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The Journals

By
10 years ago
Little Rock, Arkansas

Kelly lay on her tiny bed and stared up at the ceiling, angrily swiping at tears that dared to spill onto her pale cheeks. She tried to block it out but the raised voices seeped through the walls regardless. She didn’t mean to anger Father, but it seemed that everything she did set him off these days. It wasn’t her fault she wasn’t Mandy.

Ever since her sister tragically lost her life in a car-crash, Kelly became invisible to her family. They didn’t notice or care if she came home or not. Sometimes she wished she’d been the one buried six feet under, maybe then the pain would fade.
“She’s utterly useless! You saw what she did Kathy. God I want that girl out of this house immediately, you hear?”

Cringing at the venom in her father’s voice, Kelly curled up into a foetal position and covered her ears.
“Please James, She didn’t mean to, she’s only 14, these things happen...” Her mother’s reply was hesitant and terrified.

She didn’t mean to screw up her father’s important business deal, Kelly thought sullenly. She just didn’t want to listen to anymore talk about tearing down beautiful, symbolic buildings to create a stupid mall. Obviously, Kelly’s father didn’t appreciate her passionately expressing her opinions to a room full of cut-throat businessmen. It was her mother’s idea to go to the company with her dad and Kelly was only too happy to comply. Now she ruined the perfect chance to finally win her father’s love with her stupidity.

She shrank further into her bed as the sound of splintering glass reverberated through the house.
“DON’T YOU DARE COMPARE MY MANDY TO THAT!”
“James—”
“How dare she embarrass me like that? Do you know how much that deal meant to me? I spent months preparing for that meeting and she’s wrecks it in a matter of minutes!”
“She’s only a child; she didn’t know what she was talking about!”
“She certainly knew what she was talking about when she started insulting my clients, I lost over a million dollars thanks to her.”
“But—” Kelly could tell from the sound of her mother’s heels clicking against the marble floor, that she was getting frantic.
“She’s going to my mother’s and that’s final!”

Numb with hurt and fury, Kelly slid out of her bed and walked to the window. Staring out at the winking stars in the onyx sky, she felt the built up anger slowly ebb away. She should be used to this by now, it happened regularly enough. Her father would find something to belittle her about, something as small as getting a grade C in math. Her mother would then step in and try to calm him down, not really helping the situation. Consequently Kelly would then be banished to her room for the rest of the night.
You don't need them, she told herself, and they aren't your real family anyway. It was a fantasy Kelly created to deal with cruel reality. She knew it was useless but that didn't stop her from hoping and praying every night. From wishing that there was somebody out there who loved her for being her. Somebody like her grandmother.

Choked with emotions she couldn't describe, Kelly turned around only to come face to face with her grandmother. Surprised, she halted mid-stride like a deer caught in headlights. It was uncanny how her grandmother never failed to turn up when she needed her.

Lydia Ann Marques was a striking, willowy lady who radiated elegance and poise. Her silvery gold hair was pulled back into a tight chignon, and her pale blue eyes sparkled with intelligence behind horn-rimmed glasses. In contrast to her stubborn stance, her grandmother looked very delicate and fragile.
“My poor baby,” She said, gently enfolding Kelly into her arms.
“Why do they hate me Grandma? What did I do that was so bad?” She said, through her tears. Burying her nose deeper into her grandma’s cotton sweater, Kelly was soothed by the peculiar combination of the lavender and peppermint fragrance. Her grandmother was the only person who never treated her like an abomination.
“Sweetheart, they don’t like me either. And you do take after me after all,” Lydia chuckled, kissing her forehead. “One day you will know the truth though.”
Frowning, Kelly peered up into those eerie eyes. “What do you mean, Grandma?”
Lydia smiled and patted her damp cheek. “Not today child, today you’re coming with me—”
The sound of the door slamming startled them, shattering the warm ambience.
“Where’s that little s***? I’m going to kill her!” As her brother’s livid voice reached her ears, Kelly began to tremble like a leaf. Her father may have been angry, but his temper was mild compared to that of her brother’s. Kevin was the head of the house; everyone did what he wanted, when he wanted. Even their parents knew better than to reprimand him. She moved closer to her grandmother, barely able to breathe through the panic and fear.

Lydia pulled herself up to her full height and drew Kelly nearer to her.
“Grandma he’s going to hurt me!” She cried, “I’m really sorry about losing Daddy all that money, honestly!”
“Easy child, I know it wasn’t your fault” Lydia said firmly. “Now I’m going to need you to follow my instructions, understand?”
Kelly bobbed her head quickly as Kevin started thumping up the stairs, bellowing retribution.
“Close your eyes Kelly and do not open them until I tell you to. Hold onto my sweater tightly,” Lydia waited for her granddaughter to do what she asked.

After several seconds of silence, the old woman began chanting something in an unfamiliar language. Alarmed, Kelly opened her eyes in time to see her grandmother lift a frail hand into the air. As the door rocked off its hinges, the last thing her mind registered was the look of amazement on her brother’s face as Kelly and her grandmother were sucked out of the room... as though through an imaginary vacuum.



10 years later
Somewhere in England

"Why do bad things always happen to good people?" Kelly muttered to nobody in particular. Oblivious to the questioning glances, she peered out of the small vaporous window to her left, whilst her body swayed to the rhythmic movement of the train. This was the third time she had to move this month and she was quickly running out of options. And money.
Well she shouldn’t be surprised they found her, her family were prestigious after all. They probably had every detective in the country searching for her.
Oh it’s not because they care about her and want her back, she thought bitterly, no it was because she has something they required. The journals belonging to her grandmother, it was her dying wish that Kelly kept them. Now, after numerous attempts on her life, she was seriously regretting her hasty agreement.

Every time she settled into a new life, her past would find some way of digging claws into her and she would be right back were she started...on the run. Realistically, she knew it was only at matter of time before they discovered her again. They always did, no matter what ridiculous alias she used or which country she moved to.
“Sorry to bother you Miss,” She looked up, startled out of her reverie. A tall young man, with shocking red hair which contrasted impressively against his royal blue uniform, was hovering over her.
“Would you care for some refreshments?”
Kelly took in his boyish appearance along with his awkward manner and quickly dismissed him as a threat.
“No, thank you.” She smiled politely and turned her face back towards the window to squint at the mundane view outside. She had been travelling for two hours non-stop and her legs felt numb and stiff. She made a mental note to ride first-class next time.
“Er Miss, I have a message for you, from a gentleman sitting in the back carriage,” He pulled out a white envelope. “He said you’ll know what to do with it.” Before she could respond, he thrust it at her and hurried off down the aisle.
Fear spread through her body like a virus as adrenaline galloped through her veins. Kelly could’ve sworn she felt her heartbeat triple.

With hands shaking as though she had Parkinson’s disease, Kelly managed to tear open the envelope and withdraw the contents.

She opened the letter and read the short handwritten message inside.

You wer lucky the las time but now yur luck runs out. You better gerr off wen this train stops or Ill kill you and eveyone bloody person on this bloody train. See you in 3 mins


“Huh. Guess they don’t teach grammar at assassin school,” she said as her brain refused to compute the nightmare she was in. The train began to slow down, opposing her heartbeat which accelerated further. This was it, she was going to either die or be sent back to her family. Right now, she couldn’t fathom which of the two fates she dreaded the most.
Kelly choked down the hysterical laughter that bubbled up inside her. All this for damn journals she didn’t even need. Unlike her grandmother, she didn’t believe in the hocus pocus nonsense. If magic existed, her sister would be alive today and the world...well it would undoubtedly be a different place.

Impulsively, she reached down into her suitcase and took out the offending item. She flipped it open the dilapidated, brown leather cover and skimmed through it. It was just as she thought, utterly useless. Why did she bother keeping it? Because you promised...her conscience whispered. So by keeping the journals she was simply being a loyal granddaughter. It didn’t mean she believed in magic or anything.
I wish I could escape this whole mess, she thought gloomily as the train lurched to a stop.
“We have arrived at Johnston City,” The loudspeaker crackled with static as a male voice boomed through. “Passengers are advised to take all their belongings with them. This train will continue to Harringvale. The approximate time of arrival will be 45 minutes.”
Kelly rose to her feet and walked briskly towards the front exit. It didn’t escape her notice that she was the only one to leave the train.






**************************************
“Crap!” She stumbled forward as her heel twisted into an awkward position and her body shifted precariously. Regaining her balance, Kelly risked a glance at her surroundings.
The station was deserted but for an old janitor and the homeless guy in the corner, sucking on a bottle of whiskey for comfort. Curious, he lifted his head to peek at her but slowly slumped back in disappointment when he realized she had no fortune to share. That's right buddy, she thought, I'm as rich as you are.

Behind her, the train whistled and roared to life as it skidded across the tracks at lightening speed. She scanned the area again. Where were her brother’s henchmen? Surely there should be someone here waiting to kidnap her at gunpoint. Unless that note was a stupid joke. Either way she shouldn’t be standing there pondering it.
“You lost?”
Jumping, she swung around, one hand gripping her suitcase, the other one hovering over her mini manicure scissors in her jacket pocket.
The janitor was an African man in his late forties with salt and pepper hair, receding at the front. He smiled to reveal a crooked incisor and a small number of teeth that were stained yellow.
“No-no, I’m just waiting for a friend.” Kelly said. While she tried to sound casual, her voice came out as a pathetic squeak.
“Don’t see pretty young thangs like yaself here much,” He leered, walking closer.
“I’m no-not from around here.”
“So where ya headed darlin’? I finish for my break in an hour, whadda say I show ya round?” He licked his fleshy lips suggestively.
Kelly pulled her lapels together and straightened. You have seen off many enemies in the past, all much more powerful than this man, she reminded herself. She couldn’t afford to act like a fool now.
“No thanks, I’ve got somewhere to be,” Clutching her suitcase closer; she moved around him and made her way to the exit.
“Ya gonna be like that eh? Hey I’m talking to you!” He was following her as she made her way up the steps.
She increased her pace and turned the corner before running as fast as her body allowed her, her case making a racket against the cement floor.

Once she escaped outside, Kelly let out a sigh as the breeze caressed her face and re-styled her hair. She caught sight of herself reflected on an opaque truck window. Dismayed, Kelly ran a hand through platinum-blonde curls which currently resembled a bird's nest. The rest of her looked okay if slightly dishevelled from the journey.

Moving closer to the window, she dug into her purse and pulled out her frosted-pink lipgloss. Puckering up, she applied a generous amount. Then she added an extra coat for luck, who knew when she’d have to rely on her feminine wiles? She was contemplating on whether to go for her mascara when the window rolled down. Kelly found herself staring into a pair of amused blue eyes.
“Hey there.”





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