Dana wishes she’d have just followed one rule...
The Mystery of Windesta Creek
Home Office
It was like school in the Principal’s house. Only, I never went to his office. But I heard about it, and it was exactly like the place.
He sat at a mahogany desk, stacks of papers piled up. The Principal had a short, black beard, and slicked back, greasy hair. He was in pajamas, but they were proper, dignified, night clothes. And he glared at me.
“ You’ve always been one of the best students, and with a perfectly clean record. What would give you such an idea that you had the right to break into my office and take a personal item?” I shuddered at his words, and returned the bobble head.
“ Thank you for small mercies.” He said dramatically, like he was in a play instead of punishing me. I looked at the papers, like they were the most interesting things in the world instead of essays on kid’s bad behavior. I felt nausea rising in my throat and turned away.
He shifted the huge rock paper weight sitting on his desk that protected not even a single sheet, so he could look at me in the eye. I averted my hazel ones.
“ Why, Dana? I asked you why, not how the penmanship of the trouble makers who came before you was. Tell me, or Juvy for both you and your friend who’s sitting outside. Michelle, I think it is.”
“ Honestly, it started today, when Michelle and Kasey brought brownie to my house. Then they told me they were staging an intervention because I was too good. I thought that I was fine, but when Michelle said she was doing it, I had to come, but, you see, Kasey thought of stealing the bobble head. Kasey-“
“ That’s enough about sweet Kasey who was the one calling your mother today.” He interrupted, “ She obviously isn’t any type of crook, only a good person who wanted to save you and Michelle from your selves.” That’s when I burst.
“ Okay, I get it. I get it now,” I croaked, “ You’ll send me to Juvy no matter what. I’m sorry about what we did already. I don’t need a meeting to make me feel worse. Just hand me the sentence.” To my utter revulsion, he chuckled.
“ You have quite a flair for dramatics, Miss. Purple. But that isn’t what I have in mind for you at all! In fact, I won’t put anything on your record, because it’s a first time offense. But there is one thing you must do.”
“ What!” I cried eagerly, “ Anything!” I realized later that I shouldn’t have said that.
“ Okay, this summer, you’ll be sent away to your Aunt Greta’s house on a lovely little island called Windesta Creek.” He said pleasantly.
“ But why is it called Windesta Creek if you say it’s an island? And I don’t have an Aunt Greta, right mom?” Dad had no siblings, and mom only had one brother, my Uncle Joe. Greta was no where on the Purple family tree.
“ Actually...” My mom’s face was stony, “ She’s my younger sister. But she’s a real... what you may call a free spirit. She left home at seventeen, when there was a bad earthquake in the Middle East. She went to nurse the wounded and tend to the sick. And she never came back. Instead, she went to Italy, then Canada, then Haiti, and France, all for volunteer work that she thought was worthy. My father and mother were heartbroken. But now she’s lived in Windesta Creek for three years, and she’s settled down. I wish I knew more about her,” mom said bitterly, “ She used to send one post card every Christmas, but even that stopped eventually. I only just got one. The first one in six years.”
“ Mom! Why didn’t you ever tell me! I know she left, but didn’t I deserve to know before now? I have an Aunt, and I never even met her. Now I have to go live on her ironically named island?! What is with that?” I raged.
“ It was too hard to talk about. And besides, it’s either Aunt Greta, or it’s a nice, homey, juvenile correction center. Your choice.” She said stoically. I, on the other hand, was the opposite of stoic. I was angry, angry, angry, angry! First Kasey, now this? Could I really trust anyone completely?
“ I see that it’s settled, then.” Said the Principal. I had seen him so few times that I didn’t even know his name. Now I was glad I didn’t know him, because this was extraordinarily unpleasant.“ Goodbye, Dana. Michelle, enter.” I lingered just in time to see Michelle quavering under the Principal’s steely gaze.
“ I’m still really upset with you, honey.” Mom said.
Packing was hard. I had to take everything I needed for a full summer, one that was supposed to be filled with friends, and family, and fun. Now it was tainted.
I had to throw 30 outfits in two suitcases. Apparently on the island, they only had a laundry day once a month, the day people went to the mainland. It was that, or wash my clothes in the icy ocean.
While I was packing my posters (can’t leave home without them), I stumbled across a photo of me and Kasey. I knew it was childish, but I ripped it in half.
Then, I had my collection of paintings under the bed to reconcile with. I had never told anyone about them, and they were my pride. I had spent hours making each one, ever since I had discovered finger painting in kindergarten. I loved my paintings through and through, but no one else knew about them. Sometimes I believed that I could showcase my art someday, but then I thought that people might hate them. So, I had long ago decided that they were better off left private.
My favorite was the oil painting of a swing set in Autumn, leaves gently falling onto it’s rusty seat. But I also thought my Willow tree sketch was pretty good, too.
They were massive, so I couldn’t take any. But I hid my paints, brushes, and a tiny canvas in the side compartment of the bag. Not that any old island would inspire me at all. It was probably bleak and ugly, with a population of about 10. Even our 879 person town would be beautiful and huge in comparison.
It hurt the most to leave them.
The next day, I was packed, and ready to catch my airplane flight. I told my paintings I would miss them. I knew that it was crazy to talk to paintings, but I always felt better with them right there.
I hugged Dad and Mom, and both were still upset, but had forgiven me.
“ Kiddo, remember, this is a new opportunity for adventure!” Dad said. Mom nudged him. “ And of course, learning discipline!” He added in an extra high voice, just to make me laugh. It worked like a charm.
“ I love you both.” I told them. It was pretty heartfelt, to be honest, but I was miserable. I was leaving the town I loved and the family I adored for an Aunt I’d never met, and I had been betrayed by Kasey. No fame, or glory- she’d just set me up. I got airsick, too. Going on a plane was going to be a total nightmare. I at least hoped Michelle was faring better then I was. I couldn’t call her, though. She had somehow went from a best friend to an untrusted person.
“ Flight B-89 is leaving shortly.” An automated voice resonated through hidden speakers. That was my flight, and as I gave my last goodbyes, and began to run to the plane. I was late as is, and with my luck, the plane would leave without me.
I sat in the third class seats just in the nick of time, and declined the musty old peanuts the stewardess offered me.
The lift off was terrible. Despite the gum in my mouth, my ears stung like live crabs were attached to them, and I could barely hear. There was a weird hairy guy listening to some obscure rock band next to me. Great. Even worse, I got plane sick within a minute.
A storm was brewing, and for the next twenty minutes, the plane shook mightily with turbulence. Thunder cracked so loudly I could hear it from where I sat. The windows were open and made me feel even worse.
“ Can you please close the windows?” I politely squeaked at the Heavy Metal Dude. He was in the middle of a completely awkward hair whip, and looked at me, utterly annoyed.
“ No. I like the stormy view, dude. It’s like my soul.” So, the rest of the flight, I felt completely awful, just because he liked to see what his soul looked like.
Two hours and 4 odious playlists later, we touched down, and the crabs came right back. I felt like my ears were going to bleed, but I made it to the ground, woozy and dizzy, and completely unprepared for what I was soon to face.
I stumbled into the airport, a little, run down place, and I somehow knew that this was a new chapter of my life I was about to begin. I was all too right.
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