It’s cold, hard, and damp this slab I lay on that somehow passes itself off as a mattress. Not that I’m complaining, after all this is much better than the floor I’m normally accustomed too. You’d think I’d be pleased to finally have something of my own to rest on at night, but for reasons that constantly give me the chills, I don’t trust it.
Not unlike the witch feeding Hansel and Gretel before she plans to eat them. I just know my mother has her own reasons for finally gracing me with a mattress. Granted, it’s barely an inch off the ground and is so worn I can still feel the concrete below me, but still. Something is not right. Which is why, as the rest of my family lay sleeping a deep slumber courtesy of one sleeping draft cleverly planted by yours truly in this evening’s soup, I’m planning my escape.
I’m sure you’re wondering why a girl would drug her family members and plan on creeping out like a bad dream in the middle of the night. Well, let me tell you. The people I call family (and I use that term loosely by the way) aren’t the Walton’s by any means. For starters the all of them are demons.
Who knew right? It’s so bizarre I don’t even believe it. Or want to believe it. I don’t have a choice. And I haven’t since the day I was plucked from my mother’s loins. I remember everything as if it was yesterday, and I wish I didn’t. Let’s call it a gift of sorts, my memory, because it’s the only that has kept me alive all this time. Why you ask?
I have a soul.
That’s right, yours truly, Daria Pigwidgeon (a name I gave myself at an early age from a show on MTV my brothers used to watch. And it’s much preferred over scum, which was used often by my parents. Scum Pigwidgeon, not very catchy) is a proud member of her very own soul. And with that came many years of taking care of myself. Unlike the filthy bottom feeders that are my family, I’m the first one born with a clean viable human soul, the first in generations. You’d think it’d be a good thing, something to treasure even. Only it’s something that has left me cursed.
And very far from treasured.
It’s a good thing my family is gifted with their demon heritage though. Each one possesses their very own unique ability, myself included. Coincidentally, it’s also the thing that has kept me alive all these years. Before the very first time opening my eyes, I’ve been more than conscious of my surroundings. Alert, if you will. So much so, that I could feel the distain in my mother’s body as she took me in her arms. It was the only time she held me.
Not that I mind, because really, she’s rather frost bitten. I don’t just mean a cold person. I mean she can suck the heat out of the room at will. I’ve suffered my fair share of summer nights feeling like I might actually get frost bite. That was the first time she ever really threatened my life. Not the last unfortunately, but it was the last time I let anyone get close enough to try.
Besides being the smartest toddler, I had a knack of making people forget about me. And not from my winning attitude either. I’m not sure of the exact name for such a thing, mostly because my family never shared personal information. But I’ve been calling it a memory block for some time now. In short, I can cause a person (or demon) to forget they just saw me at will. Which is pretty dang handy, what with my own mother trying to off me.
And that isn’t even the best part. What’s more you ask? Well, courtesy of my beautiful soul ( I think anyways, again I can’t really ask about these things) if I’m threatened in any way I send of a sort of electrical surge. I guess you can say if someone touches me without permission, I zap them. Only if my memory block doesn’t work that is. Which isn’t very often, not that I’m boasting, I’m just that confidant.
Although, lately I’ve noticed that it’s getting harder to use my gift on my family. Maybe they are getting a resistance to it since I use it on them all the time, kind of like people who pop Tylenol all the time for a headache and it stops working eventually.
Just one more reason for me to get the heck out of dodge.
Finally pulling myself up into a sitting position, I gaze around the place that has been an impromptu bedroom the last sixteen years of my life. Technically, my mother was hoping for it to be more of a dungeon when she tossed my down the basement stairs. I’m sure she hoped to locked me in and throw away the key, but then I made her forget. See what I mean, my gift (curse) totally rocks.
As basements go, this one isn’t so bad. A little moldy and damp sure, but it’s better than sleeping outside. Plus, I’ve kept it relatively clean and looked after. I spy the magazine cutouts that grace the walls, and pride myself that I managed to swipe my sister’s teen mags. Not that she would remember me taking them, but still. For such a simple thing, I’m glad I made the best of my room. In a strange way, I know I’ll kind of miss this. Not the having to hide and praying no one remembers where I dwell, but a space that is mine.
See, I do have a soul, it makes me attached.
Praying that I’ll have that wherever I go, I stop myself from feeling guilt over leaving. Getting to my feet, I don’t bother stretching my back to work out the kinks from lying on the mattress on the floor for so long. I got over that years ago, thick skinned that is me. Not wanting to wait longer than I already have, I quickly pull up my waste length pitch black hair and knot it into a bun. After jerking it tight enough to bring tears to my eyes, I’m satisfied it won’t fall out. Then with a sense of urgency I rush out from behind the stairs, which are on the other side of my little cubby. I reach for my backpack that carries the essentials, that rests at the base as I move not bothering to stop.
Tossing it over one shoulder, I can’t resist the need to hunch over as I creep up the stairs. Taking this route more often than not, I know every creak and wobble. I take care with them now. I ease upward like its second nature, only stopping when I finally reach the door. Knowing everyone is out like a light, doesn’t make me rush out the door without another thought. If anything, it makes me overly cautious. A habit, that has kept me alive.
Grasping the brass handle, I make sure I hold it tight enough so it doesn’t rattle. Then I brace myself as I slowly turn it to the left. I can feel the jerks as the knob shifts itself to release the door and I hold my breath the entire time. When the door finally bounces free in my grasp, I let out my breath, grateful that I know the doors habits to keep it quiet. Easing the door outward, I keep my eyes alert for any movement and sound around me.
The hallway is still and silent.
Rather than feeling relieved, I force myself to be more alert as I slowly step out of the door. Clinging the backpack to my side as I do. Once I’m safely out in the open space of the hall, I turn back to the door and again grasp the handle tight enough to keep it quiet as I turn it to the right. Easing it back, I push it closed and start the agonizing process of spinning the knob back into place. I have to remember to keep the door pulled outward to me, otherwise the knob with snap in place and alert anyone. So I spin the knob more than I should, and give it a couple yanks before releasing it.
Stepping back, I eye the door like it’s about to give me away at any moment. When it doesn’t, I shift my pack so that it’s over my other shoulder and nestled against my back and not my side. Straitening, I turn to the left and gaze down the hallway to the bright hope that’s at the end of it.
The front door.
Wanting nothing more than to dash for it and yank it open so I can run through the barrier and never stop, I allow myself a quick pace as I move towards it. The house that has been my home, is dark and silent of the wee hours of early morning (or maybe late night, not quite sure) and I’m afraid if I listen close enough I can hear my family sleeping on the floor above me. It doesn’t make me pause to change my mind though. If anything, it makes me walk into a fast tip toeing jog to the door.
Reaching the end of the hall, I come to a stop and like I’m at a four way road stop, I look both ways before crossing. In the open space between the hall and door, I feel too vulnerable. Now I allow myself to dash for the door, and I can’t stop the way my legs jerk at the conflicting movement. Knowing there aren’t any particulars to this door, I don’t pause in testing the knob before I pull it open with a yank. I salivate in the hot rush of air that rushes at me, even though I’m covered in an instant sweat, it still feels like freedom to me.
Not looking back, I step over the threshold.