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Phoenix Cottage - Chapter 2

by poemsgalore 

Posted: 17 August 2003
Word Count: 988
Summary: Sorry if there are any typos, please be patient, everything will eventually be explained.

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The Present

"You know Amy, everything looks better upside down." Leonard Martin dangled from the ancient Yew tree. His sister Amy ignored him and concentrated on her art homework. She was sketching their house, Phoenix Cottage. It had been rebuilt in 1650 after being destroyed by fire during the Civil War. The old chapel nearby had been damaged at the same time and had gradually become a ruin during the centuries in between.

The Martin family had moved into Phoenix Cottage six months ago. Amy and Leonard had settled into their new schools quickly. Leonard had one more year of Junior School, while fifteen-year-old Amy was in year 9 at the local comprehensive.

"There" she held her drawing up so that Leonard could see it.

"Not bad sis!" He grinned down at her.

"You'd get a better view if you looked at it the right way up." She scolded. "Besides, all your blood will rush to your head and you'll go dizzy when you try to stand up." Leonard swung himself down beside her. He compared the sketch to the real building.

"The doorway doesn't seem right Amy," He pointed out.

"I know, I draw it exactly as I see it but it looks all wrong somehow." She put her drawing in her folder. "Well, it will have to do. Come on Len, Tea-time." As Lenny got up, his attention was drawn over to the chapel. Three men stood looking at it. Every so often one of them held something up to his eye, Lenny thought it could be a camera. Then they moved to a different position and repeated their actions. Lenny shrugged his shoulders and followed Amy indoors.

During Amy's history lesson the next day, Mr Grant droned on about Oliver Cromwell as usual. Amy was more concerned with the art lesson she had later, then Mr Grant said something that made her sit up and take notice.

"Phoenix Cottage was rebuilt with what could be salvaged from the original house." He said. "The doors were not damaged, so they were used again. Only a mistake was made, the front door was put on upside down."

"So that's why it looks so odd." Amy thought.

"The original key was never found" Mr Grant went on, "so a new one was cut. As you can see the house we know now is very similar to the original." He took a piece of paper from his desk and held it up so all the class could see. "This is a photocopy of a drawing of the house just before it burned down." Amy closed her eyes to picture the house as she knew it. Then she looked at the drawing. She took her own sketch from her bag.

"That's it," she said to herself "I've drawn the door as it was in the original house. Not as it is now." She quickly put her drawing away and listened intently to Mr Grant; he was talking about the old chapel now.

"So it has been decided to restore the chapel. It won't be ready in time for this summer's pageant of course which is a shame as this year its theme is the Civil War."

Amy was thoughtful as she made her way to art; Mrs Simpson was very pleased with her sketch.

"I'm not very happy about the doorway though." She told her "It looks more like the original house. I wanted it to look how it does now."

"Never mind Amy," Mrs Simpson held it up to the light to get a proper look "maybe you could try again another time then you could have a 'before and after' picture of the house."

After tea that evening Lenny was in his usual upside down position in the Yew tree.

"Lenny" his mother shouted from the doorway. "Don't do that after a meal, you'll make yourself sick." Lenny sighed and hauled himself the right way up. He was still sat on the branch when Amy came out, she followed his gaze. He was engrossed in watching the activities over at the old chapel.

"Nosy!" She grabbed his leg and pulled him out of the tree.

"Ow!" He yelled, luckily he landed safely. He lunged at Amy who rolled out of the way and scrambled up the slope away from him. It was too warm an evening, and too soon after their evening meal for a real scrap. They were both full so Lenny followed Amy and flopped down on the grass by her side.

"What are they doing?" He nodded in the direction of the men working around the chapel.

"Taking measurements by the look of it." She rolled over onto her back and shielded her eyes from the sun.

"I can see that, but why are they doing it?"

"Apparently they're going to restore it to its former glory."

"How do you know?" She told him what Mr Grant had said about the chapel, Phoenix Cottage's door and its missing key "So you see my sketch looks just like the original house."

"Wouldn't it be great if we could find the missing key." Lenny said excitedly.

"Don't be silly, it would be all rusty now anyway." Lenny looked quite crestfallen and Amy tried to think of a way to cheer him up. "Mr Porter invited him to his house on Saturday.7"

"Oh big deal!" He sounded totally underwhelmed.

"It's the only house in the village that's older that Phoenix Cottage" she continued, ignoring his sarcasm. "There are all sorts of interesting things there from the Civil War."

"Any weapons?" He brightened at the thought. Amy hesitated for a moment, not wanting to build false hopes.

"Maybe" she said with a hint of doubt in her voice.

"Great!" He jumped up "Come on Amy, I'm going to have a nosy round the old chapel."

"Sorry, more homework to do. You go though, tell me what you find out."

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Comments by other Members

JohnK at 13:28 on 17 August 2003  Report this post
Ksthleen -
No need for explanations. It reads well and I like it. I can see you still have the target audience in your sights, and the story is moving along well. I was right about the name 'Phoenix' being significant. I wonder how many teenagers would get the significance.

All the best, JohnK.

Becca at 14:56 on 17 August 2003  Report this post
Hi Kathleen, I like the jump into modern times here. The old yew tree is a good touch and the door going on upside down is interesting. It's coming along. A couple of tiny points I thought about:
'.. still sitting' sounds better than '..still sat' and in the same sentence a semi colon might be in order at '.. when Amy came out; she followed his gaze.'
Got a tad confused with the following bit of dialogue: 'Mr Potter invited him to his house on Saturday. 7' Did I miss something here?
The only other thing I thought was, thinking about school teachers, would Mr Grant have pointed out to the other kids, or acknowledged that, Amy was living in Phoenix Cottage do you think? I look forward to the story unfolding.

Margrethe at 15:37 on 17 August 2003  Report this post
Hey - you got me hooked here :-)

I am anxious to know why Amy drew the door the wrong way compeared with todays reality. Was it because her brother Lenny saw it that way, as he was hanging upside down in the tree - and this functions as the first clue to let us know there is a special bond between Lenny and Amy? Or did Amy draw the door as it was before beacuse in her subconcious she somehow knew? And then the name Phoneix - which gives the asosiation to "risen form the ashes" - but with the door upside down - is the are story from the past that needs to be uncovered - the door beeing the clue to spur someone on to look for it? And who put the door upside down? Did it just happen through some strange influence from the place an cottage itself - giving the cottage personality and power, or was it a person that carried a horrific secret about what really happend, that deliberately put the door upside down? Or was it a warning - a warning about some subtle influence the place might have over people?

In other words - I see a lot of possible scenarios here - and I am excited to find out what happens next - well done :-)

poemsgalore at 18:22 on 18 August 2003  Report this post
Well, first Becca, the 7 is a typo - sorry about that. As for the door being the wrong way round - it's meant to be mystical, but there is a link with the past which will be revealed later. Glad you like it, but it does need a bit of tidying up. Maybe today's teenagers wouldn't understand the Phoenix reference John, unless they'd read "The Phoenix and the Carpet" etc.

stephanieE at 11:26 on 19 August 2003  Report this post
Yes, this is full of redolent possibility. I like the relationship between the siblings too - too warm for a scrap, yeah, that's how it was sometimes with me and mys sister...

Keep on posting, we're dying to know where this is going next!

Sarah at 15:45 on 19 August 2003  Report this post
Hey there,

You're definitely spot on as far as the genre and age group you're going for. This is moving on at a good pace, and I think you've struck the right balance of exposition without lecturing. If you know what I mean...

The thing with the door is excellent, very eerie and brings back memories of the witch from the first chapter...

Looking forward to the next bit...

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