V. Through the Eyes of Glass
I had been living on the island for eight days now. As comfortable as it was, I knew I would have to return to my real home sooner or later. I suspected that my host had known of this for sometime now.
As the days drew near to my departure, she summoned me too the parlor. I found this to be unlike her. Normally, she would deal with these matters gracefully and with a gesture of friendship. This seemed almost forced, as if I was meant to see her, period! I was a tad frightened by this minor display of hostility. Hugo told me not to take it so personal but how could I not? The way it was given sounded similar to my father’s brand of communication.
‘Pacifica Elise Northwest! To my study at once!’ or ‘Pacifica I like a word with you and I don’t like to be kept waiting!’ This was the way most of our talks began at the Northwest estate, and nothing good ever came out of them either.
That was what was going on inside my mind. Had I done something wrong? Had she grown tired of my company? I know he told me not to make it personal but I couldn’t help it!
My host wished to speak in private, which had never been done before. I knew it was important, I could sense the urgency. I only wished it could’ve came too me in a more peaceful manner.
I walked down those halls slower then normal. I felt lost, scared and with no one to guide me, I went alone. They all seemed longer as I trudged down them, my eyes staring at the floor. Not knowing how I would react once I got their or what she was going to say. This was far worse then a simple goodbye. It felt so formal, much like how my old life had been. The same life I was desperately trying to
I was told to meet her in a place called: The Reflecting Dome, which was located on the third floor, a section I’d yet to explore.
Upon reaching the third floor I was shocked to see how bare it was. No pictures, statues or the simplest of plants. Nothing but a beige interior with hardly any windows. About the only difference was a single opening on the south side. The doorway was marked by a pair of purple curtains that folded over the entrance in a tent-like pattern. I knew just by looking at it that this was the entrance to the Dome. With a deep breath, I crossed over the threshold and into somewhere both strange and enlightening.
‘Hello, my dear.’, she said too me.
Her voice so soft spoken, much more then it had been. I could tell that it wasn’t coincidence that I had been brought here. There was a certain aura in this place, as if silent voices were calling out too me.
I felt uneasy in that small, circular chamber. There were no windows and only a single, full frame mirror was attached to the adjacent wall. It’s frame was made out of bronze and was etched with a leaf pattern. Along the corners were pictographs describing what I thought to be the Four Seasons. Upon closer investigation, I determined them to be something much more. They were, in fact, depictions of human life. From birth to old age, all decorated themselves along each tip of the enclosed border that surrounded the reflective surface. It was here that I was to receive my final lesson. One that all whom ventured upon the island had to endure. It was a harsh one to take but in doing so, it would help to rid one of their unwanted pain. For within the mirror lay the truth, a truth hidden from ones own sight but present nonetheless.
From it’s surface, images would be displayed, the receiver would watch as they witnessed events that had shaped their very being. Pieces of their past and present shown in the order in which they actually occurred.
You might be confused hearing such things but it is an actual fact. Everyone in their life has memories that shape their future. Some of these memories are joyful, others are filled with pain and disappointment. Still others cling within our subconscious, not wishing to see the light. Then there are those other ones, the ones we remember but for some reason are not the same. Our minds tend to retell these flashes of thought in such a way to help us overcome obstacles. The mirror would show us these pieces as they actually happened. These visions can be painful and almost blinding at times, but she assured me that it was for my own good. How could I argue? I had chosen my path, now was the time to look deep within myself, to see those parts of my past and how they really where. So, without any hesitation, I stared deep into that glassy void.
As I gazed upon that clear surface, a hole began to form, peeling away my reflection and revealed those fragments of memory as they were. Much like a stage play, I watched as I saw myself as a child, no more then eight years old. I knew this memory all too well. It was the day I lost Hoppsy.
Any young child can remember their first stuffed toy. Sometimes we grow weary of our companionship for those that give us security. Other times we cling too them, never wanting to let go. Such was the relationship I had with that stuffed rabbit. I wouldn’t go anywhere without it. As I stated before, I had gone with my parents to some meaningless venture and had lost him along the way. I also thought I had simply left him in one of the hotel suites we had occupied. Sadly, the reality of it was far more darker then I had imagined.
My father was always a stern man. Since the day I wore diapers he wanted me to start potty training. The idea sounded ludicrous too me and thankfully he hesitated in doing it until I was much older. However, their were other things that got on his nerves. Practically everything I did when I was younger drove him up the wall! I was only two and just learning about that big arena called, Life. I would laugh, scream, cry and every other emotion a two year old went through, yes, even tantrums. These things every parent should be prepared for but most aren’t, which is normal. Unless your father happened to be Preston Northwest, then your childhood got a little more tense.
I wasn’t allowed to be a child, that meant no loud, obnoxious sounds, which was the primary vocabulary for such a young girl. Playing in the house was out of the question, as was playing outside, unless accompanied by a nanny and even then it was tough.
Toys, the main object of affection for any child was a touch and go thing with my father. Again, he couldn’t stand the noise that certain objects of entertainment made. I was not allowed to have any talking dolls, squeaking and rattling things were out, as were anything that had wheels or rollers. I got a Sit-n-Spin from my uncle on my sixth Birthday. I was allowed to play with on my birthday but after that, it went for a trip to the attic, that dark abyss were all my favorite toys went. Christmas was the same way. I played with my gifts while I could because after Christmas Day had gone, they went away.
So what really happened to Hoppsy I hear you ask? The true story was rather hard one to swallow.
First off, he was given too me by, Marsha. My dad didn’t like her at all because she would let me be a kid. I love my stuffed rabbit too death! Why my father would be jealous of a stuffed toy was absurd but very much fact. He hated Hoppsy and would often order the servants to hide him from me.
Try and picture this in your own mind. You have a toy that’s so dear too your heart and your parent wants to take it away for no good reason. Well, that’s exactly what the mirror was showing me. Surprisingly, most of the servants objected too such an act and many were dismissed soon after. Thus began my father’s personal war over my rabbit plush, an excursion I had never known about until now.
My father did everything he could to rid himself of that pesky plush doll. Hiding it didn’t seem to work so he took it upon himself to remove him permanently! I was eight when I discovered he was gone. I saw myself running too one of the maids, my eyes drenched in tears. I sobbed in their embrace as I asked where Hoppsy had gone, that’s when the mirror revealed too me the awful truth. My father, Preston Northwest, had gone into my room while I was away and snatched the doll right off of my bed. Sneering down at the matted face, he shock him violently, cursing the day Marsha gave him too me. Later that day, while I was crying my little eyes out, he took it down into the cellar and throw it into the furnace.
‘You...you burned Hoppsy!”, I heard myself cry out. ‘You monstrous jackass! You burned my favorite plush toy!”, I exclaimed as I fell to the floor, covering my eyes as I wept bitterly.
Elizabetha knelt down by me, placing a hand on my shoulder. She had no words of encouragement to give, even she couldn’t fathom my father’s actions. She had seen things come from that mirror that questioned the realm of sanity. So many lives changed due to some act of cruelty and they never got any better. Such was the way of my own life.
As I stated before, the images could be unbearable at times. My childhood was no exception and it only got worse as time went on. In front of me played a most horrid thought, a memory I had buried deeply. It was the origin of The Bell, an item I grew to despise! I hated the sound it made, the color of it’s frame and the hand that wielded it.
Over the course of my life I’d heard stories around school about this person or that person suffering from some form of abuse. Whether it was neglect, physical, mental or plain dysfunction within the family itself, I never patted an eye. I would turn away from these, Unfortunates as if they were invisible. I didn’t realize how shallow I had become. Looking back, I now know I was merely hiding my own abuse from the world. If I could conceal it long enough, it would vanish from my life. A foolish notion but it served a purpose, a way of keeping others at bay. What I failed to understand was how my actions affected those around me. By simply ignoring someone, who’s problems were very much like mine, I in turn caused them to lose hope.
‘They wouldn’t understand!’, a common and understandable statement when it came to such matters. How could anyone that hadn’t been through a similar situation know what it was like? Sometimes you wanted to talk about it but were afraid to open yourself up. Maybe you feel they won’t listen or even care to. Perhaps your scarfed that if you tell them you’ll get hurt or be looked down upon. I felt these things as well. All because of a stupid bell!
My father wanted me to be strong and confident but for all the wrong reasons. It was like he wanted me to grow up long before I was ready. Such a thing can be detrimental to a child’s upbringing. Sadly, I don’t think he cared about how I felt, everything was about him, forget how the child felt, they will thank you for it in the long run. So much for thankfulness when it was hard enough just to look at him, let alone have a decent conversation with the guy. Because he wouldn’t acknowledge your concerns.
I told you about Marsha, the maid I was close to and how she left my family’s employment. I didn’t know the reasons behind it until I looked into that mirror.
It all started with a servant bell. It was old and had been used by my ancestors to summon staff too their side. Now it would serve a different purpose, to control me. You heard right, my father controlled me by ringing a bell, just like a dog!
My mother was never present during these sessions, as I doubt she would’ve been unable to stomach them. Sadly, some of the servants would be. How they were able to stand by and watch I didn’t know but watch they did. They were given strict orders not to interfere with my, ‘Training’. What kind of training was it? How to sip tea or how to walk while balancing books on my head? I only wish it were that. Unfortunately, the truth was far more ghastly. My ‘Training’ was to instill discipline and obedience. Why did I have to go through this, you ask? Had a done something wrong? Messed up my room, broke a priceless heirloom or talked back? None of the above. In fact, I had done nothing but be myself and for that I received the ‘Training’.
I would be sent to my father’s study, a place a dreaded to this day. Once inside a servant would be called in and the door would be shut. From there I was to stand up straight and look directly at the man I called, Father. From there I was to do exactly as ordered, no matter how ridiculous or insulting. I would then do the said action and if it didn’t meet with his approval, things would get rather ugly.
One time I was told to walk up to said servant and order them to do something. I had to sound like I meant it and to get them to do the said task without question. I failed so many times and each time I did the bell would ring. If it rang three times he would…..punish me.
It started with a light smack to the back of my head, then a slap in the face, eventually it would escalated to firm spankings. If I so much as whimpered he would do it again and if I cried...I never wished to even think of it. Yet, the mirror showed me and it hurt just as much if not more to see it unfold in front of me.
‘Your a Northwest and Northwests never cry!’, I heard him shout as he struck my bottom with the palm of his hand.
I would beg him for forgiveness, as if he deserved it but the punishment would continue. Many servants were forced to bear witness to these acts of brutality, all were ordered never to speak of them to anyone under penalty of termination of their employment. Most heeded these warnings but
one, a maid named, Marsha.
I wondered if he had sent for her only to test her. By now he had known of our bond, perhaps he wished to end it. So, he summoned her to his study and their she saw the unthinkable! I watched as she cringed as my father struck me after the third ring. Stared in horror as he viciously spanked me over and over, telling me to take it and not to cry. When it was over, I literally hobbled out of the room, my bottom sore from the merciless spankings. When the door closed, she looked him right in the eyes and told him what she thought of this ‘Training’ business.
She was disgusted at my father’s actions. She demanded to know the reason behind the display of depravity she’d witnessed. And what was his response? It was none of her concern, as if watching a child get beaten didn’t really matter.
This only fueled her anger as she exclaimed, ‘It does matter! I am in charge with taking care of your daughter and I am told to come to your study only to watch you abuse her!? Are you insane!? Do you have any idea what such a thing can do too her mind, let alone her body!? How could you!?’
While she shouted, my father remained unmoved and when it was over, he asked her to leave. Which meant she was out of a job, all because she cared about me. Do you know how that feels? To finally know the answer to something you never wished for? I had my suspicions for some years about the whys and hows of certain matters. Most of them remained a mystery, of the few I received Intel on, I felt most of it was a lie. Just enough information to keep me from asking further about it. Mind you I was still young at the time of these inquiries. Knowing the truths now somehow made it almost worse than not knowing at all!
My mind was confused by all this. Did my parents refuse to tell me to protect me or simply to keep their daughter in the dark? It would’ve been easier to keep me from knowing the real reasons of certain events. It makes the subject more docile, less cumbersome when it came time to controlling them. My parents weren’t just rich sobs, they were cruel and unfeeling human beings, if one could categorize them as people. Still, after all I’d seen so far, the mirror wasn’t finished.
That small window into my thoughts moved forward as I watched my childhood fade from view. I was now twelve years old and just as selfish as ever! Looking back I shuddered to recall myself as I was. Because by gazing upon that image reminded me of them. I had been molded. Though not entirely, it was just the right amount to make me like him, like her, a selfish, unfeeling, uncaring husk! I thrived on four things: Wealth, Popularity, Self Appearence and Power.
During my years in both elementary and grade school, I surrounded myself with those that matched my own ambitions. I believe the grouping was known as, Plastics, a group self centered individuals. They usually gathered in groups of three or four. Their habits were always the same: 1) Put down the unfortunate. 2) Make yourself the center of attention. 3) Find away out of doing anything that resembled work. Why do it yourself when others could be made to do it for you.
I wasn’t always like this you know. Kindergarten through second grade were the best. I was just a kid that wanted to make friends, real friends, not the ones my parents chose for me. Yep, every friend I ever had after second grade was given too me, mostly they belonged to some wealthy family. Trust me when I tell you they came in droves just to be associated with a Northwest. It was a confusing and down right embarrassing time, because it meant I had to leave my real friends behind. I guess you could say I hid inside of myself, allowed this other person to take over. Much like Jekyll became Hyde, we were total opposites and we never attracted anything but distrust and suffering.
Through third grade and up me and my ‘friends’ ruled. We were the equivalent of a Group of Thugs. Nobody was safe from us and I mean nobody! If I couldn’t intimidate them, my family's wealth and power would. Not even the teachers or principle were immune too this. Even if they fought, my parents always had their wallets ready to make changes. With these factors at my disposal, nothing could
For instance, every year you’d get a new locker, it was the same for everyone but me. I got to keep mine every year. Nobody looked at it or dared to even touch it!
I actually bought the table by the window in the cafeteria. You heard me right, I bought a table at my school with my own money. I would higher bigger kids to protect it from anyone that tried sitting at it. If anyone did they would be taught a lesson, meaning they would get beaten up.
By now my class and those below it knew me and they feared me. They feared my company and my family. All of this I used too the fullest degree. If their was a book I wanted in the library, it was mine, if their were no stalls available in the rest room, I’d fix it so there was. Nothing and no one was safe! Computers, food, even my grades could be changed with a single snap of my fingers. I had people to carry my books, do my homework, I even had a couple students cheat for me on tests! As long as I remained in the clear, I could get away with anything. Heck, if my parents didn’t care, why should I? However, what the mirror was about to show me stunned me to my core!
I had no idea how negative my actions were being received by others. I could honestly see myself not caring, there was no reason to. I was so lost back then I could barely see what was right in front of me. The respect I was receiving wasn’t genuine, it was forced. My ego had grown out of control as had my deeds. I hardly cared what others thought of me, I simply brushed it aside. I was a Northwest and we always get what we want. If I had been a bit wiser, I would’ve noticed that mutiny was about to begin.
I have no recollection of the events that transpired to produce this next vision. I would guess it to be a number of incidents at school that created the uprising. Here I believed I was untouchable because of who I was. It turns out reality is very different. Although I was protected within the school system, some parents chose the direct approach. I even heard their was a special Parent/Teacher Conference dedicated to preventing any further chaos caused by my demeanor.
These parents were so outraged that they demanded I be expelled permanently. When my father heard of this, he wasn’t pleased and had his own meeting with the school board. From what I remember, he fix it so nothing further was done about the matter. I can safely guess he either payed them off or threatened to shut down the school itself. It was quite easy to make such threats when one is part of the city counsel, not to mention all the powerful friends he’d acquired over the years. This, however, didn’t stop parents from voicing their concerns and anger, they simply changed their methods.
By this time our phone was ringing off the hook! Flustered parents would call my house and vent, sometimes for hours. Through the mirror I found out one such family was pressing legal actions against me. I shuttered when I learned they wanted to put a restraining order to prevent me from bulling their kids. That’s when it really hit me, I had gone too far. Far enough for them to seek a lawyer and this was just one call out of many. Others came pouring in through the phone lines. Dozens of enraged adults cried out in protest, demanding that something be done about me.
The lucky one to deal with this was my mother, Priscilla. This was the same person who taught me that looks were everything. Naturally, I thought she would pass the calls off to one of the servants to deal with the nuisance. You wouldn’t believe how shocked I was when I noticed how serious she was taking these events. I could tell by the look on her face that she was deeply worried.
I never knew much about my mothers’ past, only that she had been raised by a well-off family. Something about the calls struck a nerve and she immediately went to alert my father of the terrible conversations she’d been receiving.
One thing you have to know about my father, he didn’t like being disturbed, especially when he was in his study. That room was his Personal Space and any admittance was almost impossible, unless he sent for you. So, when a knock came at the door, he often ignored it, no matter how many times one rapped upon it. Sometimes he would inform the intruder to go away, other times he allowed them entry. My mother was allowed one of these oh so rare access passes.
She entered his chambers looking distressed, which wasn’t normal for her. My father would’ve noticed this had he took the time to relieve himself from the articles on his desk. Instead, he sat their with his upper body hunched over the stacks of paperwork, neatly arranged on the desk’s surface.
My mother addressed him, wishing an audience with the mighty King Preston of Northwest.
His reply was a simple yet dry, ‘Yes?’
She then proceeded to explain the situation in great detail. Everything I was accused of doing, which by the way was one hundred percent true. I was startled by the urgency in her voice. She seemed, generally concerned for both parties, which was so unlike her.
When she came to the part about legal action, my father gave out a hearty laugh. Wondering out loud where these ‘Bunglers’ would find a lawyer brave enough to step into court with Preston Northwest. He thought it completely absurd that anyone would dare challenge him in this manner. They would surly lose and then what? Where would these upset individuals go next, some talk show? He could picture it now, ‘Bleeding Heart Parents Speak Out Against Rich People’, he would tape it and have a good laugh while watching the segment over and over.
My mother didn’t take the situation so lightly. ‘Were you ever bullied in school?’, she asked.
My father sat in his leather chair and chuckled loudly, as if she’d just told the most hilarious joke.
Of course he hadn’t, if such a thing had occurred, his father would see to it that it was dealt with. There would be no need for such drastic actions anyway. Preston, like myself, was protected under his very name. No one in their right mind would dare make fun of him in any manner. He couldn’t even remember a time when he was even teased in the most friendly of circumstances. My mother knew this before she even proposed the question. Sadly, she wasn’t so lucky.
Her family wasn’t always as well off as his. In the beginning, they were an average, middle class family. She, like all her siblings, walked to school during the fall and spring months, winter was the only time she ever rode the bus. Although her face clung on to it’s natural beauty, her cloths were often hand me downs. Wearing new cloths was something like a wish list within her home. It wasn’t until her father, my grandpa, Frank, made his fortune off of buying and selling stock. Before all that, my mother was bullied almost relentlessly because of her family and the cloths she wore. She would come home sometimes in tears. Her parents eventually put a stop to it but it still was deep within her to this day. Finding out that her own daughter had become one was quite hard to bare.
My father, on the other hand, thought it was normal, just something that happens and nothing more. Everyone got so worked up over the simplest things, like teasing but this wasn’t just teasing and she knew it and she wanted to know what he was going to do about it.
‘There’s nothing to do, Priscilla. Let them fight their own battles. I’m far too busy to get involved in such outrageous accusations! Where is the proof Pacifica did anything she’s being accused of?’
He actually believed they were lying, making everything up just to cause my family trouble. I knew they weren’t and my mother felt it to. Anyone could tell just by hearing the anger and desperation in those parents’ voices. If he wanted proof, all he had to do was go to their homes and see for himself. See the damage I’d done to their children, see the anger in their parents faces and voices. There was enough proof if he cared to look, that was the problem, he didn’t care.
My mother was different, she did care, not only for those families but especially for me. She didn’t want to see me become a heartless person, an inhuman animal that preyed on the weak. If my father wasn’t going to do anything, she at least would try and talk to me. Strangely, I had no memory of such an encounter, the mirror saw otherwise.
I was sitting at my desk in my room when I heard a knock at the door. I turned, telling the visitor they could enter. I was stunned to find my mother standing in the doorway, a look of concern on her face.
I was worried but not in the way you’d imagine. I figured something had happened to the family fortune or other personal matters, like the gown my mother had ordered was no longer in fashion. I had no idea it had anything to do with me personally.
She spoke so softly too me, like a real mother might do. She said she wanted to talk, I had nothing against it and turned my chair to face her.
When she spoke, she addressed me as ‘Sweety’, a name she hadn’t used in a long time. She continued, explaining that she had received several phone calls, all of which were directed towards me. I thought it had something to do with a Pageant or any number of contests. I didn’t know they were of a serious manner, that I was being accused of bulling several of my classmates. That some parents wanted to press charges, which I found to be rather silly. Why would they want to go to such lengths, unless they were jealous, which I naturally believed to be the case.
She asked me if it was true, was I being mean to the other kids in my class.
‘I wouldn’t say I was being mean. Some of them just need a nudge now and then is all.’, I heard myself say in an eerily calm voice. Had my family’s status caused me to become so shallow? Indeed it had!
She started questioning me about certain things. Like if I had been rude to some of the children, if I had bossed them around, paid them to do certain things for me; stuff like that.
‘If your referring to the table in the cafeteria, I hardly think it’s anything to get so worked up over, Mother. I own it after all.’
‘You own what?’, she asked, not fully understanding what I was saying.
I repeated what had been said, that I had purchased the table by the window in the school cafeteria. After all, my father often told me that if I wanted something, go and buy it. I obviously had no knowledge about private property or didn’t care to but my mother was more then happy to explain it too me.
The table in question belonged to the school and I had no right to buy it, nor would it have been up for purchase in the first place. What I had done was illegal and the penalty could be severe if word had gotten out about it. According to some parents, the matter had been addressed in a meeting held in my not so much honor. As for keeping the same locker every year and failure to wait for an open stall in the bathroom. All these were trivial too me, nobody was actually hurt by this, however, paying off people to hurt others as well as making certain students my slaves was. They were completely against everything within the schools’ Code of Conduct. Such actions would definitely result in suspension and even expulsion!
‘Father would never let them expel me, as for suspension. I might get a few days off, nothing to really worry about.’, I said nonchalantly.
That’s were I was wrong! It was serious, far more then I could ever conceive. If it came to suspension, nothing would really effect my education. Expulsion was all together different. If I were expelled, my chances of every graduating or going on to college were slim and this bothered my mother something fierce! How could I have fallen so far? Where she or my father done something wrong to make me like this? I must remained you that she had no clue about my ‘Training’, as she never witnessed those events. Had she been their, would she have stopped my father from continuing them? I don’t rightfully know. What I did understand was I hadn’t the heart to tell her and so I hid it, telling her I didn’t know why I was like this. Perhaps I was spoiled too much. Whatever the reasons, I had a few options
at my disposal.
I could openly apologize to all those I hurt, which I wasn’t going to do because I believed I was innocent. After all, we Northwests deserved respect and they were giving it too me, one way or another.
Secondly, I could continue at Gravity Falls Junior High but give up my favorite locker as well as the table and any other property I deemed to be, Mine. This to would’ve been impossible for me. However, the last choice open too me changed my mind.
The third one was to be sent to Private School. That meant I’d have to make new friends, I’d would be forced to wear a uniform, which I would have no choice over the colors or style. The biggest thing was that such places were much more strict in their curriculum. I would have to take a certain amount of classes, do my own homework and studying. Plus, I would have to live with other girls, ones I knew I wouldn’t get along with.
So, my choices were pretty much set for me. I would have to apologize, which my father disapproved of. Thankfully, he got me out of that embarrassing situation but I did have to relinquish my locker and the table. I also had a Tudor appointed too me by the school board to help me with my studies. I don’t need to explain how much I hated all this and that I had an absolute distrust of my mother for many months after.
Looking at those images, I didn’t realize how good I had it. I felt ashamed of whom I was. My father’s plan had actually worked. I had become just like him, a cold, heartless monster. It wasn’t the first time I’d had this realization. Some how I’ve always known, I was just so blinded by the wealth and power my name could invoke on others.
Now, as I stared into that reflective surface, watching as the portal faded away, leaving nothing more then my own image staring back at me. I dropped to my knees, the truth now flooding over me like a tidal wave. For a moment, I felt like I couldn’t breath. The mirror had showed me much more then my brain could process. As I dropped too my knees, I felt a wetness upon my cheeks. My eyes tearing as the thought of my mother confronting my father and all because she cared about me.
Here I saw her as just another rich snob. One that thought only about herself. How was I to know she wanted me to be something other than a Northwest. She had the courage to not only stand up for me but also had the tenderness to be a mother; all because she actually loved me. With this planted firmly in my mind, I cried for her, for me and for all those terrible things I’d done. You can blame my father but I was the one that made those decisions. Though I may have been mentally and physically abused, the actions were still mine. I had chose to become that person and would have to except responsibility for my actions.
Perhaps I did feel guilty and chose to apologize, I would like to think so. Unfortunately, I went about the rest of the school year as I always had, maybe a little wiser but still very much a Northwest. I was still linked to that horrid chain. It would take a year before I broke free or had I? If I was really free, then approaching my father and his twisted sense of authority would’ve been easy. Why then did it seem like an impossible task? That’s when I was struck by an ugly, fearsome understanding that I may still be apart of that insidious chain! That was why I couldn’t face him, that was why I ran in the first place. I hadn’t the strength to face him because I never had it to begin with. It was nothing more then a ruse created by years of cleverly planned brainwashing.
‘I’m just like him.’, I heard myself utter softly. ‘I’ll never escape him. I’ll grow up to be exactly like him in every detail..’
Elizabetha grew angered by this, her voice coming down upon me like a thunder clap! She said the Dark One had taken a hold of me. His voice was whispering too me in his usual display of: Self Guilt and Self Pity. Both were equally strong when mixed with a good amount of Despair, which was what I was experiencing at that moment.
Then I heard her say that I was wrong, I was nothing like my father. Would I have wished to change if what I thought was true? Would my father except his failures and try making amends? Would he have gone so far as to free a tortured soul in order to save a friend? All of these were a resounding, No! He would never admit any fault, change his ways or even give up one minute of his life to save another. She was right, I wasn’t like him and I would never be anything remotely like him. Within that moment of clarity, that sour, lying voice left me and a weight was lifted from deep inside of me. The chain that had kept me down was now shattered and my life could begin anew.
We left the confines of The Reflecting Dome but it’s lessons stayed with me.
The rest of the day went by quickly and soon it was time to sleep. With all that weight released, I slept better then I had in a long time. In the morning, I knew it was time to for me to depart.
Goodbyes were a tough thing for me, they always were and today was no different. As I walked out of the castle, I embraced my hosts with tenderness as I didn’t know if I would ever see them again.
As I walked out of the garden, the castle vanished, leaving a cottage house in it’s place. I went through the opened gate and down to the beach, a boat was waiting for me by the shore. I step aboard and rowed to the other side. Once I disembarked, I took one look back only to discover that the island was gone, even the boat had disappeared. The waters were calm as if it had never been. For moment, I wondered if it all was a dream, the feeling deep within me said otherwise.
With a smile on my face, I strode into the woods, making my way back to the manor.
My father was once more in his study when I came back. One of the servants ran to inform him of my return but he didn’t sound that troubled, as it had only been an hour since my departure. Nevertheless, it was I who wished to speak with him. He waved the servant away, telling him/her to allow me entry.
I wasted no time in going up those steps too the second floor, fifth door on the left. I needn’t knock as the door was wide open, a rare moment indeed. As I went in, my father was in his usual position; back straight against the chair, head bent down over the mass of papers spread across the desk. I could tell he was in the middle of paying bills, a casual assortment of currency exchanges which never caused any stress on his person. He didn’t even look up to greet me, a typical display of the old Preston Northwest charm. Then he spoke, asking me if I had come to apologize for the rude behavior I had
By now his own attitude was enough to make even the most saintly person want to hit him. I, however, was ready for such a verbal onslaught and countered it with one of my own, one that made him look up from his desk.
‘Just a moment of your time is all I ask, Father.’, I said.
I could tell he was shocked because he kept shifting some papers in his hands. He literally had nothing to say, which was a miracle in itself.
‘Well get on with it then, I don’t have all night.’, he retorted, one that took three minutes for him to utter aloud, a new personal record on his part.
I was more then happy to say what was on my mind. For starters, I was going to change my locker this coming school year and start doing my homework and studying all on my lonesome.
He looked at me as if I had taken ill, asking why I would do that after all these years.
I simply replied by saying, ‘Just making a few changes, the kind that benefits everyone instead of just one person, that’s all.’
‘Enough with this nonsense! Tell me what you really want to talk about!’
Far enough, I thought. I began by asking whatever happened to Hoopsy, my stuffed rabbit.
He sat their staring at me as if I were a complete stranger, asking the most absurd questions imaginable. ‘You know what happened too him, he got lost on one of our trips! Now kindly stop wasting my time with this useless drivel!’
I told him I understood and then asked if it would be okay if I checked elsewhere for him, perhaps the main furnace would be a good place to start. That’s when I noticed a trickle of sweat forming on his brow, most defiantly a sign that I spoke the truth as well as his own guilt.
‘Why would you think he would down their?’, I heard him ask, his voice sounding a tad weaker.
I explained that there really wasn’t any certain reason, other then he may have gotten tossed in their by accident, a statement that really got him nervous, as he denied such an event ever happened.
“I see, oh well, children have to let go of childish things, now don’t they?’
He, of course, agreed, only to further his supposed innocence. That he had, in fact, thrown my beloved toy away. Just as he had fired the maid who had given it too me. Which brought me to my next question. I wished to write to Marsha and find out how she was doing.
He scoffed at the idea. Since when did his daughter write to any of the past servants? Such a thought didn’t seem practical in his mind. Then again, she did mean a great deal too me and he knew it, which was why he didn’t have a forwarding address to give. I thought that to be odd, because I recalled he once gave a letter of recommendation for one of the other staff members that had quit, why didn’t he have one for her? One would think he had one for each servant employed and otherwise, which I knew he did. One doesn’t lose old habits over night and my father kept extensive records on everyone that had ever worked for him. Therefore, the information I’d asked for didn’t exist because he no longer had it. Most likely it was destroyed upon her release. A pity I thought, I so wanted to get in touch with her.
By now I could tell he was becoming agitated as his eyes kept looking away from me. His hands were trembling and his left hand kept reaching for the bell conveniently in front of him. That thing didn’t scare me anymore. He could ring it until his heart was content but I wouldn’t be moved. Oh, he would try to get me to bend to his will, he might even try and hit me. If it came to that I would ask him to invite mother in to show her how discipline is really done. I’m sure she would find the practice most interesting, it would make for a good headline in the Gravity Falls Gossiper. Nothing like a little child abuse to get the reporters knocking on your door. Speaking of my mother, I wondered if she had received any phone calls lately.
‘Phone calls!? What kind of question is that!? In fact, why are we even having this conversation!? Pacifica Elise Northwest, I’m going to count to ten and you better be gone or I’ll….’, he couldn’t finish. Oh, he could tell me what he was going to do. I could tell they would all be negative.
I knew he wanted so much to strike me at that moment. That would’ve made him feel in control, it’s what gave him power. He had used his own wealth to swoon my mother into marriage and had used force to gain my allegiance and respect but no longer. I was now in control of my own life and he sensed it. That’s when the tantrums began.
He raised his voice to the point that the walls shock from his outbursts. Accusing me of wasting his time with all manner of useless questions.
I stood their listening as he carried on like some enraged drunk. One after another he threw down accusations upon me, which didn’t phase me in the least. Marching around his desk, clutching papers in his fist, informing me who it was that had fed, clothed and kept me safe. All of this was irrelevant to any of my questions.
Luckily another overheard the shouts and came running, that person happened to be, Mother.
‘Gracious, what is all the shouting about?’, she exclaimed as she ran into the room.
He told her it was nothing, that me and him were just having an argument over some inquiries.
I explained that all I wanted to know were just a few, simple things.
‘Simple!?’, my father cried. ‘First you ask me about some stupid toy of yours, then about some old maids whereabouts and then something about phone calls!’
I looked at my mother and told her the truth. Yes, I happened to be curious about where I had lost Hoopsy, that I only wanted to write to a former maid, Marsha and the thought of those calls had been running through my mind. As had my decision to make a change for the better.
You should’ve seen the look on my mother’s face when I told her. It was the opposite of what I had expected, for she appeared to be pleased.
As for my father, he stood their looking at us both like we’d lost our minds. We weren’t acting like Northwests, we were carrying on like regular people, something he could never understand. In fact, he wanted to know what had gotten into to us, especially me. I was certainly not myself and he cared very little for this new version I had become. Wanting to blend in with others was down right insane in his mind. I was the heir of a vast fortune as well as the beginning of a financial giant! Why would I wish to mingle with the likes of Them when I could control and manipulate Them instead. It wasn’t like he didn’t use the same tactics on his own employees. This sudden change in my demeanor frightened him, not because he had lost control. However, he wasn’t going to give up so easily. He demanded I explain myself immediately!
With my mother standing their, I attempted to make him understand. He was right, I had been selfish and outspoken toward my peers, I made them act and do things that were against their own nature. Sometimes I wondered why I acted this way, sometimes I tried resisting the conditioning, like the day of the Annual Northwest Gala when I chose a dress I liked but my mother didn’t, all because it clashed with the theme of the Gala itself. More so then the choice of garment was what the vengeful spirit was doing to the people in attendance. Becoming a figure of lifeless wood is most disturbing, I couldn’t bare to see these individuals suffer. No matter what their life styles were or how they conducted themselves in public, they were still people. I had to do something, even if it meant going against my family heritage. As I said that night, our family name was broken and I wasn’t going to stand idle while innocence suffered for our wrongdoings. It was a major leap in my life to pull that lever and open the front gates to the citizens. My father didn’t understand and I never expected him to.
After seeing the vision of my mother confronting me about my attitude in school, I realized she was nothing like I thought. Although her appearance may have been a part of her life, she still cared about my well being. Knowing this strengthened me to stand up to the tyrant I knew as, Father. I finally found something worth fighting for and now that my heart wasn’t as constricted, that shallow personality felted away. True, it was going to take sometime before my peers excepted the new me, I felt I could start small, like relinquishing my old locker. As for the table I supposedly bought, I always thought those tables in the cafeteria looked shabby, I thought it would be nice to donate some money to help purchase some new ones.
My father was literally pulling his hair out upon hearing all this. Why would a Northwest waste precious currency on tables? When he heard what I wanted to do with some of my cloths he ordered me to leave his study as it was too much for him to take. Donating some of my expensive wardrobe to a local goodwill was preposterous!
My mother was a bit concerned and as we left the study, asking me if I was serious about everything I’d said.
I told her I was.
When I looked into her eyes I saw a glimmer of hope within them. She was proud of me for making such a sacrifice, even if she couldn’t bring herself to do the same. Though she did reassure me with a hug. It was the first time she ever had shown affection too me. From that moment on, things were different between me and my mother.
Later on that night I received word that my father had gotten rid of that stupid bell.
‘Tossed it into the fireplace and watched it felt.’, one of the servants was heard saying.
His control over me had been banished and I was free from that chain once and for all!
Somewhere in another part of the world, resting in a vast body of water lay a single island. On that island, inside a simple cottage, a middle aged women walked among a gallery of portraits. She stopped to gaze at the newest one. As she stared, the image started to change. The young girl was now older and beside her stood a tall man with a pinkish nose, from their more people filled the frame, children and more young adults with their children. The frame enlarged until it filled a good portion of the wall. Her family had grown and was continuing to grow.
Looking up, she smiled, ‘This one is truly blessed, for her soul is now free from the darkness that had consumed it. May she fine your gifts as a blessing and may her heart grow in strength with compassion and kindness all the days of her life.’, she said softly.
With that she left the chamber, waiting for another to find refuge upon the island’s shores, waiting for another soul to be saved by The One’s loving grace.
“If the Son has set you free
You are free indeed.” - ‘Free’ by Steven Curtis Chapman