Imogen sneaks out at night - something her dad didn't expect as he thought she was simply too scared. She finds herself in one place, and finds out one thing.
But her guilt would still be there, lingering in the deepest, darkest corners of her mind.
The very thought hurt her. Emotionally and physically. It made a sharp jolt thump through her body, then made her flinch. Still, she was escaping today, right? It wasn't much to do, it wasn't hard to do. She just needed to walk out the door with her clothes, a destination and determination. Without being seen.
It was a house, not a prison. She could do this.
Plucking up all of her courage, Imogen slung her bag over her shoulder, shoved her pocketknife in her pocket, along with her Ipod, then she picked up the bag of food that she packed earlier that night and slung it over her shoulder, too.
She creaked open her door cautiously, slowly. Not a beam of light flooded in. It was one in the morning, what else did she expect? Still, Imogen was scared as she crept out into the gloom of the hallway and padded softly down the stairs. As she reached the front door without problem, she paused. Should she take more money? Leave a note? Get more supplies? Imogen bit her lip. She should leave a note, and she should get more money. Two hundred quid doesn't go as far as it used to.
So, tiptoeing into the lounge, Imogen peered into the echoing darkness. Everything was blanketed by the night. Still, that didn't stop her from finding a pen and some paper an scrawling down whatever she felt needed. She decided with the simple; I can't do this anymore. I hope you're happy and I hope it was worth it. Don't bother coming looking for me. If you do, I'll just leave again. Take my word. Then, after finding her dad's wallet wedged between the sofa cushions, Imogen gathered another two hundred quid from it and slid it back to where she found it. It wasn't stealing; it was her dad. And besides, the other two hundred dollars she had was hers. Completely hers.
Re-approaching the front door after one last look at her childhood house, Imogen clipped open the door and walked out, like nothing could be more casual, more normal. She lightly clicked the door closed and put her keys through the letter box, then inhaled deeply, taking in the brisk, icy air of the night and the fresh, due-ridden grass. The ebony night watched her as she stomped on her phone, crushing it into the damp pavement. She started to walk, staring mindlessly up into the dark sky and shimmering stars, up past the O-zone layer and through the Galaxy, staring into the beautiful, seducing night.. Captivating her soul.
As her Converse thudded softly to the speckled pavement, Imogen couldn't stop a little bubble of laughter erupting from her throat. She was free! The further she walked down the deserted street, the lighter her shoulders became. It pleased Imogen more than music did. More than pleasing her dad used to please her. More than.. more than life itself.
Imogen smiled brightly, her joyful expression radiating like the stars and the moon, and the guilt that clouded her chest faded with the mist that gathered in the sky. It wouldn't ever fade permanently, though. It would always return, always be there. Until then, though, Imogen decided to bask in the glory of freedom, her eyes set on the prize. To her mother's house.
Imogen exhaled deeply, slowly. Her breath was visible in the icy night.
To New Jersey.
It was snowing in New Jersey. The white, delicate crystals wafted slowly to the floor, dancing in the icy air. Some were swept away by the blistering wind and broke in the air, fading into nothing. By the side of the road was a sort of slush. The road had been cleared, and that was the snow's remains. Slush.
Imogen's silky hair was lifted up on several occasions and often got tangled, resulting to her pulling the knots apart. So, as the frosty snow crunched beneath her feet, Imogen swung her hood up to hide her pale face.
She didn't look well, not at all. Her nose was red due to the bitterness of the air, her cheeks void of colour and her lips almost blue. She regretted not having a winter coat with her. For now, she tucked her hands in her pockets and shuddered, almost wishing she didn't leave that man behind. Almost wishing she was tucked up in her old bed or sitting by the crackling fire as it emitted a warm, toasty glow, the dying embers flickering, flames dancing. She would sway along to My Chemical Romance as it boomed out of her speakers, and she'd close her eyes, sit back and relax. Imogen closed her eyes; she could envision it now.
But not wanting to slip over, she revealed her deep, icy blue Iris' once more. Her cheeks felt numb, so the smile she mustered looked more like a grimace.
The falling snow looked beautiful and enchanting, blowing in her face and sticking gently to her clothes. Each snowdrop was thick and soft; real snow.
As Imogen turned the corner, she glanced at the ice-clad street sign. Cemetary Drive. She had finally arrived! Her numb legs increased their pace, breaking out into a run, and she almost slipped on several occasions, but she didn't let it faze her. Her mum was on this street waiting for her.
Crunch, crunch, crunch.
The snow sounded beneath her feet. The air whipped around her ears. The ice gleamed dangerously around gutters.
It almost looked like Narnia; a blanket of beautiful, glistening snow and charcoal-coloured trees. At least they looked charcoal under the faint, stonewashed moon. The air looked foggy the further up you looked, so Imogen kept her vision down low, no matter how much she wanted to stare up into the dark, ebony blanket of the night and gaze wondrously at the gleaming stars.
She told herself she could do it another night; she'd be spending the rest of her life here in New Jersey, she decided.
Suddenly, Imogen scraped her feet to a sudden halt; her footsteps had left a trail of kicked-up snow. She was finally at her mothers. With no more food, no more money and no more fresh clothes. Only anticipation. Imogen's mind was whirling as she lifted a stiff, icy hand to the door nervously. She hesitated for a moment.
Then she knocked once.
The door swung open and revealed a beautiful woman with plump, soft lips and sparkling brown eyes. Her dark hair was tied back into a loose ponytail, and after gazing at each other for a while, she gasped. "You look freezing!" she exclaimed, hands flyinng up to her mouth.
Imogen pulled out a picture from her pocket; a picture she had had since she was ten. She took it from her dad, who for some reason, kept it. She looked from the picture to the woman.
Her mother and this woman looked nothing alike. Although, Imogen did recognize her...
Instead of bursting into desperate, hysterical tears like Imogen wanted to, she smiled softly and shook her head. "Don't worry about it. I was actually wondering if you knew where this woman was?" Imogen handed the stranger the picture, who gasped softly, her face a picture of despair.
"Oh god, I'm so sorry.. Ivy Carlisle died last month from Cardiac arrest. She lived next door," the woman said softly, calmly, as she clutched Imogen's arm gently.
Imogen's knees went weak beneath her, and as tears began to form in her eyes, blurring her vision and forming a huge, gaping hole in her chest, Imogen held her spinning head. "She.. died?" she asked weakly, her body shuddering from the cold and shock.
The woman nodded softly. "I'm so sorry.. Did you know her well?"
Imogen smiled softly, wiping away the small bullets of tears as they ran down her cold, pale face, mixing with the snowflakes in the air. "No," she whispered, her heart dropping like the tears down her cheeks. "I never met her, but I came here hoping to. I was told to come to this address." Imogen took a deep shuddering breath as crackled sobs leaked out her mouth. "Ivy Carlisle was my mum."