A mouse and a kidnapper
I sprinted along the path, thoughts running through my head at maximum speed. I had to catch that mouse.
So close. I was already at the front door. I just had to get to the guest bedroom before Aunt Miriam, and remove the mouse and everything would be fine.
If I was too late... my parents would be mad. Deadly mad. Aunt Miriam only visited once a year.
If they had told me about the guest earlier, I could have moved the mouse to my own bedroom with time to spare. As it was, I only knew about the visit because of Marlen, who owned the corner store in town.
I was at the top of the stairs. I could see the closed door of the guest bedroom. I froze.
A scream pierced serene quiet of the house. I shuddered. Aunt Miriam had found the jar with the mouse.
There was nothing to do but turn and run. Run down the stairs, out the door. I ran all the way down the hill.
My ribbon had come untied, and my hair flew out behind me in a great cloud of fiery red.
I had to hide and let their anger subside.
“Charlie!,” my father yelled from the top of the hill.
I hesitated a second, wondering if running was a mistake. Sometimes adults take off punishment if you turn around and confess. My senses told me this was not one of those times.
I continued running along the streets, not watching where I was going.
I rammed straight into a tall woman with curly blond hair. I glanced upward at her, expecting to be scolded. She just smiled.
“You’re running away from something?”
I nodded my head, thinking of what my mother had told me. ‘don’t speak to strangers.’
“Me too. Maybe I could help you.,” the lady said in a sweet voice, “I’m sure that a girl as intelligent as you could help me.”
Her words seemed to fill me with a sense of safety, and all suspicion I held melted away like butter.
“Who are you running from?,” I inquired.
Her brow furrowed, as if she was considering something and was deep in thought.
“I’m not sure that a street as open as this is the right place to speak of the subject. I trust you well enough, but there are others who wish me harm. Why don’t you come with me, and I will tell you all about it, beside a nice fire?,” she said after a moment.
I did not hesitate to consent, because her voice was so soothing and light.
She held out her arm to me and I took it, and together we strolled down the street towards the nice lady’s home.
Her house was not far from the place where we had met, and we were there in just a few minutes.
My jaw dropped at the large white marble columns holding up the most beautiful house I had seen in my life. The house itself was huge, and it was surrounded by the most lush and wonderful garden.
“Do you want come inside? I think dinner is being prepared right now, and I have the most talented chef. I daresay he could make something you would enjoy,” she said elegantly.
I nodded, my mouth already watering from the mention of food. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.
“Miss,” I asked, “ what is your name?”
She answered immediately, “Caliya is my name. And yours?”
Her eyes seemed full of genuine curiosity, but had I been in my right mind, I would have notice the malice hidden behind the curtain of kindness.
Unfortunately, I was oblivious to anything that might cause me a shred of suspicion towards the lady.
“Caliya.” I whispered to myself. To Caliya I answered, “My name is Charolette.” I didn’t ever let anyone call me Charolette, but this beautiful woman was special. ‘Charlie’ just wasn’t pretty enough.
She close her eyes. “Why don’t we go inside now, Charolette. Dinner is probably ready, and we wouldn’t want to let it get cold, would we.”
I agreed with her, and we strolled up the marble steps to the beautifully carven wooden door.
Caliya smiled at me. “why don’t you knock on the door, Charolette. I’m afraid I don’t have the keys.”
I felt somehow apprehensive as I raised my fist and knocked on the door. The sound of my knuckles tapping the wood echoed through the giant house.
There was a great commotion on the other side of the door, and the knob turned slowly.
I had a feeling that I didn’t belong there, that I should run home. Caliya didn’t seem as warm and welcoming. In fact, she seemed cold and evil.
The door swung open just as I turned to run home, but Caliya was waiting for me, and she pushed me through the doorway.
I found myself surrounded by darkness. A deep, old, musty, darkness that seemed to reach inside me.
Footsteps seemed to echo off the walls, before fading into laughter. I could feel Caliya’s presence at my left.
Her cold, slender arms lifted me up. I tried to kick and scream, only to be silenced by the thick air.
There was a sense of forward motion, and I heard a door swing open. Caliya lay me down on the floor. I heard the door lock with a loud click.