Being an outcast has its perks. You don't have to worry about how you look or what you're wearing since you're practically invisible. I mean, sure I get picked on, but some girls have it worse than I do, believe me. I could tell you my sad little sob story, but I don't find it that important. However, I have to tell it to make my story more...complete. To put it simply, my mother's died when I was 7 and I currently live with my dying dad and his new wife, Alondra. To make matters even better, my new "mommy" has a daughter, Dorothy, who just so happens to be Miss Popular at our school. Of course she is. (Don't get me wrong though she's a really nice person).
I have 1 friend. Her name's Marcy Jamieson. Marcy likes to stand out, but I like to blend in. She wears tutus, I wear skinny jeans. She likes bright colors, I like soft colors. We couldn't be more different, yet we're so alike. Kinda like peanut butter and jelly i guess, seperate they don't work, but together they just click. She's been with me through thick and thin, but sometimes I wonder if... nevermind. It's not important.
What is important is the summer I will never forget. Last summer. Sometimes I like to think back and relive the happy times. But now, I'm ready to tell the world about the darkest hours of that summer. The darkest hours that still haunt me in my nightmares. The darkest hours that should never have happened. The darkest hours that were all...my...fault.
The wind blew leaves into the air. The sky was clouded and lightning could be seen over the horizon. It was almost appropriate for the occation. I can't remember a time when the whole student body got together like this. No one laughed. No one pushed or punched. No one stole lunch money. For the first time in years, we were one and the same. The "how" is simple. We all wore black and we were all silent. The "why" is a little more upsetting. Marco Andrews and his younger brother Vincent died in a car crash last night. Marco was a Senior, he would have gradutated in 4 days. Depressing huh? Vincent was a Freshman. A Freshman that everybody loved.
We all stood there staring at 2 seperate caskets. Everything was silent, except for Dorothy. She was crying her eyes out. Why? Marco was her boyfriend. 4 years they were together. I look over at her and I see that her make-up's running and her hair is a mess. I know what some of you might think of stepsisters..."They hate each other"..."One's good, one's bad"...and so on. Well...you're wrong. Dorothy might be my stepsister, but we do care about each other. I'm not saying we're friends or anything, but if she's upset, then I'm there to comfort her. Which is exactly what I do.
I walk over to her and sit down on the grass. She looks up at me. Her eyes are red and her face is puffy, but she doesn't care. I don't tell her that everything will be okay, because we both know it won't be. At least...not for a long time. I wrap my arm around her and let her cry on my shoulder. Good thing I'm wearing black because her make-up is really runing now.
Mr. Andrews walks over to us. We can tell he's been crying too. Why wouldn't he? His only family has just passed away. All he does is give Dorothy a kiss on the head. Then he leaves. For a man like Mr. Andrews, a kiss on the head is very rare.
"Melody," Dorothy whispers.
"I want to say good-bye to Marco before we head inside." Half of the school is already inside. The rest is pushing their way though the door.
"Alright." I help her up. We walk over to the caskets. I must admit, Dorothy did have good taste in guys. Marco was every girl's dream. Blonde-haired, green-eyed and tan. Plus he was captian of the Soccer and Swim teams. If that's not enough, he was an A+ student and he did loads of volunteer work.
I step back and let Dorothy have her private moment. She walks over to Vincent's casket and gives him a small kiss on the head. When she walks over to Marco's casket, she breaks-down. I turn towards the woods to give her a few seconds of privacy. As I look towards the trees, something catches my eye. No. Not something. Someone. But it's gone in an instant. I must be seeing things, I think. I turn back around to find Dorothy on her knees, praying. When she's done, we head back inside.
I try to pay attention afterwards, but I just can't. I find myself looking out the windows of each classroom. Looking. Searching. Wondering...
Do you ever get the feeling that someone's watching you? That's exactly how I felt after the day I saw the stranger in the woods. At first, I would just think small thoughts like, where is he now? or what was he doing there?. However, he started to appear more and more in my thoughts. He even started to sneak into my daydreams, creepy huh? If that wasn't enough, I started having dreams and nightmares about this stranger. But of course, life went on and my dreams were soon signed of as just foolishness by Marcy.
"You just imagined him there. Trust me," she said, as her black and white tutu swished around.
"No. I know what I saw," I said. Of course I wanted to believe her. But there was something... and here I go again dreaming about him. How can I even be sure it was a him? Maybe I am just imagining things...but something tells me I wasn't.
Anyway, with summer just 3 days away. I couldn't keep thinking about this...'person, I had finals to study for. And so school went on for 3 more days, until finally, the last dismisal bell rang and we all rushed out to our cars or bikes or skateboards. Except for me. I went to the woods.
"Melody!!" Dorothy called.
"Melody!! Where are you going?" she called again.
"To the woods," I scream over my shoulder.
"But I'm driving you home today, remember?"
"I'll walk," we only live 3 blocks away.
"Okay, suit yourself. Call me if you change your mind."
And with that, I keep walking.
When I finally reach the spot where I saw the person, I look around. Nothing. No footprints, no clues, no nothing.
I'm about ready to leave, when I spot something shining in a nearby bush. I bent down and pick up a small locket. Its a small circle with little Victorian Era designs on them. Before I take a good look at it, I hear noises from within the trees.
I run. Fast. When I reach the school again, I notice a small bear cub siting where I just stood. Great. Just great. Now I'm getting scared of bear cubs. I start walking home.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Well this is odd, I think. I'm lying in bed looking over the locket. I can hear my dad coughing from downstairs. Poor man. He's been sick since mom died. Doctors call it pneumonia. Me? I call it heartbreak. I plug in my earphones so I can't hear him anymore. It's too painful to listen to.
Turning the locket over in my hands, I notice a small inscription on the back. I can only make out 4 letters:
T M v S
After scrubbing some dirt off, I can make out 3 more letters. Now the message reads:
To M B v S i
I give up on trying to clean any more dirt spots off. I'll clean in it in the morning. I finally realize that I can open the locket (yea I know. I'm slow). But when I try, I see that it's stuck. I reach for the closest object that might help, an earing. I start picking at it and picking at it until, finally, it opens. There's nothing inside. Huh. That's weird. I always thought people put stuff in lockets, not left them empty. Oh well, to each his own I guess. I decide to keep it. It's too pretty to throw out.
I put the locket on and turn off the light. I stare up at the ceiling. Sometimes my mother would sing me to sleep. I miss her voice. Dad used to say that she had the voice of an angel, and she did. Sometimes I even sang with her. But "sometimes" was a long time ago. I start to drift off. Sometimes...someti...some...
In the middle of the night, I jolt out of bed. Something woke me up. I strain, listening for something, anything that could have awoken me. Nothing. Nothing except for the soft snores coming from Dorothy's bedroom. But I hear those every night, so that could not have been it. Maybe it was just a dream. That has to be it. There's nothing here that could've woken me up.
And then I feel something. It's like a small vibration on my neck. I look down. The locket...it's....it's.....it's GLOWING. But how can that be? Lockets don't just GLOW. Not randomly. I think to myself, there's only one way to figure out how it's glowing. I have to open it. And I do.
Very cautiously, I glide my fingers over to it. My fingertips rest very lightly on the top. I feel a tingling feeling that spreads across my neck, hands, chest, and everywhere in between. What is going on? I can't take it anymore. I open it. Suddenly, there's a blinding flash of light. And in an instant, it's gone. Vanished. Just...like...that.
I find a small slip of paper on my lap. Very carefully, I pick it up. It's rolled up like a tiny scroll, but its as small as a pen tip. I start to unroll it. Even unrolled its only about as long as a pencil that has been sharpened many times. I read the fancy printed note in my head. Then, I read it aloud, but barely above a whisper:
I know you saw me...because I saw you. Meet me at the beach. Friday at 4. Trust me.
So, I hadn't imagined seeing a stranger. But, now did the note get into the locket, it wasn't there before? Should I really go to the beach? Who could "C' be? Would it be safe? Would I be safe? Should I tell someone?
All these questions, and more, swirl around in my head. I can tell it's going to be a sleepless night.
I'll admit that I've done things in life that I'm not proud of. Everyone has I guess, but most people are too afraid to admit they've done something wrong. I'm not one of those people. But the next part of my story is a sad one, but it has to be told, so I suggest you play close attention.
While I waited for Friday to come, I took charge of taking care of my dad. I owed him that much. Alondra spent her days at the casino, throwing all of our money away and drinking 'till the cows came home. Literally. She actually stole a bunch of cows one night when she was beyond drunk. Her excuse, "we needed milk." Or at least, that's what I thought she said (she slurs her words alot when she's drunk).
With everyday that went by, my dad just kept getting worse and worse. My heart broke to see him like that. Everyday he talked less, walked less, ate less, slept more. I was getting worried. Then, I remembered the note about the beach. But I couldn't leave my dad. Not like this. I decided to tell my dad about the stranger, the locket, everything. His response?
"I believe you."
And that just broke my heart even more. Finally someone believed me, but he was slipping away. I could feel it. For the rest of the week, my dreams changed. I no longer dreamed of "sometimes." I dreamed of dad. I dreamed of him dying before my very eyes, but I couldn't do anything, not one thing, about it. I woke up screaming, sometimes even crying. The one person that believed me, loved me, cared about me, was going to die. And I couldn't stop it from happening.
Until the ever mysterious C left me another note in the locket. What did it say? It went something like this:
Your father is sick. I can help. Follow my instructions. Put the locket on him, but before you do, you are going to put a picture of something, or someone, he cares about inside. By the next morning he will be notacibly better. Trust me.
I did as I was told, because really, what were my options? Sit back and watch my dad suffer, or try to save his life no matter how ridiculous the instructions were? And before you start making judgments think, what would you have done?