Dana wishes she’d have just followed one rule...
The Mystery of Windesta Creek
CHAPTER
25
Littered Traces
My paintings were gone, I knew in my lucid dream. I was in the woods, but not in my woods. This was a new woods. This was a fantasy woods where anything could happen. But not my paintings. Even here, I knew they were not coming back, just like Miss. Hollis.
In this woods, I was pale. Dangerously pale. I had black hair, the type I had always wanted. I wore a lovely, soft looking cape. Looks could be deceiving, though. The fabric was as coarse as sandpaper. I rubbed my hand against it. It was dry as my cracked lips.
“Am I dead?” I wondered aloud. My voice echoed across the fantasy forest. No one was there.
“Too bad you’re not.” Sighed a voice behind me. Kasey. She was reading a news paper, with some celebrity death on the front that I couldn’t make out.
“Why are you here?” I demanded.
“Why, aren’t we friends? Come on. This forest stretches forever. There’s room enough for me.” She smiled wide and her teeth were fangs.
“You betrayed me, you hate me, and we’re not friends. Leave now.” I maintained in my weak voice.
The leaves in the forest flicked up and circled around Kasey, a miniature storm. She plucked a leaf up, and it turned into a crystal ball. She wiped it, and offered it to me. I took it, gazing into the images.
I was in 6th grade. Kasey, Michelle and I were at recess, on the playground. I was showing them a cool monkey bar flip that I could do. Michelle was impressed. Kasey was not.
She pushed me off the monkey bars and into the wood chips. I got a few cuts that day, and a few bruises.
“What’s this for?” I demanded.
“Keep looking.” She told me. I saw the next memory.
In eighth grade, I was in math class when my hand was accidentally stapled. I thought I had done it, because I was so clumsy. But looking back, I remembered that Kasey had been standing next to me. I had thought nothing of it at the time. She was my friend, after all. I was hurt. But even though I knew Kasey had really done it, I chose to tell the teacher I had done it myself. Because I was, of course, the good girl.
“I remember that, you didn’t have to show me.” I scoffed.
“Dummy, I told you to keep looking!” Kasey rolled her eyes.
“What ever I say, you do it. You’re annoying and so, so gullible.”
Kasey in third grade. She played house with Michelle and I. The “father dolly” was dressed up in a raggedy old suit. It was gross, and I didn’t want to touch it. So Kasey had forced us to come to dinner and eat a stick. I nibbled mine, and I was saved by Kasey’s mom coming to pick her up.
“Your mom was nothing like you. She was so nice. Why are you so awful?” I mused.
“Maybe I get my personality from my father. Yes, I have one last thing to show you, you nitwit.”
Scruffy on the plane to Elwes. He was yelling, yelling to Suit about his daughter. His daughter who suit said was a nasty piece of work. Scruffy had a daughter. I remember wondering who it was. Now it seemed so obvious. So obvious. Kasey didn’t start being awful by betraying me that night. She’d been doing it for years.
“You’re Scruffys daughter! You’ve been in cahoots with him and Suit and Lil the whole time! Why?”
“You know, I’m just a figment of your imagination,” she smirked, “I’m not telling you anything. It’s you, it’s your memories. You just forgot. I’m not really telling you anything except what you’ve already seen. And you knew for a while before the whole bobble head thing that I really wanted to hurt you.”
I realized that she was right. I had known that she wanted to damage me, for years. But why? How did her betrayal fit in with Scruffy, Suit and Lils illegal activities on the island? I just didn’t understand.
“Kasey?” I called. But the wind whistled and she was gone. The leaves swirled around me, picking me up, and I soared through the air as I said goodbye to the Fantasy Forest.
“What should we write on her tombstone?” I heard.
“She’s not dead, Charisma!” Gwen objected.
“How about that? Good idea, Gwen. People will think she’s a zombie. She’s not dead has a certain ring to it-“
“Because it’s true.” I muttered softly.
Gwen cheered and Parker clapped. Charisma groaned a little, but she didn’t seem so unhappy. She actually sounded a little pleased.
“I’m so happy you’re alive, Dana. Charisma was going to cremate you.” Parker said dryly.
“Ha ha, very funny.”
“No, it’s true.” Charisma piped up.
I sat up, taking in my surroundings. I was far from Lils house. I was in Parkers, now spick and span tree house on the floor. My hand was wrapped, and I felt pretty sore. But I would be fine in a few hours. I didn’t think I had a concussion or anything. I was glad Charisma forced me to run from the grenade. All I had lost was my paintings. Even that hurt, a lot. They were really special to me, and no one had even seen them...no one except Gwen and Parker. And now, no one ever would.
No time to dwell on that, anyways. I had to share my memories about Kasey, before I forgot them.
“So, I had a memory.” I told them.
“About what?” Parker furrowed his brow.
“Well, I remembered all those times my friend, Kasey, had tried to hurt me. She was the one who had sent me here.”
“Yeah, you stole a bobble head, right?” Charisma said.
“Yeah, so I remembered that she was trying to hurt me even before the bobble head incident. She was always there. Always against me. But more importantly then that, I remembered that Scruffy is actually her dad!”
What?!“ Gwen flailed her arms.
I took a deep, long yoga breathe. It was going to be difficult for them to take this in, but they needed to know who was on their side, and who was not.
“She’s always been working with Suit, Scruffy, and Lil! She sent me here on purpose! I don’t know what purpose, but she’s a lot more dangerous then she seems!” I blurted out.
Everyone in the room receded into silence. Parker frowned. Gwen folded her arms. Charisma fingered her dagger. And I just sat there. All of us were quiet. But did they believe me? Or did they think the explosion had addled my mind? I stood up. My legs gave out, and the wood once again made contact with my legs.
“Are you okay, Dana? Because I don’t think some kid from your hometown is in league with murderers and art thieves.” Charisma voiced.
“You have to believe me here. Kasey has some ulterior motive! I saw it in my dream. And it wasn’t just a dream! I saw my own memories, I’m serious.”
Charisma raised one eyebrow and her lips grew thin.
“You’re trying to tell me that you’re getting all this from a dream?”
I knew she didn’t believe me. Know one would, and I knew it. I might as well just go up to Kasey and hand her and give her a personal invitation to come right over. It wouldn’t change anything, because no one trusted me with the truth.
Then, I heard the sound of doom. The sound of a helicopter landing right outside the tree house. Another came around the back. We were surrounded!
Just then, Lil and Suit all exited their helicopter and climbed up into our tree house. Charisma took out her dagger. But she couldn’t take down all of them.
Lil came in first.
“Aw, Dana. Little children shouldn’t run away.” She pouted.
“What do you want? I stole your plane.” I spat.
“Well, I happen to have more then one plane. And this is a helicopter. Although I wouldn’t expect a kindergartner like you to know the difference. See, I have a bone to pick with you. You’ve been far too nosy, for far too long. Miss. Hollis was, too. Look at what happened to her. I killed her myself.”
I gasped. She had killed Miss. Hollis herself? That was horrible. Had she done it with a gun? Well, of course she had.
“Darrin, come in.” She called. A man, a very hot one at that came in, with a short beard, and reflective eyeglasses. Gwen fainted on the spot. It was The Darrin. Darrin The Drum Martyr. Lil had killed him, though! But he was right here, and very alive, and this just didn’t make sense.
“What do you need, Lil?” He responded.
“Well, Darrin,” she said sweetly, “Can you get our guests of honor? I wouldn’t want such special people to miss this party. They, after all, made all this possible.”
I glared at her with all my might. She had dismissed me as a kindergartner, not to mention that she was a horrible criminal. I had no desire to see the aforementioned “Guests of Honor”, although I did have a slight idea of who they were.
Darrin marched out of the tree house, leaving us with Lil and Suit. I had to ask a question that was burning in my mind, while I had the chance.
“What happened to Greta? The real Greta. Did you, k-kill her too? I never got to meet her, you know.” I said. She threw back her high head and laughed.
“You wouldn’t have wanted to meet the real Greta, child. She was such an annoying lady. She helped the needy, yet never showed a drop of loyalty to her own family. Isn’t that irony to you? She left home. You may not like me, Dana. But look at the loyalty I devote to my people. They get everything. Suits, a second chance, riches- anything they want.”
I walked right up to the sick, tall monster and with all my strength, I swiftly kicked her in the shin. She yelped, grabbing her leg, and retaliated with a hard punch to Parker’s face. He stumbled backwards and fell right onto the floor, with a sickening crack.
“You didn’t have to do that! Parker didn’t do anything to you! You can’t just punch people for no reason.” I raged.
“I know everyone’s weaknesses. And you have two. I just exploited them.”
Just as I was about to retort, Darrin burst in, with two people flanking him. He let them go in before he did, with more fear then reverence. The “Guests of Honor” were a man and a girl, with features so similar, that they had to be related. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen this years ago. Darrin had brought in Kasey, and her father, Scruffy.
“Missed me?” Kasey sneered, her lip turning up.
“Who is she?” Charisma demanded.
“I’m Kasey. Dana and I are best friends, aren’t we?”
I felt the urge to vomit. She was actually here, the person who had betrayed me so many times over. The last things we could be was friends. She was going to do something terrible and I knew it.
“Kasey, quit the small talk. Why are you really here?” I backed away into the wall.
“See, here’s the thing. You are basically the most gullible, pathetic person I’ve ever known, Dana. My one goal, all these years, was to hurt you, very, very badly. But that was when we were friends. Last year, I decided that I didn’t just want to hurt you- I wanted to kill you. Daddy helped me make the perfect plan, and now, you can finally die!” She cackled with glee. She was completely deranged. I knew she hated me. But I never knew she actually wanted me dead.
“Well, I escaped from Elwes. I may have been too malleable back then. But now, I’ve fixed a falling airplane, I’ve discovered stolen artwork, I’ve found the catacombs, I’ve out run a hoard of angry people trying to tattoo me. Guess what? You no longer scare me. And you can’t kill me. I have my friends by my side. There’s nothing you can do to hurt me anymore, I know too much.” I told her.
Kasey screamed with annoyance and pulled a tuft of her stringy hair out of her skull. I just stood there, knowing that everything I had said was true. She evidently knew that too.
Daddy! It’s time!” She snapped her fingers.
What did she mean? I didn’t think it was time to eat, or anything. Kasey was talking about a much more ominous time... it was time for me and my friends to disappear
Scruffy stepped in front of his daughter, and his massive, meaty, hands lifted me up. Darrin lifted Gwen up, and Lil literally dragged Parker out of the tree house, his face leaving a crimson trail on the wood. I was unceremoniously dumped in the helicopter. We took off, and flew far, far away.
Create an account

Create an account to get started. It’s free!

Sign up

or sign in with email below