When I got home that day - by bus, sadly, as my mother had to work or something - I realized that something had changed in my house. It's like a feeling just before that pop up scene on a horror movie. That super white guy/ really ghetto black woman will be yelling 'Don't go in there!' and I will be wondering what the heck are you doing in a movie theater yelling?
Anyway, I knew something was off.
I walked over to the kitchen first, seeing if she was home. Nope. There wasn't an afternoon coffee being brewed. And she DID say she was going to be late. Shoe stuff and the shoe place or whatever else made her work. So, I was alone. The house had been locked while I was at school and since I had to unlock it, it hadn't been visited. I think. Ghosts, then?
Well, whatever. I decided to ignore my feeling of, well, oddness. Instead, it was time to look up that killer game Greg had been oogling about after school. Anything that would help me get Kera and Elayne's constant whispers about me out of my head. Kera was now my 'sister' apparently. I had explained about my sister that died a long time ago. For some reason, that made her more sad than anyone else had been.
Wait, I needed to think about games! Not Kera! Or Elayne! But only because Elayne made me think of Kera. Yeah. That was totally it. Anyway!
I made it up to my messy room and was about to hop onto the computer when I noticed a box on my bed. It was odd, really. Usually my mom just threw her gifts for me on the kitchen table. She didn't like coming into my room for some reason. Maybe it was the picture of Dad I kept on my mantle. She always got upset when she thought about his death.
I picked up the box - a white thing with a simple red ribbon - and noticed a note below it. Odd. My mother didn't believe in sending notes either. She liked talking directly to you so you knew just how much she loved you and stuff. Well, me. I don't think she loved anyone else. Yet. Man, she needed a boyfriend.
I opened the note and read it. Instead of a simple hello or good tidings, it had a single name on it. Jim Johnson. Ok.... My name was Jim HERON, not Johnson, so why did that just seem to.. well, fit me? It was like some kind of nickname or something that I had forgotten about until now.
Before I could wonder about it any more, I heard the door to my house open and close, followed by a few heavy sighs of relief. Mother always was so busy. Shoes were important, you know? I really meant that, too. Everyone underestimates how important shoes truly are. Why, without those people would be a lot more grouchy and could even get foot... diseases or something.
"I'm upstairs!" I yell. "Did you get me anything?"
"No, Jim," my mother yelled back, an obvious tiredness showing through her voice, "Why? Did you need something?"
Hmmm, that's odd. But my mother wouldn't lie to me. She would hide things and refuse to talk, but never straight up lie. Well, she wouldn't get my name wrong either. "No, just curious!"
I fingered the simple ribbon on the box for a while before actually deciding to open it. It was a shoebox, I realized. Opened easily, too. Inside lay a small picture that looked like it was drawn by a toddler on acid. Literally. I'm not an artist, but this was horrid. I could at least tell that is was a knight or warrior or something defending two girls - one obviously older - from some sort of demon.
Picking it up, I realized it was, in fact, a book. It wasn't a thin book either. I was a fast reader, but this book was going to take me at least a week or so to read without breaking my time to write and play games. And, I guess, do homework.
Before I could read it, my mother decided to call me down to the dinner table. Of course she would right before I opened this strange little book. I kind of regretted leaving it without even peeking. But, mother called!