It goes without saying, nothing is ever as it seems. They say, "Don't judge a book by its cover." What they don't say is that that saying has nothing to do with books.
Your probably wondering what I mean by this, yea?
Do you ever truly know a person?
The answer is no. It is not remotely easy to get the true measure of a person. Nor can one ever penetrate into the dark recesses of another person's mind. It is impossible to know how someone will react to any given situation until they are actually put to the test. And you can never know what a person really wants to do in any given moment.
Humans have an equal capacity for both good and evil, and are often a measure of both. It only matters if they follow morals, principles, or simple base desires.
You're probably wondering where I'm going with this. Well, this is my story:
Everything started the day I turned fourteen. The day began like any other back then. My alarm woke me up at six in the morning for school. I'd get up and take a shower, and always as I was drying off I'd smell my father making us breakfast downstairs. I almost always followed that same routine since I'd moved into high school. I had been a freshman this year, and the school year was almost over.
After I got dressed I'd head down into the kitchen where my father was. We had a small table in our kitchen, preferring to eat there instead of in the dining room at a table too large for just the two of us.
I had a good relationship with my father. It's been just him and myself for as long as I can remember. I don't even have any memories of my mother. And my father never gives me any good answers when I ask about her. My father is also a pretty ordinary guy. He works from home, some kind of accountant I believe. I know we've never really hurt for money, but we don't flaunt our wealth on the outside either.
That particular day, my father had cooked up a rather delicious breakfast of bacon, eggs, and home fries, which are my absolute favorite breakfast food.
Our dialog was also just like you'd expect from a father and his budding teenage son. "Did you sleep well?" And "Are you looking forward to anything today?"
And that day it was no exception to this. It wasn't until I was about to head out the door to catch my bus to school that my father caught me off guard with a seemingly random question.
"Have you noticed anything strange lately?" He'd asked me. I had thought about it for a moment before telling him I hadn't.
Then I was out the door and headed toward the end, or rather beginning, of the small roundabout our home was a part of. There were five other homes in the little circle, three of them along the bed and two at the corners where the entrance was. Each house had a driveway and lawns which were all kept rather well most of the time. Each house was two stories tall, including ours.
Usually each house's lawn was well kept, meaning the grass was cut short and the landscaping got done each year. Our lawn was no exception, but it also wasn't the most pristine looking one either. In my opinion, we still beat some of the other lawns though, with our three bushes, single tree, and flower bed beside the front porch. As I walked toward the entrance to the roundabout I looked over at one of the houses as I passed by.
I couldn't tell you what made me decide to look. Normally I'd be in my head thinking about the day ahead of me and any plans I may have had. But it was like something caught my eye, and when I looked my eyes were immediately drawn to one of the second floor windows.
In that window, just as I looked up, I swear I saw a face. But when my eyes focused, all I saw was a fleeting flash of yellow and then nothing but the dark curtains. I had stopped when I saw what I had. But when the face didn't reappear, I resumed forward once more. What I had seen definitely had me spooked. That face, I could have sworn it belong to a young child. But I couldn't tell for sure, so fast had it disappeared.
But one thing I knew for certain, I'd never seen any child come out of, or enter into, that house. I was still thinking about this as I boarded my bus when it arrived. It stood out to me, even more so after what my father had asked me before I went out the door. This definitely struck me as strange.
I was so lost in thought about this that it wasn't until my friend, Tony, sat beside me on the bus that I was snapped out of my head. Oddly enough though, that occurrence completely slipped my mind for the rest of the school day. I had had several school tests that I needed to focus on, finals for the end of my freshman year of high school. I'm rather certain I aced all of them, academics just seemed to come easy for me. It was like my brain just loved to soak everything in. I prided myself on being such a quick learner.
The school year was almost over. With less than two weeks left to go, things were wrapping up and there was an anticipation of the summer to come hanging in the air. I was also rather excited for a break from school for a few months. I didn't have any actual plans set, but I was hoping my father and I would take some sort of vacation. We've done so in the past, but it's been at least three years since the last time.
It wasn't until my friend got off on his stop on the way home from school that I suddenly remembered what I'd seen earlier that day. I found myself wondering if I'd see the same thing again when I passed by on my way home today. After I got off the bus, I paused at the walkway up to the house within which I'd seen the face that morning. I studied the house for a moment, eyes returning to that window. This time though, it was as inactive as I always remembered it.
Sometimes I'd see a man come and go from the house. Sometimes he'd cut the grass and do yard work, other times he'd be leaving in his black car with tinted windows. He had short brown hair and always wore a tank top when he worked outside. I could see well from my bedroom that this man was farely muscled. He was definitely bigger than my fourteen year old frame.
Not seeing anything at the moment, I decided to continue on my way home. Once I'd made it inside, I put my backpack in my room and then collapsed back onto my bed with a sigh. My father was probably in his study, which is where he worked from home. He was almost always here, only leaving to run the odd errand now and again.
It wasn't but a few moments later that my father knocked on my door. He must have heard me come in and came to check up on me. I had left my door open, so he was standing in the doorway looking at me.
My father was a pretty average man. He was of average height, weight, and even muscle mass. He had dark blond hair, just like I had, though he kept his short while I liked to wear my long enough to almost reach my shoulders. He had emerald green eyes that always seemed to sparkle whenever I caught him looking at me.
I actually don't have the same color eyes as my father. Instead, mine are more of an icy blue, rather close to white. Whenever someone notices, I always hear about how unique my eyes are. It's like people can't resist saying something. I've never questioned my father about my eyes either, they were just mine. I didn't think anything more of it, I simply assumed I got them from my mother.
I sat up then as my father began speaking to me, "How was school?" He asked me with genuine curiosity and care in his voice.
"It was alright, pretty sure I aced all my tests." I told him.
"That's good, I never doubted you, son."
I smiled at my father then, his confidence in me felt good and helped to boost my own confidence in myself.
"I thought we'd go out for dinner to celebrate your birthday." My father told me. I thought about it for a moment before answering. It was only three thirty in the afternoon so we had time before we'd leave.
"We could." I answered, my voice thoughtful. "I was thinking of taking a nap though." I added after a moment and my father nodded that he understood.
"Yea, I bet the day was pretty tiring for you. Take a nap, we'll go out after." He said with a loving smile. "I'm proud of you, Kai." He said before leaving my doorway.
I felt more good feelings wash over me from his words and laid back on my bed. It wasn't much longer after that that I had fallen asleep.
My nap was restless as I had a dream that spooked me. In this dream I was right back in front of that house that had caught my attention. As I was looking at it wondering what was going on, things started to shift on me.
I was suddenly moving forward toward the house at an alarming rate. I felt my heart drop down into my stomach as it seemed I was about to impact with the front door. The most concerning thing about this is that I had no control currently. My legs weren't moving, and yet I was still pressing forward. I closed my eyes as I was about to hit the front door, but instead of an impact I was suddenly inside the house right on the other side of that door.
There was a set of stairs leading up to the second floor to the right of me, right next to the door. To my left it lead into a living room of sorts. There was a TV mounted on the wall opposite a reclining chair. The carpet was a plain and ugly brown color. The walls were painted a tan color that matched the carpet and were completely bare.
A man was reclining in that chair, a beer in hand as he watched the television. There wasn't any kind of picture for me, it was black, but he seemed riveted to it which lead me to believe I just simply couldn't see what he was seeing. He wore his traditional white tank top shirt and a pair of black cargo shorts.
He was the same man I remember that took care of the lawn and seemed to live at the house. He seemed rather content where he was. Beside him in his chair sat a small side table that had several bottles of beer on it, most of them completely empty. Something about the man put me off, I just didn't like him and got nothing but bad vibes from him.
I suddenly remembered that morning and the flash of yellow I'd seen in the upstairs window. I swear there had been a face in that window. So since I had my mobility back and didn't seem to be getting forced around anymore. I decided I'd go look upstairs.
I went back to the steps and climbed up to the second floor. I once more had a decision of going left or right. To the left there was a hallway with several doors leading off it. To my right was a doorway that was open and upon glancing inside I realized this was probably the master bedroom. There was a queen sized bed there that was unmade and little end tables to each side of it. A dresser that didn't seem to be getting used as clothes were spilled all about. There was an alarm clock on one of the end tables that had a digital read-out. The only other thing of note was a picture in a frame on the other end table.
That picture was of a woman that upon seeing her I immediately recognized. I had last seen here when I was eight years old. She had died in a tragic car accident. In this picture, it looked like she was pregnant. The childish face I'd seen suddenly made a bit more sense, though it'd been assumed the child had died with her since no one ever saw any child enter or leave this house.
I didn't bother continuing to search the room at this point. My curiosity about the child had me rather compelled to find it. Besides that momentary flash of a face I'd seen out of the corner of my eye, I'd never actually seen the child and that simple fact had me rather worried.
So I started moving down the hallway and by process of elimination, I tried to find the right room. All but one of the doors were open then, which should have probably made it obvious where I should look, but I still checked each and every one on of those open rooms first. There wasn't even any furniture in any of those rooms. They were completely bare, which I found to be rather odd.
So I finally found myself standing in front of the only closed door. My first thought was to reach for the doorknob and try to open the door. But I was once more surprised as my hand went right through the doorknob instead of grabbing hold of it.
I stood there for a moment like that, my hand inside of the doorknob, as I worked to comprehend what was happening. Pulling my hand away, I concluded that somehow I followed the same laws as ghosts did. I couldn't interact with anything in this world, but I could go straight through walls and doors. I didn't want to think too much about it though, I just closed my eyes and stepped forward through that door.
I only opened my eyes once I was sure I was on the other side of the door. I didn't feel anything stop me, just as before with the houses front door. In fact, I didn't actually feel anything at all as I moved through the door.
Inside the room I was shocked by what I saw. There were just no words for it. There was only one piece of furniture, if you could call a simple small mattress furniture. It sat on the floor without any frame to support it, and it was pushed into the far right corner of the room. It didn't have any sheets on it, just a small blanket that didn't really cover it and currently lay askew. I could see there were urine stains dotting the mattress too.
The window was covered by black curtains, which I already knew from looking at it outside. But the thing that truly shocked me was the rather small creature that I saw huddled in the corner. I couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl. The child had long hair, very long blond hair that was ratty and tangled and just looked nasty. The child itself was dirty, and I felt it rather safe to assume the poor thing hadn't been given a chance to clean up in entirely too long a time.
I knelt down in front of the child, trying to get a better look. The poor thing was hugging it's knees to its chest, but I could see it was at least wearing some clothing. What looked like shorts and a ripped up t-ahirt.
Being this close still wasn't enough to tell the gender. It also made clear to me that I couldn't smell anything, because I assumed there had to be some sort of smell in this room. That was probably a blessing, though not one that made this any easier.
"Hey, can you hear me?" I called out to the child, but the poor thing made no indication that it did. I tried to reach out and lay a hand on the child's shoulder, but just like with the door, my hand went right through and into the child. I saw the child shiver, like a chill had just gone down it's spine. I pulled my hand back, feeling completely powerless as I realized there didn't seem to be anything I could do.
I found I hated that feeling in that moment. Seeing such a thing wasn't pleasant, I could only imagine what the child had gone through. The child looked like it might be around five years old, though that didn't add up for me. It had to be six at least. But the child was very small, too small really, and I could feel my heart ache for the poor thing. I noticed a bucket in the corner, but I didn't go look in it. I didn't have to, I knew what it was for.
The injustice of this situation was like a hot coal burning in my stomach. The heat was rising into my chest also, and I knew it was anger. No child should ever be living in such conditions, not in my opinion. But again, I was powerless in this situation, there just didn't seem to be anything I could do. I was as a ghost in a horrible nightmare.