She woke up to the whispers in the dark again. As she sat up on the bed, she squinted her eyes desperately looking around; she felt disoriented and a little lightheaded. She was groggy, and her body felt heavy. She suddenly realized she was in the violet room again. That dreaded room!
The first few times she had been put in there, she screamed and clawed at the door until she fell to the floor exhausted. Nobody came, even though she was sure they heard her. Why was this happening to her? Is she really going crazy?
She shuffled groggily to the room’s private bathroom. Every room in the house had a bathroom; and each room had a different theme color. This one was violet with light tones of blue. Those colors should be calming, soothing, according to psychologists. She didn’t feel so calm in it. She washed her face with cold water and went back to bed.
As she lay down she could still hear the whispers in the still of the night. The darkness made her feel comfortable, safe. Safe because nobody could see her, nobody could point and stare in the dark. The voices faded in the darkness as she fell back asleep.
Voilet girl in a violet room. Well isn’t that something.
Violet was a happy little girl, she had grown into a strong and beautiful young lady. Everything had been fine, that is until she had her period. That day everything in her life changed, and her secrets became more evident.
Since her mom, remarried, things had changed a lot. Violet's mom, Hyacinth, was raised in a very strict family. She was raised to be a good wife, a loving mother; and she was very good at it. Since she married Matt she had changed a lot. Even though Violet had a difficulty getting along with her mom; she always admired her perseverance and strength. This marriage had been taking more of her time; Violet felt so distanced from her now.
Mom seemed to spend more time with Lilac as time went by; and Violet could see how similar they were. As much as Lilac was usually a pest, she was very sweet and very much like mom. She was also physically more like mom; Lilac had her same green eyes and honey colored hair. In contrast, Violet had black hair and gray eyes. People would sometimes say she had violet colored eyes. Lilac was petite like mom, and Violet felt that even though there was only a 3 year difference between them; she was so much taller, that she felt awkward around them. Violet almost felt as if she wasn't even part of the family anymore.
When Mom married Matt , they moved into this house, and ran it as a bed and breakfast on one side. On the other side of the house, and upstairs, was Matthew’s office. He never discussed much of what he did in there. Mom decided that, as long as he was making money and supporting the family, he would have his privacy in his office. All that was known of it, is that he was working with real estate and investments. Clients came to see him every day, men in suits mostly; a few looked shady, but most of them seemed decent people. Sometimes couples would come to see him.
Matthew had a secretary posted at the bottom of the stairs to the most upper office. She was like his guard dog, the gatekeeper. With her miniskirts, long legs and back hair down to her waist, she could stop anyone in their tracks.
Violet’s mom, Hyacinth, kept herself and the girls on the bed and breakfast side of the house.
As it happens often with children of broken families, parents try to compensate for what the child might lack. Violet had everything she could want and more. Her mom just bought her a car for her sweet sixteen, a black Mustang, just like she always wanted. As soon as she drove it off the lot, she felt free. Finally Violet was free to go anywhere she wanted without having to ask anyone for a ride. This car, it felt like this was a space that was only hers. She would have to invite anyone coming into it. It was the first time she felt she owned a little bit of space for herself. In this space, she could get away from her sister Lilac. Lilac was only three years younger; but in the life of a sixteen year old, three years represent an unsurpassable abyss. Violet saw her sister as a pest that followed her around, and asked too many questions. She also saw Lilac as momma’s little girl. She got away with things that Violet had been scolded for when she was that age.
The only thing she could never escape were the elusive souls that surrounded her. She became comfortable with them, because she had heard them since she was around five years old. She had told her mom and dad, but it didn’t go well. At first they dismissed it as a child’s imagination. Later on, when Hyacinth remarried, Matt did not take well to the situation.
Matt was a very loving husband to Hyacinth; but he was short on patience with Violet. It seemed that he had more patience with Lilac, since Lilac didn't question him, or contradict him. He was a good businessman, a loving husband, but a stern father figure. He was tall stocky and had salt and pepper hair. He had steel gray eyes, just like Violet's, and a stare that could either make you blush, or make your blood turn cold. He was very intense, always assertive and very passionate. Matt was always well groomed, and very concerned with appearances. As the head of the household, he insisted that his family was picture perfect at all times when in public.
The first serious incident
Violet was a young child of about ten years old, when she had her first serious incident. It was late at night and everyone was in bed asleep. Violet woke up with a start, when she heard her bedroom door slam. She usually left it open at night, but somehow it had slammed closed. She screamed as she pulled the blankets to her chin. Her screams were loud, glass shattering screams. Matt and mom came running from their bedroom at the end of the hallway and to the left. As they reached for the door, there was a loud explosion. The screams stopped suddenly, and when they finally opened the door, Violet was shaking violently under the blankets. Matt stood in the doorway and demanded to know why she had screamed like that, waking everyone up. Mom hid behind him, afraid to look. Then Matt realized there was water coming from the bathroom, leaking onto the carpet. He became enraged when he discovered that what was left of the shattered toilet tank, was scattered all over the floor in small bits. Violet cried out from her bed, “It was them, the unseen! I told you they were here!”
Matt sent mom to get a mop, and then walked towards Violet and grabbed her by the arm, yanking her out of bed and leading her down the hallway to the opposite end of the other rooms, to the room at the end of the hallway; the Violet room. This was the one room everyone dreaded. They had guests request a change of room almost any time that room was assigned. They claimed they couldn’t sleep, and were plain scared of it; so it remained empty. Matt shoved Violet in there, shut the door and locked it. Violet slammed against the door, then she screamed and pleaded to be let out. Lilac was still in her room. Lilac’s bedroom was between the parent’s master bedroom, and Violet’s. Her room was the yellow room; Violet’s room was the pink room. When Matt turned around, mom was busy cleaning the water spill. Lilac hid behind her door, and peered from within the darkness of her room, too terrified to say anything at all. She had to endure the screams and sobs coming from the violet room for what seemed hours. In the meantime Matt was doing some yelling of his own in the master bedroom. He was telling mom she was coddling Violet, and she should not entertain Violet’s delusions. “That child needs to be on medication, if that doesn’t work, maybe she should be committed to an insane asylum”. Mom tried to say she would outgrow this, and it’s just a harmless phase. He screamed, “you call that a harmless phase? We have to replace the toilet!” Lilac finally snuggled under her pillow and tried to sleep holding her teddy bear.
When Violet finally fell to the floor exhausted and fell asleep, she was woken up by the sound of soft footsteps. She propped herself up, suddenly realizing she was in that room, on the floor, instead of her bed. Her eyes searched the darkness desperately, trying to find out who was there, but she could see nothing. She heard whispers around her. It seemed people were surrounding her, but nobody was there. Then she heard it, “Get up”. She covered her head with her hands and then heard it again, “Violet, get up!” The voice sounded firm, but not angry or frightening; she took a deep breath and got up. She climbed into bed and pulled the covers up. She was always afraid of the unseen, but this time, she was too tired to be frightened.
As she lay down, she felt someone sit on the edge of the bed. She didn’t want to look, so she pretended to be asleep, but she could hear them, “It’s going to be all right”. She finally drifted off to sleep.
After this, she was not as afraid of the dead as much as she was of the living. Unfortunately, Matt seemed to be intent on sending Violet away with any excuse. In this case, it could mean being locked up in some hospital, with the "white coats".
Violet felt a little betrayed, because neither Lilac nor Hyacinth helped her when Matt shoved her in that room. Yes Lilac was a child, but she could have at least tried to say something. So Violet found solace in a neighbor who lived next door.
Evan had just moved in last year. He was a sweet boy, and only three months younger than Violet. He was a little taller than Violet, with scruffy dark hair, big brown eyes and freckles. Violet and Evan would often ride their bikes to a little hill at the edge of the housing area. They could climb it and sit down to watch the city down below, and sometimes the sunset. She told Evan everything; he was the one who listened, the one who held her when she cried. He was always there for her, and they were closer friends now, after that incident. The day after she was let out of the room, she grabbed her bike and went to the little hill and waited. Evan showed up, “I figured you would be here”. She told him what happened, she lay on his lap as he soothed her hair. He wanted so badly to ease her pain. She told him, he was the only one that has accepted her as she is. The one who didn’t tell her she was crazy, who didn’t insist on changing her. He just held her when she needed it.
Now as she turned sixteen, Evan has had several girlfriends, but he still spent time on the little hill with Violet. They talked about their lives, and their secrets. They trusted each other more than they trusted other people. It seemed to them that they must have been related in some past life.
Evan was a sweet boy, raised in a good home. He had four brothers and an older sister. He had been in Catholic schools all along, until he moved here with his family. He was now going to public school; he was one grade below Violet. They usually kept to themselves at school, and each had different friends. Violet was doing well in school, until she met Sasha.
Sasha was a young adult, who was supposed to be going to college, but she decided she wanted freedom instead. She left home and moved out to California. South Texas was just not her cup of tea. She had dreams of becoming a star, someone famous and fabulous. So when she finished high school, she got a summer job. She saved her money and bought herself an old Volkswagen Rabbit, and packed what she could in it and took off to follow her dreams against her family’s advice.
She figured her tall slender figure, striking facial features, lots of makeup, and beautiful black hair would find her fame and fortune. When she arrived in California, she found out things were quite a bit more expensive. She started going through modeling agencies, which promised her the moon and stars. And at the end of it all, they all wanted money, lots of it. They said she had to pay for a professional portfolio, and only then she could see if they could help her. She got tired of looking and burnt out. Her money was running low and she needed income fast.
She ended up going to San Diego, where a friend had offered to help her. She crashed on the couch while she went through all the want ads. She found an ad that looked promising. “Receptionist wanted immediately, must be bilingual”, that is all it said. So she called and obtained an interview right away. When she showed up, Matt was busy with a client, but after the client left, it was her turn. She walked into his office, a bit shaky and hoping her desperation didn’t show through. Matt seemed so absorbed in something he was doing on the computer, he barely acknowledged her. He asked her if she spoke Spanish, she said yes. He played a video on the computer for her, it was a movie trailer for a movie in Spanish, “El Orfanato”. When it was over, he asked her what was said. She started explaining when he cut her off. “When can you start work?” She answered “Immediately!” He gave her a yellow pad and an old rolodex. He asked her to go down the stairs, at the bottom of the stairs there is a small antique looking desk; it would be her desk.
He explained that he was too busy to answer the phones. She would start by answering the phone, and screening the calls. If anyone comes for an appointment, she shall check with him first. Nobody is allowed to come to his office if not announced by her first. She would be the only person that could knock once and then come in; nobody else. All the information on the rolodex, it shall be transferred to his cell phone, which he handed to her. He explained that he is terrible with new technology, so she would figure out the phone for him.
Sasha felt relieved that she now had a job, but also terrified. With such little information on what to do, and no guidance, she could make some mistakes along the way. She called her friend Amy and explained that she will be late coming back, and that she had a job now.
It seems like just yesterday that she started working for Matt, but it has been a few months now. Sasha has grown and become much more than a receptionist. She is now Matt’s right hand, an indispensable part of his business. He counted on her for everything, even some personal issues. She was now proud of herself and how she has come a long way. She has her own apartment now and her rabbit was now history. She now had a Ford fusion; a big leap ahead for her. She rarely drove it, because she drove Matt’s Mercedes for him, to take him and clients out for dinners, lunches, and drinks. Occasionally they would end up at a golf course, where she sipped sodas and flirted with men while she waited for Matt and his clients. This amused her, the attention she commanded for some reason. She started being more assertive, and seemed like such a different person. Not the girl who left South Texas, but a lady who had made a life for herself. Hard work, and long hours afforded her what she wanted. The only thing she missed was family and friends, for whom she had no time left for.
One Saturday, Matt asked her to please come to the office. He would pay her overtime, but he needed help. She showed up, and Matt asked her to please come over to the other side of the house. They sat downstairs in the living room, which looked up to the skylight and where you could see the upstairs hallway wrapping around. Matt explained to her that he had to go with Hyacinth to the hospital, her father was ill, and they need to go see him. But there were guests in two of the rooms, and the girls were there to help, but they can’t be alone. So he would pay her overtime if she just stayed the day, and just made sure things didn’t get out of hand. She was about to object, when he handed her a credit card, and told her to order lunch and dinner. She could pick whatever she wanted for her and the girls. She smiled and agreed to stay.
Who knew that this would make such a difference in Violet’s life? That day they played in the pool out back, and then watched movies and ordered pizza. The girls had a blast, and Sasha felt good around them. She never knew she would be good with young ones. Lilac fell asleep on the couch as the sun was going down. Sasha and Violet had a good talk, they seemed to get along well. Violet was caught off guard by the fact that someone was interested in what was going on with her. Mom never did want to talk about serious matters, and Lilac was too young. After this, Violet and Sasha would go out after Sasha was off work. They would go to the coffee shop nearby, and talk.
One evening, Sasha invited Violet to come with her and Amy. Amy was doing some research for a newspaper article she was writing. She had to go to a club where she was to interview some of the members and get an idea of what was going on in there. She didn’t want to go alone. Sasha picked up Violet around nine pm and they went to pick up Amy. Violet told mom they were going to the movies as she left. When Amy got in the car, she told Sasha that the club was eighteen and over. So she handed Violet an ID. The girl in the picture didn’t look much like Violet, but maybe it would do. Sasha gave Amy a harsh look, “you didn’t tell me that before, if anything happens to her..”. Amy said “Nothing will happen, it will be fine, I promise”.