I heard the rain splashing at the window. It was another rainy day in Chicago. This year the rain started earlier in July than in August. I loved the rain but bummer I couldn't go out and play. I might be fifteen but I feel like I’m still that joyful little girl I once was. Now when I look at my childhood picture I feel like I don't know myself. The little girl with freckles and an ice cream cone in her hands. I looked at my hair in the photo. It was a shimmering golden spug in curls. My hair looked nothing like that now. I had dyed it brown since I felt left out in my family ever since mom died who was the only other one in my family with blond hair. I hated talking about it, I hated anyone mentioning it to me...I’ve never thought of her in many years. She was gone when I was eight. Dad basically became my everything after that.
Dad was great, he had a job at a big business and he was almost being promoted. We had no problems with money or finance. It was just...the isolation...the loneliness...I felt after coming from school. Dad only came after six so I had to start learning cooking. I never took classes...I guess it runs in the blood. Mom was a chief at a local restaurant. She was a natural at cooking I guess. The loss of mom was a big burden I carried every day. She was my everything.
I went downstairs to see if dad had already left for work. The floorboards creaked as descended the stairs.
“Hey honey.” Dad was sitting at the table with a hot cup of coffee as he massaged his forehead.
“Dad?” I thought he had left to work like always.
“Why are you still here.” I then noticed he was still in his home clothes.
“I have a headache so I’m gonna take it easy today.” He mumbled.
“I hope you feel better.” I told him as I grabbed my hoodie from the closet and put it on.
I froze, dad has never called anyone that except mom. When she died dad stopped using that nickname.
Dad must have noticed my confused look as he got up from his seat and put his hand on my shoulder.
“I know Seri was your mom’s nickname but it suits you, ya know Selena.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll always be my Seri like your mother was. I’m sure she’s looking at you right now.” He said looking up at the ceiling. “She’ll be proud of you Selena...she will be proud.”
I felt a lump in my throat. I was speechless. Dad left after giving me a kiss on the forehead. To him I was always that little girl who he used to give piggyback rides to.
“By the way you're late hon.” He hollered from the kitchen.
I checked the time on my phone...7:45. Shoot. I missed the bus. I guess I gotta walk in the rain. I wore an extra raincoat just to be sure as I started to close the door after me. I bid farewell to dad as I put on my rainproof shoes and headed out.
School was the usual...Bio, P.E, English, Pre Calculus which I suck at and finally History.
History has got to be the most boring subject ever invented...I mean who cares what Ben Franklin did or why the British and France were quarreling about. I mean were not in the seventeen hundreds anymore...right?
Today as usual I walked to History class. We were going to start a new topic today. Mrs.Lin called it “Mystery Topic.”
I didn't care what the topic was...all I needed was to pay enough attention to pass the finals. No one expects us to actually have a need for History lessons in the future.
“Hello Selena, good afternoon.” Mrs.Lin said as I walked into the classroom. I faked a smile that I use mostly with most adults.
I walked into the air-conditioned classroom. Really?
I was freezing outside and Mrs.Lin needed an air conditioner?
I rolled my eyes as I saw my best friend scoot over at the sight of me.
“Hey Selena.” Terri said, she seemed very quiet today, usually she would talk her head off about irrelevant topics and somehow end up saying how her mom burned her birthday cake last year for the hundredth time.
“Hey.” I didn't have much to say as I took my seat.
“Class today we are going to learn about heirlooms.”
“Hair what.” Mike asked. Mike was the clown of the class. He definitely cheered up the class who were roaring with laughter.
“Alright class, settle down, I said heirloom not hair.” Mrs.Lin wrote the word on the white board and made us answer a few questions. This topic must have sparked my interest as I was the first one done and handed over to correction.
The school bell rang as I walked out hand in hand with Terri. She seemed too quiet...I decided it must be something personal so I decided to let her have her space and didn't bug her to tell me.
I waved as Terri went right to where her mother had parked the car to pick Terri up.
I reached for the key which I had safely hung as a necklace around my neck once I had reached home.
I touched the other necklace that hung around my neck as well. It used to belong to mom and mom had said it was very important to her. She wouldn't even let me touch it. I didn't know what was so special about that particular necklace. Not to say it wasn't beautiful. It really was a masterpiece. The way the roses were twisted in vines. The sparkly smooth amber that hung at the end. The small leaves attached to the vines...the details were extravagant and elegant as it could be. The day before mom...died...she gave me her necklace and made me promise that I would take care of it and never take it off or give it to anyone.
I opened the door silently since dad might be napping or something.
“Dad, I’m home.” I whisper shouted as I hung my jacket in the closet and turned the heater on.
I waited for a response as I put my bag down on the sofa and grabbed a cup of warm water.
“Dad?” I went to investigate his room. He wasn't there…
Maybe he had gone to work after all. I checked the garage to see if the car was missing.
Opening the door I noticed his Subaru was just where it always was. Huh...if the cars here then dad couldn't have gone to work...or anywhere else for that matter.
I checked the whole house top to bottom...not a sight of him. I walked into the kitchen when I noticed glass was shattered all over the floor.
I slowly picked up the biggest piece. It was dad's favorite mug that mom had given him but why was it broken?
I looked around the kitchen. Everything else seemed in place. I suddenly started to feel cold. Had I not closed the front door behind me?
I perceived the whole situation again. Dad’s missing, his cup is broken and now I feel faint.
I observed the kitchen door to be slightly ajar. Dad wouldn't be this careless, would he?
I noticed some of the glass had scratches on them as if someone was...trying to force their way through. Oh no...I better be wrong about this...was dad...kidnapped...or shall I say adult napped?
I got out my phone to call dad. Dang it, it went to voice message right away. OK, calm down Selena, it’s all going to be OK, maybe he went for a walk or something...The wind started to blow through the small opening in the door and I hurriedly went to close it. The force of the wind knocked out a paper on the dining table. I walked up to the paper causality and read the words I needed to confirm that dad was really kidnapped.
“Give me what I want, what your mother hid from me, look at the back to find the place where you shall meet me, don’t bring company or else…-MT”
Seeing the note made me shiver, not from the cold but from fear. My heart felt twisted like a pretzel and I felt like I was on fire...who was MT and what did they want from me?
They also seemed to know mom but how?
My head hurt as I brainstormed a way to get dad back. I looked at the back of the note. I unrecognizable handwriting it said.
“2343 Arch ave, door # 25
Who knew where this address let to. I felt completely alone...I had the same feelings that I had when I learned mom died. I had this adrenaline feeling all over again.
Dad was the only one to protect me, if something happened to him...I tried not to think about the consequences and faced the reality.
I googled up the address given. Google didn't help much, there were no pictures of the house either but it did give me directions.
I noted that it would take me 40 minutes if I walked there. Seriously? I decided to take my bike for a ride to the mysterious house. Biking there would cut my 40 minute walk in half.
Helmet...check, jacket...check, phone...check. Assuring I got everything I needed I headed out.
It seemed to take a little more than twenty minutes maybe because of my unsteady biking when I felt adrenaline but I made it. I rounded the corner and started to check for the number given on the note.
22...23...24……….25. It was there but also kinda wasn’t. The trees covered almost the entire house. The roof seemed to be in bad shape as well as the windows. Whoever lived here definitely made it to my top ten scariest houses ever. No way would people come here for trick-or-treating...at least I won't.
I left my bike near the sidewalk making sure no one was looking at my direction. I didn't see a single soul on the street so I walked to the door. The sharp blades of grass on the front lawn felt like needles. This house needs some serious makeover I thought in my head as I proceeded to the door.
I felt uncertain as I slowly knocked on the door three times. Usually in movies they knock three times for good luck so I decided to try it out.
“Hello, anyone there?” My frantic voice surprised me. My voice seemed different, maybe I was just afraid.
There was no answer. I tried knocking on the door a little harder. Still nothing...maybe this is the wrong house...I hoped it was. I didn't want to spend a single second here.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” The sudden voice gave me a heart attack as I turned around to see who spoke to me. I thought it was some tall scary guy with a knife in his hands but all I saw was a boy my age. He smiled at me, showing his freckles, he had brown hair sort of like mine, a hoodie with a CHICAGO BULLS ROCK logo written in fine red letters.
“Are you...OK?” He asked me as if I’m nuts or something.
“Yes.” I whispered softly, my voice again felt weird to me.
“What are you doing here, this is a no trespassing zone.” The boy pointed to a sigh I had missed. He was right.
“Huh, I must have missed that.” I admitted.
“No worries, I was wondering why you came here, this place is creepy.”
“Right.” I agreed. “...it's something personal...long story.”
“I have all the time in the world, do tell…” The boy insisted his eyes wide with excitement as if I said he won a million dollars or something.
Seeing me hesitate he held out his hand...we shook hands.
“I’m Aiden, I live at that house.” He said pointing to the house across the street. Unlike this house Aiden’s seemed more welcoming and warm.
“I’m...Selena but you can call me...Seri.” I said, dad would be proud if I used that nickname.
“Nice to meet you Seri, now will you tell me what's up.”
It took me about a minute and a half to fill him in on everything. When I finished I felt much better. Maybe it was because I wasn't alone in this.
“So you're telling me someone kidnapped your dad because you have something that they want?” He checked with me if he understood it correctly.
“I’m afraid so.” I replied. We walked towards his house brainstorming what these people could want from me.
“You have anything valuable...gold...silver?” He questioned me, his eyes narrowed towards my neck. “What’s that?” He pointed towards my special necklace as he started to reach for it slowly. I snapped his hand away before he touched it.
He didn't seem surprised as he quickly apologized.
“It's OK, this was my mom’s and it meant everything to her so I keep it very secure.” I told him...I don't know why I was explaining all this to a random boy I just met, what is it about him that I seem to be spilling out everything.
“Oh, I see.” He brought me over to his house and opened the door. “What happened to your mom?”
“She...she died.” I blurted out blankly, my face felt on fire as I stared into his warm, brown eyes.
“I’m so sorry.” He looked like he was in pain as he walked into the house.
The house indeed did bring a smile to my face. The aroma of spices hit my nose. I loved the fall. It was indeed a festive month.
“Um...my family loves to make pumpkin pies all year long even if it’s...not November...I know that's a bit odd” He seemed a bit flustered as he spoke, his cheeks turned red.
“No, it’s not, I would love pumpkin pie all year long.” I smiled at him warmly.
He smiled back but then it vanished.
“So, shall we...plan in my room.” He gestured upstairs.
He anxiously let me upstairs. I wondered what was bothering him. When we reached the upstairs he pointed towards a room that was closed. I walked towards it and was about to open it…
“No, stop.” Aiden said, one of his hands was on the door as if he was making sure it won't fall and his other on my hand which was holding the doorknob.
“Look, I don't want what happened to your mom to happen to you.” He spoke with fear as if I would punch him in the face or something.
“What?” I was totally confused.
Just then the door opened with a BANG. Before I could even see who it was I was behind Aiden as he spoke to the person that just came out.
“Dad, please, let her and her dad go...” Aiden started but before he could say anything else I pushed past his defensive shield and faced him and the newcomer.
An older man who seemed close to dads age, he had on a huge t-shirt with some words written in foreign language...he had so many tattoos I couldn't count them but most of all he was frightening.
“Aiden, what do you mean by all this.” I accused him and forgot the fact his scary father was right there.
“I’m sorry Seri...I didn't want this to happen, this is my dad Max Turner.” He narrowed his eyes at me as if to say something else but then let it fall to the ground.
“Max Turner...MT...you're the one who kidnapped my dad.” I exclaimed.
“Yes, I did, if you want him back give me the thing.” I was surprised by the tone of his voice. It sounded like a teacher not like a kidnapper at all.
“What...thing?” I still had no clue what “thing” was.
“That.” Aiden pointed to my necklace. “That's what he wants, thats why your mom died.”
“NO, I won't let you have it, it’s just a stupid necklace, buy your own.” I shouted in their faces as I tried to make a run for it but Aiden’s dad was faster and grabbed my hand.
“Aiden, I trusted you.” I said, my eyes filling with tears and hate.
“I know, I’m sorry.” He said but I would never forgive him.
“Good job son.” Max congratulated his son.
“Whatever...just...don’t hurt her.”
“We’ll see.” I tried to pull my hand free but Max had a strong grip. I looked once more at Aiden, my eyes were wet with crying.
Then Aiden did the unthinkable, he grabbed a knife from his pocket and quickly scraped it against his fathers hand. Blood oozed from Max...as he let me go.
“Run Seri.” Aiden commanded and he grabbed my paining hand and led me away to safety.
Once we thought we were safe Aiden let me go.
“Please explain, what the heck just happened?”
“Look, that necklace is worth millions and also your family's heirloom as I've heard, now you need to get out, your dads at home, I brought him there once you left.” With this he left.
I couldn't be mad at him anymore, not when he saved me. Grabbing my bike I left...hoping nothing like this happens again.
P.S I will need to talk to Aiden again to clarify what was going on...