Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta sister. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta sister. Mostrar todas las entradas

martes, 13 de septiembre de 2016

Anne Cheevers and the mystery at Caltot

   The sound of the train passing over the tracks had been enough for her to fall asleep. But now that she was waking up, the sound seemed to be louder, much less calming. Anne had decided to visit her aunt Sylvia once in the spring, as her mother had asked her so many years ago, way before she had died in that horrible accident with her father. It was a tragedy the family didn’t discuss openly but that had carved deep scars between all of them. The deepest one had to do with the Cheever girls, Anne and her sister Marissa, having to run the business her father had owned. Her aunt and uncles had wanted that for themselves but her father had been very clear now in his will.

As Anne watched the trees pass by her the window beside her, she felt suddenly annoyed. Even with the shiny sun outside and the beautiful scenery of the region, she couldn’t forget the reason she was there: her sister Marissa, who was older and supposedly wiser, had realized running a store such as her fathers was a very difficult task that needed the hand of a strong man. After all, the times they lived in weren’t precisely easy for young women like them and not one or the other had chosen a bachelor yet. The fact that they were orphans made the deal even harder to achieve, as most parents would be quite disturbed to have to arrange everything with the bride instead that with her parents. Traditions were not something people threw away often in that corner of the world.

 Aunt Sylvia had married Octavius Potter, a businessman who owned a very well known chain of new restaurants called Norma’s. Those places were supposed to bring the charm of country cuisine into the big cities and towns of the country and, by whatever rumors Marissa had been listening to, apparently Potter was hitting the jackpot with such an invention. People hadn’t heard about anything like that in this side of the ocean and, naturally, they were all eager to try out something new and exciting that everyone just wanted to experience. Even Anne had been to a Norma’s restaurant with Marissa but their experience had left a lot to be desired.

 As she contemplated a small town of beautiful small red houses, Anne remembered the dreadful deserts and sour tea she had tasted with her sister in that restaurant. And the comments from their friends who had visited were not much better. Maybe it was that branch in particular that wasn’t really working up to Mr. Potter’s expectations but Marissa soon forgot all about that when she heard about the money. It was what they needed. The small convenience store managed by the Cheevers was going through a very rough season and, if they couldn’t find a solution, they would have to close down the store that their father had inherited from their grandpa, who had established it himself at a very young age. It would be the disgrace of their name and the final nail in the marriage coffins.

 As the train started to hit the brakes, Anne felt she was sweating. Of course, she was very nervous about seeing her aunt again. They hadn’t talked since her parent’s funeral and after that not even a letter had been exchanged. She knew everything was going to be tense and Marissa had had the stupid idea to make her stay there for a whole week. As she stood up to grab her suitcase from the upper compartment, Anne realized that she was there and there was no turning back. She owed it to her parents to try to make the best sales pitch ever to her aunt and her husband in order for their lives not to be ruined for good.

 However, as she stepped on the platform of the station, she couldn’t see her aunt Sylvia or Octavius Potter anywhere in the vicinity. Many people descended along with her, so the platform got very crowded and she decided it was better to stand outside and wait for them to arrive there. But nothing happened either. Everyone who had come for a passenger, or had been a passenger themselves, had already left. There was no one else there except an old man who appeared to manage schedules and helped people in need although it wasn’t very clear who would need any help in such a small station. It had to be said that Mr. Potter, although managing a successful business, had decided to leave rather away from the spotlight, in a small town called Caltot. So Anne was not very surprised to not see a single soul near her for the following hour.

 Yes, Anne had to wait for up to an hour in the shade, trying to keep her hair from curling further and her skin from being exposed to the damaging sunlight. She was about to lose it when a young man, about her age, appeared on a bicycle. He stopped in front of her and talked as if they had been acquainted for quite some time. The truth was that Anne was so shocked at this behavior that she didn’t even acknowledge what the man was saying. Out of nowhere, she turned around, grabbed her suitcase from the floor and entered the station again. She had decided to go back home.

 The young man rapidly crossed her path and talked to her again, slowly and looking straight into her eyes to make sure she was listening this time. He didn’t grab her, yelled or did anything inappropriate. He just said he had been sent by Mr. Potter to pick her up at the station, as they knew she would be arriving momentarily. They apologized for not being able to pick her up themselves, but apparently everyone was too busy in their house and couldn’t be bothered to just go to the station and pick their relative. Anne calmed down and the man waited until she seemed less furious. Then he suggested she jumped onto the bike and rode with him but that made Anne even more furious so the boy realized he should stop talking and just decided to walk back to the house.

 As they walked over the narrow streets of the town, he told Anne he was Mr. Potter’s assistant. He was in charge of getting everything his boss needed in order to be comfortable in any given day. Normally, he would only do things related to work but often Mr. Potter had other demands that had nothing to do with work. Out of nowhere, Anne said that was appalling. As she lived in the city, she knew how horrible it could be to work without a proper pay. Granted, she was a woman and there was no real way she could know anything for a fact, but she assured the young man she wouldn’t rest until she got a fair pay.

 Then she stopped and went all red. Not only because she talked so candidly to that man but also because she hadn’t been a proper lady. She did not know her name. He said his name with a big smile on his face, as he was proud of something he hadn’t chosen for himself. Frederick March. He was called March by Mr. Potter but everyone else in town called him Fred. They shook hands, as Anne presented herself to him in a manner that made him smile even further. She stopped short when she realized she was being mocked. As headstrong as she was, Anne decided not to talk anymore with Fred, instead leading him into the town and towards the Potter’s house but that ended shortly because, of course, she had no idea where to go. Fred was kind enough not to laugh anymore although Anne felt he smiled behind her back.

 Once they arrived at the house, Anne realized all the rumors were true: the house was enormous and occupied a large portion of the side of the main square of town. The church was directly across it and the city hall was just on the side. It was beautifully decorated. So magnificent were the paintings on the wood on the outside, that Anne had to step away from the building to appreciate it better. Fred told her that the house had been restored completely by Mr. Potter, just a couple of months after him moving here with Anne’s aunt. Fred also said the lady of the house could be very strong in character but she made her voice be heard and her opinion be respected.

 Anne wanted to know more about Fred’s perception of her aunt as he said this, because the hard truth was that she didn’t know anything about her own relative. They had been apart for so long that the girl even doubted she actually knew what her aunt looked like. Two seconds afterwards, the front door of the house burst open: her aunt was there, breathing heavily, her hands and face covered in blood. She was hysterical, crying and yelling and saying something. Both Fred and Anne ran to help but the scene they saw through the threshold of the house was enough to freeze them solid: Octavius Potter had his intestines out and about, leaning against a piece of furniture.


 As Anne tried not to keep watching the horrible scene, she heard her aunt say: “I didn’t do it!” She sobbed so hard everyone in town was attracted to the square and, in no time, Anne saw herself submerged in a mystery she could have never seen coming, or the people of Caltot, which she would be able to get to know very well in the upcoming days.

jueves, 31 de marzo de 2016

True image

  Julie’s walk was very confident and full of energy. Every step she took towards the pool area in the cruise, made her noticeable to every single person on the boat. She was wearing a blue bikini with a large hat and sandals with quite a heel and she was pulling it off in the best way possible. All men had their eyes on her and all women wanted to be as confident as she was.

 Following Julie, however, was her brother Kevin. It was an absolute contrast because Kevin wasn’t dressed at all for a swimming pool; he just looked like one of those people that go to awesome place but don’t do that much. Well, that precisely was Kevin because he didn’t even wanted to come at first but he had being pressured by his parents to accompany his sister. The trip was her gift for finishing high school with great marks and she had been joined by some friends in the cruise. So the suffering was double for Kevin.

 Which was silly because he was older than him. He should have gotten over the whole high school thing but he actually hadn’t.. His experiences there had been so traumatic that he didn’t even liked to be around Julia when her friends were with her. He quietly went away, most likely to his room or he just wandered around the ship, which was large enough.

 For the swimming pool, he was wearing these big, long, baggy trunks that looked two sizes larger than him, not flip flops but actual shoes and big white t-shirt. Besides, his face was covered in white, like a ghost. When they got to some free chairs by the pool, Julia removed her sunglasses and look at her brother, a bit disappointed. He was covering himself with his towel and looking at everyone a bit scared.

 She told him to come near and helped him with the mask of sunscreen he had put on his face,. She made him look a little bit more normal. Julia told him she should enjoy the pool and the sun for once and that nothing was never as bad as he imagined it. “Everything is in your head”, she often told him.

 Kevin always ignored that phrase because he thought it was a very silly thing to say. His fears, for him, were extremely real and they weren’t only in his head. He could hear and see people mocking him all around, always, and he wasn’t as strong as Julia to take it all and just don’t mind or to be able to fight it back. Kevin had always been very shy and had even been bullied in school, so it was normal that even as an adult he was still afraid. But the thing was he had never attempted to defeat his demons and that’s what worried Julia.

 She took a last look at him and then removed sandals, glasses and a nice watch a friend had given her as a present for her most recent birthday. Then she walked to the other side of the pool, were several people her age greeted her. There were boys and girls and Kevin could recognize most of them from the first two days of the cruise. She had gone out almost every night to the disco they had there and he had been falling asleep really early as there were no TV sets in any of the rooms, for some reason.

 Maybe the people that had built the cruise ship thought that it was enough to put all these fun things to do for people to be happy and not need a TV but Kevin certainly disagreed with that. He really felt miserable and wished the week was over faster.

 Some girl passed in front of him and looked at him for a second. Her look was the one of someone who sees something gross by the road or something like that. Very affected by it, he decided to stand up, check for the room keys in his pocket and go back there. Julia wouldn’t mind and he certainly didn’t want to stay there. So he just left.

 When he arrived in his room, he was sweating heavily because of the clothes he was wearing and decided to shower in order to refresh a bit. He left the clothes all over the floor and just entered the bathroom and tried not to think about anything as he felt the cold water running over his body. He didn’t use soap or anything like that, he just enjoyed the cool shower that seemed like sitting on the rain. It was one of the few things he liked about the cruise.

 When he got closed the water, he remembered he had left the towel on the bed and the cleaning lady hadn’t come in yet. So he shook off some of the water and stepped out naked. For a moment, he didn’t realize it but he was looking at his own body naked. Then he remembered the bathroom door had a full body mirror behind it and he was surprised by it.

 Kevin had always hated mirrors. He had never liked mirrors because they made him look at him and he had passed years trying not to do that. He had been called so many names because of his ears, his body, the way he was smarter than other in school… And besides all of that, he had always thought he was fat and ugly and just didn’t wanted to be made to look at himself.

 But when he stepped out of the shower, he just froze there and saw his own body, after a long time.  Somehow, it was different that he remembered it. He got nearer and, unconsciously, started examining his skin, his face, his chest, his arms, his penis, his legs and feet. Everything.

 He took a long time watching his own body and he was fascinated because he realized he had never done that. Then, feeling like awakening from a strange dream, he opened the door and grabbed the trunks he had been wearing. He put them over his body in front of the mirror and realized how ridiculous it was to wear something so big on him. He was skinny but he certainly wasn’t an XL man.

 Kevin dropped the trunks on the ground and just kept looking at himself. He finally shed a single tear and said, in very hushed voice, “If only someone…” But didn’t finish the phrase because he had no idea how to finish it. He thought about how he wanted to be like his sister, who was strong and didn’t care what people said about her. She was strong and he felt so weak. But he also realized he wanted to do something about it. The mirror had helped him see that.

 So he grabbed some of the money his parents had given him, got dressed with the clothes he had before and went to one of the many stores on board. He didn’t like to try on clothes or to be around people that loved fashion but it was necessary for him to do it. So he approached a saleswoman and asked where he could find some trunks. She directed her to the right spot and even joined him. He was embarrassed to have her next to him but just took a deep breath and pretended she wasn’t there. He looked for a color he liked and then a size he thought would work and just bought it, without trying it on.

 He went back to his room almost running, got naked in the bathroom and put on the new trunks. The difference was huge. On the mirror, he could even see his butt and a pair of legs that weren’t so bad. He just needed a bit more sun because he looked pale and sick. But the trunks worked great and he smiled at his own image when he saw himself on the mirror.

 Some minutes later, he was sweating heavily again. But it wasn’t because of the sun but because of how nervous he was. He had decided to get out of his room in only his flip-flops and his new trunks. He had his towel on one hand and the room keys in the other and nothing else. He was shaking a bit but kept walking looking at his feet or very high in front of him. He did so slowly not to stumble against anyone.

 He found an empty deck chair not so close to the poll and decided to sit there. He had put on some sunscreen before leaving the room so he just laid there, a bit nervous and tensioned but certain that would help. He fell asleep for a while until his sister came and woke him up. She was angry at him because he had left her things unattended but a friend had noticed so nothing had happened. She asked his brother what was he doing.


 ¿What does it look like?

 And she just smiled. She kissed him on the cheek and told him to be careful with the sun. She was going to leave for the games area but she would look for him later. He told her he needed to get more tanned, so he would be there for a while. Amused, she left with her friends.


 Kevin saw her walk away and realized he had taken a huge step out of his shell. Right then though, he saw two guys with ridiculously chiseled bodies but instead of feeling less, he laughed. And he just closed his eyes again and turn around, to do the back.

sábado, 4 de abril de 2015

Smoke and Cards

   She spread the cards on the table, forming three columns and three rows from left to right. A total of nine cards were there, all facing down. The woman, wearing a wine red shawl and several rings and bracelets on her arms, passed both hands over the cards and seemed to be talking in a strange language. Her clients were two girls, around twenty years old, who looked at her with eyes open and an expression of fear but also looking forward to her next words.

 The woman then did a sudden movement and asked one of them which card to flip over. The young woman indicated one and she complied, revealing the card of death. The woman then did a speech, explaining the deep meaning of this card. She asked several questions too, ranging from past relationships to dead family members. In less than twenty minutes, she flipped over all the cards and told the girl it all meant she was going to have an unexpected surprise very soon but that she should be weary as someone may be there to betray her. The girls looked at each other and, after paying, they went out giggling, discussing their results.

 The reader waited for them to be far and then called for her assistant, a young woman that looked a lot like her, in order to ask her if more people were waiting. The young girl told her that no and that her lunch would be done in just a few minutes so she could use the time to eat something. The card reader’s name was actually Suzanne and she had been a pharmacist for some time but that job had made her unstable, cranky and bored with life. She had always wanted so much more from everyone and everything and a pharmacy would never fulfill her dreams of grandeur.

 So one day, she overheard some women talking about going to a woman that read the crystal ball in a fair and she decided to go. The woman was a big sham but she learned that people would decide to believe in anything if it’s well presented to them. Before becoming a card reader, Suzanne had been a very practical and skeptic person. In one second, she could debunk any stupid thing people believed in and that had earned her a friendless life and a difficult interaction with men and even with her parents.

 So after seeing all the glitz and mystery of the crystal ball reader, she decided to become Madame Zelda, a mysterious seer that had come all the way from Romania to help souls in need to find their way by reading the cards of their life and other things. Her business, located in a small store in the city’s downtown, was very successful from day one. She had hired her niece Amanda to be her assistant and to give away fliers to every nearby college. Suzanne knew that the younger people were especially prone to believing anything so she knew that was the way to start.

 Six months had passed since that and her strategy had worked. Lots of giggling girls came in and decided to get their cards, their coffee and even their cigarettes read. Suzanne did everything and anything and people would buy what she said and even if they didn’t, she knew very few would tell anything to her face. People were strangely polite when referring to something as plain and simple as the arts of divination. But the point was that they always came.

 A she ate a bowl of pasta with meatballs with her niece, Suzanne realized they looked very much alike: their hand were both skinny, their skin the color of olives, big bushy hair and big brown eyes. She asked her niece what would she like to be when out of school and she told her that she had a dram of becoming a nurse. She wanted to help people and thought the best way was to care for people’s health. In the long run, she might even become a doctor but that wasn’t going to be decided just yet.

 Suzanne then asked her about her sister, her niece’s mother. She was not the best mother in the world, that’s for sure. She had the traces of all the women of the family: beautiful heavy smokers but convulsed souls inside. After all, they had a recurrence of mental issues in the family and Suzanne’s sister Amelia apparently was the prime example. She was always thinking of things that helped no one and had never really cared for her daughter. In part, that was why Suzanne had decided to accept Melanie in her home for her last year of school. She didn’t regret her decision so far.

 Melanie proved to be different than her fellow female family members: for such a young girl she knew very well what to do and what not to do and how to do the things she wanted for herself. After all, she was only sixteen and about to step out of school. Suzanne had already spoken with her sister about Melanie’s education but Amelia had assured her that there was more than enough money for that. The girl was the daughter of a very rich man that wanted nothing to do with them and paid handsomely every month in order to keep them away. And it worked perfectly for all of them so there was more than enough money to pay for her nurse education.

 Suzanne often liked to go out with her, shop around or to the movies. They were both lonely girls, no real friends around and Amelia had never grown fond of her own daughter, always seeing her as only her source of money. It was true and obvious that Melanie felt much more at home with Suzanne than with her own mother. They had fun together and they both learned a lot about each other in only the first few months of living together. They would share magazines and talk about boys, and fashion, and the future. And they both loved to finally have someone to hear them.

 Suzanne’s life as a young woman had been exactly the same, if not worst. She had very few friends because she wanted so much more from life. She was not happy with the crumbs she received from both her family and her present, she had always wanted more. She left home after refusing her father’s orders to study in order to be secretary. He thought there were roles and jobs for women and other for men and that she had nothing to do in a hospital, even if most nurses were actually women. He said he knew that she wanted to become a doctor and he didn’t agreed. So she left and never went back.

 Years later, she attended her father’s funeral and her mother refused to speak to her. After ten years, she still wasn’t speaking to her as if it had been her that had been harsh to her daughter. But that was the way it was. She was one of those women that live for the man they marry and in that moment, she was lost. She nothing and she felt empty and alone. It would take a few more years for her to become closer to her daughters and when she finally did, death came for her too. Now, it was only Suzanne and Amelia and even if they didn’t agreed on their life choices, they called each other every so often to ask how the other was doing and if they could be of any help.

 When she finished eating, Suzanne grabbed a metal box and organized what was inside. Melanie, who hadn’t finished eating, stared at her, looking all the types of cards she had inside, the cigarettes, the guides of how to read the cups of tea and coffee and also the hands. She had everything in that little box and then Melanie realized her aunt’s life was all inside that small object. It all summed up to that.

-          - Aunt?
-          - Yeah?
-          - Are you ever sorry?

 Suzanne looked at her, confused.

-          - What do you mean?
-          - With people that come here.
-          - hat should I feel sorry?
-          - You’re not a real seer. You lie to them.

 The woman was frozen right there on her chair. She had never discussed her business with anyone but Melanie was the person he loved most and she knew they had to talk about it. So she just answered that was the way she had found to feel she was receiving what she deserved from life. The girl then asked if she didn’t feel bad to tell lies to every person that entered the store. Suzanne took one of her niece’s hands and held it. She then looked at her in he eye and told her that people chose to believe what she said and that that was their decision. She knew she was lying to them and she knew it was wrong but her way of living was honest as she was true to herself. Then she took everything out of the box and showed the bottom to Melanie.


 There were two transparent bags and both had money inside. Then Suzanne told her she was saving for both of them, so they could live better and she could put up another kind of store, something better and that she could be proud of. The girl smiled and right then a bell rang. It was the next costumer. Suzanne straightened her shawl and went down to her smoky, cinnamon scented room as Melanie followed her in order to get the door.