Not Everything Changes
Prompt: Changing places
Character: Merah Story: Fairy Tails (Temporary title)
It's funny how life can change all at once. One day, I am laughing and genuinely enjoying eating dinner with my mother, father, and little sister, Annika. The next day, she is missing, I am freaking out, and my parents seem resigned to everything. I was filled with anger and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with them, other than that they just didn't love Anni. Furious with them, I stormed out, but now, I know the truth. They were not concerned with finding her because they already knew what had happened to her and were forcing themselves to be okay. They knew that she was somewhere safer and that if she were to come home, her life, and our lives, may be forfeit. Knowing this, I regret that the last time I saw them was with hatred in my heart; right before I ran away, I stormed through the house and I know that my parents could feel the waves of emotion radiate from me. Everything is different. It all happened so fast that I have no time to react, but if I were to stop, I would weep for my parents. Not only have they lost one daughter, they have now lost both. The same forces that even now are searching for my sister, are hunting for me, for reasons beyond my control. Just because I was born as the next Little Red Ridding Hood, they take offense and would rather see us dead than have to deal with that.
Even in the large SUV, I feel too enclosed. Outside, rain is pouring down, but I press my body against the cool door longing to be outside again. What would have happened if I hadn't tried to run away to my grandmother's house that morning? If I had waited for a few hours, if I had tried to talk to my parents, would I be home even now? Even the knowledge that I was traveling to be reunited with my sister does little to quell these feelings of anxiety and loneliness. I couldn't even say goodbye to my parents before I left. Being stuck in this car with a stranger and a wolf, I am left with nothing to do but reflect on recent actions within my own mind. The more I remember, the more I realize that hindsight really is 50 50. Why my parents never wanted me to visit with my grandmother all by myself; why I was forbidden to wear the gorgeous red cape that my grandmother made and remade every Christmas since I was about 4; why my parents always warned me to never travel into the woods adjacent to the neighborhood park, even though it was the perfect short cut to my grandmother's house. It even explains why these warnings increased after Annika went missing. They were terrified about losing me.
I don't know if they always knew that fairy tales are reborn into every few generations, or if they knew who Anni and I really were, but their fears feel so much more genuine now. I'd always just assumed that they were just being overly protective, especially for the small town that we lived in. Anni even with all of this, I can't do anything. I can't go back in time and change what I did. I can't go back home and talk about this with my parents. I am powerless. I guess I always have been, but when I was walking through the forest, I felt like nothing could ever happen to me. This was my domain and my sanctuary. I don't think that I can ever walk in a forest again without remembering all that has happened.
It is so dark outside, between the new moon and the heavy storm, that they only light originates from the occasional bursts of lightning streaking across the sky. Diane glances at me through the rear view mirror, and she tells me that we are almost to the motel where the others are hold up. Soon, I will be reunited with my sister, but the future is so hazy that I cannot rejoice. I vaguely wonder how Anni dealt with this situation. I at least know that, even though I am leaving behind my parents, I will see her again. I won't be alone, but she didn't have that. She had no way to know that I would be following her. Diane had told me as much that if she knew who I was when she came for Anni, I would have been taken as well. Then again, Anni has always wanted to see more, so maybe she was glad to be getting away from home?
Within several minutes, Diane exists the freeway, into a town I have no idea the name or location of, and drives the short distance to the motel. As I get out of the car, the rain somehow manages to fall even more and I just stand next to the car allowing the rain to seep into my clothes and down to my shivering skin. In the back, I hear Diane wrestling with the wolf, who is refusing to get out of the car. I can't tell who is more unhappy with this situation, him or me. The door to the room right in front of the car opens and a man peers out at us. Numbly, I wonder if he is one of the people I'd heard wants to kill off the fairy tale characters, but I did nothing. From under his outstretched arm, a caramel blonde head popes out from behind the wall. Anni pushes past him and runs out into the rain with me. She hugs me so tight that I realize she has been feeling all the same things I'd been going through just moments before. I hold onto her tightly, my head wedged between her head and shoulder. Behind us, I could hear a man's voice as he works to help Diane pull the wolf out of the car, but all I can focus on is whether Anni can tell the difference between the cold droplets of rain, and the warm tears falling on to her shoulder. Barely above a whisper, so faint I can hardly hear it over the roaring thunder, Anni says into my ear, "Not everything is going to change." With this, we are ushered inside to the unknown.