I started writing this story in 2007 and got as far as chapter two. It’s a very simple storyline and when I came across it today, I decided to complete it. It’s a short story, only four chapters.
By C.E. Pereira
CHARLOTTE first met Johnny the day she turned five. It was her birthday party and she was hiding behind her mother’s skirt. Her father was trying to coax her to join the other kids in a game of musical chairs. But the more he tried the more shy she became. So in the end they let her be.
When her parents said they needed to go indoors to get her birthday cake, Charlotte was left alone. She wanted to join in the fun with the other kids but was frightened of being teased. So she just watched the others having all the fun.
Hearing her name being called, she turned around to see who was calling her. There stood a little boy about her age grinning at her. He had a mischievous grin and laughing eyes. His curly black hair needed to be cut and his clothes were thread-bear.
“Hi. I’m Johnny. Is this your birthday party, Charlotte??”
But Charlotte was tongue-tied. So he continued, “Your name is pretty.”
“Thank you. But my Mum and Dad call me Charly.”
“Please to meet you Charly. I just moved here so I don’t have your invitation. Is it okay to come to your party?”
With a bright smile, Charly replied, “Yes.” Charly was captivated by this boy. “I like you. You’re nice. ”
Johnny smiled and nodded. So the unique friendship between Charly and Johnny began.
EVERYDAY after school was out, Johnny was over at Charlotte’s house waiting for her. Like clockwork the two friends would dash out to play. Today was no different. Johnny was already outside and he called out, “Hey, Charly. You ready?”
“Mum! Can I go now? Johnny is here.”
“Sure Honey. But be back by five o’clock. Supper is as six.” said Charlotte’s mother, Mrs Larkin. Looking out the kitchen window, she smiled as she saw Charly laughing and skipping down the garden path.
“What are we doing today?” asked Charly.
“Kite flying.” said Johnny.
“But we don’t have a kite, Johnny” said Charly.
“I found one yesterday. I left it in our hidey-hole.”
“I don’t know how to fly a kite.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll teach you Charly.”
Charly had such fun learning to fly the kite that Johnny found. It was a colourful kite and the wind pushed it high up in the sky. In all the excitement, she forgot about her shyness. But then in the company of Johnny, Charly seem to forget being shy. All too soon the day ended and Charly had to go home for supper.
Every day after school, the two friends had such fun together. The bond between Charly and Johnny grew stronger with each passing day. The shy little girl was slowly becoming more confident and finding it easier to make new friends.
One day, during supper, Mrs Larkin asked Charly, “When can we meet your new friend?”
Mr Larkin joined in saying, “You always talk about Johnny but so far your Mum and me haven’t met the boy.”
“Well, he’s shy around grown-ups. But Mum sees him everyday when he comes around.”
“I really haven’t seen him. You always dash off before I can get a peek at him.” said Mrs Larkin.
“OK! Tomorrow, you can meet him.” said Charly.
Tomorrow came bright and sunny. After breakfast, Charly went out to wait for Johnny. He said he’d come before eight o’clock. Eight o’clock came and went but no Johnny.
Mrs Larkin saw her daughter looking so forlorn and sad. Charly had been sitting on the steps for more than an hour. Johnny never showed up that day or the next. He seem to have vanished into thin air.
Charly’s father tried asking around the neighbourhood if they knew the new kid on the block. But nobody seem to know Johnny. There was no new family that moved into the neighbourhood.
Charly cried and couldn’t be consoled about her missing friend. Where was Johnny? How could a little boy just disappear without a trace? So many questions but no one had the answers for Charly.
DAYS turned into weeks with no trace of Johnny. Charly’s new friends came over to play with her but none of them knew Johnny. They thought that Johnny was
Charly’s imaginary friend. Month’s later Charly stopped mentioning Johnny’s name. And there came a day when she forgot Johnny altogether. Johnny had cease to exist.
Years passed and Charly was all grown up and in college. She had a steady boyfriend, Matthew but felt that something was missing.
Matthew liked to party and today he was taking Charly to his friend’s birthday party. Charly was still shy and parties made her nervous.
They arrived at the party which was already in full swing. The music was loud and the place was packed to the brim. Charly wished she could be anywhere else but at the party. Matthew was in his element. He was dancing and laughing with his friends.
Charly escaped the crowded hall and found herself inside a small sitting-room. The room was filled with bookshelves.
She found a book and sat down to read when she heard a soft cough. Well, it was more like a throat clearing.
She looked up and found a tall handsome guy with unruly curly hair standing next to the window looking at her. He looked so familiar.
“Hello. I didn’t see you. I hope I’m not disturbing you. It’s just that I hate crowded places and sneaked in here to get away from them. I’ll…”
“No, it’s alright. You can stay, I don’t mind.”
“I’m Charlotte. Thank you. I don’t think I have the courage to go back out there so soon.”
“Hi Charlotte. I’m John. The birthday boy is my brother Shaun.”
“Shouldn’t you be out there entertaining your guest?”
“No. Technically they are Shaun’s guest, not mine. So I’m hiding here. Shaun knows I don’t like parties, let alone crowds.”
“You look familiar. Are you at the same college as Shaun?”
“Yes. Shaun is a year ahead of me.”
“Then we must have the same classes but I don’t remember you in any of my classes. But you look so familiar.”
“I missed the first semester. Just got in yesterday. If I’d known that Shaun was having a birthday party, I would have delayed my arrival by another day. But then I would have missed meeting you.”
Charly smiled at John’s comment. His voice pulled at a memory long-buried inside Charly.
The two of them chatted like long-lost friends. Charly didn’t feel shy around John. She felt like they knew each other from somewhere.
All too soon the party ended. The two new friends made arrangement to meet after classes the next day.
That night, Charlys’ dreams took her back to her childhood. Back to a little boy with a mischievous grin, laughing eyes and curly black hair.
THE dream was fading, Charly felt a sadness, like she needed to remember her dream.
The day was hectic, classes was long and boring. She kept looking at the clock, wanting it to be time to meet John.
Throughout the day, Charly kept getting glimpse of her dream. She kept getting images of a little boy with curly black hair.
Four o’clock came and Charly raced to the front gate to meet John. From a distance she saw him with Shaun.
“Hi John. Hi Shaun.”
“Hi. So, you are John’s date. Make sure he comes home early. He’s still recovering from his illness and needs his beauty sleep.”
“Shaun, stop embarrassing Charlotte. Shoo now.”
“Johnny, I’m serious. I don’t want Mum getting upset. Johnny, promise me.”
Suddenly everything faded out. Charly could only hear the name Johnny. It was her Johnny, the friend that disappeared. The friend that never came back. She
felt herself falling.
Strong arms were holding her and a voice asking her if she was alright. She was being held by John and hovering over her was Shaun, his face full of concern.
“It is you. Where did you go? Everyone thought you were my imaginary friend. I blocked you out of my mind, I made myself forget you. But you are real, why did you leave me?”
John was staring at her. Then she heard Shaun asking, “Charly, are you alright?”
She was still looking at John when he murmured her name. “Charly! Shaun you called her Charly.”
“That’s what everyone calls her. Charlotte is Charly. I think I’ll go get a glass of water for Charly.”
“You were the little girl in my dreams. You are real. Not a dream.”
“You dreamt me. How is that possible? The first time I met you was at my birthday party. I was five-years-old.”
John set down and told his story of being sick with a viral fever. The doctors induced him in a semi-coma to help his body fight the fever. He was unconscious for almost two weeks. But he remembered his dream when they brought him out of unconsciousness.
“I dreamt of you, Charly. Of me being a kid at your birthday party. And you were so shy. But it was a dream.”
“But to me it wasn’t a dream. It was real. You were my friend Johnny. One day you disappeared. I waited for you to return, you did not. As time went by, I forgot you until today.”
“Could I have gone back in time and met you? When I was unconscious, did my spirit leave my body and find you. I have been wondering what is the meaning of the dream. I think I have my answer, you were my angel.”
Charly held on tightly to Johnny. The future was ahead of them. They had lots to talk about. But for now, their two souls were joined. One soul went back in time while the other reached out to embrace.
How do you explain this, years ago Charly meeting Johnny while to Johnny it was in a dream just recently. Are they soulmates? Are they two halfs that were searching through time, soulmates that found each other.
– The End –
Copyright © 2014 C. E. Pereira