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I never got any letters.
Not from Grandma or Grandpa.
Not from my friends.
Not from anyone.
I never got any letters.
Until that day.
I never did like Saturdays. Everyone else did, but for some reason I didn’t. I didn’t have many friends, but the ones I did have were always busy. Maybe I didn’t like Saturdays because I never had anything to do on Saturdays.
Until the letter came.
I’d sit at home, all alone except for my cats. I had 5; and they were all specially bred Norwegian Forest cats. They had such luscious fur and amiable personalities. I would sit on the couch in our living room, one or two, or sometimes even three of my cats curled up near me and look out the window, the curtains only partially drawn. I would look out past the big oak in our front yard and watched the neighborhood kids play amongst themselves. Sitting all alone with my cats…
Until the letter came.
I got average grades in all of my subjects, though I did phenomenal in chorus. The director always gave me the solos for some reason. He said something like “You have a soft, smooth voice.” At first it sounded creepy, but when one of my friends made me listen to a couple CD’s I realized what he meant. I would sing at town carnivals and small fundraisers, sometimes my choice and others I was offered up without anyone asking me. Not that I really minded. People also said that my hair was really pretty, but I didn’t really think so.
Until the letter came.
I sat up on the couch, disturbing George (the eldest cat) who had been sleeping in the curve of my body. He yawned, stretching his legs before looking at me with those grey-green eyes. It was 1:21 pm in the afternoon. The mail-man had finally come, and my parents always trusted me to get it since they were paranoid it was going to get stolen. It’s not like they came home a lot anyways. I stretched a little myself before I stood up, my long hair falling into a mess of curls at my waist. The white silk sundress I had thrown on this morning was wrinkled on one side while the other was fluttering about as I moved to the door. I had to push Milly (the youngest cat) away from the door as I started to turn the knob. She always wanted to get out and play, but the street we lived on was too busy to run the risk. I cracked the door open just enough so that I could slip out without any cats following behind me. They were pretty big cats, after all.
The early-June temperature was warm, and made the stone path from the wooden porch to the mailbox just the right temperature. The stepping stones were smooth against the balls of my feet as I tip toed across them, playing a game of “don’t touch the lava” where the grass was the ‘lava’. I knew it wouldn’t work since there was a patch of grass in front of the mailbox, but I guess I was just doing it to entertain myself. Our mailbox was plain; White with a sticker that read “3414- The Hunt’s” on the right side. Sometimes it was decorated with bird poop, though. One tap against it and the door of the mailbox and it swung open, revealing a few envelopes strewn within it. I gathered them in the palm of my hand and slammed it shut. If I didn’t, it’d fall open again. And again. And again. Damn old mailboxes.
After going back inside (and running back out to grab Milly), I began to flip through the envelopes out of curiosity. They were always addressed to mom and dad, and after reading where it came from, I threw it onto the growing pile of letters on the kitchen table. I was about to throw the last on in my hand onto the pile when I realized there was a different name in front of “Hunt”.
It was mine.
I quickly ripped open the envelope, ignoring the few rose petals that fell out as I flung the crinkled paper from inside. I don’t really know why I was so eager. My heart was pumping and my chest tightened up. I could barely breathe. I unfolded the paper.
We have seen your talent at local events and have talked to your schools choir director. Your singing is phenomenal, and we would like to invite you to take up a special opportunity to present your talent to a wider range of people and also improve your singing. This is one-time only and is not being offered to anyone else. We will explain more about what you will be doing at the orientation and you can make your decision then. We hope to see you there.”
At the bottom of the letter there was an address, time and date. I was surprised to see that they had arranged it for tomorrow at 1 in the afternoon. They must have timed the sending of the letter so that it would arrive the day before. My mom told me once that companies do that to give them less time to think things over and put them under pressure so they’ll say yes… or something like that.
I stared at the letter in my hand, reading it a few more times before tossing it onto the counter. I had already decided I’d go, since I didn’t have anything better to do. Ever. After making myself a quick ham and mayonnaise sandwich, I went upstairs to start picking out the outfit I’d wear.
I don’t know why, but at the time I wasn’t put off by the fact that it was at an old building on the edge of town. The sign was rusted and covered in graffiti, though I think I heard that it was an antique shop once. It was made of concrete, and really looked more like an old office building that just needed a little refurbishment. Normally that would scare anyone, right? But upon opening the two double doors, I was quite surprised to see that it looked completely modern on the inside. The receptionist’s counter was curved with a desk behind it and a computer with hallways on each side, and plants in the corner by 3 chairs. It reminded me of a doctor’s office. But no one was there.
I walked up to the desk, looking over as if I thought someone was hiding behind there or something. “Hello?” I called softly, putting my weight on my left foot and bending to the side to look down one of the hallways.
“You must be Alyssa.” I gasped and I nearly fell. I hadn’t heard him coming at all. I looked to my right to see a tall man with pale skin. He had a black suit with a red tie on, and his hair was short and was spiked a bit. What I found weird was that he wore these clunky-looking shoes that looked like they’d make a lot of noise. But I pushed the thought to the side for now.
“Yes,” I answered in reply. I held out the letter to the man, stepping towards him. He didn’t move.
“Come with me, if you will.” He spoke sternly, and there wasn’t much emotion in his voice. He turned and started walking briskly down the hallway that I assumed he came from. Fretting a bit, I stumbled after him. The hallways were white with white marble tiles, and a door on the left & right of me every 10 feet or so. He was walking so fast that I almost ran into him when he stopped in front of a door. “The Director is in here.” He opened the door and waited for me to step inside.
Upon entering, the room didn’t look any different from the halls save for a desk with two chairs on opposite sides facing each other and a eucalyptus in the corner. Another man with darker skin than the one that had led me hear sat facing me at the desk. He looked up at me, and I’ll never forget those dark blue eyes. He smirked upon seeing me.
“Hello, my Diva.”
Something was pulled over my head from behind. Remembering it now, it felt like a pillow case or something similar. Out of instinct I screamed, turning to try and run, but hands gripped my shoulders tightly. I think they might have left a bruise or two. Something (I presume a rope) was tied around my neck to keep the fabric around my face. I struggled, fighting against whatever was grabbing me. My mind was racing. I didn’t understand what was going on. I kicked and flung my arms around until a blunt object was pounded against my head. For an instant I felt a swelling pain in my head before everything went black.
“Make sure to give her anesthesia. She won’t last long with a hit like that.” A man with dark blue eyes stood over the limp body on the floor with a table lamp gripped in his left hand. A man with a black suit and red tie nodded, grabbing the back of the sac and starting to drag the body from the room. “Oh, and put her in room 1. 2’s already been occupied.” The man with blue eyes smirked, watching his ‘Diva’ slowly turn around the corner and disappear from the room.
“Once she’s fixed up, she’ll be ready for the Circus.”