*Note- This is a project I started some time in my senior year of high school, at least I believe it was my senior year. I have all these ideas for it and plenty way I can continue writing it, but I’ve never been able to do so. I’m posting this up just to see what’s thought about it.
Chapter 1: The Last Goodbyes
The hall grew chilly as darkness slowly crept from the shadows to surround the lone soul standing within. Breathing heavily and unsure of what to do next the young girl pushed her back against the wall trying to make her presence as insignificant as possible. Unsure of what was happening she was scared to breathe or move afraid that whatever was out there would swoop down and get her if they found her.
Her chest was starting to burn, but she didn’t dare breathe. It would get her if she breathed, whatever it was that brought the darkness would find her, but she had to breathe, if she didn’t she was as good as dead anyway.
Her ears burned with the deafening silence. It pressed against her in the nothingness around her. It was as if the thing that brought the dark blocked out all noise. Even the wind, which was a constant howling force day and night, from the surrounding country side, could not be heard.
What did it want from her? Every time she thought it would finally leave her alone for good it found a way to corner her when she least expected it. It never did anything to her, unless you count scaring her senseless every time, but it had never stayed this long either. Perhaps it had finally made up its mind and decided that she was worth the trouble. Worth taking for whatever reason it deemed fit.
She couldn’t hold out any longer. Her lungs were screaming out to her in pain, her mind was starting to get fuzzy and she felt like at any moment she would lose her balance and topple over. If that happened the game would be over. The creature in the darkness would get her and it would be over. If she breathed on her own then it would be her choice, her surrender, not just surrender by default.
Huhhh! Huh, huhhh the girl gasped for breath as quietly as one could possible do so after holding it in for so long. She still couldn’t hear anything. Her breathing was overpowering any other noise that might be out there. She fought to control it, forcing herself to breathe slowly through her nose to calm her rapid breathing.
There! It was only a slight whisper, but it had been there. Again! The sound had come from her right, the direction she had been running from, and it was slowly making its way toward her.
She didn’t know what to do. There was nothing she could do but listen to her own breath pick up again as the darkness dwelling creature came ever closer, closer and closer still. She strained her eyes to see something, anything through the darkness that somehow seemed to have gotten even heavier since she had started breathing again.
Her sight picked up nothing, but then…
Slap! Aurelia closed the book quite harshly and threw it to the other side of her room, her now empty, memory filled room. She took a slow turn about the room, sadly taking in the plainness remembering how it was once filled by the posters she had randomly tacked everywhere, her small yet comfortable bed, her ratty hand-me-down desk, the fading blue rug that had a small stain from coffee that sloshed there when she had tripped over her own feet.
But most of all she would miss the entrance to her room the most. It was the beginning of every good memory she had within the walls of her room. It’s where her most prized possession found their way into her room to be kept safe, where her friends would walk through just to hang out and be bored with her, where she would slam the door shut when she was upset. On this side of that entry way was where she had kept her secrets, did her homework, learned to play the guitar, where she laughed on the phone and listened to her music. This was the place that she had spent her whole life.
It was all gone now. The memories of the room would stay with her, but only as whispers that would fade with time. The room and what the room held is what kept the memories alive. But now everything was packed away. All of her belongings, the things that told the story of her life and who she was all shoved together.
Nothing was going to be the same after leaving the safety of this room. Her life was moving into untroubled waters, waters too vast and too deep to even think about conquering, but yet here she was about to tackle its mysteries.
She didn’t like change, didn’t like being thrust into the unknown without any warning. She was supposed to become an adult in this house, celebrate graduation with her friends in this room, have a whole other year, another year to come to terms with leaving it and slowly get to say goodbye a little at time, before she would have to pack all her things and leave.
Nobody had asked her, hadn’t even blinked or cared about her reasons why they shouldn’t leave. Nobody cared what she had to say. They had made up their minds without a second thought to how it would affect her. Her life didn’t matter to them, what she thought and felt didn’t matter to them. They didn’t care if they were taking her from the only place she had ever known, the only people she had ever spent any substantial amount of time with.
They barely did her the courtesy of sitting her down to tell her that her life was being ripped out from under her. The minute she had come home from school they quickly asked her to sit down and then thrown the news in her lap without any sweet coatings or giving it to her gently. No sooner were the words out of their mouths then they were off doing whatever it was they had been doing before she walked in the door. She found out though, quickly, in fact, exactly what they had been doing when she walked up stairs in a shocked state to see a stack of boxes already waiting in her room for her.
Her only response was to stiffly walk over to her bed and sit down with a heavy heart. She couldn’t take her eyes off the boxes. They sat there in the middle of her floor, mocking her, making her feel worse than she already had, taunting her and smugly sitting there with an elephant size satisfaction.
Hours she sat there on the corner of her bed and stared at those uncaring boxes. Why would they do this to her? How could they do this to her? They had never been cruel towards her, not once. She had never gotten everything she wanted, not by any means, but to do this to her so suddenly and harshly was unforgivable. This, this was cruel, selfish, and shocking. Not for long though, the shock didn’t last. The shock was replaced by anger, anger so sudden, so fueled she was on her feet in an instant and down the stairs. She blundered her way through the house finally finding them in the library already packing their most prized possessions, purging the shelves of everything that gave them purpose.
Seeing them packing those boxes, doing something so innocent, so on task to their cause, sent the fire in her to its highest blazing point. She was so worked up her breath came in small puffs. She stood there in the door way looking like a crazed animal who had just escaped from its cage, looking at them and they hadn’t noticed. They continued reaching, lifting, placing, and closing things into the boxes completely oblivious to her maddened presence.
“HEY!” Aurelia shouted scaring her parents so completely they dropped the books they had been about to place in their boxes and where standing straight up facing her with looks that could have been comical if it were not for the situation they found themselves apart of.
“Did you think, just once, about me at all when you both decided this? Did you ever wonder what it would be like for me to miss my senior year in the only school I have ever known? I can’t believe you would both do this to me. You never once mentioned this possibility, never gave me ANY kind of heads up. You can’t do this!” Aurelia had never, not in one second, ever raised her voice to her parents. She never talked back with any kind of force behind her words.
For a time her parents stood shocked, them staring at Aurelia and Aurelia staring right back. No one knew what to do next. Slowly, excruciatingly slowly, her parents turned to look at each other and her mom gave a small, almost inaudible shrug, and that, that motion infuriated Aurelia beyond anything she thought any human was capable of feeling.
That shrug confirmed everything to Aurelia. It showed that they hadn’t thought about her when they had made this decision. It showed just how uncaring they really were. Aurelia didn’t know what to do with that information. They had always been so focused on themselves and their careers that her desires were completely over looked. Ha! Not this time. This time Aurelia wanted answers and she wasn’t going to let them rest until she had them.
“Well,” she stalked further into the room and her parents at least had the decency to look like a couple of dear caught in head lights, “someone say something.”
“This is a great opportunity for all of us, we didn’t think that it would be such a problem for you.” Her mother spoke and what she said didn’t help her to get away from her daughter’s wrath.
“That’s just the problem! You didn’t think, at all! Either of you! You just cared about yourselves and told each other that I would be fine with it without even asking me. Well, I’m not fine with it. I’m not okay with this in the slightest. Why? After all this time, why now?”
This time her dad spoke not accomplishing anything more than her mother had. “We… it wasn’t… this wasn’t planned. We decided this just today and we have a small window, if we get everything packed in time, to leave before the month is out. The place we’re going to live is widely sought after. If we leave within the next couple of weeks it’s ours.”
“I don’t care about the time sensitive situation you both have put us all in. And you said it again. Together, you both decided. I was not a part of the decision; you didn’t even consider me in the equation at all. What about my school? My life? My happiness? Anything? You didn’t even care enough to tell me gently or give me a chance to ask questions. I’m not happy about this at all, not about the move or either of you. I just didn’t want to believe both of you could be so heartless.”
Not giving them time to respond Aurelia quickly exited the room and out of the house. She drove to her best friend’s house. Cally would be able to calm her down and help her gain some perspective. Aurelia stayed the night at Cally’s and they talked, cried, and laughed until both were exhausted. That next morning Aurelia returned home to find her parents still packing and neither gave any sign that the last conversation they had never happened. They just asked her to start packing up her room, leaving the most important for last. Aurelia was long past trying to change them a long time ago. She was silly to think that talking to them would change anything, would get any kind of emotion out of them. Slowly she ascended the stairs to her room feeling as if she was trying to walk through jelly type sand.
Once again she looked around her empty room before making her way to her beloved doorway with leaded foot-steps. Once in the entryway she looked back at the book she had tossed without remorse. It was one of her mothers, one she had written. That’s what her parents did. They sat on their computers for hours on end writing nonsense. Aurelia hated that they loved their words more than they loved her. It was bad enough to have one parent be a writer, but to have lost both to the pages was indescribable.
She glared at the forsaken book blaming it for all her problems. It was partly because of their writing that they were even moving. It mocked her from its position on the floor where it would stay until the next owners decided what to do with it. And it was then that the reality of what was to happen within the next hour fully hit her. The thought of the next owners of the house, a house she had lived in since she came home from the hospital. Seventeen years of memories lived within these walls and soon they would be leaving them to never return. For one instant she had the urge to destroy what she could just so that nobody would ever want to live in her home.
Instead she gave the lone book one last scowl and gently closed the door on her life there is that room. With finality she took her time walking away. She wanted to remember each moment she had left in the house. On her way through the hall she recalled all the pictures that used to hang there, the tables that used to hold random things that people didn’t know what to do with and had just ended up calling the hallway home. As she walked down the stairs she counted each one, branding the count in her mind, and she made sure to memorize which ones were the squeaky ones.
At the bottom, the front door stood before her, open, waiting for her to walk through like it knew what was happening. Aurelia didn’t look to her left where the living room would be, she didn’t want to remember all the hours she had spent watching movies there or having sleepovers. She didn’t want to look to her right where the dining room would be and then the kitchen beyond that. She purposefully kept her eyes forward knowing that it would do her no good to keep up the longing last looks as she had done with her room and the hall. With dignity she continued forward. Five steps, ten steps, fifteen steps and then one more and she found herself standing on the porch. Oh, the porch where… no! No more remembering. She turned herself halfway to shut the front door and ignored the clenching of her heart as the door thudded shut, the last finality of what was happening.
Aurelia walked down the path to the car. She clambered in the back seat as quickly as she could possibly manage. As they drove away Aurelia tried not to think about how they were leaving everything she had ever known behind, how she would never see the people she grew up with, people that had become her friends, her enemies, her heart, people who had helped her grow and who she had helped grow.
She didn’t want to think about what she would be entering, the people she would meet, and the things she would see. All that mattered to her right now was to just focus on the car ride. She just needed to keep her mind trained on what was happening to her in the moment of its happening, anything else was just too hard or too painful to comprehend.
Aurelia didn’t know what lay ahead for her. They were moving to a new country, one that she new noting about, to the middle of nowhere and school didn’t start up for another three months. Her final year was to be spent alone and discarded because her parents couldn’t wait one more year before completely relocating the entire family. It felt odd to Aurelia to move, not just because this is the only place she had ever called home, but also because it all came on so suddenly.
Right, left, two more rights, a red light, and then another left and right respectively and they were out of the neighborhood and onto the highway. Nothing could have prepared Aurelia for any of this. She had no time to become accustomed to the idea. Two weeks after finding out they were moving all of the shelves in every room of the house had been stripped bare, first, the library, then the study, the guest bedroom, the living room, the kitchen, each bedroom, and then finally the laundry room. Space by space it was all taken down. The end result showed something absolutely dreadful. When the last box was packed away and sent to be shipped off to their new home where it would be waiting for them, Aurelia walked around the empty house starting to wonder if they had ever lived there at all. Not a blemished remained of their life there.
When that last thought crossed through her mind Aurelia thought of the book that she had left lying on her bedroom floor. What she had been reading about the girl in the hallway that couldn’t breath felt like how she did now.
Aurelia could feel that with every mile they put between them and their all but seemingly forgotten life, the more she could feel a darkness creep in around them trying to suffuse all life. It seemed she couldn’t draw in a deep enough breath to satisfy the intense need to gain oxygen. Every mile, every turn of the wheels, she could feel herself slipping, to what, that she did not know. She just knew that in more ways than not she was like that scared lonely girl in that hallway, if she breathed or moved wrong she was doomed and if she didn’t she was doomed.
Forty some odd minutes later they were pulling into the airport. Once inside Aurelia felt as if she was no longer participating in her own life, but was a mere spectator that was sitting on the sidelines and couldn’t do anything to prevent the disgraced outcome of what was right in front of them. She went through motions, not really seeing, not really feeling. She knew that people were talking all around her, knew that at times some of the airport personnel was speaking to her, but she heard non of it.
The tunnel to the door of the plane felt like the longest walk in her life. She counted each step, just as she had when coming down the staircase in her home for the last time. She wanted to remember, even if she couldn’t feel it, wanted to remember the moment. She wanted to be able to look back on her life and be able to pinpoint this exact moment, a moment, she believed, would be the end of what was and the beginning to everything else. Twenty-five, twenty-eight, thirty-two, and the next step she was standing inside the plane. She looked in both directions at everybody who were already sitting down comfortable not even bothering to look up, none who had the slightest clue of what she was going through in that moment.
Aurelia found her seat, which was thankfully situated a couple rows behind her parents. There was a low buzz of activity from the flight crew, the people still boarding, and the ones already sitting down, but Aurelia could feel the silence already pressing in on her. Again she thought of that little girl in the hallway. Up in front a flight attendant was saying something, smiling like there wasn’t a care in the world. She could feel the plane start to move, but didn’t gaze out the window. No looking back, that served no purpose. She had said her goodbyes.
After the plane had been up in the air for a good twenty minutes Aurelia’s mind finally shut off. She fell asleep dreaming of pillows and of a little girl scared, alone, and lost in a hallway with nowhere to turn.