I sigh and get up from the table. I leave Willow to go and pick up her coat. It hangs on it's usual place, on the coat rack in the Living Room. As I walk through the door I feel a pain in my chest. A pain threatening to rip me apart. All the memories of the time we spent in this room are back, present in my thoughts. The laughter, the happiness, even the tears. I remember curling up of the couch against my father matching his breathing to mine. Taking a breath when he did. I would listen to his thrumming heart beat while he stroked my hair repeatedly. I miss that. I remember when I would curl up on the floor cross-legged with a board game. Willow would be on my team with father and mother on the other. Me and father would always argue, our competitive streaks showing. We would accuse each other of cheating, create imaginary new rules. My mother would laugh: her laugh infectious. I haven't heard that laugh since my father was murdered. I still remember that day, like it was yesterday. I remember the numbness that I felt. It was an October morning, the air was cold and when I would take a breath you could see it evaporate in the air. I was sitting on the floor against my mother's legs while she taught Willow how to sew. I can't remember what we were saying only the pain in my chest when the realisation came. The people who stood on the doorstep, a middle aged man with a deep crease in his forehead and a grey beard along with his wife a few steps behind him. His wife I recognised. She was the flower-seller at the town market. She was wearing a white shirt with a pleated skirt. Her face was pale, like she had just experienced an awful shock. I used to stop at her store, as I went around the market with Willow. I would admire the roses, the lilies, the pansies. Father would stop and discuss things with her husband while I walked around the store. The feeling as I went to tell my mother what had happened, tear down Willow's world, break her family apart. I couldn't speak. I couldn't cry. I couldn't scream.
My mother broke down. There was nobody for her to sleep next to at night, her double-bed half empty. Nobody to cheer her up, she was always upset after my father's death. Her anger was born. I never mention my father around her. It would only make matters worse. She just shouts and screams at me and Willow, although we don't deserve it. She hits us, the back of her hand leaving a red mark on our skin. She knows something though. She knows why my father was murdered. She knows who has broken this family apart. She at least knows something. She probably knows everything. She knows what was in those letters. The glances shared between her and my father: she knows the meaning behind them. I don't ask. Won't ask. I will find out sometime soon. I know I will. This person has revenge prepared for this family. I know they will be back. They won't give up until they have done what they need to do. They want to ruin this family, break us apart, I don't know why. Questions are running through my mind. Pain, suffering, nothing but pain and suffering.
"Charlie...?" It's Willow, staring down on me with a concerned look on her face. I find myself hunched up on the floor, my legs held tightly against my chest. There are tears pooling in my eyes. I press a hand to my chest to try and contain the stabbing pain that is still present. I pat down my trousers, although there is nothing there and pull myself up.
"What is it?" Willow asks, still standing beside me
"Nothing" I reply, shaking my head " Anyway, we have to get you to school"
I take her jacket off the coat rack and slip it over her shoulders. The black is slightly faded but there are no holes. The buttons have been sewed back on a few times but you can't notice it. I go back around to her front and button it the jacket up for her.
"Look, It was just one of them moments okay?" I say, my arms on both her shoulders.
"Okay" She says, wrapping her arms tightly around me. "I miss him too"The pain is threatening me again. We walk through the corridor to the door. The post is laying on the floor next to the door. I reach down to pick it up and decide to give it a quick look. Four Letters. Three the usual. One not. It's a brown letter, labelled in calligraphy in handwriting I don't recognize. I stare closer at it and make out a name. My name:
What? Me? Charlotte Maze? Who calls me Charlotte? Nobody calls me Charlotte? I go through my head, wondering who it could be. Everyone calls me Charlie. Only someone who doesn't know me would call me Charlotte. Only someone who is patronizing me. I know I'm jumping to conclusions but I know, I have that feeling in the pit of my stomach. It makes me feel sick. This is what I have been waiting for. What I knew would happen soon enough. Someone is ready. My hands begin to tremble. I slip the letter into my pocket and it feels like it's burning a hole in my trousers. I take a deep breath, place a fake smile on my face and take Willow's hand. I grip her hand tighter than usual, knowing that someone, somewhere is watching us. Watching our every move. Waiting to strike. As I step out of the door I take the time to look around me. Checking that no one is watching as I pull the door tighter and turn the key in the lock. I pat the letter in my pocket to make sure it's still there. Inside it holds a horrible death sentence-that's not just for me. Willow hasn't seemed to notice my change of mood, she starts a conversation about what she has planned to do with her friends today. I try to seem interested, saying "Yes" and asking questions in the right places. At the moment though I'm trying to devise a plan to save her life now.
How's your NaNoWriMo going?