I felt the breeze whiz past me, winding into my hair and leaving it flying through the sides like a banner butI couldn't care less. There was an echo of crunching leaves on the mossy and humid floor of the forest which reverberated through the forest air sending chills down my spine. As the crunching of leaves became louder, myheart beat up to a tattoo realizing that I could never outrun the rustling sound chasing behind my heels as the pain shot up through my body and my legs came crashing down to the earth below. I was beginning to get breathless but my brain screamed at me for halting. ThenI finally realized thatI was running ,butI could run no longer because my legs were giving out and my lungs burned for air.
I came to a stop and fell straight on my bruised knees making it all the more difficult to get up and decided to surrender to fate.There was asudden threatening silence that seemed tolull the whole forest quiet ,the crunching of leaves behind mehad faded away too and I was about to take a sigh of relief..
Just then an arm snaked through my waist and took me off to the undergrowth at a distance. My lungs were too busyfilling themselves with much needed air than help me scream...I remained quiet and then the seductive voice boomed at me , " Not far to go lady, you don't need to tire your pretty legs anymore. You cannot escape this as easily as you think 'Pulchra' "
My heart started pounding frantically in my rib cage andI could not make my lungs draw in enough air again. This is it. This is the end I have always feared . I won't be surviving this time .I turned my head and looked up from my lashes to see a pair of ice- blue eyes staring at me menacingly and then there was...
Fire! ,fire all over!
I could see the fire ,spreading and engulfing everything around me ,dancing up like a graceful temptress, first giving warmth, then all of a sudden charring and burning the one coming to touch it. But then I realized that I felt so cold despite the raging firethat I couldn't even feel a speck of itswarmth .It was so weird to see somany of those blinding flames reach up to your body causing nothing but tingles.
Then all of a sudden , it all seized, almost as fast as it had started and there I found myself staring at the same forest trees as before, so lush green that I think the fire was all my imagination. Everything feels normal except a faint burning stench. I look down at the ground, only to see the charred body lying with a silver knife in its chest, with those same ice blue eyes staring into nothingness, lifeless and blank. Oh my! No! What just happened?It is so disturbing and horrific a sight that I have to keep myself from looking at it again .I stand fixed to the ground in shock .After finally realising it, all my built up horror and confusion channel themselves into a gut-wrenching scream which resonates through the whole forest and a flock of birds frantically fly helter-skelter in panic.
I cannot bring myself to look at that utterly horrifying sight before me .Tears stream down my cheeks and I feel a strange tingle in my chest. It hurts to think about the dead body, or should I say, the person who died? Something in me unconsciously pulls me to put my fingers on those openlids and momentarily close them , trailing the fingers along the strong jawline , to the familiar muscular chest and at last, the wooden knife handle .I withdraw my hands asI see the blood stains on my palms .I stare at my bloody fingers in horror as realization of what I have done, dawns on me.
It is too much to take in and I scream like there is no tomorrow ,till my throat refuses to produce anything more than a whimper and fresh hottears pool up in my eyes ,making my vision hazy and tiny drops roll down my flustered cheeks as I close my lids tightly ,making them wrinkle in the corners.Guilt drives deep through me. It still feels like I am a monster, a dreaded cold hearted beast.
My eyes flutter open as I frantically sit up on my bed, breathless,with my chest heaving wildly. I rest my heavily pounding head on the headboard with my bed sheets sticking to my sweaty skin and I look around the room to realize I had been having the nightmare again.
Every night I see the same nightmare with those meaningless turn of events but each time it feels so clear; soreal when I wake up and not to forget my heart, which has forgotten its actual rate of beating; it has become way too much inspired by Usain Bolt as it is almost beating out the walls of my rib cage.The dreams are so stupid and never make any sense to me, yet they never fail to scare the hell out of me and lately I am afraid to even fall asleep because of this nuisance.
"God! Someone make this bitch shut the hell up! I would make you choke on your own slaughtered tongue if you scream one more time! Open the bloody door you witch! What is the problem with you? You think you can get away with that little plan of yours to make me lose my sleep?! " I am startled by the banging on the door and the edges of the door start popping ,but I know better than opening itbecause once I do , all hell would break loose. I can almost imagine my aunt Laura with her bitch-mouthed daughter Isabelle shouting on top of their lungs.
"I said OPEN THE DAMN DOOR YOU SLUT!!" and with that, the banging grows louder and the door starts popping even more, I fear that it may break and if it does, thenI am in for a bigger trouble.
Iconsider opening the door for once, but then Isabelle or her mother might be drunk and won't even realize that they were hitting me untilnext morning when they wouldn't care any less and be their usual mean self .So here goes that weird, pathetic life of mine-
My name is Veronica Leah Fandora and I am seventeen years old. When I was three, my parents either disappeared or died or got killed ,I don't really know. But I am quite curious and would like to find out about their death some day for sure . Right now the thing I miss most in my life is not my parents but their immensely comforting love, which I craveso much that I would lay my life on the line just to get somebody to love me genuinely . But what reminds me of their unfeltlove is actually the lack of it in my present...not that I even remember how it feels like to be loved. Because basically,I dont remember them, my parents.
After my parents vanished, they left some considerable amount behind, given that my dad was a wealthy architect with his own architectural empire. But at the same time, he alsounintentionally left the responsibility of my upbringing to my aunt who is my only blood relative left in here, on this hell called the world .She usurped my dad's empire and due to obvious lack of business acumen, led the company to such bankruptcy, that I don't have a single penny left to get myself to the university.
My uncle Matt is a heavy alcoholic and is the last person in the family I would like to stay with, not because he is too mean, but because he is too good to me for my own comfort. He would rather have me on his bed than on the adoption papers.And last but not the least, my cousin Isabelle, who sees me nothing but a little piece of meat to nibble on. There are hardly any nights when she doesn't come home drunk and absolutely no nights when she doesn't blame me for her breakups, hurling choicest abuses and yeah , choicest bruises too.. Sometimes I wish I would rather be in a foster home than this one .The only reason I am still here is because of my ten year old cousin brother, Jamie who is the only one in this house with whom I can talk anytime and never care about my secrets getting spilled because well, he is mute.
Next morning , I wake up early because yeah, I didn't sleep at all. I look at myself in the bathroom mirror and expect the same tired and haggard morning face with tangled hair. However,I am quite surprised to see a huge change in my face. I look ...well...pretty .My skin has become smooth and almost flawless like silk...my eyes have turned more golden honey coloured than they were and it looks like I have grown my lashes too.
While showering, I feel an extra swell in my chest, to my utter surprise ,I have grown some quite busty boobs , shapely curves! Wait! What's happening? I had a defined chest but not such visible breasts and..curves? No way! I was a total flat lined lateral! I rub my eyes till they start hurting and try to splash as much water on my face asI can .I take a deep breath and stare at the mirror , thinking that my mind has gone sick crazy after those nightmares , I really have gone crazy! how can I change so much in just a night??
As soon asI am coming out of the shower, I hear the sing-songvoice of Miranda, the only person on this planet who cares genuinely for me "Hola! HAPPY EIGHTEENTH BIRTHDAY TO MY BABY GIRL!! Now the birthday girl's gonna...God!! You are such a spoilsport! I was planning on surprising you, but you just have to come out of the shower just in time toruin it for me right?! Girl I am telling you one da...OH MY! OH MY GODDD!
Ver, you look.....you look....so different!....I mean, you look so ....pretty!!""
Miranda stares at me with her jaws so wide that I can almost shove in my books into them, not that I was thinking of it though.
Then, all of a sudden she starts screaming at me,
“What have you done to my best friend? And yeah, dare you say that you are Ver ? I might kick you right in the gut! Look, I have some great fists and my punches can really make you see stars .Now don’t look at me like that! I know you are impressed by my fighting skills, but listen, miss whichever-planet-you-belong-to, I need my bestie back! So before I call the police and your mother, wait, kidnappers have mothers?..Um...never heard of it, anyways, so where was I? Yeah, I was talking about your little stunt and listen up kid, you might be taller than me but you can’t smirk at me like that. Wait, you even smirk like Ver??"
Now it was my turn to drop my jaw to the floor and make my eyebrows touch the ceiling. There was silence for a minute and then the room echoes with my laughter. I laugh uncontrollably at my best friend's banter .Firstly, she has fighting skills of a pumpkin and secondly, she is always so damn obsessed with her short height that it would make a guest appearance in almost every sentence of hers
"What makes you think that I am someone else? Mir, look even I am confused about this sudden change but I definitely don't look like some extra-terrestrial kidnapper!" and burst into giggles again.
Miranda narrows her eyes at me." Ok, I would buy that only if you answer three questions of mine" I think the crime sagas are actually getting into her head for all bad reasons.
“What is Ver's favourite colour"....well, or not
"What is our secret hangout called?"
"HoneyCreamMarshmallowPopsicle" .Yeah, that was her idea of the best code name..What can I say?
"What do I call Ver?"
"Mm...Tough question, uh.....Ver??" I couldn't stifle my laugh any longer after this one. The room fills with my loud laughs once again.
"Ok, then I guess you really 'are' Ver" she says it with so much dejection because it put an end to her mini detective spree- something more suitable for Comedy Central rather than BBC, I might add.
When I was finally able to halt my laughter, I ask “What made you ask the last question Mir?" Realizing her goof up, she starts laughing with me too. Yup, she is slow and quite oblivious to her stupidity which I find so damn adorable.
Then we finally sit on my bed after our little laughter class, thanks to Mir. "I can’t help but feel curious about your change. I mean it isn't that obvious, because you still look mostly the same, but yet, on looking up close you look quite different...and I mean... beautiful .You should be sleeping quite well to look so good in the morning!" If only she knew what happens to me at night. I let out a sigh.
I think she noticed the drop in my mood because she asks “So your nightmares are still there." as I was about to open my mouth to clear it up, she shouts, "Don't you dare fucking lie to me Ver! I told you to visit the doctor but you never listen to me! Do hell with your money-problems excuse, I am taking you to the doctor myself! Well after we have a little celebration for your birthday. “With that last sentence, her mood was back to normal.
I would have refuted her plan but I want her mood to last a little longer as she is constantly busy worrying about me and my pathetic life in here. She needs to let go sometimes, so this celebration would give her that much needed boost.
10 minutes later
"Look, you should really wear that one, I am sure Yolanda would no longer be able to keep Casper away from you. I mean just look at you, so hot!' I am in a great dilemma as my chest looks a little plum in all my old clothes .They are no longer efficient in keeping me invisible at school." I am quite sure Casper will trail behind you like a lost puppy, in that top! God! I am so freaking excited to see Yolanda's face today .Let me tell you something, even her fake boobs stand no chance against yours." she starts laughing as I throw my pillow squarely on her face at that.
Casper is our school's eye candy who is in a classic bad-boy-shags-queen-bitch-with-huge-boobs relationship with our school's meanie- Yolanda. Casper has grey eyes, dark blonde hair and a beauty pageant smile which makes the girls go weak in their knees. I have a very slight crush on him, but it’s not something major as I am invisible in my school and hold no sympathy for guys who date women just for their bodies.
Finally my clothing woes end with a fluffy, oversized grey sweater which covers most of my chest efficiently and a maroon scarf with black faded jeans, but there is still an obstacle and that is- a shouting Mir.
" Are you kidding me? You are not wearing that on your birthday! That is for sure. Girl, what was wrong with the previous ones? You looked so hot in them! Please don't tell me that you are wearing THIS… on your BIRTHDAY of all days" But she knows better than arguing with me on petty things like these as I am too stubborn for her ways, so she leaves the argument.
We head downstairs for breakfast and because of my sheer luck, or the lack of it, I find Uncle Matt sipping on his coffee and reading the newspaper. I try to mumble the most inaudible 'good morning' in hopes that he won’t notice me, but as luck would have it, he looks up and stares right into me, ogling at my body and eyes lingering on it a little bit more than my level of comfort.
You would think that I have grown accustomed to it in the last five years, but its wrong. He scares the hell out of me every time I see him and that's the reason I stay locked up in my room most of the day. Miranda knows about this and tries to be around my house for that reason as she stays just two blocks away. She has tried to persuade me to live with her, but I know better than leaving Jamie alone in this hell house.
Uncle Matt used to get furious if I ever called him 'uncle'. I was quite young back then and took this as a friendly gesture, well, until one day. I remember that day as clear as yesterday-
I was fifteen years old back then and it was a warm night. I could not sleep due to the sticky heat, so I decided to keep the door of my bedroom open. Big mistake. I was rolling on my bed, irritated with my sleeplessness, when I heard the tell-tale squeak of the door , I started panicking when I saw Matt closing the door behind him and tiptoeing towards my bed.
As I planned to scream, he put his large palm on my mouth and stifled the scream into a moan…This sound gave him the wrong idea and when I opened my eyes, I was startled by the proximity of his face.
"Try to be a little cooperative sweetie...I know it will pinch a little but as long as you are quiet, I will see what I can do.."
His breath fanned my forehead and it reeked of alcohol...My heart was pounding with fear...This cannot happen. Matt cannot go to this extent.. I scream again but to no avail. His weight on my petite frame almost squeezed the life out of my lungs. There was a building anger along with the fear in my heart...I closed my eyes tightly as the pair of hands roamed my body and humiliation and anger started to pent up inside ...when the hands started discarding my clothes, tears rolled down my cheeks and I screamed, pleaded and struggled against him when my anger took over all my senses.
Right from the beginning, life had been the most unfair to me in all ways. First it took my parents, then my wealth, then my happiness, my pride, my share of love and care and now...the only thing left with me- my dignity! ..no! I wont allow life to do it again .I won’t be played with...and while the fire of my anger still burned strong in me, I heard a loud scream, at first , I thought it was me, but before my watery eyes laid the charred fingers of Matt, which looked like they had been fried. Matt cried and wobbled in pain, in the mean time, throwing curses and closing the door behind him while quickly scurrying away to his room... after which he never took such drastic advances towards me.
Don't ask me what I did that night to save myself; I would probably stare at your face and blink for eternity or mumble something incoherent, because I myself don't know the answer to that yet.
As it is, I had to make the breakfast for the family. Nobody here would care to even light up the oven for me but Jamie helps me out by bringing the ingredients from the cupboards to the table top…Yeah, not much , but way better than pecking at it and finding as many faults as humanely possible ; something typically characteristic to the rest of the Blackwell household.
I hastily finish my breakfast, keep my aunt's and Isabelle's plates on the table and make a sprint for Miranda's car with Mir tightly clutching my arm. We hop in the seats and speed away to school, with Mir looking at me like I am some prophet fallen from heaven" Its only you who can endure those monsters and still be in one piece, Ver "
With a lot of speeding and breaking of traffic signals, topped with my sudden frantic screams when she took sharp turns, we finally reach school.
"You really need to brush up your driving skills before you die, that is ,in case you don't want to die because of your driving skills" You must never get in a car with Miranda driving...like never.
"Ok, ok, fine ,I get it. Now save some of your precious sarcasm for Mrs. Millers today. Surely, she is the only one who appreciates your sarcasm in this world, and even gives you A's for those, not me for sure." When we entered the corridor, it was bustling with activity as usual, with Yolanda and her 'ass shadows' behind her. [a word coined by none other than the great Miranda Hart]
"Look, I just saw Jay around in here, I would need to go and say a quick hello, you know I need to stay in his good books if some fine day, he decides to dump that Georgia, I should be a first choice to ask for prom.", thus, she scurries away to a corner, flicking her ponytail dramatically. She has been crushing clueless on this boy called Jason, who unfortunately has a girlfriend, called Georgia .
Mir is still so optimistic even after a year of failed persuasion. I just don't see the reason behind stupidly following someone when the person straight forwardly refuses to acknowledge you...never mind, such behaviour out of Mir is completely expected, she has been worse in the past.
As of me, I don't have time for stuff like these, because I need to work my night shift to save up for college. If I reek up a valedictorian, I can expect to land a plum scholarship. But still, it wouldn't be able to cover the hostel expenses and I plan to leave this house at all costs, with Matt's growing advances, Isabelle's continuous bitchy ways and aunt's constant beatings, there is only so much I can take at a time ,and along with my daily school lessons and night shift at Stacy's, I am no longer able to keep up with rest and my nightmares aren't helping either, speaking of which, I am still confused with my sudden beauty-unleashing miracle.
I am trying to remember if I had used any cosmetic cream or something like that which might become the elixir of life for the female-kind if this is the result it brings, but I cannot really remember any such purchase because I usually don't waste my money on stuff like these.
My thoughts are interrupted by a hard object hitting me squarely on my back, landing on one of my fresh bruises in the lower back, making me wince in pain. I pick up the ball of paper which is wrapped in a pebble. Perplexed, I look up to see Casper smirking at me. After staring for a while he eventually he walks away whistling, turning to flash me a megawatt smile and sprints to his class......jerk!.... but I would be lying if I said that smile didn't affect me....it did...slightly...
I stared at the paper in my hand in disbelief.
"Day after tomorrow, I have my brother's birthday party and would really like you to be in attendance. 10 pm sharp. Dont be late....and yeah , you look beautiful when you smile, try to do it more often. ;)"