"So she agreed to come?" voices were becoming clearer now; this one was a woman. She had a stern tone
"Yeah. I put her out a little while ago. She didn't struggle as much as I thought." Max. Anger flared inside me, but I couldn't move a muscle. My mind was coming up from the depths of subconscious, my body was still floating in sleep.
"And her brother, Adam? He didn't?"
"Dead. She said he died about a week ago."
Pain welled up inside me, hearing Adam's name and his death thrown about so carelessly. I hated the fact that these crazy people had the nerve to so much as speak his name. It mixed with my rage and gave me the strength to open my eyes. Just that much effort felt like lifting a ton of bricks. The light burned my eyes; they had some kind of lamp aimed directly at my face. I squinted through it. Their backs were turned to me. I saw Max's dark hair that fell to his shoulders. The woman standing beside him was short and slender. Her grey hair was cut very short, almost like a short, boy's haircut.
"When she wakes up, what are we going to do?" Max asked.
We have to get her settled. She probably thinks we're out to hurt her or something. Probably hates you- I know I hated the one who brought me here for a while. Don't take it personally,"
"You mean, you sent me to get her, knowing how she would loathe me after I got her here?"
Max mumbled something that sounded like, "Whatever, didn't want that bitch in my life anyway."
I finally regained control of my body at that point. I stretched out and realized the bed I was on was small. I fell off onto a hard, tile floor.
"She's awake!" the woman said, rushing over to me, "Are you alright?"
I grumbled and tried to push myself into a sitting position. I failed twice, falling on my face; finally the woman walked over and helped me to sit up. I was very light-headed and felt sick to my stomach, my thoughts were still pretty jumbled.
"How do you feel?" she asked.
"Like I was hit by a truck." I said, realizing how bad my head hurt. I felt like I had a hangover and remembered why my drinking escapades were kept to a minimum.
"That's normal for our newcomers. You need rest, but first, Max is going to show you around a little. Well... at least to your new home."
I didn't do so well at hiding my look of disgust. I really didn't want to go anywhere with Max.
Especially not alone; for all I knew, he was going to pull another trick out of his sleeve and I'd regret trusting him even more.
"You'll be safe, it's his job to make sure of that. He doesn't want to get in trouble, again."
I sighed. I wasn't sure what she meant by saying that, but it didn't make me feel any better. I also didn't like feeling as if i had no choice in the matter, "Fine," was all I said, before stumbling into a standing position. My legs were shaky and felt like rubber; I didn't know how long they would hold me up, so I really hoped this tour wasn't going to be long.
"Let's go," Max said, harshly, as if I had done something wrong. He was already walking away.
His rudeness brought another flare of anger. He was the one who had lied and manipulated me! I was the victim here, so why was he being like this to me?
"What the hell, Max?! Why are you acting like a world-class asshole all of a sudden? Is it because
I can't just turn back and leave now? Was that your only motive for being nice to me?"
He turned to me abruptly, anger in his eyes, "No, you have no idea what's going on. Just shut up and let's go."
I subdued my anger enough to shut my mouth and fall into step behind him. My thoughts soon overtook me, so I barely heard when Max snapped out some random detail about this place. I also didn't pay attention to the scenery. My mind argued with itself and took all my attention.
Why did I let myself trust him?!
Because he reminds me of Adam.
No, not that much. Just certain aspects.
Exactly. Those aspects drew me to him. They made me blind to his lies. They made me hunger for someone to trust. I just put my trust in someone who didn't deserve it at all.
Why am I so stupid?!
Because I'm alone.
Suddenly, I walked right into Max. He had stopped in front of me and I hadn't even noticed it. I stumbled and had to grab the back of his leather jacket, so I didn't fall. I let go quickly and glared up at him.
"Some people do give warning before they stop in front of someone."
He turned and controlled a glare, "Some people listen when their guide says,’ this is your place, any questions’?"
I looked at the place we were standing in front of. It was a small house, a little log cabin. The front steps were made out of big, flat stones. The grass was trimmed neatly and there was a small flower garden right in front of the house, it looked beautiful.
"Th-this is my house?"
He sighed, "I'm pretty sure that's what I just said. Most newcomers don't get their own place, butwe don't have anyone who's willing to take you in now, so you get this place."
"Oh," I tried to make my voice sound less awed and more unaffected, but I don't think it worked,
"Whatever. You gonna give me they keys or use chloroform to get me inside?"
He flinched a little, but his instantly got his composure back, "We don't use house keys here. Our community doesn't feel the need to break into others' homes."
I shrugged and pushed past him and sauntered up the steps to the door. I turned the door knob and pushed in on the door, before turning back to Max, "You gonna give me the grand tour or does your hospitality not extend that far?"
"That's the plan. Not my plan, exactly, though. My boss expects me to be the perfect gentleman. Hospitable in every way. After you," he said with false warmth and kindness.
I stepped into my new house. It was dark; the curtains were all closed and no lights were on. There were no streetlights filtering through the curtains, so the only light was from the neighbors' houses. I was just wondering where I might find a light switch, when an overhead light came on. My eyes slowly adjusted to the sudden burst of light, and I realized I was in the middle of a small kitchen.
There was a small, round table in the center of the room. It was some kind of dark wood. The four chairs that were set around the table matched perfectly. They looked almost antique, but in perfect condition. The room was immaculate. The counters sparkled; there was no clutter anywhere. There was a fresh, pine scent to the place; not like pine air freshener that's overpowering and unnatural, but real pine. It was as if I was back home, walking through the woods. I guess I was more homesick already than I had thought.
"This, as I hope you can tell, is the kitchen. You'll find dishes, food, drinks, et cetera in here. Got it? 'Cause I'd rather not have to come in here at some random time, if you need help finding a bowl for cereal."
"Umm... I guess. Could you be more specific? Like, which cupboards and drawers are specific things in?"
He sighed, "Glasses are in this cupboard, here," he yanked open the one closest to the door,
"Plates are next, organized from the largest to smallest; you have three sizes. Then bowls. In the last cupboard, you have things like tupperware and travel mugs."
I nodded my understanding, as he quickly ran through the rest: pots, pans, food, drinks, etc... It really was quite self-explanatory, but he really didn't have to be so rude and harsh. Once he wasdone explaining the contents of the kitchen, he led me through the doorway, into a spacious livingroom.
It was a beautiful room, the furniture was made of soft, plush fabric in earth-tones. There was a large fireplace in the front of the room and a gigantic window that took up the opposite wall, looking out on a small, clear pond. There were two lights in this room; one was an overhead with a fan, the other was a simple reading lamp. There was no television, radio, or other forms of technology. These people seemed to live simply.
The full tour took about half an hour. Max never became any less rude or short-tempered with me.
He got angry, when I asked any questions, so I tried to keep them to a minimum. I was relieved, when he finally walked out the door, without so much as a "Good night".
I walked into the master bedroom and collapsed on the bed. It had been a long day and I was very tired. The mattress was down and very soft, as were the pillows. I crawled under the blanket, which was made of thick, soft material, and immediately fell asleep. Unlike earlier in the car, my sleep was not dreamless. The same dream of that night came back. Fear and anguish gripped me. When I woke up, I was drenched in sweat and tears. I was still alone in this strange house. I let my tears flow freely, knowing no one could see them or hear my quiet sobs.