CHAPTER 1A Chapter by Elliott Zettel
I couldn’t remember the last time I had been in a vehicle. Inside, the nice leather seats looked brand new, and even had a new smell when I leaned down to sniff them. My memories flashed back to the first time we got into my dad’s brand new Jaguar, the scent had made my nose crinkle with excitement. My dad’s smile that day is something that I’ll never forget, and my mom next to him only made the picture in my mind even more perfect.
I guess I fell asleep after getting in the car because the next thing I knew I was being carried inside a house. My eyes were blurry and my head was a bit foggy but that didn’t hinder seeing that the house I came into was the biggest house I had ever seen. It looked like a palace. Only in my dreams had I ever thought I would even see such a mansion. I wriggled a bit in the arms that were carrying me and Mr. Couthe looked down.
“Oh so you’ve woken up? I’m sorry; I’m not very good at this Ms. Sara.” He apologized.
“No its fine…” I said sleepily rubbing my eyes. “Where am I?”
“You should sleep right now, and when you are fully awake tomorrow morning, Mrs. Couthe and myself will explain everything.” He paused. “How does that sound?” His tone was like the tone my dad had used with me, what now seemed like forever ago. It annoyed me a bit, but then it was also a comforting feeling. Then he set me down and led me into the arms of a woman. She brought me in close and then I felt tears roll down my cheeks. My mom’s arms? “Mrs. Couthe?” I inquired to reassure myself that the arms that held me weren’t my mother’s.
“No dear, I’m just a maid.” A sweet voice replied. “Come on now let’s get you in some comfy clothes and into bed. It’s been a long day for you.” She ushered me off into another part of the house and into a room. I don’t know what happened after that because I fell asleep again.
I awoke to birds chirping outside a window across from the bed I was in. The curtains weren’t drawn but it was bright inside the room. I sat up and rubbed my blurry eyes trying to clear them up. Where am I? This isn’t ". Oh that’s right I was adopted yesterday. I grinned remembering the nuns outrage that I had been the one that was chosen. Then I looked around the room. I slid out of the bed and the warm silk blankets into a cold room and immediately regretted leaving its warmth. I stepped out onto a soft carpet floor not like the hard concrete floor at the orphanage, and was pleasantly surprised to find some slippers there too. But my trust for the world and my extremely bizarre situation made me decide not to get too familiar or comfortable here. I didn’t know if this was a mistake and they would see me walk down to breakfast and realize that I wasn’t the right girl and that they needed to return me right away. So I left them there at the bed side and stepped over to the desk. There my luggage was placed. It sat quietly on the desk waiting to be opened. So I went over to the bulging bag curious at what the nunnery had actually put into it. I unzipped it and on top there was the doll. She was pretty. She was a rag doll no bigger than a foot long, with short brown yarn hair, green stitched eyes, and red stitched lips. I set her aside and took out the next items there were some clothes that looked itchy and uncomfortable, new socks, a couple undies, and two bras. I looked down. I probably wouldn’t need those for a while. There was hardly any fat on me. I put everything back into the case except the doll which I sat on top, and walked over to the window. Wow, is all I could think. I must have been taken upstairs last night. I was looking down on a beautiful land scape. In one area there was a flower garden, in another there was a gazebo, and next to it was a table and chairs seating seven. In another there were some topiaries which I couldn’t make out up here and there was also a bench in the middle. I looked further down the yard down the drive way and saw a car approaching. I swung behind the curtain so I wouldn’t be seen. Then behind me there was a knock. It scared me so bad, I felt like I was going to get in trouble again for snooping or something. The door, when I had first turned around looked like an ominous predator. I kept my eyes locked on it waiting…waiting. A few minutes later when no one entered, I gathered myself and went to open the door.
As I turned the handle my heart was beating so fast, I opened it only a bit and peeked out. There was no one there, but some clothes and a note were setting outside my door. I opened it further and stepped out to pick it up. I looked both ways down the hallway and when I saw no one I convinced myself I was not in trouble and went back in the room.
The note was short and it read:
Here are some clothes. There is a bath in your room; feel free to take a bath, if you need any help the phone in your room can be used to call Ms. Shelly (the maid). When you are done please come down for some breakfast.
I smiled. I ran over to a door in the room I hadn’t peeked in yet and found my bathroom. It was just as amazing as the view out my window. I looked at the bath tub and tried to figure out how to turn it on. I pushed on it, pulled on it twisted it, and still couldn’t figure it out. In the end I call Ms. Shelly.
“Hello?” the nice voice from last night drifted up through the telephone line.
“Hi. Um I cant ".” I started but was cut off.
“Sara?! Oh good morning child I’ll be right there.” Was all I heard and then not giving me a chance to say anything she hung up. Literally no more than 5 seconds later I was startled by another knock. I shook my head trying not to laugh. Ms. Shelly was going to be interesting, I could just tell. I went over and opened the door and there she was. I opened it further allowing her in the room.
The second she came in she started to talk.
“How did you sleep darling?” I was given no chance to answer as she started on the bed to make it pretty again. She has olive skin that was even darker than usual from working outside in the garden no doubt, and her brunet hair was up in a loose bun. She’s not super thin but she’s not heavy either; her face is soft and has a motherly look. Her shorter stature put her at my height about 4’9’’ish, I estimate. “You all rested up? Oh you must be starving!” she looked over her shoulder at me and clucked her tongue, “You haven’t even had your bath yet have you?” She finished the bed and was headed to the bathroom. “Oh, here you probably called me up to turn it on right? Here you go.” She turned on the faucet and talked while it filled, I only heard every other word, and then she said “Alrighty then, when you’re done the clothes are on the bed and breakfast will be waiting for you down stairs. See you soon sweetie.” She patted my head on the way out and gave me one of her big goofy grins, which made me smile. Then when I heard both doors shut I sank down to the floor. “I’ll probably never get used to that much talking.” I said aloud. Then I stood up and began to remove the night clothes. I was undressed now and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. At first I thought it was someone else and even peeked behind me to check, but only the wall starred back at me. I faced myself in the mirror again. I really did look like a trouble maker, which confused me even more as to why I was the one Mr. Couthe had taken home. Was it out of pity? The girl I looked at was not the same girl I had known only two years ago. The girl in the mirror was not very tall, and I never was to begin with, but she looked sickly thin and pale. She had a yellowing bruise on her cheek and some other little cuts and scrapes over the rest of her. I tried to smile to make the girl in the mirror a bit happier, but her smile was more of a grimace. Unsuccessful at making the girl in the mirror pretty, I finally gave up and stepped away from the girl in the mirror toward the bath. I stepped in, and the warmth enveloped my entire leg. It was hot at first because I was cold to begin with, but a few seconds later I had adjusted and was happily splashing in the first real bath I had had in a long time.
© 2012 Elliott Zettel