Melan is barely holding on, it seems like any comforting words won't work anymore for her. I saw this coming, but I have to finish what I have started. I have to keep writing.
Have you ever had a bad dream? Did your mom ever hugged you tight in the middle of the night when you were younger then said: “Shh. It's just a bad dream.”
“Yes, oh, you do? Oh, my God! That's amazing! Okay, hold on, let me just get a pen…”
Theo turned to Emma who have been trying to search for additional clues, she's really taking everything seriously. Rereading the letters, plotting every scenario, mapping every clue. He didn't know how to react over her eagerness.
She ended up calling the number on Toby The Dog's poster. He felt his heart skipped a beat and his stomach churned. Hang in there, lady, he thought, as if the writer could hear what's in his mind. Emma loves mysteries, no matter how much she denies it, the letters are intriguing her in a way no one did.
Have you ever wished a certain situation in your life would turn out to be just a bad dream? Something you can wash off of your memory when the sun rises? I do.
Bad dreams for me is not that untouchable and infinite phenomenon, that happens only when you close your eyes. Bad dreams for me... Are people. Sometimes it's Chris, Flor, my parents and sometimes it's me. Now, as you are reading my letter, you're probably wishing this is all a bad dream. I'm sorry.
“Hi, Mrs. Roberts? Hi! My name is Emma Barkley from Autumnsfield.” Theo heard Emma spoke. His heart's thud got stronger. Emma was fast.
“Loudspeaker, please,” he asked. Emma threw a look at him and nodded.
“Ah, Autumnsfield, my favorite town." A woman with hoarse voice spoke. Theo was trying to guess her age judging from her voice. “Anyway, how may I help you, Miss Emma? Did we leave any trouble?”
She's probably around late sixties, Theo guessed mentally.
“Oh, no, Mrs. Roberts, everything's alright here. Actually, I called for the dog you rescued on the street—”
“Toby! Oh, my dear Toby!” The lady cut in, her voice was full of emotion. “What about him? Are you the owner? We left him at The Craig's, our neighbor. I'm sure they are taking good care of him.” Emma eyed Theo then wrote something on a post-it note in front of her.
“Oh, yeah! The Craig's, such a lovely family.” Emma pretend to know. “But actually we're a little too late, Mrs. Roberts. Toby died 2 months ago.” The lady on the other line gasped, silence was her answer for the first few seconds.
“I-I'm sorry,” she then uttered in a sad voice. Theo wasn't sure but he thought he heard a sob. He was beginning to feel bored over the conversation.
“That's okay, he's happy in Dog Heaven now,” Emma answered, repeating what she had read on the letter then smirked at Theo. Emma was playing along with it well.
“Actually, I called because I just found out that The Craig's only daughter coincidentally…” Emma looked meaningfully at Theo before she continued, “Is my brother's first love…”
Theo coughed then gave Emma a warning look.
“You're fucking crazy!” Theo whispered stressfully, Emma shrugged his reaction off then rolled her eyes. She wrote on her post-it, then pushed it at Theo's direction.
“You mean, Rose?” Mrs. Roberts asked, “I mean, at least for now, that's the only daughter they have.”
Theo stood then read what Emma wrote.
What? The only reason why she isn't your girlfriend yet is because you haven't met her yet, manwhore.
Theo felt a pang of anger, peeled off the post-it page, crumpled it and threw it like a basketball ball on the trash bin, except he failed to shoot it in. He missed some lines that Mrs. Robert have said.
“That poor girl loves cats, ya know. Only, she doesn't go out of the house that much, or I guess I just didn't see her more often—”
A loud chattering of kids dominated Mrs. Roberts' background.
“Uh, yeah, I think. I can never be sure. She looked familiar when I knocked in to find Toby, but I remembered her name was something like Es...” Emma faked a distressed sigh. “I don't know anymore, and yet I would love to get to know her; have my brother reconnect with her, but the thing is, I totally forgot her full name. I was hoping—”
“I think you're mistaken, dear. The Craig's never had a daughter with such Es name, it was Mel then Rose came.”
Emma eyed Theo with questioning look. Theo never understood what Mrs. Roberts just said.
“Emma, Dear, if you excuse me for a moment, my daughter and grandchildren are here. I will—“
“Hi, Nana.” A kid on the background cheerfully greeted.
“Trixie!” the old lady excitedly responded.“I will call you back, Emma.”
“Alright Mrs. Roberts, have a great day ahead,” Emma answered then hang up, not a second passed, she lifted the receiver again then harshly placed it back. “Fuck! I forgot to fucking give my phone number! Oh my God, I'm so stupid!” she cursed, slapping her palm into her forehead.
Rose. So that's her name, Theo recalled, not paying attention to Emma.
“Wait a minute… Theo, I'll be right back.” Emma then walked away from him, out of the café, living the glass door swinging and the wind chimes singing. Theo went back to his chair then continued reading the letter.
The thing is, we all woke up late at night, once upon a time during our pajama days. I did too, but never because of a nightmare. The horrible thing about it is that, no mother comforted me.
My first nightmare was Chris.
I was counting mentally so I could fall asleep. I was twelve then. Flor wasn't home and Chris was watching his favorite TV show which I forgot what, maybe I wasn't paying attention about what they like, yet mostly noticed what they hate: Flor hates it when a wine, a water or anything spills on the floor; she hates dusty table, unwashed dishes and uneven eyeliner wing. She would always yell at me then ask me to clean the house when she sees what she hates. As for her uneven eyeliner wing, she used to have those a lot, but I told her to watch YouTube tutorial once and she finally had no uneven-eyeliner-wing day. Chris hates being yelled at; hates sobs, he hates not drinking and not being able to release his libido.
Flor couldn't have babies, Chris wanted a baby, but he picked the wrong one. He picked me at the Orphanage when I was probably an infant, since I remember nothing about Angel Of God Orphanage, which was written on the adoption paper.
The shell wind chime rattled again as the door slammed close. Emma was holding a Manila paper; a marker and a tape. Theo ignored her once more.
Nightmares are supposed to wake you up and parents are supposed to comfort you, but it happened to me the other way around. Chris woke me up, and thinking it was all a nightmare was something that comforted me for a very long time.
And so again, I was twelve, sleeping soundly but waking up to a smell of liquor, a rough hand caressing my thighs, and an itchy-tickly mustache on my neck.
I remembered gasping for air and light, but the ‘nighmare’ responded so fast. “Shh. I hate noisy kids,” he whispered as his hand cupped my breast.
“S-stop! Chris, please!” I yelled trying to brush his hands away, wiggling my body to keep his touch off of me.
Theo felt as if his blood was rushing through his nape, sending tension and rebellious anger within. He touched his nape, massaging it slowly. He managed not to crumple the letter he was holding while one of his fist was close. He fucking raped her! He thought wildly.
He closed his eyes then breathed as deep as his lungs could, then dropped his gaze on the awful letter.
“Baby…” he moaned lustfully. “Shut up…” His breathing rapid. “addy's here.” His voice was trembling with lust as his hands touched my entrance. ”Don't panic, baby…” His finger victoriously found its way inside me. It grossly hurt. “Daddy will love you.”
The sound of his voice that day was something I knew I'd be hearing in my sleep, forever. Maybe even after death. Hoarse... Diabolic.
I was sobbing with every thrust. “Stop!” I yelled, trying to fight him off. “S-Stop or I will—” His big hand covered my mouth, enough to shut me up. His finger was moving inside me, and Dear God, I never felt something so painful in my life.
I woke up the next morning with my core, my body, and my heart in pain. I wasn't able to go to school, it was still slightly fortunate of me to be left alone in the house. I never cared where Flor was, especially Chris. And with tears I took Tylenol then tried to sleep but I couldn't.
That's when I realized that none of the things that happened that night was a bad dream. It was all real. I have lost my dignity into a person who is meant to be my guardian.
It didn't stopped there, Theo, the agony and the abuse. It happens very often, I have lost count. He just got up tonight actually. God knows how much I wanted to get away but where would I go?
Even if Theo knew that he have played some girls' hearts for countless of times, he felt sorry for Rose. His heart was stinging in pain.
I can't tell Clyde that, can't I? That my adoptive father took my maidenhood. That my adoptive father is as abusive as Clyde is. That's why even if Clyde was too eager to know who took that one thing he was dying to get from me, I couldn't tell him who.
Sex was supposed to make you feel like you are about to reach the heaven, I think. That's how I hear it from some people, at least. And yet in my case, I can never feel good about it. Now, I'm just like a lost fish, trying to go on with the flow, trying to get along to survive.
Theo sighed heavily. He did not notice the side of the paper was crumpled up until he put it on the table to breathe. He's not sure if he could grasp everything in one day, he's not sure if he's willing to uncover any more secrets, he's not sure if he's still the same person he is after all the reads.
He just stared to nowhere in particular, unsure if he's going to tear up, he felt wrecked. He was goofing around, having sex spree with every girls he hooked up to, and yet here is another girl, writing how awful her sex life was. How awful her life is.
“I have to find this girl. God! I have to find her!” he uttered with glum, brushing his hands on his face harshly. Emma seemed to care less, taping something on her Manila paper. He sighed for the last time before picking up the letter again. He has to continue, or she will lost her.
This is gonna be the end of your quest, Theo. I don't think I can afford to write anymore. I have to save the remaining days of my life for myself.
Thank you, for keeping up with me, if you ever did. I will never forget you.
No! Theo screamed in the back of his mind.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places."- Roald Dahl
With much gratitude,Rose.
Theo twitched upon reading the name. Indeed, it was Rose. He folded the letter smoothly then placed it back in the envelope. He leaned back on the chair and closed his eyes, trying not to think about anything.
He's still clueless about every single thing. He felt like he had to start again. He desperately wanted all this to end, and yet now that the writer finally introduced herself and put his quest into an end, he itched for more—ached for more.
"I think I know where she is," Emma jolted.
Theo opened his eyes, Emma was standing on the wall, the Manila paper was posted and was filled with post-it's and info's written on it.
“Theo, I found her!” she briskly said, her eyes glowing with hope. “We are saving Melan.”