In the Beginning…
Lavender looked down at the body that rested at his feet with some trepidation.
body was that of a young boy, no more than twelve years old. There was a small wound at the back of his head that, even now,
oozed blood onto the white tiled floor underneath him. They boy was clothed in shorts and a t-shirt that had been ripped to
Lavender made a tut-tut sound and moved around, so he could see the body from another angle. It always helped to get a different
perspective on things. He spared a momentary glance at his companion who was standing by the doorway.
The room around them was white, almost blinding. Its cleanliness was in sharp contrast
to the rest of the house. All the other rooms were filled with cobwebs and shadow, inches of dust on table tops. Only the
bathroom was sparkly white.
Mr. Lavender shuddered slightly at the cleanliness of the bathroom. He preferred the
grimier rooms; the ones filled with stacks of old books and papers that littered the floor. He could spend days poring over
the papers; stacks of obituaries, old newspapers that detailed events past. Old things were filled with mystery. With magic.
“You found him like this?” Mr. Lavender asked his companion.
The companion, a thin man with dark, greasy hair and a pale face, nodded. “He was
here this morning.” The man’s voice was gruff compared to Mr. Lavender’s soft toned voice. “I didn’t
touch anything.” The companion was so pale that it looked as if he were going to fade into the whiteness of the walls.
“As well you shouldn’t.” Mr. Lavender said. He moved around the boy
again so that he could see the boys’ eyes. They were still open. “Tut, tut.” He whispered. “What are
we going to do with you, my little popinjay?” He regarded the boy almost sadly, though his mouth did curve into a small
smile. “Well, needs must.” He said simply.
He crouched down closer to the boy. Carefully, he laid the boys’ body on its back,
so that his eyes stared skyward. Mr. Lavender opened the boys’ mouth slightly, as if the boy were forming a sound of
Gently he prodded the boys’ chest with the tips of his fingers. “I am
made from more than blood,” Mr. Lavender whispered. “I am filled with spirit strong.”
In response to his words, the air around them became thick, as if time stood still. He
watched as whiteness, a soft mist, started to crawl out of the boys’ mouth.
“I am made from more than flesh,” Mr. Lavender continued. “I am filled with bloods pure
The rest of the incantation made the air thicker still. The companion watched as the mist leaving the boys quickened
and started to take shape. He watched as Mr. Lavender bend close to the boy and breathed in through his mouth. The mist, slowly
at first as if resisting, started to flow into Mr. Lavender’s open mouth.
When the mist was no more, and Mr. Lavender had closed his mouth, the air around them
became whole once more.
~ The Forgotten Child ~
since Mave Mallory could remember, there were spirits at her Grandmother’s house.
see them roaming the hallways at nighttime, silent pale beings too stubborn to die completely, too afraid to completely die.
She would let her fingers brush through them
as they passed her in the hallways. Some would turn to look at her, a smile on their face. Some avoided Mave’s touch.
They knew she saw them; Mave made no secret about seeing them. Some of them would watch over her at night, sitting in a chair
by the window, guarding her against the things that moved at night.
Her Grandmother told her not to pay them any
mind. She said that they would get her into trouble if she didn’t focus what was in front of her face. She had to remember
to focus. “Others can see the spirits too,” she had said. “But we must remember how to act in front of those
who can’t. You’re more special than you know, Mave Mallory.”
It was wise advice. Mave knew from watching and
listening to other children that they couldn’t see ghosts. Even if they played with her in her Grandmothers house, they
could not see them. Some ghosts would make faces at Mave’s young friends. Mave would sometimes have to hide a smile
or a laugh if she was not focusing enough.
She visited Grandmother every Summer while her
parents were on holiday. They had no wish to be bogged down with a growing adolescent child. She was a shy and awkward thirteen
year old; her legs were long and lankly and her red hair fell in wild curls all over her head. They reached down to the middle
of her back and framed her face in a wild flame of red and gold. The hair made her black eyes stand out all the more. They
were dark, like shadows, surrounded by pools of white.
The effect was very startling. Her parents had
tried to dye her hair, so that she wouldn’t stand out so much. No dye would take. It remained stubbornly curly, stubbornly,
startlingly red. They also tried to get Mave to wear contacts, but they hurt her eyes too much. So she remained as she was.
Her parents, both blonde and blue eyed, were startled by the way she looked. The only person in her family that resembled
Mave was her Grandmother. They were almost identical in appearance, except that Grandmother’s hair had faded to a soft
took Mave a few years to realize that her parents were actually afraid of her. “They mean well dear,” Grandmother
had told her, “But look at them. They’re so pasty.” She had said with a grin. It didn’t help matters
much. She would wander her own house all year long, her parents determined to not pay attention to her. It had gotten so bad
as of late that they ignored her presence completely, no matter what she tried to do.
They were both too busy living their important
lives. They both worked as Real Estate Brokers and played Tennis in the afternoons at country clubs. They had martinis in
the evening by pools, went to parties late at night and didn’t come home till early in the morning. They were often
drunk and had no time to spend on a weird looking daughter who didn’t fit in, who didn’t belong. Together, they
joked that Mave was actually a child of that Dark Prince, that her black gaze hailed from darker waters than theirs. They
were afraid of her, afraid of their own daughter, so they mocked her.
This year had been particularly horrible. Her
parents had ignored her completely since her return from her Grandmothers house last Summer. She would scream at them to get
their attention and still they didn’t hear her. She had to fend entirely for herself. She had had to make her own meals,
buy her own clothes, and find her own way to school. Her parents had just pretended like she didn’t exist.
“You can’t pretend I don’t
exist you know,” She said to her mother one morning a few weeks after her return. “I’m your daughter.”
Her mother continued to make coffee and toast.
Her mother’s eyes were bloodshot and her hair was mussed. She passed a coffee and a plate to her father, who sat behind
his morning newspaper. “Here’s your toast dear.” Her mother said.
Her father grunted in return.
Mave made herself a bowl of cereal and poured
herself a glass of orange juice. She munched on the cereal for a while, watching her parents. She could feel them not looking
at her, knew that they were trying their best to pretend she wasn’t there.
It had been the same every day since her return
on the 31st of October. She always returned from her Grandmother’s house on Halloween, after she had been
taken Trick-Or-Treating. Usually, her parents made noises about how much candy she had gotten, how it would rot her teeth.
This time when she had come home, no one was there to greet her at the door.
The front door had been locked.
She had pounded on it, beat it with her fists.
Still the lights remained out and the door did not open. Mave wished she had not turned down her Grandmother’s offer
of accompanying her home to her front step. Her Grandmother knew what her parents were like. But they had never done something
Mave beat on the front door for what seemed like
hours until she finally admitted defeat. She went into the backyard and found a soft patch of grass underneath one of the
oak trees her mother grew and prized so much. Before closing her eyes, before sleep claimed her, she watched the stars shine
above her. She saw one fall and wished for something pleasant.
When the sun cleared the hills the next day,
Mave was already awake. She had woken when the sun was just peeking over the horizon. She ran to the front door, knowing her
parents would be stepping out to get the morning paper soon. They could not keep her out of the house forever.
When her mother had come out of the house to
get the paper, she only spared Mave a cold sneer before turning her back on her. At least she left the door open, Mave thought.
Since that day, Mave had lived a very lonely
existence. Neither of her parents would bother to drive her to school, so she did not leave the house. Her parents would not
let her associate with any other children, so she had no friends. Her only confidant was her Grandmother and her parents would
not take her calls, would not let Mave talk to her. When Mave was able to sneak a call to her Grandmother, she told her everything
was fine, that she was okay. She could tell that her Grandmother didn’t believe her.
Lost in her reverie, she was startled out of
it by her mother speaking to her father. “We have that party to go to tonight, George.” She said. Her voice was
shrill and high pitched.
“Will there be free booze there?”
“Darling, you know they always have a host
bar. The party is at the Hudsons.”
“Joan sweetheart, do we have to go? You
know I can’t stand how that Chrissy woman natters on.”
It was rare for her parents to talk at dinner.
Mave figured they were trying really hard to ignore her. She reached out and slapped her father’s paper. He simply flicked
it and placed it in front of him again. Her mother didn’t look in her direction. Mave decided to push her luck and flung
some cereal at her with her spoon.
Her mother sniffed, but ignored it. To pick the
cereal out of her hair would be to admit her daughter was sitting at the table. Mave admired her mother’s willpower.
With a small sound of rage, Mave flung her cereal bowl across the table, followed by her glass or orange juice.
Both splattered all over the kitchen walls and
the glass had shattered. Neither of her parents moved to clean anything up. She knew they would not do so until she left the
Fresh tears sliding down her cheeks, she ran
from the room, a forgotten child in a cold house.
It was January before Mave finally called Grandmother.
She had arrived in a roaring temper. “She is your child!” She had yelled at her parents.
“I wish she wasn’t.” Her mother
Mave, listening in the next room, could hear
everything. She knew she would never win her parent’s back again. She knew that she would now remain a secret to them,
that to the outside world, they didn’t have a child.
“How could you say such a thing?”
Grandmother yelled at her mother. “I raised you better than this! She’s only thirteen and you’re letting
her fend for herself!”
“She frightens us.” Her father whispered.
“Mona, you don’t understand. When she looks at us, it’s as if…”
“What?” Her Grandmother had demanded.
Mave had decided she couldn’t listen to
anymore. She had run to her bedroom and slammed the door, hidden underneath a pile of blankets. She had known her parents
didn’t want her, but she had no real wish to hear it out loud. It stabbed her heart and made her feel empty. She wiped
at her face when she heard footsteps outside her bedroom door.
“I am taking you with me now.” Mona
had said softly through the closed door. “Pack your things. You are coming to my place.”