Willow House (First of a Saga)

Cassie Brooks, a girl with a background. No one wants her, no one needs her. So when she joins Willow House, what will the inmates think of their new member?

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1. The Beginning.

 

So let’s start at the beginning. They were gone and I was alone. No one could deny that. But since when was I the cause of all madness? That’s what the police said anyway. But again, I am always, inevitably right, as always. That doesn’t stand for anything, nothing at all. Because in my world, the grownups are always right, even when their wrong.

It’s dark outside. Streetlamps on every corner, zipped by, as Carl drove with insane speed. Now he was a maniac. Not me. Yet he is (in his own way) cool. Kind of. But that is ever so controversial when you mention he’s my social worker. We crinkled over a pebble drive and a large white house waited. A large wooden board that stated clearly that the home was named WILLOW HOUSE. Urgh, how...perfect can you get? Seriously? Who names a house after a tree? However this was no ordinary house, as I was made to believe. The rain hammered a rhythm on the car roof, and deepened as we drove under some (I’m guessing) willow trees, allowing cascades or water to pile down. I looped my bag strap around my arm, and prepared myself to get out. Shimmying along the backseats I reached the door of the now immobile car. I pulled up my hood and pulled the latch on the car door. Out I ran into the pouring rain, bag bashing my inner knees, intending to leave bruises. I slouched my way up to the front door of the home and let my wet hair stick to my face as I looked up at the huge knocker above me. I reached up and pulled it towards me, knowing my fate is determined by this one knock. With the deepest of regrets I let the metal knocker crash to the wooden door, and send echoes rushing through my cold body.

I walked slowly in and heard a tired and grumpy Carl, follow. I hadn’t looked at the welcomer, but I guessed she wasn’t the welcoming type. She also had no taste in fashion. “Hi, I’m Mark, head care worker here at Willow House. I’m guessing your Cassie, don’t worry, we’re all nice here at Willow.” ‘Mark’ had entered the hallway from an office that had self drawn pictures that looked like 5 year olds had drawn. He was an oldish looking man; with dark hair that was greying slowly. He offered his hand to Carl and smiled genuinely down at me. I tried to smile back but it seemed more like a pathetic grin. I looked to my left and found a neat piano closed and ready beside a large, wood, staircase. On the staircase was a house full of kids. Some young, but many my own age. Fifteen. Some looked scared and slightly curious; others looked like they’d rip my throat out. I got used to that. “Well, well, what’s the hold up this time guys?” A lad descended the stairs slowly as if he owned everything. He was cute. Wait, what am I saying? He was another one of them who wanted to kill me. He was thin, but not too skinny, he had muscle, but not too buff and he was almost perfect. He looked like an utter rebel with a devilish charm in his eyes. He met another boy, alike to him in his rebellious attitude, who was smaller but not by much. He had a half cast skin tone and wore baggy trousers, complete with baggy braces. He looked fit, as in he worked out. But he didn’t seem like the gym type. More of, of a dancer! That’s it! But nothing un-cool I guessed. When they met, they clasped hands and came into some kind of guy-hug thing, but the (dancer?) boy didn’t look like he was going to murder me. In fact he seemed at ease with me and like he was actually being friendly. I doubt it.

When the rebel boy final came to the end of the stairs, he weighed me up in a single glance and looked towards Mark, then back to me. “Well you’re not much are yah? I got up for this. Got all excited and stuff for yah. Not even that pretty.” His voice loathed with sarcasm but I couldn’t stop the reflexive hand from tucking stray, wet hair behind my ear. He smiled and then took off back up the stairs herding the inmates with him. His friend stayed behind slightly but then stuffed his hands in his pockets and shuffled up the stairs. I didn’t understand why he wasn’t in his PJ’s with the rest of the house. But then, I was already in uncharted territory, I didn’t want to get myself any deeper. I looked up at Mark as he ushered Carl into the office. Mark quickly sent me my room co-ordinates and shut the door on my face. Great, Carl’s going to tell him all about my great past. Pfft.  I stormed up the stairs, quietly. And found a room just past a glowing blue room that was labelled: ‘MOLLY’S ROOM, ENTER AND DIE.’ I quickly passed that room to find my room, right next door to it. Oh Crap.

I entered the room which was declared as mine, and found a sad sight. The walls were painted an unsightly blue, with one dark black wall. I didn’t mind the black but the sight of an obsessive blue reminded me of Molly and I hated to think that she had had this room before me. I settled on the red duvet that was splayed loosely over a double bed that was seriously over used. I looked across the room and found a single balcony window viewing the garden, a cracked mirror, a makeup/work desk and a wardrobe, filled with loose hangers. I sighed and dumped my bag next to the wardrobe. I stroked the scratched panelling, reading the names written there. I tried aimlessly to work out who was who. Liam, Ash, Corey, Teresa and Charley, was all carved in various places. Some had little doodles and some even had love hearts. I opened the door wider and began hanging the few clothes I had left onto the hangers. I tried not to think about how many times, Molly appeared on this door. I closed it once again after I had completed my clothe hanging and inspected the number of times her name was carved. Then in the hinge, I saw the deepest carve of all. Liam heart Molly. I found it weird how rebels stuck with rebels. I closed the door and searched the room for something to carve her name out with. I collapsed without a single implement to scour with onto my bed, curling up against the pillow too tired to close the ragged blind; I fell asleep, watching the rain fall.

                                                                                                *****

I woke up, curled in a ball in the strangest of rooms. It was so dirty and scrappy. But then I remembered I’d been moved to....to.... WILLOW HOUSE! That’s it! But my triumph was short lived as the memories of last night flooded back to me. I groaned and let my head flop back down on the pillow. “You alright?” I shot up and came face to face with the assumed dancer dude staring at me from the door way. “Erm, erm ah no...Yes...No not really. I don’t think.” I pulled an unsightly face at my babble but was surprised when he laughed easily at my stupidity. “Your funny, you, I knew you wouldn’t be as boring as Liam said.” He snapped his mouth shut as he realised he’d said too much to the new girl than he should have. “So that’s his name. Liam. Great, looks like I better get ready for some bruises.” I sighed and looked down at my ready dressed me. The boy looked down and stubbed the door frame impatiently. “I, ah, came to tell you its breakfast.” I turned to him and smiled softly. He didn’t seem too bad, a bit of a follower of the Liam but who knows, a friend maybe. Now I’m rushing ahead of myself. Shut up Cassie! He started to walk away; I hurried myself and tried to catch him before he left. But I wasn’t quick enough, so I simple shouted: “Hey... Hey!” It was awkward not saying his name. I heard him chuckle from the stairs. “Oh and by the way, my names Ash.”

Running down the stairs I realised I have no idea where the kitchen was. I caught Ash making his way through a long hallway and I decided to follow him. As ever he was wearing baggy trousers and baggy braces. Today his trousers were light beige and he was wearing a button up top that was a dark maroon colour. He seemed to always button them up at the top and let the top flair down aimlessly. It was quite different and inevitably sexy. I had no idea what awaited me next. A massive open plan kitchen, complete with large oak dining table featured before my eyes. Every child in the home was sat around the table eating food that related either closely or way off the breakfast genre. Everyone looked at me as I walked in. No one gawked at Ash I noticed, but I guess I’m front news at the moment. The only free seat (apart from the one Ash was taking right as I speak) was located next to the supposed Liam. On his left flank however was the blue highlighted Molly. I wondered if they really were an item. It didn’t look like it from his angle. Mark buzzed past placing a large rack of fresh toast on the table. “Mornin’ Cassie, how are you? Come and take a seat beside Liam. Don’t worry I’ll make sure he won’t bite.” Mark welcomed me kindly, but he gave Liam a harsh look as he said that last part. Liam smiled though and gave me a flirty wink as I came to sit down next to him. I viewed the spread eagerly, and took advantage of the fresh toast and sausage sandwiches on offer. I kept myself to myself and kept quiet. This is a new for me. Everything was fine until the end of breakfast as I was leaving the kitchen. Apparently Molly doesn’t like my new seating arrangement.  “Oy! You! Lil skinny rat I want a word with you!” I faced her head on and looked slightly bored as I did so. I was used to this crap.

“You are never gonna’ sit there again, got it?” She stood with her hand on her hip and glared at me. “And what if I do?” I came toe to toe with her. She was enjoying every minute of it. She smirked and pushed me backwards into the gaming room which held a slightly dismembered pool table and a public TV accompanied by comfy sofas. Fortunately I fell onto one of them. But what was really embarrassing was that Ash and Liam were casually playing pool, I felt like a total moron. So I decided to fight back. I bounced back up and punched her smack on in the face, with the momentum of the bounce behind me. “Ah! Oh you dog, you hit me!” Molly clasped her nose in disgust and went up to her room. I knew this because of the awkward slam I heard from the first floor. I heard laughing coming from behind me and at first I thought it was Ash. I smiled as I turned round, only to find Liam smiling back at me. “Well, well, well Ash, mate, looks like she isn’t as boring as she thinks.” I felt included and part of it. But Ash just looked disappointed. He walked out and left his cue stick behind. He stopped as he reached me and blatantly said; “I thought you were different. But you’re all just the same.” And walked off without another word. “Hey, don’t mind him.” Liam smiled a cocky little smile that looked genuine and friendly. He reached for the cue stick and chucked it to me. He motioned for me to continue playing and so I played pool for the rest of the afternoon, with the rebel of the house.

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