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The Colonial

The student news site of Freehold High School

The Colonial

The student news site of Freehold High School

The Colonial

Peacemaker; Part 4

Photo Courtesy of Maahum Alvi

“Grandpa? What are you doing here?” Will asked.

“I sent Flora here with Lily’s last puzzle because I was sick and tired of you all bickering all the time. It was time you all started acting like a family,” Mr. Sharp said. “I won’t be around forever, and I need you to be ready.”

“So this was a setup?” Will said, glaring at Flora, his mother’s supposed childhood best friend, accusingly.

Before she could say anything in her defense, Mr. Sharp interjected. “It was not a setup, Will. Simply me using your mother’s final puzzle the way she would’ve wanted it to be used.”

The others started talking amongst themselves, commenting on his mother’s cleverness and on his grandfather’s timely use of the treasure hunt. But Will glanced at Flora, feeling uneasy. For the first time in six years, he had thought that he had finally found someone who wasn’t tiptoeing around him because he was still “grieving”, who saw him as more than just another Sharp. But it had all been an act.

Quietly, he slipped away and made his way back to his room. When he got there, he glanced out the window to see that his family hadn’t even noticed that he had disappeared. So much for things getting better. Will glanced at the painting in his hand, the one his mother had left him. The one of the Middlemist Red, one of the rarest flowers in the world. His mother believed he was more than just another Sharp. That he was someone worth talking to. That he was someone special. Maybe he could be. Maybe he couldn’t.

Knowing now that he couldn’t rest without trying, he picked up a notebook that he hadn’t touched in a long time. When he opened it, it was filled with his six-year-old self’s chicken-scratch handwriting. He pulled out a pencil and began to write. He suddenly remembered how freeing it was to let his ideas flow onto the paper, to craft a story like the ones he read to escape his real life. The pencil felt like an extension of him and he couldn’t feel the scratching of it on the paper, only heard it.

Time became still. He wrote and wrote, unaware of the hands on the clock. Will wasn’t sure how long he had been writing when someone knocked on his door. Before he could hide his notebook, the person let themselves in.

“Will,” Flora said, but he interrupted her.

“Your job here is done, isn’t it? You can go. Pretty sure you were only being paid to do this until my grandfather showed up,” Will said stiffly.

“Paid?” Flora said in confusion. “I wasn’t getting paid to do this.”

Will looked up slightly. “You weren’t?”

Flora sighed. “I guess I wasn’t completely honest with you. It was always in your mother’s will that this treasure hunt eventually happened and that I brought it here. The only part of that I lied about was that you had to be twelve. Your mother and I really were good friends growing up. I didn’t do this because I was getting paid. I did this because I wanted to honor my friend’s wishes and make sure her family was okay.”

Will relaxed a bit. “You’re a good friend for that. So… you don’t work for my grandfather?”

Flora hesitated. “Well… I do work for his company. But this is all off the record. I’m not getting paid for this. I’m sorry if you felt it was all fake, Will. I really did just want to help.”

“It’s okay,” Will said with a slight smile, deciding to forgive her. “Just so you know, I don’t think Robert will ever mature. The others, maybe. Robert? I highly doubt it.”

Flora laughed. “I’m sure he’ll learn eventually.” She glanced around a bit and caught sight of the notebook. “What’s that?”

“It’s nothing,” Will said quickly. “It’s just… something I write in.”

“Can I see it?” Flora asked. Since there wasn’t exactly anything worth hiding, Will handed the book over. As Flora leafed through the pages, Will could hear his heart pounding. He had never shown his writing to anyone but his mother, and the last time he had written outside of school assignments was six years ago. He assumed that he was rusty.

When she had finished reading what was legible, Flora slowly closed the book and looked at Will. “That’s incredible, Will.”

He felt his heart return to its regular rhythm. “Really?”

“Really. Do you plan on doing anything with this talent?”

Talent? The last time someone had said that he was talented, it was his teacher on the notes for the parent-teacher conference that no one from Will’s family had shown up to. He’d always thought that the teacher was just being nice.

“I mean, I used to think about becoming a professional writer, but this is the first time I’ve written since Mom’s death. I’m scared of what people will think. What if it’s not good enough?”

“It is good enough. If anyone says otherwise, it’s not true. It’s just that they aren’t good enough for you and your work. You know, if you ever decide to carry out that dream of being a professional writer, you should talk to your grandfather. After all, his company is a publishing house.”

Surprisingly, Will didn’t feel as nervous about that idea as he thought he would.

“Also,” Flora said. “Your aunt said it’s time for dinner.”

With a small smile, Will followed her downstairs. Robert saw him and made a face, the one he made when he was about to tell a joke that only he found funny. Before Robert could say anything though, Libby stepped in front of her brother.

“Mom said that you have to do the dishes after dinner,” she said.

“What?! Why do I have to do it?” Robert complained.

Libby shrugged. “Take it up with Mom.”

As Robert stormed off, Libby glanced at Will. “Come on. Mom was experimenting with dinner, so be prepared.”

Will groaned. Aunt Bella was notorious for her experiments when it came to cooking. So far, she had been extremely unsuccessful in making anything edible.

“We should’ve begged Aunt Tina to cook,” Will said, following Libby to the dining room.

“We should have,” Libby agreed. While the two of them didn’t have a history of agreeing on much, they could both agree that Aunt Tina’s cooking was far superior to Aunt Bella’s. The only person who seemed to like Aunt Bella’s cooking was Robert, and Will suspected that it was all a ploy to torture them all.

As Will resigned himself to his fate of eating another failed culinary experiment, he also decided that he was going to start giving things a chance again. Not the cooking; he knew that would be terrible. But he was going to give everything else a chance. His family. His dreams. Everything.

His mother, the family Peacemaker, had saved the day again, even from beyond the grave.

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About the Contributor
Maahum Alvi
Maahum Alvi, Staff Writer
Maahum is a freshman at Freehold High School. This is her first year on The Colonial. She is passionate about writing, especially creative writing. Maahum loves reading, robotics, and spending time with her siblings. 

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