Book I've tried to write on/off since early high school; teen encounters the supernatural
|1) It had begun.
A week after my fifteenth birthday, and my father broke the news of our journey. During his retirement party- a congratulations for serving 20 years as a loyal member of his company- he announced that this summer, the Parker family would be moving from Chicago to somewhere down in Oklahoma; his dream of owning land and spending his final years relaxing in the back woods of small town life would finally come true. I couldn’t believe it! I saw my mom, sitting at his right hand, gleaming as if he had just won the Nobel Peace Prize… Disgusting! This could not be happening!
After we got home, I dragged myself sulkingly to my bedroom. I soon heard the knock of my mother. "Come in."
"So... how are you?" My mother asked.
I couldn't help turning my head away, afraid to reveal my anger and disgust. I could already feel the tears beginning to swell under my eyes. Had they even thought of what it would be like for me?
"When was this decided? How come you never told me?" I could hear my voice shaking, betraying the calm collectedness I desperately tried to portray for my parents sake.
My mother tried to explain the situation, and the decisions my parents had made, but I couldn't concentrate on a single word she uttered. For the first time since starting high school, I felt lonely and afraid. Confusion raged inside as I stressed over the changes I would have to endure in the coming months.
The rest of my school year was spent packing and getting ready for the big move. Most of the work was done by my parents, forcing them to waste time yelling at me for refusing to help out. For the first time I could remember in my life, I fought vigorously with my parents. I ignored their requests and only fulfilled the bare minimum of my responsibilities as a daughter. What did they expect? Was I supposed to be excited? I was leaving all my friends, I had just barely started high school, the results from dance team tryouts were supposed to be posted within the week… But they wanted me to concentrate on filling out paperwork so that all my information would be processed correctly once I transferred to the new high school. They wanted me to clean house, pack boxes, and help host a garage sale where every minute I would be reminded that I was leaving behind everything that I had ever known. No, there was a much more interesting way to spend my time. Of course, the move was inevitable, being stubborn didn’t change anything. That June we set off; all our necessities packed in our Ford Explorer, and a mini Uhaul van. We said our good-byes, left the city, and began our trek to… who knows where.
“Kylie, it’s okay to smile,” joked my father, looking at me in the rearview mirror as he drove- he always had a positive thing to say. I guess he didn't see the cold shoulder turned his way from my scowl. I turned my head to look out the window, letting my auburn hair flow across my face, hiding my irritance. I loved him so much, but why did he have to take me away from my friends! His decision to move was probably the most disappointing one I had ever experienced. Even though I hadn't gotten the pony I wanted for Christmas when I was eight, I still got a Barbie Dream House. And even though I wasn't allowed to go to Europe with the scholarship program last summer, I was able to go to this amazing dance leadership camp. The move was the only one that made me want to cry myself to sleep.
“You know sweetheart, I’m sure there is a dance team at the high school in Walkersville, and you have such a bubbly personality- you’re bound to make new friends.” My mother was a real trooper. “How about throwing a party after school starts? Your father and I can meet your new friends and their parents- it would be a great way to get to know everyone; we’ll invite the whole neighborhood!”
2) What neighborhood? Our new home was an old, beat-up ranch house, almost thirty miles from town- a town with a population of about 3,000 people. My friend Rachel had told me about these kinds of towns; she used to live in Mississippi. Everybody knew everybody and gossip traveled like a Corvette on a highway.
“All right everyone, what are we waiting for? Start unloading the van, oh, and Kylie, you get first dibs on the bedrooms.” My father could be so corny sometimes.
“As if anyone is racing,” I mumbled back.
There it was, my new bedroom, ready with furniture and complimentary spiders and cobwebs. I remember my mom telling me, "The house is already fully furnished, so we can sell all our furniture; it’ll be cute, like a new, fresh beginning to life!" I thought she was off her rocker. There was one window, with dusty shades and an oak nightstand sitting next to it. On the other side of the nightstand was a large, canopy bed, dressed with a soft, velvet like, burgundy bedspread. On the opposite side of the room a dresser was sitting alongside the wall and in a corner a small armoire for sweaters and other items. At least the room had a walk in closet! After I had unloaded my stuff and hauled it to my room, I began dusting everything off and decorating my walls. Once my vision was complete, you would never be able to tell that it used to be a farmer’s home from the late 1800’s. I was finally able to move to the closet- what a mess that would be.
“Oh… yes mom?”
“Your dad and I are going to drive around town a little bit, and see if we can find some take out or something. Do you think you can handle being home alone a while?”
“Uh…sure, I’ll just finish unpacking and get a feel for the place.”
“Great! We shouldn’t be too long, bye sweetie!”
I hoped they took longer than they said; I wasn’t that hungry, and didn’t feel like being around people anyways. What was I doing? Oh yeah! Inside my closet was a small, wooden chest. It looked like something from the colonial times; it was actually kind of cute. Too bad it’s locked.
“Ah ha!” There was a brass key hanging on the wall to the left of the door jamb; it was so old and elegantly detailed, with loops and fine engravings on the end. I slid the key into the lock. Perfect fit! Inside, on the left, was a small stack of old books and journals; most of them were basic grammar and arithmetic books, and letters to the inner conscious about life on the farm. The pages were so worn, creases and tears were everywhere, and there was slight discoloration. I read a few… “Mama says that schooling is important if I want to go anywhere besides the barn or a brothel….Papa’s running out of hired help, many of the labor men desire to go to California and see the big cities. I wonder if we will be able to keep the farm after this winter; it’s supposed to be a cold one according to the almanac… when is Sally Mae ever going to leave me be!? She needs to learn to stop snooping around when some of us older kids desire to have alone time and…” OK! That was definitely more information than I needed to know- and probably more than the author intended me to read. On the right of the chest were a few worn sweaters and blouses. Who would leave their personal belongings in a chest, inside a closet, if they were leaving? Weird, definitely weird! Then I saw it, a fold of paper on the very bottom, slightly raised as if something was tucked securely inside. I began to reach in…
“Kylie! We’re home! Hope you worked up an appetite!” I heard the sound of my mother’s voice- great, my parents were back. I shut the chest with a bang and hung the key in its place. I was exhausted and it was getting late, I would finish snooping and unpacking tomorrow.
3) School began and weeks passed as I had to adjust to the new academic environment. It seemed that since there was nothing worthwhile to do in such a boring town, most students wasted their precious teenage years glued to their books and science fair projects; the science fair was probably the biggest -and most competitive- event to hit the community each year. My teachers seemed to appreciate the lack of activity in the town, as most of them assigned papers and projects that could last clean through my senior year. A sophomore now, I looked bleakly into the future; graduation seemed so far away. It was only last year that my friends and I had been making plans that we were afraid wouldn't be accomplished in time. My freshman year had passed by in such a rush, especially since the news of our move had come so suddenly. My fun and games of high school came to an abrupt stop and I soon became part of a world that took a no tolerance attitude to nonsense.
As my mom had promised, there was a dance team at the school; however, it needed a lot of work. There were a few decent girls that had reached state competitions, but most of them only joined the team for the opportunity to be somewhere other than home during the few hours between school letting out for the day and the ten o'clock curfew that imprisoned the town's youth from a normal life. The captain, Shelly, and myself hit it off really well within the first two weeks of practice. She really appreciated having an experienced dancer to inspire the team to be better. It wasn't too difficult to motivate the rest of the girls when they saw the results of determination and discipline. I wasn't officially the co-captain, but Shelly and I made a good team and had a blast coming up with ideas for fresh new routines.
The small wooden chest remained unopened, stored away in the forgotten and dusty corners of my mind. Much like the rest of the house, there was still too much to be unpacked and organized before I could dedicate any amount of time restoring the pieces to the lost puzzle.