Welcome to The Strangers.
They were gone, everyone that had ever entered my life. I know this might not make much sense, but listen, just for a little while. And never, ever leave. Ever. It all began on a normal day. I was in Charles', my late father's, study-bless him. I was staring at a picture of Rosemary, my late mother, and Sarah, her late sister-bless their souls. The picture was beautiful, however, it was always crooked.
"Coraline," I sighed. "Why is this sideways, again?" "Coraline," I whispered. I turned to face her.
I rolled my eyes, and clicked my tongue.
"Coraline, what say you?" I whispered, again. I walked over to the side of the piano she was playing on.
"What say you?" I asked again. "What?" she snapped. Coraline took her hands off the keys and put them on her lap.
"Uncapable of fixing it yourself?" she asked.
"Olive, forbid the day you do something yourself," Coraline said going back to her piano. I turned around suddenly feeling the urge to go outside into the garden. But after a few steps I froze, staring right in front of myself. I never liked that painting. Never have and possibly never will. That ancient portrait of Charles and us. Olive, myself, was on the left having been the older of the twins. Coraline stood on the right, with bows in her hair, innocent and younger.
And of course, there was my father. He was a madman, lunatic, scary. I never liked him, and neither did Coraline, but she put up with him far better than I did. I shook out the hatred, and went to turn on Rosemary's music box. Charles kept it since she died, and claimed that it was for her memory. I never bought into that nonsense; I knew Charles never loved my mother, hence she is dead.
But as I turned it on, I quickly shut it off. I heard it, that sound. That sound I had never heard in so long. The great chimes rang through the house. Who could be ringing the doorbell? No one lived here, technically. Coraline stopped playing, and walked over to the loveseat. Her face was neutral, but on the inside I knew there was fear. No one, absolutely no person, should be ringing the doorbell. Coraline and I ran down the hallway to the foyer. We took opposite sides of the opening and watched. We weren't sure what to expect next, but hopefully they would leave.
"Olive," whispered Coraline, "Who stumbl'st upon the door?" I stared silently at the door, waiting for the people to go away. And for the next few, painful moments we stood and waited. The ringing continued, over and over. Coraline fidgeted nervously, waiting too.
And suddenly the door squeaked, opening a crack.
The next moment the door burst open and there walked in a lady. She looked irritated.
"I don't see why you have to ring it a thousand times," she said. Her voice was sweet but her tone was snappy.
"Just seeing if it works," came a gentleman's voice, happy and chuckling a little. The lady turned to face the man, and they began talking. Coraline dashed from her spot and hid in a hallway, me tagging along. We stood there, and heard the footsteps getting louder. Who were these people? I never knew them.
"Olive," Coraline whispered. I looked at her, signaling to be silent. However I kept staring at her, listening to the couple's conversation. "Willy, this is really antique," the lady said to the gentleman. "Are you sure it will hold?"
"It's been standing here since 1938, I'm sure it'll hold," Willy responded. He smiled.
"Olive, it's a great house with good value, plus a great price. Besides, you're the one that wanted it," he said. I froze-Olive? "Willy, I know," Olive said, walking around and looking at the various paintings in the hallway. She stopped and said, "Look around you Willy. It looks like someone still lives here. Seriously."
"Of course it does, no one has lived here since the early fifties," Willy said. "That's why everything is still here. Don't worry." Olive sighed and gave up.
"I'm heading to the kitchen," she announced. Coraline squeaked and ran for her bedroom. I, having no where else to go, ran to the kitchen (foolishly) to hide. But something strange, a feeling of some kind, willed me to stop and turn around. I did just that. I stood, hearing the clicks of the lady's heels on the wood floor. Click, step, click, step. And then she appeared on the corner. My heart was pulsing madly. What could happen if she saw me? What was wrong with my feet!? She kept walking, looking down, but then suddenly stopped. She flicked her head up and stared. No emotion, no fright. It was as if she stared right through me, like I was not there. She kept on staring. Her eyes were gorgeous, and amazingly similar to my own. Olive was quite a beautiful woman, but what amazed me most were her eyes. Too similar.
But even though the similarity, Olive still stared. It was like she had forgotten something, but knew what she forgot. I was invisible to her eyes. And I stared back. Her eyes. Her name. Who was she? And we stood there, staring. A silent knowing of a different presence separated us. Olive and Olive. She kept looking like she knew I was there. But, I knew she could not. No one could see me.
Silence, before she shook her head and carried on to the kitchen; I stepped aside.
They were strangers. Or, was it the other way around? Click Next for a sneak preview of the next chapter of The Strangers.
KU2M Over the course of the next few days, things started disappearing. Our household items were being thrown away or packed away to a museum. Devastating and horrifying to see our things go, but they had only gotten to the sun room, kitchen, bathroom and some hallways. The door to Charles' study was "locked" along with many other rooms.
It was that night I remember well. The first time of acknowledgement for a foreign presence inside this household.
Feb 20, 2009 by Kissup2me
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