‘Kelly, darling, are you awake? Dinner is ready,’ Mrs Jenkins knocked at the door.
‘Hmm,’ I let out. I rolled to my side and covered my face with my blanket.
‘Darling, come now,’ she continued. Mrs Jenkins opened the door and strolled in. She lightly pushed me.
‘Mum, please,’ I moaned.
‘Please? Love, you have not eaten since morning. We need to put some food down you. Jamie has already eaten,’ she added.
I suddenly sat up. ‘Jamie ate without me?’ I know I must have looked a mess. ‘Mum, what’s going on?’ I somehow asked. I felt lost amongst my thoughts.
‘I need you to get yourself out of the blankets and come downstairs. First, wash your hands, and second, make sure you wash your face. That should wake you up,’ her voice had become stern.
I looked out my window. Complete darkness. The only light was coming from the lamp that my mum held.
My attention switched to the lamp.
‘We should have electricity up stairs by tomorrow,’ Mrs Jenkins smiled. She must have noticed my focus.
‘Thanks mum. Can you help me down? I think I might fall,’ I responded. I did not trust my legs at this current moment.
‘Yes, certainly, dear,’ she aided me out of bed and led me out down to the dining room.
‘Mum, I invited the librarian to our house. I hope that is alright. He loves history, especially of this house. He knows the history of the initial occupants. He might even be able to shed more light on the portraits. I know I should have asked, but the discussion was just, well you know,’ I ended.
‘Hmm, when do you plan to invite him? I hope it’s not a day that your dad or I aren’t in,’ she replied. She was occupied with filling my plate with a large amount of food.
‘Next Saturday, I lied,’ I had to lie. I knew for a fact that my dad wasn’t home. This was wrong, I know, and I could feel the guilt consume me. But it had to be done. Mum had to be alone with the Derek. That was my goal, how else could I get him to stay by my side before carrying out the act. I knew that mum had a dinner party to get to, so she’d be all dressed up. If that did not catch his attention, then I did not know what would.
My curiosity had reached a whole new level when I could not find a single portrait of the woman from my dreams. There were paintings of people that never appeared in my dreams, and the painting of the boy in my dreams was layered with a level of dust incomparable to the rest. Then there was the one in the room. Judging by the state of the passage way and each room along it, any other occupant most likely had no idea of its existence. The door was most likely initially covered by a wardrobe or something.
My mother, my mum, looked so much like the woman in my dreams. This made me start questioning whether the woman in my dreams was actually real. Then there was the boy. He looked so similar to Jamie. Given, my brother was very different from this boy, but physical image was similar. Jamie was acting very weird too. Maybe I created it all.
I decided to push this discovery to the back of my mind. It was not important. What was important was to get the librarian to the house. He seemed thoroughly taken by the image of my mum. That was all I could take advantage of.
‘Kelly? Kelly, are you even listening to a word I am saying?’ I looked up to see a plate in front of me.
‘Sorry mum,’ I could only say.
‘You’ve been lost in your own thoughts for the past few days now. Come to think of it, so has Jamie,’ she shook her head and set the plate on the counter.
Picking up knife and fork, I attacked my food. It was true, I hadn’t eaten since morning. ‘Mum, how did you get this house?’ I asked through mouthfuls.
‘I inherited it, love. Do not ask me from whom because I would not be able to answer that question. But it has remained empty for over 10 years, I think. I just did not have the time to sort everything out,’ she responded.
‘No buts. It’s been lying here for years, and we’re here for only a few months, a year max. As soon the experiments are completed, we will move back,’ she added.
‘So technically, I do not really need to make any friend,’
‘You prefer to go through school without friends? Kelly, what is wrong with you? Jamie is the same,’ she put the towel down on the counter with a bit too much force.
‘Mum, relax. I was just joking,’ I quickly retracted my initial statement. Looking down at my food, hunger had suddenly deserted me. The house was inherited and knowing my mum, she definitely would not show me the paper work. The deeds, or what else one calls it. Yes, Derek would come in good use for this. But why did I care so much for the deeds? Why was it important?
I slid my plate towards my mum, ‘I’m done, mum,’ I simply said.
‘But the plate is not even half empty, Kelly,’ she looked confused. I could only smile.
‘Food suddenly seems to be against me,’ was all I could say.
‘Ok…sleep well, darling,’ she slowly looked at me. She was trying to read me.
‘I feel so sleepy. Can I borrow your lamp?’
‘Potentially, yes, but what will I use then?’ she smiled. She walked over and pulled out another lamp and lit it.
Passing me a lamp, she wished me a good night before I walked away.
I rushed back up the stairs, knowing full well that I could slip or misplace a step. But I was impatient. I needed to know something.