“Hey you” I can feel something jabbing gently at my side. Groaning I slowly open my eyes, instantly regretting it when harsh beams of sunlight shine directly into my pupils. I see the black silhouette of a burly figure, presumably a grown man. I rub my eyes to wake them up a bit and begin to make out the mystery guy who decided to wake me up.
His hair was a mangy dirty blonde shade, and his eyes caramel. I could tell he was extremely buff and he seemed to shift from one leg to another, maybe he had a nervous tick or something. His clothing was tattered and ripped beyond repair and his over appearance was horrid. The man kind of reminded me of a crackhead you’d see out on the streets, like the really stereotypical ones in movies.
“Yo, little girl,” he says still prodding, “Get out of here”
I stand up brushing myself off and collecting my small pile of items. The man’s shifty eyes darted from my hands to my face, back to my hands and all the things I was carrying filling me with unease.
“Okay, I’m going I’m going sheesh” I huff rubbing my lower back area which was now horribly sore.
Slinging my backpack over my shoulder I turn to leave the man and makeshift one night home. But before I get far I feel the man grab me from behind, tugging at my shoulder.
“Hey buddy, get off me!” I instinctively say, thinking he was about to physically do something.
“Calm down girl. You just forgot this” he says handing me a small manila envelope with tiny cursive letters spelling Miss Marley Byrne on the front. I tilt my head in confusion but nonetheless snatch the letter from the man and turn tail, leaving without a word.
Once I made it to a street corner with a minimum amount of passerby’s I rip the letter open, eagar and scared to read what’s written inside. Whoever wanted to deliver this letter to me knew where I would be sleeping last night, or maybe they followed me. The idea sends shivers down my spine. I direct my eyes on the corgel piece of paper now firmly grasped in my hands.
To miss Marley Byrne,
We wish to invite you to our yearly Masquerade and do hope you will be able to attend. Be at the ballroom of the Chertain Hotel on the 22nd at precisely eight o' clock sharp. Please wear your finest attire, for this is a formal get-together. We hope to see you there.
I reread the letter countless times, over and over. Double checking if it was really sent to me on purpose. Who in god’s name would send me of all people an invitation to a formal ball and a fancy hotel? Around here I’m known as the drug delivery girl, or that dealer’s daughter. People with titles like that don’t get invited to important things like corgel balls.
I sigh, tugging at my hair and shoving the letter into my backpack. I’ll deal with that later, right now I need to go back to the house and get a shower.
I run home as quick as possible, wanting to feel the familiarities of my real house I’ve been living in since I was born. Once I reach the front door I can tell dad is out and the house is completely empty….lucky for me.
Setting all my things on my bed and undressing feverishly fast I don’t hesitate drenching myself in the calming steamy water. It cascades all around me, deflecting off my body and slithering down into the drain pipe.
I wash my body and thick hair which takes longer that I want. I make a mental note to get my hair cut in the near future, I’m in desparate need of one.
Once I dry myself and my unruly hair is wrapped in a towel I change into some comfy sweatpants and a solid black tank top. I assumed that father wouldn’t be back for awhile so I had good few hours before having to face him. Thank god for that.
I tip-toe to the kitchen, not wanting to create a ruckus in the soothing silent house. I liked it this way, no yelling or hitting things, just peaceful nothing apart from a few creaks of the floorboards here and there.
Fixing myself a bowl of cereal my phone begins ringing in my pocket again. The same unknown number flashes on the screen and before I have time to think about it properly I decide to answer it.
“Marley, nice to finally speak with you” a hoarse voice replies on the other end, either this person smokes a lot or they just naturally sound like their vocal cords got stuck in the garbage disposal.
“Who is this? Are you a friend of my dads?” I ask suspiciously. There’s a hideous chuckle on the end of the line and I cringe at the sound.
“It depends. Anyway, I just wanted to check if you received your invitation my dear.”
“You sent that letter to me? Listen I don’t think I’m the right Marley Byrne. I’m not the type of girl that get’s invited to balls and shit” I warn only to be met by another horrid chuckle.
“Oh Marley you are a funny girl. It’s definitely the right Marley and we expect to see you make an appearance my dear. Ta-ta for now but we’ll be in touch” he says with such venom laced in his voice I can’t help but stiffen.
“Wait, what is your name?”
“My real name,” he pauses, “isn’t important, just call me J”
“J? That’s it but why can’t you tell my your real na-” the line goes dead before I can finish and I shove my phone in my pocket in frustration.
Whoever this mysterious ‘J’ guy is I have a really bad feeling about him, and I don’t know what to do.