I was terrified...
The drive to the place I was now being forced to call home dragged by incredibly slowly. I was sat in the backseat of James` spacious car, wedged uncomfortably between the ash blonde man`s two youngest daughters, Pepper and Eden. The seventeen year old Heather was sat in the far back with all of my luggage, singing along to her IPod softly. The radio was playing quietly in the background, some English overly cheery, auto tuned pop ballad that made my ears hurt. It seemed like I wasn`t the only one who disliked the music, because the curly haired Pepper sits up in her seat and reaches across into the front and swiftly changes to another radio station, smiling happily before singing along.
I sigh deeply and turn to face the window, watching through tired, half lidded eyed as the strange scenery passes by. We had long left the brightly coloured, noisy city airport behind and were now somewhere with lots of fields, some containing horses and cows, others large flocks of sheep that were grazing contentedly. We drive slowly through small, quit towns and villages that appeared to be empty of all life, bar from the farm animals and a couple of old people sitting on a roadside bench, watching the world go by. I watch intrigued as we pass by unfamiliar sights, ones that I had only ever really seen on the television before.
“We`re nearly there now.” James tells me happily, and as we cruise by a small corner shop, a cheery grin on his young face.
After a few minutes of more silence, save for the strange rock music coming from the radio, my Mom speaks, “Oh look Mikey.” She raises one perfectly manicured hand and points through the window to what at first to be a field. A rough, grey blue field. “You can see the sea.”
I pretend not to be bothered by this, when I really was. I had only ever seen the sea once in my life before. I casually lean forward a little in my seat, my poor ass feeling numb, and squint in the general direction she had been pointing, hoping to catch a better glimpse of the salty water. I was extremely disappointed. While I had done my research, and hadn’t been expecting palm trees and golden sand or anything like that, I had been hoping for something a little less dismal looking than this.
The water was murky looking, with choppy grey blue waved that crashed mercilessly against the rocky shore. It was such a chilly day out, with depressing looking skies that I very much doubted anyone would be mad enough to be on the beach today. The only person I could have ever seen doing so would have been Gerard, he had never really grown up. Not really.
“Dad, Evie wants to know if I can meet her and Aven down by the shops.” Heather begins in a hopeful voice, glancing over at James from her red phone. “Do you think you could drop me there on the way back?”
Her dad shakes his head slowly. “Sorry, not until you have finished that History essay on the Second World War. Isn`t it due back for grading on Monday?”
She sighs and nods once, smiling sheepishly, grudgingly agreeing, before returning her attention to her phone and IPod.
The mentioning of school work prompts my Mom to launch into a very boring, highly detailed account of my new school, Queen Victoria Secondary School, the school I unfortunately had to attend on Monday. I wasn`t really paying all that much attention, it was a boring topic and I was tired for the long plane journey. Then she mentions something that captures my attention.
“When was this school built exactly?” I ask with a sinking feeling in my gut.
“It was constructed shortly after Queen Victoria`s death, hence the name.” I feel as though I am going to be sick. “It was severely damaged during the Blitz and rebuilt during the fifties.” James informs me, sounding like he swallowed a fucking text book, a confused look on his handsome, young face.
“Queen Victoria’s death?” I echo. “So it is like over…” I quickly try to do the math in my head. “A hundred years old?”
He nods once, and I am able to catch a small glimpse of his confused frown in the car mirror.
Mum must have heard the obvious panic in my voice so she sits up in her seat and soothingly tells me yet again what a good, highly rated school it was. Her words do nothing to calm me. After all, it wasn’t my grades I was worried about, it was something else.
“But Mom, it is so old and you know I don`t-“
“I don`t get it.” James cuts in, turning left down a narrow coastal road. Several grand, fancy looking houses with large, lush gardens sat on either side of it, looming down ay me threateningly. They had to be at least one hundred years old, if not more.
“Mikey has a thing about old buildings.” Mom states in a blank voice, leaning back in her seat again.
“Oh.” James`s mumbles sheepishly. “I guess you won`t like the house then.”
My hazel eyes widen dramatically as I grip the back of his seat tightly.
“Why?” I demand in a tight voice. “Why won`t I like the house?”
I saw why a few minutes later, when we turned down yet another street, with even older looking houses. James pulls up into the long, grand looking driveway and stops the engine. The drive was surrounded by bright green, shortly mown grass and all sorts of strange looking shrubs and plants I couldn`t identify. The house itself was stunning, beautiful even, like an old fashioned manor house almost. It was easily the prettiest, most expensive looking house on the street.
And I was terrified to step foot in it.
Why hadn`t Mom told me? I wonder as I clamber out of the car. As we ascend up the large stone steps to the front door I can feel her glancing at me worriedly. I understood why she hadn`t told me, I wasn`t pleased about it mind you. If she had told me how old the house was, I would have point blank refused to move here.
Because she was right, I did have a thing about old buildings. I hated them and I had a very good reason to…