A/N: Finally! Finally, the first chapter of this story is done. Every time I look at it, it just seems to have soo many things wrong with it! But I'll continue. Somehow I'll prevail.
So, let me set the scene, and let us begin!
Disclaimer: As much as I would like to be Cliff McNish, I'm afraid I'm just not that good, as I'm just one of those writers he so hates, who's been writing stories since she was five... No, really. I once wrote a story and was allowed to copy it up onto the computers! That was quite an honour, when I was about 7. And although I did basically take the story of The Silver Child, and just manipulate it a bit, it's not mine! I declare it is not mine, never has been, and never will be! Muhahah!
Chapter 1 - Trudging Home.
Only the rustle of a dress betrayed the fact that a small girl sat there, in the grove. Her hair whistling in the wind, she smoothed out her skirt, and listened. A leaf fell down from the trees above, and settled on her shoulder. She turned her face, and watched it, as it bounced off her arm, balanced on a low branch, then fell to the ground.
She sighed. It was always like this. Always she had to wait here. Always, she would sit here, just listening, waiting for the sun to go down. And when it did, she would climb up the trees, sit on a strong branch, like she had done, ever since her father had walked out on their family, three years ago.
Three years. Had it really been that long? she wondered. It seemed like only yesterday. Only yesterday. Her father had stormed out, taking a bag of clothes, and other assorted items, and left the house. Her mother had cried for days. Days, filled with her endless weeping. It was a good thing her father had shown her this spot to wait at.
"If anything ever feels wrong, just come here and pour your heart out." he'd say. And how she poured it out! Sometimes the house would be preferable than here, in terms of amounts of weeping. But eventually, they had both got over it. They both accepted that he wasn't coming back.
Her younger sister, Susie, never knew her father. He had walked out only a few weeks before she'd been born, and he'd never come to pay her a visit. Not once.
Poor Susie, she thought. Perhaps she would never ever know her father. Poor girl.
The final beams of light shot its way across the ground, and the girl looked up. She climbed the trees, sat on her branch, as always, and watched the sun go down.
And as the sun went down, as the last beams made its way across the sky, sometimes, she could see something, with her brown eyes. It was a silver figure, which just flashed, as the light descended down into oblivion. It looked like a boy, but without arms - angel wings instead. And he glowed silver. A bright, gleaming silver. It made her eyes hurt.
That night, something happened. The silver angel was waiting for her. She froze, perched on the branch. The figures face turned, slowly, to her. She blinked. What was it doing? she wondered. Why, after three years of waiting, was it now turning to her? She watched it, unable to move, as the figure slowly mouthed a word.
She ran the rest of the way home.
Her mother was waiting at the doorway.
"And where have you been, young lady?" her mother asked her, as she jogged the last few feet.
"In the grove," She knew better to lie to her mother. Mum would just work it out anyway.
"I thought so. I was just about to start searching for you, you're normally back earlier than that." Mum hovered in the doorway, then leaned back, to let her daughter pass. "I wish you wouldn't go there so often, Cassie."
Cassie looked at her mother. "You wouldn't understand."
"Hmm." Mum lead the way into the kitchen, where Susie was enjoying her last few days of babyhood. Mum picked her up, and threw her up in the air.
"Now, who's a cute little wittle baby? Well? Who's a cute little girl?"
Cassie had had enough. She ran up to her room, and buried herself in one of her favourite books.
She paused, half way through a chapter, to hear a young voice call her name. She looked over, and there was Susie, waiting.
"Read me a story?" It was a request, not an order, Cassie realised. She picked Susie up, set her down on the bed, and looked at her.
"What do you want to hear?"
Susie looked back. "Make a story up. I like your stories."
Cassie sighed. She was feeling a little down on inspiration just then, but she conjured up a smile, and grinned at Susie.
"Well. I know a story. Don't know if you would really want to hear it. Are you ready?" Susie nodded. "Well, here goes.
"Once, just a few years ago, in a place not too far from where we live now, but nearer, I think to Wales. This place was once a huge spot of industry, but now, it's been abandoned. The only people who know about it are the townies who live near there.
"Now, one day, a boy ran halfway across England, just to get over to this place, let's call it Coldharbour. He sat there for days, wondering what could happen next. He didn't have to wait long. Within a few weeks, two girls, twins, found him, wandering through the harbour. They took him in, and fixed up his house for him." Susie giggled.
"I thought that was a man's job?"
"Well, a 'man' did help. But he was more of an overgrown child than a man. He was huge! He towered over both girls and the kid. But somehow, he managed to help them build a better house.
"One day, the twins got... well, excited is the only real word to explain it, really. They wanted to go out, find something. The kid didn't want them to. But the giant-boy, he went out when the twins went out. The kid was furious. But somehow, he was persuaded to follow them.
"Around midnight, on that same night, they happened across a girl, a local, who had been wandering around, searching for something. Each of the children had a special skill. The twins could search for people, the boy could comfort and heal people, the girl could read minds, and the giant was, well, giant. But the girl could almost see the thing, the person, they were all looking for. And soon they found him.
"Poor guy! He was all alone, crying to himself, no-one to comfort him." Cassie hugged Susie. "No-one to cuddle him at night. He'd ran away. His mother couldn't have wanted him. Not the way he looked. It must have been terrible. His eyes were bulging, hair fallen out, everywhere, nothing looked normal about him. The girl ran, but the twins convinced the kid to take him in. Eventually, after much arguing, a new bed was set up and the boy was set upon it.
"Now, the kid was very nervous about the boy. Because he could heal and comfort people, the boy had to take the kid's comfort stuff to help him. This... wasn't the best of ideas. Soon the kid looked like a complete replica of the boy, except without the silver. Because the boy had somehow turned silver, against the night. The kid was furious. Somehow, he managed to tie up the twins - the giant was unavailable - and he took the boy over to the river. He drowned him. He waited for ten minutes, to be sure he was dead. But when he stumbled back, the girl had a surprise for him.
"The boy was still alive.
"Immediately, they went over to the river, to rescue the boy. It was almost too late. But somehow, the boy survived, and he ascended from the river, up, up, into the skies. His appearance had totally changed. Now, he looked like a boy, only with... wings... instead of arms..." Cassie caught herself. What was she talking about? Only the boy from her sunsets had wings, not arms, and silver skin. So why was she telling Susie about it.
"What happened next?"
Cassie looked down at Susie, and smiled. "Well, somehow, he knew about something the others didn't. He could sense a being, in the center of the earth, and it was not nice. It had to protect the people from the creature. It called them, from all the corners of the earth, to stand beside him, when the creature came forth."
"What did the creature do?"
Before Cassie could answer, a cry came up from the kitchen. "You two finished? It's almost Susie's bedtime."
Susie groaned. Cassie sighed, and shoved her gently off her bed.
"Off to bed now. Don't want to make Mummy angry, do we?"
Susie shook her head. She turned to run outside, back to her room, but paused at the doorway.
"Cassie, what was the boy's name? The silver one?"
Cassie paused. The Silver Child. What was his name? Who was he? Her thoughts spun back to the sunset, that day. The angel there had whispered something. What was it?
"Milo." she said.
And there shall I leave it! If you want me to continue with the story, I can, but only if I get 3 people to ask me! And I shan't continue it until I get them! Anyway, now you have had the patience to read it, please have the patience to review! Please?