Ready for a fire
The large Victorian sat regally on the corner of first and Second Street. Kassie let out a slow breath of relief as she made her way up the cement steps and into the quiet foyer.
“Grandma?” She called, letting her backpack slip off her arm onto the cool wood floors. The spiral staircase creaked as she raced up two at a time.
“Grandma?” She called once more. The old antique furniture stood by and watched her growing panic in silence.
She rounded the corner, expecting to see smoke, her nostrils flaring in expectation.
The house remained silent, the wood floors creaking with her careful steps. Where was the smoke? The fire the voice had spoken of?
With two hands, she pulled open the large oak door that lead to grandma’s room.
Grandma turned from the window, her long white hair, which was usually bound, hung loosely down her back. Her softy aged complexion warm and glowing from a recent nap.
“What are yelling about? You just about woke the entire neighborhood.” She placed a hand on her hip, tilting her head the way she always did when she was frustrated with something.
Kassie looked down. Her eyes tracing the pattern in the Persian rug beneath her feet.
What could she say? That some voice in math class told her that her house was on fire? There was no way grandma would believe her.
“Kassie? Are you alright dear?” Grandma moved closer, her blue eyes surrounded by year’s worth of smile wrinkles. She sat on her bed, patting a spot next to her. “Come, sit. Tell me what happened.”
Kassie smiled, feeling at home once again. She was safe now. Grandma would take care of her. Everything would be okay now. She felt a warm tingle wash over her as she sat down next to the woman who had taken care of her since she was too small to remember.
“Did something happen at school today?”
“Well.. I uh…” She paused, pulling out the note from Miss Hysher from her pocket. With trembling fingers she handed it to grandma.
Instantly grandma knew what it was. This was not the first time Kassie had come home with a note like this. Quickly grandma opened it and skimmed thru it.
“Oh Kassie…” She sighed and put the note down. “Day dreaming again?”
Kassie opened her eyes, which had shut tightly just a moment before as grandma read the note. “What did she say?” She asked bravely.
She was so wrapped up into getting home quickly, she didn’t think about what the note said. It was crazy, but very possible that Miss Hysher never mentioned the voice in her hurry to write the note.
“Well. She just mentioned that you were day dreaming again and failed to take your test… she wants to set up a parent teacher conference sometime this week.” She paused, waiting for some reaction from Kassie. “I want you to go to you’re room, you’re grounded for the rest of this week.”
“But”, Grandma shot her a look of warning and she quickly sucked in her breath.
“I’ve had enough of this foolishness, your growing up, and with being grown up come responsibilities, and there are a lot of things we have to do even if we don’t want to do them. That math test is a prime example.”
She shook her head and stood up. Kassie watched as her head bowed forward, just slightly, her eyes taking on a gleam of that nurturing love she had had as long as Kassie could remember. With a well-worn hand, yet still graceful after all these years, grandma began to stroke Kassie’s lopsided ponytail.
“You know that I only want the best for you. I raised you better than that. Your mother would’ve been very upset with you.”
Kassie felt the lump in her throat begin to build at the mention of her mother. A person she had never known. All of the photographs had burned in a fire long ago. She had nothing to go by except her own reflection, which she searched trying desperately to find her mother’s face in her own. She felt a tear escape onto her cheek, frustrated she brushed it away.
“Go to your room Kassie… We’ll discuss this later.” There was a regal finality in Grandma’s voice that meant business. Quickly, Kassie got up and walked out of the room. She turned around once more, hoping for another chance to explain, her eyes met the older woman who stood vigilantly in the room. There was something odd about grandma, something she never noticed before except after that time her class had spent the day at Hill View Manor, the old folk’s home just out side of town. Everyone there had been slow, there backs hunched, fingers gnarled, skin pasty and wrinkled. None of them had that glow grandma seemed to have. A glow that one lost along with there youth. Grandma had to be pushing 80 by now, yet she didn’t look or act a day older than 50.