Sitting in a dark room, at the topmost floor of her large house in Bedford, Connecticut, Bella sat, staring out the window as the sky, visible only through gaps in the huge oak trees, went from a bright blue, to a pink, and finally fading to a inky navy.
Unwilling to go downstairs and endure the silence of her huge, empty house, she remained there, barely blinking, watching the stars twinkle and wink at her. She ran her fingers though her honey brown hair, holding onto a couple pieces and twirled it around fore and middle fingers. Then, something soft intertwined itself around her ankles. She looked down and saw her jet black cat, Shakespeare, with his tail up in the air, rubbing his back on Bella’s leg.
Bella patted her lap, and the cat leapt up on it. After making himself comfortable with his head rested against her lower stomach, Bella scratched behind the cat’s ears. As she listened to the cat purr, still absentmindedly scratching him, her thoughts wondered off, and she stared out the window.
She was snapped back to reality when there was a crash and with a hiss, the cat jumped off Bella’s legs and scampered off. Caught off guard, this noise really frightened her. She jumped up, and walked quickly to the door, and slowly opened it.
“Hello?” she called, as her own voice echo off the walls of the upstairs rooms.
Bella walked out of the room, and down the wide hallway, peering into each room she passed. Then, she heard something that made her heart skip a beat.
Someone was crying in the room two doors ahead. Debating with herself whether or not to go and look, the crying grew louder, more hysterical.
Then, in another heart stopping second, the crying stopped. White faced, and wide-eyed, leaning on the wall for support, Bella’s heart was racing a million beats a minute. Suddenly, in the distances, she heard her cell phone ring tone.
She turned around and raced down the marble staircase, to the 2nd floor, turned a sharp right, and flung the door open to her room. And on the huge circular bed, padded with black and purple sheets, her phone was singing.
“Hello?” Bella said in an exasperated voice.
“Hi, Honey.” Her mother’s voice sounded irritated, and a little upset. “Look, me and your dad won’t be home tonight. For some reason, all flights home from here are delayed.”
Bella felt a pang of fear in the pit of her stomach.
“H-how long t-till you get home?” As she said these words, scared and upset, she heard her mother exhale in an annoyed way.
“I don’t know. Alright? Whenever these idiots at this airport decided that it’s fine to fly in clear weather, okay?!” said the mother, half yelling, in a forceful, irritated tone.
Bella forgot about her fear for a second, and was immediately angry with her mother for being so short with her when it was her, Bella, that was stuck in this house for 4 days straight, in the silence, while her parents were on a “business trip” in France.
“Whatever, mom, call me when you’re on your way home from your ‘business trip,’” she added extra emphasis and angry tone to these two words, “with Dad, and decided not to neglect your only daughter and actually be a mom for once.” She concluded, and shut her phone with a loud snap.
She threw her phone hard across the room, where it hit a wall covered in magazine cuttings , and fell to the floor with a thud. Bella flung herself around, and landed on her bed gently, with her face in the pillows. She let out a long scream, but it was muffled in the fabric of the black, furry pillow. She threw her head fiercely from side to side.
Finally, after a couple minutes of this, and her anger was almost drained, she flipped herself over on her bed. Her eyes traveled around her ceiling, then down the wall where her cell phone had hit, then darted to the door, where she saw it.
Almost, but not completely, transparent and a dark grey, like morning mist, drifting slowly past the half-open door, the ghostly figure floated down the hallway, staring blankly ahead, though Bella could have sworn she saw the head turn and look at her, for a fraction of a second.
Half petrified, half mesmerized, Bella got up from the bed, and walked like a sleepwalker to the door, pushed it open the rest of the way, and turned to face the hallway in full just as the figure’s long dark grey hair disappear into the room at the very end of the hallway, the library.
She walked a little more quickly past more rooms, the bathroom, the 2nd guest bedroom, a closet, holding that which Bella hadn’t a clue. Finally, she reached the door to the library, which stood totally open, revealing the ceiling-to-floor book shelves that were packed to capacity with books that varied from Fictional tales of Giants and Magic, to Dictionaries, to The Biography of Helen Keller. She looked around at the tables, which were completely empty, except for one book that lay closed on a chair.
Whether it took her seconds, or centuries to reach that book, she didn’t know. She was focused on it, though her mind was soaring with questions and suspicions.
What book is it?
Should I touch it?
Did that… that thing leave it?
She was standing over it, looking down on it, scared. Then, she put her hand out, and brushed the tip of her figures against its blank, leather cover, that bore no title. When nothing happened, she picked it up. It was very heavy, so she set it down on the table. Sitting in the now bookless chair, she carefully flicked through the pages.
Blank… Completely blank…thought Bella.
What made her keep flicking through the pages, she didn’t know, but she continued. She’d looked through half of the book before she saw a page that had writing on it. Having only glanced at it, she accidentally passed it. Slowly, she turned back the pages until she found the single page that had writing.
Fear not, for you dwell in the house where I once lived a life worse than your’s.
I plead for you to understand that it is I who you heard sobbing in the upstairs room,
Having been mine, I spend many days in that rooms, doing just as you were today.
Starring out the window, wishing for something new, something different than today,
So, I am here to give you something different, a chance at what you want most dearly,
Leave now, pack and flee, and never look back, for you will find nothing but despair here.
Flee, and never look back.
And with that, the letter burst into cold flames, leaving Bella stunned, but not scared.
Flee and never look back, it said, never look back. And so she did, never looking back.