It was a normal day. I was a blonde haired, blue eyed eleven year old girl with good grades and a bright future. That morning my family ate breakfast together at the kitchen table before my sister and I caught the school bus and our parents drove to work. My father read the newspaper in between bites of his toast. My mother wore an apron while she cooked and waved to the neighbors on her way to get the mail. My little sister giggled with her missing front teeth and milk mustache. We did our homework when we got home from school. We played outside in the back yard on our wooden swing set. We were a perfect family with a perfect life. That night I held my little sisters hand as we hid under our bed and our parents were murdered.
We lived in a neighborhood with a cul-de-sac street. When you would look out the window, you would see kids riding their bikes on the sidewalks. Crime was unheard of, but that didn’t stop it from happening to us. I remember the sound of the gun shots. I remember feeling my pounding heart, the sticky sweat in between mine and my sister’s clenched hands, and the sick feeling in my stomach. I was terrified that we were next. I don’t remember what happened, and I don’t remember why, but the intruder didn’t get us.
I haven’t seen my sister since that night. My Godfather, George Spencer, took me in. (I just call him Godfather though. Sounds cooler.) He is a rich, old friend of my parents. There wasn’t any family left to go to. My Grandparents had already passed away from cancer and heart disease. For the most part, I grew up without them. I was diagnosed with PTSD and heavily medicated. The absence of my sister was something I never really got an explanation for. Staying quiet and not asking questions was something I learned how to do over the years. Memories are now too foggy to make sense of anything, so I had to just move forward and try to put the past behind me.
This year I entered my senior year of high school at The Buckley School, a private school in Sherman Oaks, California. No one knows about my past except for my best friend, Lucille. We don’t even talk about it anymore. We’re concerned with normal things that seniors are concerned with like getting our driver’s license and how many days there are until graduation.
I so badly want things to be normal. I haven’t seen my therapist in three years. The only thing left to do… the thing that would make things one hundred percent normal again was to stop taking my medication. So I stopped. That’s when the nightmares started. Nobody knows about them. I don’t want Godfather to be worried about me. He already worries enough. He has our butler, Albert, waiting on me hand and foot, making sure I am perfectly content at all times. Plus he would just send me back to a therapist. So I can’t tell him. I just have to keep going until I am eighteen. Then nobody can make me do anything.
Aurora rubbed her eyes and looked at her alarm clock. 3:03. It was pointless to try to go back to sleep when she knew she would just wake up again in an hour. Her heart was still pounding from the nightmare. Was I going mad? She sighed. Her bedroom was completely dark. She reached over and turned on the lamp sitting on her nightstand. That’s when she remembered the full bottle of pills sitting inside her nightstand drawer. I’m not going to take them. She laid there for a moment waiting for her heart to settle. Then she reached over and opened the drawer. She grabbed the bottle, took them to her en suite bathroom, and flushed the pills down the toilet.
With squinty eyes, she stared back at her face in the mirror. The dark circles under her eyes were now impossible to miss. She swore they were getting darker as the nights passed. Normally she had a fresh, baby face. People easily mistook her for being twelve rather than seventeen. It was something that got on her nerves, but she always just smiled back at them. She splashed cold water on her face. The water trickled down onto her oversized white t-shirt. Her mouth was dry. She really didn’t want to have to go downstairs and get a drink, because she might wake up Godfather or Albert in the process, but tap water from the sink wasn’t sounding very appetizing, no matter how many filters Godfather had hooked up to the main water line of the house.
Aurora got her cell phone from on top of her dresser to use as a flashlight, and crept out of her bedroom into the dark hall. Albert’s bedroom was at the opposite side of the house and Godfather’s bedroom was the master suite downstairs. While in the hall, she peeked over the railing to take a look at the Great Room below to see if she could see anyone who might be awake. Godfather liked to sit in his armchair in front of the fireplace there. His chair, and what she could see in the darkened room, was empty. She slowly walked down the curved staircase and into the two story foyer. Moonlight poured into the room from the glass in the large, wooden front door. She took a look at the bright moon. It was full. When she got to the kitchen, she took a pitcher of orange juice from the stainless steel refrigerator, and poured it in her glass.
Suddenly, a thundering noise echoed through the kitchen. Aurora jerked, knocking over her glass, shattering it to the floor. She turned around quick and saw Godfather standing there. He had accidentally knocked over the trash can. He flipped on the lights.
“I’m sorry,” Godfather apologized, running to the pantry to grab a broom. “I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
“It’s alright,” Aurora squinted from the blinding light.
Godfather swept up the broken glass while Aurora poured a new glass of orange juice. She quickly drank it down.
“What are you doing awake?” Godfather questioned as he put away the broom.
“I just woke up and needed a drink. What are you doing awake?”
“I was just finishing up some work in my office.” Godfather also got himself a glass of orange juice. “You look really tired.”
“Well it is three o’clock in the morning.”
They sat down together at the small wooden table in the kitchen drinking their juice.
“What are the odds both of us up at the same time?”
“Must be the full moon,” Aurora laughed.
Godfather laughed back and got up from his chair. “Well, I’m going to go get some sleep. I have a meeting in the morning.” He sat his empty glass in the dishwasher. “Goodnight, sweetheart.”
“Goodnight,” Aurora replied as Godfather walked out of the kitchen. She wondered why he had so many meetings lately, but she didn’t ask. He was hardly ever home. Talking to him just now was more conversation than she’d had with him in days.
When Aurora got back up to her bedroom, she laid on her soft, fluffy bed staring up at the ceiling for a while, then finally drifted off to sleep.
Aurora awoke by the bright sunlight streaming in through her curtains. She reached for her alarm clock to check the time and accidentally knocked it off the table. She let out an irritated sigh and didn’t even bother picking it up. Remembering it was the weekend perked her up a little bit. School was something she dreaded more than just about anything.
She sat up in bed and stretched. There was a knock at her door.
“Come in,” Aurora responded.
Alfred walked in.
“Good. You are already awake. I was hoping I didn’t have to wake you up myself,” he said relieved. “I knew you weren’t going to have breakfast at the regular time since it’s a Saturday, and I know how much you enjoy sleeping in, but it is now past noon… Would you like breakfast now or would you like me to fix you a lunch?”
Aurora laughed. “I’ll have breakfast now, Alfred. Thank you.”
“The regular or are you feeling more adventurous today?” he asked.
Chocolate chip pancakes and a cup of coffee. Black.
“Will do,” he responded, turned on his heel, and took off with stride out the door.
Aurora stood up and made her bed. No matter how many times Alfred told her not to she still did. She slipped on her house slippers and walked to her bathroom. Her blonde hair was sticking up in all directions, so she brushed it. Then she brushed her teeth. She put on a long cardigan to cover her sleeveless shirt and pajama shorts and walked downstairs.
In the kitchen Alfred was listening to Beethoven. He confidently flipped her pancakes up into the air and back down into the stainless steel skillet. Aurora sat down at the island bar. Watching him cook was always rather interesting, but today she was interested in more than that.
“Alfred, may I ask you a question?”
“Of course,” he answered.
“What is going on with Godfather? Why is he staying up so late, and what’s with all of the meetings suddenly? He seems so distracted, and he’s not sleeping well.”
“That I do not know,” Alfred replied. “Your Godfather and I have always been close, but when it comes to his work, that is where he draws the line. I cook. I clean. I do not ask him questions on the subject.”
“Hmm,” Aurora thought wishing there was a least something Alfred could tell her. “I would really like to ask him, but I don’t think he would tell me.”
“You’re right,” Alfred assured her while expertly flipping pancakes. “Your Godfather doesn’t want anybody to worry about what he is up to.”
Alfred’s eyes widened wishing he could take back what he said.
“What he is up to…?” Aurora repeated. “What is he up to?”
“Oh!” Alfred explained, ignoring her question. “I almost burnt your pancake. You should eat now.” He quickly put her pancakes on a plate and poured her coffee. “I have a lot of work to do today. Your Godfather wants me to organize his book collection in the library. I must get to work. Just leave your dishes there. I will clean up.”
He quickly walked out of the kitchen.
Aurora sat there stunned for a moment wondering what he was hiding. She had to figure out what was going on.
In between bites of pancakes and slurps of coffee, she spoke.
“Lucille, I need you to come over to my house. I need your help with something important,” she said into her cell phone.
“Help with what?” Lucille questioned.
“Are you busy?” Aurora asked.
“Good,” she replied. “Oh, and park beside the stone wall where you can’t be seen. Don’t park in front of the gate and stay in your car. After that, call me.”
“What in the hell is going- ?”
Aurora ended the call before she could finish. She put her phone’s ringtone on vibrate and poured herself another cup of coffee. It would take Alfred hours to finish organizing Godfather’s book collection, but she was still anxious. She ignored Alfred’s request to leave her dishes and placed them in the dishwasher.
She walked upstairs to her bedroom and opened her closet door in search of something to wear. After trying on four different outfits, she decided on a floral dress with white flats. She put on some mascara and lip gloss in her vanity mirror.
Her cell phone started buzzing. She quickly answered the call.
“Lucille,” she said. “Leave your car where it is. I’m going to let you in the front gate. Walk to the front door. I will see you and let you in.”
“Aurora, what is- ”
“I’ll explain when you get here,” Aurora interrupted.
She ended the call. Then she sneaked out of her room, wincing when the door creaked. She moved stealthily down the stairs, trying to avoid the squeaky ones, and to the front door. On the wall near the door was a hidden panel. She opened it and looked at the screen. She didn’t see Lucille’s car anywhere. She was standing at the gate.
“Good job,” she whispered to herself.
She pushed the button below the screen to open the gate. She watched her sneak across the circle path towards the front door. She dove behind the fountain that was in the center of the circle path halfway from the gate to the front door. Tufts of her strawberry blonde hair was sticking out. Aurora giggled. She got back up and walked to the front door. Aurora slowly opened it.
“Shh…” she whispered as Lucille walked in.
Lucille looked at her like she had never been more confused in her life, and then followed Aurora up the stairs. She shut her bedroom door behind them.
“Okay, I need to know right now. What is going on?” Lucille demanded.
“My Godfather is up to something, and I need to figure out what it is.”
“What do you mean?”
“He’s had so many meetings lately. He’s been staying up all night working. Alfred accidentally mentioned that he doesn’t want anyone to know what he is up to.”
“Ooooh cool. We get to be like secret agents,” Lucille beamed. “What’s the plan?”
“Well we need to figure out a way to get into his office. Then I guess we’ll just look around.”
“Great plan,” Lucille said sarcastically.
Aurora laughed and punched her arm.
“Ow!” Lucille yelled.
“Shh!” Aurora whispered. “He keeps his office door locked, so we’ll have to find a key to get in. I’m hoping he has one in his bedroom somewhere.”
Aurora took a notepad and pen off of her desk and stuck it in her back pocket. She took her digital camera out of her desk drawer and hung it around her neck. She walked over and got a flashlight out of the drawer in her night stand.
“Here take the flashlight,” she said handing it to Lucille. “Follow me.”
Aurora slowly opened her bedroom door. She looked down the long hallway to the left and to the right. There was no one there, so she walked out. Lucille followed her. Godfather’s bedroom was on the first floor across from his office. They had to go past the library in order to get to her Godfather’s bedroom. They sneaked down the staircase and then down the long hall behind it. Aurora peered into the library. Thankfully Alfred had his back turned to them. He was humming and piling books into a stack on a desk. They sneaked by the door and down the hall to Godfather’s bedroom. The door was unlocked.
Aurora slowly pushed open the door. Even with the king sized poster bed, his bedroom was huge. The floor was made of a grey marble and fur rugs laid on the floor. A stone fireplace was across from his bed. Aurora walked over to his dresser and started rummaging through the drawers hoping to find something while Lucille stood there looking around the room in amazement.
“Lucille, go stand by the door. Keep an eye out for Alfred,” Aurora whispered motioning at the bedroom door.
Lucille quickly moved to the door and looked down the hallway. Aurora began searching around the room and under the bed. Nothing. She walked back to the dresser. There was a wooden box sitting on it. She opened the box and looked inside. It was empty.
Strange. Why is there a box here if it’s empty? Just for decoration?
She took a closer look at the box. The part that you could see when you opened the box was actually not as deep as the box itself. She pulled on the front of the box. A-ha! It opened to reveal a hidden compartment. Inside was a note and two keys. The note had a phone number written on it. She scribbled it down in her note pad. She took out the keys, closed the box, and sat it back down on the dresser.
“Hopefully one of these opens his office door,” she whispered to Lucille.
Aurora peered down the hallway to see if the coast was clear. It was empty. Lucille followed her across the hall to Godfather’s office. Aurora tried both keys, and the second one unlocked the door. They slowly opened it and shut it behind them.
Aurora looked around. She had never been in Godfather’s office before. Facing them was a large wooden desk with a computer sitting on it in the center of the room. A large, floor to ceiling window with red curtains was behind it. There were bookshelves covering the majority of the walls except for a small section with two filing cabinets sitting side by side. Above the filing cabinets was a large bulletin board with a map of New York City. There were thumb tacks stuck on certain locations. She took out her digital camera and took a photo of the map.
“Aurora, come and look at this,” Lucille said.
Aurora walked over to Lucille who was standing behind the desk. She looked at the computer screen. On it were small screens showing different rooms in the house. Every room in the house, except for the bedrooms and bathrooms were on the screen. She could see Alfred sorting books in the library, and she could see Lucille and herself right on the screen in the office.
“Shit,” Aurora mumbled.
“What are we going to do?” Lucille panicked.
Aurora took a look at the surveillance program. She clicked on the options tab, then cameras. There were names given to each camera put in the house – entry, stairs, hallway 1, hallway 2, office, kitchen, library, living room, and entertainment room. There were also choices to add and remove them. On the 'Find and Play Recordings' tab were a list of the recordings when motions were detected by the cameras. It showed the date and time, and you could play and delete them. You could also select to turn the motion detection on or off and to turn each camera on or off.
“Okay, what we are going to do is delete the recordings from the time right before you got here till now, then we are going to turn off all of the cameras, but not delete them from the program,” Aurora decided. “Hopefully Godfather will just think that there is something wrong with the program and not suspect anything.”
“Alright,” Lucille agreed.
Aurora clicked on the off button for all cameras being recorded in the house and then deleted all of the video files to the time right before Lucille arrived.
“We should see what else is on this computer,” Aurora suggested.
She minimized the surveillance program. The background image of the computer desktop was a simple landscape photo of some mountains. What few icons there were on the desktop were nice and organized. Something Aurora wasn’t used to seeing on her own computer. She noticed the icon of his email account and opened it. There were four unread emails from website subscriptions, but none seemed out of the ordinary. She noticed a read email from someone of the name Kathleen J. It was marked as urgent. She opened the email.
The assignment is set to take place on April 22nd. Your plane is scheduled to depart Los Angeles for New York City on April 20th at 6:30 a.m. Your driver will be waiting for you upon arrival at the JFK International Airport to transport you to your hotel. We will meet that evening at 5 o’clock. I will call you beforehand to secure the location. I look forward to meeting with you.
April 22nd was in two weeks.
“What assignment?” Lucille wondered out loud.
“I don’t know. This might be important,” Aurora stated. “Write all of it down. Then close out of the email.”
She handed Lucille the notepad and pen. Then she walked over to the filing cabinets and began looking through the drawers. She opened the files and looked at the documents inside. There was nothing interesting until she pulled out a folder that said Classified. She flipped through the papers in the folder and noticed a photo inside of a couple and two children.
“Oh my god,” Aurora whispered.
Lucille heard and came over to see.
“Who are they?” Lucille asked.
“That is me, my parents, and my little sister,” Aurora answered.
She flipped through the rest of the papers and found more photos. This time they were the police photos of the crime scene that occurred the night of her parent’s death. Her parents lay sprawled on the floor covered in blood.
Aurora dropped the folder sending all of its contents flying all over the floor.
“Aurora!” they heard Alfred yell. “Where are you? Did you leave?”
Quotes from Aurora:
“Whenever you were a little girl, you could do things that other people cannot. You knew things were going to happen before they happened. When you were six years old you stopped your family from getting in a horrible car accident. You screamed and screamed in the car until they pulled over. There ended up being a ten car pileup ahead which began from an intoxicated truck driver and would have included you if your father had not pulled the car over. You knew things that people were going to say as if you could read their minds. You knew things about outer space that hadn’t even been taught to you. You never got sick, and you were very strong. We tried to teach you to keep your abilities hidden around other people, but you had to go to a doctor every year for a check-up, plus you had to go to school. Your doctor was very curious about how from your birth you had never been sick once. Most kids have ear infections and colds, but you didn’t have any of those things. Instead of being happy you were a healthy child, it’s as if they were fearful. And your teachers… they didn’t like that you were smarter than they were. They began to ask questions. When your parents tried to pull you from school and have someone tutor you at home, they called Child Protective Services. Then when your parents moved from Seattle to Portland, they got even more suspicious. The police showed up at your new home and wanted to take you in for an investigation. Then the F.B.I. and military got involved. They wanted to do experiments on you and offered millions of dollars.” - Godfather
"The night your parents died, you called me crying. I think you knew what was going to happen. You didn’t explain anything, but I came over right away. I got to your parent’s house, not in time to save them, but in time to save you and your sister. The people who killed your parents had already gotten away. I took you both from the home and you were declared missing persons. If the police would have found you, they would have gotten you and who knows what would have happened. You could be in a petri dish right now. I made a vow to your parents to always protect you. I changed both our last names, and we started over.”- Godfather
“With you knowing the truth,” Godfather continued. “This is the first step to remembering. The first step to possibly awakening your abilities inside of you once again. And you know if you do that, it is going to turn you into the biggest lit up billboard in the world, and all of the darkness is going to find you once again. You have to either be ready for it, or you must not go any further down this road.”
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Young Adult
Word Count: 11,295 (and counting...)
Type of Work: Novel
Target Age Range: 16-18 Young Adult, 18+ Adult
Hook: As a child, Aurora Spencer was taken in and hidden by her parent’s best friend after they were mysteriously murdered. Now that she is a teenager, she, along with her best friend Lucille, is trying to uncover the secrets of her past. Some even out of this world. She finds that being aware of those secrets is unlocking abilities within her that she will need to use to stop the corruption the world is headed towards. Will she find out who she really is? Can she save the world?