I've never really thought of myself as different or special, really.
I've always been 'Kennedy Wright, the smart girl with her nose constantly in a book.'
Big city. Big school. I wasn't popular by any means, but I wasn't at the bottom of the social ladder. I had a great group of friends, and even a boyfriend at one point.
Can't say I don't miss the days when we were dating. But, the relationship was naive, slightly awkward at times and started with the fact that we both liked the same novel series. Here I was, smart and everything- but he was literally a prodigy. Being with someone who is more intelligent than you isn't all that bad; but someone who is ten times smarter? Yeah.
Things changed for me when my parents decided it would be a good idea to move all the way to a small town in a completely different province for my grade 11 year. My younger sister, Julia, and I were less than pleased to lose all of our friends and leave our (boring, but decent) lives in Alberta behind. It's Ontario time.
"Oh look, fields." Julia says, and I snicker. We're driving down the highway, on our way to our new house. "Woah, more fields!" She says sarcastically. I look out the window and low-and-behold- she's describing it perfectly. I gasp over-dramatically.
"Oh my gosh, look! A small cluster of trees!" I say, and my dad gives me a stern look through the mirror.
"Kennedy." He says, his annoyance clear.
"What? I'm just describing the scenery."
"We don't need the commentary, thank you." He says and I shut up, looking out the window. It's always like this- siblings do it? That's fine. I do it? Suddenly it's a huge deal.
I watch as the landscape around us slowly transcends into a more forested area. The car is devoid of our voices, but the sound effects of my little brother playing on his DS in the backseat fill the small space. I turn to him, his sandy blonde mop of hair hanging over his face as he holds the device in his lap.
"Dude, ever heard of headphones?" I ask. Callum lifts his head up, sticking his tongue out at me. Typical ten year-old.
My head snaps back when I hear Julia gasp. Her hands pressed to the window, turned in her seat. "Ohmygod that is the biggest house I have ever seen!" She exclaims, and I try to catch a glimpse out the window.
She's not lying- the house is enormous. Way too big for a person, or even a family for that matter. That cannot be a house...
"It's probably some sort of residence, honey." My mother says from the passenger seat. The longer I look at the house, the more I think it is. It lies quite a ways from the road surrounded by dense forest with a tall iron fence at the end. It's god knows how many stories tall, with perfectly white siding and tall pillars. Someone is obviously very invested in their house.. Or whatever it is.
Only five minutes later, we pull into a gravel driveway. The house isn't visible from the road- there's too many trees. After a few seconds, a two-story red brick house comes into view. The moving van is already here with all of our stuff. The house is a fair size, and there's a really old looking barn like building a bit further down.
"Welcome home, kids." My father says, a triumphant smile on his face as my mom smiles at him, her had on his shoulder.
We step out of the car, taking in our new house. Callum breaks the silence.
"There is wifi out here, right?" I roll my eyes at his attachment to his precious online gaming. Although, honestly, I was wondering the same thing. We're not close to any bookstores obviously, so I'll have to settle for ebooks or something. Damn.
"A barn! There's a barn! Can we get a horse?" Julia asks, and my dad chuckles.
"Honey, your Nintendogs all ran away because you starved them. I'm not sure if you could handle a horse." He says, and we all laugh while Julia pouts.
Something feels a bit off. The hair on the back of my neck stands straight. I can't place it- I just feel more aware for some reason. Like somebody is keeping an eye on us. Suddenly, a thought occurs to me and before I know it- I'm darting towards the house.
"I call dibs on the room with the best closet!" I yell behind me. I stop in the doorway, turning abruptly. "Besides the master, of course." I say, grinning at my parents. My siblings race behind me, and we all clamber up the stairs. After examining the three available bedrooms, I find the perfect one. A walk in closet and a window seat? Score!
I sit down on it, looking out the window. Despite being all trees after 50 yards, it's a rather nice view. I catch a flicker of movement in the brushes, my attention snapping towards it. From what I can see, there's nothing there. Probably just a rabbit or something.
But why do I have this nagging feeling it's something else?
The next day, we're lounging on the couch after a crazy day of unpacking. Mom and dad left a while ago to find the town, and pick up pizza for dinner. Callum and Julia are playing some sort of murderous zombie game together on the Xbox, while I have my nose in a book. The front door opens, and the smell of pizza wafts through the house. My stomach growls ferociously, and the two turn to me.
"Dude, was that a bear or your stomach?" Julia says, and I roll my eyes.
"I'm starving..." I say, getting up to find the source of the smell.
Starving? That was an understatement. On a hungry day, I'd eat three slices. Today? I ate six. My parents gave me slightly concerned looks before Callum's yelling caught us all off guard.
"Holy crap, what is that?!" He exclaims from the window, and I go to stand up- only to be blocked by my parents. I furrow my eyebrows.
"Wait! We've got a surprise for you, Ken." My mother says, grinning. My father looks equally as excited. I frown even more. A surprise? My birthday isn't for another week...
After being blindfolded and lead down the front steps, I begin to feel a bit anxious. What's going on? Suddenly, I am allowed to see again and I gasp at the sight in front of me.
"Oh. My. God." I say, breaking out in a smile. In front of me is parked a black, 1990 chevy caprice. I let out a squeal, turning around to give each of my parents a hug.
"I love it! Thank you so much!" I say, and they laugh.
"Woah- not fair!" Julia huffs, and I roll my eyes.
"Uh, you're 14? You can't drive yet, sis." I say, and my father clears his throat.
"Our only stipulation is that you drive Julia to school with you. Other than that, you can do as you please." I nod, averting my gaze to the car. I can live with that.
I guess this place isn't as bad as I thought it would be.