I split the chapter into two posts, so if you missed the first part, read it first!
Chapter One, Part 2
When I got to my room, I threw myself on my bed and started sobbing. I already missed my family so much.
Sure, if Creepy kept following me, I would have some distraction, but that wouldn’t ease the pain that was beginning to gnaw away at me.
I was completely alone. My best friend was away on the class trip for the whole summer. I didn’t have another friend like Amy. We’d been best friends our entire lives. We’d met in preschool, and nobody had ever come between us since. We knew everything about each other and never had to explain how we felt about anything. We just knew. I wanted to be able to talk to her.
Out of desperation, I tried calling her cell phone even though I knew that there was no service in the mountains. Of course it went straight to voice mail.
With tears still streaming down my face, thoughts of my family poured into my mind. My middle sister, Hope, had been the brains of the family. She was so smart that we rarely needed to look up anything; we only had to ask her. My youngest sister, Charity, was the dramatic one. She had been in every play the school and community center ever had. I was going to miss them so much.
I picked up a picture of my family from my desk. My sisters and I looked so much alike that it was hard even for us to tell who was who in photos at times, especially when we were younger. As we grew older, it became easier because we each had our own unique style, always trying to differentiate ourselves from each other. Hope always looked like she was going to a job interview, Charity wore bright colors, and I was usually in sporty stuff.
We all had our mom’s thick, black hair, dark brown eyes, and olive complexion because of her heritage, which was East Indian. Our dad always stuck out like a sore thumb with his pale skin, red hair, freckles, and bright green eyes. We all looked like him too, but with our mom’s coloring, and we all had got her nose too. We were a unique mixture of our parents, but one thing we’d always heard, but never really believed, was how beautiful we were.
Tears continued to pour down my face as I looked at the pictures in my room. So many memories of good times only reminded me of the ones that would never be. No more family vacations, holidays, or birthday parties. My sisters would never get married, and my family would never see me get married. We were going to miss out on having nieces and nephews too.
That was the worst part, knowing how much we were going to miss. Even though we had fought like any other family, I loved them more than anything. What was I going to do without them, forever? It wasn’t fair.
Sticking my face into my pillow, I soaked it with tears. How was I going to make it through the summer with my family gone and my friends backpacking? Who was I supposed to talk to?
I’d planned on going away to college in a few months, so the idea of being on my own was something that I had already been reconciling in my mind. But not like this. I had expected my family to be in my life for many, many more years, annoying me until old age.
I was supposed to hear their complaints about how I didn’t call or text enough. I was supposed to tell my little sisters all about the college experience and the cute college guys. They were supposed to visit with me in my dorm to get a taste of my new life.
Now it was just me and my nearly-deaf grandmother stuck together in the house. I wasn’t sure who was going to take care of her now. She didn’t fare so well in nursing homes, which was why she had been living with us in the first place. Who would pay for her to go back to one of those places when, or if, I went to college? For that matter, who was going to pay for me to go to college now?
I shook my head. I didn’t want to think about this stuff; it was too much. I got up and walked into Hope’s room. It was as neat as pin as usual. She always said that a cluttered room led to a cluttered mind. I walked around, looking at all of the awards and books covering her room. I half expected her to show up behind me, demanding to know what I was doing in there.
What I wouldn’t have given to have her mad at me for being in her room. I picked up a stuffed bunny from her bed and hugged it tightly. I wanted something to keep her close.
Next, I went to Charity’s room, which was a disaster, but had actually improved because Mom had insisted that she pick it up before we left for the airport. I still had to step over clothes, shoes, makeup cases, play scripts, and all kinds of other things to keep from tripping as I walked through the room.
I saw her favorite perfume, grabbed the bottle and sprayed some on my neck like she always had before leaving the house. I closed my eyes, imagining that she was next to me. I sprayed some on the bunny so that it would remind me of them both.
The thought of going to my parents’ room was too difficult to imagine. I picked up Charity’s pile of scrapbooks and stuck them under the bunny. I went back to my room and flipped through them. She had been so creative and they looked professionally done. I knew I would treasure them for the rest of my life.
Charity had captured so much of our lives, it was almost as if she knew….
I choked back tears and continued flipping through the pages focusing on the fun memories.
I must have fallen asleep, because a noise woke me with a start. I rose, knocking a scrapbook on the floor. I got up, put it back on my bed, and walked to the stairs and down a few steps. I heard shouting and sat down on the stair behind me. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone.
Grandma was yelling, but I didn’t hear anyone else. Was she yelling to herself? I scooted down a few more stairs, close to the edge of the wall, until I could peek around the corner.
I saw her pacing around the room. I couldn’t see the whole living room, but I was pretty sure that nobody else was with her.
“Why? My precious John!” she screamed. “Why so young? Why did he have to die? Right before he was to see his dream come true! My son, my only son! Those beautiful girls too. So full of promise! It isn’t fair!”
She picked up a candle from the coffee table and threw it across the room. I jumped as it smashed against the wall. I leaned back so that she wouldn’t see me watching her, and I heard the couch squeak as she sat down. That reminded me, with a wave of sadness, that my mom had wanted to get a new couch after we returned from our vacation.
I took a deep breath and stood up, suddenly hoping that Creepy hadn’t followed me into the house. I’d almost forgotten about him. Hopefully, he was like a vampire and couldn’t come in uninvited.
Walking around the corner, I was relieved to see only Grandma in the living room. No Creepy, or any other ghosts. She was reading what appeared to be a pamphlet from the memorial service. A very happy picture of our family took up most of the front cover.
I felt a strong pang of guilt for not having stayed for the whole service or being able to be at the burial. Why did that stupid ghost have to chase me right then? Why couldn’t he have at least let me wait until I had seen my family buried?
Anger burned in me. I would never be able to get that experience back. But what could I do? Fight a ghost? I rolled my eyes for being angry with a ghost and decided to join Grandma.
Sighing, I sat down on the other end of the couch. “How are you doing, Grandma?” I said as loudly as I could. I didn’t have the energy to shout.
She set the pamphlet down on the coffee table and started crying. I didn’t know if she’d heard me or not.
“Looks like you’re doing about as well as me,” I said and scooted closer to her. As we sat together, I knew that we were both feeling lost and alone. We had never been close, and we’d both lost pretty much our entire family. Not to mention that neither of us owned the house or had a job, so who knew what was going to happen? Would we be forced out of our home on top of losing the rest of our family? There was so much to worry about, on top of the grief we were dealing with.
As awkward as it was, I put my arm around her and rested my head against her shoulder. She didn’t say anything, but I felt her relax and she stopped crying. After a few minutes, she stood up and walked towards her bedroom.
“Do you need anything?” I asked.
She didn’t respond of course.
I picked up the pamphlet, flipping through the pages. The first page shared a little bit about each member of my family. After that was a request for prayers for me to heal quickly and be released from the hospital soon.
Chasing Mercy is available on the Kindle. Soon to other retailers.
Thank you for reading the excerpt! It will be available on the other online retailers about 8/17. You will be able to start at the beginning of chapter two.
My Transformed series is on sale! Less than $5 for all three books: