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Rated: E · Novel · Supernatural · #2149842
A teenager gets involved in a mystery and along the way discovers truths about his family.
CHAPTER ONE

This morning was one of the worst rude awakenings to date. Most days I spent wishing I could get through just one decent night without constant disruptions always bugging me. Was a little appreciation too much to ask for?

For me, the cosmos sure thought so.

But my day had hardly begun when the troubles arose. Each and Every time one of these stupid interventions happened, I would question if the universe hated me in some bizarre way or if it just liked to screw with me. Either way, it would cause me to question its unforgivable loyalty. Did the universe single me out for a specific reason? If so, why chose me? Or, perhaps, am I overthinking about this too much again?

Without certain proof there was no real reason for me to complain. I preferred, or rather, I liked to believe the universe had a more sardonic sense of humor towards me. The reasoning behind this deduction was because if I were in a majority of pain, or in this case, had a terrible night’s sleep the heavens or powers that be—whatever you wanted to call them—loved to torment me with way more than I bar-gained for. I didn’t understand why. I never made a pact or deal, nor did I sign a contract with them. So, then, what right did they have to bestow such troublesome commotions onto me?

Anyway, like with all of my previous disturbances, this one also happened while I was in bed. There I was, lying on my back, sleeping as peaceful and soundless as I could muster these days, when this terrible call for help screamed bloody murder out. But the anguish cry didn’t resonate from inside the house, or from the outside. It came from inside my skull, reverberating around like someone was playing tennis inside my head.

In an instant, I jerked awake in absolute terror and panic. Gasping for breath, my heart pounded so hard to the point I feared it was going to burst right out of my chest. A thick sheen of sweat poured down my face dampening my already soaked shirt and sheets. I needed something to ground myself, so out of reflex, my hands gripped onto my sheets so tight my knuckles were beginning to ache.

I didn't pay much attention, though. I focused on just releasing a heavy hiss. Sluggish, I loosened one of my hands and wiped the perspiration out of my eyesight. Once the blurriness cleared enough for me to focus, I found myself staring into a sea of pitch black darkness. My panic escalated and in frantic eye movements, I searched my surroundings. Where was I?

The place didn’t have a familiar ambiance to it. I only had four solid canvases of black walls preventing me from perceiving any specific information on my whereabouts. So I used my sense of hearing. It did nothing. I couldn’t hear anything beyond the shrieking in my eardrums. The cry was so loud I thought for sure my ears would burst from the pressure. Wincing, I rubbed behind my earlobes. Who in the hell screamed at me anyway?

It was a female. It was obvious because no man could ever scream that loud or high pitched. But it’s strange. Even though I heard her, I couldn’t envision her. So because of this disembodied voice, I had no way to identify who this girl was. Was she a teenager like me? Or was she perhaps older? The voice provided me with no physical embodiment to help me figure it out, but it didn’t stop me from imagining.

I'd never admit it aloud to anyone, but I wanted to freak out and start pacing the floor. Who wouldn’t? I mean, sure, it’s only a voice, right? I wanted to believe the fear originated from the voice, but I knew it didn’t. The sudden fear came from the fact I didn’t recognize it. It didn’t be-long to any living person I’d known or knew. It was out-right foreign to me. However, there’s a strange yet vague feeling of familiarity. It’s almost like I could feel this pull of connectivity towards this known entity. How could this be? Why did I hear her voice inside my head in the first place? Where’d she even come from? Did I conjure her up from my imagination? Couldn’t she get her point across without screaming so effing loud?

I couldn't ponder on all my jumbled up thoughts for much longer. My brain felt like it was going to split open. And once again, the universe came crashing down on me as if to torture me further. A blast of white-hot agony exploded throughout my cortex. Like a dynamite blast detonated and lit up the whole world with whiteness.

I chomped on my bottom lip stopping the groan lodged in the back of my throat from escaping. I damned near lost control of myself because my skull felt as if someone took a butcher knife and shoved it deep into the depths of my mind, as if whoever or whatever wanted to unleash some-thing from inside me.

But it’s strange. Even though I was in immense pain, the painfulness didn’t resonate from within cranium. The new pain jabbed at my heart with an unexplained sense of urgency and fear. It’s not the irrational type of fear where you’d be afraid of water or spiders crawling along the ceiling. No, in fact, this type of fear terrified me. This fear meant…

I gulped down the rising nausea.

Oh, great. Here I am, fifteen years old and already I’m dreading the thought of death. God, what's wrong with me?

The more I contemplated on the sensation, the more it became apparent. The reason for my out of control emotions and fears didn’t emit from the experience that just occurred. No, in fact, they were coming from the odd, unpleasant feelings coming from the girl, or rather, her voice. How could this girl have so much power over me? And what on earth was she so fearful of?

Thunder clapped drowning out the last of her shriek. With it now being a low echo, my hearing returned. I began to hear the distant sounds of the pouring rain pitter-pattering on the tin roof. Most of the time the soothing sound lured me into sleep, but it now pounded in my ears like a thousand nails clanging to concrete.

With my left hand glued to my forehead, I turned my head to the side and used my free hand to reach out to my nightstand. Stumbling for the switch, I knocked something off. It hit the ground with a soft cling just as I pulled the chain. A bright light flooded the room, hitting my eyes.

“Damn it,” I grumbled.

I rubbed my eyes with my forefinger and thumb. When the black dots stopped their insolent dancing I glanced over and squinted at my alarm clock—the illuminated, radiant green numbers doubled and wavered until they settled—it was 3:33 a.m.

The groan I’d been holding back slipped passed my clenched jaw, coming out soft and soundless. Lucky me. Any louder, it would’ve alerted my foster family which would prompt to them into kicking down my door and checking for any possible dangers. I didn’t want to deal with their protectiveness this early in the morning.

With my vision now well-adjusted to the dim lighting, I scanned the area. A relieving sigh escaped past my chapped lips. There wasn’t any danger present. I was safe in my room, in the same comfy bed, in the same two bedroom house I’ve been living in for a few months how. How long had it been since I came?

I threw my head back against the polyester pillow in re-assurance and desolation. With a lacking interest, I stared at the plain white ceiling above me, lost in thought. In all but a split second, I forgot about my splitting headache and the weird creepy voice when a new, softer, sound intruded my eardrums. It’s like something was ruffling next to me. A faint draft drifted in. The second it brushed against my hot face, I unwillingly welcomed its coolness. Not bothering to understand where it came from, I let my eyelids droop as exhaustion took over. Bathed in the meditative sensations, I let them carry me off into a better place where hurtfulness didn’t exist.

However, a dripping sound prevented me from reaching unconsciousness.

My eyes snapped open.

In a flash, I turned my head towards the left side of the room. The faded, dark blue curtains swayed in the rhythm of the breeze coming through the half-opened window. Along with the wind current breezing in through the small narrow gap from the window, a scent of the see whiffed in and burned my nostrils.

Not again.

This was the third time this month I neglected to shut the stupid window and allowed the intolerable and miserable rain to barge in and leave another huge watery mess on my bedroom floor and window sill. How could I have been so reckless again?
If my foster parents came charging in and saw this mess, they’d have a fit, yell at me to clean it up, and possibly ground me for a month, or longer, depending on how bad the situation was.

I didn’t mean for it to happen, yet again. It’s my own fault after all. Because I’d been feeling under the weather, I’d been slacking off, for better words, on my chores and disregarding my foster parent’s cleanliness rules. The last three days had been a living hell for me. One minute I’m normal temperature, the next I’m either a burning furnace or a near frozen human-icicle. What’s wrong with me?

Mack and Zoe surprised me. I expected them to question me. In fact, I half-expected it considering their caring attitude. However, when I wouldn’t eat or I’d eat less than normal, they never asked. Sometimes if I felt so bad I’d curl up on the couch with either my jacket or a blanket. Other times I’d get so hot I’d have to get an ice pack and put it on my forehead to cool me down. But with all these weird symptoms, Zoe and Mack never bothered to question it. Or if they did, they didn’t do it aloud or in front of me. I mean they’re not heartless. They check up on me from time to time, and ask me if needed anything. Beyond that, they never mentioned anything else.

I heaved a sigh in vexation and watched the falling rain wafted in and left behind a puddle of muddy liquid on the pane. As I studied it, the water transformed to the color of red and slithered and smeared down the glass as the red water droplet moved along the rail and dripped off the corner’s pointy edge like a drop of blood.

Horrified, I bit back the shout wedged in the back of my throat and blinked a couple of times. What the…?

Fright stung my heart like a hornet.

Oh, God, please tell me I’m not hallucinating again. Shouldn’t it be out of my system? Were we mistaken?

No. It’s gone. I’m positive it’s gone.

Shaking off the uneasiness, I yawned as I sat up. The stiff muscles in my neck prevented me from lifting my head any higher. It felt like I had a tangled up knot in it. The tightness didn’t release when I popped the achy joints. However, it did help ease some of the leftover tension though, but it didn’t lessen the soreness any. Could this be the reason I’m feeling so lousy and miserable today?

I doubted it. If anything, I blamed it on the lack of sleep. But sleeping wasn’t the real issue here because I’ve been getting too much sleep. Yesterday, for example: after my teacher tutor delivered my homework, after helping my foster mom run errands, and from my daily chores, I flopped down on my bed from exhaustion. The second I relaxed into a comfortable position, I was out. It must’ve been around six pm?

It was unlike me. Since I suffered from insomnia, I’d be awake at all hours of the night. But my energy levels had been draining quicker even without me taking my prescribed sleeping medication. Was I getting sick? I hoped not, but I couldn’t dismiss the probability. It’s that time of year where seasonal season for the Flu and sinus colds. SO, it’s got to be the weather affecting me.

Or so, I hoped.

An icy chill blasted throughout the room and I shivered. I went to pull my blanket up and wrap it around me, but I touched the sheets only. Where did my comforter go? Did I get entangled in my sleep again? I must’ve because I found one of my wrinkled up sheets wrapped around the balls of my bare feet. A corner of my sheets hung off the edge of the bed. Did, perhaps, my blanket fall off the bed?

Sure enough, when I leaned over the side, I found my thick blanket piled in a heap on the floor. Sometime throughout the night I wound up tossing and turning and kicking it off of me from my dreams. And the many long hours of slumber I managed to get weren’t decent.

With the cobwebs in my head dusted away, I mused over my situation. The headache still pounded at my temples, but there’s a strong suspicion surging through me. Maybe my headache didn’t contribute from my poor sleeping habits?

In fact, I’d slept in way rougher conditions before and never before had a migraine jerked me out of a dead sleep like this one did. Of course, it’s only natural for me to assume such a thing because I’d always been so susceptible to them. But this was the first time—and hopefully the last time—it ever happened.

As the thought sank in further, I wasn’t so sure the voice woke me up either. In the back of my subconscious, an ob-scure memory of a dream lingered, but the deals disappeared before I got the change to even grasp them. Vivid, unaccountable dreams were a daily ritual in my everyday life. They often woke me from a dead sleep, and I’d find myself sticky with sweat and breathless. I had two of the three symptoms, but I couldn’t recall a dream like normal?

Maybe I’m thinking too much. Maybe the weird voice was indeed the culprit? Or maybe it’s the headache? But if none of those options were the issues, what was? And what’s the reason for this doubt still clinging to me?

I didn’t worry too much about it. I’m just glad I didn’t scream out in my sleep again. If I did, my foster parents would’ve already been here trying to wake me up by shaking my shoulders. Being as I’m in the foster care program, it meant I had a caseworker. Symon knew about my night-mares and informed Mack and Zoe about them. But any-time Mack or Zoe brought up the touchy subject, I would always end up telling them the same thing. “I don’t want to talk about it.” It’s my get out of jail free card. Once I muttered those words, they never pushed any further, yet they still accepted me nonetheless.

Unlike my previous foster home, I’m lucky I was placed in a better one. It’s still gets me because even though I’m not their adoptive son yet, they treat me like I am.

Right when I was about to go back to sleep, a brand new sound penetrated my hearing. Sirens were coming. I could hear the wailing off in the distance. Why were they coming this way?

I pulled back the sheets and went to push myself up off my bed so I could investigate when lightning flashed so bright it prevented me from moving my body any further than an inch. My vision and the rest of the room whited out. Trailed not a second behind it, thunder boomed so loud my head started to throb harder. The uneasiness in the pit of my stomach grew colder and a streak of panic I’d never experienced before churned inside me. What’s going on with me?

I eased my head back down on the pillow hoping it would stop the room from spinning. A bad feeling in the pit of my stomach provoked me to turn my head and shoot my gaze towards the window again. As I did, I realized I made a terrible mistake. I had done the movement a little too hasty for my liking. A wave of dizziness assaulted my senses and the whole room spun. Nausea stirred up a violent ruck-us just as my vision blurred at the edges. My breathing hitched and I squeezed my eyes shut. Would I pass out?

No, I had to breathe. I needed to breathe! In desperation, I tried my best to catch my breath, but the attempt proved more difficult than it should’ve been. The slightest intake of air high jacked the pain in my head until it felt like someone was taking a chisel to a block of solid ice. It was uncomfortable, but I didn’t have much of a choice but to wait it out.

I didn’t know how much time passed before the spell dispersed until I was able to breathe again. Reopening my eyes I found I was still facing the window. Beyond the fogginess and moisturized glass, I could just make out the skyline over the trees. It was dark, darker than usual. If I were somebody else I’d say my clock had faulty batteries because it’s way too dark for it to be three in the morning. But I’m not anybody else. In fact, for three days now, the sky’s been like this. Could someone be capable of weather manipulation? Or was there something more sinister at work here? Nowadays, it wouldn’t surprise me if the latter was true, because this world’s filled with endless possibilities.

Just as I managed to push myself upright, a collage of red, blue, and orange glinted off the glass and right into my peripheral vision. Even though it was a tiny glisten, it was still enough to blind me. My sight exploded and all around me became a kaleidoscopic mass of bleeding colors. The shrieking sirens didn’t help either. If anything they made it ten times worse as they flooded into my super sensitive hearing. Flinching, I squeezed my eyes together and clutched my hands over my ears. Why was everything so painful, loud, and bright?

When the spell faded, I swung my legs over the edge and my feet touched the mahogany hardwood floor, a chill trembled down my spine. The chill had nothing to do with the cold and had everything to do with what I found beside my feet. It’s the last thing I expected to find.

My father’s Celtic cross?

Ah, so that’s what I’d knocked over.

Picking up the item, I held it in the palm of my hand. There wasn’t anything special about it. It was just a medi-um sized Celtic cross. I ran my fingers along the rough edges of the eight diamonds around the circle. It’s cool to the touch. As I continued my small ministrations, I smiled. Most of the memories tied to this amulet were good.

But, there was one painful one too.

Of course the memory just had to resurface without me wanting it to. The quick spark of happiness still clinging to me vanished in a fraction of a heartbeat. Not surprising. It never lasted long enough for me to actually feel happy anyways as it was whisked away like a leaf, replaced by the cold, remorseful memory. And the heartrending sadness took hold of me and with it came a shower of wet, hot tears prickling at the corners of my vision.

I couldn’t stop myself from reverting back.

“Take this,” my father ordered as he pulled the silver rope-like chain up from around his neck. Placing his pendant in my hand, he curled our hands together. “Guard and protect this with your life. One day it will come in handy, and when the day comes…” he trailed off as he started to hack and spit up blood.

“Dad, don’t!” I whimpered out as I wrapped my hands tighter around his calloused and clammy ones. I didn’t care if I was staining my hands with his blood—which I was—I just continued to ignore it as I held on.

He smiled, but it wasn’t one of those cold, don’t-let-me-go smiles. This one was different. He wasn’t happy about his fate, but he wasn’t afraid of it either. He was just accepting the inevitable.

“When the day comes,” he continued, “I pray you’ll be ready and understand.”

“Stupid unwanted flashbacks,” I muttered as I emerged from the memory and pushed it to the back of my mind. I couldn’t handle the emotional turmoil storming inside me. Out of anger, I slammed the cross down on the nightstand. That memory was the last conversation I had with my father and all he seemed to care about was his amulet. That was the most painful thing I could ever experience.

I buried my face in my hands. How could he…?

The tears I struggled so hard to contain came spilling out and falling down my heated cheeks. How could he just accept his fate like it was nothing? How could he leave me alone to fend for myself in a world I never felt safe in?

I’m not being whiny. I learned how to acclimate to my new situation when I was thirteen years old. My dad taught me how to protect and fend for myself, but I still have much to learn and he still had much to teach. But even though I’ve adapted, it still left me with so many unanswered questions, pain, and guilt. During the moment when I was holding onto his hand, I had questioned just what in the hell he was talking about. Be ready? Be ready for what? And what was I supposed to understand? And what does guarding his pendant have to do with anything?

It was weird. I hadn’t thought about the memory or those thoughts in months. Why now after all this time?

Rubbing the tears away, I couldn’t help but be enraged at myself. There was no time for showing this onset of unexpected weakness, but I couldn’t help it. He was my father after all. I missed him. So, was it wrong for me to cry?

I sighed. The best thing I could do at the moment was to ignore these intensive thoughts and emotions. At least, I would for the time being.

When I pushed myself to my feet, the extremities in my legs burned with protest at the effort I used. The second I stood up, faintness rushed up and the dizziness returned with vengeance. My head swam and my vision blurred as the room started to tilt. Shutting my eyes against the vertigo, I placed a hand to my forehead. There was only one solution to this: I would have to wait it out.

In all but a second, the muscles in my knees threatened to buckle. Instinct took over as I released the hand from my head and grabbed the wall. Leaning against it, I hoped it would be enough to hold me up in case I took an unnecessary tumble.

I pleaded with myself not to make a scene. If I made even the slightest loud crash or heaviest thud, it would alert my foster parents. I didn’t want them thinking something was wrong me because there was no telling what they’d do. For one, they weren’t the type to ignore me, so they might bust down the door and if they found me collapsed or passed out on the floor, they’d phone 911. I wasn’t up to dealing with it. The doctors and even parents would each be asking me all sorts of these cynical and absurd questions, some of which I couldn’t answer without them discovering the truth.

However, if the doctors ever discovered my secret, it would have disastrous consequences. Worst case scenario, they’d send me off to an evaluated psych ward. As for my foster family, the worst possible outcome I could foresee them doing would be to kick me out on assumption I was crazy or a nut job. If they ever did, then, where would I go?

There’s where the problem lied. I had no other place to go. I did have Symon, but honestly, he was so busy with other important duties which were part of why I was staying here with the Andersons in the first place. Other than him, though, I didn’t have anyone. I didn’t know if I had any close or distant relatives. As for a stable home, it wasn’t exactly stable. I didn’t know how much longer I’d be staying with these nice people. I’ve been here for four months. In those months I became homeschooled and still managed to make some friends whom I’m not sure I could trust or not. It’s more about me and getting involved. If anything, I’d cause them more trouble than it’s worth. Something dangerous would end up happening and they’d get caught in the middle the crossfire, get hurt or worse, and in the end, it would leave me with being the one at fault.

I hadn’t always been this alone and isolated in a long time. While it’s true I’m alienated because of the way I was raised and the many unusual qualities I’d once possessed, but all of those ended months ago and it was something I didn’t want to reminisce about.
By some sort of a miracle, I managed to stumble my way over to the window without falling, tripping, or slipping on the water. I grabbed the old, worn towel from my dresser. I was glad I had enough foresight to put one out. Just as I knelt and started cleaning the floor, a quick glimpse out the window and I froze.

Three police cruisers and an ambulance were zooming down the lonely, deserted road of Grace Avenue at high speed. They took a sharp left turn down Second Street and disappeared into the gloomy, foggy darkness.

Dejected, I tossed the towel off to the side, and eased the window closed so it wouldn’t make a loud bang. I stared out into the peaceful suburban town. What’s going on?

I reassured myself it was nothing. It was probably just another stupid feline who ran away from home and found a nice tree to climb…
Hold up, ambulances weren’t called in when a cat was involved. If it wasn’t a dumb cat, who was it?

However, seeing an ambulance go by didn’t prove to be a grave serious or life-threatening problem. For all some-thing small could have happened. Like a fire or maybe a mild wreckage. It had to be something minor, right?

Yeah, right, I knew it wasn’t. My conscious was urging me to find out what it was, but I ignored it. I was in denial. There was something big and bad going down. All my heightened senses were screaming at me. Every fiber in my soul desired for me to throw on my brown leather jacket, shove on my sneakers, pick up my wallet and keyring holding my spare key to the house, and follow those emergency vehicles to find out what all the fuss was about. Like always, I chickened out.

It wasn’t fear holding me back. If I were old enough and had my own car, I’d get out there and find out what’s going on. However, since I was a minor with only a permit, it averted me from going anywhere. Besides, I didn’t want to build up another wishful thinking case based on false theories and have it crumble in my face again. The last time I did it ended in disaster. It was nothing but waste of sweet time and a loss of precious energy. I’d learned an important lesson: Never Get Involved!

An explosion lit up in front of my sight, and the whole world whited out. For a split second I thought it was the lightning outside again, but a spark of pain zapped its way through my brain like a bolt of electricity.

It passed as quick as it had started, and I stood there in a state of bewilderment. What just happened?

Before I had the chance to understand, it came on again, this time, faster and harder.

Pain clamped around my whole skull, sending me staggering backwards. Hunched over, I placed my trembling hands on my weakened knees, and tried to catch my breath. It was futile. The air refused to cooperate and fill into my constricting lungs. What’s going on? And why wasn’t my headache receding?

My head felt like it was going to explode and my stomach was cramping. Nausea rose, resting just below my throat. I covered my mouth. There was no damn way I was going to control this.

I wobbled on my feet, using the wall as a guide, and made it to the bathroom where I knelt down and lost the rebellious battle of keeping the contents down. I hated feeling sick. I hated being sick. Sure, I’ve suffered from the common cold and Influenza a couple of times in the past, but it was never like this. Was there something medically wrong with me?

A strike of pure, blind panic attacked me.

Another disgusting wave swept over me, but there was nothing left in my stomach, just a few dry heaves. I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. Spent, I flushed the commode and sat on the cold linoleum. I leaned back against the porcelain tub, rested my fevered head in my hands, and tried to strive off the tremors wreaking my body.

I could sit here and ruminate all day on the worst case scenarios but it would do me no good. And I knew in my heart this wasn’t what I thought it was. So, I could rule out one of my biggest fears my anxiety had to offer. But it still didn’t help calm my nerves any. Was this a coincidence?

As if to make matters stranger, there was a vague impression of familiarity swirling within me. This all seemed similar happened to when I was in my last foster home, but it was so long ago. I was at Zoe and Mack’s house. I was safe, but even with the distance this time was much, much worse around. Did this mean…?

I pushed those thoughts out of my brain. I wouldn’t allow myself to think about it. That part of my life was over and done with. I couldn’t revert back to the past; I had to stay focused here on the present. I’m just coming down with some stupid flu bug again. At least, I hoped.

I sat there contemplating on whether or not I should head back to bed because there was nothing more I wanted to do than to crawl back underneath my cozy warm blankets and sleep the rest of the day away. But a knock on my bedroom door interrupted my thought and the sound of my foster dad’s voice came from the other end. “Is everything all right in there, Mitch?”

I maintained control over my anxiety before I answered him, “Yeah, everything’s great. I’m fine. Thanks for asking, Mack.”

“Are you sure?” he asked, concerned. “If you’re sick you know Zoe and I will try to help you.”

“I know. Thanks, but I’m okay now. I think it was the Chinese food we ate last night. It didn’t agree with me. I should’ve told you guys I wasn’t used to eating it. I’m sorry for disturbing you, but I’m okay now.” Not a total lie. We did eat out and I wasn’t used to Chinese food. But it wasn’t the food causing this sickness. Nevertheless, I wasn’t about to tell Mack the truth.

“Are you sure? You don’t sound fine.” Figured he wouldn’t be convinced so easily.

I cleared the dryness out of my throat. “Yeah, I’m sure.”

“Are you going to stay up or go back to bed?”

“If you’re okay with it, I think I’ll stay up. I have a bit more studying to do before Mrs. Gibson comes by. Besides, I don’t think I’ll be able to fall back to sleep anyway, even if I take my medication. If I do take it, I’m sure I’ll miss handing in my assignments to her today, and I can’t afford it since she’s bringing me an important history test.”

“Okay, Mitch,” he said, unsatisfied. “Like always, I expect for you not to make too much noise, please? Zoe is still asleep and I do not want to disturb her if at all possible. And speaking of which, I’m going back to bed myself.”

“Do you think I could take a shower?” I still had to ask. Zoe was so hard to figure out. Sometimes she’d sleep though anything and sometimes just the smallest noise could wake her. Her husband was the only one who seemed to have her figured out.

“Sure, the water won’t wake her up. But, if you decide to eat, just snack on something—preferably something healthy—until we get up.”

“Will do,” I said. “Thanks again, Mack.”

“No problem, Mitch.”

“Well, goodnight.”

I listened until his footsteps retreated down the hall be-fore I got up off the floor. The minute I rose to my feet, the world did a three-sixty on its axis. The small darkened room grew darker and I shot a hand to my head as every-thing around me began to swirl into the darkness. Unbalanced and afraid I was going to lose consciousness any second, I eased myself down onto the edge of the tub.
Once the darkness faded and I became more aware and sturdy, I flipped the light switch on. A dull yellow glow invaded my sight and colorful dots sparkled.

I turned the faucet on to the shower and stepped in. The running hot water was nice and refreshing. I was a little disappointed it didn’t quell my headache all the way, but it did dull it to a more manageable level. Weighing the pros and cons of taking my pain medication, I chose not to since the pain in my head wasn’t agonizing and the shower had lowered it to just a small throb at my temples. I figured it would disperse after a good breakfast.

Most of the times when I had headaches, I had to take pain medication quite often. I bought them at any and every chance I had from pharmacies so I could keep a good supply of them. The first time Mack and Zoe witnessed one of my headaches first hand, it had been a little over three weeks ago, they had freaked. They dragged me to the near-est clinic. The doctor who examined me told them I was suffering from migraines and from insomnia. He prescribed me sleeping medication, but told me for my headaches to just take over the counter painkillers at any health food store. Hearing the good news, they calmed down. However, it wasn’t just I who bought them, Zoe and Mack and even Symon would get them for me whenever the pain got too intense. I had a nice assortment stocked up in my medicine cabinet. There was Advil, Excedrin, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen… You name it, I’ve got it.

Once I finished the rest of my business in the bathroom, I came out dressed in jeans, an old faded dark blue T-shirt, and socks. If Zoe were up, she’d tell me I should’ve dressed up more proper, but I wasn’t in the mood. Easing down the stairs and into the kitchen, I went over to the white cabinet and grabbed a granola bar from the box.

Closing the door, my eyes traveled over to the clock on the microwave. It was fifteen minutes past four o’clock, and daybreak had yet to break out.

A yawn slipped out as I leaned against the counter. I was in need of some strong coffee. I knew I couldn’t make any though until Zoe or Mack got up. And just the thought of a nice, streaming brew of my favorite coffee, my stomach rumbled and rebelled again. Well, so much for the pleasant idea of coffee.

Agitated, I tossed the thought from my mind and settled for grabbing a bottle of spring water from the fridge. Unlike coffee, it wouldn’t wake me up, but at least I would have something light on my stomach so it wouldn’t come back up. I hoped anyway.

I walked into the living room and plopped down on the couch. I was still uncomfortable in this small house. The atmosphere surrounding the place was positive and serene, but it wasn’t the house causing this unpleasant sensation. It’s the family living inside. I still know their intentions and it made me uneasy. When Symon first told me about them, I had been weary, asking myself why they choose to take me in. It wasn’t their fault though. I just had trust issues with everyone. My dad had been the one to implant this seed of distrust inside of me and it’s been growing larger and larger with each new obstacle I go through.

On the coffee table, I first grabbed a coaster and sat my water on it. Mack and Zoe Moore had some serious strict rules and I did my best to abide by them since I was still getting accustomed to my new environment. So, any mess I made I cleaned it up as soon as possible. Since this was my first ever foster home, I wanted to make a good impression. Most of my life I lived with my dad, but for a couple of weeks after his death, I lived with Symon until he shipped off to live with my foster family. He said it was for my own protection. Even now, I pondered on what he meant: what did I need protection from?

I brushed away the train of thought before it could go any further, grabbed the remote control from the coffee ta-ble and pressed the power button.

A news reporter popped up. “And in breaking news, Destiny Grover, a sixteen year old, high school student from River Falls High, who was declared a runaway victim a week ago, has been found and has returned home safe and sound and has begun rekindling with her parents. Inter-views with her doctors state Destiny is suffering from a se-vere state of overexerted stress, but have no conclusive evidence has to why the girl is suffering from a mild case of amnesia. As of yet, her doctors still haven’t confirmed if there has been any kind of physical or sexual abuse. Stay tuned for more details coming up later in the week. And now on to sports…”
Annoyed, I shook my head. What could persuade girls so much to make them run away from home? Better yet: what on earth was going on in this town? This Destiny chick was the sixth runaway victims to come home with amnesia in the last three weeks.

Wincing from the loudness, I lowered the volume down to fifteen before I surfed through the channels. Ten minutes of channel surfing, I switched over to the SYFY channel and laid the remote back down. On the flat screen TV, they were playing a horror movie about aliens. I wasn’t involved in watching anything this morning, but I figured it would help me get out of my head. But it didn’t have any effect this morning.

While I sat there munching down on my chocolate and coconut granola bar, I thought back to my old friends. I marveled over how they were doing, what they were up to, and how much their lives have changed in the last year. The night before I was brought here, Symon had smashed my phone so nobody could ever find or come after me. Now I couldn’t text my buddies from the academy. Thankfully, he didn’t destroy my laptop. However, my computer was all the way up in my room and I didn’t want to get up from my comfy position and go get it. It wasn’t because I was lazy; it was mostly because I didn’t want to disturb Mack and Zoe. So, I settled for watching the television screen.

Right when I went to grab my bottle of water, I paused midway. Something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. There, on the white boarded calendar Zoe had nailed to the light blue surfaced wall was already in the month of October and Thursday, the thirteenth, was circled in a red marker.

A gasp escaped my past my lips, my heart stopped, and my hands turned cold and numb. The bottle I was holding slipped through my trembling fingers and crashed to the white carpet with a silent thud. I was lucky I’d closed the lid in advance, but I wasn’t lucky when the bottle landed on my foot. But I didn’t yelp out when it did. I just stared at the calendar, frozen in fear and disbelief.

It couldn’t be. It…just…couldn’t…be.
© Copyright 2018 Erica St. Charles (ericahansen at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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