The drudgery of cleaning. Of course, I would need to clean again while Jeremy got off the hook again. Sometimes I wish that I could be the “perfect” child like Jeremy. He never had to do anything. I slammed the bucket of water on the ground, effectively sloshing myself with the putrid, grey water.
Great! This looks like it’s going to be a fantastic day. I heard my brother’s peals of laughter in the next room. I grabbed the mop and began wiping at the floor. I felt a draft blowing from somewhere. Did Jeremy forget to close that window again? No, the window was closed. The air was moving a piece of the wallpaper. I looked around to see if my parents were nearby. I was alone. I pulled open the the wallpaper to find myself facing a iron door. Excitement shimmied up my spine. I heard footsteps behind me. I opened the door quickly and closed it. I heard the footsteps come into the room and pause.
“Natalie.” My brother’s whinny voice echoed in the kitchen. “Natalie, where are you?” He must be dumber than I thought. How could he not see the steel door? I heard the fast pace clip of my mom’s heels as she stomped into the kitchen. “Mom, I can’t find Natalie.”
I saw through the crack as my mom surveyed the room. “Stupid girl. She didn’t finish her job.” I felt my fingers curl in disgust. How could my mom not see the door?
Jeremy smirked. “Is Natalie going to get in trouble?”
“Yes, honey. She is going to be in big trouble when she comes back.” Mom patted his head affectionately. “She is just being lazy. I know my little boy would not be that way.”
Jeremy smiled before they exited the room.
I felt my heart pick up a little. I backed up slowly and turned to see a tunnel leading somewhere. Should I see what was out there? I felt along the rough tunnel. It slopped downward into the ground. The damp air smelled musty and old. The walls were slightly damp, but I continued the downward slope. The excitement of the unknown outweighed the fear that I knew I should have. Eventually I came to another door in the wall. The wood looked decayed and old. It barely remained on the hinges that had hinged it to place. I pulled open the door slowly and peered into a room.
“We’ve been expecting you.” I nearly jumped out of my skin. A beautiful woman stood in front of me, smiling. I blinked and tried to dispel any moisture in my eyes. She wore a white robe that nearly shone to my unaccustomed eyes. Her hair was ebony black that contrasted with the stark white robes. Her lips were the reddest that I had ever seen in my life.
“Are you Snow White?” She laughed at the question.
“No, but many people have mistaken me for her.” I pulled back slightly. My ears rang with the laughter, long after she had stopped laughing.
“Why can I see the door, but nobody else can?”
“Natalie, you are not like everyone else. You are special.”
I laughed, “Yeah, every girl wants to hear that.”
“You are not human.” The woman said slowly. “You were born an elf.”
“Next thing you’ll tell me is that Santa Clause is real.”
“Isn’t he?” The girl asked. “Are not myths stories of real people?” I backed slowly up. “Natalie, have you ever wondered why you were different than your family?”
I stopped short. My family had never seen things the way I’ve seen them. “Are you saying that I’m adopted?”
I sucked in a breath and backed further away. I wasn’t even wanted by my own parents. I felt pain shoot through me from head to foot.
“They wanted to keep you, but…”
“But I wasn’t good enough.” I felt the tears pricking my eyes.
“No!” The girl’s hand shot out to stop me from turning around. “They didn’t want you to grow up in fear. Although we are elves, we are known for our passions of anger.” she grimaced slowly. “We have years to regret the decisions we make.” She gestured at me. “Not many elves have children because of the wish of the mother and father to spare their child of the pain and passion of the world. They wanted to protect you.”
I gestured helplessly behind me. “Well, I had plenty of pain.”
The girl’s deep blue eyes filled with tears. “They regretted it every day.”
“Why didn’t they come and get me then?”
“Because they died.”
My eyes filled with tears. “There was a war…”
I wasn’t listening anymore. I felt the tears blinding my eyes. I don’t know why I cried. Was it anger? or was it regret that I would never meet my real parents? Did it matter that I would live for years and years and years?
The next thing I knew, I was being enveloped in the loving embrace of the girl. “Don’t cry. I’ll take care of you.”