Chapter 5Maxi woke up in an unfamiliar room on an unfamiliar couch. There was a fireplace inside the cavernous room, the flames inside of the brick frame crackling merrily. On the mantle, at least fifteen glittering framed pictures reflected the soft orange glow of the firelight. She gazed across the wicker ottoman and saw Tom snoring – literally – on a lazy boy recliner, still in his periwinkle T and faded blue jeans that he wore when he came to Maxi's house last night, probably to serenade her, which why he came, she would never know. The memory of the blood-lusting zombie lingered in her mind. Of the growl she had and of the foam spilling from her broken jaw… she shook away the nightmare and stood to examine the pictures closer.
In one, Tom's parents were in wedding garments. Tom's mother looked beautiful in her wedding gown which was obviously white and had pearls and bows from the sleeves to the hem of the skirt. Her hair was flecked in pearls and the veil on her head haloed her silky hair and cascaded down her shoulders and arms. Her bouquet was made up of roses, celandines and baby's breath. Tom's father was in a black tuxedo and his hair was slicked back. There was a wide grin smacked onto his face and there was a bright green glint of happiness and proudest look in his eye. His arm was wrapped around Mrs. Baker's waist, pulling
her toward him and there was a 6-year-old in the crook of his other arm.
They look so happy. My parents are supposedly dead. Maxi was jerked back into reality with that thought. "My Parents!" Tom jumped out of the recliner and slid a metal baseball bat out from underneath the chair in one fluid movement. He nearly broke a vase. Maxi spun around and froze, staring at the raised bat.
"What is it, Maxi?" he lowered the bat.
"Did you see my parents last night?"
"I didn't enter the house."
"I want to see if they're okay." A tear slid down her cheek. Tom crossed to her and gathered her in his arms. Maxi hugged him close, and Tom smoothed her messy hair. Maxi told him the whole story.
"Let's go." They ran to the car.
They pulled up into the drive at the Yansly's house in 10 minutes tops, and parked, just sitting there.
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Even though there might be a blood-thirsty zombie waiting for dessert in there?" Maxi gulped.
"Still straight forward." Tom kissed Maxi.
"Maxi, I want you to know that I'll be right next to you the whole way." Maxi rolled her eyes.
"Cliché. You're acting like we're going to war."
"I'm just saying." Maxi squeezed his hand and stepped out of the car, Tom holding the base ball bat at heads' height to defend the fear-filled couple.
The door opened easily, falling off its hinges as it went. The front hall was completely trashed. The living room was worse.
"Wow the zombie made a wreck of the place."
"My parents are going to freak." Maxi agreed. The couch was in shreds and the mantle was torn to dust and there was a massive hole in the wall. Her great grandmother's vase was shattered on the floor and multiple pictures were broken and ripped.
"Everything that looked or smelled like you was destroyed!" Tom observed.
"What a warming thought." Maxi said sarcastically. There is no time for observation." But Maxi made plenty of silent
observations of her own. The curtains were shredded and the T.V. was on the floor, broken like glass.
As they passed the kitchen, the wall-length window was broken into splintery pieces of glass in all shapes and sizes. Plates and silverware lay on the floor broken and bent, also.
They finally got to the staircase after picking their way through the messy back hallway through ruins of belongings and the staircase rail was barely standing.
"Here we go," Tom lifted the bat only slightly. Maxi slowly ascended the stairs, Tom pressing on behind her. The stair rail was scratched and broken in places and the supports were falling off the rail. She could see her ruined room and her bed which was lying on its side. The mattress was torn and ripped, the springs scattered on the floor. The pillows and blankets were lying torn to pieces, the stuffing lay across from one side of the room to the other. Her clothes were ripped to shreds and thrown around the room.
"My parents might think I'm dead." Maxi commented.
"You're dead all right." Tom gestured to the closet where the cream-colored dress lay as torn and tattered as Cinderella's gown. Tom walked up to the gown and Maxi held her breath. "What's this?" He held up a note. Maxi snatched it from him. She nearly dropped the note when she saw the hand writing. This is… it couldn't be… it is. She's my… Mom?
Dearest Maxi or To Whom It May Concern,
This room is a wreck, I know, I apologize. I'm sorry if I caused you harm, But I was cursed. At 18 it's common in 1991 or, used to be. This form and personality is my curse. I wish I could explain more thorough, But my captor would kill me. Please help me. It hurts when I am in this form. I can't stand to destroy things. Especially my own daughter's. I'm turning to you because you are strong. Your will-power helped you escape last night. I know it might sound crazy, But you must break the curse. You're tom must help, too. He helped you escape; now he must help me escape. Please. I am in complete agony! Good Luck.
Your dearest half-Mother,
Ollisa Amy Yansly
P.S. I'm sorry about the dress, but don't worry. In two day's time, everything that is damaged or missing will return in its normal state. There will be no memory of last night unless you read the letter. You have two weeks to break the spell under my help, yet my captor will not like it.
Written in 10/15/2001
On the bottom of the page, there was a faded, typed 1991 yet the note was written yesterday.
"Read the note." Maxi thrusted the note toward Tom. Tom read it, re-tacked it to the wall, and walked out of the room."What are you doing?"
"You forgot already?" Maxi stood up.
"Right…that." She gave an awkward smile and Tom raised the bat again. They walked out of the room and turned the knob to Maxi's parent's bedroom door.
"Wait. Let me try." Maxi tugged on the door and gave up. "There's another note." She took it off the door and read it aloud.
Dear Maxi or To Whom It May Concern,
Your step-mom and father are fine, just… really tired. They will be asleep until the broken, battered and completely disappeared are restored. Sorry I couldn’t tell you sooner. Good luck on your rescue mission.
Love your unknown mother, Ollisa.
Maxi grunted after she read the note.
"This really frustrates me," Maxi steamed.
"Don't let it bother you. I was only trying to help." An irritated, unfamiliar voice stated. Maxi nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw the figure before her. She nearly knocked Tom over
when she screamed. "Sorry." The figure cringed. "I was seeing that your parents were comfortable."
"You're… O… O…" Tom spluttered.
"Yep, I'm Ollisa Amy Yansly." Tom turned to Maxi.
"How could you not know?" He screeched.
"I didn't and I don't!"
"How could your father not tell you?"
"Let me tell you the possible reasons. 1, She supposedly died after they had their last prom dance, 2, he re-married, 3, he doesn't – err – didn't like to talk about it, and 4, he never cared to tell me that Ollisa is my real mom."
"I don't think this is a good –" Ollisa interjected. Tom cut her off.
"Well if I were him, and I knew, I would have taken the liberty of telling my daughter at the appropriate age."
"Oh, you're one to talk since you don't even have a father!" Maxi immediately saw the force of her retort. Her hands flew to her mouth. "I am so sorry. I wasn't thinking straight. I just. I'm sorry." She flew toward him and wrapped her arms around her speechless friend. Tom was shivering with heated anger and grief. He lifted her head and kissed her hesitantly and then apologetically. Ollisa butted in with a reminder.
"Excuse me, but we have a curse to break." The couple pulled apart.
"So, you're 18."
"Yep. Actually, this year, I'm 28. 10 years have gone by and I'm not really dead, as everyone has said." Ollisa said. "You know, before you were born, me and your father picked out your name after we went to see your grandmother, Diane Maxi Brandon. We really liked the name, so we decided that your name should be Maxi."
"Wait, wait, wait. You're saying that you had Maxi, you married, went to the prom, and put under a spell?"
"Pretty much, yeah."
"How are you a ghost if you aren't… dead ?"
"When it's day, I am free of the curse to roam. When it's night… well," she paused, gesturing to the banister. "You know what I mean. I've been checking on you sometimes, Maxi. Are you doing okay? I haven't been able to check in since last night when I wrecked the place."
"It's pretty good."
"I proposed." Tom said, "Show her the ring, Maxi."
"Oh, that's great, Maxi!"
"Everything's great except that I learned that my own mom vandalized my house! And that person is not Ollisa May Ainslie, But Ollisa Amy Yansly!"
"You learned about me in history during Current Events?" Maxi nodded, tears brimming her eyes, and then swallowed them quickly.
"No tears, yet. We have to break the curse."