Chapter OneMature

At his wife’s last sentence, a fuse had blown inside the large body of Victor Reed. He hated her use of the word “flower” when describing their daughter. “You know what, Tina? There is nothing floral and blooming about our daughter. She’s a wilted rosebud. Did you ever stop to think that maybe the reason our daughter disregards us so blatantly is because you suffocate her with attention and make me look like the bad guy when I discipline her? What does she learn when you undermine me all the time in front of her? What does that make her think?”

            Tina was horrified. Where has this come from?  “I’m just floored that you even have the audacity to describe Cora as something that’s lifeless and dying. You blame me for Cora’s problems? Disciplining her isn’t attacking her every time she puts your coffee mug in the wrong place, I hope you know that!” The woman huffed and stormed out of the room, leaving Victor by himself once again.

            When he was positive that she was out of ear shot, he whispered to himself as he finished putting away the last armful of clothes away: “I can’t think of anything else that gets your attention.”

           Coralie wasn’t exactly sure of what she thought about this new place her parent’s had bought last second, let alone if she was going to stay here any longer than a few nights. She had informed friends that she planned on making a swift getaway at the first opportunity she saw for herself, so if she managed to show up on their doorsteps, they could help her be on her way to a new life back in the big city.

          Coralie thought the area was friendly, nice – quaint, even – and it probably suited people with aspirations of breeding cows and butchering chickens much more than it suited a city girl. The house itself was rustic and old, and was aged even more from the sun-bleached fields and crooked trees. The windblown barn was shabby and slanted to the left a little, placed conveniently in the farthest corner of the Reed’s property line. Plus, the 200 acre forest that bordered the property was more than just creepy. It was like a thousand eyes were peering out from the shelter of the branches, studying her every move.

           After she had escaped her parents and luggage duty, she crossed the overgrown grass fields in the direction of the barn, hoping for a place to explore and clear her thoughts. When she approached the open doorway, a flock of black birds suddenly shot out of the hay loft like bullets, screeching their dismay at Cora’s arrival as they flew away. She admired their ability to flee.

          If I could be anything, I’d be a bird, Cora thought to herself. I could never be tied down to any place for very long.

           For some reason, her skin was crawling with an electric pulse that sent shivers down her spine. As she drew closer to the open Dutch barn doors, she instinctively reached out to touch the cracked, withered wood. It felt exactly like a calloused palm would. The floor was covered with about a foot of straw bedding, all soiled with bird droppings and water. There was a staircase to her right that lead to what she assumed was the hay loft, and stalls that lined the walls where she assumed bored livestock were kept. As she strolled through the barn, she came across leather head collars and harnesses, along with an ensemble of carriages and chariots. They were tipped onto their sides, cobwebs strung between the rungs of the wheels, mouse droppings covering the seats. Cora felt an odd, eclectic feeling swell inside her, and she couldn't help but think that she belonged in any other era but the one she existed in.

The End

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