|Description: When a family’s house suddenly burns down, they are forced to live in a refugee center to try and rebuild their lives, and get back onto their feet again. The two sisters, Ant and Laura have a form of resentment towards one another. Laura is pretty, while Ant deems herself as otherwise which makes her jealous towards her sister. Ant’s mother has a baby by Ant’s father making Ant and the baby “full” siblings. Laura feels bitter towards this because her father is divorced to her mother and doesn’t ever visit her. While staying at the refugee center, they encounter a mystery, which was left unsolved, and unrecognized. Can the sisters help their family rebuild their lives, solve the mystery, and at the same time, realize that they are true sisters at the heart?
The sobbing began again. The deep, wailing sobbing that interrupted her comfortable slumber. She tossed over in her bed, and stared into the darkness.
“Why did this happen to us?” A soft wailing voice demanded deep in the night.
“Laura, are you crying again?” she asked, taking the pillow that had been trying to shield her ears from the weeping that haunted her, and placing it under her head once again.
“Yeah, why not?” Laura asked furiously, punching her fist onto the spring mattress.
“This could come out better in the en-“
“Don’t say it Ant, you always talk about something coming out in the end.” Laura retorted passionately, her arms flailing out around her in the darkness. Ant’s cheeks burned at the sound of her well used nickname, and she hotly replied:
“Well, if you don’t want advice, don’t whine to me and be a baby.” Silence regained, and then Laura’s quiet sobbing began again. Ant was sure that Laura’s pillow was soak and wet, and in a minute, she would flip the pillow over, and begin talking of the problem.
It was the problem that haunted every member of their family. The nights were restless, and no one talked much about it anymore. It was the deeply hated fire. It destroyed all they knew, and all they had. Nothing was left from the greedy fire which tore their beautiful and hard earned house into ashes and rubble.
“I had everything I could have ever wanted.” Laura sniffed, flipping over her pillow. Ant sighed, and turned over in her bed to face the white wall.
“Please Laura; don’t talk about it to me. I just don’t want to hear about how you lost everything you had.” She pleaded in a murmuring sleepy voice.
“Of all my sixteen years Ant, nothing this tragic has ever happened to me.” Laura whined, ignoring her sisters plead. “I even burned my hands. I was so proud of my hands, and now they’ll scar.”
“It serves you right. You shouldn’t be so vain.” Ant pulled the thin and scratchy Red Cross blanket over her head, and closed her eyes tightly.
You’re so mean.” Laura threw herself into a crying fit, and beat her pillow like a child. Then, she stopped suddenly, and fell onto her pillow with a thump. “Why should you care? You’re only twelve, a young child at that.” Ant sighed at her age, and accepted the verbal slap with patience.
“Now we’ll have to move, and everything will be so mixed up. This is the worse thing I ever had to experience Ant. Can’t you understand?”
“You were in a car accident when you were a baby. Mom said so.” Ant reminded her soberly.
“I don’t remember it.” Laura replied coolly, forgetting about the fire entirely. “It’s not something I want to have to go through again. Then again, it’s nothing like now. I’m older and I can relate to things now. You know, they said that babies can-”
“Don’t go and be a nerd again Laura.” Ant heard Laura give a huff of annoyance in the dark. Ant knew that she had touched a tender spot, as being called a “nerd” gave Laura a funny feeling that she could not exactly explain.
“Well, so what? I can be a nerd, and be pretty at the same time.” Laura declared stiffly, flopping over in her bumpy bed.
“Conceited.” Ant shot, sitting up, and reclining on her arm.
“Call me that again, and I will drown you in our pool-” Laura stopped short, forgetting that the pool was still on the plot of the destroyed house. “I wonder if it’s still there.” Ant groaned and let her arm collapse, falling onto her pillow.
“You’re not going to start that again are you? Naming a million things that you wonder about the house?” Ant asked bitterly, preparing to cover her ears.
“Do me a favor and shut up Ant.” Laura hissed.
“Only if you’ll make me.” Ant replied teasingly.
“I could if I-” Laura sighed heavily, and stayed silent. The threat wouldn’t help their unexplained annoyance and anger that haunted one another. “I don’t understand why God gave me someone to live with who is so annoying and who is non-understanding.” She finished, and settled down into her pillows. “You treat me like a step child. I don’t even consider you my sister.” Ant frowned, and her heart leapt angrily. She heaved a sigh, and remained silent. The bitter words replayed in her mind. Then, the fire blinked before her.
Red and yellow. Red and yellow. The memory replayed like a tape. It was such an amazing fire. Still, it hammered down their dreams, and ate at her parents hearts. Zane – the baby of the family was being treated for deep burns. Everyone had forgotten about him as they rushed towards the front door to escape the fiery death. He was still in his crib as the fire burned everything around him. Ant squeezed her eyes, and a tear came. She would never forget the way he looked when the fire fighter placed the small baby on the stretcher. Zane looked so fragile, and his eyes were shut tightly as if to hide from the fire. With heavy hearts, Ant’s parents begged to go to the hospitable with their last baby, and they went leaving Ant and Laura in the hands of the fire fighters and police. Laura had stood by, squeezing her hand in a way of assurance.
“It’ll be alright. We’ll get our house back Ant.” Laura had muttered, more for Ant’s comfort than hers. Still, Laura treated her like a baby. Couldn’t she see that Ant basically knew that the house of course wouldn’t come back? Once it was burned, it was gone. Ant picked angrily at her mousey brown hair, pulling out each strand one by one, ignoring the pain that it caused. Laura was always teasing her about her age. In a few months she would be thirteen, old enough to be labeled “teenager”. Laura firmly rejected her opinion on the “teenage” age subject.
“You have to be at least fourteen Ant. Thirteen is only considered a teen, not a teenager.” She had said a month ago as she lounged against her pink bedspread carelessly. Ant regarded her sister with resentment, and jealousy. It was because Laura, whose full name was Laurencia Mary Jane; was pretty, and she deemed herself as otherwise. She admired her sisters long, long curly locks of gold, brown, and black, fair nose, slender figure, gentle white hands, sweet pink lips, gorgeous light skin, and deep green eyes that sparkled with her sunny mood. She was fit to be a model. She dressed nicely, always wearing pink, colorful girly shirts, FUBU white sneakers that were made for boys, and hip hugging jeans fitted with large belts. Laura was always surrounded by school friends; boys and girls. Her best friend was Cheryl, a sixteen year old Florida native who had been through a lot in her past years. Both she and Laura were always invited to parties, and gatherings. Laura was considered smart. She wasn’t a perfect student with A’s on her paper every time, but she did fairly well coming home with an occasional B.
Ant never was invited to anything. She was never noticed at school, except by her shy friend Penny who had the same peril. Ant’s bone straight mouse brown hair wouldn’t curl, or look thick and bright. It would always fall into a limp flop of hair, which she usually wore pulled back into a thin pony tail with a black scrunchie. Her eyes, unlike her sisters were a sharp brown. She would never admit that she was slightly pudgy. She wasn’t fat; she would scorn anyone who’d even think of calling her that. Her arms and legs were round and her tummy pudged with gentle roundness considerably giving her the second nick-name “roly-poly”. Her skin was a slight toasty brown, and light splotches dotted her nose. Ant never cared about how she dressed. She threw on whatever she could find, and usually came out with a pair of Capri shorts, and a long stiff colored t-shirt. The only thing Ant ever took pride in was her full name, Fantasia Annette Angel. Her mother, Miriam gave both of her daughter’s extravagant, unique, and beautiful names because she was a dreamy romantic woman with her head full of poems, and childish stories.
Laura and Ant had different fathers. This was because Laura’s father had divorced their mother because he couldn’t take her dreamy attitude. Laura would sometimes feel angry and sad over this. Her father would never come to see her, call her, or write even a two sentence personal note. He used to only send child support, and for some reason he stopped sending even that. Miriam would daydream so much that she would forget about cooking dinner, or cleaning the house. Miriam married two years later to an Afghanistan man named Yazid. He was a shy and gentle man. He supported her creative and dreamy nature so much that he allowed her to dream, cooking dinner and cleaning the house by himself. Ant was born a year later, and twelve years after Ant’s birth, Zane was born.
Zane was a sweet, chubby baby with a puckered mouth, and deep dimples. His hair was a dark, silky brown, and his skin was a toast color like Ant’s. His eyes were a deep brown, they shone brightly every time he laughed his light, gurgling laugh. Ant loved to play patty cake with her full brother. He looked exactly like her, and wasn’t any prettier or uglier. Ant considered Laura her half sister. She didn’t look like her, and if they stood side by side, you couldn’t tell they were sisters unless you gazed at their noses. Laura was all white, and Ant was half white, half Afghanistan.
“She isn’t like me at all. I would call her my full sister if she were like me. She isn’t like me, and she doesn’t look like me.” She had told her mother. Miriam had only laughed, and ignored the comment. However, her father took it seriously.
“Fantasia, she’s your blood sister if god gave her to your mother, as he did you.” He had scolded her. “Even if she has a different father, it isn’t right to blame her for what isn’t her fault.”
“I just wish our family was normal.” Ant had muttered bitterly glaring at Laura who stood wiping her tears at the comment of her father. It was always about Laura. Don’t do this to Laura, or don’t do that. When would someone start noticing her, instead of Laura all of the time? Ant began to think her parents loved Laura more because she was prettier. Of course, this wasn’t true at all.
“Hey, you guys have the same nose.” Cheryl had once said sweetly when Ant was hanging out in Laura’s bedroom with the both of them.
“Yeah,” Ant had growled. “But not the same eye color, skin complexion, hair type, or father.”
“I wish I had you’re eyes Ant.” Laura had commented teasingly, at the same time rather angry at Ant for mentioning her father.
“Are you crazy? I would die for hers.” Cheryl piped seriously. Ant had laughed at both of their comments, and she shook her head at Cheryl.
“I love you’re eyes Cheryl.” She had smiled. “They’re so blue. Like Jessie’s.”
Cheryl lived in New York City with her twenty-two year old sister, Jessie and her sisters’ twenty-eight year old husband, Arthur. Even though she lived there, Cheryl still traveled an hour and a half to visit Laura, and go to school with her.
Ant and Laura lived in the outskirts of New York City in a small suburban town called Terry Town. The town wasn’t very interesting, nor was it very busy. Few tourists came in, and few locals went out except to travel to and fro on business trips. The main street of the town was like every other Main Street. The busiest days were the ‘sales’ days, where all the shops in the town had a special 50% off bargain. Then, people from the town, and other towns flocked to Main Street. It was busy all day, and all night until all of the shops closed. The town had one summer outdoor market, one grocery store; Super A&P, three clothing stores, one electronics store, an arcade, two movie theaters, five restaurants, a laundry mat, one park, one refugee center, one fire station, one police station, a health center, a gym, a high school, a middle school, an elementary school, and three antique shops. The town did not have a hospital. That was located in the neighboring city.
Behind Main Street was a very different story. Behind Main Street would be rows, and rows of houses, and neighborhoods. If one turned from the road which led to Main Street, they would first approach Apple Street. It was a small neighborhood on a narrow, dirty road. Here, someone ran a small home daycare (which Zane attended), so the neighborhood was always filled with the excited shrieks of little kids. After Apple Street came Lane Court. It was a small cul-de-sac which was much cleaner than the last neighborhood. Here, is where Ant and Laura lived. This street and streets beyond Lane Court were much livelier than Main Street.
The house that Ant and Laura had lived in was a modern colonial fashioned home. The door to their house was painted a deep, ivory green. It was the only house on Lane Court with a green door. Giant glass windows were built into the front and back of the house. The house itself was a light tan, and the shutters on the house were green like the front door. The walk way to the house was plated with smooth, round cream colored pebbles. Miriam’s yellow roses and sweet smelling berry bushes lined the side of the path. The front lawn and backyard grass of the house was kept trimmed neatly.
Ant twisted in her bumpy bed, shaking the memory of the house from her mind. What was left of the house was what she didn’t know. She just wished everything would go back to normal…