Julia drove me home. She asked if I wanted to stay the night at her place but I declined. Judging by her relieved face at my rejection, she hadn't been sincere in the offer. B--- wasn't all that big so it made perfect sense that word would get around about how much of a ‘troublemaker' I was. I wished her a good night and went inside. Throwing my bag on the couch, I looked into the kitchen and saw a small cake sitting on the table. It was one of my mom's favorites from the looks of it. A cheesy birthday cake with too-sugary icing, probably from the grocery store. Next to it sat a knife at the ready. Since mom wasn't there, I didn't even bother cutting myself a piece. Instead, I went into my small room. I sat on my bed and took a moment to take in the various band posters. In one corner, mom and I had painted bright red flowers the summer I turned 7.
It was a fond memory, but it was also the first time I had ever seen my mom cry. One minute, we were happily painting, and the next she had me gathered in her arms as she shook with heart-rending sobs. I had always wondered if it had been dad who had made her so sad. Anyone who could make mom cry like she was crying at the time was definitely not on my list of good people. I think that was when I first started hating my father. Hating him for leaving us, hating him for making mom cry. I shook myself. No point in dwelling on the past. Just like mom said, there was a present waiting for me on my pillow. I picked it up, definitely felt like a book. There was a card taped to the front. Expecting one of mom's usual cutesy birthday cards, you can imagine my surprise at finding a letter several pages long.
If you are reading this, then it means that something will, or has already, happened to me. Even though I may still live, know this: It is no longer safe here. Even though I may still live, do not try to save me. You must flee, dear puck. The coming days will be hard and for that I am sorry. I feel that I have always done my best to protect you but this will be my last time. I swear on my title of mother that I wouldn't ask this of you unless it was a matter of life and death.
My heart constricted. What the hell was this? I took in my mother's familiar handwriting and hoped that this couldn't possibly be her. That it was all some sick joke. I felt the tears start, but the rest of the letter waited so I wiped them away with the back of my hand and read on.
What I say next you will not enjoy hearing, my dear love, but it is the truth. Your father never abandoned us Robin. He ran to draw away the attention of the malevolent forces that sought to murder us in cold blood. I protected us for as long as I could, but my powers finally gave way. There are dark things coming puck, but you not must sway. Stay strong and follow the light, my girl. Always follow the light. I fear that your time grows dangerously thin so I will not say much more. I have enclosed a list of instructions. Please, follow them quickly and get out of the house as soon as you can.
I was crying so hard the paper was nothing but a blur. I took a moment to try and control my sobs and then started again.
Go to my closet and take the long black box from the tops shelf, you will know what to do.
Stay in the light at all times. DO NOT leave any path, no matter what you might see.
Never tell your name to anyone. The dark is everywhere and cannot be trusted.
Quickly now. Trust no one until you meet Alexander. He is already in town. Get to him at all costs. You are a brilliant girl, Puck. Keep your wits about you in the times to come. I love you, Robin. Never forget that. It isn't your father's fault this happened so please, give him a kiss for me.
I love you, forever and always,
I tucked the letter into my pocket and patted it gently. Wasting no time, I ran to my mother's closet and hopped to grab the box mom mentioned in the letter. It didn't look like anything special. The leather was scuffed at the corners, and the thing was kept closed by a single rusty metal latch. I was about to run out the door when I caught my reflection in a mirror. Tall, rail-thin, my black hair a birds nest and blending almost seamlessly with my black jacket. My dark brown eyes were blood-shot from crying. What caught my attention though was the second pair of eyes staring at me from a dark corner of the bedroom. That's when I realized my mistake. Except for my room, the entire house was dark. Whatever mom was afraid of was in the house with me.