Away it Happened


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1. Story Goes on......

 

(A short story)

 

It’s the fourth month of the year. People grumbles, feels unease and tempered. I held my head up and see the sky painted in blue. No clouds, God swept. I sat beneath this firm tree with its green extended leaves, feeling the spared air from its shelter for a moment of daybreak. The air was sweet and refreshing as it was contrasted with the heat of the sun touching my tanned skin. “What am I supposed to do here?”  I said on my mind. Within the premises of the park, I counted things in different colors and pointed bets and favors. Nothing less, nothing more for everything was fine.

 

Someone tapped my back so I turned my head. There he goes my only cousin and friend Bret. He’s with his small stereo trying to invade the place with that rock music and made me sick this time again. The whole place was dressed enthrallingly but now was like a party hall.

“Hey dude! Would you mind to volume down your music, I got a moment here” I complained.

“It’s a complement! You love nature and music is nature”. He smirked and sang incessantly. Guess I could not live alone because this time is too absurd, on a wrong timing. My mind again switched anew remembering what mom said.

 

 “I think I better go home first and I have businesses to do. Enjoy your stay here” happy I told and walked away without delay for not to hear any responses from him.

“Hey! I just got here” he shouted but I never looked back and went to the runway. I checked my time and I need to go home fast. My mother would be waiting for she told me last time that she will be out of town for two weeks for a business trip. I was contented sitting for a whole day and I forgotten what she said.  

As soon as I arrived home, I went inside immediately and my mother was on the kitchen, sipping her tea while reading some writings imprinted on a paper. She noticed me entering the room and I waited for any reaction.

“Oh you’re here. I left the money on your drawer for your tuition fee, allowance including the water bill. Please make sure to pay immediately and remind your sister about her Saturday class with Mrs. Monte” continuously giving out orders and got up and putting her coat on. I took her suitcases on the side of the door and brought it on the front porch. A black car parked in front of the gate and beeped twice and she hurriedly walked to the gate. I carried my mother’s load when the man on a black suit came out from the car and immediately opened the back to put my mother’s things. I just nod at the man and mother gave me a hug before getting inside the car. “I’ll be home soon” she said and she waved goodbye.

 

I am Leila and I lived in the middle of the town, studies in the nearest Music and Arts University, had friends and enemies. I love my family: as for now, I am living with my mother and a clumsy younger sister. I love fun and music and nature. Going on an adventure is much better than making myself a prisoner in my room. Remembering such things, good memories but about my father, I’d rather not talk about it. Asking her the whole details was a burden. I can’t rewind the same questions unfavorable to be discussed. I understood the pain but not to her. Past is past and just needed to live this life, the three of us in a blissful way. I don’t seem to know my father a lot because for all the time I had ever lived, I only had seen him twice. Exemption on baby stages because I remembered I last seen him 3 years ago when they had a fight. He didn’t even care for us. One thing I knew was he’s all the way into another thing.

“Where’s mom? A voice on my back and it was my sister. “She just left and where in the world where you’ve been? I said in the peak of my voice.

“It’s none of your business and by the way where’s the money she left for me?”  She opened her palm.

“She never left any money for you” she kicked me in my left foot and ran inside the house. I screamed so loud because of pain and tried to chase her down but ended up locked. The sound of the banging door noised the entire place and I don’t care if neighbors cared. I utter bad words unremittingly for a greater reason.

“Wait till I lay my hands on you!!” I’m now in my temper as I heard her voices mocking me. I should give this girl a cruel lesson sometime. I turned to the other side and got an opportunity. I went upstairs and found out her room was locked.  I banged it twice and it opened but she wasn’t there.

 

“Lucy!Lucy!” I said in a creepy voice. This time, Imagined myself like a predator hunting her prey not letting go or spare a target. I checked my room and there she was under my couch. I grabbed her ears and my mouth started to articulate words I should not mention.

“You do it again or I will lock you forever in the basement.” Threatening words would just frighten her but it isn’t. She laughed and I realized I wasn’t good enough.

 

“Sorry ok.”  Then I released her and walked away to her room.

“I will tell my mom about this later” she said in quiet words and I just forget the arguments for it was tiring and it would be just a waste of my time. I hope I can handle her for I know these days would be like a storm.

 

Friday afternoon, I paced the hallway and waited for Sara. I must be at home right now but she texted me to wait her in front of the faculty.

“You’ve come.” She spoke as a greeting.

“Of course! What is it that it seemed interesting thing for you?”

“Oh, we will go for a trip tomorrow at the Bree Malton seashores. You will come right? Don’t worry it will be just for two days with my friends.” An excited face with her gaucheness caught me.

“Sounds great! It would be better but…”

“No buts just come with us. It’ll be fun ok? I know you loved fun”. I stared blankly and ended up agreeing to what she said. By the way, it’s been a long time since I went for a getaway so it’ll be good to taste the feelings of fun again.

 

I made a phone call to my mom, asked permission and as usual she totally disagreed. “Crazy thing, I should have known.” I exclaimed. Who would look after Lucy? Come on! She’s grown up and she knows what to do. Anyway, she can’t do anything about it. I did refuse for the first place but because of Sara’s urging power, agreed without any thoughts. I am a bad girl sometimes but my good side….will always a good side.  

 

We arrived at noon at Bree Malton and started the fun. Sara seemed a lot busy not with me, with her friends but with this girl. I can see in her eyes, a heavy thoughts and unreadable emotions; came up for questions out of the curiosity. Sara then left her side walking towards where I am. I stood up and asked who she was. She was Jiao. I have been to Sara’s house a lot before but I never seen her even once.

 

I went beside her and to talk to her. I said words asking her anything but no answers. “Sara will answer” I mumbled.

 

“My friend Jiao was like much more than a sister. My mother took her in here in Rivana and stayed with us. Three years ago, after discovering the truth, they boarded a ship to Soratia. Her mother insisted to leave the country and Jiao was confused for the sudden decisions. Exactly 4 in the morning, the tragic happened where she lost her mother when everybody believed that no one had survived. Luckily, Jiao was rescued seeing her floating in the water and the gallon which avoided her to sink and from death. After those times, Jiao thinks everything was a nightmare. My mother said who once talked to her that she would rather die than living without her mother. I had known them for long because my mother was a servant in their house and for all before; she was my great playmate and a friend. These days, a conversation between us is rare.  After what happened, she was totally depressed that’s why she stopped her studies with me in this University. Her mom is a business woman when she met this man; a reason of the tragedy.

“That’s painful!”

 

“The reason you had just seen her for the first time is she locked herself in her room not wanting to see people. I was afraid she wouldn’t recognize my existence, having me by her side and it was a relief, she’s on the state of recovering. A trip is a good help that’s why I brought her here. It would help her breathe the fresh air and the past would be upwind” Sara spoke at once and was too determined to help a friend.

 

I was in my lonely thoughts with my blank face hearing these and I promised that I should give help. “Jiao is an honor student, singer and performer before but everything. She believed she could never bring back the feelings of happiness. I’m trying to help her get over it but seems too weak for me to do” she added. Sara was a true friend and I considered myself lucky after meeting her. “Who was that man behind everything?” I asked. Sara did not give her reply but instead she ended the conversation and left my side. I realized I should not anymore ask about things seemed confidential.

 

Sun was out and stars refused to shine. I watched the night sky accompanied by the sound of the guitar and angelic voices. The night was too hilarious. We set camps, grilled our foods while some had fun with the beach volleyball game. It was too absurd playing this game at night. It doesn’t matter because everything was bright with the moon as the spotlight. After the activities, we rested until everybody wants to fall in a deep sleep. The sounds of the waves I barely hear for I turned my music on with the earphones on my both ear. It helped me to fall asleep tonight.

 

I woke up suddenly of a nightmare seeing only a dimmed surrounding. I checked my time and it is about 3:45 in the morning. Although it’s too dark but I discovered Jiao, she wasn’t in her bed. I saw the opened door so I get up and switches on the light. Sara was asleep and I started to think where she could be so silently walked out off the room going down to the guest’s room. The front door was opened as well as the gates to the seashores. As I step outside, the dog barks on the other side and I saw, the back profile of Jiao from afar. I just observed what was she up to but just stood there facing the calmed and treacherous sea. I wonder why she got up too early. I just watched her and was surprised when she turned her head and smiles at me. I did not know she recognized my presence so I smiled back but she turned her head swiftly. Strange thing crept on my mind and was even unsure about it. I took a step but I can’t feel my feet. I was glued that I couldn’t take any actions. It was cold outside and the inside of me.

“Jiao….” speaks it out but I can’t hear my words. I screamed so loud but no one heard a thing.

‘Hey!” the voice of Sara finally gained my self-awareness.

“What!” I screamed when Sara tapped my back.

‘What are you doing here?’ She asked and looked at me intently.

“Nothing just…..” turned back my head to see Jiao but she was not there anymore.

“Where is she?” I said.

“Are you crazy? Who?” she said in astonishment.

“You haven’t seen Jiao?”

“Jiao? I saw her in her bed. That’s why I was here to find you because you weren’t there.

 

My heart thumped too fast and it gave me chills and so I went back to check and she was dozed in her sleep. I wrapped myself in my blanket and think things through. This hour was a bad dream. “Who was that? When she looked at me, it was like her. My eyes would never lie.”

 

Woke up on the right side, trailed the seashore, felt the sun. I woke up too late and I know I missed a lot. I saw Sara and Jiao in the nipa hut under the coconut trees. Jiao seemed comfortable this time having conversation with Sara. It’s not a good time to intervene knowing it’s a chance to have a little conversation with her.

 I looked at the border of the sealines, took an hour seated on the white sand under the shade. After, Sara and Jiao were out of my sight to where they were before. I stood up and called their names when Jenny, Sara’s friend ran as fast with her other friends. Horrific thing likely happened and I was scared. I walked fast, followed them and ended up in a small crowd. The police officers also arrived and an ambulance car not far away.

 

“Sara!” I heard a yell. I forced myself, bumping my body to the persons in front and was shocked when I see Sara on the sand floor with blooded shirt and face. I cried for someone to save her holding her tight in my arms. For a few seconds, someone grabbed my hand to let go of her as the police officers take the situation. The last thing I saw was her body carried by the men to the ambulance. I should have been with her but was too weak and my knees were nailed on the ground. People abandoned the place and I tried to keep my thoughts intact to figure it out.

 

“Where is Jiao?” I said on my mind. I stood and hurriedly looked after her checking the rooms up until my feet brought me far away. I slowly paced feeling the hot sand when I saw Jiao sitting under the coconut tree. I was about to walk towards her when she screamed and yelled at me. I tried to calm her down and she stopped me.

 

“Don’t come near” she said in a low voice. I took a step and stopped when she picked up something and points it at me. “Go back” she yelled.

 

I stepped backward until I reach the point to return. I noticed blood on her left hand and started to think what happened.

 

My phone rang and I nabbed it on my left pocket in my gray jogging pants. I answered the call without even looking who it was. It was an unfamiliar voice from a new number.

“Hello?Hello?” repeatedly. It was Jenny informing me to speak with the police officer.

 

I went back and everything was confirmed. I was astonished when Jiao was put in blame. Sara is in a critical condition. I questioned them about the investigation when someone came as a witness telling that the girl hit the victim few times on the head. At first I didn’t believe but I’ve seen her hand, it was blood stained. It was my only conclusion.

I walked back to where she is stealthily. Before the policeman captures her, I should see her first.  I found her sitting with her chin on her knees and so I carefully walked when she looked at me. I stopped and all I see was a confused face. “I did not do anything, it was the man”.

I felt sorry. The police approached us and got us off.

 

In front of the officers, the witness and Sara’s friends in a room in the opposite building, I sat beside her for the interrogations and I answered it all for her. I know she would not speak about it so I took her place. I gave any information I knew, defended for her side but ended up for nothing. Stirred feelings to this man, his eyes and his moves were unreadable. I started to observe him after realizing Jiao’s confession lately. “Believe me Sir! That man did it!” No one believed to Jiao because this man covers the truth. I gripped my hand. I always think what kind of person could do such thing.

 

“She is crazy. Shouldn’t bring her here. I’ve seen her lately and she acts so weird”. I heard a voice in my back from the friends of Sara. I curled my fist of annoyance. How could they say that? For the moment, they took Jiao and she’s now in the hands of the persons responsible for this case. I am confused and don’t know what to do.

 

While everything is under control, I went to visit my friend in a critical condition. I noticed the stitches in her left eye and a deep cut in her forehead. How could such things happen? I held her tight when her mother entered the room.

 

“I apologize for what happened” I said in a shaky voice.

 

Sara’s mother and I had a conversation and asked me to visit Jiao to make sure she’s doing fine. I explained it all to her. “Jiao is a good girl and I know she can’t do it”.

 

 I did likely to visit her and don’t even noticed how fast I appeared in front of the gates.

“I would like to visit Jiao Manahan! Let me talk to her for a few minutes sir!” I gave my purpose to the appointed officer. We sat face to face in a round table. I talked and talked but I never heard answers. I wasn’t expecting too. “Why won’t you talk to me?” I uttered out of impatience.

“Please speak! I believed in you and we will go this through together just say something”.

 I can’t take it. I want to help her but how? After a few moments, she stood and left a piece of paper on the table. It contained a house address and I figured it out. I went out and grabbed a taxi to reach the place. Well, it wasn’t too far for a thirty minute ride. I found out the location and a house stood strong surrounded by trees. It was a two story house painted in faded white with blue roof. The gates were open and doors were unlocked. The inside was wide, remarkable furnished cabinets and chairs but not with the dusts and the scattered papers, picture frames hanging on the walls covered with webs and a grand piano covered with a white cloth. I looked everywhere keenly until my feet brought me upstairs. Two doors met my eyes. I entered the room on my left and saw on the wall a framed picture of Jiao in a music competition. Her smile was too different. She was cheerful and talented.

I started to scan and one thing caught my attention. A picture beside her alarm clock; the face of a man I’ve known; rest assured it was him. I was shocked when it was my father with a woman and Jiao at her young age. The woman was just like the face of Jiao and suddenly remembered what I had seen at the beach before. It was her mother.

I checked the drawers and found a notebook. The name of my mother and our address was indicated. Jiao wanted me to find the first family of his father that’s why she let me visit her house. Sara’s mother was right, answers were right here in this place. I sat on the chair beside me, held my head and closed my eyes. My mother would have a lot to explain so I dialed her and she picked it up immediately.

 

“I think you should tell what really happened to Dad” I directly asked.

“Please Leila but we should not talk about it. I told you million times not to ever talk anything about your father” my mother explained.

“I’m coming home” I ended the conversation and went back immediately. I can’t think other things right now just for one focus. I banged the door for someone to open it and Lucy got off my way. “Where’s mom? I asked.

“Easy girl with that frowning face” she endlessly uttered words that won’t register in my mind. I walked directly to my mom’s room and found her fixing her things just after she arrived from the trip. I showed her a picture and I can read in her mind that she knew it for so long.

 

“Your father had another family. Your father was dead. I read the text message from his woman leaving the country after knowing the truth. He as well boarded the ship when the incident happened in Griyana. I met his daughter days before the incident and to think about their death was too painful.” My mother with her uncontrolled feelings swayed my thoughts and I felt so weak, anguished and tears wet my face. I hate my father leaving us behind but to think he was gone, it discarded the feeling towards him.

 

The room was too silent. I saw Lucy out of the door with the same reaction and went off. “I’m sorry for not telling you these before” my mother shed tears and now I understood everything and I won’t ask anymore.

“His daughter is alive” I said. “Mom we should at least help her. I visited their house and came to know everything. She wanted to find us to give her help because she thinks we were the only one who can.  Everyone thinks she lost her sanity and everything and…… she needs us. She’s in the hands of the police right now for she was involved to what happened to Sara.” I added.

 

I cannot read my mother’s thought and now I plead her to help Jiao. Her words to help whoever in needs should never turn his back is what I always remember. She should take action to what she says.

 

I went downstairs and sat at the couch drying my tears. Truth revealed and there’s nothing more important than to save my sister. Lucy sat beside me confirmed it all. She walked upstairs and convinced mom. After long hours, she made decisions and I gave my mother a quick hug and a kiss on her cheek. 

 

After few days, the investigation was cleared. Sara recovered and stated everything. “He threatened us when we did nothing”. That man was involved in many crimes.  He was caught in the same incident and that proved Jiao’s innocence. “He was a dangerous man. Killing is his hobby”. His target was Jiao but Sara fought him. Jiao ran away after the man struck Sara. She even tried to help her but was too dangerous and just need to escape.

 

Jiao was released. My mother decided to take her in and to stay with us. She’s my sister and nothing would part us. For the time being, I can see Jiao constantly recovers. I could see her smiles and a face of an angel and a peaceful mind.

 

A day of tiresome afternoon, we were lying in this furry bed. Deep thoughts blocked our mind.

“What do you suggest for us to do?” I said trying to cheer the lonely ambience.

“Sara? What do you think?” shifting my eyes whoever will speak out for a recommendation. Last few days were stressful and we just thought to have fun somehow.

 

“I want to spend a day at the beach” a reluctant voice from Jiao and I turned on her. I see her gloomed side again behind those sorrows she had been. She was now part of my family.

 

“Yes! You are right. Maybe we can do it tomorrow. What can you say Sara? I smiled as I waited.

 

“Yes. We sure go to have so much fun. White beach in Milen Bay? Jenny said it was like a paradise that it was so enchantingly beautiful.” Sara expressed with so much excitement.

 

“Is it okay in Milen Bay? Jiao if you have something in your mind where we should go.” I said and waited for her reply. Silence gaps in between when Sara interrupted to plan what things to bring and what foods we should prepare. We were in the middle of the discussion Jiao was lying beside me staring at the ceiling. I don’t know what runs in her mind but rest assured she’s all too well. “I would like to go to Griyana” she said.

 

Sara stopped writing and asked her why she want to. For these hours, I could shed a single tear. I can feel her emotions stirred in a fragile bowl that I could not even handle. Why in that place?

 

“It would be best to stay at the shores of Griyana. I will take the last visit for me to let go the pasts and the bad memories of what had happened to my mother. In this way, I can only be renewed and to start again. I wish you would agree with me” Jiao giving her request.

 

“Its fine, it’s for you.” I said and I hugged her. “I want it there too for me to clear away all my bad thoughts.  After all, he is our father.”

 Sara later joined us and we smiled and shed tears for a joy we felt deep in our heart. This moment would never be the last and we wished to go forward for much better and merrier days together. 

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