Prologue

A long time ago, there was a quiet town where the sky was white at all seasons and times. Few miles away from the town, there stood a large house where two children and an old woman lived in it. The two children named Nila and Alan were told once by the woman in her mid-fifties named Matilda that they were adopted by her from an orphanage in a faraway city when they were only babies with eyes shut like newborn piglets.

One night, Nila wouldn't shut her eyes; she couldn't sleep. Lying on her wooden bed mattress, her eyes stared straight at the wooden ceiling. Noises of furnitures moving keep coming from upstairs, where Matilda's room was at. The other wooden bed in Nila and Alan's bedroom was empty. She knew that Alan was brought upstairs again. Squeezing her hands onto her ears, she got up from her bed and ran out of the room; trying to find a place where the noise wouldn't come into her ears. At the same time, feeling scared and worried for Alan. It was too dark in the house for her to see where she was going so she got out a candlestick from a drawer in their bedroom and lit it with a match. She ran around the house from one corner to another but the noise seemed to be following her, growing louder with every step she ran. She came in front of a stairway which she never noticed before in the house then stretched out her arm holding the candlestick in front of her to the stairway and saw that it led down to a door. She walked down through the stairway, opened the door, it felt really heavy for her but she managed, and closed it behind her. Then everything was silent as if time had halted.

Nila's Story

1 The Repetitive Cycle

Nila held up her tears as she applied some ointment onto her little brother's body. The seven-year old boy's body was covered in gray and purple bruises, with wounds here and there. His eyes looked as if they belonged to a dead person. She could feel her brother's sorrow and numbness just like they belonged to her. The two of them could always feel what each other were feeling ever since Alan was born a year later than Nila. It was this connection that made Nila wanting to run away from the noises every time Alan was brought upstairs. Each day passed by as Nila's urge of wanting run away from the house grew larger and larger.

Every Monday noon, Matilda would dial the grocery shops in town to have them deliver groceries to the house, paying double tips for the deliverance so the family would never have to go out. That day, it was Monday and the deliveryman came at two o'clock in the noon like usual. Doorbells at the top corner of the front door tackled each other making a merry ringing sound like those you hear at Christmas time. Nila called out to answer the deliveryman and opened the door for him. She handed him the money that Matilda had left on an end table and took the bags of groceries from him. She could never quite see the deliveryman's face every time he came so she never knew how he looked like. He would always use something to cover up his face which was most likely that no one in town ever saw. This week he wore a blue hood covering his face, last week it was an extremely large black hat, and at other weeks it was another thing.

Nila was thinking about what could be done to stop Matilda's abuse when she suddenly tripped while walking to the kitchen holding the bags of groceries on her arms. Tomatoes, cabbages, and other vegetables from the grocery bags flew into the air at the same moment as she was about to fall onto the floor face-forward. 'Don't fall!' she thought to herself. Then almost instantly, the vegetables, the grocery bags, and herself stopped falling and floated in mid-air, looking as if they were hanging from invisible strings coming from the ceiling. She picked down the vegetables still floating in the air and put them back into the grocery bags. After having everything settled in the kitchen, she felt as though she hadn't slept for days, which was probably true. She used what energy she had left inside her to walk back to the bedroom and fell asleep on her bed.

Nila was woken up by the noises of furnitures moving coming from upstairs in the middle of the night again. She got worried for Alan then ran towards the staircase which led to the second floor. She hesitated when she thought if she could rescue Alan from Matilda's abuse this time. The noises of furnitures moving grew louder and the feeling of wanting to run away from the noise oozed up in Nila again. Her legs were shaking because Alan shared his fear with her. At last, she took a step backward from the staircase and turned away. She felt as though her body was being controlled by anything but herself. She ran again, trying to find a place where she wouldn't hear the noise. She remembered the stairway which led down to a dark room and how silent it was when she went inside; she ran to that stairway and opened the heavy door again. It was pitch black inside but she stepped into the room feeling safer than anywhere else for the time being, and shut the door behind her again. Finally, it was silent, and she felt at peace.

The next morning, Nila was sleeping on the floor in the middle of the house. Her hands still on her ears and her body crouched into a small circle. She wondered how she got there as the last place she remembered she went to was the dark room beneath the stairway. In fact, she couldn't even remember how she got out of it the first time she went inside the room, or how many nights she had been like this. She daydreamed for hours on the floor and analyzed that she might had dream-walked out of the dark room after she went in there.

"Breakfast!!" a harsh and loud voice yelled out from the second floor, it was Matilda.

'Oh gee', Nila thought. She got up and went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for the three like she usually did before. It was because if she didn't do as Matilda told, the punishment would be heavier bruises and wounds on Alan, which was what Nila wouldn't want to happen most.

To save the time used on cooking so that Matilda wouldn't have more to fuss about, she used her powers that she used last time to help her to cook. Sending eggs, hams, forks, knives, and plates flying around the air in the kitchen with a snap of a finger.

Alan came into the dining room right on time when Nila finished cooking breakfast. Nila didn't even have to look at him to know that he had more bruises on his body than last time. The three of them, including Matilda, had their breakfast in silence. Morning sunlight coming through windows in the dining room shed onto their dining table. From afar, they seemed like any other family in town or the one you knew next door from your own.