Terrah looked around in fear, she was in a room but it was too dark to tell which. She suddenly heard a laugh – a deep, ghastly chuckle that chilled her to her very bones.
“So, you’ve figured out my little secret, haven’t you, clever one.”
“Who are you? What the heck do you want from me?!” Terrah screamed into the void surrounding her.
“Who am I?” the voice answered, “Well little girl you should be asking who are you?”
“What?” Terrah questioned, “What do I have to do with anything?!”
“Foolish child,” he bellowed, “you’re the very reason I’m in this mess, all the problems you’ve faced today was your own fault, Terrah.”
“H-How do you know my name,” she stuttered.
“Well, why wouldn’t I know the name of great grandniece.” He chuckled.
“What!” Terrah said shocked.
“Of course my darling Terrah, after all you grandmother was none other than Rose Davis, my own niece.” the voice replied menacingly.
“Rose Davis…wait!” Terrah realized, “You’re Damien Abraams, the owner of this stupid manor!”
“Well I wouldn’t call it stupid, rather an expressive investment choice,” he snickered.
“How am I even speaking to you? You died over a hundred years ago!”
“You stole something from me, Terrah – and now, my dear Terrah, I’m going to steal it back.” Dark laughter filled the halls, and the lights went out. Terrah screamed for her friends –
“Jaxon? Jess?!” But nobody came. Desperately, she fumbled for something, anything in this entire room. Suddenly her hands felt a doorknob, desperately she tried to wrench the door open. A few hard placed pushes and the door flew open, throwing her into a room behind it. The only light emanating from the room was from a couple of candles, clustered in the corners. Against one wall, a small bed – more of a child’s bed really. It was primly made, and covered in stuffed animals. Clearly, whoever it belonged to hadn’t been there in a while. As Terrah looked around, she heard a soft tinkling noise. She whirled around, and saw a small music box, about three inches in diameter and perfectly round, with a delicate china ballerina spinning with her toe en pointe in the middle. Terrah recognized the song, and without realizing it, began to softly hum the tune.
“Rock a bye- baaaaby on the tree-top, when the wind blows, the cradle will rooock…” Terrah looked around the room, and in one sweep, noticed all that was wrong with it – the over fanciness for a child’s room, the chill, and the – Terrah gasped – the old doctors mask, tucked away in the corner, a memory that desperately begged to be forgotten but refused to go away. The pain and agony threatened her, and all Terrah could think about was the uncanny similarities between her and that girl. Why did she die, why was she related to her, and why in the world did they share the same necklace? This stupid field trip, the entire reason behind Terrah’s drastic change in luck. All Terrah wanted was to leave, to go back home and into her parents loving arms. She succumbed to the pressure and retrieved herself onto the floor, cradling her body in her arms. Silent sobs escaped from her mouth, hollow and filled with dread. At that very moment, Terrah looked up to see a frail little girl staring down at her. She was enfolded in a silky night robe, covered head to toe in a blanket that was several sizes too big for her. Terrah looked up, and asked,
“Who…who are you?!” The little girl suddenly looked very, very sad.
“Who are you? Why are you in my room?” Terrah looked confused, then immediately realized who she was talking to.
“Y-You’re that girl, the one in the painting, Elizabeth Abraams. Right?” Terrah asked quietly.
“Yes, of course,” said Elizabeth, slightly perplexedly. “But how do you know who I am. Who are you?”
Terrah was about to say, ‘I’m your cousin, or descendant, supposedly.” but something told her not to, so as not to frighten the child. Instead, she said,
“Why are you speaking to me?” Elizabeth looked very sad yet again.
“I was hoping that you would play with me, no one’s played with me since I got sick…” And at that, she looked so very sad that Terrah couldn’t help but feel inclined to help her, to stay here and play with this lonely girl. She just wanted someone to be there with her…forever. Terrah snapped out of it.
“I’d love to, really – but I’m afraid I can’t. I-I have to save my friends, we’re all stuck here.”
“Stuck? What do you mean?” Elizabeth asked innocently.
“Well I believe it has something to do with your father. He thinks we stole something.” Suddenly, Elizabeth’s face hardened.
“Where did you get that?” She demanded.
“What?” Terrah asked, surprised at her sudden change in expressions.
“That necklace. It’s mine! Where did you get it?” she cried.
“It was in my family for generations…It was in our family for generations.” Terrah explained slowly.
“What?” Elizabeth asked, shocked.
“I don’t really understand, but I think that your housemaid, Rose David, was my grandmother.” Terrah concluded.
“W-What, she was your grandmother?” she asked.
“I guess,” Terrah shrugged, “the whole family tree is still confusing to me.” The little girl suddenly looked very panicked.
“H-How is that possible, y-you’d have to be…What year is it?!” Elizabeth pressed, frightened. Terrah felt dread overcome her,
“What year. Please” Eliza begged.
“It’s… it’s 2020.” Terrah sighed, revealing the truth. Elizabeth’s eyes widened, her mouth ajar.
“I-I died…didn’t I…I died and left my mother father alone, breaking their hearts.” Elizabeth said, clutching her fists and placing her arms firmly by her side.
“N-No you didn’t break their hearts Elizabeth-” Terrah started but was quickly cut off.
“Of course I did! I died! I left them all alone!” Elizabeth screamed, the tears streaming rapidly down her cheeks.
“But you didn’t leave them alone,” Terrah screamed, trying to comfort her, “how could you leave them alone when all you’ve given them is a lifetime of memories for them to remember you by.”
“What?” Elizabeth said, looking at her.
“Well,” Terrah began, “my grandma always used to say that you’re never truly alone when you have the remembrance of the feeling surrounding you.”
“You remember the sun on your face or how it felt when your parents hugged you, but you’d never forget the memory. Sure you may be gone but it doesn’t mean that you disappear forever.” Terrah smiled.
Elizabeth sniffed, and returned the kind gesture.
“Your grandma sounds sweet, was she Rose?”
“No,” Terra said, “but she was related to her.” Eliza merely nodded in response, wiping her eyes of the tears that overcame them. Terrah knew what she had to do, even if she didn’t want to do it. But at least her grandmother would be proud.
“Here,” Terrah said as she unhooked her pendant, “you should have this, it is yours after all.” Elizabeth stared at the necklace like a child staring at a gift that wasn’t there own.
“I-I shouldn’t, I mean I’m already dead-” Eliza dejected, attempting to push the necklace back into her own hands but Terrah ignored her and insisted.
“No, you should have it, keep it with you so you can remember how you felt when you were with your parents, happy, blessed, whatever.” she chuckled.
After a few seconds Eliza grabbed the necklace without a second thought. She calmly hooked it around her neck as Terrah helped hold up her fiery hair. With a warm glow in her eyes Eliza touched the pendant that laid across its rightful place and looked Terrah in the eyes one last time.
“Thank you.” was all she said before seemingly fading before Terrah’s eyes. And somehow mimicking Eliza’s disappearance, the room surrounding Terrah started to fade away as well, as if it all became part of a forgotten memory. Not completely gone but still leaving a fuzzy feeling within your heart. She stood up looking around her, the room that felt cold and distant, was now bright and glowing with life, and in the moment Terrah knew she had truly done the right thing. Terrah closed her eyes, pleased with her actions, until she was violently shaken by a figure beside her.
“Huh what?” Terrah opened eyes surprised to see that the figure violently shaking her seconds before had been none other than Jess.
“Oh my god Jess I thought you were gone!” Terrah screamed with joy as she jumped herself towards her confused friend.
“What are you talking about Terrah?” Jess asked confused as she held Terrah down by the shoulders.
“Y-You and everyone else,” she continued, “you all disappeared and t-there was a clock and Truth or Dare and-”
“What do you mean, we’ve all been here waiting for Mrs. Hathorne to help set up the bus outside but you dozed off for a few minutes.” Jess explained.
“A few minutes!” Terrah screamed, “N-No we’ve been here for 8 hours, snowed in.”
“Girl are you crazy,” Nate yelled from in front of the two girls, “we’ve been here for 2 hours at the most, but it has felt like an entire school day if that’s what you mean.”
“Terrah, are you ok? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Jess asked, rubbing her arm.
Terrah wanted to tell her everything, that she had in fact seen a ghost and her own friends disappear right before her very eyes. But something in her mind told her not to. That maybe all of this, the clock, the manor, the craziness, had all been some dream Terrah just managed to think up.
“Yeah I’m fine, just a little hungry, that’s all,” She said, mustering up the world’s most forced smile.
“Ok then.” Jess sighed looking away. Suddenly the front door swept open, revealing a shivering Mrs. Hathorne covered head to toe in thick clothing attire.
“Alright pop-tarts, the bus drivers ready for us so get off your butts and into that bus before I permanently give you all F’s for the rest of the semester!” She screamed. Frantically the students of Willowbrook Middle sprinted out of the manor and into the bus before Mrs. Hathorne screamed at them yet again.
Terrah plopped down beside Jess in their joint seats. Jess immediately stared out the window, becoming fascinated by the millions of snowflakes falling peacefully outside. Terrah smiled at her and quickly turned her attention to her phone to text her mother of her near arrival. Silently clicking away on her messages, Terrah had barely noticed that Jaxon had sat in the seat in front of her and turned around to look her in the eyes.
“What?” Terrah asked annoyed
“Didn’t there used to be a pendant on your neck all the time, a fire opal or something?” he asked inquisitively. Terrah gasped, her hands rushed up towards her neck frantically searching for her missing necklace. But Jaxon had been right, there was nothing there, just bare skin. Jaxon must have noticed her frightened expression and simply smirked at her.
“Don’t worry Ter-Bear I’ll help you find it.” he said comically. But there had been a distinctive tone behind his words. Terrah rapidly flung her head back towards him, recognizing the nickname from hours before. Jaxon purely winked at her in response, still holding the devilish smirk of his. And for whatever reason, Terrah smirked back. Because the voice in her head had begun to tell her something new. That maybe everything wasn’t a dream after all.
The two stared at each other, sharing a silent agreement. Whatever happened in the Abraams manor should stay in the Abraams manor. Even if everything that happened was something neither of them ever wanted to forget or possibly could. But there was always next year’s field trip. Who knows what secrets will be uncovered then?
~ The End ~