Sixteen year old Hailie is furious when her parents drag her over three hundred miles to live in an entirely new town, far from her old comfortable life.
But this is the least of her worries. Belleview Town hides a dark, dangerous secret that Hailie can't help but try to uncover.
By the time we had pulled up to the house, I had gone five hours and thirty nine minutes exactly without talking to either of my parents. I had spent the entire car journey in absolute solitary silence with my headphones plugged in, not necessarily listening to music, just giving the illusion that I was to anyone who might be watching. I caught my mother’s worried glances in the rear view mirror from time to time but I never returned eye contact.
I was still completely and utterly bitter at the fact that they had both uprooted us all from our comfortable city life, my school, all of my friends and dragged me three hundred and sixty four miles to a small town in the middle of nowhere just because it provided dad with better job opportunities. How selfish could you get? I was sixteen, not six. Life could not easily be recreated at this age. I would have to go through the uncomfortable procedure of making new friends, ones that I could trust, and building an entirely new social life!
I heaved a dramatic sigh and ripped my earphones out as the car came to a stop. I absolutely hated to admit it, and would never dream of saying it to my parents, but the house itself was actually really nice. Heavy iron gates were left open and I spotted a keypad with an intercom attached to the brick wall surrounding our new home.
‘Let’s go and have a look around first, we can unpack later,’ mum smiled. Her eyes still kept flickering to me nervously, as if she was worried I might suddenly fly off the hook. I pushed on ahead, past her outstretched arm and into the oversized driveway. I heard her sigh behind me.
‘I’ll get the car up to the house,’ dad announced, getting back into the driving seat.
My gaze trailed over this new building, taking everything in, completely awed now. Marble steps led us up to the heavy wooden doorway with little potted plants on either side. I waited patiently for mother to unlock the door before stepping inside.
‘Of course,’ I muttered under my breath.
‘What’s that dear?’
‘It’s just nice,’ I spoke, breaking the promise I had made for the time being. ‘Why would anybody want to leave this?’
There were still a few bits of furniture left inside: a huge glass chandelier hung from the ceiling and a heavy wooden cabinet stood against the far wall right beneath a portrait of a field or a meadow, or some shit like that. Black and white tiles provided the flooring for the hallway but I could see plush carpet up ahead into the living room. The sun was shining through the windows, lighting everything up and giving it an almost heavenly feel.
‘I don’t know, if I’m honest,’ mum replied. ‘Something about a family tragedy I think. They had to leave pretty quickly.’
‘Why did we get this place?’ I didn’t know much about the housing market, or whatever it was called, but I wondered why we were the lucky ones, and not the other people that had made an offer on the place.
‘Believe it or not, this place wasn’t actually hard to get. People weren’t queuing up to buy it.’
‘Seems hard to believe.’
‘Would you like to see your room?’ mother grinned, happy that we were now talking. I shrugged my shoulders.
I followed her up the grand staircase to the first floor where a row of closed doors greeted us. We paused at each one, mum introducing me to where the bathroom was, where mum and dad’s room was, and a couple of spare bedrooms. We finally stopped outside the one at the end and I held my breath, actually quite nervous. If I was going to be living here for the next two years (I was planning to move straight back to the city as soon as I turned eighteen), I didn’t want it to be a shithole.
She opened the door and my vision of the room was obscured for several seconds as she stepped inside. I followed her.
‘Ta-da,’ she gestured.
I exhaled slowly, very impressed. My room was facing the North side of Belleview Town and I had the sight through a large bay window with a cushioned seat of the winding hills leading down into the main centre with large green fields standing in the distance. I had the feeling that it was going to be even better at night, when the lights would twinkle in all of their glory. A double bed with intricate designs engraved onto the headboard sat in the corner just below the window and fairy lights had been pinned to the wall, hanging loosely over where I would be sleeping. The room was spacious enough, and I had a good view. All in all, it wasn’t too bad.
‘Do you like it?’
‘Yeah. It’s nice.’
Mum smiled. ‘It is isn’t it? Why don’t we go downstairs and help your father unpack then, yeah?’
I watched her leave and sighed softly. It was a nice place to live, but it certainly wasn’t home.
I wasn’t sure if it ever could be.