The ritual started. Ten people circled around me, chanting the same lines, even saying my name. The lights are off and I can’t see anything until someone carries out a candle. The candle is put before me. I can feel a pounding in my chest, maybe I can just get worked up and then pass out. I wait for the chanting to diminish. I hate this a lot, I try to breathe in and out slowly. Eyes are watching my every move.
“ Blow out the candle,” a voice whispers. I look at the person who said that. I can’t see a full face, and the candle light makes them look even more inhuman-like. I focus on the wax gliding down as heat is melting it. I can feel people grabbing my shoulders and all the voices repeating what the man said.I feel like kicking and screaming for help, but it would be no use. I want to get out of here so I blow out the candle. Darkness swallows everyone as my breath ends the light.
Everyone cheers. The lights turn on. I blink a couple times, my head still isn’t wrapped around what has happened. Everyone has already gotten up and acted like the chanting never happened.People went into the kitchen and started eating or talked to other people from their cult. How could they go back to normal after that? What is wrong with these people? As I was looking around the room, I started thinking about ways to escape, but a tall woman brings over a bag and an envelope.
“ Go ahead and open it,” her smile looks questioning. I grab the bag slowly. I am taking my time and I can tell she is getting impatient. I probably shouldn’t make her upset. She snatches the bag and rips the paper off the top. She pulls out fabric that has a design on it.
“ Aw! This will be so cute, “ She looks me in the eyes, almost like she is trying to make me hypnotised. “Don’t you like it?” I nod and notice everyone else is staring at me. I will never be able to get out of this room. I try to slowly stand up but the woman hands me another item, this time it was a box shape.
“ Why are you standing up? Is there anything wrong?” She looks annoyed. I shouldn’t have stood up. I didn’t reply. The paper was harder to take off this time. A clear, sticky substance covered ? of the box. Inside there were food like items. Many brightly colored sweet foods that would hurt the bones inside my mouth later. I put the box in the woman's lap and she just keeps saying “Thank you.”
It feels like hours have passed since I started opening different packages. After each package was opened I learned to say “thank you” or else the woman gave me a i-will-make-these-people-cut-you-up glare. She finally picked up all the trash and told me to go “wash up”. I didn’t know what to do when I walked into the room she pointed at.
The walls were a faded pink color, almost like bubble gum you have been chewing on and it has lost all its flavor. I look at myself in the mirror: my brown hair is in a bun to the side, bags under my eyes, and fear written all over my face. I am still wearing my blue tank top with pink splats from yesterday. Was it from yesterday? Maybe it's been weeks without me knowing. I looked more around the room and found pictures of me. Have these people been stalking me? There was even a picture of me with the woman and the guy who whispered at me. Not knowing what to think I grabbed the soap and washed my hands.
After rying my hands on my pants, I opened the light brown door slowly. I took careful steps down the creaking, brown and dreary hallway. Pictures and drawings covered the walls to make it feel more “homey” I am guessing. When I made it to the living room, people came over to me and started hugging me. There were kids around my age talking about what the stuff was in the packages, and adults with wrinkly skin tellings me how proud they are of me. Probably for not fainting over the ritual. All the commotion made me anxious. I couldn’t think or breathe. All I wanted was to be at home.
“Time for meds, Audrey?” I looked at the woman strangely. Thoughts swam in my mind, not figuring out what was happening. I started fitting everything in my head like puzzle pieces. All the pictures, the people here, the ritual. The woman with brown hair and a frightening smile is my mother, the people here are all family and friends, the packages I opened were my presents, and today is my..my...b.b...birthday.