Chapter one – Punishment
‘But mom! We want to go to the spring fair, too!’
My siblings and me were standing in our house’s hallway, together with mum and dad. The two of them were wearing outdoor clothes and dad had just shut off all electricity and even locked the windows, to make sure we couldn’t get out.
‘Yeah!’ Ciel said , protesting loudly. ‘You promised we would all go together!’
‘That was before you got yourselves grounded by tying Roy Wilson upside down a tree, now wasn’t it?’ Mum smiled. She seemed amused but there was an angry twinkle in her eyes, and we knew better than to mess with her when she was looking at us like that.
‘Indeed,’ dad nodded. ‘This is your own fault, and you only have yourselves to blame. I think skipping the spring fair this year is a fitting punishment for what you have done.’
He turned away from us and held the door open for our mum, waiting for her to step outside.
‘Listen up, now. The babysitter will be here in twenty minutes. She’s aware of the situation, so don’t even try to lie to her. I expect the kitchen and both bathrooms to be squeaky clean when we get back, and don’t you dare to turn on the television. Am I clear?’
Ceci and Ivan scowled and grumbled and Tori did not even bother responding. I glanced at Ciel from the corner of my eyes and grinned. He was about to open his mouth and protest again, and then dad would surely explode.
‘I said: Am I CLEAR?’ Ethan repeated.
‘We’re sorry, daddy.’
‘Please don’t be mad at us,’ Ceci said, with a trembling voice. Dad looked down on his second-eldest daughter and his eyes softened a bit.
‘All right, all right. We’ll talk about it tonight, okay? But for today, just do as you’re told for once.’
‘All of you,’ he added, glancing at me. I smiled and looked up at daddy in the same way I’d seen Ceci do, but nothing happened. He didn’t even blink. Instead, he put his hand on the door handle and carefully closed it behind him, turning the key inside the lock. The lock produced a metallic click and a few moments later, we could hear two pairs of footsteps heading away from us. The five of us were left standing in the hallway, all by ourselves.
‘I wish I had your eyes, Ceci,’ I said to my older sister. ‘I could get away with anything, just by smiling at daddy!’
‘What are you talking about? Our eyes are the same color,’ Ceci laughed. ‘They’re both golden.’
‘Then why does daddy look at you like that, but not at me?’
‘Because you’re the troublemaker, of course,’ Ceci smiled, blinking with her eyes at me. ‘If you guys didn’t have me or Tori to look out for you, I bet you’d be grounded for life about three times already.’
Ivan and Ciel laughed, and turned away from the front door to make their way to the living room. The three of us followed.
‘So… what should we do now?’ Ivan thought aloud. ‘Clean the house, like we’re told?’
‘It’s almost nine,’ Ciel groaned, looking at the clock. ‘Llamas versus unicorns is about to start!’
‘Dad said we couldn’t turn on the TV,’ Tori warned, when Ciel made a grab for the remote control. Ciel ignored her and pressed the power button, but nothing happened. The screen stayed pitch black, without any sign of turning on.
‘He’s turned off the power, you dummy,’ I teased, poking out my tongue. It was so much fun, teasing Ciel. Unlike everyone else he got angry very fast, and somehow he managed to involve all the other kids into our fights when he did.
Of course, we didn’t hate each other. We both knew it were just play-fights, and if it went too far, we’d stop. I saw Ciel as my reliable big brother, just like Ivan, and I’d never to anything to really hurt him. None of us would.
Of course, that did not mean we couldn’t drive our parents crazy.
‘Hey, hey, where are you going?’ Tori yelled after Ciel, who’d run back into the hallway. He turned right and disappeared out of sight, and a few seconds later we heard him fiddling with the wood of the closet. The controls for the power throughout the entire house were in that closet, and both mummy and daddy had often warned us how dangerous it was.
‘Argh- it’s locked!’
Tori and I shot glances at each other and walked into the hallway, where we saw Ciel hitting the wood with his tiny fists. The wood, of course, didn’t budge.
‘That’s not going to do anything, you know,’ Tori said, rolling her eyes but with a small grin on her face. ‘You need a key, little brother.’
‘I’m not little!’
‘We’ll be teenagers next week, and you in two years. You’re little,’ she grinned.
‘Am too. Do you want to get that lock open, or not?’
Ciel grumbled for a bit, and then nodded.
‘See? That wasn’t so hard. Raven,’ she said, turning to me. ‘Did you see daddy hiding the closet key anywhere?’
I shook my head and frowned, thinking about where it could be. Daddy always hung all of the keys in the keypad next to the front door, but it wouldn’t be there this time. He could have taken the key with him, but… if we needed to call the police (he’d just taught me the number to call the police) we needed to be able to turn on the telephone. So it had to be in the house.
I spoke my thoughts to Tori, who nodded and scratched the side of her head- a sign she was thinking.
‘Well, he’s probably told our babysitter where to find the key in case of emergency. He would have hidden it in a place that’s easy for her to reach, but that we can’t see…’
‘Mommy’s closet!’ I yelled, jumping up and down. ‘That’s the only place we can’t see the top from when we’re on the ground!’
Ciel and Tori’s eyes widened for a bit.
‘Yeah! That’s it!’
And then we all ran towards mommy and daddy’s bedroom, almost trampling Ivan and Ceci in the process. We yanked the door open and only stopped when we were right in front of the closet. It was at least twice my height.
How were we supposed to get up there?
‘Raven, climb up on my shoulders,’ Ciel said, poking me in my arm.
‘You’re a lot lighter than Tori.’
‘Are you saying I’m fat?!’ Tori mixed in, looking at him with a very mad expression on her face.
‘No, no, of course not,’ Ciel grinned. ‘Now just climb on my shoulders, okay?’
He sank through his knees to let me climb up easier. I hesitated for a bit and then put my foot on his shoulder, grabbing his neck to keep me from losing balance.
‘I’m climbing up now, okay?’
He nodded and I lifted my other foot, clutching onto Ciel until I was sitting right on top of his shoulders. He then slowly came back up from his squatting position.
‘Ouch! You’re pulling my hair!’
‘Easy, easy…’ Tori said. ‘Don’t go too fast or she’ll fall off, Ciel.’
‘I know, I know. Raven, can you see the top now?’
I stretched my neck as far as I could, but I was still too little to see what was lying on top. Instead, I put out my hand and searched the top row of forgotten stuff, until I touched something cold and metallic.
‘Yes! It’s the key! We found the key, Tori!’
‘You did?!’ Ivan yelled, running in from the living room, with Ceci behind him. ‘Awesome! Now we can watch Llamas versus Unicorns, after all!’
I pulled the key out from under the books and held it up triumphantly. The next second Ciel took a step backwards and I lost my balance, falling backwards from his shoulders. The key slipped out of my fingers and tumbled out of my sight as I fell on our parent’s big bed.
‘Aaaah, you stupid! Now look what you did!’ Ciel yelled. ‘Where’d it go?’
‘You’re the stupid! Don’t move around like that!’
I quickly jumped off and then the search began. Everyone sank down on their knees and checked under the bookshelf, under the bed and even behind the potted plant that was standing all the way on the other side of the room. But strangely, the key was nowhere to be found. I could hear the clock beat nine, and both Ciel and Ethan mumbling with anger right after that. Llamas versus Unicorns had begun.
I was just about to check the shadows on the wall underneath the window when I glanced outside for a bit-
-And my glance was met by two glowing eyes.
‘WHAT THE FUDGE IS THAT?!’ I screamed, backing away from the window.
‘Raven, don’t swear,’ Tori preached. ‘You’re only eight, you’re not supposed to know words like that.’
I ignored her and glanced out of the window again, but there was nothing to be seen this time. Just the normal scenery – trees and shrubs, together with the afternoon sky. It looked like it was going to turn rainy in a few hours.
Maybe I’d just imagined it. Yeah. That’s what it had to be.
Just my imagination… right?
‘Found it!’ Ivan yelled, crouching out from under the bed. ‘How on plumbob did it end up back here, though?’
‘Who cares?’ Ciel smiled, walking up to his brother. ‘We’ve got it, that’s what matters! Come on, let’s turn on the TV. We’re going to miss Llamas at this rate!’
Ivan nodded and they both took off, running back into the hallway as fast as they could. Tori followed.
‘Raven? Are you coming?’
I turned around. Tori was standing in the doorway, waiting for me to walk out so she could shut the door. I quickly shook my head to get rid of the image of the glowing eyes.
‘Um- just wait one second. I’ll be right there!’
I ran over to the window and grabbed the curtains. With one swift pull, the view outside was blocked and the room a whole lot darker. Tori stared at me for a second, and then shrugged.
‘Come on, Raven, before your brothers fry themselves alive.’
I’m going witout a prologue this time around. Let’s see how it turns out ^^ Also, I’m not sure if you noticed, but during my installation of seasons I had to remove and put back some custom content. The problem is that it doesn’t show in-game yet. So the game replaced them by an object that came with base-game, so now I have an awful lot of dead fish hanging on the walls everywhere. I’m trying to delete them from the house, but there are so many! And they know how to hide, too. XD I hate dead fish, so please tell me if you see any in the pictures! Ah, but I removed the one underneath the television already. xD