The screeching of the bus wheels jolted me awake; the music blaring from my headphones is the only sound apart from the roaring engine. I look up towards the front of the bus and watch as the bus driver glares at me through his mirror.
“Last stop, get off or get out.”
The redundancy of his statement is completely lost on him, I roll my eyes, grab my luggage and drag it to the front of the bus, taking note of my surroundings.
“Is this the Smithville stop? There’s nothing but trees!” I look at the driver with wide eyes, as he sighs and turns to me.
“This is the closest I get, there’s no other way to Scraptown.”
“Whatever. Follow the path and you’ll get to Smithville.”
Now it’s my turn to sigh as I climb down the bus stairs, my luggage hitting the metal of the stairs with every step, and stare at the trees. The noise from the bus fades away as I make my way down the path thinking, ‘I hope this is worth it.’
The ten mile walk to Smithville felt like it took days, but in reality only took a few hours. The town itself was simple, a few shops, a couple schools, and houses that could be mistaken for one another. The residents stare at me as I pull my cell phone from my back pocket, no signal, great. I check the address of my aunt’s house and start walking. When I finally reach my aunt’s house, I hear a kettle screeching from inside. Knocking on the door, I sit on my luggage and wait for my aunt to answer.
“Just a minute!” An overly sweet voice calls from inside. Crashing and banging, I hear the person arrive at the door. It opens to reveal a woman with long red hair wearing an oversized green sweater, crocs, and hipster glasses accompanied with a pair of blue jeans and a pink barrette. She looks at me strangely before asking, “May I help you?”
“Are you Petunia Merryweather?”
She pauses, as if vague on the subject of her name. “Yes, I do believe I am.”
“I’m Katara Stanford, your niece.”
“Oh yes! I remember; your mother called me earlier.” She looked as if she wanted to do something but stops herself. “I’d hug you, but I don’t want to put strain on your, um, condition.”
I roll my eyes but am thankful she restrains herself, I don’t do hugs. She takes a moment to study my appearance. My knee-high steel-toed black combat boots stand out against the white of her walkway, if someone hadn’t told me; I wouldn’t believe this woman was even remotely related to me. After getting over my appearance, Aunt Petunia invited me in. We walked past the living room and up the stairs to a long white hallway, stopping at a yellow door.
“This will be your room, sorry if it’s not your, style.”
Walking past her, I enter the room, then immediately walk straight out. Pink, frilly, and outrageously girly objects litter the room, definitely not sleeping in there. “Yeah, anywhere else I can stay?”
“I don’t have any rooms that look different and the attic—“
Not waiting for her to finish, I open every other door in the hall until’ I find a set of stairs behind one. Aunt Petunia follows as I drag my luggage up the stairs and into the attic.
“Perfect.” The attic was the size of the second floor with sloping ceilings and brown paneling. Boxes and old furniture clutter the room, but it still didn’t affect the space much. The only window was on the opposite side of the door, a large half-circle with a cushioned seating area along the windowsill.
“Since you seem fine, I’ll be downstairs; dinners in thirty minutes.” With that, Aunt Petunia walked down the attic stairs; I fall on the windowsill seat. “Now this is more my style.”
The next morning I wake and admire my work from the night before. I had moved the old furniture to the left of the room to create a living room area with my clothes in the various dressers and closets, while the boxes got moved to the right of the room and a few were flattened from my searching in them. Getting up from the window bench I grab a random outfit and head downstairs, on the door I find a note.
‘Sorry I didn’t wake you, I had an emergency at work. School starts at eight o’clock, your papers are on the kitchen counter, and there’s food in the fridge. See you when I get home. – ptuni mrrywtrAunt Petunia
“Aw s***!” I say as I look at the clock, it’s 7:55, and I don’t even know where the school is! Racing down the stairs I grab three chewy granola bars, my paperwork, and my skateboard and run out of the house. Racing down the street, I ask the first person I see directions to the school.
After a long day at school, I was going through my locker, who knew coming to a new school would be so exhausting? Collecting the endless amount of homework and stuffing it in my backpack, I turn around and immediately fall to the ground.
“Hey, watch where you’re going!” I yelled at the person. I look up to see a girl with shoulder-length red hair, green eyes hidden behind thick rimmed glasses, and pale skin wearing a t-shirt with a smiling computer screen on it, green skinny jeans, and blue Converse©. I would have yelled more but I saw she had a half-apologetic and half-furious look on her face, and she was in a wheelchair.
“Sorry, I overreacted; I’m Katara, new girl.”
“It’s o.k.; it’s not your fault. My friend gets spacey with her ADHD and I made the mistake of letting her push me, I’m Melina by the way.”
We shake hands and begin talking when we hear a commotion. Next thing I know, a short haired blond wearing pink Converse©, pink Capri’s, and a pink tank-top comes over and knocks me over, landing on top of me.
“Hi! I’m Amelia. I’m looking for my friend, red hair, green eyes, wheelchair, have you seen her?” She looks at me with big brown eyes and smiles. Behind her, Melina clears her throat.
“Amelia, you can get off of her now.”
“Oh right, who?”
“Me. You know, the girl you’re sitting on? I say as I tap her on the shoulder as best as I can, trying to wriggle free. She stands up and walks over to Melina.
“Why are you all the way down there?”
“Because you fell on me?”
“Mels what are you doing down here?”
“’Melia you were pushing me down the hall and the left me to roll here.” An irritated look crosses her face before she looks at me.
“That doesn’t sound like something I’d do? Anyway, let’s go!” With a childlike smile, she grabs Melina’s chair and whizzes her away but not before Melina could yell, “Come see me sometime, I’m usually at the book store or the orphanage!”
When I got home, it was five o’clock and Aunt Petunia was nowhere in sight and another note sat on the kitchen counter.
‘Dear Katara, sorry I couldn’t be home, work is crazy and I had just enough time to come home for lunch. I don’t know when I’ll be back, but there’re some TV dinners in the freezer. – ptuni mrryAunt Petunia
I toss the note into the trash and head to my room, change into some pajamas, and make a meatloaf dinner, before putting The Conjuring on the living room television.
After the movie, I start to clean up when the power goes out. ‘Great, better check the fuse box,’ I think as I go to my room. Unlike usual houses, my aunt’s fuse box is in the attic not the basement. I flip the switches for the house but nothing happens so instead, I decide to trace the wire to see if an animal chewed through it. Once outside I find the wire and trace it to the backyard but stop when I hear a voice and sounds. Static from a television set and clicks that seem to be in some sort of sequence can be heard when a deep male voice speaks.
“Have you brought the device?” the voice asks. I look over the bush I’m crouching behind and see a tall man covered in shadows talking to, what seems to be, a tree. More static noise proceeds and this time, I can partially understand it. It’s different radio station being switched between to create a sentence, like Bumblebee from Transformers.
“Yes- it is- at the- storage- facility. The package- will be ready- in- three days.”
“Good, anything else?”
“Excellent, don’t screw anything up, I can’t afford for my plan to be ruined. I will prove to Sa’veem that I am worthy.”
I try getting closer to get a better view of the radio speaker, when a twig snaps under my barefoot. The man’s head snaps toward my direction just as I duck behind the bush. Peaking through the branches, I see that the man had disappeared. I breathe a sigh of relief just and two arms wrap around my torso, trapping my arms. Yelping, I am brought face to face with the man but cannot see his face.
“What do we have here?” His voice is dripping with venom as he looks at me.
“It- appears- to be a- girl,- Kl-are.”
“I know that idiot! Stay out of this.” He yells at the thing holding me as I struggle to break free. Suddenly he turns to me. “We’ll deal with this problem later.” Next thing I know, I’m knocked out.
I wake up to find myself in my window sill bed, maybe it was just a dream. I look down at myself and find red marks were the thing was holding me in my ‘dream.’ I jump up, get dressed, and left to find Melina, maybe she knows something.
The town orphanage was a three story building with many windows and stone columns, the white-on-white color scheme made the rest of the town look dirty and the rich dark chocolate color of the mahogany doors stand out. I ring the doorbell and find myself in front of a tall man with a bald head, five o’clock shadow, blue eyes, and pale-ish skin wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and red tie.
“May I help you?” His voice reminds me that of the one the shadowed figure from my ‘dream,’ sending chills down my spine.
“Um, uh, y-yes, I’m here to see M-Melina?”
“She’s down the hall, third door on the right as you enter the living room.” I just nod and slowly walk into the house until’ I leave his line of sight, and race towards Melina’s room. I don’t bother knocking; instead I just barge into the room and quickly shut the door. Melina yelps from behind me as she notices my presence. Turning around, I start to speak but become awestruck instead. Technology; computers, electrical components, and wires clutter one side of the room with Melina in the center sitting in her wheelchair.
“Um, it’s hard to explain?”
Apparently, Melina is a technological genius but decides to hide it; all I know is that she wants all of this to be kept a secret. That I can do, but before I can ask her if she knows anything similar to my ‘dream,’ we hear a muffled voice coming from a pile of wires, removing them we find Amelia tangled in a keyboard wire.
“Sorry, must have gotten tangled up, now which robot are we spying on next?” Melina gives her a frantic look but she ignores it and goes to look out a window.
“So there is something weird going on in this town!” I exclaim, shocking Melina.
“No, this is a normal day.”
“Say what now?” Melina goes on to explain the weird occurrences throughout the three years she’s lived in Smithville and the many past failed attempts at stopping them, but the only thing stopping them from succeeding is Melina’s immobility and Amelia being easily distracted.
“Let me help! I can do things that you can’t and you can tell me where to go and what to do.” Melina takes a moment to consider my offer, and then nods her head.
“Here’s the deal.”
Our plan failed. There is no other way to describe it. I tried to get into the robots secret facility located under a storage unit, but was caught and written off as a stupid kid trying to do something illegal. Luckily, I was only sent to my aunts to get a lecture before I snuck out and headed to Melina’s.
“The only good thing about that mission was the blueprints you snatched off that guard, but the only way to stop them is to use a weapon that we don’t have!” Melina had been pacing with her wheelchair ever since I got back. It’s official, our situation is hopeless.
“I give up.” Melina and I say at the same time before I plop down onto her bed.
“Why are you giving up?” Amelia jumps from her position at the corner of the room. “How can you just sit there when the world is at stake? There are people in other countries risking their lives for our freedom and you just want to give up because it’s too hard and we don’t have the resources? Our lives and the lives of millions of other people on this planet are in jeopardy and we are the only ones who can stop them before they stop us, permanently! Now I say we go grab some dynamite from the mines near town and go blow up those robot-scum and save them world! Who cares if nobody will ever know what we do, as long as we can save them, it’s worth a try.”
“You’re right Amelia, we can’t give up. If we go out, then let’s go out guns, or in this case dynamites, a blazing!” Melina gets a determined look on her face as we turn to Amelia.
“What’d I say?” At that statement Melina and I both simultaneously face palm.”
“That’s it?” A man with dark hair asks the girl standing in front of him, giving her a questioning look. “That’s where you decided to end it?”
“Why, yes, it is. Is there a problem?” The girl tilts her head, her long red hair falling over her brown eyes.
“Where’s the ending? What happens to your characters? Where is the rest?” He blows his dark hair out of his eyes and looks at the girl, waiting.
“That’s all there is, Mr. Stanford.” The girl straightens and fixes her black leather jacket over her pink tank-top.
“That can’t be all.”
“I’m afraid it is, there is no other information, so it’s up to readers to decide.”
“Besides the fact that the story you gave me ends like it did, you still haven’t given me the assignment I gave you last week.”
“Yes I did, you’re holding it in your hands right now and it is complete, that is all the information I could find on the subject.”
“Marina, the assignment was to turn in an actual event that happened in history and tell it from a person’s perspective during that event; you just gave me a tale of pure fiction.”
“But this is a true event, and it’s told from someone’s perspective during it. Just because you haven’t heard about it in history books doesn’t mean it’s not any less true.” Marina sighs and puts a hand on her hip, waiting for a response from her teacher.
“It doesn’t matter what you think on the subject, I’m still giving you a failing grade on the assignment. Grades close in only a week young lady, and if you don’t start giving me true events, you’ll have to repeat my class.” Mr. Stanford says and then gives her a dismissive wave of his hand. “Now you are wasting my time, I have actual events to read over.”
With that, Marina Aldridge exits the classroom with her head held high. For in the distant background stands a group of faded people. One with red hair, green eyes, and thick rimmed glasses standing next to two adults, each with a hand on one of her shoulders, and two girls; one with short blond hair clad in pink and another with long dark brown hair, clad in leather and studs. On the ground next to them is a tied up man with a bald head, five o’ clock shadow, blue eyes, and pale-ish skin.
Marina nods at them as they fade into the thick fog behind them and as she turns around, she hears one sentence that makes her conversation with Mr. Stanford worth it.
“Thank you for telling the truth of our story.”