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Chapter 2: Toten

Chapter 2: Toten

A Chapter by M.R Steiner
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Everything is about to change

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Chapter 2: Toten

 

Annika Toten - July 22rd 2013 �" Geneva

 

Have you ever had a funny feeling in your stomach, one that twists inside just before everything changes? Because tonight that’s exactly how I feel.

 

I never bothered keeping a diary until now as it never really occurred to me that there was anything worth writing down. Hopefully that will all change tomorrow.

 

It’s the 1st day of our school trip to Geneva in Switzerland. Normally I wouldn’t have gone as two more weeks of being stuck with my class didn’t sound like fun. The term already ended, but there was a place in that country that really interested me, a spot where one of my all-time favourite novels was created, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. (I prefer to call it the Modern Prometheus though)

 

Back when I was younger, mother would read to me before bed. I’d watch her half open blue eyes drift across the page as I wrapped the cover over my face. Everything changes when you go under a blanket, you breathe fabric softener and the sun is a thousand tiny dots. It always made me feel kind of safe.

 

I’d pretend to fall asleep and the house would grow extra quiet. That’s when I would sneak down stairs. Those big dark hallways always felt kind of scary when I poked my head into the hall, plus those damn floorboards creaked like angry cats as I crept to the study. I can still remember the rows of shelves blocking out the windows. The best books were in the glass cabinet to the right. They were all ones that my Father, the good Doctor Volkard, didn’t think I was ready for, my favourites being Gray’s Anatomy, at the Mountains of Madness and The Modern Prometheus.

 

Like I said before, a chance to see where Mary Shelley first created her story was just too tempting to pass up. Combine that with the constant begging from my cousin Darla and it becomes obvious that I had NO other choice…

 

It felt like our journey was cursed the moment we got on that plane. The entire class was stuck in Coach while our teacher got drunk in First. Over two dozen snobby private school kids and us, it just became a matter of time before the worst of the bunch started hurling insults.

 

 “Darla, didn’t you read the signs, it said no orphans.” Kaitlin Cooper’s high pitched voice cut right through the crowd.

 

I watched my cousin’s freckled face sink with sadness. Months of that kind of abuse has completely wrecked her self-image. Darla was just too sweet for this environment. She’s a little shorter than me and has this cute curly red hair with a pale complexion.

 

To be fair she should have never told anyone about her past. Out of nowhere, she just stood up on our first day and blurts out ‘I’m an Orphan’ to the entire class. What a stupid thing to say.

 

Our accents stuck out like a sore thumb too. My parents come from Germany which we half picked it up. I have it more than Darla since she didn’t live with us until about 8 years ago, around the same time we moved to Tomintoul village in Scotland.

 

“God I wish someone else took in a ginger freak like you. What was Annika’s dad thinking?” Kaitlin just wouldn’t shut up.

 

A rolled up sick bag flew past my head and exploded on Darla’s arm. She nearly jumped out her seat as the class laughed like a pack of hyenas.

 

“You’re not even her real cousin,” one said.

 

Poor Darla’s eyes began to well up.

 

Thank god a stewardess stepped in. She gave a pretty stern warning before storming off to First class. No doubt she told our teacher what happened.

 

We may have had some room to breathe, but I was certain there’d be trouble the second we stepped off the plane.

 

It became a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy when we landed at Geneva airport. Darla and I were the last ones off because she couldn’t find her phone. You could almost feel Kaitlin’s eyes burning into us the moment we stepped out the gate. I couldn’t believe how much Kaitlin has overdone her tan; it’s almost orange with dyed blonde hair like a Sphinx in clown makeup.

 

Stood next to Kaitlin, as always, was her lump of a boyfriend who calls himself Thomas Woodman, a potato shaped t**d with a flabby head and curly black hair. They’ve been going out for about two months by now. He’d always step in if she started something.

 

“What’s this crap about telling the stewardess?” said Kaitlin.

 

She shoved Darla away. Typically my cousin just backed off and left me to stand up to them. Woodman stretched out his arm between us while Kaitlin just laughed. That stupid grin sent me over the edge. She thought I wouldn’t dare start anything in the airport.

 

She was wrong.

 

“They have a gun!” I pointed towards them and said it over and over.

 

Alarms shone red and sirens blared out, everyone screamed and ran away as a bunch of security staff push through the crowd.

 

It still makes me laugh when I think about Kaitlin screaming the roof down. She almost started crying the moment they yanked back her hands and zip-tied the wrists. It all seemed to be going so well until one of the guards stormed up to me.

 

I had no idea what he was saying but the rifle in his hands made me listen. Darla vanished as the crowd gawked in a circle until he grabbed my arm and pulled me down the hall.

 

Obviously it didn’t go as planned.

 

They took me to this grey panel room with mould in the corners. You could almost taste the mildew; it wasn’t an office, it was a time capsule, from the spongy brown chairs to the humming round disco lights.

 

Once in a while the staff would poke their heads around the door to yell at me in broken English. These guys obviously failed their police exams because there was nothing they could do to get me talking. One even stamped in and started throwing the table around; he didn’t even speak, just kept making a cutting sign to his throat. It started to dawn on me that things were getting a little too serious. They probably would have gotten worse if it wasn’t for my teacher Miss Sampson.

 

I grew a bit breathless when she opened the door and shuffled in wearing this god awful green dress. She took off her sun hat that blotted out the light as she sat down. I couldn’t stop smirking at that stringy red dye job.

 

The mood of the room shifted when she pressed her round glasses back up her nose then slammed a fist against the table. “Barely in the country for two minutes and you manage to get arrested.” Sampson has this twitchy scowl when she’s angry, that’s when you know you’re in real trouble. “For god’s sake Annika, was it really worth it?”

 

For the look on Kaitlin’s face, it kind of was.

 

I just looked away and quietly told her my side of the story. I knew it wasn’t going to work though because even after about 4 months, she already knows all my tricks.

 

“What a load of crap, Kaitlin went after Darla and as usual, you escalate the situation.”

 

She knew that Darla wasn’t going to defend herself. What other choice did I have? 

 

“You know I had to tell them you have autism and confused Kaitlin’s phone for a gun?”

 

I burst out laughing. She just sighed and rolled her eyes at me, I don’t think she was really surprised.

 

“Just get your things together Annika but don’t start anything else…”

 

Miss Sampson and I were forced to take an awkward cab ride together. The floor was sticky and the driver reeked of sweat, and I’m not sure but I think he was coming on to her. I only understood a couple of words, but he wasn’t exactly paying much attention to the road. She just smiled and looked out the window.

 

 

“So are you keeping a diary like I suggested?” Sampson asked.

 

I didn’t even realise she was talking to me at first.

 

This whole diary thing was her idea. She mentioned it months ago when I just started at Saint Antece. I kind of told her I was already writing one and actually didn’t start it until a few hours ago.

 

“I remember mine helping when my grandmother died. It’s a good place to express your emotions when you’re feeling a loss Annika.”

 

Sampson could spot the look on my face from a murky reflection in the window. I have to admit it was impressive how quickly she got to know me.

 

“Kaitlin and you were such good friends until two months ago, what the hell happened?”

 

She knows very well what happened!

 

I stayed quiet until we finally pulled up outside the hotel.

 

It’s actually a really amazing building. I’ve never stayed in a real hotel before, especially one so expensive. This huge circular white tower stretches right up to the sky and has glass balconies on every floor. The lobby was all crisp red carpets and busy porters as we went to the front desk to check in.

 

Expensive trips aren’t exactly on the curriculum when you’re home schooled for most of your life. This whole private school thing had plenty of draw backs, but this is definitely a benefit.

 

Mine and Darla’s rooms are on the top floor with a door between them, just like we asked for. My cousin wasn’t too happy as she’s terrified of heights.

 

I opened the door and took a deep breath. All my excitement seemed to evaporate the moment my bag slipped to the floor. Darla was stamping around her room and obviously wanted me to know about it. She acts like an angry robot when something is really bothering her, all stiff movements and grunts like she’s venting steam.

 

“Don’t talk to me,” she cried as I walked in. “I’m sick of this Annika, every time you step in it just makes things worse.”

 

Every time I step in, what the actual hell is wrong with her?

 

Ungrateful, stupid, coward, these are the words I’d use to describe my cousin right about now! 

 

I just couldn’t handle it. “You’re the one who makes it worse Darla; you’ve been desperate for attention ever since we got carted off to this damn school. Why did you think it was a good idea to tell them you’re an orphan?”

 

It definitely struck a nerve and I almost regretted saying it, true or not. Once again my cousin’s only reaction was to run away into the bathroom and slam the door shut. She needs to realise it’s this kind of stuff that makes Kaitlin pick on her.

 

I wasn’t going to waste another moment of this trip. I’d been quietly looking forward to it ever since they mentioned the coach trip to Cologny. I’m too excited for sleep so I’m out on the balcony right now.

 

The cool wind and the weirdly humid weather have actually made it pretty nice out. The lights are dancing below and I’m lying on a deck chair as I finally write this first journal entry down.

 

I kind of have to admit this has helped a little. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to write about after we visit the Villa tomorrow.



© 2016 M.R Steiner


Author's Note

M.R Steiner
report errors or be decapitated

My Review

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Featured Review

Only error I saw was: "Stood next to Kaitlin was her lump of a boyfriend..." which I suppose you could change to "Standing next to Kaitlin was her lump of a boyfriend..."

Very different plot/character perspective from the previous chapter. Interested to see how Annika & Darla tie in to the other story.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M.R Steiner

4 Years Ago

thank you for pointing that one out to me :) again I will change it when I return. the story is most.. read more



Reviews

keep up the good work man this stuff is good

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M.R Steiner

4 Years Ago

Thank you, needless to say everything starts going freaky after this moment :) The villa diodati was.. read more
I like the point of view, and you can tell somethings about to happen

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M.R Steiner

4 Years Ago

this was originally the first chapter with the email set as a prelude, like in the original novel I .. read more
Only error I saw was: "Stood next to Kaitlin was her lump of a boyfriend..." which I suppose you could change to "Standing next to Kaitlin was her lump of a boyfriend..."

Very different plot/character perspective from the previous chapter. Interested to see how Annika & Darla tie in to the other story.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M.R Steiner

4 Years Ago

thank you for pointing that one out to me :) again I will change it when I return. the story is most.. read more

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Added on August 31, 2016
Last Updated on November 15, 2016
Tags: lovecraft, mary shelley, occult, science fiction, dark, lord byron, mythos, horror, addiction, pain, relapse


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M.R Steiner
M.R Steiner

a terrible city, an even more terrible region, United Kingdom



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looking for advice and feedback, every critic welcome no matter what, I will thank you :) more..

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