The Kid Contest
Title Of Entry: The Secret Garden
Word Count: 2551
Summary: A beautiful place, perfect for hiding from the big bad world, the secret garden is a sanctuary for young Alice and her new friend.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.
A/N: Hey everyone! I didn't even know this contest existed but my good friend Lady Saruman told me about it and encouraged me to write a one-shot. And here we are, a few days later, story written and about to be posted. It is a fun contest and I can't wait to read the other entries.
Many thanks to Lady Saruman for her encouragement and for betaing this story. You rock sweetie, and I am glad we are friends. :)
Have fun reading!
Ever since Alice was little, she had these dreams. Sometimes she dreamt about silly things, like dresses and toys, but then there were those other dreams. Once, she dreamt about her neighbor Mrs. Higgins getting hit by a car, and the next day it actually happened. She was scared at first, but then got used to the visions and wasn't afraid anymore.
But little Alice was still too young to really know what was going on. She didn't know the grown-ups wouldn't believe her, she didn't know they would be afraid of her and most of all, she didn't know they would punish her. And when the punishments for her dreams began, her mommy and daddy started punishing her for other things, too. First it was the dress she managed to get dirty, then it was the breakfast she didn't finish and then it was the wrong thing she said.
She was once a lovely and happy child, but everyone who took a single look at her now noticed she was silent and shy and very much reserved. She was a good girl, she was, and she learnt to be more careful, to be more obedient and polite. But anyone knows a five-year-old girl cannot always be perfect, especially since her parents weren't looking for perfection.
They soon resorted to corporal punishment, and Alice didn't know why her parents were doing that to her. Was she not pretty enough, and did they not love her because of it? She was small, her hair just above her shoulders, and her eyes weren't the light blue everyone liked; no, her eyes were midnight blue. Or maybe she was a bad girl and didn't do the things Mommy and Daddy wanted her to do well enough. She wasn't sure.
When Alice was sitting on the living room floor all by herself one evening, playing with a doll, a sudden noise startled her and she jumped, hitting her head on the living room table. Her mother's favorite porcelain cup fell off the table and broke into a million pieces. Alice gasped for air and tried to hide, but her mother found her a couple of minutes later and beat her for breaking the cup.
The little girl fell asleep crying that night and had a very troublesome dream. She dreamed that her parents are going to send her away, to a dark building, where she wouldn't be allowed to play anymore, nor to go outside to the garden and try to catch butterflies. She would be in a small room, without any pretty clothes and toys, and no one would be there to play with her. She would be all alone.
She woke up extra early the next day and packed her little suitcase and left the house quietly. She had learned to move gracefully and silently, and therefore no one caught her. But Alice didn't have anywhere to go, so she just roamed the road alone. She was scared and afraid and wanted to turn back and return home several times, but she knew what awaited her there, especially now that she had run away.
So she walked a while longer. Suddenly she heard a car speeding from behind her, and when she noticed it was her family's car, she ran right, over some grass and inside some bushes. She tried to wiggle through them and when she finally managed and got up from her knees, she had to catch her breath because the place was so beautiful.
It was a small garden, surrounded by a big hedge. There was a pond with orange fish in the middle of it, and the soft green grass was covered by many beautiful flowers. There were red flowers, white ones, yellow ones, even pink ones and Alice couldn't look away. It was like magic. There was also a bench on one side and it looked very inviting, so Alice set her small suitcase on it and took some food out of it. She had stolen it from the kitchen before she left. It was only a little bread and cheese and a small bottle of milk.
She sat on the bench and started munching on the bread and cheese. It was even more delicious, probably because of the garden, little Alice thought. The garden must have special powers; she felt safe there. After having finished her food and the milk, she laid down on the soft grass to rest a little. She had gotten up early that day and was already tired from all the walking and the excitement.
She soon dozed off to a peaceful sleep and didn't stir until someone began shaking her hand.
"Hey you, wake up," a voice told her over and over.
"Wake up," it said again.
Alice slowly opened her eyes and saw a boy kneeling over her. He was bigger than she and had neither dark hair nor blue eyes. She was disappointed, because everyone was so pretty and she was the ugly duckling from the story her mommy used to read it to her when she was small and still liked. The boy had hair like honey, and his eyes were green. She had never seen such eyes before.
"What are you doing here? How did you come here?" the boy asked.
Alice didn't know what to say, but the boy didn't give her a chance anyway.
"This is my place and you have no business being here," he stood up and started pacing up and down in front of her.
When he turned towards her to say something else, Alice was afraid he might hit her like her daddy and mommy did, and shielded herself with her arms and silently started crying. This place was not magical at all.
"Oh, don't cry," the boy said, alarmed all of a sudden. "It's okay, I won't hurt you."
Alice slowly removed her hand and wiped her eyes with her sleeve. She was still shaking, afraid, and the boy offered her the blanket he had brought with him, mistaking her fear for cold.
"Here, take this," he said, and sat down next to her.
"How did you get here?" he asked her again. Since Alice wasn't ready to talk yet, she just pointed to the hedge.
"Through there?" the boy asked, bewildered, and Alice just nodded.
"You must be pretty strong to have come through there, or pretty tiny to have fit. And now that I think about it once more, I'd say pretty tiny."
Alice just stared at him, not knowing what to do. Would she need to leave now? But she wasn't afraid anymore, now that the boy had stopped yelling. She didn't have anywhere to go, and she liked it here. And he seemed nice enough.
"Have you been here for long?" the boy wondered. She shook her head. "Well, you couldn't have, I was just here yesterday."
"Do you know where you are?" the boy questioned her. Alice shook her head once more.
"Well, you are in my secret garden. We own this land here and this garden was here, unattended and ugly, when we first moved into the house. No one knows about it but my mommy and me. You see, it is in the far corner of our real garden, hidden away a bit. Mommy helped me with it and now it is mine. I am the only one who ever comes here, so I was surprised when I found you in here. I am sorry if I scared you, I didn't mean to."
He looked down, suddenly ashamed. "What is your name?" he asked the girl.
She just looked at him, but didn't say anything. "You don't talk?" he asked her. Still nothing.
"Well, okay then, I will just introduce myself to you. My name is Jasper, Jasper Whitlock." He offered her his hand, and after a few seconds, Alice carefully took it.
"Do you want to play with me?" Jasper asked her. Alice nodded, fascinated by the boy.
They played for the remainder of the afternoon, and when evening came and they heard Jasper's mom calling him in for dinner, Alice was suddenly afraid again. Would she have to leave now?
"Do you want to come with me?" Jasper asked her, and Alice vigorously shook her head.
"Do you want to stay here?" he asked, and got a nod in response.
"It's summer, so I guess that's okay. I will bring you some food after dinner, okay?" Jasper offered, and Alice nodded.
Jasper was excited about the small girl he found in his secret garden. She was tiny and even though he didn't like girls, he thought she was really pretty. But what was most important to him was the need to protect her. He saw how scared she was and didn't know why she was there. She wouldn't talk or even tell him her name, but he needed to look after her. She was so small and he was already seven years old. It was his job.
So for the next few days, Jasper brought Alice food and water to wash. He often brought her toys too, and they would play as much as possible. Jasper was grateful he didn't have to go to school during the summer, and he spent every free moment he had with the tiny girl in his secret garden.
One evening he said to her, "I am going to spend the night here with you this time, okay?" And Alice nodded happily. She had gotten used to the garden by now but she was a little bit afraid of the dark and would have loved to have Jasper be there. The first two nights were especially terrible; there were some sirens in the distance and she was afraid her mommy and daddy would find her.
"I have done it a few times last summer, my mommy let me, you know," Jasper explained proudly. What he didn't say was that he respected the girl for sleeping alone outside every night. He could do it, of course, but he was a man. And she was only a tiny girl. He remembered when he asked his cousin Rosalie to sleep outside with him. She threw a tantrum and didn't come out of her bedroom for a while. As punishment, he never told her about the secret garden.
"I will bring some more food tonight and we can have a picnic if you want to," Jasper said.
He returned soon, and when he handed her a sandwich, she opened her mouth for the first time since she met him. "Thank you."
"You can talk," Jasper said excited, his sandwich forgotten.
"What is your name?" he asked, almost jumping up and down.
She waited for a few moments, uncertain as to what to say, but she trusted Jasper.
"Hello, Alice," Jasper said smiling.
They spent the night talking. Jasper told her about his soldier toys and promised to maybe show them to her soon, and Alice told him about the pretty dresses she had dreamed about. But she didn't tell him about why she was here, or about her dreams. She was afraid that if he found out, he would send her away, and she didn't want to leave. He was her first friend and she didn't even know that it was possible to have such a great friend before. She feared that if she told him the truth, he wouldn't be her friend anymore.
When Jasper woke up the next morning, he went to get some breakfast, and soon returned. Alice was already waiting for him, as always. They shared their meal in silence.
"What if it rains?" Jasper asked Alice. "What will you do then? You can't stay here if it rains."
"I don't know," Alice said.
"Why are you here, Alice? Where did you come from?" Jasper asked her.
Alice remained silent, not saying a word.
"You can tell me, Alice," Jasper said.
"I won't tell," Alice said, and Jasper let it go with a sigh. Girls could be so stubborn.
A few days later, Jasper came storming into the garden.
"What is it, Jasper?" Alice cried, afraid. She knew something would happen: she had a dream again, but wasn't sure what it meant.
"I heard Mommy and Daddy talking in the kitchen when I had breakfast, and they said a little girl was missing. They were talking about you, weren't they?" Jasper asked Alice.
Alice was afraid—they had found out and now she was going to have to go back. Back to them, or even worse, to that horrifying building in her dreams. She started to cry. This was all too much for a girl like her.
Jasper scooted closer and hugged her, "It's okay, I won't let anyone hurt you."
Alice said in a muffling voice, "You promise?"
"I promise," Jasper said, and hugged her closer.
Alice cried a bit more and then started telling him her story.
"My name is Mary Alice Brandon and I ran away." She continued to tell him about her dreams, about her parents hitting her and punishing her every day, about them not believing her, about wanting to send her to a horrible building, where she would be all alone and in the dark a lot. And she was scared of the dark.
Jasper held her close and listened to everything she had to say. He didn't believe her immediately but when she continued with her story and he looked at her, he knew she was telling the truth. He already hated her parents for not believing her but when he heard how they were hurting her, he wanted to go to her house and hit her daddy and yell at her mommy. No one can treat his Alice like that, no one.
"Please, don't send me away, please, Jasper," Alice pleaded.
"I won't, Alice, I promise." And Jasper meant what he said.
"Do you believe me?" Alice asked him sheepishly.
"Of course I do, silly," he boy answered and Alice smiled a smile that reached her eyes, for the first time in months.
"Are you still going to be my friend?" Alice asked him.
"I'll be your friend forever," Jasper promised. His friends might make fun of him, but he couldn't let Alice down. Who would look after her if not he?
"What are we going to do?" she asked him.
"We are going to tell my mommy how much they have hurt you," Jasper said.
"No, please, don't tell anyone, I don't want to go back," Alice pleaded.
"It'll be okay. My mommy helps others. She helps children—it's her job," Jasper explained proudly.
"Oh, okay, but promise me you'll stay with me, Jazzy, promise me," Alice asked him.
"I will, I won't leave you alone, I promise," the boy assured the girl. She kissed him on the cheek, blushing adorably. The boy quickly looked away, ashamed and yet happy. He was going to protect his Alice, no matter what.
Hope you liked it. :) I had fun writing it.
Please, let me know what you think!