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|This is the first chapter of a story that I'm still working on. It's about a young girl that comes from a broken home and finds out she comes from a different and rather magical dimension. In the end she returns to her own world to rule the Kingdom of a Thousand Lights, Lestranya.||
‘Selena! Selena!’ a loud and angry voice shouted. ‘Hey, madam, are you still there? Selena! Hello?’
A middle aged man with a large, yellow moustache was standing next to the table of one of his students and didn’t seem pleased at all. He was tapping his left foot anxiously and had his arms folded near to his chest. He bowed a little bit closer towards the girl, but she didn’t seem to notice him there.
‘Hello? I am trying to make contact. Is someone there?’ he tried again.
No answer. He sighed heavily for a couple of times. Suddenly the young girl the large, grumpy man was directing all his attention to, blinked with her bright green eyes for a few times and seemed to realise where she was again. She lifted her head from upon her hands and wiped her red, curly locks from her face. Quickly she turned around, only to find her classmates laughing at her and Mr Sunday, her teacher, looking at her with a mixture of great despair and hopelessness, with his dark, beady, little eyes that were situated almost in the middle of his forehead piercing her gaze. She thought of what to say, but it appeared Sunday beat her to it.
‘What do you think when coming to my class, huh? Good, another hour of daydreaming? Look, I know it’s only Tuesday and you just had a week’s holiday, but this is getting out of hand!’ A few of the other students nodded in agreement. He walked over to his desk and slammed his hand on the wooden frame. Then, as if in one movement, he turned around again.
‘Your grades are slipping, your homework is suffering, you are calling in sick for days in a row and then when you do decide to come and pay as your annual visit, you don’t even pay attention!’ He took of his glasses, rubbed them clean with his handkerchief, put them on again, walked around awkwardly, rubbing his forehead and stood still in front of her, looking very menacing.
‘I just don’t know what to do with you anymore, Miss Malloy. Surely you must be able to understand that.’
Selena stared at the ground and started twirling her long, red hair around between her fingertips. She didn’t know what to say. What could she say? She knew Sunday was exaggerating, but also feared he had a point. He walked up to her with his hands in his pocket, shaking his head.
‘Where were you yesterday at the parental meeting?’ he asked her shortly.
She sighed. ‘I left.’
‘Oh, you left?’ Sunday repeated.
‘Yes, sir, I left.’ She looked up to him and met his eyes. ‘Because, as you very well know, I don’t have any parents to take to the parental meeting, and my grandmother and grandfather have more important things to do then talking about waste bins and new wooden swings going to be built on the school property. Especially on their age.’
‘Waste bins and new wooden swings?’ Sunday repeated again.
Selena nodded. ‘Eh, that’s what it’s mostly about anyway.’
‘Mostly about anyway?’
Again Selena nodded. But this time somewhat more forcefully. Why was he repeating everything she was saying?
‘And that’s why you didn’t care to join our party yesterday, is that right?’ Sunday interrupted her thoughts, and made it sound as though it was the most important question that had ever been asked, while frowning.
‘Eh, yes. That’s what I’m saying, yes.’
‘Ah…’ Was his short reaction. ‘I see…’
He stared around and tapped his feet, looking irritated. Probably because she had just given him a perfectly good reason not to have come to the meeting the day before. And he couldn’t stand that. Because as everyone knew, he always wanted to be right about everything, even if he wasn’t and actually was more likely to be wrong about everything.
‘Ah, well, your grandparents…,’ he started slowly. ‘But you yourself could have made an appearance.’
Selena frowned. ‘What use would that have had?’ she asked bluntly.
‘Don’t you question me, young lady! The fact that your grandparents could not make it doesn’t mean that you couldn’t. And if…’
‘Yes, but it said on the…’
‘How dare you interrupt me like that?’ Sunday asked in an almost surprises voice, looking honestly taken aback.
‘Well, I only wanted to say that it was suppose to be a parental meeting, right?’ She looked at him expectantly.
‘Ahm, yes, of course it was.’
‘So, if I don’t have any parents to take with me, what should I do in a meeting like that?’
A few students began whispering and laughing.
As he looked back at Selena, who had raised her eyebrows, he realised he wasn’t winning this.
‘So? You still could have told me or some other teacher that you were leaving.’ He smiled at his own remark. ‘Yes, that would have been the polite thing to do.’ He came even closer and positioned his both arms on Selena’s desk, as if to say; ‘And what are you going to say now?’ But she didn’t seem to be afraid of him or the scary manner in which her teacher was looking at her at all.
‘I came to look for the secretary downstairs, but she wasn’t there.’
‘And how do I know you’re not lying? You could have just made that up to suit your story. You would do anything to get out of trouble, young lady!’ Sunday reacted, his eyes big and ruthless.
‘Of course I’m not making that up! If that would have been the case, don’t you think I’d have thought of a better, full proof plan?’
Sunday couldn’t think of anything to say to contradict that. Instead he started breathing very heavily, obviously thinking about a clever reply.
‘So, you’re sticking with that version, are you?’ He finally asked, again with his arms folded tight to his chest, probably trying to look authorial.
Selena rolled her eyes. ‘Yes, I am sticking with that ‘‘version’’,’ she repeated. ‘Mrs Albert wasn’t there, I’m telling you!’
Sunday bent down and grinned. ‘Well, little lady, then you should have come to me.’
Selena grinned even wider. ‘I did. You were the one who told me to go and look for her.’
That was something Sunday had not yet considered. He looked confused, but tried to hide it behind a vague and nervous smile.
‘I did? Oh, I did, did I?’ He began plucking at his sleeves.
Selena didn’t know whether to laugh or to keep a straight face. ‘Yes, sir, I can remember it as clear as day.’
Sunday made a sound that somewhat sounded like a snort. ‘Eh, well, you must have me confused with another teacher, then. Yes, that’s probably what it is.’
He walked up to the blackboard in front of the class, while muttering, grabbed a little piece of charcoal, and sat himself down into his deep, black armchair.
‘No worries, that can happen to everyone. You must have still been a bit drowsy of the relaxed holiday, huh? Yes probably.’ he said, grinning strangely. ‘Anyway, I won’t punish you for your honest mistake. This time. But you must remember next time to come and see me, so you won’t get into trouble again…’
Selena shook her head and, although she knew she’d better have not said another word and should have just kept quiet, opened her mouth again. She just couldn’t stand Sunday if he acted like a…teacher.
‘Mistake?’ she shouted. ‘No! I am absolutely sure. When I entered the room and told you about the situation, you said it was best if I went downstairs to Mrs Albert to rapport it so there wouldn’t be any misunderstanding, like now. I am absolutely sure.’ she continued, looking slightly unhappy.
‘Now, don’t make this any harder on yourself! You’re in enough trouble as it is. And besides I will overlook your mistake this time, so why are you carrying on about it?’ her teacher asked, while his students were looking from him to Selena, to see their reactions, as if it were a tennis match.
Selena stared at him, her green eyes fixed upon his face. All the calmness with which she had spoken earlier was gone. ‘Has it maybe ever occurred to you that this time could have made the mistake here? I mean, the woman wasn’t there, I told you I was leaving, you gave me permission to go, so there’s really no reason for YOU to get upset, is there? But no, you have always disliked me! That’s why it’s only more than natural to grab your every chance to get even with me, although I have never done anything to you! And I made the mistake? Yes, sure! I don’t think so!’
The talking in the classroom increased and became louder by the second.
‘…Sir…,’ she added quickly, realizing her words sounded a bit ruder as she had meant them.
Her teacher probably agreed on that and jumped out of his chair immediately.
‘Are you calling me a lair?’ he asked, his face beginning to turn red. It looked like his head was about to explode. Selena didn’t to make it any worse then she already had.
‘A liar that tortures his students just for the fun of it? Well, do you? Huh?’ Sunday insisted.
Selena nodded. ‘Yes. Oh, I mean, no. No, of course not. I just… I just…’
Sunday threw his arms in the air and let out a loud scream. ‘What did you just say, miss Malloy? And I’d better think twice before opening your mouth to answer me this time, or I won’t be so forgiving.’ He was standing in front of her once more, but demonstrably more aggressive then earlier. Selena’s mind creaked as she searched for things to say.
‘Um, I just meant to say that I think you are just a little teensy bit confused and I just think…’
Meanwhile the laughter of the other students now became almost unbearable for Sunday, who had now turned a deeper shade of red.
‘You just stop thinking full stop, Miss Malloy and go downstairs to visit your dear friend the secretary again. And this time really on my command.’ He started fiddling around with his handkerchief, which was hanging halfway out of his pocket and pointed it towards her. ‘Now get out of my class, you are wasting valuable teaching time.’ Selena gasped.
‘Go!’ Sunday shouted as loud as he possibly could. ‘Or else…’
‘Yes, yes, going! I’m going already!’ Selena replied, quickly grabbing her pens and stuffing them into her backpack.
As she closed the door she could see Sunday standing tall, looking all proud of himself. Selena shuddered. ‘Insufferable man…,’she mumbled and quickly made her way to the stairs.
Selena was slowly hovering down the stairs, with her backpack hanging down her right shoulder.
‘Go and visit the secretary again and don’t waste any of my ‘valuable’ time, Miss Malloy,’ she tried to impersonate her teacher, and really did a pretty good job.
‘Yeah, like what? He’s going to attack me with his handkerchief or something?’ she scoffed, reeled her backpack of her shoulder and jumped of the last few steps onto the ground floor.
‘Want to bet the woman’s not even there?’ she stated. And she was right. There wasn’t anyone to see for miles. She looked at the big clock that hung high up on the wall.
‘No wonder, it’s nearly lunchtime,’ she said to herself.
‘Well, there’s no point in staying here waiting. Mrs Albert is probably right on time with her eat-muffin-as fast-as-humanly-possible-ritual.’
She picked up her bag and got to her feet, going in the direction of the cafeteria, but suddenly got a very strange feeling inside. She stopped directly, as if thinking that the creepy feeling would disappear then. When it didn’t she took a good look around, and paid attention to things or objects that seemed odd or out of place somehow. But no matter how hard she looked, there was nothing that stood out. She was surrounded by the most normal looking school supplies and furniture she could image. But the strange feeling didn’t vanish when she told herself that. In fact, it grew even stronger and louder. So there she was with her backpack in her hands, her green eyes flashing, her ears closely listening, biting her lip, expecting something. She didn’t know what was wrong, but she knew, no felt, one thing very clearly indeed; she had to leave this place! She had to go home and calm down, or…something. She just couldn’t stay here and wait. This thought scared her. Wait? Wait for what? Was something going to happen? She didn’t want to admit it, but her heartbeat jumping up and down in her throat was telling her yes. She took a deep breath, and let out a little scream when she heard a door slamming behind her. This only encouraged her more to take a run homewards, and so she did.
‘Ah, there you are Malloy. Sunday just phoned me to tell me that you were on you way,’ the little, chubby woman behind her dressed in a purple two piece started, but saw she had already reached the door by now.
‘Hey, you can’t just go! You still have a lot of studying to do you know!’ But Selena didn’t hear Mrs Albert’s hopeless attempts to call her back inside.
‘You haven’t even had lunch yet!’ the purple figure bellowed, but it was useless. Selena had just gone through the door, which was now falling shut with a loud ‘wham’.
Mrs Albert sighed. ‘You must have your lunch otherwise you’ll fall over,’ she laughed and helped herself to a strawberry muffin that she had kept inside her jacket the whole time.
‘Well, I couldn’t do without it,’ she mumbled, her eyes big and shiny like beetles, as she licked her lips and went on her way back inside the staff room. When she reached the door she already was more then halfway through her muffin. ‘Yummy…,’ you could just hear her say before she closed the door behind her.
Selena was running as fast as she could, making her way through the crowds leaving or entering the school property. It was a good thing her backpack only carried four books and a calculator otherwise maybe it wouldn’t have been as easy to run like she did. And she had to keep running, because the ‘bad’ feeling inside grew stronger with every step she took. But the fact that she was in a hurry and deep distress didn’t seem to soften the reactions of fellow pedestrians who walked towards her. At first she took the time to say ‘I am sorry.’ or ‘whoops, didn’t see you.’ or something like it, but it didn’t take long to get to the stage where she wasn’t even bothered by who she knocked over. It could be the king for all she cared, she just had to get home, and quickly!
As she came closer to her block she suddenly could see a strange, dark cloud hanging over the horizon, blocking all the sunlight. Curious, she quickened her pace and tried to see where the cloud had come from. It was then she realised it was moving. No, not moving, changing its shape, expanding. She was, while walking on, trying to figure out what it was, but couldn’t find an answer that would fit this description. Surely it wasn’t raining, so there couldn’t be any black rain clouds in the air. But that was not the only thing strange. She noticed that there was some kind of bizarre whirring sound present making its way through the silence. It was almost like a warning. She stood still and listened more closely. It sounded like some kind of high pitched, ringing noise in the distance. Although she was quite busy with the question of what these things meant and where they were coming from, one thought entered her mind; this can’t be good. Maybe that’s the reason why she returned to run homewards, or maybe it was something else, but she could sense a distinct feeling of danger. She ran to the other side of the street, followed the road and ran through two entire blocks without stopping once. She probably didn’t even realise how tired she was. Then, from both sides of the road a whole group of people appeared all headed in the same direction, looking shocked and anxious. They were walking closer towards the black cloud in the air, and were loudly talking and whispering. She was sure she heard words as ‘misfortune’, ‘accident’, ‘despair’ and ‘hopeless’, but couldn’t really say through all the screaming and yelling by others out of sight. As she looked up to the cloud of blackness once more she was overwhelmed by a wave of fear. And that was a big enough hint to tell her something was definitely wrong. Why else would she have gotten this eary feeling inside the whole way back in school? It had to have a reason. And now it seemed like she knew why she was here. Afraid of thinking, for what she might make herself believe, she followed the others around the block to the street where she lived, her feet feeling heavy, her heart pounding loudly and everything else becoming a blur. The screaming increased as she continued the road down to her house. And when she had pushed herself from out of the chaotic mass and had a first look around the corner, all her fears came true. As children were pointing, policemen were ordering and firemen were running back and forth from their vehicles a giant number of flames were slowly licking the walls of a house with their sharp heat. The rooftop was completely gone, bricks were tumbling down, splashing into pieces on the ground, the windows had broken and bared a resemblance with the nostrils of a fire breathing dragon, ready to attack. All with all, the house couldn’t possibly have looked more terrifying and condemned. She gasped for air, for it felt like her lungs had been completely drained of their contents. Then she trusted herself to walk a bit closer. She didn’t even realise she was moving, she didn’t realise she was still breathing, she didn’t realise she was still there, on the site of a most horrible tragedy with policemen waving their arms around, holding people back, calling out to her and firemen trying to fight the flames, while others were busy getting inside the house.
‘Miss, miss! You can’t be here. You’re too close. You have to stay back!’ a young man started, walking up to her. But Selena’s eyes were big, her body was numb and her ears didn’t seem to be of any use. His voice sounded like a far away rumbling to her. Then he put his hand on her shoulder.
‘Miss? Miss, you have to listen to me. It’s dangerous around here. You have to go to the others. Miss?’ Suddenly she could make out someone was trying to speak to her. With a tear sliding down her cheek she turned to meet his eyes. He felt awkward at the sight of her obvious pain, but still had his duty to fulfil. ‘My grandparents are in there…’ Selena told him, speaking so softly he could barely hear her. He stared down at his feet, and then looked up again.
‘I know it’s terrible, but you can’t stay here. The fire-fighters are working as hard as they can, but the fire is spreading somehow. It’s not safe. Something might happen to you, and you don’t want that, now do you?’ He tried to sound authorial and strict, but couldn’t mind but let his emotions get the better of him.
‘I don’t know. Maybe that would be better…,’ she replied, between breaths. He looked up at the house, shaking his head.
‘No, no, please, you mustn’t think like that. There is still hope. I mean, the fire-fighters are very skilled; maybe they can still save them… Don’t you think so? Everything’s possible you know.’ he heard himself say, although he knew he was lying. She had her face directed at the flames, but couldn’t bear to look at her suffering home for more then a second. As she closed her eyes another tear came tumbling down and she made a soft, helpless sound. When she opened her eyes she tried to hide her pain, but really shouldn’t have been bothered. The young policeman bit his lip and tried to think of something to say to calm her down. But he couldn’t, not with that innocent, helpless face looking up at him. Instead he decided to take her arm and to escort her a few steps away from it all. Her neighbours were looking at her, talking, whispering, but she didn’t see them. She just went along with the policeman, not remembering how to think straight. Her world was falling apart piece by piece. And even though she tried so hard, she just couldn’t stop her tears anymore. They appeared one by one, wetting her cheeks and leaving a deep impression on the bystanders looking at her. Selena tried to smile.
‘Hope… Is there hope?’ she began. ‘I would like to believe that. Very much, really. But it seems as though some things are just not meant to be…’
He didn’t know why, but the policemen found himself thinking, no, wishing he could change her mind. He couldn’t stand seeing her in this state.
‘Well, ehm…,’ he mumbled, looking for the right words. ‘I eh, I understand it’s hard for you, very hard, to loose your grandparents. And through a tragedy like this…It must be awful to say the least. But that doesn’t mean you’re alone. There are many other people that care about you in this world. You’ve got your family, your friends, your neighbours. It’s not like it’s the end of the world yet…,’ he said, in an upbeat voice. ‘You have to think about the positive things in live. The things you still have,’ he continued. ‘That’s the only way you can get through this okay.’
Selena looked at him and took a deep breath. ‘I can’t think right now. I just can’t. And if I try to make sense out of what is happening now I think I’ll drive myself to the end of my sanity…’
With her sleeve she wiped away her tears spilling over her cold face. She noticed she was shaking all over body and hoped it wasn’t too obvious. He was looking at her, not smiling, not crying, and not understanding. But she could not tell him about her life and the positive things she still had. Because the truth was, that everyone and everything she ever cared about had just been set on fire. And that’s how she felt too. Like she was being burned alive…
‘What is your name, officer?’ she asked him, hoping she could easily change the subject before she would be subjected to more awkward questions.
He grinned. ‘Well, you could hardly call me an officer, really. I’m only in training yet. I don’t even know if I will qualify as a policeman. But my father’s a respected businessman, he has his own law firm, and so he got me this assignment. I only hope I’ll do a good job.’
Selena almost smiled. ‘Well, trainee, what is your name?’ she asked again.
He was relieved he saw a little spark of happiness on her face. ‘I am Eric Harwick, miss, pleased to meet you,’ he replied, and offered his hand.
She shook his hand. ‘I am Selena Malloy,’ she replied back. ‘Pleased to meet you…Eric,’ she added slowly. ‘And thanks for your kind words.’
‘Oh, it’s nothing, really. Everyone would have done the same…’
‘But they didn’t,’ she corrected him.
He nodded. ‘Well, it’s my job to look after the well-being of others, Miss Starling. Or it will be if I do my best.’ He realised he was still holding on to her hand, and quickly let go. She smiled at him.
‘Harwick! Harwick I need you! Get over here!’ a loud voice suddenly shouted from nearby.
Selena was starteled and clear to see from Eric’s expression, he was too. He turned around and found police officer Crowe staring at him, holding some kind of clapboard with papers and a ballpoint.
‘So, since you are not doing anything, you could start with making yourself useful,’ he barked at him.
‘Oh, but, sir, actually I was just talking, eh, interviewing this young lady to find out what she knows about the origin of the fire and so on. And I can tell you…’
‘She can tell you nothing of importance. She’s just a mere bystander. Our experts will sort that out for us. And they can start as soon as the entrance is cleared and the fire is under control.’
‘But she lives here, sir. Maybe she can tell us valuable things that will help us. It’s worth a try, isn’t it?’
Officer Crowe nodded forcefully.
‘Oh, I guess it is. It’s not like they will find any remains of evidence in that dirt. And it looks like there’s not going to be much left of that place…Horrible…’ He wanted to grab one of his cigars, but chose this probably wasn’t the right moment for that.
Selena’s eyes lit up. ‘What? What did you just say?’
Crowe looked into her direction. He had totally forgotten how serious the situation was.
‘Oh, eh, I just heard from one of the captains of the fire-fighters that there is a slight chance that the fire might reach some kind of electrical switch or something. I, eh… But I think it’s under control, though…’ He looked at the young girl that was standing in front of him, watching slowly how his words formed into sentences, almost forgetting how to breathe.
‘But they are experts, you know. They have been trained by the best to handle technical situations like this…’ He tried to sound upbeat, but Selena’s gaze saw right through.
‘Under control? Switch? Technical situations? That sounds serious!’ She shouted. ‘What exactly did the captain say?’ Her voice sounded fragile and breakable, as she ran her fingers through her hair as an attempt of some kind of distraction.
Crowe frowned and scratched his forehead, as trying to remember the words. He spoke slowly.
‘I don’t know. I’m not really that technical. But he basically said that if the fire finds a way to reach the switch it could melt the safety armour that protects it through the giant heat and, eh that could cause…’
He was quiet for a few seconds. Selena was hanging on every word he said.
‘…an explosion of enormous power…,’ he finished. She gasped.
‘No! No, it can’t be! That can’t happen!’ She looked around wildly, from the spectators on the streets to Eric and officer Crowe, who was looking like he wished he’d never said a word at all.
‘Look, maybe it’ll be okay. We don’t know. But there could be an explosion if they can’t stop the fire in time and…’
Suddenly he stopped in the mid of his sentence, but this time not because he couldn’t bear to tell what the awful truth was, but because he sensed something. Something cold. Something wet. He looked up at the sky and waited. Again, there it was; the cold and wet feeling he had just a moment before.
Eric threw his hands in the air. ‘It’s raining!’ He screamed loudly.
Selena, who had just sat herself down, jumped up in excitement, reaching for the sky. When a cool drop of water first touched her hand, she smiled away her tears. Then there was another drop, and another. More, and more, and more. Cool, kind, wet drops of water that could turn the whole situation around. They were filling the atmosphere with the peace of their rhythm, moisturizing the air with every splash from above and changing the looks on people’s faces. It felt like Selena’s heart was dancing. She looked up at the rumbling rain clouds and opened her mouth to catch the silvery raindrops from the sky. In no less then five seconds the tears were washed away by the rain that covered her as a cloak of hope. Officer Crowe immediately went back to the fire-fighters, who were all cheering and screaming, running back and forth. Eric followed him closely, but first turned around. ‘Will you be okay?’ he asked her.
She looked at him with her face cold and wet and nodded carefully. ‘Yes, I’m fine.’ She laughed at the sky. ‘It’s a miracle!’ Eric smiled and took a few steps towards her.
‘Didn’t I say that everything could happen?’ he whispered softly, stroking her cheek.
She smiled, and wanted to answer, but didn’t seem to find out what to say. Her words got lost somehow. ‘Who…Who are you?’ she heard herself ask. He gently kissed her forehead and wiped away the wet locks of hair that were sticking to her face from the rain.
‘I am just me…,’ he replied. Selena got shivers down her back. The rain was pouring now, but she didn’t feel anything.
‘Yes…,’ she confirmed. ‘It’s you…’ She wanted to ask him when she would see him again, but that seemed unnecessary. She had this strong feeling inside that told her she would. That was enough.
‘Just trust your intuition, Starling, it got you this far…’ He slowly let go of her face and walked towards the fire fighters. She watched him walk away, and felt both calm and restless. The rain was pouring down like a waterfall now, fast and heavy.
‘Starling…,’ she repeated Eric’s words. ‘What an odd thing to call someone…’
After a couple of minutes Crowe came back to see her. He told her that the house was safe and could be rebuilt. ‘And my grandparents?’ Selena wanted to know. ‘What about them? Are they okay? Have you…Have you found them? Are they safe too?’
Crowe took of his brown hat and looked at the pavement which his was standing on. ‘I am afraid they are not doing too well, miss. They…’
Selena almost couldn’t breathe.
‘They aren’t… Tell me they aren’t, please…’
Crowe shook his head. ‘No, calm down, miss, they are still alive.’ Selena sighed, rubbing her hands against her head.
‘But they are in a critical condition. The paramedics are seeing to them this very moment.’ Selena jumped up and wanted to run to her grandparents again, but Crowe stopped her.
‘You must understand one thing, though, young lady, they are not who they used to be. I mean, they don’t, they don’t look like they did yesterday.’ Selena frowned.
‘What do you mean? Did they get severely hurt?’ He didn’t speak to answer that question, he merely finished were he left of, his voice creaking as he went on.
‘You see, the fire caused a smoke that nearly suffocated them. They probably fell to the floor and lost all sense of what was going on… But while they were unconscious the flames did not sleep.’ he said, in a dramatic tone. Then he looked straight into Selena’s eyes. ‘And I must tell you… You might get startled by their appearance just now. I am not joking. So maybe it’d be better if…’ He didn’t finish his sentence. But Selena could guess what he meant by that.
‘What are you saying?’ she began, doubtfully. ‘You won’t let me see them? Is that what you’re saying?’ He took her by the shoulders.
‘Look, it’s for the best, I swear! You don’t want to see them right now.’
‘How do you know? Of course I do! They might be dying!’
‘Then take that perfect picture you have of them with you through life. But please…’
‘I want to see them now!’ she rudely interrupted him. ‘Now!’ A tear appeared from her left eye, although she did her best to stop it. She couldn’t be brave, not now. Her hopes had been taken from her within the blink of an eye. What was she supposed to do?
Crowe sighed deeply. ‘Please don’t. You’re still so young I honestly don’t think you could…’
‘You don’t think I could take it? Is that it? Please, officer, I beg of you!’ she shouted, displaying the frustration she had felt for so long. ‘I haven’t really had this ideal up-bringing you might think. But did I ever complain about that? Did I? No! I have had it tough for all the days of my life, but I am still here. And am I too young? I honestly don’t think so!’ She wiped away her angry tears. ‘And you think you can even think about telling me not to go and visit my grandparent while they are seriously injured, you are insane!’
‘No, I am not! And clearly I am the only one to see here to you are behaving like a maniac.’
‘I am not a maniac!’ Selena defended herself, her voice sounding bitter and almost menacing. ‘I just won’t let them slip away like my…’
Suddenly there was that loud, high-pitched, ringing noise again that interrupted their conversation and drew all the attention to it. Crowe looked back and saw the ambulances leaving, with their light flashing, lighting up the darkened sky. Selena turned around to face him and looked at him with a mixture of hopelessness and anger.
‘It was for the best, trust me… You would have been too shocked to cope…’
She let out a loud scream and stamped her feet on the floor. ‘You had no right! You know you didn’t! How could you?!’ She ran towards him and started beating his chest with her fists. Crowe wanted to say something but knew it would only upset Selena more. ‘Why? Why is life so bloody unfair?’ she cried. ‘I won’t accept it, I just won’t!’
Quickly, a woman and a man appeared. It was Mr and Mrs Summer, the next door neighbours. The woman took her hands and pulled her in her arms, hushing her screams and holding her tight. The tall man was busy talking to officer Crowe asking all the obvious questions. Selena heard his voice rattling on. ‘Are they going to be all right? Where are they taking Mr and Mrs Malloy? In what kind of situation are they? Do we have to warn anyone? When can we see them? Is it true they are in great danger?’ The questions she would have asked, if she had the strength.
‘Ssssh…’ Mrs Summer was hushing, nearly singing. She held her like a baby, obviously trying to calm her down. But that was impossible! Couldn’t anyone see that? Her mind was racing, her heart was jumping and her thoughts were shattered. And then her neighbours were telling her to; ‘ssssh?’
Later that night, she was lying on the bed of the Summer’s guestroom staring at the ceiling. She had told them she would go to bed early, but to be quite honest, she wasn’t tired at all. She turned around and sat up straight, leaning with her back against the white wall, listening to the silence. She sighed and started played with her hair, curling it around her fingertops. Then a ring of the telephone downstairs scared her out of her thoughts. Mr Summer picked up the handset and gave the receiver a warm ‘hello’. It was quiet for a few moments, then Mr Summer started talking again. She could hair his wife, Claire, jabbering about, trying to get control of the conversation. She looked at the clock that hung above the bedroom door. It was nine thirty. Who would call at this late hour? Curious, she got out of bed and snuck out of her room to listen by the stairs. But when she sat herself down there, if appeared she couldn’t make out more then some mumbling. She probably was too far away. And the door was closed. She frowned. Suddenly she remembered there was another phone in Mr and Mrs Summer’s bedroom. She could listen there! Quickly she got to her feet and reached the other telephone on the nightstand. One moment she just stared at it, but then finally mastered to take it in her hands and listen. But when she had recognized the voice talking on the other end, she only wished she never had gotten out of bed. She was shaking all over her body, repeating the words in her head.
‘They had no chance at all. It was far too serious to overcome. No one could have done anything to save them. Even the surgery didn’t help. It only went downhill after that…’
She cried, clued to the bed and with the phone still in her right-hand. She now heard Mrs Summer speaking. She had probably ripped the telephone out of her husband’s hands.
‘We will arrange everything for the funeral, sir,’ her voice announced. ‘A proper one. Which the whole neighbourhood can visit in order to pay their last respects. They were our neighbours and good friends after all. Oh, and then there’s the little one. Oh, bless…’ Mrs Summer shook her head. Selena couldn’t fight a tear from falling down her cheek as her neighbour continued her speech.
‘We have to be strong right now. Stand tall. That’s the least we owe them. They deserve to be honoured…’
Selena cried even harder when she heard that. ‘No, they deserve to live!’ she screamed as loud as she could. ‘They shouldn’t have died at all!’ There was uproar downstairs.
‘Selena is listening! What do we do now?’ Mrs Summer began.
‘Just go to her to see if she needs anything. She must feel terrible, I can only imagine…,’ Officer Crowe spoke softly. But when he had said that, Selena had already stormed through the doors that lead to the balcony and made her way to climb onto the roof. She looked down and found a rain pipe. Carefully she sat down and gripped it so she could slide down onto the ground. When she had done so, she quickly ran into the shadows and hid behind a large tree. She looked back once more. The light in the bedroom lit up Mr and Mrs Summer’s faces, who where looking around, trying to find out where she had gone.
‘Maybe we should call the police! God knows what could happen to her or what she might do to herself!’ Mrs Summer shouted, totally in panic. But Selena didn’t care. She had to get away, far away from there. She looked at the house which she had called home just a mere five hours ago. She felt like she would never see it again.
‘Goodbye grandfather. Goodbye grandmother…,’ she whispered softly, as she put her hand up like she was waving goodbye to them. Her neighbours where still arguing and shouting, even calling her name, but she didn’t take any notice of that and ran out into the lonely night, leaving everything behind. Now she was really on her own…
She ran for miles and miles, and didn’t mind to stop, not even with that roaring wind on her heels. She wanted to scream, she couldn’t. She wanted to cry, she wouldn’t. She feared that if she started now she wouldn’t ever find a way to stop again. Without realizing it, she stopped running. She looked around. Her body told her to lie down otherwise she would collapse on the spot. When she turned right a tall, black iron gate appeared in front of her, surrounding a large piece of ground.
‘The graveyard…,’ Selena spoke. ‘How ironic…’ She shook her head and wanted to turn around, when she noticed something, a little voice in her head, was telling her to go inside.
‘Oh, don’t be so ridiculous…,’ she started. ‘What would I do there?’ But as she asked herself, she found that she already was on her way to the gate. She gently touched it. It made a creaking sound. It didn’t startle her, she walked on. She took in the landscape as she strode into a random direction. It had been a long time since she had last visited this awful place. A very long time. Eight years at least. She followed her feet, as she dreaded the thought of where she was headed. Her breathe became more and more unsteady and her hands felt cold. Could it be that graveyards possessed some sort of force that drained you from all your life’s power? Even the little bit you had left? She didn’t know, but she felt like she was dreaming as two headstones appeared from between the brushy bushes and colourless grass. Death was all around… She could sense it. Slowly she stepped from the path onto the grass and stood still in front of the headstones that were positioned there. Two grey pieces of rock, with their small engravings clean and dry. Just like the air here was dry. Without a fresh breath of life. She fell on her knees. Her head touched the dirt surrounding the graves which she couldn’t bear to look up to. She listened to the beating of her heart. The slow rhythm of her blood. The only blood that still was painted red, not black. Like death. She gasped, almost choking in her pain. It was cold, but she didn’t feel it. She looked up to the sky. The moon was shining, lightning up the dark. The names cut into the stones could barely be seen. But Selena knew what the letters spelled. She looked down to the left headstone, where she knew was spelled the name Edward Samuel. Underneath it were the engravings; ‘A beloved son, father and husband rest in peace.’ Her father’s grave. Then she turned her head slightly to the right and looked at the headstone where she knew was spelled Nicolette Emma. Underneath her grace stood the engravings; ‘A beloved daughter, mother and wife, rest in peace.’ Her mother. She crawled a little bit closer and softly touched the two headstones, cold and rough. Why was the world torturing her so? Hadn’t it been enough for her to have lost both her parents? To have come home after playing with a friend, at the age of five, where the door was locked and later finding out her parents had never made it on their way home? Wasn’t it bad enough as it was that she never had the chance to get to know her parents? That she had to hear from her grandfather and grandmother what kind of people her parents were? What they used to do? What they looked like when they were younger? How they met?
‘Why is life so unfair?’ she found herself asking, barely realizing she had opened her mouth to speak. ‘Is this just an extra for me or does everyone have such a hard time getting through life? Even if that is so, I cannot think of a single reason why!’
Her voice was loud and hollow. Just like her soul. She felt the air changing and the skies rumbling. Within a few seconds rain started falling again. A drop splashed onto her right hand. She scoffed.
‘Yeah, where were you all these hours ago? Why didn’t you come sooner? Why did you have to let them die?’ She hit her fists on to the ground. ‘Why do I always have to be alone? Why?’ She threw her hands in the air and groaned.
‘I don’t want to fight any longer! I deserve a break by now!’ she screamed out into the night. Her clothes were soaked and her cheeks were cold and red. She was breathing between sobs, rubbing her cold hands, shivering. She closed her eyes and tried to give herself some peace of mind. But that wouldn’t work. She was too angry and way too restless to do that. And even with her eyes closed she could still see. At first she saw the red, raging flames eating their way through the bricks, then she saw her mother and father’s open graves and how her parents were carried there in their coffins. And just when she thought it couldn’t possibly get worse she saw her grandmother and grandfather inside the house, screaming, bleeding and crying. She was standing in the middle of the living room, but she couldn’t move. Her grandparents reached out for her, but she couldn’t bring herself to help them. She just stood there. She wanted to scream, but her mouth wouldn’t open. She saw how her grandmother fell to the floor, blood spilling from her mouth. She looked the other way and saw her grandfather stumbling towards her, his mouth open. He was screaming. Screaming for his life. But she couldn’t do a thing. He fell to the floor too, his hands still reaching out to her. Before she knew it, Selena was screaming. So loud it almost hurt. She opened her eyes, confused and crying. She was back at the graveyard again, with the rain pouring down on her face. The pain was tearing her apart. But not only she was being torn, her heart also. She could feel it beating wilder and heavier then ever. It almost felt like it wanted to fly away. To a safe place maybe. She hoped that it would take her thoughts with it because she didn’t want all this! She wanted to be freed. She wanted to run. But she couldn’t. Because the truth was, that she was still standing in that room surrounded by flames. Frozen in time. Helpless and unable to help. Breaking down from the inside. The flames were licking at her feet. She felt nothing. The smokes reached her face. She felt nothing. She was numb. Clouded by her own fear and misery. Too lost to keep up this endless fight.
‘I just want my life back!’ she screamed. ‘I just want to be in control again! To live the way I want to! Without fear!’
It was getting colder. Her eyelids were getting heavier by the second. Was this the end? Would it really end like this? She still felt nothing. The rain was pouring even harder, her heartbeat was going crazy. Her thoughts were lost in chaos, but she didn’t even care.
‘I don’t want this life anymore!’ she shouted in fear. ‘I want my life again! I want to fly to that safe place. I want to live…to be freed…,’
She couldn’t stop crying. And even when she fell down, even when she lost balance, when she was tired of fighting, she still cried. Powerless and with one last deep breath, she fell to the ground. In-between her grandmother and grandfather. If this was the end, then her tears would be her grave. If this was the end, then she would be freed of her fears. She wouldn’t have to cry anymore. She would find her rescue in her heart’s salvation. Where love rules, there is no pain. And where no pain exists, there can by found the purest heaven.
To be continued...
|Over the Horizon...||Caught By The Moon...|