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1 - Moving


"Death, the one appointment we all must keep, and for which no time is set."

                                                                                                            --Charlie Chan

We moved a lot. When I said a lot, I meant it was the twelfth time that we moved since I was eight; since Mom died.

My dad was a novelist. Marcel Rayne, also known under the pen name of Locke Mort, wasn't really that much famous of a writer but four of his works had already been published. He wrote science fiction and horror. Not many people like that genre. He sold about more than five hundred copies of his latest book but I guess he was still waiting for his big break, which I doubted would ever come.

"Your room is upstairs." Dad muttered without even glancing back at me as he lugged our bags into the living room. "There's an en suite bathroom like you wanted."

I nodded mechanically even if he wasn't looking. Marcel had wavy dark brown hair like mine and pale skin since he spent most of his time indoors in front of his laptop. He wasn't exceptionally tall but somehow managed to appear lanky. At thirty-nine, he looked a little bit older than his age, perhaps owing to the constant crease on his forehead. He rarely smiled after Mom died. 

With a sniff, Dad looked around our new house, but as soon as he turned to my direction, he dropped his gaze and started to his truck to get the rest of our belongings.

Dad said it was necessary to move. He needed inspiration.

It had been a hard life being able to make friends but unable to keep them. So in the long run, I learned to keep myself distant from everyone else.

Well, not in Boston. We stayed there for almost three years; the longest in the record of our no-permanent-address existence. I was  so sure we would stay there for good until that night Dad told me to pack my things up without so much as a plausible explanation.

We left in the morning after that, spending a couple of weeks in the road or in hotels. No time to say goodbye to my friends. Excruciating as it was, I had to leave without any word. For all they cared, I never really existed.

It was better that way. No sappy farewells. Just me and my Dad disappearing from the neighborhood like what happened on the eleven other times we moved away.

With a deep sigh, I swept my eyes through the whole of our new home. The living room was spacious, with dark mahogany walls and light granite flooring. A wooden framed sofa was set near the window facing the brick fireplace. A white marble slab centering the plush burgundy padded seats where an empty porcelain vase was placed. Most of the other furniture were dusty while the others were still swathed with white sheets of cloth.

To the right of the living room was the kitchen. Pale yellow curtains hung from the grimy panels of the windows. Like the first one, most of the fixtures were made of wood, though lighter in color. In there was a two-burner stove, a conventional oven, the microwave we brought from Boston, an old single-door fridge. My dad wasn't much of a cook so he kept it basic.

Just before I was starting to head for my room, one of the cupboard doors creaked open. I stifled a cry and looked around. No wind. The windows were all closed. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as a shudder shot down my spine. There was an eerie chill in the air. Suddenly I felt like running but it was as though my feet were buried in the ground.

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