Well, just to get an idea out of my brain and down onto paper, I wrote this little piece of nothingness. I suppose I'll keep it on hand if I ever need another novel idea! (As I'm sure I will :) This is mainly characterization, as it is told from a narrator-type voice, but who in the world cares when one is scribbling inspiration? ;) So here I give you, for your enjoyment:
By Rachel Heffington
To have suggested they nail down the loose step so it would not creak would have been heresy. To recommend a few more real pieces of furniture among the telephone-wire spools and orange crates would have been blaspheme. For, the owners of Higglety Hill were adamant—not a thing should be changed. Could be changed. If one began meddling about dear Higglety Hill it would quickly slide into the ranks of Just Another Place—“Japs,” the children called those legions of blind, unloved, empty houses scattered over the countryside.
Higglety Hill began as a Jap. But that was, of course, before the Beckett children had discovered it and given it a name. Now to suggest that Higglety Hill had ever been such a thing would earn you an indignant stare from Olivia, a fierce growl from Hugh, and a pained cry out of Jemma.
“Higglety Hill a Jap? How dare you?” they might say, and naturally that would be an end to any acquaintance you might have with the place, for the Beckets were jealous as dragons over Higglety Hill. They were fierce about it, I tell you, which is why they swore that, were there any other children on Sparrowleave Lane, they should not be friends with them anyway. But there were no children on Sparrowleave Lane save themselves.
Jemma, who was six, might have been “Jemima” once, but no one could remember so no one cared. Her entire character could be pinned on that maxim, for Jemma was the quiet Beckett. She was the one people glanced at, forgot about, and were startled by the next moment when she cleared her throat and fixed her blue eyes on them, reproachfully.
Olivia was the oldest Beckett and it was she who had suggested they name Higglety Hill. She named everything, even a particular freckle on Hugh’s elbow that she christened “Moss.”
“Moss?” you might ask.
“Why not Moss?” she’d answer with all the loftiness twelve years bestows, and become even more mysterious. It was Olivia’s habit to be mysterious over the oddest things. You might be eating a picnic lunch and she’d raise the lid of her sandwich, peer inside, then look at you. “I won’t tell you what’s on mine.”
“What’s on yours?”
“Mustard, ham, and cheese,” she’d say at last, taking an enormous bite out of her sandwich.
“That’s what we’ve all got!” You’d cry in frustration.
“I never said it wasn’t,” she’d reply, staring at you as if she found your company dull and rather taxing.
This particular habit of Olivia’s vexed Hugh who was always curious and therefore always asking questions. His favorite was “why?” or perhaps “what?” (pretending he was deaf) or once in a very long while “wherefore?” which he had read off of a torn page of Shakespeare’s Illustrated Companion next to a picture of a man in colorful tights whose named appeared to be “Romec.” The page was chewed by a mouse there at the last half of the word and Hugh walked about feeling that somehow there was more to fellow’s name than he had been able to decipher. “Romec” wasn’t any sort of a name at all.
In addition to Hugh’s curiosity, he was the Beckett no one could forget—his duckling-yellow hair made sure of that if his pert opinions failed, which they hardly ever did.
These were the owners of Higglety Hill, and this is their story.