April 9, 2018

H is for Hester

        A girl stood on the doorstep, holding up a disgruntled calico cat.  “This yours?” she whispered.
        Her voice was so soft that Polly wasn’t even sure what she’d said, but she certainly recognized the cat.  “Holy cow!  Where did you find Uber?” Polly exclaimed, taking the cat from the girl’s hands.
        The girl jerked her head at the sidewalk behind her.  “Uber?”
        “Yeah, her name’s Uber.  I’m Polly.  Polly Goggin.”  Polly shifted her grip on her cat so she could stick out her hand.  “Pleased to meet you!”
        “Hester,” replied the girl softly, returning Polly’s vigorous handshake warily.  
        “Thanks for bringing back Uber.  She’s really bad about dashing through doors.  I didn’t even notice she was gone this time.  She must have got out when I brought in the mail.  Do you want to come in a minute?  Anyway, I need to shut the door, so your choice: in or out.”
        Hester hesitated a moment, hazel eyes large, then stepped through the door with a shrug.  Polly closed it firmly behind her before letting Uber down.  The cat rubbed her ankles, purred, and sauntered away.
        “May I take your coat?  Can I get you anything?” Polly asked politely.
        Hester took off her black coat and handed it to Polly, but shook her head.  There was an awkward pause as she took in Polly’s Technicolor outfit, from the fluffy yellow slippers to the purple plaid flannel pants, the red Fair Isle sweater, and the bright blue hip pouch adorned with a picture of a rubber ducky.  It made a brilliant contrast to her own plain grey sweatshirt over black leggings.  Her inspection complete she said, “Ms Barber’s social studies?”
        “Yup!  You’re in that class?”
        Hester nodded.
        “I didn’t even notice you.”
        Hester smiled slightly but said nothing.  She was several inches shorter than Polly and very slender.  Her thick, golden brown hair was pulled into a casual ponytail, and with her dull clothes and quiet voice it wasn’t surprising that she hadn’t attracted any attention in class.
        “Come on in,” Polly said, leading the way up the stairs to the apartment above the shop.  “What are your hobbies?  Favorite books?  Favorite movies?  Favorite music?  You know, all that get-to-know-you stuff.”
        After a moment’s thought Hester replied in her soft voice, “Dance, fantasy, Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky.  Yours?”
        “I read fantasy, too, and historical fiction, and I help my mom with the antiques, and she’s making me take taekwon-do for self-defense this year, but I’m not very good.  There, magnificent!  Now we’ve broken the ice and we can talk about whatever we want.”
        “Shakespeare,” murmured Hester.
        “You want to talk about Shakespeare?” asked Polly, surprised, “You mean like our Midsummer Night’s Dream unit in English class?”
        “Everyone talks Shakespeare all the time without even knowing,” Hester replied.  “Break the ice is Shakespeare.”
        “I didn’t know that.  Fun Shakespeare Fact brought to you by Hester - … Hester what?”
        “Rajagopal.”
        Hester Rajagopal from The Extraordinary Salamander Door, the in-progress sequel to upper middle-grade fantasy The Extraordinary Book of Doors.

[Picture: created by photoshopping from various models.]

A-Z Challenge, all posts for the letter H

4 comments:

  1. The game is afoot. I think I like Hester.

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  2. All of the books sound interesting. I like the way you are illustrating them.
    http://findingeliza.com/

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    1. I'm having fun - but wasting way too much time on the illustrations! LOL

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    2. I waste too much time on collateral research, what ever happened to those grandchildren anyway? :P

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