A while later I heard my mother call me from downstairs. I had just finished making up the bed and had flopped down on it to read the first book I pulled from the box. It was Wuthering Heights, a classic by Emily Bronte.
“Coming,” I called back, causing the old four poster to groan as I got up.
I started to descend down the spiralling staircase, gripping on tightly to the metal banister in case I lost my footing.
Before I could stop myself I began to wonder how easily someone could slip on these kinds of stairs. Each step was incredibly narrow and crooked. There was no carpet for grip, but antique floorboards that strained under a human’s weight. It was a long way down. Yes, it was all too easy for someone to fall down these stairs.
Especially when pushed...
The banister beneath my palms became ice cold. I felt a pair of hands touch my back. I inhaled sharply. My eyes clamped shut.
“Ida!” my mother’s voice sounded persistent. “Ida!”
“What?” I murmured, dazed. “What happened? Where am I?”
I blinked. My vision cleared and I found myself standing in the corridor, my mother waving a hand frantically about in front of my face.
“Oh, thank goodness you’re okay,” my mother exclaimed. “I came out to see what was taking you so long and discovered you standing here, completely zoned out.”
There was a short pause when I tried to think about how I got here, but the last thing I remembered was standing at the top of the stairs. A throbbing pain sparked in the centre of my forehead. I winced.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” my mother asked.
“Yeah,” I replied, restraining myself from clutching my head. “I just have a bit of a headache, that’s all.”
“Well I’ll tell your Dad to call you back when we’ve settled in,” my mother said, not being able to conceal the waver in her voice.
“No, no. I might as well, seeing as I never know when he will call me next.”
My mother chuckled dryly. She turned and walked into the kitchen. I followed, dragging my feet across the wood flooring.
“Hello my Ida Spider,” I heard my Dad’s voice chirp at me from my mother’s mobile.
“Hi Dad,” I replied, attempting to empty my tone of all emotion, but not being able to get rid of the bitter edge.
It was not that I hated my Dad. If anything it was quite the opposite. I loved him, and when he was around I thoroughly enjoyed his company. But that was the problem. He was hardly ever around. His work consumed most of his time and normally he would sleep at the office. I guess that's why he and Mum just didn't work out.
“So, how’s Japan?” I asked, remembering that he recently transferred there after the divorce.
“Okay,” he answered. “I have not been able to find my own flat yet, so I’m staying in a hotel."
“How are you finding the language barrier?"
“It's difficult, but I've picked up a few phrases. Oh, and before I forget, how’s the new house?”
“Creepy,” I said. “But I’ll get use to it.”
I heard the muffled sound of my Dad cursing.
“Sorry, Ida. I just realised that I’m late for a meeting. I’ve gotta go.”
“Okay Dad,” I said, forcing myself not to sound too disgruntled about such a short conversation. “Bye.”
“I’ll speak to you later this week, yes? Sayonara!”
I won’t count on it, I thought to myself as the phone line went dead.