Chapter 7. The Shivered Night
On Monday, the second weekend of July, she drove her car to school like usual. The sun was sunny in the morning as she arrived in time.
The students ran to their each class immediately once the bell rang. In the classroom, Josh already sat at her table, taking the spot near the window.
“Does the anxiousness bite you?” He teased her when she just arrived to drag a chair. “How’s your relative doing?”
She threw her satchel bag on the table, and said, “Remains mystery.”
“That doesn’t sound good, right?” He squinted wonderingly.
“I mean, my mom isn’t even bothered to look after her, and my dad is always busied with his never-ending work,” she peeved “—as if no one realize that girl even exists.”
Mr. Stalensky wrote a new task on the board, while everyone during English class seemed lazy. The last eight minutes in class, the teacher asked Josh to read a classic poem in front of everyone. He surely felt embarrassed when some students made a joke over his performance.
Cathy and Josh didn’t return home after school, they went downtown to have a cup of western coffee. They sat down along on the wooden chairs. It was a small and desolate place. The furniture made from cedar wood, and the walls painted brown.
For a second, Cathy tried to adjust their restless thought regarding her mysterious family.
“Yesterday, my mom had already bought three tickets to Austria,” she informed.
He stared bafflingly at her as he put his cup of coffee on the table. “What about your dad?”
“He won’t come along. He said it’s alright to have a late vacation,” she grimaced. “He has no idea that this will not be like any trip about a little kid who wants to go to Disneyland,” she rolled her eyes peevishly. “It’s no more than aggravation.”
“I’ve heard from Martha; you should be careful once you arrive there,” he squinted carefully at her. “I don’t think Austria is that scary, but you made my grandmother went delirious in her sleep, she dreamt about your safety.”
“She didn’t tell you anything?” Cathy wondered.
“Nope,” and he thought about something for a moment “—it seems your mom’s making her upset. She’s been moody now.”
Cathy knew what it was about, that Martha shouldn’t tell her the other day about the truth, even for a little information.
“I guess we should return home,” Josh said after having his last drop of coffee. “I’m worry about my grandma. Sorry, Cathy.”
He was being serious and he didn’t even go mumbling like usual.
Cathy felt guilty to make him unease, and she thought it was her own fault to demand his grandma to tell her the secret of what her mom had been thinking. Although she didn’t get the actual detail, after all, Martha still had nothing to do with this matter.
At six p.m., Cathy already retuned home. She went to the family room, looking for a book to accompany her before going to sleep.
A cricket started making a noisy sound outside. She ignored it and walked ahead to the staircase, but then she heard another noise came from the next room.
As she still kept the book in her arm, she walked toward the dining room, and found her mom sat at the dining table alone. Her dad had not returned home yet.
“Mom, are you alright?” Cathy wondered what happened in this uncomfortable silence. “What’s wrong?”
Haile was leaning her forehead down upon her hand with eyes shut closed, as if she got an awful headache. When she opened her eyes slowly, she gazed at her daughter in silent.
“Cathy, just go to your room, right now,” Haile said, wearily.
Haile was anxious, she shouted out of rage, “Please go to your room!”
Cathy was speechless, and her head already filled up with distressful thoughts, moreover, she astonished with her mom sudden behavior that went insane, throwing a cellphone roughly to the table. She noticed that her mom was feeling a terrible tension. She could not leave her mom in peace, and thus she hid behind the partition wall that connected it to the family room where the light dimmed. Carefully, she peeped on her mom, who was looking sad and seemed strained.
On the other side, Haile had just received an important message from her old friend this morning. It was the idea that she couldn’t keep forcing him to accept her request of creating weapons, which wouldn’t be something ordinary. She was willing to pay, even if the cost would be expensive. And yet, she had not tell Manson that she went to Sierra Vista the other day. She wanted to keep this as a secret from her husband and her daughter.
She recalled the memory on Saturday, when Elle distracted her daughter to go together to the beach. On that day, she had the hardest conversation with a man whom she had known since they went in the same elementary school in Austria. She knew him so well. He was a blacksmith now—Max Brigham.
In his place, she came begging for it. By now, she tried to contemplate their conversation again, making sense of everything;
“You have to help me to find this stone. It’s the key,” Haile tried to persuade him. “I swear I’ll pay you a lot of money.”
“Whatever is it that you’ll pay, it doesn’t matter,” he grimaced, rejecting her request for million times “—the last time, I almost died because of that thing.”
“This is for my daughter’s salvation,” her eyes turned glossy like a reflection on the river. “I would do anything for her, I would die for her.”
Max couldn’t deny her words, although it was hard to prepare the things that she had asked. It might be too dangerous, even for himself to do it.
The air in the room turned so cold as the evening came. She squinted at the dark sky that was seen behind the kitchen’s window.
Her mind felt quiet for a moment, but then a sudden memory popped up on the back of her mind, of the flashbacks that appeared back and forth. There was one memory she remembered clearly, of the time she used to live in New Rochelle, New York. It was the first time she met Manson when she turned 25-year-old. They fell in love, got married, had a baby, and it was like any other normal life.
She gave the same middle name for her daughter as hers—Haile. It was like signature, and protection charm. Since she won’t use her full name publicly because of her personal matter with her Austrian family. Natalie Haile Ann von Aloise was long gone. After the marriage, she used her husband’s surname as a camouflage, hiding herself from those who had been chasing her life. It was now just Haile Charlotte.
Another memory she embraced, the one when she played with her daughter in the park. It was a place full of beautiful sunflowers, located near to their house in New Rochelle, and as the place changed her mind about everything.
Little Cathy was still one-year-old when she was able to see strange creatures. One classified as faerie. At the time, little fairies flee along on top of sunflowers, but they appeared indistinctly among the blue butterflies. Surely, Haile didn’t assure of what she saw, but it was the first time that she thought hardly of how to introduce such a hidden world to her little daughter. It might be hard for Cathy in the future, and it really did.
After they moved to Bisbee for good, Cathy was enrolled in the local elementary school. It marked the time when Cathy started to see weird things from the hidden world, which sometimes might look scary for a little girl. Haile made her final decision as she used her psychic ability to blind her daughter’s third eyes from seeing the unseen. It was the best thing a mom could do to protect her daughter.
Day by day, everything turned wrong instead of normal. Cathy was smart, although it felt flimsy, she could feel it—of the truth that her mom kept as a secret.
Everything fell apart by time, when Haile couldn’t explain about the supernatural world to her daughter. Therefore, she buried her own belief system, turning herself into a hypocrite.
During Haile’s childhood, she lived in a place looked like a castle in Austria, along with her mom and sister. She was just like Cathy, believing the superstitions, but now, that feeling had to disappear.
Until she came to conclusion, that Bisbee wasn’t the safest place to stay either. She didn’t even listen when Martha encouraged her to tell Cathy about the truth of her family. Haile was hesitating.
While she sat shivering alone from the cold, she kept waiting for further respond of agreement with the blacksmith.
This sleepless night was not her first nightmare. After all the things she had done to protect her daughter, everything began to lose in vain, immensely.