Chapter Nine

Alice's House

The moment Alice went up to her room and slammed the door, she could not stop the tears coming down from her face. Finally she stopped from trying to hold them in and just started letting them fall, not caring who saw her. She did not know why she was crying. She was just so angry and upset that she did not know how to express them. The only logical thing that she could think of was all these emotions and anger between her and her stepmother has been building up for years and now it has reached its breaking point and she doesn't know what more to do.

Once she reached her bed, she fell face down on it and cried into the pillow, praying that it at least muffled some of her wailing from the ears of her stepmother. She stayed like that for at least a good hour or so and finally her eyes were all worn out from crying. It was times like these when she was glad that her room didn't have a mirror for she did not want to see her face right at this moment. Whenever she cried, her eyes became puffy and red as if they were swollen.

She was even more grateful that he head was buried in her pillow when her stepmother came in to her room. Alice could bear to see the look on her face if she knew that she was crying for her stepmother has never seen her cry before and Alice wasn't about to let her start. Her pride was already too hurt in order for that happen.

She felt her stepmother sit on the side of the bed. Alice thought she felt her slightly touch her hair but she was too wiped out from crying to notice.

"I came up here to let you know that my ride has arrived and I will be leaving right now," she said trying to act as civil as she could but Alice knew that it was painful for her to do. "There is some leftover casserole in the fridge and some homemade bread in the cupboard. I'll try to be back by midnight but it might be later. Make sure that Margaret gets her bath tonight and she is in bed by nine. And try to look after her and to be nice. She does look up to you, you know."

Then there was the sound of a horn beeping from a car outside.

"Well," she said finally, "I better go. I don't want to keep them waiting any longer."

Finally she gets up from the bed and heads for the door but before she opens the door, she turns around and said, "I'm sorry that you couldn't go out with your friend tonight but I really cannot miss this dinner. You'll understand someday."

And with that, she left.

The moment she heard the door close shut, she bolted up from her bed and wiped the last of her tears from her face. Her eyes still felt puffy and she thought she would give herself a moment before going down stairs to prepare supper. She walked over to the window to see if her stepmother had left already. There was a black car that she was getting into. It looked like the type of a car that the bad guys always used for their escape vehicle in the mystery books she always read. It made her wonder if her stepmother was really a thief or a gang member or something awful like that.

Wouldn't that be rich? That would explain why she had been going to late night parties and meetings. She was probably going to rob a bank or going on a shooting spree. And she probably has a crook of a boyfriend who always getting her involved in his evil schemes. Alice could imagine it now in her black dress and high heels…her pointy nose sticking up in the air…pointing a gun at a poor defenseless person.

Then she heard a knock on her door and then the whiny voice of her sister, "Alice I accidently spilled juice all over my apron! Please help me get the stain out!"

"Just put it some cold water, you little squirt!" she yelled back, wiping the old tears from her face with the rim of her sleeve. "I'll be out in a minute!"

She heard Margaret's feet drag on the floor as she walked down the hall and down the stairs. Alice knew she should feel bad about yelling at her like that but she was too angry and upset to care. She needed to have someone to take it out on.

Once she had calmed herself down, she opened the door and walked out. As she started walking down the stairs, she heard the familiar tune of the radio station that her sister liked to listen to. She was sitting in front of it playing with her dolls like she did every single night. It made Alice jealous.

"Margaret, are you hungry?" she asked.

"No, mother already made me my supper while you were upstairs crying."

Alice was a little embarrassed that her crying could be heard from all the way down here but she decided not saying anything and went into the kitchen to have the left over casserole that her stepmother prepared for them. Even though it was nice of her to make supper for Alice, she still could not forgive her for grounding her while Bethany got off free. Once she had finished, she put the leftovers in the fridge and went over to the sink to do her dishes and found that there was already a pile of them that her stepmother left for her to do.

Angrily, she went back into the living room to see Margaret playing and grew even more jealous. Her sister got to play while she got all the work to do.

Sometimes she wished that she were a kid again and could play with her dolls all day. It really becomes quite boring when a person gets older. When she was a kid, all she could think about was playing and having fun. Now, she has responsibility not only to her little sister but to her stepmother as well; taking care of the household chores, being a parent, and also being a twelve year old girl.

Suddenly from out of nowhere, the song switched and it started playing a song that Alice desperately hated…Alexander's Ragtime Band. Every single Friday that song would be playing and Margaret just had to listen to it. Alice didn't know why but that song just rubbed her the wrong way. She hated everything about that song. Maybe it was the lyrics, maybe it was the tune. All she knew what that whenever it played, it made her blood boil.

By the time the first verse was done and the chorus began, Alice had finally had enough of it and marched straight into the living room and shut that radio off.

"Hey!" her sister shouted. "What was that for? I was listening to that."

"I don't care," Alice said with all the nastiness she could do in her tone. "You know I hate that song!"

"You hate everything!" she shouted back.

"I do not!"

"You do, too!"

Insulted that her sister got that last word of the argument, she grabbed her by the arm and forced her to get up and said. "It doesn't matter! You're supposed to help me do the dishes." And she continued to drag her into the kitchen and set her in front of the sink.

"Now remember," Alice began. "I wash, you dry. I'll put the dishes away. You got that? I don't want Marcia coming back mad at me because you broke another dish. Ok?"

"Ok, Alice," Margaret said.

Alice was surprised to see how cooperative Margaret was being. Usually she put up a fuss or made a snarky comment but this time she just picked up a dry towel and just did it. It was a strange sight but she paid no mind to it and filled up the tub with hot water and soap and began washing the dishes.

The whole entire time, they were both quite and didn't say a word to each other and Margaret did what she was told. She didn't complain. She didn't try any dangerous stunts such as trying to put the dishes away on her own. She just dried the dishes and put them on the countertop for Alice to put away. And Alice didn't say a word either, she just continued to wash the dishes and gave them to Margaret to dry. That was the best team work that they have ever experienced between themselves that they ever encountered.

All was well until suddenly Alice heard a loud crash behind her. Oh not again. She turned around expecting to see Margaret but she was nowhere to be seen.

That was odd. I thought she was right next to me.

She went out into the hallway.

"Margaret!" Alice called out.

There was nothing…No sound, no little childish giggles, no anything. It was really starting to scare her. Margaret was maybe a little devious but she could never do something this terrible. Alice was half expecting it to be some kind of joke. That Margaret was trying to scare her and that she would come out behind her screaming 'boo' and they would all have a good laugh but there was nothing.

"Margaret, you can come out now," she said. "The fun is all over. You got me. I'm scared."

Still nothing.

"Margaret?" she called out again and walked out to the patio. If she ran away she couldn't have gotten too far. Could she? Maybe she's under the porch. In a panic she ran down the wooden steps and got down on her needs to check but all she saw was darkness underneath there. Margaret was scared of the dark so there was no chance she would be hiding there.

Then there was a snap of a twig behind her.

Rapidly, she turned around expecting to see Margaret but once again saw nothing. Then something drew her eyes over to the forest just fifty feet away from her house. She saw a black shadow that looked an awfully like a person…a rather small person. Margaret!

Quickly she ran as fast as she could to the forest but by the time she got there the figure had disappeared. She cursed underneath her breath and made her way into the forest. The trees hanged low to the ground and then tore at her hair and face almost scratching at her. She plowed her way in for a good fifteen minutes calling out Margaret's name. She was beginning to lose her patience when suddenly the scratching at her hair and arms stopped.

She unshielded her face and opened her eyes to find that she was in a small clearing. As she looked around all she could see was trees. Alice had no idea where she was at and there was no going back for there were bushels of thorned branches behind her.

"Hello, child."

Alice turned around and found an old lady in a beautiful blue gown. Her hair was the color of silver and she had pretty violet eyes. Even though she was very old, she was still very beautiful. And she had a smile that could warm any person's heart. Alice was lost for words.

"You are very unhappy in the world you live in? Is that correct?"

Almost as if she were in a trance, she nodded her head.

The woman smiled even more at this and said, "This may come as a shock, but I am a fairy godmother. I help children who are in need and you, my dear, are one that is very much in need. If you had one thing you could have in the world, what would it be?"

"I wish I could get away from my stepmother and sister and live with a new one," Alice told her.

"Technically that is qualified as two wishes…but it is granted," she said and then she held out her hand. "Come with me. I'll take you to your new home."

"Wait," Alice said. "What about my sister?"

"She has been taken care of all ready," she said. "Don't worry. Come with me."

Alice took her hand and the woman led her out of the thorns and trees and took her to a house. She walked up to it and knocked on the door and that is when everything turned black and she never got a chance to see the person who answered the door.

For those of you who have not caught on yet, Alice and Jacob are twelve while Jane is fifteen. I made them that age for a reason.

At the age twelve, you are caught between turning from a kid into a teenager and that is what Alice and Jacob are dealing with. They are at a time in their life in which they can't be kids anymore and they are introduced into very grown up problems that their parents face. I always think that when you are kid, you don't realize the problems that your parents have because you are always too involved with your own problems to care. When you get older, you realize that your parents are "just human" too and aren't these super heroes that you think them to be.

Jane is dealing with a whole different type of development than Alice and Jacob do. She is caught between being a teenager and being an adult. Since both her parents have died, she has to learn what being an adult really means.

Next up, Jacob and his mother get into a fight which causes him to run away and to get himself into even more trouble.