|It's a Mad World
Author: Angel Winter PM
Isabelle always knew her family was strange. It all started with an ancestor that marked her place forever, an ancestor that went missing and came back ranting about talking rabbits and purple cats. Never in her life did she ever assume that that all could have been the truth, until an old pocket watch comes back to haunt the family...Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 2 - Words: 2,611 - Reviews: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 07-31-12 - Published: 07-20-12 - id: 3043602
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The funeral was short, considering Grandmother had no friends and only me for family. It was only me, the priest, and the foster agent there, and it was only me who cried as they wheeled her coffin out of the church, wheeled her away from me forever.
Grandmother was all I'd had.
And now I had no one.
A strange, kind of random thought crossed my mind as I wiped away my tears with the back of my hand and gazed heartbrokenly after the coffin.
Grandmother had always been an eccentric woman. Our whole family had been on the crazy side (at least, when there was a family to speak of). Starting with a grandmother so far back I'd forgotten how many greats to add to her name, they'd always fancied the impossible. Our name had always been humiliated that way, the people rubbing it in with a book written about that crazy woman. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, it had been titled. But they had insisted that was all fact. Even my grandmother.
And throughout all that craziness, there was always a locket. A gold locket that was passed from eldest daughter to eldest daughter. But it was never opened by anyone other than the one who wore it. Another eccentric habit, I'd guessed. I'd been horribly curious, but every time I'd asked to see inside, my grandmother would only smile and say, "When your time comes, Isabelle, when your time comes…" That had been her little saying to any question she hadn't felt like really answering.
But now, as I watched her leave me, the one thing I could think of was your time came, Grandmother. And I never got any answers.
Ms. Hale was a tall, thin-as-a-stick woman, the kind you thought if you touched they'd break in two. Fair hair framed her angular face, and piercing green eyes peered down at me with obviously faked sympathy through thick-rimmed glasses. "I'm so sorry for your loss, my dear," she said. "But I promise you, I will find you a nice home to live in." And here she tried to put her hand on my shoulder, but I hated fakers to the very bottom of my soul. So, with a sharp look, I stepped out of her reach.
She didn't really care that my grandmother was dead. All she cared about was getting rid of me as soon as possible. I couldn't stand her and her permanent Barbie doll smile that never reached her eyes, the sugary voice that was too sweet to be anywhere near true.
Ms. Hale's eyes flickered with what I thought was irritation as her hand fell back down by her side, but it was gone too quick for me to be sure. Then the sweet smile was back, and she said, "There's a car waiting outside, and we'll take you by your old home to grab your things. Okay?"
Old home. "It's not my old home," I insisted. "I'm staying there."
"Dear, you can't stay there without supervision—"
"I'm fifteen! I can take care of myself!"
"If that were true, dear, I wouldn't be here." This time, she did manage to get her hand on my shoulder, steering me towards chapel's great oak doors. "There was no will, sweetheart," she continued in a nice tone that didn't match the words she spoke. "That means that you were left with nothing and belong to no one."
"Grandmother wouldn't leave me here like this," I muttered. "She wouldn't."
"But she did, dear." And then we were outside the church, into the sunshine that didn't come near to matching my mood, and she ushered me to the sleek black car that glinted in the bright light.
As the door was slammed behind me, I pressed my face against the window. Just barely, I could see the people still pushing my Grandmother towards her grave behind the church. And that was the last I saw of her as Ms. Hale instructed the driver towards my house, and we pulled away from the church, from my grandmother, from my life.
"I'll be right here waiting for you when you come out," Ms. Hale said as the driver pulled to a stop in front of the large stone house. "Remember, you don't need much. Just some clothes and—"
I slammed the door shut, silencing her voice, and stalked away from the car and up the cobblestone driveway, towards my house.
To be honest, it was more of a mansion than a house. It rose three stories into the sky, holding at least five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and an enormous kitchen, the place my grandmother had spent hours just baking more cookies than the two of us could eat. I skipped up the stone steps to the front door like I always did, an almost defiant gesture saying that I was home and not leaving. Not that it did much for my current situation.
The inside felt colder than normal, darker with my grandmother's sweet presence filling it. I almost shivered as I approached the large staircase leading to the second story. The creaks of my feet on the wood seemed louder than normal as I ascended. My eyes flickered, just waiting to hear the normal, cheerful voice say, "Isabelle? Is that you? You're late again!"
But, of course, it never came.
I reached my bedroom, my hand reaching for the doorknob. Then I froze.
Grandmother wouldn't have just left me to the mercy of the government. She would have left me to one of her rare friends, the people she trusted…I knew she wouldn't leave me. The will…there had to be one. A hidden one.
Maybe it was in this house.
I turned away from my door and bolted down the hallway, skidding to a stop on the carpet and leaping into her room. I slammed and locked the door behind me, not wanting the Barbie wannabe coming up here and stopping me. I went on a mini rampage, desperation filling me as I leapt to the nightstands, yanking open the drawers and emptying them of the contents.
A dollar…a book…her glasses…
I went to the other nightstand. Mints…her locket…an old letter…
I tore about the room, searching frantically for anything resembling a will. God, it could've been written on a tissue for all I cared at the moment. I searched her trash bin, tore the sheets off the bed, sifted through her dresser drawers…
And as I slumped down on the floor in defeat, my eyes burning with tears I didn't want to cry, I realized I had made a discovery.
I looked towards the pile where I'd thrown all the things I'd deemed useless to my problem. There, glinting in the dim overhead lights, was the gold locket.
I crawled over to it, gently, as if picking up a porcelain doll, I pulled it from the junk by its chain and let it fall into my palm. It was cold on my skin. Why was it here? Grandmother always wore it…
She must've taken it off when she felt her heart stutter that first time, must have suspected her time was coming to an end. I was the only one left to take it.
Slowly, almost warily, I turned into over in my hand and read the carved initials on the back.
As in my crazy too-many-greats-to-count grandmother.
I clicked the latch open.
The first the I noticed was that it wasn't a locket. It was a pocket watch. The second was that, although it shoulder hold pictures, there was the tiny photo of a purple stripped cat grinning up at me.
I frowned at the picture. "Cheshire Cat?" I murmured, confused.
Then a brilliant light flared from the watch, blinding me. I cried out, trying to snap it back closed, but it refused to shut, instantly popping back open every time I latched it shut. Then I noticed the room shaking around me, like an earthquake.
"What the—!" I shouted, and then the floor gave way beneath me and I tumbled into darkness.