She sat up, perspiration dripping from her forehead. The clock displayed 4:30 a.m. She walked into the bathroom and washed her face. The cold water revived her skin and awakened her. In the mirror, a curly-haired brunette stared back at her, the eyes a startling shade of deep emerald green. She returned to her bed and tried to go back to sleep.
Her mom’s face was a close-up, painted with fear. She told her to run out of the house as she got into the car. Mom held out her hand and her daughter immediately caught it, overcome with dread. When she looked back, she saw her house in flames. Tears blurred her view and she laid her head in her mother’s lap as they both wept silently. She quietly observed that her father and Cornelia weren’t in the car.
She got up again; another nightmare. Her sweat and tears had made her pillow soggy.
For every human, a nightmare is something which initially scares and later turns to a joke. But it’s not the same for Jade.
For her, they come true.
Chapter One: FAILED RESCUE
It was soon morning. Momma called Jade in for breakfast. Jade checked on Connie, who was neatly tucked in her cot, stirring and yawning. Jade gently took her in her arms and went downstairs. Momma smiled her prettiest smile and pointed towards an omelet set on the plate. Jade sat on the chair, thinking of an excuse to leave home as soon as possible.
“Momma,” Jade began. “Can we go to Aunt Dory’s? It’s been a long time since we saw her.”
“Hmm...” Momma murmured, deep in thought. “We could, actually. I’ll call her and let her know we’ll be over today.”
As easy as slicing through butter, Jade thought. I just hope the fire is not invincible. I really love our home…
Connie giggled stupidly as she played with her building blocks. By afternoon their bags were packed and they were about to leave for Holland, Aunt Dory’s birthplace. Dad was at his architectural group and would return by the evening.
Aunt Dory was delighted to see them. She lived alone in a little town beside the Michigan Lake. She and Momma had a vast difference in appearance, Jade noted.
Aunt Dory was frail in structure, about three inches shorter than Momma, had short hay-blonde hair which was always tied back and round-rimmed spectacles which always roosted on her nose, giving security and aid to her clear blue eyes.
Today she wore a white dress with cobalt blue flowers printed in intricate patterns and held her pencil in her hand as if she were working on something. Jade observed that the end of the pencil was nibbled on.
They entered and were served a cool lemon drink with ice tinkling as it came in contact with the glass. It soothed Jade’s scorching throat as she tried to suppress the anxiety of her burning house.
The two sisters spent a lot of time in the garden, and later painting. Dad arrived and was in a hurry to go back home. He had a meeting to attend which he claimed to be most decisive of whether he would get a promotion or not. He needed a file which he had left home and immediately had to run for it as the meeting was to begin in fifteen minutes. Momma had forgotten the present she had bought for Aunt Dory and thus had to go back, too. Jade insisted them on not leaving but it was in vain.
They drove home, Jade’s stomach twisting into a knot. She was sure it was going to happen today. She held Connie closer to her and her eyes threatened to leak the tears out. Dad parked in the garage and rushed inside. Momma followed and Jade hung around the entrance with Cornelia in her arms.
“Honey,” Jade’s mom called out to her. “Could you come up here? I think I have left the book in your room.”
Jade kept Cornelia in the living room and hurried upstairs. She rummaged in her drawer and found the grey book. She gave it to her mother and dashed back to where she left Cornelia.