A mysterious letter ... a way out.

A mysterious letter ... a way out.

A Chapter by Rosalie Santerino

Chapter Two


Dear Diary,

Today had not been a good day. In fact there was nothing worse than the thought of coming home to my step-mother. She wonders why most days I am home late but I would have thought it was obvious. I can find a whole host of things I would rather be doing. But then since wondering aimlessly is preferable it is not hard to find something. By the time I did get home from doing what I had been doing �" and it was not aimless �" Rosetta was not happy and she was not going to let me off easy.

"Are you home Rose?" Rosetta called out from the kitchen as she heard the door go. I was later home than usual as I had worked overtime at the salon. Well I had technically not been working but I had done something. She bustled out into the hallway wiping her floury hands on her tiny frilly apron as she did so. She had spent all morning trying to bake cookies as she did every morning. But her baking skills were not that good. I think it did not help that she was trying to bake in six inch heels and a tiny frilly apron that looked like it would fit my dog better.

"If I say no does that mean we do not have to have this conversation" I reluctantly replied as I was tired and not up for long conversations. I had literally just got home from work and she was already ambushing me with her heavily accented voice that I knew was as faked as her tan. She did not talk like that when my Father was around. I do not know why she does it. Maybe she thought it would be nice because my mother had a beautiful accent and I don’t. But my mother’s was Italian not some bad version of American.

"Do not take that tone with me. The world is getting more dangerous; any day now you could not come home! Anyway we have to talk Rose, one Rose to another" Rosetta informed me carefully in her soft tone which I knew meant she was warning me she did not want to lose her temper. She tried to touch my arm in a somewhat comforting gesture but I was having none of that. She claims the pregnancy hormones make me grumpy, it is true at seven months gone I am slightly moody, but I hated her long before I got pregnant. She pretends she does not care and just cheerfully asks “let’s go sit in the lounge?”

"I am not a Rose, I am a Rosa, if you do insist on shortening my name."

It drives me crazy when she calls me that. Partially because I do not want my name associated with my step-mother but it is more than that. My Dad insisted I have an American name, as he is American, but my mother wanted me to have an Italian name so I could remember my heritage. I do look American rather than Italian. But my mother had the last laugh. Rosalie is in fact French, not American, which my father did not realize and on top of that it can be shortened to Rosa which is Italian. Therefore she won in both terms. Though my name would not sound beautiful in Rosetta’s broad accent, as it did in soft Italian, therefore I really should not be encouraging her to use it. Maybe if I let her call me Rose I can just not respond to it when we are in public.

“If we must talk let’s get this over with ... I have had a long day at work!”

"You are going to have to learn to love me Rosa!"

I do not even know what she means by that because there is no reason why I ever had to love her. I could maybe learn to stand her but I thought I had done that much already. She followed me into the lounge and watched as I lowered myself onto the soft before sitting beside me, as close as possible till I complained. She seemed unsure of how to begin and biting down on her lower lip �" ruining her lipstick I might add, if you can ruin trashy hooker or whatever that brand is, she thought for a moment before cautiously saying “we had a phone call from the police today Rose ...”

“Don’t call me that” I know I should not snap but I could not help it. I also know what she is trying to say but I am not going to make things easy for her. I should be having this conversation with my Father definitely not with someone trying to pretend to be my mum. I would just end up getting angry or crying and therefore ruining my make-up which would just make me cry more because that would mean I was showing some form of weakness into the bargain. That would be what my nightmares are made of.  So to keep that from happening I am just staying calm and insisting she does not use the name that will be the first step to making me angry.

 “Look I did not want to share this with your Father, as I thought it must be a mistake” Rosetta began as she tried to show me that she thinks she is doing what is best for me. She does not understand that I want my Father to know because that is why I did what I did. She also does not understand that I am sixteen. I am having my own baby and that makes me an adult. I do not need a friend, not that she could ever be that, but I do not need a new mother either. I especially do not need that person to be her. “But the policemen seemed pretty certain ...”

“They are not mistaken” I interrupted with a shrug as I refused to look at her but instead stared, almost blankly I will admit, into the flickering flames of the fire which burned happy in our overly ornate and rather gaudy grate. I decorated the rest of the house but Rosetta ‘glamorized’ �" as she put it �" the lounge and therefore the fire burns all year around as part of the decoration. Apparently flames match animal print and tacky gold which is the theme for the whole room. “it is all true” I added because I knew she would pretend to misunderstand.

 “You do not even know what they said ... wait it is true?” Rosetta replied as her features paled and her mouth dropped open. She was completely lost for words. Shaking her head she tried but her mouth just closed again and nothing came out. After a long pause she finally managed to get out “do you have any idea what you have done?”

“How else was I going to get heard” I simply replied still not looking away from the fire and steadfastly refusing to give Rosetta anything more. I knew even then what I had done. I was well aware of the consequences too. But I had spent far too long being ignored. Now they would finally have to hear me. I would take whatever punishment was dished out for the sake of that. I had not hurt anyone directly. I had made sure of that.

“Anyway but this” Rosetta softly replied shaking her head and quietly she rose and left the room. I was surprised that she gave up so easily. But at the same time I was pleased. It worked out for the best because less than an hour later I went into labour. I was worried that I would be having the baby with the help of acrylic nail queen but thankfully I got into hospital just in time. Rosetta visited but my Father did not.

Yours sincerely,


Seven months later

Dear Diary,

I cannot believe how much time has passed. I have not even got a trial date yet but I know it is hanging over me as I wonder around the house on bail. But I have been distracted nicely by baby Anthony who is seven months already. He is the cutest baby in the world �" but then I am meant to think like as I am his mother. But the next part of my story actually begins on the day Theo turned seven months though it is not exactly about him. I got two letters in the post and one was my trial date. But the other was the important one. I am getting ahead of myself �" let us go back to the point where it all happened.

“Well Theo, my little teddy bear, mummy wants some dinner” I informed my son as he lay in his travel cot. I use it as a place for him to sit in when I need him in one place where I can keep an eye on him. He is playing with his feet and trying to eat his rattle. It is a relief having him eating real food now. So I can actually feed him and myself at the same time even if it is not the same thing. I am pretty definite it will be ages before I get to eat good food, with Anthony, again. If everything happened like I feared it would. Like I had originally planned it would. Back before I had the baby and did not really consider the consequences and how much I would love him and not want to leave him.

“Daarling, how are you feeling? I could hear him screaming upstairs” Rosetta announced as she entered the kitchen and clicked over on her heels to look down at Anthony. Who just gurgled and kicked his feet softly up at her before yawning and blinking sleepily. Rosetta wrinkled her nose and shook her head “but anyway I have something for you Rose!”

“Do not call me that, and he has been an angel all morning” I retorted somewhat rudely with a roll of my eyes because that was such a blatant lie �" Anthony had not cried all morning. I resisted the urge to say anything else as I have read the books and I am meant to only put positive energy out into the world around Antony. I should mention here that I did the same thing as my mother when it came to baby names. I fulfilled my Father’s request of him having an American name by calling him Theo whenever he is around �" my Father thinks it is short for Theodore �" and then using his real name �" Anthony �" the rest of the time.

 “I think I have a solution to your problem, inside this envelope, read it” Rosetta insisted as she came up closer and shut the fridge door firmly so I would have to pay attention to her. The bang of the door closing disturbed Anthony and for the first time that morning he began to softly cry at the frightening noise. So that made it look like Rosetta was right. This day really was not going right. But I scooped him up and let him play with my hair and that calmed him down while I looked at what Rosetta was offering.

She had used one of her sharp nails to split the seal of the letter open. Inside the envelope lay one very thin piece of paper, a small photograph which was torn slightly around the edges and another slightly larger photograph in a frame. With a frown of confusion I took the two photographs of her and examined them. One showed a building in flames and seemed to have been taken from a newspaper. The other, the one in the frame, depicted a family that I did not recognise. I dropped the photographs on the floor; knowing what the newspaper picture represented and not know what the other one meant but somewhat frightened by it. While Rosetta picked them up I then turned to the thin sheet of paper. Carefully, trying not to tear it, I began to read it. Her eyes widening and her mouth opening slightly as she read.

Dear Rosalie,

We would like to offer you congratulations on receiving this letter from Tarina Academy. We have seen something in you that would fit our requirements perfectly. We will see you at your interview 9:00am on August 1st. Do not reply to this letter. Our Address will be sent to you within the next few days. Remember to dress smartly.

We will see you there,


Mr and Mrs Tarino

"But I never applied for ... what does it mean?" I asked in a confused and worried tone as I walked over to place Anthony, who kept trying to grab the paper, in his playpen before walking back and shoving the paper at Rosetta. I took a seat at the kitchen table because I suddenly felt very dizzy and like I needed to sit down. Leaning my elbows on the wood and my chin in my hands I stopped to think. The words of the abrupt and strange letter floated through my head as I tried somewhat vainly to make sense of them. To work out why Rosetta thought this was the answer to all my problems.

"I looked the place up" Rosetta carefully replied “and there does not seem to be any information on it. But when I mentioned them to your lawyer he seemed very keen for you to go. He is planning on getting your trial date pushed back so you can go. What do you think?”

"What is the point? If I am found guilty I could get up to seven years! I will be far too old for boarding school by that time. Besides I have a job ... and a baby" I informed her with a somewhat frustrated sigh as I pointed out the obvious facts that she seemed to be so conveniently forgetting in her excitement about this weird offer. I turned towards her so abruptly that I banged my elbow but ignoring the pain I continued “so no, I shall not go to any stupid interview.”

"I know sweetheart, that you will be too old for boarding school. But you might be found innocent. Beside he was quite sure you must go. Please Rosalie, just go along, and talk to them. I do not know what they mean but it is important. I just know it" Rosetta insisted in a pleading tone knowing that her use of the term of endearment would most likely make the girl deaf to her entreaties but feeling she had to try.

"Fine, if I must."

"Thank you Rosalie."

"I am not doing this for you. I would never do anything for you ...”

You’re sincerely,


© 2011 Rosalie Santerino

Author's Note

Rosalie Santerino
See note for entire book.

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register

Featured Review

Rosa sounds like she's having a tough time, wat with a sort of fake, plastic, evil step mother and a never there father. What did she do? SHE KILLED SOMEONE, DIDN'T SHE? The whole letter seems...kind of shady/mysterious.
There were some Grammar errors, but I won't point them out.
I'm excited to see how this'll go.

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Rosa sounds like she's having a tough time, wat with a sort of fake, plastic, evil step mother and a never there father. What did she do? SHE KILLED SOMEONE, DIDN'T SHE? The whole letter seems...kind of shady/mysterious.
There were some Grammar errors, but I won't point them out.
I'm excited to see how this'll go.

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Share This
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


1 Review
Added on August 15, 2011
Last Updated on August 16, 2011
Tags: horror, romance, humour, family, atonement, rescue, mystery, life, difference, prison, academy


Rosalie Santerino
Rosalie Santerino

Horseheath, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

I spend ninty percent of my time writing. The rest of the time I spend thinking about writing while I do other things. I have been published before but I want to one day, when I am finished with all t.. more..

I have. I have.

A Chapter by Rosalie Santerino