Hating someone is difficult when you're falling desperately in love with them.
I stared out my bedroom window, watching the few cars drive past my new house in Burkely. The sun was setting, making the sky a brilliant orange-pink colour, the window was open, and I could smell the faint aroma of camp-fire. Across the road there was an old, worn down house with big planks of timber blocking out the windows, an instant feeling of curiosity fell over me.
“Connie?” I heard my mum’s soft voice call out to me. My mum used to be a flight attendant, she was very tall and slender, she had long blonde hair waving down her back and a very angelic face.
“Coming!” I replied, and closed my window, I rushed down the stairs, my bare feet coiling against the cold, hard wooden floor.
“Dinner’s ready, dear” My mother indicated with a nod of her head to the dinner table, where my brother Reece sat, eating a bread stick.
I took my seat across from my brother, and picked up a bread stick from the middle of the table. My brother is only a year older than I am, but he’s much taller. I kicked him under the table to get his attention.
Our mother was standing in the kitchen, looking dazed. This was not unusual; she often stopped what she was doing and started day dreaming. It started happening after the accident, after dad passed away. We don’t talk about it, at all. It’s been eight months since it happened and none of us have spoken a word about it.
Reece got up and guided mum to her chair, she sat down, staring into nothing, Reece went and brought down the plates of spaghetti to the table, and tapped mum on the shoulder. She snapped out of it, and apologised profusely like she always does. The bags under her eyes were getting bigger, she’s been having less sleep every night, she wakes up crying, and no matter how much she denies it, Reece and I both know she dreams of dad.
After dinner, mum insisted we go upstairs to our rooms and organize ourselves for tomorrow… first day at our new school. We were both nervous, but it was safe to say I was more on the freak-out factor than he was.
I lay on my bed, staring at the ceiling fan as it circulated the stale air in my room, I could hear Reece playing COD on his Xbox. Boys are so simple, I went and knocked on his bedroom door, there was no reply… I wasn’t expecting one anyway; he was most probably listening to his iPod while he was playing. I walked in and stood in the doorway, waiting for him to acknowledge my presence. It didn’t take long; he took out his earphones and motioned for me to lie on the bed next to him.
“You okay, Con?” He asked.
“I’m verging on okay.” He paused his game and turned towards me, something in my expression made him decide I needed a hug. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me on the forehead. He didn’t say anything, neither of us did, we just sat there for a while, content with having each other’s company. Reece was the only person I could completely trust, he was the most amazing person and I was so lucky to have him as my big brother.
I walked outside and sat on the damp grass covering our backyard, it was dark, the only light there was, was streaming out from the gap in the kitchen blinds, and the bright, almost full moon. I could see the stars here, something I wasn’t at all used to, coming from a big city. The closest you got to a star was a helicopter. The sky was absolutely covered in them here, there was no smog blocking my view. I lay my head down on the cool grass and stared up at the night sky, it was beautiful. I lay there for a while, imagining what it would feel like to touch a star, what it would be like to be surrounded by them. I closed my eyes and breathed in the warm, fresh air. It smelt like freshly cut grass and for a while, I forgot where I was.
I don’t know how long I was out there for, but when I opened my eyes again the lights from the kitchen were off and all I could hear was the faint whistle of a faraway cricket. A cold shiver ran down my spine, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, I felt completely alone, in an eerie way. Behind the house were tall pine trees, it could almost pass for a tiny forest. As I stared at the trees, they seemed to become darker. I was unable to move; hypnotized by the way the wind seemed to make the forest move further and further away from where I stood. The curiosity was burning, but as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t take a step closer to the forest.
A cold hand tapped me on the shoulder and I jumped, my curiosity replaced by fear, I turned to see who had tapped me but there was nobody there. I turned around again just as Reece was sighted in my peripheral vision. He was laughing quietly, and began to get louder as I slapped him.
“That wasn’t funny!” I exclaimed. All he could do was laugh, I turned and tried to open the sliding door that lead into the dining area near the kitchen. It was locked.
“No point in trying, I’ve been out here just as long as you have, they’re all locked.” Reece said, starting off in fits of giggles until he calmed down and seemed to become more serious.
We walked around the house over five times and tried every door or window we could see. My phone read: 11:42, so mum was probably fast asleep, unaware that she’d locked us out of the house. It was beginning to cool down and my arms quickly covered themselves in Goosebumps. Reece saw me shivering and wrapped his arms around me.
“We’ll just wake mum up” He assured me. I could hear the lie behind his words though, it wasn’t a good idea to mess with mum while she was sleeping, she hardly got enough sleep as it is, but when she is asleep, she’s like a rock, and nothing can wake her, if we did achieve in waking her up, she’d be up the rest of the night, we couldn’t do that to her.
We couldn’t call anyone, we didn’t know anybody here, we were stuck outside our own house for the night, and there was nothing we could do about it.
I woke up to the unpleasant sunshine glistening on my face, I could feel Reece’s arms wrapped around me keeping me warm, I squinted, trying to block the sun out as I tried to roll over to awaken my brother. I shook his shoulder lightly and he groaned as he reluctantly opened his eyes, and squinted at the burning sun.
“Why are we outside?” He asked, his words mumbled together like an old drunk.
“We got locked out last night, remember?” He didn’t say anything; instead he groaned once more and lay flat on his back, closing his eyes tightly to block the sun. He was exhausted; he’d been up most of the night trying to keep me from shivering.
What a perfect beginning for our first day at our new school.
Our mother was awake, humming a quiet tune to herself from the kitchen as she baked. We knocked quietly, but loud enough for her to hear, she stopped humming and in no more than two minutes, the door was open.
“What are you doing outside?” She questioned, the look of confusion on her face was priceless, she was completely oblivious and Reece and I planned on keeping it that way. We shook our heads and walked past our mother into our bedrooms to get ready for school.