How to Forget- Mildred
I was being held back. I hoped Angelica was okay. It was my fault all of this had happened. It was my idea to stay at the mall all day and not come back after the movies. I should have helped my younger sister more. Currently, I was locked in my room, with no door or window to escape through. There was no time to save Angelica. She had gone forever. The other day I had felt her hiding something from me, but I just couldn’t figure out what it was. All I could see was a blue book and the naughty corner in Kindy that we both sat in on the first day of school.
I felt like I’d already forgotten about my sister. I couldn’t read her thoughts at that moment because I didn’t know where she was or whether she was safe. I jumped into bed immediately, curling up in my blankets as my bedroom knob began to turn.
My mother, Tina, came into the room with some red liquid medicine. I wasn’t sick and I wasn’t hurt, so I had no idea why I was supposed to take this. There was no label on the bottle, so it could be poisonous or maybe a drug.
“Take this, you brat. It will make you feel better.”
“But I’m not sick.”
My mother’s jaw clenched and her nostrils flared. I stopped speaking and took the medicine. Then, I drifted off to sleep as a strange, sickening feeling came over me.
“Mildred, wake up, you’ll be late for school,” my mother called.
School. Why would I want to go? I got out of bed and stretched out my tired muscles and got ready for school. I went downstairs where I found breakfast ready, my lunch made, and Tina.
“Good sleep, Mildred?”
“Yeah, but I had the weirdest dream ever.”
My mother’s eyebrows rose, indicating I should tell her more. Instead, I began to eat my fruit loops. It was lonely being a single child in the family, especially when I lived alone with my mother. I would have loved a father or sister to keep me company. I kissed Tina and ran for the bus. Several children on the bus began to stare at me.
There were no seats left on the bus. I would probably have to sit on the floor or walk. A cute, tall boy with mousy brown hair stood up and offered me a seat beside him and his friend.
“Hey, new girl, down here.”
“Okay,” I said.
He squashed over beside his friend so the three of us could fit. At least I was skinny and didn’t need a lot of room.
I sat for a while, not talking to him. He had the sweetest voice in the whole world – and boy, he was hot. I hoped he was going to the same school I was as many of the buses these days transport children from many schools.
“Luke, which school do you go to?” I asked with curiosity.
“Sunvalley High. Are you going there too?”
“Yes, I suppose so.”
“Do you need to be shown around the school?”
He was asking me out. I could feel it. I decided to make a rude remark to make me look cool and happy.
“Does it look like I know my way around Sunvalley High?”
“Wow, settle, Mildred. I’ll show you around.”
The bus stopped at Sunvalley High, and I followed Luke out. It was a big school. He walked me to the office.
“Mr Williams, Mildred is a new student here and is starting today.”
I stood there and looked at Mr Williams. He was a very tall, middle- aged man, who wore large glasses. His big, greyish looking eyebrows were grossing me out.
“Hello, Mildred, let’s find your enrolment form, shall we, because I have never seen yours before that I can recall,” he explained, looking through the enrolment lists.
Luke and I waited five minutes while Mr Williams looked for the form.
“Mildred Shortstreet. Is that your name?”
Mr Williams instructed Luke to show me around today, saying he was allowed to be late to most classes that he wasn’t with me. I was going into grade five. Once both of the boys had finished talking with each other, Luke took me to my locker and helped me unload my books.
“Luke, I’ll be fine doing it myself, you know.”
“No, I insist. You’re new, so let your mind be fresh and get used to this school before you do anything by yourself,” he answered sweetly.
That was an excellent comment, and I liked it very much. I blushed. I had never met a boy who helped girls a lot, especially when they were new.
Luke took me to homeroom. Luckily, we were placed in the same homeroom, or I would have known no one. I walked in and everyone stared at me. I gazed up at my homeroom teacher, Mrs Coulby. A large, young woman who seemed to be having a bad hair day that resembled a bird’s nest.
“Hello, you must be Mildred Shortstreet?” she asked.
“Yes I am, Miss.”
“I see you have already met one of the troublemakers of the school.”
I looked at the teacher. Did she mean Luke? No way, he was so kind to me as soon as I got on the bus this morning. How could he be a troublemaker?
“Miss, I think you have misunderstood: I don’t play games and Luke is not a troublemaker.”
Whoops, I had said that too loud. Everyone in the homeroom started cracking up as the teacher gave me a frown.
“Mildred Shortstreet. How dare you enter my room with that attitude? Go outside at once.”
“But, Miss ...” I hesitated as she pointed to the door.
I thought Luke had figured out what I was doing. I was trying to play cool on my first day so I wouldn’t be shy and I could be popular. If I were to be his girlfriend, we could be double troublemakers together. However, that phrase seemed much too familiar to me. It was as if I had a sister, though I knew I didn’t.
I couldn’t believe I got into trouble on my first day. I hoped she didn’t ring my mother. I had no idea what she would do with me. Mrs Coulby came outside.
“Miss Shortstreet, have you ever learnt respect from anyone?”
“No, because I don’t have someone to respect me.”
Mrs Coulby put her hand over her forehead and sighed. I could tell she wasn’t happy at all. I didn’t like teachers. They were always mean and bossy.
“Has Luke put a bad influence on you already? You will have to go and see the principal. I don’t mind sending you up there, you know. Or I could get someone who is respectful and helpful to show you how to be polite.”
I thought for a while. I didn’t mind getting into trouble, and I didn’t want to be friends with a goody-two-shoes, so I’d just see the principal.
“I’ll go and see the principal as long as Luke comes with me.”
“Sorry, that cannot happen. You can sit with Laura, and she will show you how things work around here. I don’t think your mother and father sent you to this school to not learn and to be rude all the time.”
I had a brilliant idea. I didn’t have a father, so I could pretend something happened to him and start crying so I wouldn’t have to sit with Laura or go to see the principal. I was heading in the right direction for freedom. To show my concern, I started to cry. Everyone from inside the classroom looked at me. Luke seemed most concerned and leaned against the wall to listen.
“Mildred Shortstreet, you can’t get away with it that easily when you are already in so much trouble.”
“Miss, you don’t understand, I have no father,” I sobbed.
Mrs Coulby threw up her hands. She was over me already. She pulled out a piece of paper and a pen and made me write down why I didn’t have a father and why I shouldn’t get a consequence.
1. I don’t know why I don’t have a father
2. It’s my first day of school
3. I am shy and I have just met Luke at this school, and I need some time to get used to this place
4. My mother has never taught me manners or respect
5. I am a single child
6. I have memory loss and cannot remember what I did yesterday
It wasn’t a great list, but I knew it would be enough to get me out of trouble. I had stopped crying.
“Mildred, I don’t know if you are lying or telling the truth. I think it’s time I rang your mother.”
“But, Miss, you don’t understand.”
“Mildred, I understand a lot of things, apart from you.”
Now I was going to get into trouble from my mother. At least she would tell the truth, just like I had just done. She’d probably tell Mrs Coulby the whole story about things I didn’t know about my father, if I had one. I was nervous, however. That dream I had last night was weird. I had a twin sister in the dream. I woke up this morning after that incident and couldn’t get back to sleep. It was the worst and scariest nightmare I’d had in ages.
“Hello, is this Tina?” Mrs Coulby said into the phone.
“I’m Mrs Coulby, your daughter Mildred’s teacher. I have already witnessed your daughter’s terrible behaviour in the first minute I met her.”
“What has she done? She has always been a naughty little girl.”
“Firstly, before I answer your question, does your daughter have a father?”
“Why would I need to answer such a private question? It’s none of your business.”
“Your daughter has written down on a piece of paper why she shouldn’t get into trouble for being rude towards me and claims she doesn’t have a father.”
“Well, then listen to her, you idiot. Goodbye.”
My mother hung up. The phone was on the loud speaker, so I had heard every word between Mrs Coulby and my mother. At least Mrs Coulby knew the truth, except in a very nasty way.
Luke came outside the classroom door where I was standing. “You okay?” he asked me.
“Go inside, both of you. Mildred, you have obviously gotten that nasty attitude from your mother. You have one day to change, and after that, you will receive consequences when I give them to you – without trying to get out of them. You will then learn respect and obedient behaviour.”
Luke stayed close by me until the lunch bell rang. We had taken English and math together in the first session. Who cared if Luke and I were the troublemakers of the school? It was the best job here, and you got to watch everyone hating the bad influences and role models.
“Wow, Mildred. I feel so sorry for you. You must have a troubled life. Your mother doesn’t seem like a kind hearted person. I could hear her yelling on the phone from inside.”
“You shouldn’t, Luke. My mother grew up like that, and now I am too.”
Luke gazed at me with captivated eyes in the cafeteria during lunch. This could have been one of the worst first days of school in my whole life – although, come to think of it, I have probably had worse ones. It started with me coming into a new school with a bad attitude, showing off, and getting into trouble, and then my teacher ringing up my parents. It was hard being me, Mildred Shortstreet. I wish someone other than Luke could understand me and show some care and pity for me. These days, it was as if I were fighting a war by myself, with Luke for support, and facing off against everyone else.
And why did I have to go to school? I was only in grade five and I knew more than people in grade ten. I was the smartest in my class – and always have been. Ever since I woke up this morning, a strange feeling had come across me as soon as I walked into school.
Every time I thought of something, it was as if I was finding another clue to a treasure map, though I wasn’t looking for treasure. Instead, I was beginning to feel I was trying to find a person just like me. It was a scary feeling. I’d never had someone like me before – not that I knew of. But my thoughts told me there was nothing to tell us apart, as if we were twins. My mother was trying to hide something from me, and it had something to do with my father who I never knew. If I knew what she was hiding, my world would have changed, and I would be happy. Things were different these days, and I needed to know why. Even though I cannot clearly remember what happened in the past, I know my mother never acted like this. If only I had magical powers and could automatically know about the past and future. That would be cool. I could have mind control abilities. I would be able to get anything I wanted, whenever I wanted. I would be free and have a life. The best part would be if I were in trouble, I could escape easily with no hesitation. After all this thinking, I remembered one name: Angelica. I don’t know how I knew this name, or where I had heard it from. How could I just remember it in a split second?
Who was she? I had no idea. Why was I thinking about her? I would have to tell my mother everything when I got home. She’d probably just tell me to shut up and go to my room. Another thing also came over me. It was as if I never knew my mother. As soon as I saw her, I tried everything to remember who she was. Was I adopted overnight?
After school, I didn’t get into trouble from my mother, which was a real thing. She just sat silent and looked at me as I walked upstairs to my room to do my homework. The afternoon flew fast, and before I knew it, it was time to go to bed. I was very tired. My eyes were drooping and I was yawning constantly. Did every first day of school have to go so slow? I thought it was never going to end.
I shut my eyes and dreamt something I never had before. It was as if I were communicating with a ghost.
“Angelica, where are you?”
“I’m here, Mildred.”
“I haven’t seen you for days. I can’t find you.”
“You have to find me or you’ll never see me again.”
“But how? I don’t know where you are?”
“You do. It’s in your heart. Follow your soul and find me.”
I woke up with a jolt. It was still dark outside, the early morning of a school day. I walked downstairs to get a drink of milk to wash away the dream. I couldn’t remember anyone in my life called Angelica. How was she dying? I decided I wouldn’t go back to bed and watched TV instead. I didn’t care if I had to go to school soon; I was certainly not going back to sleep after that nightmare. There was nothing on TV, so I turned it off and lay on the couch. I wished I owned a pet dog. He would have kept me company at this scary moment in the morning. Owls were hooting, and I heard squeaking and scratching. I knew it would be light in a few hours, and I would be fine then. My mother would ask me why I was on the couch. She never let me talk about my dreams, so I’d have to make an excuse and say I wasn’t tired. It was a sad excuse, but it would do. I fell asleep.
The sun rose early. I rubbed my eyes and blinked when I saw my mother in my face, looking concerned.
“Mildred, why were you sleeping on the couch? You have a bed in your room, you know.”
I had to lie. Now was the time.
“Well, come on, I don’t have all day.”
“I probably sleepwalked out, Mum. How else could I possibly have remembered how I came to wake on this couch?”
“You’ve never sleepwalked in your life.”
“I know. This is the first time.”
The conversation went on for a couple more minutes, and then my mother sent me to my room to get ready for school. It was going to be my second day at Sunvalley High, and I did not look forward to it after yesterday’s disaster. At least I wouldn’t be as nervous as I was yesterday. I hoped I didn’t get into more trouble today.
I ran out to the bus and again sat beside Luke and his friend, who I hadn’t met. Something bugged me today about my future boyfriend. Yesterday, he wore regular shorts and a T-shirt, and now he wore a leather jacket and jeans – in the summer! His hair was all spiked up at the back with gel, unlike yesterday.
“How are you, Mildred?”
“Good, I suppose.”
“Did you enjoy your first day yesterday?”
“Does it look like I enjoyed yesterday? I got into trouble for nothing.”
“I know. She does that to everyone. Once when I stood up to sharpen my pencil, I accidently pushed a book off my desk and got a lunchtime detention for it.”
“Wow, that’s a bit harsh, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, and now she calls me the troublemaker of the school. But Mrs Coulby never picks on any of the other kids in class when they accidently drop a book off their desks.”
What was it with Luke and me? Why didn’t anyone else get picked on in class? I was going to find out!
I struggled to remember the dream I had, suddenly forgetting it. Bad things kept happening to me lately, and I had no idea on how to stop them from happening. I thought Mrs Coulby and my mother Tina should give me a chance in life and tell me what was going on, because I was sick of it. I wish they could just tell me everything so I wouldn’t have to try so hard to figure it all out myself.
When I paced off the bus, I stopped and pulled Luke over to the side. I remembered what my dream was, and all I could think about was Angelica. I needed to tell Luke. Something told me that if I didn’t find this person, then I would never be myself again and this voice inside my head would stay with me for the rest of my life. If Luke didn’t believe me, then fine. I’d just avoid my house tonight and follow the voice in my head if it could really lead me to Angelica. I know it sounded stupid, but it was true. The voice in my head was coming alive, and I could feel it breathing on me. I had cramps in my legs and my head was throbbing. It wouldn’t leave me alone.
“What is it, Mildred?”
“I’ve been having these visions lately, and I cannot get rid of them.”
“Have you been taking drugs?” He grinned.
“No, it’s not like that. This isn’t funny.”
His smile faded. “Well, tell me then.”
“I cannot go home tonight. I need to run away. Could you come with me?”
“Mildred, you don’t need to go anywhere. Why are you talking like this?”
“I had a bad dream last night and a voice was calling me in my dream and every couple of hours during the day. It’s been calling from the day I started at this school.”
“It’s called your conscience, silly.”
“No, it’s not. It’s not me speaking. A girl called Angelica is calling me.”
“Do you know an Angelica?”
“No, but you see, that’s the point. I need to escape tonight. I don’t know if it’s true or false.”
“Mildred, you don’t know where you’re going. Are you all right? You look extremely pale.”
“Angelica, the voice in my head, will tell me. I’m not sick, I swear.”
Luke didn’t look too happy. Instead, he looked very confused. What was happening to me? What had I done? My life had been destroyed by a dream that could not be true. If I told my mother, she would have stopped me half way. I was depressed and just wanted to cry. My foolishness had probably just ruined my relationship with Luke.
“Mildred, I think you need counselling or maybe you should just go home.”
I began crying. I didn’t want to go home because I wanted to be at school, and I surely didn’t need any counselling. He took me up to the counsellor’s office without any answer from me and told her what had just happened. He walked out and waited outside, leaving me with a lady I didn’t know.
“Mildred, I am Mrs Winehouse, the school’s counsellor. Please sit down.”
I sat down on a comfy, relaxing leather lounge, just a metre away from Mrs Winehouse. Mrs Winehouse was a very short, medium figured sized lady with a haircut that made her look like a man instead of a women. She had side bangs in her hair and was wearing thick red lipstick on her lips. Her arms were covered with bracelets and bangles. She also wore many beautiful necklaces around her neck. Her long, light coloured, yellow dress brought upon a calm and loving presence around her.
“Luke tells me you have gone crazy ever since you got off the bus. What happened? Whatever you tell me will stay between us.”
“Nothing happened. This voice in my head is not going away and is driving me crazy. It’s not my conscience.”
“Mildred, the voice in your head is called your conscience. It’s what tells you what’s right and wrong and what to do in certain situations.”
“A girl called Angelica is calling me. She mentioned her name and told me she was dying and that I needed to find her.”
“Mildred, I don’t know what to do. You’d be better off writing a book. You’re going home after school. It’s a dream; dreams don’t come true.”
“Cinderella’s dream came true. She got Prince Charming.”
Mrs Winehouse frowned. I was going off my nut again. I couldn’t settle down. No one listened to me and didn’t understand what I was trying to say. Why did it have to be so hard?
“Mildred, I’m sending you home, unless you can prove to me that you can calm down.”
“I don’t want to go home. I want to find Angelica.”
Mrs Winehouse called Luke back into the room. She told him he could have a day off and to take me to his house to calm down. Both of our parents were rung, and in no time, I was at Luke’s house.
A Dream- Angelica
It wasn’t long before I rested my head for a second time. This day had gone so fast. Before I knew it, I was asleep.
I was in a white room full of clouds. There was nothing around me. It was empty and lonely. Was I in heaven? Then I heard a voice.
“Angelica, why are you dying? Where are you?”
“Who is this? I am dying because of a book,” I said.
“What do you mean a book? I’m Mildred.”
“I don’t know a Mildred,” I said.
“Well, I don’t know an Angelica.”
“Why are you talking to me?”
“I don’t know. You told me I had to find you.”
“I did not!”
I blinked awake. That was all I could recall. Someone by the name of Mildred was after me. I mean, she could be a serial killer. It was a dream, and I knew they never come true. However, I couldn’t be quite sure whether it were true or not because the voice wasn’t getting out of my head. I knew I had woken up and everything, but it wouldn’t go away. Maybe I was sleeping with my eyes open. I shook my head. That was impossible, unless I was demented.
“Angelica, tell me where you are? I am the only person who can help you,” the voice came.
“How can I tell you where I am if I don’t know who you are?”
“It’s a matter of life and death. Do you want to live or die?”
“Live, I suppose.”
“Well, tell me where you are.”
“I don’t know where I am. All I know is that I am in a hospital with pancreatic cancer,” I said.
“Well, is there some small sign or anything around? Go outside and take a look.”
The voice stopped for about five minutes as I began to make my way outside. I was in a hospital called Mildripily’s Children’s Hospital in Mildripily. I told the voice inside my head, and it didn’t bother me for hours. I thought this dream was real. If I was dying, the only person who could help me was someone called Mildred. What was wrong with me? Was I supposed to meet her halfway? She might live on the other side of this world. I pushed the emergency button, and this time Natalie returned alone.
“Are you all right, Angelica?”
“I’ve had a bad dream.”
“What kind of a bad dream?”
“A dream someone I don’t know is talking to me,” I said.
The nurse checked my temperature.
“I think you have a fever. Something has happened to you today, and it’s all quite strange. You haven’t stopped complaining or telling stories all day. Would you like to write a book or something?”
“I don’t want to write a book. For the past two hours, the voice hasn’t left my head. It’s not my conscience, and it’s not me. Mildred is speaking to me and is after me. She is like a stalker.”
Natalie groaned. Maybe I should ask Mildred where she was and escape tonight to find her. If I wanted to find out the truth about her, I would need to take every risk possible for this to happen. If my father didn’t care about me and Mildred did, then I should find her. Natalie put a box around the emergency button and left the room for the final time today. At least the window was open; I would climb out of it. It wasn’t too high off the ground, and a strong vine hung from it to the bottom that I could use as a rope to wind myself down to freedom. I called Mildred by closing my eyes and thinking deeply in my mind.
“Meet me at Sunvalley High. I’ll need to escape my boyfriend’s house first,” Mildred said.
“I’ve never heard of it before.”
“I know, I was just kidding around. It’s in Peterson, which is in a town in Barley.”
I opened my eyes to end the call. This was way too weird. Was I an alien from another planet and could read people’s minds? That would be awesome. Tonight, when everyone went to bed, I’d be on my way to freedom to find Mildred and maybe my dad.