I woke up in the middle of a field in what I presumed to be the middle of nowhere. I looked down and the only thing I had on was a torn and ragged dress. I had a splitting headache and I was very hungry and thirsty. Struggling, I got to my feet which felt like dead weights, my vision was fuzzy. I don’t remember how I got here but I had a terrible feeling that it wasn’t a good reason and I don’t want to know how I got here. All I wanted was a place to rest. Stumbling over myself I walked towards what I thought was a road or something of the kind. I was just a few paces away when I blacked out.
When I woke up I noticed that someone was pressing a cool cloth against my face, it also seemed that we were in a moving carriage. Groggily I sat, the wet towel fell from my face, into my lap. Looking around I saw a woman sitting beside me, a worried expression on her face.
“W-who are you?” I asked, my voice sounded, and felt as if I had drank a bottle of sand.
“You can call me Veronica, my husband and I,” she motioned to the man at the front of the carriage, “found you alone in the desert and we couldn’t leave you alone out there, so we brought you here.” the woman had kind, warming eyes. I felt a little uneasy with these strangers but I also felt a sense of security with them. Veronica pulled something out from a bag, it smelled heavenly, I watched as she took a bite of it. My stomach gave a horrendous growl. Veronica laughed, and reached under her seat and brought out a picnic basket full of turkey sandwiches. My mouth watered, I grabbed a sandwich and devoured that one. Soon all that was left in the basket were the crumbs of the sandwiches.
“Thanks, I needed that,” I said graciously, “where are we going?” Veronica exchanged an uneasy glance with her husband.
“Well, actually, we were wondering if you knew where you were headed.” Silence met these words, the only sound was from the rush of other carriages booming by on either side of them.
“No I don’t, I can’t remember how I ended up there. All I know is it wasn’t good…” I trailed, wondering how much to tell them. Veronica nodded, deep in thought.
“Do you have a phone?” she asked.
“What’s a phone?” I asked bewildered. Veronica looked shocked that I didn’t know what a ‘phone’ is.
“It’s a small, rectangular device used to contact other people and has entertainment purposes.” she explained, holding up a rectangular box thing. I nodded, very intrigued with this new thing.
“Can I hold it?” I asked. Veronica nodded and handed me the phone. I turned it over curiously in my hands, examining all angles of it. My fingers felt a grove on the side, I pressed down on it and it lit up the entire screen. I dropped the phone in shock, Veronica smiled kindly and showed me how to open it. I was immediately hooked on a game called ‘Popin it’. Only when we stopped at a small hut with other carriages did I stop.
“What’s your name?” Veronica’s husband asked when he got back in the carriage after filling it with a strange liquid.
“I-I’m not sure,” I said thinking hard. I had a strange, vivid memory of being called Crissy, I wished I hadn’t because a terrible sound of a young girl screaming and pleading for mercy echoed in my head, “It’s Crissy...I think.”
“Ok, well Crissy would you like to come in and get some more snacks with me?” Veronica motioned to the small hut. I nodded excitedly, I turned toward the wall of the carriage, I pushed and pushed but couldn’t get it open. Veronica appeared outside and I jumped back in surprise, she laughed and reached for the wall, and it opened. A rush of fresh, cool air reached my face, I breathed in deeply, the cool air soothing my sore throat.
Veronica led me into the hut, it was full of chips, drinks, and sweets galore! I roamed the isles grabbing whatever looked good, fifteen minutes later I followed Veronica to the trading table and set down all my items.
Veronica pulled a small pouch from her bag and she pulled out something plastic and handed it to the older, more grumpier man. He grunted and put our things into bags and we went back to our carriage.
“Wow! You sure got a lot of stuff! Hope you got stuff for me!” he joked as we got into the car.
“Yes John, I got you one of your favorites.” she held up a jumbo sized crunch bar. He grabbed the bar from her hand and thanked his wife. I grabbed a root beer, twisted the top off and started to drink.
“Where are we going?” I wondered out loud after a while. The scene outside had changed from empty fields to long pointed castles. Other people walked along on either side of the carriages pathway.
“We’re going to my mothers house, it’s her birthday and we’re going to celebrate,” John explained, “Speaking of birthdays, how old are you?”
Now this was an easy question, “I’m 15,” I looked down and realized I was still wearing the ragged dress, I felt a little awkward in it.
“Do you have any clothes I could borrow?” I asked, embarrassed.
“I’m not sure if we have anything here that would fit you, but I’m sure John’s mother would have some old clothes from her daughter.” Veronica said slowly.
"That would be great!" I exclaimed happily. Nobody talked for the rest of the way there.
We pulled up to a hut that was much bigger than the smaller one we had stopped at earlier. An elderly woman stood at the front of the grand hut. She had a kind smile on her wrinkled face, she also had welcoming eyes...yet something about this woman felt eerily familiar.
"There's my boy! She cried, when we had gotten out of the car. She pulled John into a hug, then turned to Veronica and did the same.
“Hey mom, it’s good to see you too. This is Crissy, she was stranded on the side of the road and she doesn’t know what happened.” John said, stepping to the side as I had hidden behind him.
“H-hi,” I said in a weak voice.
She smiled softly, and said, “it's very nice to meet you, would you like to come inside and freshen up?" I nodded. She led the way through the massive doors and into the most magnificent of living rooms I had ever seen.
“The bathroom is the second door to the left, let me know if you need anything.” John’s mother directed. Nodding my head I walked into what looked like a miniature stable. My mouth dropped as I looked around at the marbled flooring and stone tables. I found the basin, which was much bigger than anyone I’d had seen. Reaching my hand out I turned the tap on and warm, steamy water gushed out.
I got undressed and sank into the warm water, it soothed my sore muscles. A content sigh escaped my mouth as I closed my eyes and drifted off to a light sleep. A strange dream entered my sleep. I saw a small girl, around the age of four, curled in a ball with bruises and deep cuts around her arms. A voice was yelling from somewhere. The sound of a whip being cracked sounded and with a jolt I woke up, I would be covered in cold sweat, but since I was covered in warm water it did not have the same effect.
Shaking, I got out of the basin and pulled a towel around myself. I was about to turn the handle when I realized I didn’t have anything to wear other than the ragged and torn dress. I hesitantly poked my head out of the room and called for Veronica. “Hey do you have any spare clothes?” I asked.
“I’m not exactly sure where the clothes are but I can ask,” Veronica replied, going back to the living room. I sat down on the rounded seat and waited until she came back.
Getting bored I got up and looked through the storage crates. I found things that looked like flour, and butter, but they had odd colors. I pulled out a bag full of the things and smelled one of the flour like ones and got it all over my nose. I looked at myself through the mirror and saw that I had a white blotch on my nose. I giggled. I spilled some flour on my hands, without thinking I put it on my face. I looked like a vampire!
This can’t be flour, it doesn’t have the same effect, I thought. I brought the butter to my lips and smeared it all around my lips. I smiled at myself in the mirror, I had large red circles around my lips and was so pale it would make a vampire jealous.
I was about to use some of the blue powder when a knock came from outside. It startled me and I almost dropped the powder all over the floor.
"Coming!" I called, hastily putting the bag away. I opened the door and Veronica was standing there with an armful of clothing.
She stood there for a moment gaping at my face, when she had come out of her momentary shock she said, "I seen you've been in the make-up bag?" Guessing that make-up is the stuff that I put on was, I nodded.
"Looks like you did a good job of it," she said grinning, "Here's some clothes we found, go ahead and try them on." She handed me the bundle of clothes.
"Thanks a bunch!" I said graciously. Closing the door once more I tried on the clothes she had given me. It took a while until I found one that I liked. I found everyone sitting at the kitchen table, a plate of warm cookies awaiting.
They stopped talking when they saw me enter, instead they held up the plate of cookies, I found it a bit odd but shrugged it off as nothing. I grabbed a cookie and joined the others at the table.
"So, Crissy, where do you come from?" John's mom asked curiously. This was a very sudden question that I was not prepared for.
"I d-don't know exactly," I said shakily as I picked my nails. She nodded, taking another cookie. John yawned so big he could've fit a whole goat in his mouth.
"I think it's time for bed," Veronica decided, as I also yawed. I agreed, my eyes already felt as if they had anvils on them.
"I can show Crissy to her room," John's mom offered.
"Thanks Lilith, we'll see you in the morning," Veronica said, getting up from the table. Lilith got up from the table and silently motioned for me to follow her. I hesitated for a moment, I didn't trust this woman, something was off about her. But I had no other choice, so I got up and followed her down another hallway into a room.
"I've laid out a pair of pajamas for you,” Lilith said. I nodded, avoiding her eyes. I was walking towards my bed when she latched onto my arm. I tried to pull away but her grip was as strong as a lion's jaw on its prey.
“Hey! Let go of me!” I said, still trying to pry her fingers off my arm.
“Never run away again,” Lilith growled, her potent voice echoing low down the corridor. She no longer had the kindly eyes or the warm expression, instead a cold and dark look replaced it. I stood there frozen in shock, my legs numb. She let go and threw me into the room, I landed hard on my side. I scrambled up and quickly got into bed, not bothering to put on my pajamas. My hands trembled slightly as I tried to comprehend what just happened. I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, the cries of a young girl echoing around me, I tried blocking the sounds but it was no use. I finally drifted off to a troubled sleep filled with the moans and wails of children.
The sound of voices woke me. I crept out of bed and put my ear to the door. It sounded like Lilith was on the other side in the hall. I couldn’t hear what she was saying so I opened the door just slightly to hear.
“Yes, she came right into my hands, I’ll get her to you by the end of the week,” I heard Lilith saying to someone. I couldn’t hear the rest of the conversation, I went back inside and sat on my bed thinking about what I just heard. Someone’s going to take me away, at the end of the week, I have to get out of here, I thought desperately. Dread brewed in my stomach as I started to pace around the room. After what seemed like eternity, I heard shuffling in the kitchen of who I assumed to be John and Veronica. Deciding it was safe to come out, I cautiously tiptoed out of my room.
“‘Morin,” John said sleepily, he was sitting on the chair watching something on a big square thing attached to the wall.
“What’s that?” I asked, pointing to the square object, avoiding his eyes.
“It’s a television, we can watch almost anything on it, from live action to animated,” John explained. I stared at it in disbelief, how could such a wonderful thing be in such a terrible person's hut?
The rest of the day went by in a flash, one moment I was sitting with John in the living room, next I was being shown how to set a table. As I was putting the last of the plates down Lilith came into the room, she had on a fancy dress and her hair had been put up.
“Why so fancy?” John asked, sitting down.
“Just a business meeting, I won’t be here for dinner so carry on without me,” she replied airily. She grabbed her keys and left, leaving me to breathe freely, only to realize who she might be meeting with. A shudder ran through my whole body.
I will leave tonight, I decided, picking up my fork and stabbing peas. I couldn’t stop the train of thoughts entering my mind as I wondered what was going to happen. A heavenly smell reached my nose and interrupted my state, I looked up and saw Veronica pulling a chocolate cake from the oven.
“Mm that smells wonderful!” I said, she set the cake on the table and started putting them onto plates. I found myself snarfing it down as I wanted a word with Veronica.
All the dishes were cleared and we were about to go to bed when I pulled Veronica aside, “Hey, I was wondering why you picked me up in the first place,” she was silent for a while before answering.
“Well, we saw that you were weak, and we couldn’t just leave you there,” Veronica said slowly.
“I’m very lucky to have found you and I don’t think I could ever repay you for the hospitality you’ve shown me.” her eyes watered a little and she pulled me into a bear hug.
“You should probably get to bed now,” she said, letting me go. I nodded and went into my room, but instead of getting ready I carefully grabbed a sheet off the bed and started gathering all the clothes into the middle.
Waiting to make sure that Veronica and John were in their beds, I crept out and moved into the kitchen and stocked up on some fruit and water. Just as I was about to go back to my room, I heard the sound of a car pulling up. My heart pounded, Lilith was home. I could hear her walking up.
Quickly I grabbed my supplies and bolted to my room. I closed the door behind me and sank to the floor, breathing hard. I heard her enter the hut and walk to her room. I put the food in with the clothes and tied it shut.
Making sure that the coast was clear I opened my door and walked across the floor, careful not to make a sound. Jumping, slightly as a mouse scurried across the floor. I turned the door handle and walked into the cold night. I shivered wishing I had brought a jacket. Too late to go back for one, I thought. I started to run as far away as I could from the big hut, as fast and as far away from that terrible woman.
I found a dark alley way which I hoped would hide me from view. I propped up my bag as a pillow and lay my head down, thinking of what would come of me. Soon I fell into a dreamless sleep.
That was a year ago, now I’m living in a homeless shelter, I’m going to school and learning a bunch of new things. I sometimes wonder what happened to Veronica and John. I haven’t heard a word from them since I left. I’m saving to get a phone so I can one day find them again.