Chapter 1: Welcome home!
I’m probably going to hear a lot once I’ve arrived. Not to sound brave but, thee need more than a murderer to keep me from the streets. I’ve been told I’m a reckless person, which might be true. My siblings might describe me as brave, loyal, but also…naïve. And with the events happened in my past, that might be true as well.
Forgive my rudeness. I need to formally introduce myself: thee shall know me as Ferah Penny, student at Lakeside College. I go by a few nicknames: Fay, Fee, Pen, etc. you chose which name that suits me the most. You know, this town holds a lot of secrets, ours is among them. No one has revealed them…yet. All for one reason: protection.
There’s a reason why this town is haunted, you know.
Gonna tell you something. There’s actually a place far worse than the town itself. That place would be the school itself. A god-forsaken nightmare of a place where they say you’re equal, but unfortunately, you’re not. Don’t get your hopes up. Believe it or not: no popularity means no survival. Choose the right gang and it might be possible for you to survive. If not…
LC is actually a school where you stay for the entire year and only returns home during holidays. Difference with others, we actually stay at school during weekends, but there are no lessons to follow. It’s yet three days due the start of another boring year. Only positive thing is that you’ll be able to see some faces that has stayed hidden for the entire summer vacation.
The first week is kinda interesting: getting acquainted, this “welcome-to-our-school-party”, meeting freshmen kids, homecoming, you name it. I for one kinda like the parties, I’m not gonna lie. You’re probably wondering why this school is such a nightmare? You’ll find out soon enough.
As I was explaining to you all, I’ve reached my house: Lakeview Manor. 6th Lake Street is among the riches avenue’s in town. My parents just had to buy the most expensive and largest one.
(sigh) Yes, I am one those kids: the rich ones. Believe me if I say you’re better of living as an average person. It has his advantages, but also its disadvantages: people treat you like you’re a greedy, annoying, snobby kid. While in reality, you learn that money doesn’t change your internal mindset; does it makes you happier? It’s useful, but it doesn’t buy you happiness. What do I do? I balance the advantages and disadvantages. That’s how I cope, and that’s how I like it.
I enter the house and was greeted by a well-known face. They see me and automatically start jumping up and down, while running towards me. I was able to prevent them from knocking me over. “(Shushing) Down Toby, down!” I ordered him. I can’t have my parents know I’ve been walking home. Toby still wags his tail in excitement, yet eventually trots away. I enter the hallway, god it’s huge…I forgot how huge it was.
The entrance is equipped with small furniture’s, with two major statutes at the beginning of the stairways. Right in front of me, there are these ‘pillars’ with those wooden sticks coming out. One of the living room is straight ahead, the entire room is covered in paintings. Toby made himself comfortable on the couch and jaws. I put my shoes and jacket on their place and sit right beside him. Little Toby places his head on my lap. “You know your mother doesn’t like dogs on the couch.”. The sudden voice of a lady startles me, enough to make me gasp a bit.
I look behind me to see where the voice came from. A lady of the average height stood before me. Brown, straight hair pulled back in a messy ponytail, beady hazel eyes are looking directly at me. She has a round head with a slightly pointy chin. The ponytail reveals her small ears. That’s the face of Elizabeth ‘Elzie’ Hamn, a true angel among humans. She stands graciously among others, despite her position. She wears a black cleaner outfit with a white apron covered in dust and coffee spots.
People who’ll first meet her might think she’s a mysterious woman, perhaps due her clothing style, normally in black or perhaps is just her unusual alliances. People know her as the Wolf Lady.
“Elzie, you startled me”, I sighed. “Where were you?” she asked with a serious face. I look right into her eyes and stood up, Toby took that as an invitation to leave the couch and he trots away. “I…uhm…I just went…you know, around the block… and stuff…” That came out smoothly. Her face stayed serious and kept focused on me, I look back with the same seriousness. The corners of her small mouth slowly go up, revealing a little smirk. Eventually we can’t keep ourselves in and burst out into laughing. “Being strict and serious doesn’t suit you.” I said after laughing. “With you around, it’s hard not to be” she responded.
“Yeah, better let mommy dearest take care of that.” I sarcastically said. “Where is she anyways?”. I look at Elzie, waiting for an answer. Instead of giving me one, she just looks.
“Elzie?”, still no answer. “Elzie!”, she looks at me again: “Care to explain what’s going on here?” I asked. Elzie comes over to me and sits on the couch. “I think…you better sit down… because what you’re about to hear, might be unpleasant…” she explained. “Unpleasant?? Why? What happened?” suddenly, I’m feeling tension running through my body. I’m brazing myself for what I’m about to hear. Is its big news? Tragic news?
“It’s your grandfather… he… he got early release due to well behavior.” she slowly explains. I can’t believe my ears. “He’s what?!?!” I shouted. “(Shushing) Please, keep your voice down.
“But why is she with him? he’s dangerous… she’s in danger…”. I can’t think straight right now.
“Calm down, dear. She had to be present at court. All I can say is that you need to stay strong in this, alright?”.
Stay strong, those two words everyone always say in tragic situation. There’s no need for people to say that over and over again. It’s easier to say it than actually be it.
My maternal grandfather, an interesting yet mysterious man. Before he even met my grandmother, he was the leader of this gang. Calling themselves DVAS, sounds kinda lame, but they weren’t. They were ruthless, dangerous and straight-out insane. Some shit happened between him and a member. Let just say this ‘small’ dispute marked the end of the gang. They got away with it too. I don’t know how…
Grandfather was adventurous, crafty and sarcastic. Which isn’t out of the ordinary for someone with a disturbing past like his. He was born as one of the many children of a wealthy family in Stone Bridge. He lived comfortably until he turned 13 years of age. At that point… his life changed…. He had lost his brothers in a long-lasting family feud and was headed for a life of crime. While obstructed by many, he had to survive in a harsh world. His parents and his remaining siblings basically left him to his own faith. But with his determination and cunningness, he manages to conquer all fears and doubts and escaped hell. This has turned him into the man he is today. Powerless to change the past he created this gang. By doing so, he hoped to find answers to the events that happened in his past and was hoping to find a purpose to life. When he met my grandmother, he changed for the better. She gave him that purpose. Their love was unbreakable. Never have I seen such a genuine relationship between two people. Until… he cheated on her… with one of his gang members. Dear grandmother was devastated… she left him, he ran away and began a new life elsewhere with his new family. Despite his betrayal to our family, mother darling still dedicates her time to take care of him, especially now. The bastard only needs help from his family when it suited him.
“I suppose I shall do that, thank you for informing me.” I said. I release her hands and tried to change the subject. “So… what do we eat today?” I asked her. She looks at me for a second, processing the question. She notices my attempt at changing the subject, like I always do in tragic situations. After a few seconds of silence, she answers me: “You’ll see when it’s ready.”. I scoff and get off the couch. I’m making my way towards the stairway, before I leave the living room and turn back and address Elzie: “You… won’t tell her… or father, right?” asking with a worried voice. “I won’t…” I sigh happily at her response, she adds “…on one condition.”. I look at her with one eyebrow raised. “You will help me with the dishes after dinner!”. I smile and agree. I walk over to her and give her a hug.
“You’re the best, do you know that?”, I tell her. “So, I’ve been told.”, she response. We release ourselves from the hug and I make my way to the stairways.
It’s quiet here… to quiet. Normally this hallway is filled with screams and shouts of playing children. This hallway is long, my room is literally the sixth door on the right. On my way, I meet Joshua, our butler. He greets me and nods his head; I retrieve the greeting. Before he walks downstairs, I stop him: “Joshua…?”
“Yes, miss Penny?”, he answers while turning his head towards me. “Do you know where the rest is?”. He completely turns his body to me: “Part of your siblings are in the conservatory.”
“What the hell are they all doing in there?” I asked with a slowly raised voice. “They’re performing traditional ceremony.” He response. “Is that so…? Thank you, Joshua.”. He reacts by slight bowing and walks further down the stairs. Instead of going to my room I walk towards the conservatory. I hear chattering and laughing. I hesitate to enter, yet I slowly open the door and peak inside.
“Thee are now standing before thy queen. Bow deeply and thy shall receive my blessings!”
“Oh, merciful queen, bestow thy blessings upon me and grant me a long and happy life with my future husband.”
“Husband? Thy mean that peasant of the Mors that has yet to grow his beard and get rid of his baby teeth? Oh, dear child, thy are better off with the prince of the Flowers.”
“My queen, I can’t live with him… it is known that whenever a Flower Prince release some gas, it smells like roses.”
The play was interrupted by the cute giggles of my little sisters. The room suddenly fills with laughter. I smile. This delights me, to see their happy faces. I close the door again and want to walk away. What I didn’t notice is the sudden presence of one of my older sisters. She came from around the corner and almost bump into me. It seems my presence startled her, since she dropped some pillows and blankets. “Fuck!”. She quickly picks them up. Standing back up to looks me in the eye. I can’t tell if it’s in astonishment or in shock. The reaction I got was unexpected. Instead of greeting me with a dry hello, she drops the pillows again and lock me into a tight hug. “Oh my gosh, you’re back! You’re finally back!!” she yells. “Uhm… Yeah… indeed I am…” I stammer. “it has been far too long, sister!”, she added. Finally releasing me from the tight hug, I had the chance to catch my breath. The yelling alerted the others and the door swings open. Dozens of eyes see us. I awkwardly greet them.
“(Gasp) Fay!!!” and a second wave of tight hugs came my way. “You’re back again!!”
“Apparently I am…” I said, well more like trying to say.
You’re probably wondering why Joshua said ‘part of your siblings’. Let’s just say that father dearest and mother darling had a busy… private life. Resulting in many offspring. Many as in 27 children. I am the 14th child, 13 more came after that. That big of a number became possible by having many twins and even triplets. Seven of my siblings aren’t even biological, but where adopted due unfortunate circumstances that has happened in their past. I never saw them as my adopted siblings, I’ve grown up with them and recognize them as my biological siblings. The one who hugged me first is my one-year older sister, Caroline. The other girl is Artemisia, her unidentical twin, and the younger ones are Vreya, Fjara and Maud.
“Y’all were doing the Flower Prince play?” I said, again trying to change the subject. Yet some of my sisters know and this all ‘trying to change the subject’ thing is getting older than the streets. “I…I love that play… it’s funny and…uhm…very…original.”, they all look at me and shake their heads. “Oh, don’t you change the subject, girl! Care to tell how come you’re back so early? Thought the bus would arrive 30 minutes later” Artemisia said, she took my arm and drag me inside. The young ones continue their little fashion game. We sit on the couch, with me in the middle. “So?” Caroline asked, eager to know more. I sigh since I didn’t want to reveal the truth. But anyway, I can trust these girls with every secret. “Fine, but please, promise me y’all won’t tell mom or dad.” They look at each other but eventually said “We promise” in union. “Instead of… taking the bus I just went on foot.”
“Why would you do that? I though you weren’t allowed due to your parole?” Caroline said.
“Do you have any idea, how messed up Eastwood is? I was in dire need of some air.”
The sudden raise of my voice made the young one’s startle and they looked at us. I gesture that it was nothing and they continue with their activities. I sunk deeper into the couch with a deep sign. “Look sis, all of that happened in the past. You payed for your actions and now it’s all over. You have a change to start anew. So, don’t blow it up by violating your parole!” I appreciate the comfort, but it isn’t working. “Yeah, for a reason… urgh, this annoys me. Can we please talk about something else?”. Seriously, I don’t want to talk about my ‘adventures’ in Eastwood.
“Fine, suit yourself.”, both of them said it on the same time.
I swear, the scariest part about twins is that they can talk in union, although they don’t look alike, they sure sound alike. “Has…Elizabeth informed you yet?” Artemisia asked. “Yep, she did. I guess we won’t see mommy darling soon…”. The room fall in silence, even the kids are quiet. The only sound one can hear is the ticking of the clock. “Well! We are not going to sit here and be sad about every tragic thing in the world. We still have three days due school; tomorrow the shops will be open. So, I’d say, let’s spend the day here and catch up and tomorrow we have ourselves a girl’s trip. What do y’all say?”, within those 15 months I really missed Caroline’s good ideas. “Aye let’s do that.”, I say, and we all join the young ones in their little fashion show