Birthday in Babylon

Chapter 1

'Wake up!' Annie cried as Jack opened his eyes sleepily. He was having a good dream before his sister unceremoniously woke him up and it irritated him a lot whenever she did that.

'Whaaat?' groaned Jack. He squinted in the bright sunlight streaming through the window panes of his messy room and tried to go back to sleep.

'Jack!' Annie yelled louder, 'it's an emergency!'

Jack bolted right up and looked around, 'Who? What? Where???'

Annie giggled at his reaction and replied excitedly, 'What? Don't you remember? You're turning 17 tomorrow and we are moving to Dubai!' she stopped to stare at Jack as he groaned again, 'Aren't you excited?'

'No,' jack replied coldly and repeated, 'I'm not.'

Annie sighed disappointedly. Things have changed a lot after all these years. He no longer shared a room with her, and worst of all, they have never seen the treehouse in the woods in all these years. She tried to move on and forget about the whole treehouse and their friends, but Jack just couldn't forget about it. He still missed Kathleen and couldn't get past the fact that he would most likely never be able to see her again.

She walked to his bed and sat down on the edge of his mattress. 'Look,' she said tiredly at her brother who was staring blankly at his closet. He has been in this kind of mood for days already and she was sick of him doing this all the time. 'I know you don't want to leave but you must learn to move on. You need to accept the fact that we may not see them for a long time, and...'

'It's forever. I would never be able to see her again,' Jack mumbled half to himself. His voice got louder and louder as he continued, 'And you want me to forget about them? How could you?!' Before he could stop himself, he blurbed out his final sentence hostilely, 'So do you mean that you would never want to meet Ted again?!'

Annie stared wide-eyed at him, shocked from having the memory stirred up again by her brother. Tears flooded to her eyes and she hastily wiped them away. Jack too was shocked by what he said and looked away guiltily.

'I..I'm so sorry, I...'

'No, it's okay,' Annie managed a fake smile that felt more like a grimace to her. 'I'll meet you downstairs at breakfast, okay?' she said. She quickly turned around as fresh tears rolled down her face and hurried out of his room.

Jack continued to stare at the door after Annie has left. He closed his eyes sadly and cursed himself inwardly. No longer able to fall asleep, he frowned and sat up. He rubbed the lingering sleep from his eyes and looked longingly out the window at the woods. He sighed disappointedly when he found nothing, like he always did everyday. He blinked as he woke himself from his daydream and went to the bathroom to wash up.

After he was done, he hurried down to the kitchen for breakfast. He greeted his parents cheerfully and it seems as if the anger he originally had was gone. But Annie knew him well and knew that he was everything but cheerful.