Adara and the Beast

By: Emily Sharp

Chapter One

The sun was shining and that was a good sign. At least that was what Adara Monroe thought as she stood outside the door of the small cabin where she lived high in the mountains. It was just past ten in the morning, and her father was at the bank in the small town of Palomino, Colorado fifteen miles away hoping to get a loan, which they desperately needed.

A deer came bouncing across the field in front of her, stopped, and looked at her, its ears wiggling, causing Adara to let out a small laugh.

“Good morning to you too,” Adara said, then gave it a curtsy. The deer turned its head and took off again, a magnificent site as it ran, the miles of mountain range behind it giving it an appearance of a movie. Adara lived here in the mountains with her father and two sisters, though that was not always the case. Once upon a time, things were much different, maybe even happier.

“Adara, we need more coffee,” came the yell from her sister, Amber.

With a sigh, Adara looked across the vast field one more time, the sunlight reflecting on the last of the morning’s dew.

“Coming,” she said as she headed back inside the cabin. The log cabin was small, once lived in by her grandparents on her father’s side. The living room was the largest of the rooms, with an old couch and a few overstuffed chairs. The fireplace was empty but would be used in a few months from now when the fall weather set in.

Her two sisters sat on the couch, their packed suitcases beside them. They had met some men online who promised them the world, and if her father did not get the loan, they would in fact be leaving this very day, Adara’s birthday.

“Hey, I need some coffee,” Amber, the middle sister, said, holding her cup in the air. Unlike Adara's soft brown hair, Amber’s was as red as her name.

“Sorry,” Adara said, hurrying over and taking the mug from her. There was no word of thanks, but she had not expected it. This was how things always were.

“Don't forget about me. I swear, I hate being the oldest sometimes,” Jewel said. Though her hair was much like Adara’s, that is where the similarities ended. Jewel had been gaining weight as of late, helping herself to second and often times third portions. She blamed their father, claiming the wild game he had been hunting contained extra fat, though Adara knew it was not the animal, but the extra portions her sisters insisted on, causing the issue.

Taking the mugs, Adara headed into the kitchen that was separated from the living room by a swinging red door. Once in the kitchen, she let out a sigh, setting her and her sisters’ mugs on the counter. There was plenty of coffee left in the pot, and pouring them both out a cup, she shook her head.

Both of her sisters were lazy and never helped around the house. Their father was far too depressed to say anything, who, if not hunting for food or chopping wood, would sit and stare out the window for hours without saying a word.

Grabbing their mugs, she headed back to the living room, both sisters taking the mugs she offered, again without a word of thanks.

“You know, Adara, you need to leave this place,” Amber said, leaning back into the couch.

Adara sighed. “And why is that?”

“Because there is nothing out here. Come back to New York with us. There are plenty of men with money who can provide everything you need.”

Taking a sip from her own mug, Adara was not surprised at their reasoning. Her sisters had complained nonstop since they moved out here just over two years ago and wailed every day about the things they used to have. Granted, they did have nice things back in the city—new cars, the finest clothes, and plenty of money. But then it was gone.

“I won’t leave Dad here by himself. Besides, you know I am not going to marry some guy for money, or any guy for that matter.”

Jewel laughed, Amber joining her. “Oh, well pardon me. I forgot that you are one of those type,” she said, rolling her eyes.

Adara bit down on her lip. “And is there something wrong with that?”

“Besides it being odd, yes, there is. It’s what caused mother to die, did it not?” Jewel said with a sneer.

Adara tugged at the end of her t-shirt, tears rising up from her heart into her eyelids, the words sharper than any sword, it’s piercing deep.

“That’s not what caused her to die,” she choked out. Her mother had simply collapsed one day, long after Adara had come out to her. Yet, her sisters blamed Adara until this very day. It had been seven years since she passed, and Adara missed her as much today as she did then.

Amber yawned and then gave a shake to her head. “You should not try to hide your guilt, Adara. Enough talk. We would like some fruit if there is any left. And hurry, I am hungry,” Jewel said.