The way to my new home in America was uneventful at best. The only real merits to the journey dotted with fighting, sleeping, and the occasional swat to the head were the scenic freeways that slithered into the overstuffed forests and curved viciously, as if attempting to throw us off the road. But we survived, and soon we were driving into our newly bought home in some hick town in Wyoming. I didn’t bother remembering the name. Once I can afford it and I’m old enough, I’m moving back to Berlin. There is no place here in America for me, but I have to admit that I like this spacious house better than my medium sized apartment back in Germany.
We pulled into the driveway and noticed how clean and organized everything was. No rogue leaves nor weeds anywhere. That’ll save me at least a week of yard chores. But I do see that the forest is literally in our back yard. Great. Bears.
“Now Helen,” my father’s stern voice seemed to be on edge, as if the wrong words will bring in another world war. “Since this will be our first house ever, there will be some new standards to be placed.”
I raise an eyebrow.
“What I mean to say is, that you will now have more responsibilities. Helen, where are you going?”
“Oh, I’m off to see where the nearest cliff is. Maybe I can throw myself over and save myself the trouble of slaving over a house I don’t even care about.”
He says something, but I don’t hear nor care. I’m off to the forest before I say something that I will seriously regret. Pulling me out of school where I was doing so well at mid-year. I was at the top of my class and now I’ll have to start over from the bottom. And now he wants me to have more responsibilities? But there is no use getting mad at him. I’m in America now, so I’ll have to “embrace the American spirit” and get used to it. I get up to walk back home, but I see a black blur in my peripheral vision. I turn around, scanning the patches of darkness between the scraggly thin trees. As expected, there is nothing, so I make my way home. It was pretty stupid running off into the forest as if I knew my way around it, but I only ran in a straight line. I’m back at the driveway in five minutes. The sun is setting.
Dinner was quiet and tense and I could tell that my mother had cried in my absence. The chicken nuggets were flavorless and settled uneasily in my stomach. It will be a few days before I get to consume real food. I thank my mother and father for the meal and excuse myself. This is your stereotypical horror movie house with the long hallways and curving staircase. It even came with its own tower room. That’s my room. If I have to live in this crap country, at the very least I should get the tower room. I made that very clear to my father.
I walk up the staircase and stride through the hallway. It’s too compressed for my taste and the floor is creaky. My parents were smart enough to ship everything to the house a few days before we moved. My relatives that live near here set up the furniture and some of the décor. You know you have great relatives when they basically set up your house before you move in. But I still dislike all of them.
As expected from an old house, everything is nauseatingly lavish and posh. The windowsill was carefully crafted, but I could not really make out much of it because the hallway insisted on being dark even with all the other rooms in my house having the lights on. My parents say that keeping the lights on for the first night in the house will make it much more comfortable for me. Although I hate to admit it, it proved true.
I sigh and open the brass and of course, lavish, doorknob of the yet again lavishly decorated dark wooden door that was supposed to lead to my bedroom. Surprisingly, it doesn’t creak as much as I expected, or rather, at all. The yellowish light emanating from the corner (how can a tower have corners?) is soothing, but what truly amazes me is the enormous window on the left side of the tower. It was unnoticeable from the angle we came into the house even though it consumes nearly the entire wall. But what dwarfed the window was the forest. Sprawling for miles and miles until all that remained was a green blur and mist in the horizon. The sky was very cloudy tonight, not that I minded, I love rain and storms. The house seemed to be missing a balcony though. Maybe that’s why the real-estate agent was so bent on making it cheap. I mean, for such a “lavish” house, a balcony is a must.
I check the time. Barely eight o’ clock. But the trip was so tiring and my bed looked so warm and fluffy. I let myself fall on the warm pink sheets. Oh look, they even placed some of my teddy bears. I should really go brush my teeth, but it’s just so warm…
My neck is sore when I wake up. Six o’ clock. I yawn and stretch a bit, then stumble towards the bathroom. I turn on the hot water, but then I realize I don’t even know where my clothes were stored. Crap. I trudge downstairs into the kitchen to ask my mum and dad for clothes, but there is no one except a note on the refrigerator.
We went into the city nearby to find some work. We have money for a hotel. There’s food in the fridge for at least three days. Love you.
I reread my father’s note (I could tell it was his because no one’s handwriting is that sloppy. He rivals doctors) and groan out loud. Leave it to them to leave me alone on our first official day. I sigh and go the kitchen window to open it and let some fresh “American” air in. The kitchen also has somewhat of a view of the forest. I stare into the trees. I hate them. All of their trunks look aligned and artificial. All of the leaves obscure the back of the trunks, filling up the gaps between the trunks with a sickening green. And then I see it again and almost fall. The tall slender figure, barely noticeable in the thin trunks of the trees. I remember it from when I was younger and still lived in Germany. I was out playing in the park one morning despite all the recent child disappearances. I guess I kind of wandered into the wooded area of the park and couldn’t find my way out. It was then when I saw it a few meters away. Tall and silent. I didn’t catch its face, but I didn’t want to. I ran like hell and never went back into the park. The memory still festers in my mind even though I never spoke to anyone about it. And it has never reappeared until now, seven years later. I brave another glimpse at the woods and it is gone. I’m just nervous, that’s what I am, I tell myself. But deep inside, I know that this is much more serious and dangerous than what I’m trying to make it out to be. I shut the window, close the curtains and wander to the basement to look for my clothes.