of the girl who said, 'let's ride it!'

" 'It's big enough for the five of us,' chorused another girl.

" 'Come on!' said another.

"The three girls approached the horse, and it stood very still for them. One of the boys also followed the girls. It was the fifth child that had doubts.

" 'I don't think that this is a good idea,' he said.

" 'At least make sure the horse doesn't move while we're mounting it,' one of the girls said as she hoisted another up.

"The boy agreed to that and walked to the head of the horse. As the third girl was mounting, he laid his hand on the horse's muzzle. The other boy had just pulled himself on.

" 'Alright, we're good,' the first girl said. The boy nodded and pulled away, but his hand stuck fast to the horse's muzzle. His eyes widened.

" 'I said we're good,' the girl said again. She made to push the boy away, but her hand wouldn't move from its place on the horse's neck.

" 'I'm stuck, too!' She screamed. The other children found that they had also somehow been glued to the horse. The boy whipped his head to the horse's eyes. They were a green color, and were filled with malice and joy. The horse seemed to be grinning at him.

" 'No!' The boy screamed and pulled out his pocket knife. There was no other way."

At this point I was so afraid for the children, that my hands were covering my face.
Grandmother's voice had taken me into the world of the children. I could taste the fear, hear the screams, and see the smirking horse.

"The boy brought the knife down in one sweeping motion and screamed as his finger left his body. Blood fell onto the ground, and the horse snarled, but turned away. And before the boy could do anything else, the horse plunged into the water, all the children on his back. The boy heard their yells of terror and shouts for help, but he had collapsed on the ground. The water bubbled where the horse had dove.

"The boy finally stood, searching for his friends in the clear water, but he could see nothing.

"Then something came floating to the surface, followed by another, until there were five somethings popping up to the surface. The boy stared in terror. They were human hearts, still faintly beating."

I let out a small yelp at this. Oh, what a wimp I am.

Grandmother looked at me strangely before finishing, "It was then the boy knew that his friends were dead and gone forever. Trapped beneath the clear, inviting, but deceiving waters."

Dad began to clap, "Beautiful, mother. You've always had the power to capture anyone's attention with your stories."

"Thank you. So, my grandchildren, what do you think of that?"

Tamara said, "An unlikely tale, but I loved the way you told it."

"I loved it," Elise said, "But I don't believe that kelpies are real."

"Ariel Rose?" Grandmother turned to me.

I had finally made the connection. I remembered wanting to mount the horse. I couldn't say anything.

We climbed out of dad's car. It had stopped raining and we were in the main part of town. I could see a grocery, bank, restaurant, gas station, and a small mall a bit farther off, a park and a school. The town was bustling with activity. People passed us on bikes, and children ran with reckless abandon in the street and toward the candy shop.

Grandmother gestured for us to follow her, "I have a family I want you to meet."

We followed her to a small, asian diner. Inside was decorated with curtains, pillows, and fans. Soothing music play softly in the background.

A woman in a kimono approached, bowed to Grandmother, then embraced her.

"You haven't been here in a while!" she exclaimed in a thick Vietnamese accent.

"I haven't had a reason to. Ming, meet my grandchildren and son-in-law," Grandmother stepped back so we were visible.

"They are so adorable! Please, come and have something to eat," Ming turned and we followed.

"Ming owns Tran restaurant, her husband cooks, and her daughter serves."

"That's right," Ming said cheerfully, "Let me get Randi. She'll love to meet you."

We were seated at a round table and sat indian style on a few, very comfortable pillows.

"Hello, I'll be your server for today. Can I get anything for you?" The girl looked about my age, with a curvy body, thick, bouncing black curls, and full, pouty lips. She smiled cheekily at us and I got the impression that she loved to go out and party when off work.

"Oh, and my name's Randi."

"Randi!" Ming hurried over to us, "There you are! I was just about to introduce you to Ms. Price's family. These are her grandchildren."

"Oh. Then hello!" Randi immediately sunk onto an empty pillow, "It's nice to meet you!"

I was getting good vibes from the girl. She seemed nice enough, happy.

"Randi, you have customers!" Ming reprimanded, "You can make friends after your shift is over!"

"Alright, alright." I noticed that Randi's english was much more developed then her mother's. I could still hear her asian accent, but it had been mostly smothered by years at school. She now have a pronounced scottish accent, which was a bit unnerving coming from her mouth.

"I'm off in half and hour. I'll find you guys later," she stood, then said, "So, is there anything I can get you?"

"Waters all around," dad answered, "thank you."

The next forty-five minutes was filled with talk about the united states, Scotland, their family, our family, just about everything. True to her word, Randi joined us after she had finished. I got to know her more, and she was a really nice person to know.

"Hey, I know what we should do!" She exclaimed once, "Come on, Ariel!" she grabbed my hand and dragged me up and into the back room.

"Be safe!" Ming called after us, as if she knew what we were doing.

"You can borrow some of my clothes," Randi said. I was flattered that she was lending me stuff this early in our relationship, but I was also a little scared about whatever we were doing that required me to wear her clothes. Randi was the silly, flamboyant type that acted, reacted, then thought about what she was doing. In that order.

She stripped off her kimono and revealed tight jeans and a flashy black halter top underneath. She pulled her hair back with a pair of chopsticks so it was messy, but cute and sexy. She rolled mascara onto her eyelashes and a deep red lipstick on her lips. Her flats were traded for strappy black sandals and bangles jingled on her wrists. I was correct in my assumption that she was the partying type.

"Here, put this on," she rummaged around in a bag and threw me a red tube top, "You've got about my figure. It should fit you."

"Um," I stuttered as she also pulled out a hair clip and black eyeliner, "I don't usually wear this stuff."

"Well, now you do!" she laughed and I couldn't help but smile. But seriously, girl, I don't do this.

"Come on!"

"Won't I look stupid if my bra straps are showing?" I said.

"That's why you take your bra off! I'll turn away."

She did, and I slipped the shirt over my head. It clung too tight around the middle where Randi's slender waist was supposed to be. She, however, thought it looked perfect.

"You look lovely! Now come here, let me do your hair and make up."

She pulled my long hair up into the clip so it sprayed around my head, then outlined my eyes with the liner. I must admit that I didn't look too bad, but I felt horribly uncomfortable. Everything Randi was doing to me just wasn't my style.

"Come on, I've got a few bikes. You can ride, right?"

"Of course." I followed her out the back where a few bikes were resting against the building.

"One's mom's but she can deal. Come on!"

"Uh, helmets?" I asked.

"This is Scotland! Nobody needs helmets here. I though you were Scottish," she teased lightly.

"Ok," I said, pedaling after her, "No offense, but I think my dad will get worried about me."

"Don't worry about that," Randi said breezily, "Mom'll explain to him. He'll be totally fine with it." I had to believe her.

"Fine. So where are we actually going?"

"This underground club that admits minors," she said cheerfully, "All my friends will be there, and you can meet them."

"I don't know about this."

"You'll have so much fun!"

Ok, I'm really loving her happy-go-lucky personality. (note the sarcasm)

We stopped in front of a set of grungy stair that led down to a wooden door. A neon sign flashed above it, advertising the club.

"There's sooo much drinking and dancing, you'll love it!" Randi said joyously.

"Randi, I'm underage. I'm not allowed to drink," I said. Don't get me wrong, I would love to drink, but dad would bite my head off. He's a real stickler about that after his brother once got drunk in highschool and died in a car accident soon after.

"Here, you are!" she said in a sing song voice, "No one cares. Just don't get so trashed that you can't bike home, or, at least, back to the restaurant."

I nodded, but still felt apprehensive. We descended the stairs into the club.

It was filled with flashing strobe lights, spinning bar stools, a puke and booze covered floor, and blaring music. Randi headed immediately for the bar and ordered us drinks.

"My friends are here somewhere," she said, "You go dance or something and I'll find them." She slipped away among the dancing teens.

I sighed and took a seat on one of the stools. I should have been enjoying myself, but I couldn't right now. Grandmother's story had slipped back into my head. What if the stallion I saw was a kelpie. The notion was preposterous, or course., but what if? I clearly remember wanting to take a ride on him. I shook my head, trying to rid my thoughts of the stallion and Grandmother's stories.

"Would a lovely lady like to dance?" the voice startled me and I whipped around to see a cute teen holding his hand out to me. He grinned, revealing a nice smile.

"Oh, I," I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear in embarrassment, "I don't know..."

"Please?" he begged, getting down on his knees, "I always am turned down. Just this once, please!" towards the end, he sounded as if he was asking the heavens for my acceptance.

"Oh, Brice!" Randi appeared out of nowhere and smacked him on the back of the head, "You have girls falling head over heels in love with you every other minute! Don't act like you can't get a girl to save your life."

Brice stood and I had to admit that he was very hot. He was tall, with a lean, agile body, red-brown hair, and light, laughing eyes that brimmed with good nature. He laughed at Randi's words.

"You flatter me, sweetheart, but I don't have every girl I want." I saw Randi's cheeks flush when Brice called her "sweetheart."

"Oh, please," Randi snorted, "What more could you possibly want? You've got Lisa."

"Lisa just hasn't been floating my boat lately," Brice said aloofly, "I don't really care about her anymore."

I watched them flirt teasingly for a little while longer, but the stench of alcohol and puke was a bit over powering. Not to mention the piercing guitar and reverberating bass was giving me a headache.

"I'm-I need to go," I said. I much preferred someplace cool and quiet to this grinding mass of music and heated, sweating bodies. That's what had originally drawn me to the river.

"Really?" Randi pouted, "Can't you stay a bit longer? I want you to dance."

"Ok," I assented. I knew the real reason why Randi wanted me to stay. She wanted to be with Brice. I couldn't deny her that. I guess I could dance. I might add to the puke on the floor, but if I leave, Randi has to leave too.

I stood and left the two alone for about fifteen minutes before I puked all over a groping, grinding couple and got screamed at. So I stumbled back over to Randi and almost puked on her. She grabbed me, gave a hurried good bye to Brice, and we left.

"Damn, girl, you really don't do well at the party scene," she said as I gulped down fresh air and water, "Don't you live in San Francisco?"

"Yeah, but mom," I gulped again, "forbid us from going to any parties. Or, anywhere without her."

"Your sister Tamara did anyway, though, right?"

"Yeah. How'd you know?"

"Guessed." Randi winked at me. "Hey, I'll take you back, but tomorrow we have to go to the mall, since you can't handle the parties."

I agreed, and she led me back to the restaurant, where everyone had been waiting for me.

Nothing happened until we got in the car and were heading home.

"A party?" dad burst out, "are you crazy?"

"I didn't know where she was taking me! And besides, I puked. I'm not going there anymore."

"Maybe it's that Randi girl. She'll probably be a bad influence on you..."

"Randi's fine!" I defended, "We're going to the mall tomorrow, that's all."

"The Tran family is a good one," Grandmother came to my rescue, "Ariel Rose will benefit from having a friend here."

Dad grumbled, but seriously, he needs to chill out. I can take care of myself.

I'm not to proud of this one. I might go back and force myself to rewrite it, if I ever get bored. What do you think?

I'm sorry to anyone who's reading this and wants me to continue. I will, but I won't be updating until summer is over and I've got the whole thing written. Again, I apologize, but I've made up my mind. You'll just have to wait until summer is over. Thanks for your patience.

Review responses:

Katherine-the-greate: First one to review! I thank you. And I'm glad you find the story "mystical" that's what I was going for, and I'm glad that came across to you.

Enjoy life, don't die this summer,

-Your Crimson-Sweetheart