A Tale of adventure
Overlapping Waves
The First Signs
I’ll remember our seaside city as it was this day. Before the chimneys stopped smoking, when people still bothered to do laundry. When the grand hotel was always booked, so weary travelers had to rent out our spare room. And I’ll remember our last guest, the one who stopped the world.
Our small home was more of a shack made out of wood from the only patch of trees that stood in the busy, but quaint, town by the ocean, waves forming a large cliff that outlined the border of it. I grasped Mum’s hand, happy to serve another customer as we heard the doorbell ring from the backyard. The hotel had started declining in customers, which meant that we only had two travelers a week coming into our home, normally taking a bite of hard bread and passing out for the night.
“A customer!” I say to Mum, and we run into the house. I remember being shocked the first time I saw our new house guest, a woman with a scraggly pack and a tub full of water. She set her tub down at the door, throwing her pack down with it. I glanced at Mum, and she nodded towards the stairs, which lead up to a loft were Mum and I slept almost every night.
I smile at the woman, who gave me a painless, emotionless, full of nothingness grin.
I walk up the stairs, following Mum’s instructions. But I stop as soon as I reach the loft. Usually Mum makes me go upstairs when she’s unsure of the mannerisms and intentions of the customers, and she doesn’t want anything bad to happen. I’m only eleven, after all. I listen closely to their conversation from my perch at the top of the stairs, where the dark wood meets his lighter toned brother, the flooring for our loft.
“Hello, welcome to Guest House Inn. Would you like a small or a large room?” Mum says.
I peek at the woman, who is eyeing our two rooms. “I’ll sleep in the living room.”
“Well, we usually have breakfasts and-“
“Do you have any customers to even have breakfasts?” Says the woman, obviously annoyed. She places her things down where she wants to sleep. “I’m sleeping here.” Mum nods, setting up a soft blanket and a small nightstand, and hustling into the kitchen. I shiver, noticing the open window near my side of the bed. I stand up, and walk over the close it.
“I can’t believe you weren’t listening!” A man’s voice yells from the house next to ours.
“I can’t believe you keep doing this to me!” Says a young boy’s voice. I inch closer to the window, first making sure that Mum and our new guest don’t see me eavesdropping on the neighbors.
“Go to the attic! And stay there!” Says the man’s voice. I hear a door slam. The boy starts to bang on the door, and then I hear a plopping noise as he most likely slumps on the floor.
I sit back down. What was that all about?
A small creak gets my attention, and I look out the window again. The window of the boys house is slowly opening, and a small, timid hand reaches out of the window.
He inches closer to the window, shivering in the unusual snow of their seaside town. I notice his light blue striped pajama pants. This wasn’t a planned escape. I continue watching the boy, his shaky hands as he climbs up on the railing, and we both shiver, a blast of cold wind blowing the smoke from the chimneys east. I can’t help but worry for him, as he steps up onto the slippery roof, and gasps. I turn my attention towards his neck, which is acting as a hanger for a thin chain with a key dangling off it.
It’s sliding off his neck, and jangles as it hits the rooftop.
“No!” He whispers. Inching towards the gutter, his foot starts to slip. He fortunately catches himself, climbing back onto the balcony.
“Good. He’s safe,” I say, a little too loudly. He whips his head around towards me.
“Hey! You there!” He says. “Why are you watching me?” I look around, suddenly hoping Mum was up here with me.
“I’m sorry. I was just-“ The boy’s eyes widen, and I know that I’m not alone.
“What are you doing, talking to the boy!” Says our new house guest. She rips a gadget off her pocket, and the boy disappears, running to the attic door screaming to be let out.
My mind freezes as she drops the device on the floor. I try to think. And I finally close my thoughts around one idea. She knows he’s not just some random boy.
And he knows it too.
“Who are you!” I scream at the woman. “Tell me your name!” I cough as fog from the gadget clouds the room, and my lungs tighten.
“Launie.” She says, and the smoke starts to escape downstairs and out into the streets. “Like you’ll ever need it.”
And as I slowly fell on the floor, I see her slip out the window just as my world goes black.
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