Chapter 1- Downlaw
The night was thick, the moon full, and the clouds lay flat like a map in the sky. The stars were not present on this foggy night in August. I was running, closer to my destination, yet I was still out of breath. I was breathing louder, and I knew I couldn't keep running for hours. I had to face the person, or thing that was scarcely following me. I stopped in mid haul and took a deep, terrifying breath, as it could be the last. Instead of the thing coming forth and taking me captive, it stopped also. It was cloaked and was clearly out of breath like me. I closed my eyes in pure furor.
"What do you want with me?" I asked the figure. It shook its head, almost like it couldn't speak. I got closer, now purely think I could be the villain of this and hurt the thing myself. As I got closer it whispered something.
"Come closer." It said seductively. I ultimately knew that it was a female speaking to me. I breathed facing her, a cold sweat appearing down my left eye. "Emma, come closer." I went a little closer, and I could hear her laugh- a laugh that was so familiar.
"What?" But before she could answer I awoke from my dream, tears streaking down from my eyes. I sighed and whipped the tear from my eye. "Just a dream."
The Downlaw Orphanage for teens was the most downright horrible place to begin your life. I was placed there when I was a child which was possibly the worst thing about my life. Since it was meant for teens, I was the only kid there- only one who needed special care and for that matter the teens and caretakers treated me like I was someone from a different planet, a harmful alien. I always wore the plaid brown and white dress my mother donated for me; but it wasn't enough for me. I grew up as the outcast, no one wanted me, not one person had ever asked for an interview. Miss. Gresham was the reason I wouldn't kill myself.
She had curly red hair and pale white skin. She was beautiful in a different way, her features had perfect written all over them. She helped me and cared for me, she taught me aerobics to help me free the stress. She bought me something for my birthday every year. And most of all, she treated me like a daughter. Like I was her own, and I treated her like a mom. I truly loved her, and I was almost certainly positive she loved me also.
Miss. Gresham told me I could call her Rene, which I did. She told me about the most famous cities across the world but the one I needed to see was New York. The way she described it as the city of life, made me wince every time. I live in the complete opposite of New York, I live in Massachusetts. I laid in my bed, I wasn't ready to get up and continue my life in this hell hole, in fact, I wasn't ready to do anything except think about the frightening nightmare that had just occurred in my big, wistful mind. A knock struck at my door and turned my head to face it. The knob slowly turned and Rene slowly entered. She looked happy yet nervous.
"You ready for breakfast?" Rene asked. I was hungry but I could hold it in for a while more.
"No thank you, but if you don't mind, I need to talk to you about something." That was true. This dream was killing me, it felt so real but so wrong. It wasn't like me to be outside, I was never outside so what was this dream making me think?
"What can I help you with?" she asked me pleasantly. I looked at her, my bulging blue eyes just staring at her. She looked uncomfortable and unsure of what I was going to ask her.
"I had the dream again." I said telling the truth. This dream has been haunting me this whole week, and I've told her about it once or twice, I felt it was necessary because I believed something was wrong with me.
"This dream is not really important to the real world now is it?"
"No, but I thought maybe you could do something to help me?" I told her.
"Right, well you can't really do anything about dreams." She sighed.
"I know that, but has this ever happened to you? I mean it's scaring me" She didn't answer. I was crazy, a stupid little mistake.
"I have something to tell you." She said hesitantly.
"What?" I asked her curiously.
"A couple, they are coming for an interview…with you."
This wasn't an exactly a normal day for me, the dream scene which has been played five times this past week, and now a couple who were at the very least slightly interested in me? This was most certainly not a normal day.
"Are you lying?" I asked trying to read her expression.
"No, they saw your information on the orphanages website; they claimed they liked your opinionated views. I mean who wouldn't?" She said.
"And they want me; do they know what they're getting themselves in?" I said a little worried that they were expecting some cheerleader or teen model.
"This is a good thing, you will finally be able to get loose out of Downlaw!" she said excited for me. I couldn't help but to think negatively, this wasn't a good thing in my mind. "Why aren't you excited?"
"I don't know, I guess I'm just scared of the real world." I said quietly. All of this was true, I needed to see something more to the world, instead of the rustic world of Downlaw, but I was terrified of what could or might happen.
"Emma, I thought you liked challenges?" She asked me frustrated.
"I do. I just don't think this is the best one for me." I told her.
"Emma, I grew up with you- I know you, you can do this."
"I don't know, I feel like I'm different."
"You are different, but that's why I love you. You wear skull earrings, listen to heavy metal music, and love the simple things in life."
"Exactly, I would stick out like a sore thumb in the real world." I sighed heavily. "I am scared of the truth, because I'm far from it." She looked at an ease but also terribly mad, was she mad at me? What did I do to deserve her disrespect?
"I can't be in your life; I'm done with you Emma. Once you leave, I'm gone. I'm going somewhere knew, I need a new life …I hope this couple adopts you." And it was as if she disappeared in thin air. I was crying in my head, but I wouldn't let the tears escape, this was too much for a girl like me to handle. I grabbed my bone collection from under my ugly, metal bed; it was in an old shoe box which was as run down and ugly as it could get. Inside, there were hundreds of solid hard bones. When Rene would go to the park, I always asked her to scout out any dead animals and grab their bones to add to my collection. I would use the bones for inspiration to remember this scary and unforgiving dream that gave me a scarred childhood. This all started when I was ten, a fragile age.
The dream was frightening and dark. It took place in Coos Park, which I had only gone to once in my life. I was standing in the middle of the park, by the fountain, rain falling on my head. I was trapped almost chained to the ground and I couldn't move. I tried screaming but no one was insight, and around the park was a thick white mist that I couldn't see through. Then the rain stopped and for a split second I thought that meant I was safe. Then, blood started pouring from the sky. Soon after the blood decided to stop, the sun came out and the chains let loose, but around me were dead animals. Deer's, rabbits, and even some exotic animals, I stared at the sky, which had clearly killed these animals for the blood. I took the bones out of the animals to remember the dream. The dream killed me, seeing all the dead animals. I couldn't comprehend anything about it; I couldn't comprehend anything about my dreams. They always seemed like a mass of rainbow colors. I had a little journal, Rene gave me that I drew my dreams in, since I really don't have any artistic skills, they were always just scribbles, I drew them so I wouldn't forget them. Yet, I always did forget them.
I went down to the interview room and waited on the brown chair that the child usually sits in while the couple interviews you. Then I heard a faint knock on the maple wood door. "Come in." I said gulping in air. I was praying that they would like me; I really needed to get out of Downlaw after what happened this morning with Rene. First the women came in. She had mousy features and reddish brownish hair, she smiled at me pleasantly. The male was a tall muscle man, he looked as cute as they could get, but I grew up with orphanage boys so how would I know what cute looked like? "Hi, I'm Rebecca." The women said grinning, shining a perfect smile.
"I'm Aaron, nice to meet you." He said. He had a thick voice which only made it harder to not like him. He had brown eyes and blonde hair.
"I'm Emma." I said quickly, almost forceful.
"So, Emma you may know this but we would like to adopt you." Rebecca said grinning.
"Are you serious?" I said excited.
"Yes, they didn't tell you that?" Aaron asked me. I only shook my head, they didn't.
"Why don't you go pack your bags, you're coming with us." Rebecca said.
"Okay!" I ran out the door so fast they couldn't even say goodbye. This was just what I wanted, a picture perfect family. Friends, family, and maybe someday a sister…could this day get any better. But one thing confused me, why would Rene keep this from me? Rene was known for secret blurting, it wasn't like her. Even though Rene crushed me this morning, I knew I had to say goodbye.
I packed my bags in a purple duffle bag my unknown parents delivered me in. Soon everything was packed including the bone box, I managed to squeeze that in. "Looks like you're in a rush." Rene said breathing heavily in the door way.
"Sorry, I was going to go say goodbye."
"Don't worry about this; you probably think I was a jerk this morning, but…" I didn't care, that was the past this was the present.
"Don't kill yourself about it." I sneered at her. I didn't mean it to be hurtful it's just, she was bringing something up that I didn't want to be brought up.
"Look I'm sorry," she hesitated. "I knew this was happening, I just…I just didn't want you to completely say no to this awesome idea of you having a real family." I looked at her uneasy. In a strange way I felt bad for her, the look on her face made the hairs on my back stand up.
"It's over, I don't care anymore but one thing's for sure I will miss you." I said running to her and let myself hug her. That was the truth, she was the only thing I had for all my life and I was ditching her. "I will visit you, I promise."
She smiled the smile I loved the most, it was the smile where she showcased her snow white teeth. "I will miss you too." She said shaky.
"Do you know the couple?" I asked
"Not personally, but I saw their information they sent when they first wanted to adopt you." I could see flare in her eyes, though.
"Is there something wrong with them?"
"Just please do one thing for me, do not mention the nightmares to them."
"Why?" I asked her.
"It's not normal Emma, having these nightmares- it could mislead them about you."
"I guess that's true." I admitted.
"Thank you, I don't want to see you get hurt in any way." She said.
"Thank you." I asked her.
"No problem, are you sure you have everything?"
"Yep all packed!"
"Then you better get going." Rene said a tear streaking down her cheek.
"Goodbye I'll miss you."And then the world seemed invisible. As I ran down the stairs to the main foyer caring the duffle bag I saw them. They weren't evil, but something about them was different, something I didn't know how to describe. They smiled as they saw me; I managed to smile a graceful look back to them.
"You ready?" Aaron asked shinning a smile so pure and perfect.
"Yes." I said so confused by what was happening. Imagine this, the world spinning around your body with nothing carrying it around but gravity. It feels like you could just melt, or your eyes could just flip backwards. I was so grateful yet so frightened. Who were these people? Where exactly were they taking me? I should have asked them more when we were in the interviewing room, way more.
"I have some questions if you don't mind?" I said staring into their eyes. They both nodded calmly.
"Where are we going?"
"That question is more of a surprise actually, don't worry though, were not taking you anywhere bad… were taking you somewhere special." Rebecca said justified. I didn't want to end up in the loony bin so I vowed that if I saw a sign that read 'Loony Bin' Id jump out the car.
"Can I carry that?" Aaron said.
"Yes if you don't mind." I said kindly.
"Not at all." He said lifting the duffle bag off my shoulder; I heard the faint noise of the bones moving around in the box in the bag. I was ready to get out of Downlaw. I wondered if my bleached blonde hair was tangled or straight…it was different each day. Like any teenage girl, the hair is the pride of the pack; to me it felt like a waste of time. My hair was two inches below the shoulders, I always thought having purple streaks down it would be interesting, but I doubt that would happen.
"School. What about school?" I asked gently.
"High school in town." Rebecca said.
"I was home schooled before, I don't…" I sighed. "I don't know how to socialize the way other girls my age, do."
"That's one of the reasons why we chose you. We saw your scores and looked at others your age; you're in all honors and AP classes, academically you will do great. And plus socializing will be easy for you, your well mannered and perhaps perfect." Aaron said as we were walking out the doors of Downlaw.
There right there was a red Mazda fit for a celebrity. A leaf was falling atop it right when I first saw it and the clear air was whooshing me in the face…wow. I regret choosing not to go outside daily; this mysterious unknown paradise would have been a blast to just reflect in. It's true, I've only been outside three times in my life, one was the first day I got to Downlaw, second was when I went to coo's park, and third was today. Aaron put my bags into the Mazda and I sat in the back. It was a sleek car, with black leather seats and a faint smell of peppermint. Then it roared to life and I was off, it felt like a rollercoaster it was the best thing that had ever happened in my quiet life. "Are you ready to find out where we live?" Rebecca said now looking like a model, and then I noticed something her hair had turned blonde. It was like mine, she was beautiful now…no longer mousy looking but she now looked like a model.
I nodded slightly. Where were we going? I didn't know. How long would it take? I had no clue. Was I excited? You bet.