Chapter 1: New House. Well, Sorta New.It's only a two hour drive, but it feels like much longer. Not only do I have to listen to Mom's constant "It'll be great" speeches, but I also have to listen to Jess, my sister, complain about everything.
"But MOM!" she whines. "I had friends! I was popular! Why do you have to move me away from THAT?"
It's always about what JESS wants. Nope, sorry, we can't go camping for vacation because JESS wants to go on a 2-day shopping trip.
I pull my hood on my sweatshirt up over my head.
"I just can't believe that we're moving into an old house! I mean, like, we had a great house. Why give that up?"
"Jess, we have told you a thousand times: We want to move so we can have a change from all of that superficial suburban family life," Mom says. I appreciate the fact that we are leaving our "superficial suburban family life" for a new lifestyle. I didn't fit in with the suburb kids anyways.
"Whatever," Jess sighs, and rests her legs on my lap.
"NO!" I push her legs off me. But she fights back. She slams her studded boot down on my thigh. "OW!"
"Girls, be quiet!" Dad says.
"Tell her to get her stupid legs off of me!"
"Tell her to suck it!"
"THAT'S ENOUGH!" Dad yells. Jess and I get really quiet. "I HAVE HAD IT WITH ALL OF THIS FIGHTING! JESS, GET YOUR LEGS OFF MAGGIE. STOP COMPLAINING AND BE HAPPY!" Wow. Dad usually never yells.
Jess folds her legs underneath her.
We drive down a narrow path into the woods. So many trees. I see a huge house, and it's very brown. The roof is black, the yard looks dead, and everything looks older than my Gram, who is 94.
We park and I jump out of the car. I run up to the house, and go inside. It's HUGE! There's a massive kitchen, two living rooms, a grand dining room, and a regular dining room. A staircase leads upstairs. Naturally, I go up. I see three bedrooms, and a door on the roof.
I pull down the string, letting the door fly open and the ladder falls into place. I climb up, and it's so cool. It's all finished.
I run downstairs. The moving truck is just pulling up.
Mom is talking to one of the movers.
"Hey, Mom," I say as I walk up to her. She sighs, the kind of sigh that's like 'I have so much going on right now, leave me alone.' But she has nothing going on, so she can just listen.
"I want the attic to be my room. It's completely finished and it has a door which I'm pretty sure is a closet." I give that a minute to sink into her blonde brain.
"Well... Okay, whatever. Do what you want." And it's that one sentence that sends pain and sadness go through my heart. 'Do what you want.' As in, I don't care what you do. Emphasis on 'I don't care.'
I tell the movers to move any boxes that says "Maggie" on it to the attic. They give me a weird look.
"What?" I ask. The fat dude just shakes his head.
I sit on the porch, watching the red and orange leaves fall of the trees and drift down to the yellow grass.
This house is nothing like the houses in our old subdivision - the place where the HOA told us what our house looked like. This house has character, personality, a story. But those suburb houses... Well, they were all the same. The only story to be told is how long it took to build them.
I guess I fell asleep, because next thing I know, Dad is shaking me awake.
"Mags, Chinese take-out," he says. Typical. I stand up and stretch, feeling awfully stiff. I walk inside and the smell of sesame seed chicken and lo mein greets my nostrils.
Mom pulls out the plates from the box labeled 'Plates,' in black Sharpie. She serves herself on it, as if it makes take-out SO much fancier.
I get some chicken and lo mein, avoiding the rice because I don't like it.
Jess is talking on her phone while she serves herself.
"Yeah, it's like, so old and it sucks. And my freak sister wants to sleep in the attic." I give her a look. "Yeah, I know, that's like, super, totally, like, weird."
Like, like, like, like.
"Hang up the phone," Mom says. Jess arches her eyebrow at her. Mom's not gonna take that. She snatches the phone from her and hangs it up.
Jess makes a sound like 'Who do you think you are?'
"You will get this phone back when you stop acting like a 5-year-old," Mom says. I stifle a giggle.
The rest of dinner is awkward silence. I finish my food and excuse myself from the table. I want to see my new room. Well, attic. I climb up the stairs.
Well... It'll need some organizing... One thing that you should know about me, I'm a neat freak, like my mom.
My dresser is in one of the empty spaces. It's old looking, like an antique. My mom bought it when she was antiquing. I grab the box labeled 'Clothes for dresser' and I pull out some faded blue sweatpants and a t-shirt that says 'Perswood's Pythons,' which was my old school.
I change and put the rest of the clothes in the drawer. I decide to unpack everything, because I don't have much.
I hang up clothes like jeans, shirts, and long-sleeved shirts. I don't own dresses or skirts. I wouldn't wear one if you payed me a million bucks.
I hang my beanies on a hook that goes over the top of the door. I use the other hook to hand my jackets. I have leather jackets, jean jackets, North Face jackets, you name it.
I put the pictures of me and my sister, before we hated each other, on my dresser. I'll hang the rest of my pictures, most of them ones that I've taken, tomorrow.
Lastly, I put my camera on my shelf beside my bed. It's a digital camera, with 12 megapixels. It's Nikon, so it's pretty good.
I grab my toiletries bag and step down the ladder. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and take a minute to stare at myself in the mirror. Tired blue eyes, long messy brown hair, and freckles dotting my cheeks.
"Hey, hurry up!" Jess yells, banging on the door. I open it and roll my eyes at her.
I head back up the ladder, and jump onto my bed. I slowly let myself drift off. But before I'm completely out of it, I hear a soft whisper. It sounded like it said "Everybody dies." Silly, right?
I wake up to the light streaming through the window and hitting me in the face. I make a mental note to get curtains. I get up and make my bed.
I hear singing. It's Jess' disgusting voice. What time is it? 7:56 am. No one wants to hear her nasty voice at 7:56, now 7:57, in the morning.
I rub my eyes, attempting to get the sleepiness and the eye crusties (everybody has them) out.
My phone buzzes. A text from Mom.
Mom: Hey kiddo, what do you want from McDonald's?
Really, Mom, McDonald's?
Me: Nothing, thanks. I'll just have Jess take me somewhere to get food.
I know Jess won't want nasty McD's either.
I run downstairs to take a shower. For an old house, the shower works pretty good. I wash my hair, body, face, and I even shave. Not that I don't normally shave, it's just I take my time while doing it now.
I get out, blow dry and straighten my hair, then put on some makeup. Just foundation, powder, and mascara.
When I'm done, I knock on Jess' door.
She opens it. "What?"
"Do you wanna go in town to get some breakfast. Like, at a restaurant."
She thinks for a second. Oh wow, it must be so hard for her to think. "Yeah, give me 15 minutes." She already looks mostly ready.
I run upstairs and pull on my black Marilyn Monroe t-shirt, some skinny jeans, and my black Vans. I put on my black beanie and a white jacket. I basically only like black and white, if you can't tell. I sprince on some cheap perfume that I got from who know's where. I just grab my phone and my black purse (the across the body kind) and shove my wallet in it.
"Jess, you ready?" I ask through her door after I run downstairs.
She opens the door. "Yup." She's wearing a floral dress with a pink cardigan.
"Um... It's 40 degrees outside. You look a little... springy. It's October," I comment.
"Whatever. Let's just go."
We walk outside and get in her car. I have no idea how it got here, since we took Dad's Jeep down here.
She turns on the heat and some crappy music that people like Jess listen to.
That whisper, Everybody dies, creeps back into my mind. The hairs on the back of my neck stick up, but go back down after we pass out mailbox.
As we drive out, black blobs shoot at the car like bullets. Jess swerves and we run smack into a tree. Black things, which are apparently birds, keep shooting at us. The airbags come out and hits me in the face.
The impact of the car on the tree knocked the breath out of me, and the airbag in my face isn't helping my breathing.
"What the..." I can't even finish my sentence. The birds are still pelting us. I push the now deflated airbag off me and look around.
Jess is panting, leaning against her seat. My window is smashed in and the door is dented. I'm practically laying in Jess' seat.
I look out of my shattered window, careful not to get cut by the glass, and see hundreds of dead black crows on the road, grass, and car.