Snowflakes and Embers, Chapter 2

Elizabeth Pearl Corey, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Elizabeth Pearl Corey, the co-editor-in-chief of The Paper Lion, has completed the second chapter of her first novel, Snowflakes and Embers. Didn’t read chapter 1 yet? Click on this link!


The Second Chapter


I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way,” Mary is singing along to Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” when I walk into her bedroom.

The entire room looks like it’s been covered in blush and Barbie’s tears. Everything covered head to toe in pink. The dresser, the desk, the vanity, the armoire, the closet—all pink. Her queen-sized bed has a mattress the color of a doll’s cheeks and a frame like a peony. Her comforter looks like it’s been dipped in cherry juice. Her pillows are the skin of a strawberry and her blanket the petals of Antoine Rivoire roses, with a dash of Albertine. The carpet seems to be covered with the petals of zinnias and primroses—so soft and pink. Her walls look like the sky at dawn, and the ceilings match. There is nothing in this room that has been left untouched by the color of a newborn’s cheeks—nothing…except for the curtains. The billowing fabric is deep red, like plum juice mixed with fresh blood. It’s tamed only by coral ribbons tied into bows. They are not pink, but they are almost there. Whenever I walk into her room I feel like I’m walking into a bakery with potpourri in rose quartz crystal vases on each table, complemented by raspberry macaroons. It’s just the welcoming and warm vibe her little sanctuary gives off, topped with the sweet scents that invade my senses whenever I’m here. It’s like being in a cotton candy-covered Heaven!

Mary is doodling in her notebook, so I just enter and sit beside her on the carpet. I don’t want to take her out of “the zone.” I let my eyes wander, knowing I’ll be bored until she snaps out of it, but too lazy to pull my phone out of my pocket. My vision focuses on a plate of sugar cookies and a bowl of strawberries on her desk. Almost instantaneously, my mouth begins to water. My brain is begging me to take some, and the foods’ perfection is tempting me even more. I know that my hostess, who’s practically my sister, wouldn’t mind, but I’m not one to take without asking. Plus, again: lazy.

“There…and done! Yup! Another piece to paint, for sure!” when Mary finished sketching her latest masterpiece, it’s like someone turned on a light or rang a bell, alerting her to my presence. She places her notebook face down so that I cannot see what it is that she’s composed, and beams at me.

“Oh, Lizy, darling! You’re here! Wow, did it really take you that long to feed your cat, dog, rabbit, canary, and goldfish? Such a quick one, you are!”

I roll my eyes and stretch out on the carpet so that I look like a cat lounging. A yawn forces its way into the air, and Mary mimics it right on cue.

“It was super quick. All my sweethearts are well-behaved. You know that!”

The robin-breast-haired girl agrees with pep and relaxes right next to me, copying me so that we are in similar resting positions. She studies me for a bit while I wait to see if she can guess what’s on my mind. It’s a fun, little game we like to play sometimes. We like to challenge the thought that we are truly in sync, even though we know that it’s a truth.

“Something Cody-related, I’m guessing?” she tries, after a bout of silence.

I spring up, my eyes glowing like hot coals and a grin plastered to my face.

“Oh my gosh, you always know!” I’m sitting cross-legged now, rocking back and forth on my bum, squealing with extreme gaiety.  

“Well, what’s the story? What happened?”

“Have I got a tale for you, young missy,” I tease, moving onto my hands and knees out of sheer jitteriness.

“So, I was walking across the street over to here, right? And I hear one of the neighbor’s doors open, so I turn to see who it is and what house and whatnot, right? So then I see it’s the Benderlin’s house and the culprit is Cody! So…he was walking his dog and coming straight towards me. That sweet, little Tracy, yanno? The fluffy puppy that looks like a cloud? So she was bouncing towards me and he had no choice but to follow. I was, like, frozen to the spot, my nerves and brain going crazy with ‘what to do?’ and ‘O.M.G., he’s coming my way!’ right? So, and then he makes his way to me, and before I know what’s happening, he’s STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, Mary! So then do you know what I do? I actually said ‘hi,’ to him! Like…I, Elizabeth Pearl Berangere-Bellatrix Morvared actually said ‘hi’ to Codin Fleure Benderlin IV, after three grueling months of pining for it! Can you actually believe it? Mary! I spoke to him!” I was boiling over with delight, a seething pool of joviality. I put my hand over my heart and make sniffing noises as if I were about to cry. I very well could, I mean, I’ve fiercely and intensely liked this guy since he came here last May and I haven’t said one word to this dude, who I was drooling over, devoted to so, and dreaming about, until now! What an accomplishment!

“Why does everyone in our town have such fancy names?” she questions, her index finger resting curled on her chin. “I mean, Maragaret Annabelle Evans, Elizabeth Pearl Berangere-Bellatrix Morvared, Codin Fleure Benderlin IV. I mean, it’s just so ridiculous! I get that it’s an elite town and we live in a gated community and go to a private academy/institution, and all…but still…it’s just so weird!”

“Huh?” my jaw drops to the floor. I can’t believe it! I just spilled my life story to her and she’s completely distracted. But, I mean, it’s also a completely normal reaction for her, so I also completely believe it. I get weird like that sometimes, too, so I can’t blame the girl.

She turns to look at me, her eyes piercing and in deep concentration.

“Don’t you think?”

“Mary,” I whine, “the subject at hand please?”

She seems to be taken out of a trance and she snaps her fingers. “Oh, yeah!” she lowers her head so that she’s looking up at me from under her canopy of copper eyelashes. “That’s it?”

“What do you mean ‘that’s it?’”

“Well, I mean, you’ve made progress, that’s for sure. But I was hoping for something a little juicier, you know?” Immediately she falls into a satire of what she thought went down, and what she’d prefer. It’s a sappy dramatization and it’s perfect for a drama queen like her.

“Okay, that’s enough, Stephenie Meyer, quit it!” I’m laughing and struggling to pull her to her senses, but she just ropes me into her performance.

“Oh, Cody, I love you so! Mwah, mwah, mwah!”

“Get off of me, you savage!” I squee and try to twist out of her grasp.

“Never, Cody, I love you so much! I’m Lizy M. and I love you so, so much, Cody B.!”

“You’re so weird, get off of me!” we sound like a gaggle of geese fighting over a crumb, but we’re really just teenage girls with no lives despite our families’ prosperity.




Knock, knock, knock, we freeze in the awkward position when we hear the knocking at her door.

I’m forcing myself not to let my chortles out, but I’m having too much fun to stay completely quiet, so some chuckles sneak into the air, while Mary also struggles to keep her laughter tamed.

She clears her throat, but one can clearly hear the jubilation in her voice.

“Yes? Momma, is that you?” her voice cracks with the laughter bloating her voice.

“May I come in, dear?” her soft, satin voice is lined with distress and we immediately hush at the tone of torn hearts in her silken words.

“Of course, Momma, what’s wrong?” we move away from each other and keep our attention fixed on the door, which opens a slit to reveal the radiance of Mrs. Evans, who still looks like she’s in her 20s and her prime even after all this time. But…a flaw is deterring her usually perfect face. Silver tears are pooled at the edges of her eyes, and when she blinks they fall like raindrops down a windowpane, down her flushed, but paled cheeks. Her eyes appear to be completely bloated with tears, red, puffy, and ever leaking.

Mary rushes to her feet and runs to her mother, hugging her and receiving an even tighter embrace, in return. I just stay seated, unsure of what to say.

“Momma? What’s–wha–what’s the matter?” my friend seems uneasy to see her mother cry. I get that way too, those few times I’ve seen my mother cry.

Mrs. Evans doesn’t seem to hear her daughter. Instead, she’s staring straight at me, and her intense gaze is starting to make me uncomfortable.

“Lizy…it’s your parents.”

My pulse starts to go off like machine gun shots and my heart feels like it’s been shot, and killed. I hope she’s going to say something happy, but nothing about this picture seems happy, and I hate it!

“Darling…they’re dead.”