I was sitting in the backseat of my parent’s old 1994 Audi 100. I liked this car. It was small and had an old-looking rust color, but my parents insisted that it was “quaint”. Whatever that meant. But, I believed them. It was quaint. I loved to go on rides in it, and I loved it's weird stuttering sound starting up. Anyway, my parents were sitting in the front seats, rapping (for some odd reason) to Beyonce. “I sneezed on the beat, yeah! And the beat got sicker, yeah!” They were bobbing their heads to the imaginary beat they made up. “Mooooom. Are we there yet?” I whined. We were going to the new amusement park a few miles away and I was positively brimming with anticipation. “Mooooooooom” I whined again. “We’ll be there in a few minutes Charlie, just sit tight okay?” My dad turned around in his seat and whispered to me, “What’s the first thing you wanna do when we get there? Ice cream? Ferris Wheel?” “I wanna go on da Road Rager Coaster! And then get vanilla swirl ice cream with blueberries on top!”, I squealed. “Blueberries?” my dad asked. “Yeah, blueberries. That way no one will steal it ‘cause it has fruit on it! No one likes blueberries.” I replied. “I like blueberries!” my mom called indignantly from the driver’s seat. “Well, you’re a weirdo” my dad replied.
“I'm not a weirdo!”
“YEAH, you kind of are hon”
“No, I'm not! You’re the weirdo!”
“Suuuuure. Keep telling yourself that.”
Mom reached over and hit Dad playfully. “Shut up!” Dad leaned away, laughing with me. “Stop it! Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel” Mom took a sharp turn to the left and my dad fell back onto his seat. “You tryin to kill us?” Mom smirked and kept driving. She stopped at the end of the street, at the stop sign. Suddenly, I heard a huge roaring coming closer and closer. A pleasant pastel yellow station wagon was hurtling down the street, straight at us. “MOM!”, I yelled, trying to warn her. “Crap!” She quickly fumbled with the gear shifter, trying to back out of the way, but the station wagon was too fast. It hit us, right in the front where my parents were.
My family, screaming.
Then a silence.
They both died. I broke both my legs. I couldn't walk for ten weeks, and I didn’t want to for another two. The doctors thought I couldn’t walk ever again at first. Then they worked REALLY hard on my legs and made SURE I was okay. I was okay with not walking ever again if it meant my parents would come back. After my time in the hospital was done, they extracted the bill from my parent’s accounts. The bank sold my house. My Parents hadn’t made a will yet. They were going to the next week. The thought filled me with grief. So many more things they wanted to do. So many dreams left unaccomplished.
The car that had run into ours had driven off. Not even stopping to see if we were alright. Their car got off with a totalled bumper. They could still drive. Whoever they were, I hated them. I might have forgiven them if they had stopped. They didn’t. The police wrote it off as a car accident. It was easier for me to believe it wasn’t, but that was just what my therapist said. They put me in therapy. Then in an orphanage. There, I was lonely. But I wanted to be. I didn’t want any friends, just to leave soon anyways. I wouldn’t do that to myself again. About a week after I was put in that orphanage, a couple came to adopt me. Charlotte and John Hariett. I didn’t want to be put in another family, so I fussed and acted like a brat as much as I could. They got me anyway.
Chapter One - The House
The house was a nice family-sized house. It was yellow with a white trim. The roof was dark gray and a charming triangle shape. White tulips surrounded the house, and hung from the porch. Every window had those white tulips in the flower box. The lawn was immaculate, green and soft and the perfect length. There was a white picket fence surrounding it. The driveway was on the left and led to a pleasant little garage that was always open. Inside, it had just enough room for a cute light blue station wagon and a few shelves filled with nicely organized yet random things. A record player. A crystal ball. An old rubber duck. This was all located a house away from the center of a culdesac at the end of Inerrant Drive. Every other house in this neighborhood was the same. Well, not entirely. Each house had a slightly different paint job, garden, garage, and everything else. But each one had the same sickly sweet, rotten feeling. Like when you bite into a perfect-looking apple and the inside is decaying, festering with worms and you want to spit it out immediately. It was too late for me to spit this out.
My new foster parents had that same rotten feeling, but worse. It was like the couple were the core of that rotten apple, and the house was just the branch attached to it. They smiled so brightly and laughed so heartily, and were so...perfect. Just off. Like a drag queen trying too hard. How was I supposed to trust them? They took me into the house, all the while making small talk and bad jokes. Saying, “You’ll love it here. Trust me, it’s perfect!” A white-and-black spotted dog ran up to me, sniffing me from head to toe. Then JOhn made a tiny gesture with his hand, barely noticeable from the corner of my eye. The dog sat down instantly, so urgent it was almost robotic. “This is Patches, the family dog. Isn’t he adorable?” She had a twang in her voice. I don’t know what it is. “Patches always comes with us when we’re camping, so you’ll be spending a lot of time with him, son!” I flinched. It was too soon to be called ‘son’. Him being the one saying it only made it worse. And what was this about camping?!? In the woods? Alone? I barely even know him! I was being escorted throughout the house now, stopping at every room. The kitchen was pristine and clear of dust. The living room was a large couch situated in front of the television set. The bathroom was a pearlen epitome of normalcy, but more organized and new-looking. The whole thing had flower-print walls and gray tile floors. The living room was carpeted with fluffy white yarn. There was one door, however, where John stopped and said, “This is my office. You will never go in here” He said ‘never’ with such out-of-character ferocity that it took me aback, even scared me a little. I was kind of curious about the door, but I probably shouldn't poke around their house. Something told me that would be a very bad idea.
We arrived at what was to be my bedroom. It was on the top floor of the house. I could tell because the roof was a triangle angled towards the roof. It was already fully decorated, for someone who loved space. The walls were dark blue. The ceiling was littered with glow-in-the-dark stars and toy rocket ships hung from it. The bedsheets were a great starscape, with many colors and even more stars. It felt different in here, like a ghost town. Like it had been abandoned. Still, it was better than being rotten like the rest of the house.
“This is where you’ll be staying, I hope you like it!”, Charlotte . I did like it. It looked just like my old room in my home, but very different at the same time. I resolved myself to stay up here for as much as possible. I felt way more comfortable here than anywhere else in this horribly perfect neighborhood.
Chapter Two - The Daughter
We went back downstairs and there was someone in the kitchen. A girl, about my age. Seven or so. She was dressed in a very pleasant-looking blue frock, with matching bows in her big blonde hair. When she looked over at me, I saw that her eyes were a brilliant light blue, like when you look up from the bottom of a pool. She looked at Charlotte and John and her eyes turned dark. She looked away again and made to run back up the stairs. Charlotte reached out and grabbed her tightly at the shoulder. “Peony dear, won’t you introduce yourself to your new brother?” Peony looked over at me and started to whisper her name. John looked at her pointedly, which stopped her, and Charlotte said to me “Peony has a bit of a mumbling problem, you’ll have to excuse her” She said that while glaring at her. Peony started again, “M-my name is P-peony, nice to m-meet you…” With that she scurried away. I watched her go, thinking I would have to go talk to her later to see what she was actually like, without her parents hovering over her. “Well. Anyway, you look hungry. Want a PB&J?” I nodded reluctantly and went to wait at the dining table in the center of the room. I looked up at the lightbulb hanging at the ceiling. It was decorated with a glorified lampshade, and I could make out squiggly lines in the bulb. This baffled me. Everything else in this house seemed brand-new and high-quality. This was something you might find in a low-rent apartment or my house. It’s probably just full of memories or something, I thought to myself. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich was pretty good. Dad made better ones though.
Later that night, about an hour before my designated curfew (7:30 pm), I slipped out of my room and went a floor down to Peony’s room. I recognized the door, pink with butterflies and roses scattered around it artistically. I knocked gently, cautious of alerting Charlotte and John. I heard Peony walk up to the door, then open it a crack. When she saw me alone, she deadpanned “What do you want” I started to say something when she cut me off, ushering me inside her room. “You want to know what it's like here. It’s torture. I have to be a good little stuttering girl and not have an opinion. I have to be the perfect daughter” I stared at her. She was a completely different person away from Charlotte and John. She held herself with confidence and didn’t stutter at all. Peony kind of looked tough, despite the bows and the dress. She started speaking again. “If you aren’t absolutely perfect, nothing good happens to you. Charlie knew that, and-” She stopped suddenly. Her face said nothing, but her eyes were regretful. “Charlie? I’m Charlie” I rasped, confused. She waved me off. “Yes, Charlie. There is only one person named Charlie in the whole world” I was once again taken aback. I thought she was meek! Guess not. I looked around her room. It was entirely shades of pink and lace, all stereotypically girly. “Are you done staring?” Peony was looking at me, a bit embarrassed. “Mother designed it. I would much rather have your bedroom” I understood. I would much rather have my apartment than this whole house. I croaked out a good night and started to leave for my room when she stopped me. Peony grabbed me by the arm and looked me in the eyes. She opened her mouth to say-
Chapter Three - The Camping Trip
Haha, wait until I think of something d;