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Ollisa sat down after the party. All the soda, music and dancing must have gotten to her head. Her parents' were out late, so she had plopped down to watch late cartoons. As soon as she had turned on the T.V., Bugs Bunny was reasoning with a hunter and a duck while nibbling on a carrot, as always.
"Looney tunes, "She pointed to her throat and made a gagging noise."Next."
She clicked the remote, and the screen changed to a black and white Disney Movie. "Old news." She clicked the remote again. "ICarly! Now here is something I can watch."
"Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?"
"Ahhhhh!" Ollisa sat up on the couch, the T.V. screen showing the SpongeBob theme. She glanced at the clock that was on the cable box. "12:00?! I'm late for school!" she flew past the Kitchen, snatching a quick glance out the wall-sized window in the small kitchen on her way past. She stopped and went back to the dark window. Two pairs of milky, off-white, almost gauzy eyes were staring, simply staring at the inside of the dark kitchen, and the girl who was standing just out of his reach on the other side of the glass. Ollisa got at least an inch closer and the creature broke the window into tiny splintery glass shards. The creature stepped into the dimly lit kitchen where Ollisa sat on pieces of broken glass, and a cold hand sent frozen fingernails grazing up and down her already chilled spine as she stared at the jagged-clawed figure. It's long, matted hair fell, tumbling down its knotted, moldy shoulders. His teeth were either gone or broken in a chapped, crooked, evil smile. One of his eyes started to fall out on a very thin and rotting cerebral cord. His other eye was as white as a chalky snow day. No pupil or iris either eye. The nose was nothing but a gaping hole in the middle of his face and a little bit of cracked bone peeked out from behind filthy, rotting skin. You could see nothing but darkness on the creature's mildew covered face. He lifted a pale, greenish-pink hand to pop the unsecure eyeball back in place, smiling and never taking his eyes off his soon to be snack.
"Hi." Ollisa mumbled. The creature grunted something in human and closed his gaping smile. When he opened his mouth again, his yellow and green teeth had been replaced with two full rows of large, thick, sharp and shiny fangs that made Ollisa think of garden scythes. Only these were thicker. "Uuuuuhhhh…nice monster zombie. Be a good boy now, don't make me phone up your mommy!" The zombie roared and Ollisa backed out of the kitchen and sprinted up the stairs, desperate to get away from the zombie that was screaming with bloodlust. She sprinted into her room, slammed and locked the door, and backed into the corner. She could hear the ungraceful zombie creature stumbling up the stairs with two intact limbs and two decapitated limbs. She almost felt sorry for the creature and wondered who he was when he was alive, when she remembered his bloodlust was directed at her, his claws ripped through the thick, heavy oak door, sending cracks from right to left, horizontally and vertically on both sides. The sharp nails started to rip the door as they crept downward through until the door was ripped in half. Ollisa knew what the Zombie was going to do to her next to useless door. The claws unsheathed from the door and began ripping the door from its hinges, leaving Ollisa exposed, helpless and without a weapon. She sunk to
the floor and as soon as the terror-wreaking creature was finished ripping the door apart, he helped himself to a flawless, raw dinner.
Maxi hurried to catch up with the group of racers though she knew she was already too late. Monique had won the race. She owed another $15 to her. She had lost so many races; she had lost $105 dollars to Monique. That's 85 races since they made the deal! Mysteriously, 20 dollars worth of 5 dollar bills kept ending up in her wallet. She had to buy a new one to hold all the money that she didn't need with her at home. Soon, she thought, I'm going to need a safe. She pulled out her sports canteen and took a long swig.
"Hey, 'Snailsi!' Nice shell!" Monique shouted. Some other girls giggled.
"Thanks, Monique; I really 'like' your comment!" Maxi made air quotes with her hands.
"You're so sweet. 'Bye, loser." The group of girls bounced off, leaving a trail of sweaty perfume lingering in their wake. Jay-Dee hung behind.
"They're such jerks, aren't they?" She asked.
"Yeah. Monique makes me pay 15 dollars every time I lose a race. It's really been bugging me."
"Mmm." Jay-Dee slapped a bill in Maxi's hand and ran off. She watched her run after the guffawing group of giddy girls open-mouthed, and then examined the dollar that Jay-Dee had given her. "20 dollars? I didn't even win the race!" She decided to call Jay-Dee that night and ask her why she gave her the dollar. Later, at dinner, she told her parents about it, and that she thought she could call her that night after dinner, but unfortunately, her father had to make multiple business calls that night – he worked at an office – so she could probably call Jay-Dee tomorrow during her therapy. Sometimes money just had to wait.
"Hello? Yes, I'd like to speak with Jay-Dee, Please?" There was yelling on the other line.
"Okay, she's coming. Who is this, again?"
"Maxine Aalen Yansly."
"Yes, it's Maxi, dear." The voice on the phone said, and then changed. "Hello?"
"Why did you give me that $20 bill after the meet yesterday?"
"You slapped bill in my hand then ran off to catch up to Monique and her 'popular' group. Duh."
"Oh. It's not mine… I thought it was yours."
"Well, it's not mine, either." Jay-Dee gasped. "What is it?"
"It might have given you Monique's dollar… she must have dropped it on the track. She said it was a winning… that she got from you… but I thought you gave her 15 dollars when you lose a race?"
"I didn't have change."
"You have to give her the dollar now!"
"But I'm doing my…"
"Now, woman! Do you hear me? She'll kill you if you don't give her the dollar right now!" Static replaced Jay-Dee's enthusiastic voice, and then the dial tone buzzed in Maxi's ear.
"… Therapeutic Warm-ups." Maxi had sprained her ankle out on the track and her doctor said to do leg warm-ups and exercises after every race. Despite her therapy, she ran out the door, all the way to Monique's house.
"I'll get the course set back up." Sighed Maxi's exhausted nurse.
Maxi rapped on the door several times before Monique's dad answered the door.
"How may I help you?"
"I'm Maxine Aalen Yansly, and Monique's money has been mistaken for mine." Maxi breathed. "May I come in?"
"Of, course. Monique, Princessa! A friend of yours is here!" He called.
"Coming, Papa!" Monique pounded down the stairs. "We can go upstairs to my room, if you…" She stopped short when she saw Maxi. "Oh. It's you." A hint of disappointment glinted in her eye. "You'd better be here for a very good reason." Maxi held out the bill.
"You dropped this on the track. Possibly in the locker room. Jay-Dee found it." Monique took the money and started to count it.
"There's 35 dollars here."
"I put the fifteen from yesterday's race in there as well."
"What 15, Mejia?" Mr. Jones interjected. "Tell me, mi Princessa." Monique looked worried.
"Whenever Maxi loses a race, I charge her 15 dollars."
"That is wrong, Monique." His tone stiffened. "I didn't know about this because…" He let the sentence trail for Monique to finish the explanation.
"Because I didn't want to get in trouble. Am I in trouble, Padre?" Monique made a puppy face.
"Yes, you are in trouble, Monique Dona Jones. Now give your Amigo back her money."
"She's not my amigo," Monique mumbled.
"Yes, Papa." Monique sang, through gritted teeth.
"I…" Maxi started, Then thought, Monique doesn't deserve the money, but I can't just take it back. "I'll only take the money if I win it back, fair and square." She stated. "Just like I lost, fair and square. Shake on it."
"Shake my hand to promise to let me win a race and to agree on it." Monique hesitated, and then she took Maxi's hand.
"Deal." They shook.
Rain drizzled down in bright gray clouds. Maxi was nervous and anxious. She was praying that Monique wouldn't plan anything to make Maxi trip and lose. Maxi knew that she had to win fair and square but she wasn't so sure that Monique will let her win so easily. She watched the rain fall as she rode in the car and hoped she wouldn't slip on the rain slicked track.
"Okay, people. You know the rules, but I'm just going to re-clarify. This is a one-on-one meet. It must be won fair and square. That means no cheating, no hold-ups and no tripping." He counted on his fingers as he went along. "The prize is not a trophy, but money." He lowered his microphone and bent down to Maxi. "How much money was it again, sweetie?" Maxi thought for a moment then whispered into the announcer's ear.
"It's been an 85 race streak, $15 dollars each time, that's 105 dollars." The announcer's mouth hung open for a good full couple minutes before he turned to the audience.
"The winnings will be a full 105 dollars. The winner is going to take the money and the loser has to give up the money. All clear?"
"Yes!" The two girls said, all too hastily. The announcer raised the racing pistol.
"On your marks, get set, GO!" The blank was shot and Maxi and Monique sprinted and they were soon neck-and-neck. Not too soon after, Maxi began to fall behind. She began to pass Monique, yet she took no intention of slowing down.
"You-remember why-we're doing-this, right?" Unable to talk with the strain of running, she nodded, and slowed. The wet wind whipped past and pushed Maxi along. The finish flag loomed ahead and Maxi felt her stomach tighten. She was finally going to win a race! She broke the tape that stretched across the track and heard cheers all around the track. She spun a round of victory cartwheels and heard another round of applause. She heard a soft sob and remembered about Monique. She was walking away – no – sprinting away from the track as fast as she could. Maxi caught up with her and noticed that she was crying. Monique tripped and landed on her knees.
"I spent it!" She cried. "All of it. Right down to the last penny!"
"Whoa, Monique. Come here. Tell me everything." Maxi kneeled next to Monique, trying to be as comforting as she could.
"I was looking forward to buying a beautiful dress for the dance this Friday, and I wanted to look gorgeous for Olex, my date to the dance, so I was keeping my eye on this beautiful dress. It's a blue- aquamarine color to match the theme of the dance, the Ocean Wave Fantasy dance. When I heard I had to give up the money, I thought I had to give… up… the… I didn't want… to…I…
I…" she burst into a fresh wave of tears. Maxi took her into a hug, and started running her hands through her wet hair.
"Ssh… It's okay. You don't have to give up the dress. You can give me a fifteen until you earn the rest…" Monique pushed away.
"No! I don't deserve the dress. I can get the money back." She stood.
"Monique. I don't want the dress. I don't care if you keep the dress. As long as you keep the dress, I'll be happy. I don't like to see people cry, 'cause if you cry, I'll cry."
"Even the worst person you've ever known?" she pushed a sopping strand of hair back, and pulled Maxi to her feet. Her words hit Maxi like a train. A heart-felt apology? From Monique?
"I forgive you."
"But I didn't even…"
"You did. The words you said, said it all." Monique smiled and hugged Maxi. Then they both went to Monique's.
The dress was as gorgeous as Monique described. It was a flowing gown glistening with sequins, seed pearls and glitter. A bluish glint winking at Maxi from the brooch. As Monique sauntered out of the closet. The dress stretched into a tear drop with a glittering train that followed Monique as she walked.
"Wow. You were right. It is gorgeous. Olex will go crazy!"
Monique wiped a stale tear from her eye. "You really think so?"
"You don't think I've seen Goo-goo eyes when I put on a pretty dress in front of Tom?"
"Thanks, Maxi." She reached out to squeeze Maxi's hand. "Now, let's go get you a dress for the Ocean Wave Fantasy Dance." She turned to the closet and changed to her everyday clothes.
"What?" Maxi was speechless. Monique was taking her shopping, now? "Me?" Monique exited the closet.
"Yes, you. Come on!" Monique dragged Maxi out of the room.
"That looks Fabulous on you, Maxi!" The girls were at the mall, trying on the dresses, while Monique threw the prettiest ones at her.
"A purple gown?" Maxi twirled in the floor-length dress. She was not impressed. Monique nodded. "This actually looks good on me?" Monique nodded again and Maxi sighed. She looked like a purple cup turned onto its lip. The dress was three shades of purple; the darkest purple was the color of the brooch, and the middle of the skirt. The shade that colored the rest of the skirt edged the darker purple and the sleeves were the lighter purple that skimmed the medium purple.
"Yup, that definitely suits you." Maxi went back into the dressing room and put on her every day clothes. "What are you doing?"
"I'm getting a different dress that I will actually wear." Maxi had been eyeing a particular dress that she saw every time she passed the store since she was seven. She remembered telling her mom "Someday I'm going to wear that dress, Momma." Now out of her fantasy world, she went over to the dress that she had wanted so badly when she was little and now had the chance to buy. Monique followed.
"You want that dress?" She fingered the tag then dropped it. "It's $200! Are you sure you have enough? I don't think we have enough with both our money combined!" Maxi fingered the lace netting on the cream colored, silk dress.
"I have enough, but the real question is: will the dress fit?" She took the dress off the rack and dragged the dress into the dressing room. Monique watched open-mouthed as the small room swallowed the dream that will come true. A minute later, Maxi emerged. The dress was a serene cream color and was scattered with pink and white seed pearls dangling from fabric dress netting and ribbons. The hem of the dress had tiny seashells embroidered and hot-glued to it. Tinier seed pearls were sewed to the hem as well. The store owner almost fainted in astonishment and Monique's jaw dropped. As Maxi twirled around the racks of dresses, Jay-Dee entered the store.
"She looks happy." She gasped when she saw the dress. "You're going to buy that? I saw the price tag when I came in here last. How do you have $200?"
"It's a long story." Maxi went back into the changing rooms and emerged wearing her everyday clothes, and walked up to the register. "I'd like to buy this, please." She set the dress up on the counter.
"Are you sure you have enough for this, sweetie?"
"I'm sure. All $200 is right here." Maxi set 40 5 dollar bills on the counter. The cashier swiped the tag from the dress on the cash register.
"How'd you get all of this, Kid?"
"Long story short, I win money by losing races." The cashier sighed, then said
"So you bet on the losing racer?"
"You could say that." The cashier handed Maxi the bagged dress.
"Here you go, you're all set." Maxi took the bag and Monique and Jay-Dee watched her wordlessly as she twirled out of the store, holding the bag tight to her heart.
The party was nice, but not as nice as Maxi looked in a cream colored dress and curled hair. Tom held her arm proudly, waltzing her around the room just for the awe from the other patrons. Some people – including boys and teachers – almost fainted. Soft music had been turned on to accent the dress's mood, which made Maxi even prouder than before.
The perfect time for a kiss, Maxi thought. So why doesn't he?
I can wait for just the right moment. Tom thought. Just the right moment.
"Is… something wrong?"
"No, nothing's wrong, just follow me."
"Okay." They wandered for a while until they came to one classroom in particular where Tom had been waiting to come to
All night they had been at the dance. "16B?" Maxi asked. "What's so special about 16B?"
"You'll see, Morsure." Maxi giggled at Tom's accent. Tom took out a key and unlocked the door. "'Got this from the janitor." The door slid open and revealed a small table covered with a white cloth and a dim candlelight glowed all around the room. The table was set with beautiful china dishes and there was a small dinner cart next to the table, also covered with a cloth, and something smelled really good. "It's a good thing we're in the Life Skills room, or the principal would have had my head." He walked to the table and pulled out a chair. Maxi took it and Tom pushed the chair in.
"Classic cliché there, Tom."
"Really? I call it a young man making a gentleman gesture to his lady."
"I meant the restaurant setting in the class room."
"It's a cliché? I thought it was a pretty nice idea. So did the janitor and the principal. And my parents." He sighed. "I even gave it a name."
"What did you name it?"
"All For Maxi." He pulled out the dinner dishes and started to serve. "I actually named it after you instead of naming it after me or a sports craze. Cool, huh?" Maxi giggled, and Tom pulled out a small box.
"What is it?" He handed her the box.
"Open it and you'll see." Maxi opened the box and gasped. "Will you Marry Me?" Was written in the topside of the box and there was a glistening peach-colored diamond ring settled in a silk pillow. Maxi gasped.
"Tom, why are you proposing now? We only just started our senior year!"
"I had the money, so why not?" He took the box and put the ring on her finger. "Maxine Aalen Yansly, will you be my bride?"
"Oh, Tom, yes! Yes!" Maxi practically jumped off the chair into Tom's arms.
"Come, My Bride, or we'll be late for the ball." Maxi giggled at the comment. "You know, you do look like Cinderella." Maxi jumped onto Tom and he immediately got the message. They were in that position for several seconds before they retracted.
"Let's go back to the dance before we're missed." Tom nodded, and they got back to the cafeteria just when Monique and Oleo arrived.
"Hi!" Monique shouted across the room.
"Hey!" The couples were pulled to each other to be introduced. "You look great, Monique!"
"Yeah," Monique gasped. "You look almost better than me in that cream-colored dress!"
"Of course, you saw me try it on!" The two girls started laughing which got quite a lot of attention.
The boys said together.
"It's a long story." Maxi and Monique said in unison. The announcer's microphone buzzed.
"Okay all you sweet couples. The time of your life' by Manu biota I playing, so get your girls on the dance floor, guys, because we're turning it down now." Oleo took Monique's arm and guided her out to the floor. Maxi and Tom followed. Maxi sighed.
"Tom?" The dance floor glittered and swayed.
"I was thinking…"
"Thinking about what?" Her stomach jumped.
"Well, about life, really. I mean, what should we do with our-" Tom put a finger to her lips. He pulled her close and whispered in her ear.
"Don't worry about tomorrow. Think about life today." He pulled her upward and gave her a long, passionate kiss and held her tightly as if she would fly away if he let her go as they swayed to the music.
After the party, Maxi was plain exhausted. She went up to her room, and changed to a large shirt that her mother loaned to her a year ago, carefully stumbling down the stairs and sat on the couch, and fell asleep on contact. When her parents came home, they discovered her on the couch, but decided to leave her on the couch, tiptoeing up the carpeted stairs to fall asleep.
Maxi dreamed she was dancing with Tom again, and she was leaning against him, humming. Then, they were separated by another couple and we switched. The glittering sequins and pearls on her dress and the ceiling started screaming as she struggled to get back to Tom, yet her legs wanted to continue to dance with the stranger who was pulling her closer and kissing her and laughing, while tom started to present a kiss to the girl he thought was Maxi as the real Maxi tried and tried to get to Tom, tried to scream to him, but no words came… the décor screaming and screaming… no one was trying to help… and Maxi was trying so desperately… and…
And she woke up, sweating and breathing hard. She had felt she had been suffocated. She glanced at the green glow underneath the television.
"12:00 midnight?" She pondered this while the clock stirred to twelve-thirty. Maxi went to the kitchen for a glass of water, but when she saw the wall-length window, she stopped in the door way. Two milky white eyes stared blankly at the doorway…or, straight at Maxi. "Odd…" she gasped."Oh… Oh no… history… it's not a myth? That was on the news, and… Oh god. No, not this!!!" She ran from the doorway as soon as the zombie broke the glass.
Maxi ran to barricade herself into her room for she knew the thick oak door could not withstand the strength of the creature that was stumbling down the stairs had. His…err… her claws were razor sharp, and the door must not have held very well for an escape, for Ollisa did not make that much protection on that day, 10 years ago. Suddenly, the door blew of the hinges with an earsplitting crack like thunder. The furniture that was against the door went flying across the room. Maxi groped for the phone.
"No!" a voice called from the window.
"Tom?" Maxi ran to the window and peered out.
"Doth Rapine send down a rope of escape?" The zombie loomed behind her.
"Uh… no time for that, Tom. I kind of have a hobo back from the dead trying to EAT me, if you don't mind." Do I dare look back? She thought. She did and saw the nightmare behind her. She turned back to Tom.
"Maxi! Jump!" he was motioning toward a dark circle underneath her window box.
"Are you crazy?" she screeched.
"Just jump! I'll catch you!" his voice held an edge of pleading. Of praying. She glanced at the Zombie one last time, looked down, and did what she had to. She jumped.
Maxi 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."
On Tuesday, everything was in order except Maxi's parents who were groggy all week. They were careless and tired the whole time. They watched T.V. most of the time and apologized for not spending enough time with Maxi who was confused as well as relieved that they didn't remember anything from Friday night. During the week, Ollisa helped Tom and Maxi out in researching the curse, yet how they could break it remained a mystery. A lucky bit was that no one fell asleep watching television in the living room anymore, or got any cups of water to drink… from the kitchen.
One particular morning, Maxi woke up and just lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. She didn't go back to bed or got up. She just lay, feeling lucky. She lay like this until she heard the routine tap at her bedroom window. She poked her head out.
"I'll be out in a minute! I have to get dressed," she called.
"Don't rush," came Tom's sweet, sarcastic voice.
"I have to in my mother's sake!" she pulled her head back and went to her closet. Ollisa popped up and scared Maxi clean into the air and backwards 2 feet. "Don't do that!" She seethed.
"Sorry. I picked out your clothes for you." She gestured to a neatly folded pile on her bed. A blue shirt and a pair of
Periwinkle shorts. "I thought they looked cute… so I…" she let the sentence trail.
"I made a picnic…"
"And I even did a little cleaning."
"Mom!" Maxi hissed.
"Huh?" Ollisa was jerked out of her fantasy land. "Oh. Sorry, Maxi." There was another small tap at the window. Maxi pulled on the outfit, and climbed out the window. The ladder they installed was perfectly modified for sneaking out.
Maxi, Ollisa and Tom walked to the library slowly. The autumn breeze whisked a couple more leaves off the trees and their shadows were still long in the cool morning air.
"I know how the curse works, but I don't know how to break it." Ollisa said casually, sticking to the topic at hand. Maxi couldn't stand the surprise any longer.
"I know how to break the curse!" She blurted. Tom and Ollisa looked at her funny. It was a mix of confusion of whether to believe her, curiosity, and astonishment.
"You what?" Tom pried. They stopped.
"Well, at least I think I did. I thought about it while I was in bed this morning, and figured that if Ollisa was 18 when the curse was cast, which was 10 years ago, and since it was cast 10 years ago, the magic isn't as strong, and that made me think of Tom, who has strong muscles," Tom flexed his muscles for good measure. Ollisa giggled. "That made me think of love… you know, kissy, kissy goo-goo… So I thought that Ollisa that to break the spell, you have to kiss your first true love!"
"That only works in fairy-tales, though." Tom stated. "Think about it. We're 18, I don't think we should talk about it in public, but this is the 21'st century. There's love, and it's true, but this is reality. Open your eyes." Tom criticized.
"We could give it a try… My first true love… let's see… that would have to be your father, Sevrell."
"Okay, then. We're going to have to get Clara out of the house."
"How good are you with voices?"
They were sitting on a deserted children's playground, Ollisa swinging slowly. Maxi had told her plan to the other two and was clarifying the details.
"You mean impressions?"
"Wait." Tom interjected. "Ollisa can do impressions?"
"Yeah. Watch this." Ollisa cleared her throat. "Hi. I'm Maxi. I have a fiancé named Tom and we are a close couple." She cleared her throat again as her voice changed. "Yup." Tom's hand flew to his mouth. "We are very close." She cleared her throat, returning to her normal voice. "Well, what do you think?" Tom and Maxi looked at Ollisa, speechless. She had just talked to them in their own voices.
"Okay, that'll work." Maxi handed Ollisa her cell phone. "Okay. You dial my home phone and make sure you're talking to my mom. Now my home phone doesn't have caller ID so this will be easy if we be quiet, and Ollisa does her stuff."
"Gotcha. Now… everyone be quiet. It's ringing." The phone buzzed and a voice sounded on the other line.
"Hello?" Clara had picked up the phone. A relieved face swept over Ollisa.
"Clara, darling. This is your mother."
"Mom?" Clara stuttered. She sounded shocked hearing her mom's voice on the other line. "How are you calling us? Who's phone are you using?"
Ollisa paused and looked over to Maxi. "I'm using the neighbor's phone. They are out of town, an asked us to watch over their cat, Bubbles while they were away. Their phone is actually quite useful… I think I might be buying one myself." Ollisa covered the receiver with her hand and sighed at her close save. She slowly raised it to continue the conversation. "Anyway, me and your father miss you. Please. Can you come and visit us? Please?"
Clara looked guilty. She nodded and said yes, "I'll come and visit. Right now! See you soon!" The dial tone sounded and Ollisa confidently hung up and slowly transformed into Clara. Her hair slithered into her head a full 5 inches, and darkened into a clean mahogany. Her body smoothed out and grew a full foot. Her clothes lightened to a faint blue: an office look.
"Now, let's break the spell."
A half hour later, Maxi, Tom and Ollisa were outside Maxi's house. Ollisa bit her lip.
"I don't know about this," Ollisa stated. "It seems wrong in every way."
"You're his wife." Tom reminded.
"Yeah. His wife that's supposedly dead."
"Good point." Maxi put her hand on Ollisa's shoulder.
"That's why she made herself look like Clara. And sound like her."
"Fine. I'll go with it. Only because I don't want to be 'dead' anymore." She sighed, and put on her best "Carla Voice". "Well, here goes nothing," and she slipped out the window, and down the emergency ladder to the door.
At the front door, Ollisa searched for the key underneath the welcome mat, took a deep breath, and went inside.
"It's just the strangest thing. I get a call from my mom, saying that she missed me and wanted me to come over, and she's left and when I call her to say I'm on my way, she says that they went to Vegas for the weekend." Sevrell popped his head around the corner from the living room.
"What did you say, Cream Cake?"
"My parents said they wanted me to visit, and it turns out that they went to Vegas."
"Did you miss them, Ollisa?" She gasped.
"How did you know?"
"Thin walls, remember? Anyway, did you miss me?" Tears welled in Ollisa's eyes as she changed back. She nodded.
"Yes. Yes. Oh Sevrell. I missed you so much." Ollisa flew into his arms and they kissed. Suddenly, Ollisa fell limp in his arms, and a ripple of air swept between the two of them, sweeping her into nothingness as Maxi and Tom stumbled down the stairs, bewildered.
"Dad?" Maxi disappeared, leaving Tom staring at the spot where Maxi once stood.
Maxi held tight to her father as they whipped through time and space, afraid to let go, 'cause she could pixelate into dust. But, she could already feel herself slipping into oblivion. She wasn't alive in 1991. She didn't belong in 1991.
"Maxine…" Sevrell groped for his disappearing daughter. "I can't." Maxi stared up at her father.
"I… I love you dad."
"I'll see you in 10 years, baby." Maxi squeaked and let go. Sevrell watched helplessly as Maxi slipped through his fingers and slowly faded into the black void of nothingness. He dropped onto the familiar thud of the wooden floor in his parent's house. He fell to his knees, weak from grief and exhaustion, and sobbed into his calloused hands. The click-clack of high heel shoes greeted him in the doorway.
"Sevrell, You're going to get your new tuxedo all dirty down there. Stand up, brush off, and get to your dance. You're going to be late picking up Ollisa."
"Ollisa…" Sevrell mumbled. "Tux… Dance… It's 1991!"
"Well of course it is, silly, It's time to go. Now get a move on, Sevrell, Or you and Ollisa will miss it."
"Bye, mom, love you." Sevrell kissed her on the cheek, and jumped into is 79 Ford Cadillac, and sped to Ollisa's house.
Ollisa woke up in her room, staring at an aquamarine dress, flowing down to the floor. She gawked at its ornate beauty. The seed pearls glistened on the window pane.
"It's 1991." She whispered. The doorbell rang, and she ran to the window. Sevrell stood at the door, waiting for her. She pulled on the gown and slippers, flew down the stairs, and opened the door.
"Wow," was all he could say.
"Yeah. A beautiful Déjà-vu moment." They walked to the car outside.
"That was some party," Ollisa said, as she reached for the doorknob. Sevrell held her back.
"Wait. I don't want to…Lose you...again."
"That's such a cliché, Sevrell." She turned the knob, slowly, pretending to not know what he was talking about.
"Yes, but it's true." He grabbed her hand away from the doorknob, and swung it to touch his face, his other hand grasping her waist firmly. "I know you remember what happened last time… err… what will happen later. You never came out."
"You know I came out that door, and you knew I came back in. You know who you kissed. Clara doesn't belong with our family anymore, and you know that. We won't see her again."
"But…" Ollisa put her finger to his lips.
"You know that I don't want to lose you, either, so let's go to your house." Tom kissed her, and they slowly made their way to the car. The magician waiting in the shadows by the window, patiently waiting for his next victim.
Maxi proudly wore her cream-colored prom gown, bearing a veil on her head and a single red rose in her hand. Tom stood at the altar, in a raven blue tuxedo, her bridesmaids patiently sitting, Ollisa – err – her mom was bouncing Maxi's new baby girl on her knee. Her father was walking beside her, and sniffling rather loudly. She saw tears beginning to slide down his cheek as they reached the altar.
"Oh daddy, don't cry."
"I'm trying not to, baby." Maxi wiped her father's eyes, and kissed him on the cheek, sending him to his seat with his eyes glinting with happiness, yet foggy with grief.
"Excuse me, madam, but your carriage to your new life a waits." Tom pulled her up to the altar, and Maxi giggled with delight and embarrassment because he did that in front of 100 people. The minister cleared his throat and the congregation fell silent.
"We are gathered together in holy matrimony and love as this special couple before us are wed. Before we begin, is there anyone who objects to this marriage?" There was a solemn silence as a nervous wave of perspiration slid over the church. "No? Then let it be so that this young couple is wed. Maxine Yansly, do you
take Tom Paytriot as your wedded husband through sickness and health, happiness and grief as long as you both shall live?"
"And do you, Tom Paytriot, take Maxine Yansly as you're wedded wife, through –"
"And how." Maxi giggled. The priest ignored it, and went on.
"The vows may be shared, and the rings exchanged." Tom's younger brother came up and handed Tom's ring to Maxi.
"With this ring, I bestow to you my love and trust with the years to come." She slipped the ring on his finger. Tom took Maxi's and did the same. "I will love you forever and treasure your presence until the end of time and beyond."
"I will love and treasure you forever and your life to me will never be a burden." The minister nodded.
"It is settled. You ma-" Maxi cut him off.
"I got this," Maxi cleared her throat. "You may kiss the bride."
"Gladly, dear wife." The congregation screamed with thunderous applause as Tom swept Maxi into a dramatic pose and kissed her, Cara saying all the while,
"Kist the bwide! Kist the Bwide!" The Minister practically yelled above the noise,
"May I present to you Mr. And Mrs. Paytriot!" The whole church rang with the in-audible noise, and the end of the wedding march blasted through the windows and the newly-wed couple walked out of the big building hand in hand. Flower petals fell from the trees as they had their first kiss as husband and wife.
The story is over, and there is nothing left to say, but…
My stories are hoped to be enjoyed by thousands all over the world. I enjoy writing them, so I hope you will enjoy reading them, and that you will pass them on from generation to generation. Thank you for your attention to my books.