So much has happened today. It was the end of term yesterday. The second term of the year is over. And the holidays stretch out like the grey empty horizon between here and America so far away. At least I have work to do these few weeks. Schoolwork. Lots of it.
This morning, Dad woke me up early. The purple bruising below his eyes made me wince. What was wrong?
"I need to take you somewhere," said Dad gruffly, slurring his vowels. Did he have a hangover? Did he go drinking every night, then?
But he didn't.
We caught the bus, and I tried not to think about where we were going. Was I finally going to find out what Dad had been up to? Or was he using me for some purpose? Would he abandon me somewhere, penniless and angry? No; surely not. But I couldn't push the thought away.
We dismounted the bus in the town, and I followed Dad down a narrow backstreet. Was he really abandoning me? My heart was pumping blood fast enough to kill me. But I stopped it. It might be a relief to get away from our house and family and school. If only I could get away from my own mind.
He entered a tall building about halfway down the alley, through a blue door. I hesitated before I passed through it. I could not touch the blue paint. I shuddered as I passed over the threshold, expecting it to be some portal into Hell.
But again I stopped my imagination from running ahead of itself. It was just normal reality, without portals into Hell. The blue door creeped me out. For my own reasons. But it wasn't dangerous. It was just a door. The coldest reality was the death of my sister.
Dad seemed to be impatient with me. His back stooped as I trailed after him through several more blue doors and down a corridor. With every step, every blue door, I was getting further and further from the light. Getting caught deeper and deeper in the maze of darkness. I longed to return to the light and the joy. With every blue door my foreboding grew. I had a hunch that if Vere hadn't died, we wouldn't be here, and I wouldn't be experiencing this.
Vere... It was all to do with Vere.
Dad knocked at another blue door. A voice bade him "come in". Dad turned the handle, and I craned my head past him.
The first thing I saw was a swish of blue, and a flash of something silver...a blade?
I blinked long. When I opened my eyes again, the door was open wider, and Dad was inside the room. I wanted to pull him back, take him out. This door seemed to be the real portal to Hell. Why had he brought me here?
I couldn't contain my curiosity for the blue and the silver. Without inserting myself through the door, I kept looking.
It was gone. No swish of blue. No flash of silver.
Had it been my overactive imagination? Those things, had they been what my mind had been expecting to see. Perhaps wanting to see. No...expecting to see. Why should I be wanting to see my sister's murderer?
Revenge, whispered a voice inside my head.
I cuffed the voice mentally. But it wouldn't be cuffed. It was in the air, and my fist went straight through it.
Revenge; it came again.
It made me bold.
I stepped over the threshold and into the room.
And steely blue eyes locked with mine, scrutinising me, measuring me, seeing right through and into me. Measuring something.
My courage melted away.
The heavy blue door swung closed behind me, a satisfying click betraying the falling of the latch. I was in Hell, and the portal was sealed.