Chapter Three

Chapter Three

                That night was a fitful one.  Thunder boomed outside and rain poured at a frightening velocity, pounding against my window.  I tossed and turned, throwing my covers off the bed at one moment and pulling them on at another.  I willed myself to sleep, but alas, it failed epically.  I sat up straight in bed.  If you could really call it a bed.  It was actually just a mattress laid on the floor with a pillow and some sheets.  Isabel hadn’t gotten around to buying an actual bed yet.

                My room was dark, but now my eyes were accustomed to the darkness.  I could make out the silhouette of my closet and the clothes lying around in piles. Stinking insomnia.  And when I did manage to get the tiniest shred of sleep, it was nightmares of what happened to my dad.  I pushed off my covers and stood up from my mattress.  Feeling around the room, I found my jacket and pulled it on, then found my red umbrella.  I slipped on my shoes and headed outside into the hammering rain.  I popped open my umbrella and just stood there in front of my house, keeping my mind crystal clear as possible.

                I breathed in the moist air.  My heart seared with homesickness, and I was already longing for New York.  I wanted to go back there, where my friends (even if I had just a couple) still were, laughing and walking around on the streets, staring up at the metal skies.  I groaned loudly.  See, when I thought things like that, there would be no way I could fall asleep.

                So I started to walk.

                I didn’t have a particular place or direction I was going, but I love the feeling of the cool air on my face.  I inhaled the freshness of it.  I loved the scene of rain falling right before my eyes.

                And the stars.

                They were something I couldn’t even begin to describe.  Thousands, heck with it, millions of stars, scattered across the cloudy, rainy night sky, twinkling down to earth as the moon shone brightly among them.  Where was all this back in New York?

                I tore my eyes from the gorgeous sky to look where I was going.  I was still on the same road and I was heading off towards the cliffs.  That’d be something I’d love to see, looking down from the cliffs on this wonderful, starry night.

                When I got there, the view was breathtaking.  I had never felt so high up. (Well, except for the plane, obviously.)  I inched closer and closer to the edge, cautiously leaning over slightly to look directly below.  It was terrifying and beautiful.  It was terrifyingly beautiful.  When rocks started to slip out from under my feet I back away from the very edge and sat down on the soppy, muddy ground. 

                What was I supposed to do with my life? I found myself wondering.  Was life just big cycle of growing up, going to school, having a family, and getting a job?  Shouldn’t there be more?  I puzzled over this for a moment, wondering what my dad would say to that.  I decided he’d say the purpose of life was to create memories you’d never forget.

                I had memories I’d never forget.  Whether they were good or not was the question.

                Then I heard a crunch behind me.  I whirled around, suddenly paranoid in the darkness alone.  There was no one there.  Rocks fell off the cliffs to my left.  I looked around in anxiety, my heart racing.  The wind immediately picked up and whistled through the wet grass.  Lightning flashed through the sky.  Another crunch.  I stood up immediately.  I had to get home.

                I began at a fast walk, my heart literally pounding its way through my chest.  I sped up.  Then I made the mistake of glancing behind me.

                A silhouette of a man stood right at the very spot I had sat seconds ago.  He stood perfectly still, not moving, not saying a word, just watching me. I dropped my umbrella to the ground and ran.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

                The next morning, I was still curled up on my mattress, frozen with fear.  It was about seven o’clock.  It was hard to believe that just hours ago, I had been at those cliffs with that creeper guy watching me.  The image still haunted me, and I shuddered.  I hated shuddering.

                I got off the mattress and pulled on some jeans and a tee shirt, then went out to the kitchen where Isabel was bent over the new stove, making something that smelled wonderfully like eggs.

                “Hello, honey.” Isabel said, dumping some of the eggs onto a plate.  “Did you sleep okay?”

                “I slept alright.” I lied, shrugging.  “I missed the sound of cars, but oh well.”  She shot me a look so I shut up.  Apparently, speaking of New York was now prohibited.

                “Honey, later today we need to discuss what school you’re going to go to.” She said, gesturing to a stack of papers on the table in front of me.  I sat down and pulled them towards me, shuffling through them.  I almost screamed when I saw most of the papers. 

                “Mom!” I exclaimed, shooting up from my seat.  “Why?”

                “Why what?” She asked innocently, turning to face me with wide eyes.

                “Boarding school.” I said in a ‘duh’ tone.  She sighed and snatched the papers away from me.

                “We’ll talk about it later.  Eat your breakfast first.  I’m going shopping.” She kind of snapped.  She was really cranky these days, no? So I shoveled down my eggs and headed off to my room before she completely exploded on me.  I heard the front door slam and a taxi drive away outside.

                We seriously needed a car.

                Too bad money was really tight.  I wondered if I could buy a moped in this place, because I was tired of walking everywhere and wasting money on cabs.

                I opened up my guitar case and pulled out the guitar.  I was eager to play the new music I got yesterday. My fingers strummed the strings and made that sound that always had soothed me.  I had learned the guitar from my dad.  God, I missed him.

                After a while, I put up my guitar and now had nothing to do.

                I pulled my laptop out of my suitcase for the first time since I had been here.  I wondered if my friend Erin back in New York would be on Skype right now.  Well, it was worth a try, since I missed her like heck and she was basically the only one of my friends who promised to leave Skype on when she was home.  I turned on the laptop and waiting for it to warm up, meanwhile listening to my iPod.

                I logged onto Skype and looked under my contacts for Erin and clicked ‘call’. The screen pulled up and I could see myself in the tiny corner, with my crazy bed hair that I didn’t even bother to tame this morning.  The computer rang. Finally the screen popped off, showing her face.

                Erin had short blonde hair that was slightly longer in the front than the back, and bangs that swished over to the right.  Her eyes were big and brown and she was grinning at me.

                “Oh my goodness, hi Ciara!” She squealed, hugging the web cam.  I laughed and she pulled away, still smiling.

                “Hey Erin!” I exclaimed.  “Oh my goodness, I miss you already!”

                “Dude, I know! School is so boring now.  You got to leave at a good time.  You’re so lucky.” She said.  I laughed spitefully.

                “Yeah, I’m lucky alright.” I said sarcastically.  Erin rolled her eyes.

                “Anyways, show me your room.”  She commanded.  I sighed and picked up my laptop and turned it around so she could see my room through the webcam.  “Not bad.” She said in approval.

                “Are you kidding me?” I laughed.  “I don’t even have a bed, for crying out loud.”

                “Well, you’ll get one soon.” She told me.  I shrugged.

                “Depends on if I go to boarding school or not.” I said scornfully.  Erin’s face transformed with shock.

                “You’re going to boarding school?” She asked in astonishment.

                “I don’t know.  My mom had the papers and we were supposed to be finding me a school.  I saw some boarding school applications.  I don’t want to go to boarding school.  I mean, come on, I just moved her for crying out loud.” I explained to her.  She nodded.

                “Speaking of just moving there, how’s Ireland?” She asked anxiously.  I paused for a moment, trying to think of how I felt about this place.

                “It’s different.” I decided.  “It’s really green and the houses are really far apart.  It’s definitely not New York, that’s for sure.”

                “Yeah, I would have guessed that.” She teased. “But if you do have to go to boarding school, tell me right away.  I’ve always wanted to go to boarding school.”

                “You have?” I gaped at her.  She arched an eyebrow.

                “Have you forgotten what our school is like back here in New York?” She asked incredulously.  “Boarding school has smart, civilized people.”

                “Yes, I guess, but then I’d have to wear a uniform.  And have to make friends with prep snobs. And have really pesky teachers piling the most challenging homework they can find on me.” I explained to her.

                “Would you rather be in a school with fights everyday practically?” Erin asked me.  I tapped my lips for a moment, thinking.

                “Maybe.” I replied.  Erin sighed and shook her head.

                “You just don’t like the idea of the preps, right?” She confirmed.

                “No, no, as long as they’re not snobs, I’ll be fine.  I don’t really know how Mom is going to pay for this.  We don’t even have enough money to get a car, and that was going to be on my priorities.” I told her. She shrugged.

                “Well, maybe you can get one when your mom gets a job.” Erin suggested.  I sort of wanted to laugh at the remark.  My mom getting a job. Ha. As if. In New York, she just made a living off of my great uncle’s inheritance money.  And now the last of that was used up to buy the new house and furniture.  If anything, I was going to be the one to get a job in this family.  As to where, I had no clue.  The coffee shop was always a good place to look for a job.  Maybe get a discount or two on coffee.  So that’s basically what I told Erin.

                “Still running that coffee fever, eh?” She noted. I laughed and nodded.

                “It’s basically the only way I can stay awake, so I’m not dropping coffee anytime soon.” I told her.

                “You know, coffee stunts your growth.” She said matter-of-factly. 

                “I’ve been drinking coffee since I was ten and I’m pretty damn tall for someone who has been drinking coffee for seven years.” I pointed out. 

                “Dude, I know.  You’re a freakin’ giant.” She told me and laughed.  I grinned. “Hey, I gotta go now I’ve got a date.” She said.  I rolled my eyes.

                “With George?” I asked.  She nodded enthusiastically.  “Well, you kids have fun now.” I joked.  She smiled.

                “Will do.  I’ll be sure to stay on Skype, okay?”

                “You better.” I told her.

                “Okay.  Bye.  Have fun in Ireland! Tell me if you meet any cute guys that you might possibly like.”  She said.

                “Okay, bye!” I said and we waved before we both shut off the call.

                And now I was left was nothing to do once again.  I closed my laptop with a slam and pushed it away. I guess I could go into the market square and get something to eat, despite that I just had breakfast.  I fixed my hair so it wasn’t really as tangled as it was before, but I left it a little messy because that was the way I liked it.  I pulled on my shoes and left the house.

                The way to the market square was fun.  Puddles of last night’s previous rain still remained on the road and I splashed through them, feeling like a little kid again.  Feeling like a kid was totally alright with me.  I missed my childhood.  At least my dad was alive back then.

                When I got to the town, I spotted someone who looked a heck of a lot like my mother, walking next to someone who looked a heck of a lot like William.  I sighed.  Well, whatever, I wasn’t going to stop her from dating basically a total stranger if he made her happy.  I also spotted a library and pushed its door open to go in.  A frail but young looking lady with glasses looked up and smiled at me politely.  I grinned back and looked around.  It was a pretty small library but from the looks of the books I had just begun to look at, they were the type of books I’d read.

                I pulled out a huge musty book from the far shelf and opened it.  Dust flew into my face and I coughed but continued flipping through the pages.  It seemed to be an ancient book about ancient magic.  I smiled.  I love fantasy books.

                “May I see that for just a moment?” A voice said from behind in a sickening familiar British accent.  I turned to see the girl that was at the docks staring at me.  Her eyes were as cool and impassive as they had been the first time I met her.

                “Uh, sure.” I said, and reluctantly handed her the book.  She smirked and turned it in her hand.  Then it exploded into purple flames and her smirk grew to a mere grin.  I almost screamed in surprise, but her hand flew to my mouth and stopped my scream.  I pushed her hand away and gaped at the burning book in her hands. “How- what- doesn’t that hurt?” I hissed.  She smiled and shook her head.  “How the- why- how did you do that?” I asked incredulously, my voice cracking with fear.  She smirked and shrugged.

                “WHY would be the better question.” She said flatly, watching in amusement as the flames died down until only the ashes of the book remained.  She cocked her head at them.  “Now that didn’t work, now did it?” She said, her tone disappointed.  She released the ash from her hands and it fell to the ground, scattering it everywhere.  I looked at her, eyes wide.  I took a step away.  Déjà vu. Strong déjà vu, too.  I couldn’t connect it to anything, but I knew I had seen this all before.  I turned and tried to walk quickly away, but she got my wrist, her hand not even warm from the fire.

                “What do you want?” I hissed, yanking my arm away.  She smirked.

                “Nothing. Well, only for you not to repeat what happened here.  Would you like to grab some tea?” She asked.  I felt like it wasn’t really an option for me to reject the offer, but I did anyways.

                “Uh, no thanks.” I said and turned away once again.

                “Stop!” She commanded, and against my will I did.  Something was very peculiar about this girl.  She walked in front of me and searched my eyes for something.  Finally, she tore her stare away to look at the ashes on the floor.  With a sudden gesture of her hands, they were gone.  I blinked in surprise.  “Don’t say anything until we leave this place.” She demanded, and once again I found myself obeying her.

                She led me out of the library, with questions popping around in my head.  The librarian smiled and nodded as we left.  Once outside, I felt the urge to run away from this girl, but I didn’t.  She grinned at me happily and I noticed something different about her eyes.  They weren’t green anymore, but blue.  She must’ve been one of those people that their eyes changed colors occasionally.  My dad had been like that, switching from gray to blue.  I loved his eyes, especially when they were gray.

                We walked over to the nearest tea place, and it was fairly empty except for the few select customers sitting at the far wall. We ordered our tea and took a window seat at a high table and she grinned at me.  I didn’t smile back, that was for sure.  I didn’t like this girl based off of what I’d seen so far.

                “I’m Zoe!” She stuck her hand out in front of me.  I looked at it uncertainly.  I bet she wanted to set my arm on fire.  I was being stupid though, so I hesitantly shook her hand.

                “I’m Ciara.” I introduced myself skeptically.  She laughed and leaned back in her chair, eyes intently focused on mine.

                “I know.”

                “Please, do tell me how.” I rolled my eyes.  She laughed even more and I wanted to shove something down her throat.

                “Because I overheard you talking to that one lady!” She said in a ‘duh’ tone.  Oh, well, someone was a little eavesdropper. I thought.

                “Okay.” Was all I said in return.  She frowned and leaned in to me.

                “You know, some pretty bad things are going to happen to you if you don’t run away.” She whispered to me.  I pulled away.

                “Excuse me? Are you threatening me?” I asked, eyebrows raised.  She sighed and leaned back again.

                “No, but I know who is.  Look, the point is, you have to leave Ireland.  Go to Africa or China or somewhere, anywhere but here.” She said, folding her hands on the table.  Now it was my turn to laugh.  She cocked her head in confusion.

                “Right!” I laughed spitefully.  “Because I’m going to leave the place I just moved to, just because some random stranger told me to!  Trust me, I didn’t want to move her in the first place.”  Zoe rolled her eyes as if I was being stupid.

                “Your mother doesn’t even tell you why you had to move her.  Honestly, it’s kind of sad.” She said, avoiding my eyes.

                “You don’t even know my mother.  She just moved here for the heck of it.  That’s what she does.  Like when we moved from Colorado to-“

                “Florida to Arizona to Washington to Missouri to New York.” She filled in for me.  I gaped at her.

                “How did you know all of that?” I asked, astonished and slightly worried I was having tea with a stalker.  Those were the exact locations I had lived in… in order too.

                “I’m telling you, there’s a reason you moved so often.” She said, pushing aside my question.  “There’s a reason your dad died when he did.  There’s a reason I’m here speaking to you right this very moment.”

                “Tell me the reasons.” I said angrily.  She didn’t answer.  “Look, something weird is with you.  Have you been keeping track of me or something? Keep my mom and dad out of this, too.  I assure you, there isn’t any reason to why he died.  It was his time, so shut the hell up.”

                “Remind yourself how he died.” She responded, tone quiet.  I opened my mouth to retort, and then shut it, thinking about his death.  I shuddered and looked up at her.  Her eyebrows were raised and one corner of her mouth was twitching like she wanted to smirk.  I stood up from my seat abruptly.

                “Leave me alone.” I told her, and then I was out the door.  I was freaking out with this girl.  There was a strong sense of something seriously mysterious about her, and I was not going to get myself mixed up in it.

                And as for my dad dying…

                He was murdered by a man with purple fire.

The End

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