Going Home (Going Home#1)

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Eric: Arriving

I stare at the signboard. Baskerville B. I take out a small folded piece of paper from my jeans pocket and look at the address again. It’s Baskerville A. It should be the same, right? There shouldn’t be A’s and B’s!! I sigh and walk towards my car when I hear a truck coming from Baskerville B’s dirt road. I smile in relief and turn to wave at the driver.

The navy blue truck that appears down the road is a rusted one. In a way, as if it was exposed to a lot of rain. The windows are up, so I can’t tell whether the driver is a girl or a guy. There are probably corn and tomatoes in the back from what I can tell from the sudden overwhelming smell. The truck stops on the other side of the road, and the driver gets out. It’s a girl. She is wearing a cap that is covered up with a hoodie. The cap is pulled low, hiding her eyes. Though I can tell that she is pretty, it seems like she is sick or something because the part of her visible face is pale like a vampire’s skin pale.

“Is everything okay? What are you doing here?”

“Ah...Hi... I was supposed to be at Baskerville A, but....” I point towards the signboard. She gives me a look from head to toe then nods at my car, “I am on my way there. You can follow me.”

“Haha yeah. Okay. Good, I mean.” I nervously say and scratch the back of my head. She turns around to look at me for a second before getting back in the truck. I shrug and get in my car to follow her. If I’m late, grandma will surely throw a fit. This will start with all the ways I’m a disappointment for a grandson and will end with how I will ruin the family.

This place is really gorgeous and.... scary. Scary, in the sense that there is no sign of a bird or a person or even a mouse as far as I can see. I’ve not encountered a single soul other than this girl in the last thirty minutes of my drive here. It’s breathtakingly beautiful because of thick, lush trees on either side of the dirt road. I was so intent on looking ahead that I’d missed a route to the left between the trees ten minutes ago. The truck turns on that route, and I follow it.

I’m having strange thoughts: This girl could be anyone who can rob me or, worse, kill me. Not that I have much on me right now other than my second-hand car, I had left everything that I usually carried around with me when I set out for Baskerville A. I didn’t want to be tracked. A reason I ran away to this kind of place.

It was my dad’s idea of searching for my maternal grandmother and sending me here, after all the havoc I caused, so he could settle down everything. He promised me that he will call me as soon as the mess is cleared up and till then, I will be stuck in this forest like a town for I don’t know how long. I couldn’t stay anywhere else, or I would’ve been arrested. You see, I’m a wanted man. It’s a miracle that I’ve reached here safely and will be safer at my grandma’s house.

I slam my hand at the steering wheel in frustration, thinking about the events that took place two days ago. Did I really do something which turned into something so big that now I was trying to hideaway?

I haven’t seen my grandmother in the last eleven years. The last she visited us was at my twelfth birthday party, surprising everyone. She had moved to an isolated town deep within a forest after my mother ran away with my dad. But she visited us before I was born and when my mother had died while giving birth to me. From what I could tell, my dad knew where she was living all this time and had been in contact with her because he’d ordered me to leave for her place before I’d landed at the airport, on my way back home from Germany. And he also told me how uptight she was about family image. My mother had already ruined it once. Now her son was on the run from the police.

The truck turns left again and speeds up. I slow down my car, though. Just what is this girl planning? Looking in my rearview mirror, I see nothing but another dirt road beside the one on the right where I came from. I sigh and speed up my car. I can’t go back no matter what.

After driving for a few minutes, I pass another signboard that reads: Baskerville A. I laugh at myself and my doubts. The girl is leading me in the right direction.

After another five minutes’ drive, we enter the town. Trees suddenly thin out as we enter through the gate. I notice that a barbed wired fence surrounds the town’s edges and beyond the fence is nothing but forest. It’s so thick and dark, which makes me wonder if the people in this town face any issues regarding wild animals and such?

Ahead of me, the truck slows down and turns to the left lane. I follow it because I have no idea where my grandmother’s house is exactly. At the end of the lane, I notice an opening between the fences from which another dirt path goes into the forest. The truck stops by ‘Trade D Crops, ’ which is the last shop on the left before the fence’s opening. People have built the shops further away from the opening as if they are afraid of things that might come out of the forest. I shake my head and focus on the people. From what I observe, people are clearly afraid to be near the forest. Maybe this is why a woman is dragging her crying son away whose toy car has gone beyond the fence’s opening.

The girl gets out of the truck and, giving one glance at the shop she’s stopped in front of, walks up to my car. I roll down the window and give her a nervous smile. She stops by my car and gives another anxious glance towards the shop,

“Where do you have to go? I guess it’s your first time here?”

“Yes, it is. Can you guide me to Headley’s house?”

At the name, her eyebrows shoot up, and she gives another anxious glance to her surroundings. I notice that she has beautiful eyes, but I can’t make out her irises’ color because of the shadow her cap and hoodie are casting over half of her face.

“HEY, YOU!” A short, bulky man comes out of Trade D Crops pointing at the girl and pulling up his pants from another hand.

“Shit!” The girl mutters, “go straight ahead from the road we turned to this lane. Headley’s mansion is the last house. You will be able to see it on your way because it’s on the hill!”

Then she quickly turns to leave, “Thank you.” I blurt out.

She stops and gives me another confused look, “Just......!” She starts to say something but changes her mind and leaves for the shop.

“WHOLE FIVE MINUTES LATE, YOU BITCH!!” The old man shouts in her face and punches her. I jump up in my car. Did he really hit her? I sit there, gaping at the old man as he screams a few more curses, and the girl gracefully stands up again. She doesn’t cower and listens to the old man with her head hanging low. I don’t what their story is and how she is taking everything he is saying, for I feel my blood boil in anger. He pokes her head hard at every word he says. Next, she nods to whatever he says and follows him into the shop.

“I won’t be sitting here if I were you.” I get startled again at the voice by my window. It’s another girl who is around nineteen or so. She is like a Barbie doll, pretty with downturned blue eyes and thick blonde hair that reach her elbows. She twirls her hair strand around her finger and bows to look right into my eyes. I try to keep my eyes fixed on her face, for she’s wearing a deep neck and purposely leaning forward.

“I was heading towards Headley’s.”

“Aunt Headley? What’s your name?” She grins cheekily, and I look away, trying not to cringe.

“Eric. Eric Amery!”

“Oh. My. God! You are her grandson, aren’t you? She sent me to wait for you by CrossD, but I was late, so I probably missed you!”

“CrossD?” I give her a confused look. What’s with the Ds?

She shoves her head through the window right in my face, and I pull as far back as my seatbelt allows me to, “The entrance gate you saw?”

“Oh, that!” I try to chuckle but fail miserably because I’m genuinely flustered by her actions. “Sorry!” She smirks and pulls back. Taking a deep breath, I thank her and pull the window up.

“Hey, wait! Take me with you! Or I will have to walk!” She knocks on the window, and I pretend not to listen as I start the car. I seriously don’t like the girls like her.

“HEY!!!” She starts knocking furiously. I wave at her with a forced smile on my face and quickly reverse my car.

I notice the houses, the people, and the landscape as I drive uphill. For some reason, everything seems off, but then again, it’s a town in the middle of a forest. When I see the mansion on my way, big and looming over the town alone at the top of the hill, I smile to myself. I’m here!

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