"Mommy? Mommy!" the little girl screamed as she weaved through the crowds of people. I looked around the scene, but her mother was nowhere in sight. But that doesn't make sense, since her mother was just there beside her, five seconds ago. Then she disappeared into thin air. Uh, that was not irresponsible at all lady, just dissolving into thin air while you're at the mall on a Saturday in summer with your five year old daughter. Not at all.
I knew I was dreaming, since everything I saw was in a bird's-eye point of view, but this scene seemed so...real. As if I'm watching a video re-run of myself as a child doing something stupid. Speaking of which, the little girl does seem extremely familiar to me. Her curly brown pigtails swished around as she turned her head, searching for her mother. The way she ran around, turning her head side to side as her feet hit the floor can't help but remind me of how I used to look the wrong direction while running when I was younger, which explains the small scar on my forehead that I got by running into a stop sign when I was seven.
A man in black was watching the little girl the entire time, and now he's making his move. He walked briskly past the people and they didn't seem to notice him. He approaches the girl from behind, quiet as a ghost.
Run away! There's a pedophile on the loose!, I thought as I watched the man draw closer and closer to the girl. Why wasn't anyone noticing? They all just walked past the girl, not even batting an eye at her. She started to turn around, but she was too late. The man grabbed her and they disappeared into a vortex of darkness without a sound. The people in the mall act as if nothing happened, which is beyond strange. Also, another little thing: how in the name of God did the man randomly create a black hole in the middle of a mall?
I was about to find out. I waited for the dream to progress, but as it did, the colours began to fade. All I got is a tiny glimpse of a dark room, and my mind suddenly got blocked by something, like a brick wall, and everything went black. As I tried to get back into the dream, the darkness shattered like glass, and I woke up sweating in my bed.
I've been having this dream for quite a while. An entire year actually. I'm not sure why, nor do I want to know why. I don't really fancy the idea of a therapist telling me I've been experiencing teenage stress or something.
After brushing my teeth and getting dressed, I headed downstairs. Before I left the house, I checked to make sure I left absolutely none of my possessions behind. I don't want to arrive in Coquitlam finding out I left my favourite pair of socks behind at home. I touched my neck to make sure my necklace was there. I've had it for as long as I can remember, and it's also my lucky charm. It's a simple silver chain, but strung on it was a star-shaped charm, with a purple gem embedded in the middle. I had no clue how much that costs, but I know I want to thank the mysterious stranger who gave it to me.
"Hurry up Amy!" my brother Jason yelled from the garage. It wasn't surprising that he's already in the car. At nine years old, he can be pretty hyper sometimes.
"I'm coming," I replied as I walked out into the garage. Before I got into the Mini Cooper, I glanced around. It's going to be a year before I get to see Las Vegas again. After today, I'm going to be a temporary Canadian, attending Delphi Academy, a boarding school in Coquitlam, British Columbia. I don't understand why Mom would make me go to a boarding school in a subdivision of Vancouver instead of the actual main city itself. I reckon it's because she went there as a kid, and I have to go now to "carry on the tradition" or something like that.
"Amy, are you sure all your things are in the trunk?" my mom asked before starting the engine.
"Yeah," I replied. Then I stuck in my ear buds, turned up the music on my iPod, and stared out the window. It was a hot and sunny day, a typical summer day in Las Vegas. I wonder whether or not I'll ever experience good weather after today.
As we were driving along, I looked at the canyons in the distance. The big red-orange formations stuck out of the ground, strong and mysterious. I've always loved them, and will miss them a lot. When we got to The Strip, I stared up at the big buildings around me. People hustled here and there, rushing to get to the next shop. I thought about all the good times I've had here with my friends, and my eyes start to tear up. I'll miss them all very, very much. I don't even want to think about meeting new people in Coquitlam. I'm very sure there is going to be some extremely awkward moments.
"Punch buggy!" Jason yelled, then gave me an almighty punch to the arm.
"Ow Jason! What was that for?"
"There was a Volkswagen, so I have to punch you. The rules say that-oh, double punch buggy!" he yelled again, but this time he punched me twice. On the same spot.
"What? There was a Beetle, and the rules say-"
"I don't care what the rules say, just stop punching me!"
"But you should! No wonder you're such a noob."
"Jason!" Mom yelled from the driver's seat. "Stop harassing your sister and be quiet."
"Okay! Geez guys..." Jason muttered, and leaned back in his seat. I prayed to Jesus to please let the time pass faster. I really don't want to get bothered to death by an obnoxious, nine-year old boy who happens to be my brother.
We finally got to the airport, and after three hours, the airplane took off. I watched the airport get smaller and smaller, until all I saw is a little dot in the distance. I sighed. My heart tightened, squeezing itself until a few tears leaked out of my eyes. I hurriedly wiped them away, in fear that my mother would see.
After a while, I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. I was near unconsciousness when the plane landed. Great timing.
Outside, the weather in Vancouver is sunny. Huh. Who knew there was actually good weather here? I looked down at my jacket. I guess I won't be needing this anymore.
I got off the plane, and met my uncle Phil near the main entrance to YVR. He's tall, with dark brown hair and green eyes.
"Amy, you do realize it's over 25 degrees Celsius outside, right?" he asked as we got into his beat-up Corolla.
"Yeah, I know that now. If you'd told me that earlier, I would've ditched the jacket."
"You do know there's something called internet, right?"
I just stayed quiet. We began the long drive to Rick's apartment, which is located in downtown Coquitlam. Even though Rick claims that his apartment is smack-dab right in the middle of the city, I don't believe him. There was no way that Coquitlam only has two malls. But apparently, that is the sad, sad truth.
We unpacked all of our stuff, and Phil decided to give us a tour of Coquitlam. He decided to take us to Coquitlam Centre first, since it's "familiar terrain" as he put it. I looked around the mall, and I have to admit, it improved the city's image a tad bit.
After shopping for a while at Coquitlam Centre, Phil took us to the other mall, which was right across from Coquitlam Centre. When I went in, I suspected placing this mall beside Coquitlam Centre isn't exactly very smart, because it's like a ghost town in there. Mom decided to help Phil shop for some groceries, and left me in charge of Jason.
For a few minutes, we sat in silence. But then, Jason started pulling on my sleeve.
"Jason, what is it?"
"Do you see that girl over there?"
"What girl? Jason, are you too tired from the plane flight or something?"
"No I'm not! And I was talking about, you know, that Asian girl with the headphones."
"Um, very descriptive Jason. There's about five different Asian girls with headphones in this food court alone."
"I know, but I'm talking about that one," he said, pointing towards the direction of Sammi's Bubble Tea. That's when I knew who he was talking about. There was a girl, maybe a year older than me, sitting at one of the tables. She had big headphones that completely covered her ears, her red-streaked hair braided down in front of her right shoulder, and she had on a black pair of jeans, purple Converse, a darkly striped shirt and an Oriental looking vest. She held a book in her hands, but she wasn't reading it. She was looking at something else.
She was looking in our direction. To other people, it looks like she's looking past us, but I knew better. The girl was staring at me with intent eyes, like a hunter stalking its prey. Her eyes were a bottomless void, taking in everything and giving out nothing. I turned back to Jason.
"Jason, don't care about her," I told him in my calmest tone possible. Really, my palms were getting clammy and sweaty just at the sight of her. Something about this girl is intimidating and dangerous.
"But Amy, she's staring at you and it's getting creepy," he complained loudly.
"Shut up!" I snapped, and looked over at the girl again.
This time she wasn't looking at me anymore, instead her eyes were focused her book. It was evident she heard Jason though, because it looked like she was struggling not to laugh. I tried to telepathically send my mom and Phil a message to please hurry up and come back here.
"It's okay Amy, she's not looking at us anymore. And look, Mom and uncle Phil are back," Jason told me nonchalantly, booked it to my mom.
"H-Hey wait!" I yelled, and bolted from my chair. I didn't dare look behind me, because I really don't want to be seeing those eyes ever again.
I urged Mom and Phil to walk faster, but they just kept walking like it was a leisurely stroll in the park. Okay, so maybe there isn't any rush, but I can't help having the feeling like the girl was creeping us. I decided to risk a peek behind me, and to my relief, I found no one stalking us. However, I did see the girl, and it seemed that she's lost all interest in me. It looked like she was completely absorbed in her book instead.
That was the first day I spent in Coquitlam. For a few days, Phil took us around the city. He took us to Place des Arts, a French art centre located on the opposite side of town. I liked how the area is more French than the rest of the city, since I love France, and I am French. I remember back in Las Vegas, I would awe people with my ability to speak fluent French. I guess being fluent in a foreign language has its perks: I have a guaranteed 100% in my language elective.
After Phil took us on his tours of Coquitlam, I spent most of the days at the clubhouse near Phil's apartment. There was nothing else to do, and nowhere else to see, so I may as well entertain myself by shooting some hoops. I didn't dare go back to the mall, because I was afraid that the girl would be there, waiting for me.
The night before the first day of school, I was lost in thought while I laid in bed. I started worrying about the things I would face once I go to school tomorrow. Will I fit in? Is the IB programme really that hard? Is there going to be anything scary about boarding school? Was it going to be anything like Gossip Girl, with all the drama and...um...disturbing things?
My train of thought was temporarily distracted when I heard a knock at my door. I got off my bed, walked over, and opened the door to find my mom on the other side.
"Can I talk to you for a minute Amy?" she asked. I nodded, then waited for her to start.
An awkward moment passed by when I realized that she wanted to speak to me. Alone.
I closed the door, then turned back to my mom. She and Jason were leaving tomorrow morning, and the only way I would be able to contact her is by phoning. The thought of not having my mom, or even Jason, around frightened me a little.
"Amy," she began, then sucked in a sharp breath. I waited.
"I know this is all hard for you. Starting a new year, at a new school, in a new place...I wish I didn't have to send you here but..."
I frowned. So she didn't want to send me here.
"So why didn't you just keep me in Vegas?" I cut in.
"No...I-I had to Amy, because you'll be safer here than in Vegas," she replied quietly.
My blood froze. I suddenly saw images of my dad on the news, just three short years ago, announcing he had been murdered by a masked figure near The Strip. At first, I didn't believe it, until I saw Mom come home crying. Because I was only ten back then, I hadn't realized the enormity of this until my mom had to work full time, and sometimes overtime, just to support me and my brother. Since then, Mom had always been a little overprotective, and sometimes paranoid, when I went out. But I thought she had gotten over her paranoia.
"Mom-" I began, but she cut me off.
"No, it doesn't have anything to do with your dad. It...it has to do with..."
She went quiet. I kept waiting. Seriously, what is up with her weird behaviour? I was starting to get a little impatient, because I would much rather be in bed sleeping right now.
Finally, my mom took a deep breath.
"It has to do with your grandpa, Amy."
I stared. In my entire life, she had mentioned nothing about my grandpa. Nothing at all. I almost believed I didn't even have a grandpa, but I had seen my mom look at pictures of an old man with a solemn expression. I assumed the man was my grandpa, but I had my doubts.
"Yes. He wanted to send you here, because he knows you're special."
"How would he know? I've never met him before," I told her. And he knew I was "special"? What's up with that?
"Well, he actually met you when you were just born. He gave you that necklace," Mom said, and pointed toward my chest. I fingered my lucky necklace, feeling more uneasy by the minute.
"He said that necklace would protect you from harm's way. But..I've been beginning to think you've grown too strong for it."
I gave my mom a puzzled look, and was about to ask another question. I had about a million of them swirling in my head.
"But bottom line is that if anything strange or unusual happens to you at school, you call me straight away, okay? No delays," Mom said sharply, and I shut my mouth. Then, without a word, she left the room.
I stood, rooted to the spot. What was that about? When I moved to middle school, Mom never gave me this kind of talk. Is it because I'm going into high school? Hitting adolescence? Developing a rebellious streak? Afraid I'll end up like those girls from Gossip Girl?
My head started pounding with all these thoughts I have, with no outlet to release them. I turned off the lights, climbed back into bed, then snuggled under the covers until I only had my head sticking out. Why would Mom suddenly mention my grandpa at a time like this? And how does my necklace provide any kind of protection? What does she mean by me having grown too "strong" for it?
I need to sleep, so shut up, I told myself, and shut my eyes tighter. Soon, I calmed down, and subdued under my sub-consciousness.
For the first time in a year, I had no dreams.