Kaitlin R. Welliver
This is story about love and adversity and phenomena. It is one I'm going to tell you that you probably won't believe, but that is your decision. Sometimes even I don't believe it, but when I come home I'm happily reminded of its reality. But first, I must start with my childhood.
I grew up in the time where proper upbringing was essential and manners were everything. My mother, the most graceful and respectable woman in the world, taught me to only wear skirts and dresses; anything else was unacceptable. I looked up to her as one would look up to an idol.
My father was a successful business man that traveled the world. He loved my mother very much, you could tell. When they were together, they were happiest. One summer, Father decided to end his international affairs and buy a house in a beautiful suburb outside a well known city. It had flowers and trees and a little brick walkway; even a garage fit for two cars. There were cute red shingles and a second story. It was my mother's dream house and she was happy.
I was only a young girl at the time, but my memory hasn't faded. We were a family. The cliché families in the magazines and TV commercials couldn't compare.
We spent that summer at the beach that was a 30-minute drive from our house, or in the city. My father had many friends uptown, so everywhere we went it wasn't unusual to hear, "Hey John!" or "Johnny! My boy!" and "Well if it isn't Ol' Jackaroo." And of course they'd always be so kind to my mother, "Good afternoon Mrs. McAllister" and "How do you do, Ms. Elizabeth?"
It was seldom anyone noticed my presence, but that didn't bother me. I would just hold on to Mother's hand and that was enough. I was taught with Father's friends to only speak when spoken to. It wasn't like I was withholding and urge—It was just the right thing to do.
I particularly remember one day we went to town. We were visiting my mother's sister, Patrice. Auntie Patrice was a very nice lady and she always gave me cookies. My parents and she would always sit in the living room of her appartment drinking tea and catching up with what events happened with each other and what news article they both read and how they felt about it and so on.
I usually spent the time in the guest room because there was this particular stuffed animal that I simply adored. It was white unicorn with a shiny, colourful horn, and purple hooves. Mother always said it was a silly toy and I was a silly girl with a silly fascination, but I liked the unicorn because it was a representative of what could never be. It was my little escape from reality and I loved it.
I remember what happened next as if I read it over and over out of a book. We left Auntie Patrice's later that evening and I was ecstatic because she let me keep the unicorn. She said it was because I "smothered it so much." The ding of the elevator signified our arrival to the ground floor and I held Mother's hand. Father lead the way out the doors and just as it opened, it was as if you turned up the volume from zero to ten on a stereo, only hearing the busy streets of the city and the warm night air of car exhaust.
We didn't want to be too late so Father kind of was walking at a fast pace. I was struggling to keep up as my mother pulled me along. The stamina of their legs far outweighed that of my own.
As I thought of the distance it would take to get to our car, three blocks, the hair stood up on the back of my neck. I'm not sure whether or not you'll believe me when I say this, but when something happens in life that's a major event, sometimes traumatizing, I knew then that something was about to happen. I could feel the intertwined threads of fate and time catch up and a ghastly occurrence was upon us. As a little girl, a feeling so important such as this one, it was overwhelming. Tears escaped my eyes. I felt a frustrating combination of my mother tugging me a long, my father telling us move along, my strong unconditional love for the both of them, and this fear of something I couldn't stop. This was all just coursing through my mind all at once.
Just as I had imagined, some cloaked figure came out of an alley with a gun pointed. I watched my parents fall dead, both of them, as the cloaked person ran to shelter. It started to thunderstorm and I held Conner, my unicorn, and cried as the rain showered down upon me and my new life.
It was Auntie Patrice who found me after she came out to see what all the commotion was about. Policemen were everywhere and lights were flashing in all directions. A small crowd soon developed around me and my lifeless parents. That was all I remember of that night.
I spent the up coming years of my life with Auntie Patrice in the city. It was not infrequent when I made stops at the police station seeing if they had found who the cloaked figure was, but to no avail. Soon it was disregarded as an unsolved mystery. They tried talking with everyone my parents were ever associated with, but they had no leads at all on who would have felt hostile towards them. As the years progressed, the case was dismissed.
As for me, I grew up lonely and deeply effected by witnessing the deaths of my parents. Auntie Patrice took very good care of me and for a while she had me see a doctor for "post traumatic distress disorder". My sessions went well and soon after, everything "looked good" and I ceased my regular sessions with the doctor.
I went to a private school in the city and had many friends, but never did I have any close friends. They were all very sophisticated and never let anyone ever forget it. I didn't mind though, they were happy with themselves and I suppose that's all that mattered.
I found myself listening of big band jazz music most of the time while lying on my bed with Connor. I frequently had terrible dreams about the night my parents had died and they haunted me throughout all of my existence. I never told anyone though, in fear that they'd send me back to see the doctors again. It's not that I didn't like my doctors; it's more that I didn't like being treated like there was something wrong with me. I didn't like being put under the pressure.
My story doesn't really start until I was around sixteen years of age, and my grandmother on my mother's side got ill. It was very necessary for Auntie Patrice, only living relation, to go and care for her. Grandma Jane refused to leave her mansion and she usually got her way. So, I transferred schools.
My grandmother lived in a very rich, small town in northern New England. Our family had this plot of land ever since the great migration. We owned a small vineyard in our family that has been in business for many years but it just recently ceased; either Grandmother retired or it went out of business or something of the sort.
But regardless, I still moved with Auntie Patrice into a huge mansion across the country.
I didn't have too many things I wanted to move across the country, so it wasn't too difficult. I found the plane rides were very interesting. Even when we were flying over the clouds, there were patterns that I could see that would forever be unappreciated by anyone else seeing their endless shapes would never see what I saw. An idea such as this one amazes me beyond belief.
While driving through the New England states, green and mist surrounded us. Again I was amazed at the tranquility of the land. My breath left a glossy fog on the window as I looked out at the cool horizon. The summer was at its end and the atmosphere seemed almost asleep. The highway wasn't too busy; occasional cars here and there. The towns seemed almost empty as we drove through them. As we drove onwards to the small town of Melbrooke Falls, the misty air seemed to emit a sort of eerie feeling. The nature of the trees seemed to loom over the road. The clouds hid away any sort of blue sky that was undoubtedly above them.
My thoughts were averted as we drove into the long winding driveway to the place my aunt said was our new home. The view of the mansion was majestic as we drove up the hill, of which it lay, from the dirt road we just turned off from. The massive building was surrounded by tall, unkept green grass with a single large oak tree to accent the brick of the mansion. I call it mansion only because I've never seen a building so large used as a home before. The levels of the house were interpreted by the amount of windows that bestowed the front; three high, ten across. My persona was filled with curiosity and excitement. The thought of adventure raced through every vein. Plans and endeavors to explore every room of which this new place had and beheld I had started procuring. This was the residence that I must reside? It was surely different from my last home in the city; an apartment atop of a small restaurant.
Auntie Patrice made haste to move our things from our vehicle into the new, old building. My grandmother wasn't there to greet us, but it seemed not as if Auntie Patrice expected it that way. She knew her way about the place, surprising to me. With our bags and luggage at the foot of a tall staircase, I followed her up one level. There was a hallway that split two ways and my aunt took a right. She went to the end of the hallway, went up a spiral staircase, which was located on the right front side of the building, and went up to a tower. This room, cozy, warm, lived in, was where my grandmother laid. Immediately, Auntie Patrice rushed to the bedside and told me that I should leave and pick a bedroom of where I would rest and unpack my things. She said that Grandmother wasn't well enough to see me.
Going back to the top of the staircase where my things were, I decided to take a left where my aunt took a right. My appearance down this hallway seemed to stir up a lot of the dust that accumulated on the floor that so long has been untouched. The floor was wooden and creaked often, and the walls were adorned with lamps that hadn't been lit for ages. The only light came from the window at the far end of the hallway didn't light up much colour in the long corridor. There were frequently paintings on the walls that hadn't been appreciated enough, and occasionally doors. I tried a few, but they seemed to be locked.
Finally, I came to the spiral staircase that I knew was coming. I climbed, appreciating every single bit of mastery it took to carve all of the designs into the mahogany railing. At the top of the staircase was a door with a beautiful carving of a swing hanging off a sole tree in a meadow. Smiling at the originality of the artwork and every single aspect of this place, I turned the bronze door knob. The door whined as I opened it and I took my first look at my new bedroom for the next year and a half of my adolescent life.
The room was circular in nature. In every direction, dusty light shown through a window, half of them showing the roof of the rest of the building. I was in the left wing tower. In the center of the room against the wall was a canopy bed of enormous stature with velvet curtains. At the foot of the bed was a massive wooden chest. There was a vanity with large mirrors, and a plush seat opposite of it. It was so cozy and nice, I felt my heart warm.
I set Connor on my bed behind the curtains, and unpacked my things. My clothes fit in the chest nicely, and my dresses and skirts hung comfortably in a wardrobe I found beside the vanity. I then rested on my new bed next to my unicorn and slept until Auntie Patrice called me down for dinner, of which I had gotten lost trying to find the kitchen.
Soon after moving in, I was to go to school at the local public high school. I still hadn't had a chance to completely explore my new surroundings, but I wasn't worried about that. I had to prepare myself for my upcoming days at Melbrooke Falls High School. My first day, I did my hair down and decided to dress nicely for good first impressions. I had a long skirt with a sweater over a button-up collared shirt. I had on my necklace my mother had given me for my 5th birthday, and pearl earrings. I put a touch of apple fragrance on, and walked out the door hoping I was ready.
The school building was quite small than my last couple schools, but it seemed nice. It was all brick and was not unusual in any way that I could find. The bell that hung high above the building rang twice, symbolizing the beginning of the first period.
It was not difficult finding my classroom. The population of this town was so miniscule that everyone who was in a certain grade all had the same classroom. The door of which I walked through read: Room 208 – Mr. Davis. The man I assumed was Mr. Davis, a balding, short man with thick glasses, was the first person I came into eye contact with and smiled at me. The students still hadn't taken their seats but Mr. Davis soon put an end to that, however, he kept me up front so he could introduce me.
"Class, I would like to introduce you to your new classmate. This is Jazmynne McAllister. She will be attending class with you guys until you graduate. How about you tell us about yourself, Ms. McAllister?"
This was the first time I looked at the faces of my new peers. They were all sitting at their individual desks with their paper and pencils out, each one of them with their eyes on me. They had different expressions on, and weren't that difficult to read. There were some that were analyzing me, determining whether or not they'd befriend me, others were looking at my skirt and my apparel, predicting my social status, while others simply sat with a vacant expression.
"I grew up in the city. I just moved in with my grandmother on Riverside Road." Immediately after saying this, students went to the next person and started whispering amongst themselves. The looks I received were of shock, disbelief, and contempt.
"Class, class! Quiet now! Ms. McAllister was only kidding. She doesn't really live in the only place on Riverside Road." My eyes landed on Mr. Davis and he smiled, patting my back. The class was still talking, however a little quieter now. "Isn't that right, Ms. McAllister? You were only kidding?"
"Actually, no. I live in the house on the hill on Riverside Road."
"Are you a freak? Everyone knows that house is haunted." The person who said this gained my attention. She was a beautiful girl. She had on tight jeans and a shirt that showed about an inch of her midriff and a considerable amount of her clavicle. Her hair was all done curly and her make up was impeccable. Her tone was snobbish and controlled. She held the presence of a leader.
"Obviously, Alyssa, Jazmynne wouldn't be living in it if it were haunted." Sarcasm oozed off of the use of the pretty girl's name. She looked behind her to the boy who contradicted her statement. The boy was very handsome. He winked at me and offered a smile. Kindly, I returned the favour in gratitude. He had dark hair and a nice complexion. Alyssa saw this, turned around in her seat, crossed her arms, and just said, "Whatever."
There were girls that sat around Alyssa, I noticed that mirrored her contempt for me, reason being unknown. They followed her everywhere, I soon learned, and often did what she did. The boy who defended me was her exboyfriend Damien Shields. Many of the girls adored him, but he didn't let himself get too carried away with them. He was level-headed, smart, and athletic.
I learned this information from my new friend Josephine, when we sat down together at lunch. Josephine was a quiet girl. Her hair was in braids and she had glasses for reading. She was pretty, but in a shy, timid sort of way.
While I was learning the social aspects of the school from Josephine at lunch, she was silenced at the arrival of Alyssa Valley and her fellow girls.
"I don't know who you are, but Damien is mine. Don't you ever smile or even look at him again. Do you hear me?" Her arms were folded across her chest and her pretty face was tarnished by her scowl. The other girls, three of them, mimicked her countenance. I was surprised by her sudden declaration, and before I could offer a response, Damien decided to make an appearance.
"Look Alyssa. I'm not yours. Not anymore. I broke up with you. We're not getting back together. Leave Jazmynne alone." He stood behind me and put his hand on my shoulder. I looked up at him, but his eyes were focused on Alyssa in a cold stare. Alyssa softened her expressions and she closed the space between her and Damien.
"Oh, Damien, Baby. I told you that I was sorry for sleeping with Corey, you know I am. It's never going to happen again. I don't even like Corey." She placed her hand on his cheek as a boy on the other side of the cafeteria stood up in a huff and left slamming the door behind him.
"Get off me." Damien pushed her hand away. "I'm through with you. Go find some other guy to mooch off of." Alyssa's expression hardened again and backed up into her little cushion of lackeys. "Fine," she said haughtily. "Don't go crying to me when you don't have a prom date." She then turned around, not without tossing her hair over her shoulder, and walked off.
Damien laughed to himself. "I'm not the one who's going to have trouble in that area." He directed his attention towards me and took the seat across from me. Josephine was in sustained silence.
"I'm sorry about her. She thinks she owns the school. I hope she didn't hurt your feelings." He seemed sincere. I smiled at him.
"Don't worry. I didn't find the things she said offensive." He grined.
With the day gone and ended, I laid in my bed retracing the events again through my head. I smiled when I thought of Josephine and Damien; frowned when I thought of Alyssa and her cronies. The moon shone in through three of my windows and lit up my room with grand ardor. I smiled and held Connor close nibbling slightly on his shiny horn.
This place holds enough mystery and adventure and potential. I found myself anticipating the next day, the next week, the next couple months in this house, this city. I kissed the photograph of my parents on my nightstand and shut my bed curtains. Wonderment filled my dreams of what would come and content filled my heart of my new life.