Things to do in Freehold

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Chapter Forty-two:

Patrick Mackenzie (Morning of September 11, 1994)

Gradually, I opened my eyes to the sound of birds squawking outside my window. It was one bird, really, one noisy raven. It sat on the windowsill, staring down Paulie, who remained in his container, on top of my bookcase.

I flipped my body over to see that Zack’s side of the bed had been vacant. I scanned the room, must’ve already gone downstairs. I didn’t realize he was such an early riser.

While walking over to my closet, I grabbed Paulie and placed him on the dresser, out of the bird’s viewpoint. Sliding open the closet door, I looked for a shirt and pair of pants to change into, but nothing really caught my interest. However, a folded corner in the wallpaper did. I wonder why I haven’t ever noticed it before. Letting my curiosity get the best of me, I pulled down on the tab to reveal a shallow hole in the wall, no larger than four inches around. There wasn’t much in there, due to lack of space, except for a couple of folded up pieces of paper with cursive writing on them.

Suddenly, I could hear footsteps, coming out of Jacob’s room, and I hastily stuffed the papers into my pajama shirt pocket. Turning my head, I saw that it was Pops, standing out in the hallway. He then noticed me, looking at him, and entered my bedroom.

“Hey, Pat, I’ve been meaning to ask you,” he began. “Could you, sometime today, get rid of those cobwebs, down in the basement. I’m trying to do something special for your mom. And tell your brother I told him to help too.”

“Okay, Pops, will do.”

“Alright, I’m off to work. Love you, Bud,” he said as he was about to leave, but then he stopped in his tracks. “That raven sure likes your window.”

I looked back to see that the large bird was still sitting there. It was even starting to peck at the glass every now and again.

“I’m guessing it’s hungry. In fact, it might be wondering when you plan on releasing its breakfast,” Pops commented, pointing at Paulie. He then said his goodbye for a second time and was out of the room in a flash.

As he ran down the stairs, I reached into my pocket to pull the papers back out. Unfolding them, I heard Jake’s door, open and close, once again. This time, it was actually him, slowly making his way to the bathroom. Realizing it was nothing to concern myself with, I sat down on my bed and began reading. I tried to, anyway. I was still fairly new to cursive and the bird’s pecking didn’t exactly make it easier to remember what I’d learned in class. If it had pecked any harder, it may have just been able to break the glass. I had to get away from it.

Getting up, I went to knock on the bathroom door. I figured I would, at least, get some privacy there. Jake claimed he was just finishing up, so I waited, patiently, leaning against the wall, beside the doorway. After a few minutes, though, I began to grow ancy and was about ready to look for a new place to read when he finally opened the door.

As he left, I rushed into the bathroom and locked the door behind me. I then made sure the window was shut and that the faucet was turned completely off. I needed absolute silence to think. However, even with all of the peace and quiet, I was still only able to make out a couple of words. The person who wrote these was either in a rush at the time or had illegible handwriting to begin with. Whichever way, I was going to need some assistance on decoding these mysterious scriptures.

“Hey Zack, you’re good at reading cursive, right?” I asked, coming down the stairs and into the dining room. Before Zack could even fully nod his head, I slammed the papers down, in front of him. “Could you translate these for me?”

“Good morning, Pat,” I heard Ma say behind me. I turned to see that she was in the middle of putting dishes away.

“Mornin’,” I replied, shortly before turning attention back towards Zack. I then heard Jake, chuckling in the kitchen. Although, I paid no mind to that either.

“What has you all stressed?” Ma made her way towards Zack and I. Neither of us answered her, though.

“Well, it’s clearly some sort of diary entry,” Zack explained, taking his eyes off of one of the papers and handing it back to me. “Someone by the name of Amy wrote it.”

“I’m sorry, did you say diary entry?” Ma intervened. She reached out for the paper I was holding. “May I?”

Although hesitant at first, I handed it to her.

She inspected it closely, as well as the one left on the table. “Where did you find these?”

“In the back of my closet,” I answered. “Why?”

“Do those mean something to you, Ma?” Jake asked, looking over her shoulder.

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