Categories > Books > Diana Wynne Jones > Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

by Jarenth 1 review

Isn't it funny, how one little moment can determine your future? How, if one tiny decision is changed, destiny can crumble to dust? Follow Sophie Hatter, as she seizes the moment.

Category: Diana Wynne Jones - Rating: G - Genres: Drama - Characters: Lettie Hatter, Martha Hatter, Michael Fisher, Sophie Hatter, Other - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2006-10-12 - Updated: 2006-10-13 - 797 words

Disclaimer: I do not own anything but my own ideas. Diana Wynne Jones, regrettably, thought up HMC. Therefore, I do not own Sophie, Howl, Calcifer, Michael, Lettie, Martha, or any other characters from the book that may or may not show up. (This goes for the whole story.)
The first bit is directly from the book.


Chapter One:
In which Sophie is decisive

"Does it matter if there are no more hats to sell?" she asked it. She looked round the assembled hats, on stands or waiting in a heap to be trimmed. "What good are you all?" she asked them. "You certainly aren't doing me a scrap of good."
Sophie Hatter was fed up. Fed up with herself, fed up with Fanny, and most certainly fed up with hats. In a fit of stubbornness, she stalked out of the door, flipping the sign in the window to "Closed".

It was not, she reflected, a very intelligent thing to do. After all, she was the eldest. Eldest sisters shouldn't seek their fortunes; it never turned out right. Sophie was about to turn back, when something stopped her. It was as if someone had reinforced her will to go onward. Sophie felt a burst of energy, and found that she was rather close to Cesari's.
"I had better talk to Martha." She remarked to herself. "Of all people, she ought to talk some sense into me."
She made her way to what she thought was Martha's window. Sure enough, Lettie's dark hair peeped out from under a blanket. Sophie rapped sharply on the window.
Martha immediately sprang for the window, then, seeing Sophie, doubled back in confusion. When her eyes caught up with her brain, she threw it open.

"What are you doing here, Sophie? It's the middle of the night, for pity's sake!"

"Well I..." Sophie paused, "Wait a moment, Martha, what were you doing awake? It is, as you said, the middle of the night...!"

Martha blushed, "Well I..."


Sophie turned, to see a pleasant-looking boy staring at her. He was about a head taller than her, with messy brown hair. His brown eyes were largish, but not unusually so. His clothes were finely made, but looked slightly worn. His face looked open and friendly, if confused. He turned to Martha.

"Lettie," he asked, "Who is this?"

Sophie, having finally found a backbone, answered for herself. "I'm her sister, Sophie. And you are...?"

The boy flushed, "I'm Michael, Michael Fisher."

Martha sighed, "Why don't you both come round to the door?"
This time, both Sophie and Michael flushed.


Sophie walked in, taking note of just how cramped Martha's rooms had become. Flowers were everywhere; in vases, in pots, or just cut into bouquets. And all of them had cards to accompany them, oh yes! Martha had certainly attracted many admirers.
Michael, for his part, looked both shocked and pleased. Sophie had to hide a smile at that; obviously she had been right in assuming that this boy held Martha's affections.

Meanwhile, Martha had put the kettle on, and was rummaging around for some teabags. She abruptly pulled out of a cupboard, "Here we go!" She smiled triumphantly, lapsang souchong in hand.

Sophie took the teakettle, and poured carefully into three cups. Handing them around, she inhaled deeply. The tea had an unusually earthy scent, but not an unpleasant one. She brought the cup to her lips.

Martha cleared her throat, "So... Sophie...?"

"I'm having an insanely persistent adrenaline rush." Sophie stated between sips, "And I need you to talk sense into me before I do something incredibly stupid."

Martha blinked, "So you mean, you've finally started taking my advice, and given up working for mother? And you want me to stop you?!"

Dammit, Martha. Always so perceptive. Sophie grimaced, "I didn't quit, I walked out after she had already left.

Martha snorted, "And I swear that tomorrow, I will personally tell her you've quit. It's about time for you to do something of your own, and not just sewing hats."

Michael coughed politely, "Erm, Lettie...? Perhaps I should just..."

She rounded on him with a snap, "Michael! I've told you all about Sophie's infuriating inferiority complex, haven't I? Don't you think that she should do something for herself? Honestly!"

Sophie slumped over the table, "Honestly, Ma-/Lettie/, I think it's already wearing off. I think I'll just go back home, thanks; and leave the pair of you to whatever it was you had planned."

Michael looked like he wanted to agree with the idea, but Martha had a rather feral glint in her eye. "Sophie...!"


A/N: I must be evil for ending there, but writer's block prevails.
Poll: Should Michael bring Sophie to Howl, or should she go off on her own?
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