No School (Pt. 3)

Here is the next installment in the saga of No School. I am aware the title is still not that great.


Maria Marker and Dom Decimal traveled away from the magic island toward the main land. This time they did not go hungry and they were not thirsty. The goodie basket that Pickle had given them kept the two satisfied on the short journey. On the third day they saw land. The boat hit shore. Maria and Dom dragged it into the sand leaving the basket in the boat. Over the course of the three day journey the two children had discussed Math. They recalled a few problems that they had learned when they were younger. It was not much, but maybe it would be enough to help overcome the evil doings of Sinister Student. Dom had agreed that Maria could hold onto the magic pencil for now.

They left the boat behind and walked into the Wildering Wilds. They had to cross through the Rainbow River where Dom fell all the way in and was wet for the rest of the day. Beyond the river were the Monkey Mountains. It was trick not to disturb the nests of monkeys that thrived in the trees, or if woken- they would steal your hat. It was a great distance to the land of No School which lay at the end of everything and beyond nothing. If you have ever tried to find nothing, it is incredibly hard. Maria and Dom were considering giving up when they were bogged down in the middle of the Dark Desert when things began to disappear. Which was hard to tell anyway, because it was dark as the dead of night.

“I think we’re almost there. To nothing. Beyond that is the land of No School,” said Maria Marker.

Dom looked around and saw that the brush and sand simply was starting to stop and they were walking on what could have been cement from one angle or a line from another. It was hard to tell everything shifted when he turned. “There really is nothing,” he seemed surprised.

Maria charged ahead though she was exhausted she was eager to find No School and Ms. Good Teacher. Dom followed her. They walked for what could have been days maybe weeks, or just an hour. It was hard to tell as there was nothing to see. Finally, Maria and Dom could see a crest of darkness ahead and what looked to be a fire and smoke.

“I think I see it!” cried Dom.

“You’re right. That has to be No School,” said Maria.

They hurried, running toward the darkness. As they approached in the distance they could smell the stench of burning paper. “There!” Maria pointed to the fire off the road down a ways. She could see a huge pile of books burning. “Dom she’s burning books.”

“I know we don’t read much, but it just seems wrong to burn books,” said Dom. They walked silently down the road that had appeared beneath their feet. It was broken bricks thrown down unevenly; on either side of the road was a mixture of dead grass and gravel. To their left scattered in a field were old classroom desks falling apart, upside down, and weathered. To their right was the bonfire they had noticed. Further down the road were some old looking buildings they looked to be the center of this place. Near the buildings was a run-down playground.

When they were close enough to pass the playground, Maria saw that one of the swings was unhooked and rusted in places. The other was actually thrown over the top of the playset. Pieces of the jungle gym were rusty and falling off. The see-saw sat flat on the ground defeating the purpose of the game. And, the monkey bars were upside down.

“That does not look like a fun playground,” Dom pointed out. Maria nodded in agreement.

“Which building do you think Sinister Student is in?” asked Maria.

Dom shrugged, “Could be any of them. I guess we should just pick one.”

Maria lead them toward the center building which agreed with the darkness. It spiraled upward on one side giving it an eerie look, while the other side stretched out long and rectangular. It looked cathedral like. The old rotting letters on the outside read, Forest Hills Elementary, some were blacked out. Maria and Dom could tell that’s what it once said. There were two large oak front doors, where there once had been windows, the glass was shattered. Maria reached forward pulling one open; it creaked. Dom jumped forward right into Maria. She turned and gave a reproachful look.

Cautiously, they waked through the doors.

A New Ending

Ella watched as the shoe slid comfortably onto Dru’s foot. Her eyes widened in shock.

“IT FITS!” Dru screamed at the top of her lungs. The coachman toppled over. Ella folded her hand over the other glass slipper, what did it matter now?  She glanced sideways at the coat closet where she and her step-sisters kept their shoes and other effects. Ella and Dru had always shared, of course Ella would get Dru’s old, worn shoes, they had the same size feet; it made sense now.

The fact that the Prince would decide who he had met at the ball last night, with a shoe, was such a daft idea. Hundreds of women in the kingdom must have the same size foot, thought Ella. She shook her head. Her stepmother looked at Ella an evil smirk playing at her lips.

The coachman, who had regained his footing, went outside and returned with the Prince. He didn’t look like Ella had remembered in her mind. His nose was pointier, and his eyes were scrunched together, too small for his wide face. Obviously, he wasn’t very intelligent either. The Prince looked at Dru, the shoe sparkling on her unmanicured toes.

“You are not the woman I met last night. I know I would recognize you right away,” He said to Dru. Ella snorted into her lap. The Prince turned and stared momentarily, but then turned back to the woman who was wearing the shoe.

She threw the shoe from her foot it conked Odile right on the head. “OUCH!” yelled her sister who had been watching with frustration. Ella stifled a giggle. The Prince turned and left the women sitting speechless.

But, Dru was not going to give up that easily. She grabbed the shoe which sat between Odile and Ella, running after the prince her curls frazzled and every which way, yelling, “IT FIT! IT FIT! IT FIT!”

Ella looked at her stepmomw who watched in horror. “COME BACK HERE RIGHT NOW YOUNG LADY!” she screamed from her perch on her sitting room chair.

Ella stood up, still clutching the other shoe. “I’m leaving this abominable house. You have never treated me kindly. I don’t need you or a prince,” she looked out the door with slight distaste, “to see me for the good person I am.” She walked past her stepmother and dropped the matching shoe in her lap. Her stepmother gasped, though it was hard to know if it was because of the shoe, or because Dru was now running barefoot after the Prince’s carriage which was rumbling away.

Ella took the few dresses she owned in a bag and left the house that day. Never did she let anyone call her Cinderella again.

The Orphanage: Introduction

It was a bedtime tale told only at the bequest of a brave child. Some parents even used it as a threat to keep their children at bay, but even then it was a rarity. When a parent said to their child, “If you don’t clean your room Viola will come to take you away,” a prayer was uttered afterward, those of a certain faith would cross their chests in hopes that certain ears did not catch the threat on the wind.

Over the years the disappearances near the old orphanage had not gone unnoticed. It was a threat, but the legend of Viola the child snatching demon had become more than just a superstition, for Red Rock, it seemed real.

When Jamie asked his mom to tell him Viola’s story before bed on this particular night, it was understandable why she was hesitant. To her it was more than just a story, but in the end she yielded. Bending over her seven year old son in his small wooden bed she tucked his comforter tight around his body. She kissed him on the forehead and sat at the edge of his bed with a palm resting on his stomach. He looked up at her, brown eyes wide and expectant. The light from his bed side lamp flickered in the dark.

His mom began the story she knew from her own childhood, “Once long ago behind the old orphanage a girl was wandering alone. Seeing a path that led into the forest, she decided to go that way, though she had been told many times not to venture into the forest,” his mother stopped for a moment. Emphasizing how the girl had been told not to do something, and eyed her son who was listening. He looked at her and nodded. Then she continued with the story, “The girl, Viola, didn’t like to listen to anyone, so she went anyway. She had heard there were many dangerous things that lived in the forest. Viola wanted to see them for herself. When she had gone far into the forest strange sounds began surrounding her on all sides. They were not any noises of animals that she had ever known before. Viola wasn’t frightened. She instead, did the one other thing she was told again not to do, she went off the path.”

Jaime’s mother patted him and her eyes narrowed; she was getting nervous, but he urged her to continue. He knew the good parts were coming. “Viola continued walking toward the sound closest to her. That was when a demon, some think a witch, popped out of the underbrush and grabbed her pulling her deep into the forest where she was never heard from or seen again. But, you can still see her some times when there is a full moon or the night is clear, wandering near the forest. They say that she haunts the orphanage and the forest around it, looking for children to snatch. Children who don’t listen to their parents, or wander too close to the forest.” Jaime’s mother looked out the window near his bed nervously. Then she silently said a prayer. Jaime’s eyes had closed already. She was glad for this.

Maggie the little girl from three houses down went missing a month ago. Jaimie might think it was just a fun bedtime story, but for the parents and towns’ people of Red Rock it was more than just legend.

 

The Prologue: Touch of Death

A grand house stood in the center of a sprawling city. Cobbled roads weaved around with shops and smaller houses dotting their edges. One section seemed much more run down than any other part of the city. Up in the largest house in the center in one wing through a small window a man could be seen pacing back and forth, tugging his black beard so hard any passerby might think he’d pull it right off his face.

“Why can I not go in?!” He shouted. Which was hard to hear because coming from the room in front of him was quite a bit of screaming, and though the door was shut, everyone could hear it as though they were standing inside the room themselves.

Another man was sitting on a comfortable, plush chair behind him, “Do you want to see your wife this way, Casimir? In pain. What is going on behind those doors was not meant for a man’s eye.”

Casimir turned abruptly in his pacing, “Father, I should be there to comfort her. She should not do this alone.”

His father who had a smirk on his face looked up at his son, remembering this moment himself when he had waited for the nurse to tell him of Casimir’s birth, “It is just how it is done. You can go in afterward. Then you can be all of the comfort in the world to her. Now you would only disturb the process, and worry everyone in the room, as you are doing to me out here.”

Casimir sighed and continued to pace. Again, tugging at his beard. Inside the room cries of anguish continued. He could hear the nurse crying for more water. Then he heard the sloshing of water coming from what must have been the maid’s careless hands carrying the bucket too rapidly. Splashes hit the ground, but some must have made it over to the nurse. He heard cloths being dunked into the water. Though he had no idea what any of this process was for. It was all a mystery to him. Then the nurse’s low growls came.

“Alright Mora, it’s time.” After this, Casimir heard the worst cries from his wife yet, and he just stopped in place staring at the door willing himself not to break it down. The most beautiful utterance came after all of that terrible noise. A small cry could be heard, just barely, through the door. Casimir smiled. He turned and ran over to his father who had just stood up. They shook hands.

“Congratulations Casimir, you’re a father.” Casimir beamed at his father.They stood there longer than Casimir expected.

Finally, the maid opened the door. “You can enter now.”

Inside his wife sat propped up on the bed. The maid must have cleaned up everything, which would have been why they had to wait so long. His own mother sat in another chair against the wall. The nurse leaned over a small cradle where a baby lay wrapped up.

“We have a daughter, Casimir.” Mora told him. He walked over and wrapped his arms around his wife kissing her on the cheek.

“Can I see her?” He asked.

The nurse lifted the baby from the cradle as his parents looked on. She had been wrapped in a white blanket which did not allow for any movement. The nurse laid the baby in Mora’s arms.

“She’s beautiful, Mora. It’s good she looks just like you.” Casimir told his wife.

“What should we call her?” Mora asked.

Casimir looked to his mother who was sitting nearby quietly looking on, “Let’s name her after my mother.”

“Perfect,” agreed Mora. “Lila,” she whispered to the baby. The baby opened her eyes and yawned. She pulled her hand free from the confines of the wrap and wiggled her little fingers.

“I think she likes her name,” said Casimir. Mora nodded in agreement.

Then Mora took her daughter’s hand in her own. Letting her tiny fingers wrap around her larger finger. Mora’s finger began to blacken very quickly, then her whole hand.

“Casimir, I think it’s the curse,” she managed to say. Her whole body quickly blackened and shriveled. “I love you,” she whispered, before her heart ceased to beat.

Everyone in the room sat there stunned. Casimir looked on with horror. The nurse whisked Lila up from her mother’s deadened arms and quickly wrapped her tightly.

“Lord Casimir? Wha’ do we do with baby Lila? It was ‘er, no?” The nurse asked timidly.

Everyone gawked. No one had wanted to be the one to blame the infant child for the death of her mother.

Casimir just stared at his wife who had just been speaking to them, and was now gone. Finally, when it was obvious that he could not give any instructions at this time his mother stood up.

“The baby will have to be kept away. We’ll make one side of the house just for her. She will have no visitors and nothing that is alive. While she is a baby we’ll need a nurse to care for her, and we’ll have her hands bound. Nurse, you’ll see to this.” Casimir’s mother spoke with finality.

“Yes m’Lady,” she nodded. Casimir’s father stood up as well. He and his wife took Casimir who resisting their direction did not want to exit the room.

“Son, she will have the proper funeral, but we need to leave her now and let her be in peace.”

The family, nurse, and maid left the room and baby Lila was taken away. The only people who knew of her condition were those who had been in the room on the tragic day of her mother’s death.

The Orphanage pt. 1

I’ve been working on an actual long, possible novel to go with https://phoenixrisng.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/the-beating/ this short. What I’m posting now would be the diary entries that the main character “Sam” finds from her great-great-grandmother. They provide the back story. Just thought I’d see what you all thought. Hope you enjoy.

 

October 18, 1848

We will be leaving Pennsylvania tomorrow for California. Father has dreams of gold in his eyes. He plans to take the Southern route with a group of settlers. The North route is too crowded as of late. I am excited for this adventure. Mother on the other hand does not wish to leave the city. She says she will miss her parties, and the road is no place for a young girl. But, there was no persuading Father. I look forward for what is to come.

Evelyn

November 1, 1848

I thought traveling would be exciting. It has been difficult, and there is not much to eat. We have to stay in cramped quarters and cannot get out to stretch our legs as often as I’d like. A one of the settlers has developed a cough. Mother seems content with sewing, but I know she is worried especially with winter upon us. Luckily the south is much warmer than the North.

Evelyn

November 10, 1848

I am too distressed to write. Mother has is now coughing like the settler. They think it is tuberculosis. I am petrified. I cannot bare it if something was to happen to Mother or Father.

Evelyn

 

November 21, 1848

The conditions are not improving. We camped for two days in Texas. It is a very large place. It will still take us another week to cross. Though we are south it is still very cold and Mother is so ill she cannot leave the wagon. I am no longer excited, but frightened about what is to come.

Evelyn

November 30, 1848

We have just entered a place called the New Mexico Territory. It is supposed to be safe, but there was a war here recently. So, I hope nothing terrible happens. I have to put cool rags on mother hourly to keep her fever at bay. I am still being hopeful, but it is foolish to think she will make it to California now. The settler died last week while we were in Texas. I hope he finds peace in that large piece of land.

Evelyn

December 9, 1848

I am devastated. Mother passed last night. I don’t know how we can have a happy Christmas now with her no longer here to celebrate. It’s hard to believe that Father so longingly still wants to get to the gold mines in California. We have just reached the mountains in the Arizona territory. I know that her final resting place will be a beautiful one. I cannot write anymore now.

Evelyn

December 30, 1848

It has taken us almost a month to travel through the mountains in this territory. They are treacherous in the snow. A wheel broke on the wagon and had to be fixed. Luckily, around this area with red rocks we found a small village who settled from the war. We are resting until the New Year. I cannot believe it is almost 1849. I will be twelve years old next year, and we will start the year without Mother. It is unimaginable.

Evelyn

January 2, 1849

Father left. He wrote a note that said without Mother he cannot take care of me, and the gold mines are no place for a young lady. He just left me in this village. I cannot bare it. It is too awful.

Evelyn

March 4, 1849

I have been staying with a very nice family. They have twin boys that are four years old. I know they do not have the means to keep me, but I help out the best I can. They town is building an Orphanage; they have a few other children that need a home as well. It will be finished come April. I will be glad not to burden this family any longer.

Evelyn

April 10, 1849

I have just moved into my new room at the orphanage. Red Rock Orphanage. It is comfortable, the head mistress seems nice. Her name is Miss Sullivan. The Gates said I may visit them anytime I would like. But, I know they were glad that I have a more permanent place to live now. I am excited to begin lessons again. At least I will have that. I wonder if Father ever thinks of me?

Evelyn

May 1, 1849

We are not allowed to wander into the forest that stretches behind the building. Though you cannot exactly call it a forest, it is more a dense, black, mangled corpse of dead foliage. I heard Mrs. Gates once say there had been a great fire there during the war and then nothing would grow afterward. It looks so intriguing; I find it hard not to inspect the forest. Aside from lessons and things that proper ladies ought to learn, I have nothing to do. A little adventure never hurt a young girl.

Evelyn

May 15, 1849

It was my birthday. The cook made a nice cake and the other children sang to me. It was quiet. Nothing like we used to have in Pennsylvania, when Mother was alive, but I thought it was sweet. I had not expected anything. Miss Sullivan gave me a new journal. I hugged her; it was so thoughtful.

Evelyn

June 3, 1849

I have to record everything. Miss Sullivan is a nice lady, but she does not believe me. She has this whole predisposition about witchcraft. I know what happened. I would not have believed it myself if it did not happen to me. It began today after church. We are allowed free time after church. The other children were playing a game of tag. I on the other hand wanted to take this time, while Miss Sullivan was having her afternoon nap, to explore the forest. I snuck away from the fray of the children and into the silent forest. The guardian trees loomed above me murky, creating shadowy figures and the appearance of night, though it was mid-afternoon. I walked further into the forest, the paths wound around each other intersecting. I could not tell where I was being led. I just kept to the one I thought I entered on. There were no flowers, bushes, or anything that breathed life. It was all dead. On the right I saw a beautiful tree; though it was no longer growing it had wonderfully twisting branches, perfect for climbing. I veered off my path and began the ascent. I had almost reached the top and could see just over the tree tops. When I heard a crack, the branch under me hurtled toward the ground. Of course it had been dead and brittle. I should have known. My heart pounded as the ground came closer and then it stopped. I stopped. I knew I was dead.

“Ooh a little girl, yes this should do nicely.”

I could hear a voice. I knew I was dead. I asked myself, how could I hear a voice? I decided to speak. “How can I hear you, am I not dead?”

“Yes, of course. This is most unusual. My victims usually do not speak after I have killed them. Interesting, very interesting.”

“Who are you? Why did you kill me?”

“I should ask you. You wondered into my forest. This is becoming tedious. I am going to rip your heart out now. I am tired of conversation.”

I had come to the assumption, that I must have been different from her other meals; therefore I could not let her rip my heart out. She had already told me that she had never spoken to her food before. I would have to negotiate.

“Can we come to an agreement?”

“What kind of agreement?”

“You tell me who you are and what you want, in return, I help you and you do not make a meal from me.” At this point, I was still having this conversation subconsciously. We seemed to be communicating without speaking out loud.

“Very well dear.” A hideous cackle escaped her lips and she said something in a language unintelligible. I was able to open my eyes and sit up. In front of me was a young woman who could not have been older than my Mother. She had dark eyes and long dark hair. “I am Kerys. I am Death.”

I scooted backwards, but remained in front of her. I could not risk upsetting her again. It was obvious she could take my life with a snap of her fingers.

“This is my domain. I reside in this forest. Of course, I cannot just be sustained from nature. I require more nutritious substance.” Her dark eyes twinkled as she looked me up and down. “Though, if you want live, I will allow that, but it will not come without consequence.”

Every year I would have to bring Kerys a child, so she could have the heart and death would remain. In return she would allow me to live and the orphanage to remain unharmed. I ran out of the forest pondering the bargain I made. When I tried to explain to Miss Sullivan about what happened she only scolded me for going into the forest and talking about witchcraft. Especially on a Sunday. There was no one in this world that would believe the truth of what happened and now I and my future family would be cursed to do the unthinkable for years to come. What had I done? I should have died.

Evelyn

No School

We have been working on fairy tales in my classroom for our family pride night. I decided to help motivate my students, and write them a fairy tale. I have been adding a little every day and using the same process as my students’ so that they can see how to create theirs. Though mine is quite a bit longer then their requirement. This is not complete, but I am putting up what I have so far. My students have really enjoyed me sharing my writing, their reaction is that this should be a Disney movie, also that I need to finish the story, so they can hear the end. I hope you enjoy it!

Once upon a time in the land of Party School a lovely lady called Ms. Good Teacher taught the best classes. The students’ favorite was her video games and cook class. They loved to play Call of Duty and make chocolate chip cookies in their portable ovens. Party School was a huge palace in the middle of a tropical island. It was surrounded by white, sand beaches and crystal blue water. There were hammocks strung from palm tree to palm tree where the students would nap between or during class. Ms. Good Teacher didn’t mind. She just brought them smoothies and arranged for Nate Nogum to hand out bendy straws. It was a good life.

One day, Ms. Good Teacher was playing Super Mario with Alexa Apple, one of the students, when a strange ship appeared on the horizon. It crept closer. There had never been any visitors at Party School. The boat was silent as it approached with a shadowy fog surrounding it. Ms. Good Teacher rushed everyone inside, “Lock the doors!” She cried.

“There are no doors!” screamed Maria Marker.

“There are no locks!” wailed Nate Nogum.

The students huddled together in the pillow room under the cover of a tower of  blankets and pillows; not sure what to expect. Ms. Good Teacher stood guarding the entry, a dusty yard stick in hand. She had pulled it from a storage closet that, as far as she knew, had never been opened. Nobody made a sound as the ship clanked to shore.

Someone could be heard traipsing through the Party School Palace. Clearly, the person was looking for someone or something. Smashing and crashing started faint but became louder as the person came closer. Ms Good Teacher held her ground. In front of her appeared a tiny little girl who could not have been more than eight years old. She had blonde ringlet, pigtails. Her clothes were ragged and torn, she had dirt streaks and smudges on her face and arms; there were no shoes on her feet, which gave off the putrid smell of rotten garbage.

The students quivered under the blankets. Ms. Good Teacher stared questioningly at the girl, “What do you want little girl?”

“I am no little girl. I am Sinister Student. I have come to take you to the land of No School. You can come quietly, or I can make you, ” Sinister said, a sneer on her twisted face.

“I will not leave my students unsafe and our land willingly,” Ms. Good Teacher replied. She did not waver.

Magic crackled on the tips of Sinister Student’s fingers, “Then, we’ll do this the hard way.” She waved her hand. Before Ms. Good Teacher had a chance to react, Sinister Student sent bolts of magic at her paralyzing Ms. Good Teacher. She collapsed onto the floor. “Finally,” cackled Sinister, “Party School will be no more. Sinister Student grabbed Ms. Good Teacher and dragged her back to the boat. She took her away to the land of No School, leaving the students terrified and distressed.

Maria Marker crawled out from the blankets, “What are we going to do? We have to get Ms. Good Teacher back.”

“I want Ms. Good Teacher back! I don’t want Party School to go away!” Cried Happy Hawkins. He sat down, pillow in his lap, with tears streaming down his face.

Maria Marker stood up, ripping the blanket from her, a look of determination crossed her face, “We have to save Ms. Good Teacher! Who’s with me?”

The students stepped back looking at each other ad shrugged. Party School had made them quite lazy, they didn’t want to do any more work then what was required. In fact, the land of No School sounded very enticing to them. Finally, a small, quiet boy stepped forward from behind the students. “I’ll help you rescue Ms. Good Teacher,” whispered Dom Decimal.

“We need magic to fight Sinister Student, without that, we will be powerless against her.” Maria Marker told Dom Decimal as they walked out of the palace and toward the boat shed.

“In one of the stories, before we came here, there was a nearby island. Cynthia the Great lives there. She has good magic that can help us,” Dom told Maria.

“Let’s go there first.” The two of them pushed a motorboat from the boat shed into the water and jumped in setting off toward Cynthia the Great’s island of magic.

Dom and Maria were parched, starving, and thinking they would probably never make it to the island after traveling for one whole day and night. “Land!” Croaked Maria.

A glowy, glittery outline appeared on the horizon. It could have been a mirage, but Dom confirmed it was the island of magic. All the dust in the air was Cynthia the Great’s magic dust. Maria Marker had been wondering if she would ever see water again when suddenly a pitcher of water appeared in her hand. She began gulping thirstily. At the same time a bucket of fried chicken appeared in Dom’s lap. He ate it ravenously.

Their boat hit the shore. They pulled it up into the sand. The air was dense with magic. This island was different from Party School; it was a dense forest, crawling with magical creatures. A plump, short pandicorn (half-panda, half-unicorn) approached Maria Marker and Dom Decimal on the beach. He spoke in a high pitched squeak, “Hi! You have come to see Cynthia the Great! I’m Pickle, I can lead you to her.” He jumped a little and skittles fell out of his tail.

Maria rubbed her ear and Dom looked a little frightened, but they stepped forward. “Lead the way,” said Dom. Pickle led them down a rainbow path into a sparkling forest of candy and music. Songs came from trees of licorice. The forest floor was made of gingerbread and sprinkles. Maria Marker and Dom Decimal were in awe; the rainbow path carried them through the magic forest a constant feeling of happiness spreading throughout their body.

After walking for fifteen minutes, they arrived at a glimmering house with a thousand fairies surrounding it. “This is the home of Cynthia the Great,” squealed Pickle. The door swung open and out stepped a young girl. She was wearing dazzling robes of turquoise down to her ankles. Her Cinnamon hair hung long, past her waist. She was breathtaking.

“Welcome, welcome,” she sang her voice like warm honey.

Coming of Age

Cass’ eyes opened sluggish, faltering in the glare of the morning sunlight casting rays across the bed. She turned her head toward the alarm clock, it read 6:15 a.m. Of course, fifteen minutes before the alarm was set to go off. She was always waking up too early, but this night in particular she could not sleep. She stretched her arms, extending them above her head. Then, moved to sit up and begin the morning ritual of preparing for school. What a depressing day, to spend her eighteenth birthday at school.

As Cass kicked her legs over the side of the bed to stand up, she could hear whispering of her parents. She hoped they weren’t trying to surprise her with some kind of morning party. Cass had wanted to spend her time looking perfect for school.

“We need to tell her.” My mother said her voice hushed and hurried.

“I don’t think Cass is ready for this kind of news. Let her enjoy her birthday first.” The voice of concern, my father.

“She will find out sooner than later, we should be the one to tell her, before she freaks out.”

She walked to the bedroom door and kicked aside her shoes. She opened it expecting to see her parents standing there. They were nowhere in sight.  “How had she heard their whispers,” she wondered.

“Mom!? Dad?!” Cass yelled.

“Morning sweetie, we’re downstairs.” Her mother’s voice echoed from the realm of the kitchen. Their voices had been no more than a whisper. How was she able to hear the details of the conversation?

Cass walked over to the clothes she had picked out the night before and hastily put them on. She looked down at her stomach as she  was dressing, some odd grey speckles dotted the surface. Those had not been there last night when she had showered. Cass ran into the bathroom, examining her face in the mirror. Everything looked normal. “The cold water should clear up whatever was happening in her head,” she thought as she washed her face.

She looked around the bathroom, the wall hangings were in place; her shower curtain with the fish on it that she’d had since third grade looked just as dingy as normal. It must have been a dream, the conversation.  “I just need to brush my hair and eat some breakfast,” she muttered under my breath. As Cass said this, her hair brush zoomed off the bathroom counter and into her hand. Her jaw dropped and she stumbled backward. “This cannot be normal,” she thought.

Cass put the hairbrush back on the counter. Grabbing a ponytail holder, she threw her chestnut hair up in a messy bun. Well, so much for looking cute on her birthday.

She trampled down the stairs and stared at her parents who had furrowed brows and broke apart from their conversation as she entered the kitchen.

“Cass! H..Happy Birthday.”

“Fine. What is going on?” She stared at her parents expectantly.

“What do you mean?” Her father tried to sound taken aback a forced look of surprise on his face.

“Watch,” said Cass. She thought really hard about the box of cereal in front of her, and it flew off the counter into her out stretched hand. “Now tell me, does this happen to all girls on their eighteenth birthday? Is it a new part of puberty I am not aware of?”

Her mother let out a sigh, “No. We need to explain something to you Cass. You should have a seat.”

“I am going to stand thank you. Just tell me.”

“Well,” her father came and put an arm around her, “You aren’t from Arizona. In fact you aren’t from Earth. You’re an alien.”