Alex Leverman awoke with a start. He quickly sat up and looked around his dark room, the alarm clock on the dresser across from where he sat read 3:45 a.m. He put his hands to his forehead trying to remember the dream he just had. He couldn't. He could never remember dreams or nightmares. This one was so vivid, it was as he had lived it before.
He rolled out of bed and tried to turn his lamp on, the bulb burnt out.
"Great." he groaned.
He got up and tried to open his bedroom door quietly, it squeaked. He peaked out his bedroom door and down the hallway. It was dark except for the nightlight that was plugged into the bathroom at the far end of the hall. He tiptoed silently to the bathroom, and closed the door.
He looked into the mirror, but instead of seeing his own reflection, he saw a young woman, she was about eighteen. Her hair was a wavy auburn color, but she had the same green eyes as him. He inspected the reflection carefully, and as he did the reflection did as he did.
He ran the water, and washed his face. Watching the reflection from the corner of his eye, he splashed water onto his face and looked up. Now the otherside of the mirror was Alex's pale reflection. His blond hair stuck to head, and his face glistened with cold water. He picked up the towel, and dried off then went back to his room.
He lay down on his bed and continued to think of the dream, and the woman in the mirror. He had seen her before. When, he didn't know, but he knew the woman. There was a comforting feeling when he saw her. He lay there for half an hour before he passed out. He didn't dream anymore that night.
When Alex awoke later that morning the sun had lit up the room completely. He could see the pale blue walls, and every band poster clear as day. He looked at the alarm clock, it now read 10:37 a.m. In a panic he got up. He was late for school. Why had no one waken him? He grabbed the nearest clean clothes and threw them on. He didn't care if he had bedhead or not. He grabbed his back pack and ran down the stairs.
As he entered the kitchen, he saw his cousin, Candie Lesson siting at the kitchen island, reading a book. She was wearing a green turtle neck and kahkis. Her dark brown hair was pulled back tight in a bun. She looked up at him and smiled.
"About time, I thought you were gonna sleep all day. Mom said she heard you last night, thrashing about."said Candie
"What? Why didn't you wake me up?" he replied angerly.
"Woah, settle down tiger. It's January, in Kansas. Snow day."
"Snowday?" he asked confused.
"Yeah, look outside." she said hiking her thumb to the window.
He walked over to the window and looked out. Sure enough there was at least five inches of snow covering the ground, and more was falling.
"I guess you're right." he replied calmly.
"Glad you see that. Mom went to work. She got a ride from some friend she knew back in high school. I don't know who this guy was, but he was looking for you."
"Yeah, he left you a gift in the livingroom."
"Gift? For what?"
"Hell if I know, valentine's is coming up."
Alex glared at his cousin, but she went back to reading her book, and paid no attention to him. Alex put his backpack next to her, and entered the livingroom.
It wasn't a complete disaster. There were a few cups on the end table next to the blue plaid couch. On the coffee table infront was a square gift wrapped box. The box had balloons on it. On the top under the colorful bow was a card. On the outside it read, To Alex. Sorry I missed your birthday.
He untaped the card from the box, and opened it slowly. Inside was a card. It was blank on the outside. He opened it, and inside was a check for $1,000.00. Shocked he sat down. There was no writing on the inside either. He had no idea who it was from, or why they would just give him a thousand dollar check. He tried to look at the signature on the bottom, but there was no way he could decifer the writing.
He hesitantly looked at the box, and decided to open it. He unwrapped it slowly, and opened the lid that was placed ontop. There sitting was a typed letter. He picked it up, and read it slowly.
I KNOW WE HAVE NEVER MET FACE TO FACE, AND I KNOW WE PROBABLY NEVER WILL. I ALSO KNOW THIS GIFT IS LATE. HOWEVER, I WANT YOU TO KNOW WHERE YOU CAME FROM. WHO YOUR MOTHER AND FATHER WERE. PLEASE TAKE MY CHECK AS AN APOLOGY. I HAVE NO REGRETS, AND NEVER WILL.
The letter wasn't signed. He re read it and pondered at, who his parent's were. He didn't know who his father was, but knew his aunt, Nina, was his mother's sister. She said she died in an accident, a house fire. It also killed his grandmother and grandfather. She was babysitting me that night, that was the only way I survived. My mother had gone there to talk to them about letting her stay there while she got on her feet, because my father had walked out on us. He shook his head and crumbled the note. He started to go threw the box when the front door opened.
He looked up and saw his Aunt Nina standing there, paralyzed in anger. Her cheeks were a rosy red from the cold, but her green eyes were ablaze. Her wild auburn hair seemed to get wilder by the second.
"ALEXANDER JAMES LEVERMAN. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?"
At his aunt's explosion his cousin entered the room and quickly turned to leave.
"CANDANCE MARIE LESSON I DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING. GET IN HERE RIGHT THIS INSTANT." she yelled.
Candie put her hands up in surrender and sat down on the couch next to Alex.
His aunt ripped the box away from Alex.
"Now listen to me both of you. I don't care what is in this box, or who it's from. Candie you knew better than to let him open it. I told you before I left NOT to let him open it and you go ahead and let him do it! Alex, was there anything in the box?"
"Um, that not crumbled up right there, and this card with a check."
"Hand over the check."
"Man, you're crazy."
His aunt slapped him, and he handed it over.
"ROOM, BOTH OF YOU, NOW!"
Candie and Alex looked at one another but didn't say a word. They both got up and followed each other upstairs.
Nina sat on the couch and started going through the box. There were dozens of pictures. Some of Alex's mom, some of his dad. As you got to the bottom of the box there were some pictures of his grandparents. Then there were pictures, explict pictures of his mother's stabbed body. His grandfather's decapitated head, and of his fallen grandmother. Nina gasped at each picture, but she had seen it all. She had been there the night they were killed. In the shadows, out of sight, out of mind. She silently sobbed, and returned the pictures to the box. She would destroy them tonight. He would never see the pictures, she couldn't do that to the boy that was like a son to her. Then the phone rang.
She looked at the caller id, it said unknown caller. However the caller was not unknown, she knew who it was. She answered on the third ring. Trembling she put the phone to her ear.
"Hello." she whispered
"Nins, it's been so long. How are you sweetheart?" said a male voice.
"I've been good." she trembled.
"I know Nins. I know you looked in the box. Now unless you want your picture in that box I suggest you let that boy of mine look in there too. It's time."
"Keith, I can't, I wo..."
"Now listen to me, you made a deal. Whether you like it or not this will happen."
"I know." she whispered.
"Good to know. Now make sure he sees those pictures. Unless I have to add one in there."
"No no, that won't be neccessary."
"Good to hear. Good bye my sweetheart."
She gulp, "Bye Foxx."
The line went dead and she looked at the reciever. She closed her eyes and thought about the night when her sister died. She had been there. Lurking in the shadows, waiting. She held baby Alex in her arms on the way out of town. Crying, wanting his now deceased mother.
She needed some time to think. She needed to buy time. She wasn't going to show these pictures to Alex, but he would see them whether she wanted him to or not. Keith would have his way. He always did. She closed her eyes and started thinking, and thinking fast, time was of the essence.