The legend of the ash rose
Legend has it that deep in the forest there stands a single rose, a special rose, for this rose is the ash rose. It is guarded by a fearsome green scaled dragon filled with a bottled up anger and vengeance that threatens to explode at any moment. Once in a village far far from the Rose a sense of fear and unease wrapped itself around the houses, a roar shook the trees and the sky went dark.
Rose shivered. The shed shook and groaned in time with the storm, she pulled the woolen blanket around her. Quietly she cursed the tiny mattress and thanked Mrs Walden for the woolen blankets that she’d included in her generous bonfire night basket. Rose eyed the trunk that kept her and Martha’s small collection of clothes, she thought maybe she could get her blanket but then decided against it. Instead, she listened to Martha's snoring and the howling wind imagined it as a sweet lullaby, the sound soothed her into a deep dreamless sleep.
When Rose woke she was not surprised to find that Martha was awake and not in the shed. She pinched herself ; she knew that Martha hated it when she called the shed
“but” she thought “Martha also hates it when I lie and if I said it was a house I'd be lying” she decided not to dwell on it. The door creaked open and Martha walked in holding a tattered tray with two chipped plates resting on it, atop each plate sat two small pieces of slightly stale bread complete with a dollop of jam. She set it down on the carpeted floor and stared at Rose “Get changed, then, while I heat up the water for tea.” Tilting her head towards the clothes hanging on a hook on the wall. Rose smiled at the thought of warm tea. She put on her grey winter dress, pulled on her stockings and boots, slipped into her soft woolen shawl and plaited her dirty blond hair all before Martha came in with the tea. “A new record” Rose said, happy with her new achievement. After breakfast Martha got ready for her winter job as a cook for Mr Seancoli and his family; Rose thought that she looked quite smart in her uniform with her grey hair twisted back into a bun, her brown skirt long and flowing. “I’m off,” said Martha. Rose watched her go.she picked up the scarlet cloak that was laid across the floor, she ran her fingers on the soft fabric it was a piece of her history Martha always said but rose preferred to think of it as the main exhibit in her museum the thing that led to Martha finding her, in times of worry she would tell herself the story ‘it was a very cold evening and I had just come from Mr Seancoli’s house’ Rose shook her head ‘no time for fantasizing now’ She sighed then she slipped on her gloves then marched out of the shed and into the snow. By the time she reached 10th Edward street Rose she felt as if someone had poured ice into her veins. She rapped her gloved hand on the oak door, it was answered by Max the youngest of the Butcher brothers, he pointed a chubby finger to his chest and without knowing it Rudolph's nose. “I’m a big boy now” he proclaimed “I open the door”
“What’s the capital of Australia” Tom asked, coming from behind his little brother “max don’t know I only four” said Max
“That's alright I don’t know either” said Tom putting on his coat and scarf. They made their way to the bakery “I’ve some spare change, shall we get some raisin bread and hot chocolate?” said Tom
“That sounds delicious” replied Rose
Just after they had finished it started to snow and Tom had to head home. “I’m babysitting Max and Joshua” he said “see you tomorrow” Rose sighed and trudged out into the snow towards the shed as she approached the shed, she hoped that Martha would be there but she knew that Martha wouldn't be back till late. Pulling open the door to the rickety cabinet she pulled out a chipped plate and balanced a tea cup on it, using her other hand she opened the shed door placed her load on a stone, lit a fire placed the grate over the fire and started cooking a small slab of meat for her lunch. She grinned “second achievement of the day.”
Ivy had never run so fast in her life. She lifted the hood of her ivy green cloak even though she knew it would just make her more visible . When she reached the stepping stone stream she hesitated then turned to the right away from the stream, away from her home, she wouldn't put her family and her home in danger by leading the bandits of the woods to them. “Why are they even here”she thought “Usually they stay out of these parts” She stopped. The Oak border rose above her like giants waking from their slumber. Ivy could hear the streets bustling with energy, she listened to pots clanging and laughing voices, Ivy’s grandmother had always said that each place has its own song. Ivy smiled sadly, the memory came flooding back, she was 5 years old sitting on her grandmother's lap listening intently to her grandmother's enchanting voice “ every place, person thing and animal has a song you just need to listen very carefully to hear it” she had whispered, Ivy had listened and heard, she heard her grandmother's breaths fall in time in with her father's footsteps and the soft creaking of her grandmothers rocking chair. Ivy had felt something, something powerful. The bandits heavy footsteps pulled her from her trance, looking nervously at the Oak border she made up her mind and ran through the border not thinking twice about the unknown land beyond the woods
Ivy found herself in some sort of overgrown park. She trekked through multiple weeds and a couple of strawberries, which was certainly very pleasing for Ivy as she had not eaten since morning “ta very much” she called out to the strange park while plopping a sweet strawberry into her mouth. A crumbling stone wall circled what looked a sort of rundown shed. It was made of wood and had a small door, two thin wooden poles held up a tattered extension to the roof, underneath it by a stone fireplace sat a girl, she had dirty blonde hair and wore an old looking scarlet cloak which looked out of place with her shabby gray dress. The girl grabbed a plate and a large soup spoon, slipped it under a piece of meat cooking over the fire, then she jerked it and the meat flipped up and landed squarely on the plate, a large grin appeared on the girl's face. “Third achievement of the day” the girl called out to no one in particular. Ivy put a frozen hand on the stone wall and prepared to run into the woods then a stone from the wall fell on her ankle “breath, Ivy, breath”
“Well what's the point in saying that?” said a voice “ you are alive so you must obviously be breathing” the voice reasoned, Ivy looked up to see the girl from the shed with her plate balanced on her head and sipping tea from a chipped cup as if it was the most ordinary thing in the world to have a plate on your head and a strange girl trying not to wail in your garden. “Uhhh” Ivy said, not really sure what else to say “good- AAARGH!” Ivy wailed as the stone rolled off her ankle and onto her foot “afternoon” said the girl “my name is Rose, and you are?” Ivy was too breathless to respond. Rose looked at Ivy’s swollen ankle “that must hurt” she said “tea?”.
The girls sat drinking what was left of the tea by Rose’s fireplace. Ivy felt uncomfortable, Rose was acting cheery and happy like she had no care in the world but Ivy felt it in her blood that Rose was worried and tired. She had always been able to sense people's emotions that was why she and her family lived out in the woods, the woods, she thought of the bandits “why had they been so close? usually they stayed away from that part, unless they found out about the…. No they couldn't have, could they? NO” she thought “they could not of found out about the a-” her train of thought was cut short by Rose “well it has been nice meeting you… uhh, sorry I was not able to catch your name”
“Right, thank you now just forget about that and we will start our goodbye again, shall we?” Rose said “ well it has been nice meeting you, Ivy but I really must go, is your ankle capable of walking?”
“Uh yes thank you” Ivy replied not knowing if it was true “Ta very much” Ivy walked down the path then as soon as the rickety door shut behind Rose she ran off into the woods forgetting about her ankle and only remembered when she fell flat on her face.
“You need to wash your clothes” Rose said looking at Ivy sitting on the rough weeds her shirt and trousers caked in dirt and a few squashed strawberries. “I thought you said your ankle was capable of walking” she said looking rather miffed, Rose turned away ‘oh dear’ Rose said her brow furrowing as she watched a tall slim man walk the dirty path, he wore a three piece suit, a bowler hat and an irritated look. Rose stared at Ivy and whispered ‘stay hidden’ she turned toward the man, her thoughts getting darker by the second ‘what a pleasant afternoon, don’t you think Mr. Salivas?’ She asked casually as anything ‘it’s Mr. Salvas!’ The man shouted, Rose snickered, she knew perfectly well that it was Mr. Salvas but saying Salvias got on his nerves henceforth she did it, ‘I am afraid I have some business to attend to, would you mind showing me to Mrs. Martha Fillworth? Mr. Salvas said his words were polite but his tone was anything but. ‘I am afraid’ started Rose mimicking his sharp posh voice ‘that Martha is not here oh great Mr. Salivas the man huffed and said ‘I will be back, you too can’t avoid me forever’ then he spun on his heel and disappeared round the corner onto the loud streets. Rose let out a deep breath she didn’t know she’d been holding. The snow had suddenly become colder, the wind cried for the things it’s lost. Rose’s shoulders sunk then she remembered Ivy she turned to where she had last seen the strange girl, but Ivy was gone.
Ivy knew that she had to get back through the Oak border before they awoke at the light of the first star, so she took her chance during the tall man and Rose’s exchange. She ran through the border just in time but she didn’t stop there she ran and ran and ran until her ankle could take the agony no longer.