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The Secret

Chapters:   1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 8 Next »

One.

The cold wind blew over the bowed backs of the willows, so that they creaked again and again. Heavy snow, ice, freezing rain, and frigid wind battered about two-thirds of the United States, making it a winter storm of historic proportions.
  This kind of strong, icy wind had blasted the new spring growth, which led to the bleak and arid landscape of our school——If it can be called a “school”.
   I wrapped my sole jacket more closely around myself and quickened my steps in the endless-blowing wind. Then I saw Mrs. Manager walking towards me, in her red velvet cloak as usual. She seemed to have a decent dinner, so a faint smile fluttered over her face when she saw me.
  “Good evening, Miss.Warder. What are you doing here?” Her arms spread wide and a tender smile lit her eyes.
   I tried to evade her embarrassing hug with a same smile: “I just came back from the library.”
   “Oh, that would be great! I am so proud of your diligence!” She laughed loudly and walked away.
   I snorted. She was such an experienced actress. There was no LIBRARY in this deserted place at all.
 
  All other students had already fallen asleep when I got back to the dormitory. Our dorm was actually a big lobby inside one of the few buildings of the school. There are more than 500 people sleeping together in this shabby lobby, including all the students and staff of school. So the relationship between students and teachers were quite close, indeed, knowing the ridiculous sleeping position of each other. But some thin-skinned guys might feel awkward recalling the loud snore emitted from this well-dressed man, who was analyzing a famous poem.
  When I finally succeeded in reaching my bed after tiptoeing through hundreds of scattering human bodies, Alex Regal approached me. His face and hands were brown in the dark of night, like the color of copper. To prevent the guards from spotting us, I shared my quilt with him. He stared deeply into my eyes and put his face inches from mine.
  “Where did you go? I’ve been looking for you for the whole night.” He whispered to my ear.
   “The library.” I winked.
   He twinkled back and said: “I don’t think it is a good idea to call the back mountain road “library”. What if Mrs. Manager is a bookworm?” He hissed a chuckle as if he had told something really funny.
   “I met her on the way back to dorm, actually. And she kind of like my imaginary library.” I thought about Mrs. Manager’s exaggerated smile and felt sarcastic.
   “That stupid b****.” Alex shook his head and leaned on my pillow.
   “What do you want me for?”
   Alex lowered his voice and spoke close to my ear: “Have you ever seen Howard since last Friday?”
   I thought back the days past by and suddenly realized that I didn’t see Howard showing up in class for a rather long time. Then I started feeling curious towards Alex’s furtive manner.
   “No one saw him, just like he disappeared forever.”
   “Maybe you are over-reacting. Howard might be sick and stayed in home.” No sooner had I finished my sentence that I realized the horrible fact——All of us, who were staying in this place, didn’t have a home.
   We were homeless, which made this school seem more like an orphanage.
   I still couldn’t get out of the memories of the good old days. Whenever I allowed myself to immerse in those past moments, I felt like I returned to my home, which had become a very remote place for me. The faces of my parents became so blurry that I was afraid one day I would forget even a bit of warmness from their hugs or smiles. All the explicit information they left to me was a picture of their wedding night, on which Baba dashing in his black suit and my mother a smiling young princess in white. I received the package containing this photo from Mrs. Manager and the black words written on the surface of the package were more striking than the photo itself.
  “Relics of the martyrs Mr. Warder and Mrs. Warder”
  My parents. They had already become martyrs, but I didn’t even know when they went to war.
 
  “Elaine? Did you hear what I said?” Alex called my name for a couple of times and I recovered from my memory. These days I easily zoned out and indulged in nostalgia. This was not a good symptom.
  “Sorry, I didn’t catch what you said.” I said.
  At this moment, the wind was still blowing up outside the window. The wind was cutting through my thin jacket like a knife.
  Alex’s face faded away into grey and he said in a low voice: “ I guess I had found a secret.”

Chapters:   1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 8 Next »


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