Well, I am just about set to head off on my great adventure for the next week. I don’t think I will be able to post something every day while I’m away, so I’m putting halt on my self-imposed challenge until I return.
Shut up. I made up the rules. I can change them if I want.
I won’t, however, be leaving you high and dry. Back by popular demand…The next 800ish words of HEAT. I hope you enjoy them…We are rapidly approaching the point in which I am going to cruelly cut you off and instruct you to wait for the book release.
Which means you will probably never know how it ends.
Oops. Didn’t really think this through, did I?
TITLE LYRICS: 'A Modern Myth' by Thirty Seconds To Mars
Well...At least I went two whole posts without using their lyrics.
I'm an ObsEchelon: Thirty Seconds To Rehab.
If you need to get caught up, you can do it HERE.
There was a soft knock on my door. My eyes flew opened and I inhaled sharply, my heart pounding against my ribs. It was a dream, just a dream. I felt so happy that I could explode and I leapt out of bed, ready to tell my mom about my horrible nightmare, ready to laugh about how silly I was for dreaming about such things. I yanked open my bedroom door, giddy with relief.
Maria stood on the other side with a tray of pancakes and a glass of orange juice. Her smile faltered.
“Good morning Aurora,” she said pleasantly, quickly regaining her composure. “I thought you might like some pancakes for breakfast. A good breakfast is the best way to set yourself up for the day, and you do have such a big day ahead of you.”
I felt like I’d been hit by a wave of cold water and I gripped the door handle, using it to support my weight.
“Thanks,” I whispered. My mouth felt like it was filled with cotton wool. She looked expectantly past me into my room and I moved aside, allowing her to enter. The floor swayed below me and I closed my eyes, struggling to remain upright.
It wasn’t a dream. It was a memory.
I clutched the pendant around my neck, squeezing it into my palm.
“Aurora?” Maria said carefully from behind me. “What happened to your pillow?”
I forced myself to turn around, still clutching the pendant.
“I…” My mind raced as I tried to come up with an explanation. “…Had a nightmare. I think I tore it in my sleep. I’m sorry, I’ll replace it.” I watched her, trying to decide whether or not she bought my story. She raised her eyebrow suspiciously.
“You did that in your sleep?”
I nodded, scrutinising her features for any indication she realised I was lying. She still looked suspicious, but I decided she most likely thought I tore it up on purpose. There was no way she could know the truth. After a moment she turned away from my intense gaze, and I hoped she had decided not to pursue it.
“Well, don’t worry about it,” she said lightly, picking up a couple of nearby feathers. “I’ll get this cleaned up while you are school. Speaking of which, you’d better have your breakfast and get ready. Arthur will drop you off on his way to work at eight.” She gestured towards the tray of pancakes she’d set down on my bedside table. “You do like pancakes, don’t you?”
I looked at the tray. A glutinous strand of maple syrup was oozing down the side of the stack, forming a golden puddle on the edge of the plate.
“Yes, thank you. You didn’t have to go to so much trouble. Cereal or fruit would have been fine.”
“It’s no trouble at all,” she said, picking up a few more stray feathers. “It’s nice to have someone young to look after. Now you’d best eat them before they go all cold and rubbery.”
She smiled, eyeing me curiously and leaving the room with a handful of feathers. I closed the door behind her, glancing at the time. It was just after seven. I scoffed down the pancakes and had a quick shower, intentionally occupying my mind with thoughts other than the dream.
After my shower I deliberated over what I should wear for my first day of school, eventually settling on a pair of jeans and a black top. I opened my blinds, noting the dark clouds gathering over the mountains and throwing on an olive green sweater as well. I grabbed my bag and, with a quick look in the mirror that hung on my wardrobe door, I headed downstairs to meet Arthur.
* * *
“Why do we have to look after her?”
I froze in the hallway, stopped by the conversation in the kitchen. I took a tentative step towards the entrance, straining to hear what was being said.
“Arthur.” Maria’s voice was low. “We’re her only family. She’s all alone in the world.”
Arthur scoffed and I heard a glass being set down on the counter.
“She’s not family. You didn’t even know she existed until that social worker called you a week ago. That doesn’t make her family.”
I heard footsteps and I imagined Maria pacing through the kitchen.
“I feel sorry for her,” she murmured. “Her mother left her without anything. She didn’t even leave a will or anything sort of instructions for what should be done in the event of her death.”
“What about her father? Where the hell is he?”
The pacing stopped.
“No one knows, apparently. There’s no name on the birth certificate. No one even knows who he is.”
“Great,” Arthur muttered. I heard him take a sip from his glass. “So we’re looking after the bastard daughter of a whore.”
There was a scream and the sound of shattering glass.
“Son of a bitch!” Arthur cried. “What the hell kind of cheap glasses are these?!”I instinctively glanced down at my hands. They were bathed in a warm orange glow.