The Club: My Chapter 1 – The Invitation

“Finally, I’m almost home…” I thought to myself as I glanced out the window to my left on the school bus, brushing my long brown hair out of my face. I saw the base’s surrounding chain link fence passing by bit by bit as the bus continued down the highway slowing to turn left onto the air base. Squeezed against the window in the seat with the wheel, my knees were raised with my backpack resting in my lap taking over my face. The person next to me was turned into the alley of the bus, paying no attention to me, as usual. It was another usual and boring day. I gave a heavy sigh before returning my glance to the window next to my face on my right and crossing my arms over the top of my backpack to rest my head on the warm black fabric of my hoodie’s sleeves with a frown and a yawn. With the bus turning off the highway, I was given a clear view to the highway stretching on, the same question entering my mind. I’d never been past this turn…what was out there?

I continued to tune out the extremely loud noise on the bus and patiently waited as we went through customs and weaved through the barricading poles to get onto the base. I had a large amount of homework to complete when I finally got home as always and it made me frustrated to know that I wasn’t able to do it on the thirty minute bus ride home. With all the yelling of the people around me, the bumps of the road, and the cramped space, the only thing I was able to do was attempt to read.

Once the bus halted at the closest bus stop to my house, I strained to get my backpack on my back in the quaint seat and stumbled over people and their belongings in the alleyway. “Thank you, have a nice day,” I said to the bus driver, as always, walking down the large steps and stepping off of the bus. I crossed the road and heard the bus rush off behind me, no one even noticing that I had left…I looked down as I trudged through the rainbow of autumn leaves and ducked under the crabapple tree, trying to dodge the fallen crabapples as I had learned from the crimson stain on my white shoe. “I hate fall,” I thought with the sound of crinkling leaves beneath my feet. Glancing up, I saw I was coming up to Greg’s backyard. “Any minute now…” I thought before a scruffy little dog came running from his porch snarling and yipping at me. I paused, spread out my arms, and swung my right leg, saying “Punt!” as I always did when I saw Chip, the annoying little dog. I continued on and walked past the brightly colored swings of the park and began through the spacious, open field, crossing to another fence. Behind this fence I could see a young cowering black lab. “Hello, Max!” I called out as I approached him. As always, he leaped out of his cowering stance and jumped up at the fence to lick my face. I patted his side as he rested against the side of the metal on his hind legs and stayed there for a few minutes before turning to leave. “Goodbye!” I waved as he began to excitedly run about his backyard. Passing the yipping welsh corgi and the full grown black lab in the yard next to Max’s I walked on past the long row of trees, coming out to a driveway leading to my house just on the other side of the street. I took a final glance around before entering the darkness of my garage, followed by the side door into my house.

“How was school?!” my dad yelled from upstairs just as I entered the door.

Just as usual, I paused to rip off my hoodie and kick off my shoes. “Fine!” I replied before trudging down the basement stairs into my room. I released my backpack and let it fall beside my desk, turned on my laptop, and fell onto my computer chair. With another bored sigh, I waited a bit before opening my backpack and digging out my homework. “Yup,” I whispered to myself, “Just another usual day…”

Hours later, I had finished with my school work, had eaten dinner, and glanced to the small, silver clock resting on my desk in front of my stereo. “7:43,” I read aloud. “I guess I have enough time to write something…” I stated, not very thrilled. Homework and school had drained my life away as usual and I found it hard to keep my eyes open. “Uggh…I hate homework…” I announced before putting my schoolwork away and preparing my backpack for tomorrow’s 5:00 morning start.

Just then, my dad called me from the living room upstairs. “Noelle! Go check the mail!” he called.

“Hold on!” I called back before zipping up my backpack and running up the stairs, out of my room, and down the hall into our humble living room. My dad was watching the news as he often did with one leg folded up on the couch seat allowing him to rest his right arm over the knee and letting the other arm sprawl over the back of the furniture piece. He turned as I came down the hall and handed the jangling keys to me. I turned and exited the house through the garage and broke out into a sprint down our street to our mailbox. I passed house after house with the wind pushing my hair back, thinking over what I would write about when I had the time. “Gah, I am so horrible,” I said aloud, realizing it. I started to slow as the white mailbox was drawing closer and caught my breath, looking for the correct key. Inserting it into slot 5, I collected all of the mail, locked it, and walked back to my house. On the journey back, I overlooked the mail and found a strange envelope under my name. “Hmm…I wonder what this is,” I said as I studied the unfamiliar address. “It says that it’s from North Dakota…”

Re-entering the house, I placed the keys onto the hook in the kitchen and turned to give the mail to my dad who was still sitting on the couch. “There’s something in there for me,” I said to him.

“There is?” he asked, a little surprised. “What is it?”

“I don’t know,” I snapped back. “Haven’t opened yet…It’s that one right there.” After receiving the envelope from my dad, I carefully opened it, trying not to rip it, and dug inside to find one small piece of parchment. It was a small piece of golden paper that was able to fit in the envelope without being folded and started out with it’s content without giving addresses or anything at the top, leading me to think that it was a little strange. The writing was fancy, typed-out silver that was followed by an inked signature. I quickly read the letter to myself before reading it aloud to my dad.

Click on the envelope to open it.

“What?” he asked, extremely confused. “What…Who’s Jonathan? What club?”

“I don’t know…” I replied just as confused as he was. “Maybe he’s talking about my guild, or maybe Magic Pens or something. I’m not sure…and I don’t know any ‘Jonathans’ at school. I only know a John Hollingsworth and a Jon Heggestad.”

“Did Mr. Gifford say anything to you guys?” my dad asked.

“No, I don’t think so…” I answered, thinking over the last time I had checked his blog.

“Are you sure…” my dad asked, very skeptical of me.

“Yeah, but I haven’t checked today yet.”

“Well then check it right now,” he said. I turned to leave just as he spoke again, “Oh, and it’s Wednesday so don’t forget to take out the trash.”

“I know,” I groaned in reply, tired of taking out the trash twice a week since I was seven years old. I quickly darted down my stairs, nearly jumping over them all and rushed to my computer, pulling up BlogLines. “Ha, ha!” I said as I found a few posts with “letter” and “invitation” in a few of the titles. After reading through them all, I found out that every Magic Pen member was invited by this Johnathan Karma, and most had already agreed that they would go. “Dad!” I called out.

“What?!”

“Come look at this!”

Soon, my dad’s heavy footsteps were rushing down into my room as he came up to my desk. “What?” he asked again, much softer this time.

“Look,” every member of Magic Pens was invited, but nobody knows who this guy is, even Mr. Gifford.

“Well, what did he say to do?” My dad asked, very upset that we didn’t know who was inviting us to his house.

“Well, Mr. Gifford said that we should go. Maybe it’s a publishing opportunity or a funding chance! That would be great! He said that he would be there; so there shouldn’t be anything to worry about…We’ll just have to get our own way there. Do we have anything going on this Saturday?”

“No…” he answered still peering into my computer screen over my shoulder. His voice was very unstable and it sounded as if he wasn’t going to allow me to go.

“So, can I go?” I asked, wearily. I was almost certain that he was going to decline, as he is very overprotective of me.

“Well, I don’t know…I’ll have to think about it. You find out more about it, but right now,” he paused and gave me a stern look. “Take out the trash.”

Immediately, there was a scowl on my face. “I know…” All excitement had left me as I returned to my computer screen.

“Now!” he growled as always.

“I know!” I snapped back. I have never liked doing something that I was told to while the commander was watching me. I glanced at him to show him that I wanted him to leave my room. Still scowling, he trudged up the stairs before I stood up and picked up the first trashcan under my desk. With another bored sigh, I went through the house dumping every trashcan into the largest kitchen trashcan.

After collecting all of our garbage, I tied up the bag, placed another one into the trashcan and started for the garage. With the garbage bag in the large trash container, I spent a few minutes carefully sliding the large bin past our car in our cramped garage without scratching it and continued down the driveway and to the curb. “Ah!” I sighed, relaxed under the darkness of night. “It’s so calm,” I thought to myself. “I just love sitting out on nights like this.” Just then, my eyes came upon the moon and I suddenly remembered. “Oh crap!” I said aloud. Staring at the beauty of the pale, white moon, I suddenly remembered…”Am I going to be able to go?” I asked myself. “If I am, will I go? Should I go? Should I risk it?” With a frown, I sat in the grass in my front yard and stared up at the beautiful night sky above me, avoiding eye contact with the moon. I just wanted to sit there for a while before returning to my life…

After minutes of deep thought, I returned to my house and entered my room, turning the corner to stare at the fox calendar on my wall. “Darn,” I whispered. I was right…Full moon was marked for the 20th, this Saturday.

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