Standard Disclaimer: Everything you read about Alexandra Harty in this page and in the future are just a product of my over active imagination. Some names, events and places listed, that is similar to British history, are true BUT NOT THE STORY OF ALEXANDRA HARTY. Ghost Hunt and its character are not mine either.
Acknowledgement: herbblood (review, story alert, favorite story for The Diary of Alexandra Harty and favorite author list and author alert for Sodium Nitrate), melovepickles16 (review, favorite story list, story alert for The Diary of Alexandra Harty), missyangel87 (review, story alert, favorite story for The Diary of Alexandra Harty), sousie (review, favorite story list for The Diary of Alexandra Harty, review, favorite story list for The Cult, favorite author for Sodium Nitrate), xSapphirexRosesxFanx (review, story alert, favorite story list for The Diary of Alexandra Harty, review for The Cult)
Author's Note: Sorry for the late update. I intended to submit this on approximately third day after the second chapter came out. But it was so long that I'm too lazy to write some of it. Right, on this chapter you have to be smart about the clues and make sure you understand everything about it. If you still don't get it, you can go to my profile, look for my facebook and leave me a message there because I will surely forgot to reply on your reviews. Thank you for your patience. ^^ And oh! Everyone seems to asking about Charles! On that case my lips are sealed. ^^
I was pacing the room back and forth, probably trying to make a dent on the concrete floor. I paused only to remove a speck of dust in my kimono only to repeat the process again. Clatters of my wooden slippers are a little unnerving because it sounded weird on my empty apartment. The book was lying on my coffee table, mocking me, telling me I am a coward over and over. I tried not to look at it too often but sometimes I slipped. The funny thing about this is I already decided what to do, just pretending that I didn't, yet. Finally I gave up. The curiosity I can take but the taunting from an inanimate object, I cannot.
The moment I touched it I felt a familiar sensation. Something is radiating between the cover and the pages, like the enclosed feeling that I got from a haunted mansion. Someone is screaming inside the book. But I cannot distinguish the words. All I hear is severe agony. The moment I open the book, it stopped. My heart pumped faster than ever, my hands clammy and cold as I stooped down to read the letters written on the yellowing pages.
January 29, 1538
I woke up with a heavy heart recalling upon the day that I was running ungracefully on our front yard, where the mailman is waiting with a letter containing my father's love. I remember that day not because Thomas finally learn how to tie his shoelaces, not because Rosalie rescued a bunch of tadpoles but because alas! I finally heard something from father.
"My dearest Rose, Lexie and Tom" It began, "Nothing in this world will make me more jubilant than to see my three angels safe and content and it grieve me to watch you grow without a mother figure." That is not true, I told myself thinking of Nana and her oath on my mother's death bed that she will but claim us as her own until we ourselves sought to vanish her. "In my journey to the new world, I met a fine lady who runs her own jewelry shop. You would not believe the craftsmanship she imposed leaving her a variety of fine costumer not only here in America but also in England! I asked her to join me to dinner one night. We talked about my work, you, my children and it sadden her that in such tender ages you all suffer the lost of your mother. That night was followed by another wonderful night and many more. Miranda indeed is a nice woman and one afternoon, I ask her to marry me. Shortly after our engagement we joined the holy matrimony here in America."
"I am regretful that I did not keep my promise to write often because I cannot find myself telling you about Miranda yet. Remember always that, I love your mother as I love all of you. I will see you soon. Your father, Miguel."
I stood there clutching the letter while the fierce wind is biting my cheeks. I heard Nana called from the background, "Dear child! Dear child! Have mercy on your old lady! What have you done this time?" I turned around to see Rosalie walking barefooted on the crisp ground. My sorrow vanished as soon as she cast her guilty smile.
"Oh Nana! You are not as old as you think! Why last night I saw you lift a heavy night stand for Thomas!" Rosalie cried in defense.
I run to see what the commotion is all about. Rosalie is covered with mud from head to foot. On her pale palm are three tadpoles squirming for freedom. Nana and I shrieked of fear, ordering my lunatic sister to get rid of the slimy things.
She laughed but turned to dump the things in a pail full of water, whispering fondly on the amphibians reassuring them that the neighboring cat is long gone. She came back to me while Nana is fusing on her red gown.
"What are you clutching, Alexandra?" She asked.
"A letter from father." I answered adamant.
"Why, lass! It's good to hear something from your father." Nana looked up from pecking the dried mud from Rosalie's once fine garment.
"What did he say, Alexandra?" I gave Rosalie the letter. The more she read on, the more her perfect eyebrow creases. But nonetheless she looked up with a smile, "There you are Alexandra, Nana! Father wrote a ridiculously short letter that he's bringing home a new mother!"
Nana almost had a heart attack. But Alexandra spent the whole afternoon running around the house, telling every servant she met along the way that our father found us a new mother.
I skulked in my room, writing in my journal while refusing to join for tea.
When the sun bid the sky goodbye, Thomas and Nana entered my room.
I noticed that Nana cannot look me straight in the eye. She bustled on my fire place for a long time and after lighting a fire, she turned to my bed.
Thomas was jubilant. How curious that a child of four can be so innocent to the adult world that Rosalie and I entered a little too early. He cried, "Sister, sister, look! I learned how to tie my shoelaces all by myself." He showed me the pair of shoes that father brought from Italy.
He looked at me probably waiting for a recognition he vastly deserved but instead he saw something that he is not suppose to see. "Sister, are you sad?"
I scoped him and put him on my lap. I answered, "No, Thomas."
"You are sad." His innocent eyes are trying to catch my eyes. "Did I do something that made you sad?"
"Don't be ridiculous, Thomas! Of course not!"
We heard Nana sniffing. She was clutching her handkerchief, dubbing her eyes furiously.
"Did I made Nana sad?" Thomas whispered.
"For heaven sake, lad!" Unfortunately she heard us. "Nothing in this world can make this old lady sad when the three of you are still around!"
I was forced to explain to Thomas that sometimes when adults are happy they tend to cry or may look sad. He believed me.
My silent bereavement was continued when Rosalie brought me some dinner that I refused to eat. I quickly closed my journal because she thinks that keeping a diary is ridiculous. She said it was like keeping a secret. She have her own way on writing her experiences, It was not ridiculous like what she claimed on my diary but it was far more beyond idiocy's boundary. She writes letters to me every single day of our life.
This time she left it with my bowl of soup and turned to leave the room.
I opened it eagerly.
Today, I was walking on a marsh when something fury caught my eyes. I walked further to investigate and I found a grey tabby cat clawing three helpless tadpoles. I shooed it away immediately. He gave a good fight that is why I fell on the marsh and covered myself in mud. I almost drown, but luckily I found a strong bark of tree to grab on. The moment that I found myself erected on a dry ground, the cat hissed angrily but nonetheless turned his tail on me. For over an hour, I was looking for frogs in the marsh or any sign that the tadpoles are not alone, but alas, I found nothing. I carried the pitiful animal on my own palm and decided to grow them on the manor.
Do you still remember Binky? The day that mother gave us Binky is one of the happiest day of my life. We promised to groom her, to feed her, to love her as if she was our own. But one day playing got us occupied and the next thing we know she was gone. We were crying for so many nights and I got myself thinking that I am a terrible dog owner. I was considering that thought before bringing the three tadpoles in the house.
You and Nana were not static to see them but I was glad that I did.
When I reached the front yard, I saw you standing alone with the saddest expression on your face and it broke my heart to a million pieces. The last time I saw you like this was on mother's funeral. You showed me father's letter and as I read I remember the tadpoles.
Every night since mother passed away I prayed for father to find a new wife. Reading his letter I become weary not because my prayers were answered but because he was still thinking of us instead of himself.
Alexandra, the reason why I rescued the tadpoles is because I saw myself, you and Thomas squirming helplessly on the marsh. It saddened me that father is seeing us on that way too. Remember what father has done for us and so many wonderful things he thought us. Please do not let the letter he wrote to tarnish that memory.
I read the letter over and over. Rosalie has this gift of hiding meanings behind every paragraph. You should be clever enough to decipher it.
That day was never a mere memory. It was etched clearly in every part of my brain. I was growing weary of father's arrival and her new wife but each time that I wanted to cry for no apparent reason, I think of Rosalie's letter. I think of father, struggling as a single parent. Of the same man who thought me how to ride a horse. Of the same man who raised me much tougher that my own siblings and of the same man who thought me tears are for the weak.
Today I was still weary. I woke up with a heavy heart and the load did not lessen. Nonetheless I found myself waiting for the sound of a carriage, with my best garment from Paris. Rosalie curled my hair and helped me to choose the best ribbon and hat but she was more stunning with her usual red gown. Her light brown hair that father said she inherited from mother is shinning on the weak January sunlight and was competing with her shinny smile. Her euphoria infected Thomas or my little brother is just happy to see our father after a long time. He looked weak compared to us, with his weak posture and pale complexion. His blonde hair, so different from Rosalie and mine, is not helping his appearance either.
It was Rosalie who heard the hooves first and the noisy dragging of the carriage wheel on the slightly snow covered ground. We followed her running on the front yard but she was still the quickest to reach our father who dismounted the vehicle very eagerly. The loads from my heart flew like a sparrow on the sky the moment father looked up from hugging Rosalie. Without thinking I let go of Thomas hand and crossed our distance. He was waiting for me with open arms. I wanted to cry but I cannot. Instead I watched him scoped Thomas and gave him numbers of kisses that I cannot count.
A fake coughed broke the spell of a good dream. I turned around to face a tall woman with a very blonde hair. I overheard a group of women once in town talking about the American and how they dress different from us. It was true. Her light blue gown was hugging her body tightly and her bosoms are almost sticking out. She was observing me and Rosalie with her lips purse. Her large nose was sticking out like she can smell something foul nearby.
"Ah, Miranda!" My father called. I just noticed how odd his hair has become. I could have sworn that I did not see him with white hairs as many as this before he bid us goodbye. "This is my eldest daughter Rosalie and my second Alexandra. This young chap here is my only son, Thomas." Father was looking at the three of us as if we were three precious pearls from the Atlantic. We bowed gracefully. "And children, meet your new mother, Miranda."
Miranda laughed without apparent reason. I noticed her electric blue eyes went wide while removing her gloves."Perhaps not mother, Michael. I am too young to be one. Why, I could have sworn that I was just a bit older than Ro-sie-lie!" I looked at Rosalie and she was still smiling at our new mother who announced, "You can call me Mi-ren-da my dearest."
I noticed her backside sticking out when she was walking and my impression is it looks like the back of a duck.
Humans tend to have a blurry vision after they opened their eyes when they woke up. All I see this morning is white. Burred, still white. Slightly blurred, still white. Normal peripheral vision, white and soaking wet. Oh my goodness! I fell asleep leaning on my research paper and now it's soggy with my own saliva! I looked at my alarm clock and I almost screamed. No I think I yelped and jumped off the bed immediately, smacking my head on my nightstand while on the process. I have exactly thirty minutes to get to school or else, I'm doom. . . With a capital D and lots of O's. Never mind my breakfast, to hell with the most important meal of the day. The instant that I pulled down my uniform, I sprinted fast in the corridor and I think Mrs. Daidoji yelled on me furiously. The Fast and The Furious. . . Running on the pedestrian, I can almost hear the school bell ringing and the loud slumming of the door in my face. That made me more anxious than ever but nonetheless I keep cheering myself that I can still make it.
I turned on a corner and saw the old building where the fate volunteered me to work with Naru, the tide of Sakura trees and another turn to reveal my school. Finally after what seems to be an eternity, I halted in front of the crowd of cheering students. Wait, crowd of cheering student? Is there a flag ceremony or something? I pushed my way to the front and found myself face to face with a close gate. A tapped of my shoulder made me turned to Michiro and Hinata.
"Guys, what's going on?" I asked. The two of them pointed on a sign erected just in front of me. My first impression of the announcement is it's another tarpaulin of prom night being move tomorrow. Luckily, or not, it's an announcement of one week of class suspension because of pipe leakage.
Without a word the three of us exited the tide of students and found ourselves on a secluded area with a bench.
"Well, we might as well go home." Hinata proclaimed.
"I thought they fixed it last night." Michiro scowled at the both of us. "I heard from one of the seniors that the leakage is worst than yesterday because waters are coming out of nowhere and the plumber couldn't find anything wrong."
Hinata shook her in disbelief of our extreme bad luck and added, "Some of the students are talking about the other high school and they think we have the same case."
"Is that the high school with the frozen pool? I saw it in the news last night." Michiro interjected.
"Nishikiri high school? Yeah, I saw the pool." Both of them snapped their head on me and bombarded me of series of questions I would gladly answer if my cell phone didn't vibrate. Think of the devil and the devil shall appear. . . It's Naru asking me to go in the office immediately. How did he know that I don't have classes today?
I made an arrangement to meet Michiro and Hinata on the yogurt shop since we don't have better things to do today or the whole week. I bid them goodbye promising to tell them my adventure in Nishikiri High School.
Delicious aroma of cinnamon is wafting in the SPR office. My stomach growled loudly and I felt myself blush when John and Lin laughed at me softly. The both of them are surrounded with varieties of books that didn't belong on the SPR.
"Good morning, Mai." John smiled.
"Taniyama-san, Naru is looking for you. He's in the office." Lin smiled too looking up from his book and cinnamon."He's in a bad mood." He added before sipping his tea.
I was about to ask why when Naru's own office flew open and reveled Madoka and her bubbly, infectious aura. She yelled my name happily like we were miles apart and pushed me a baking tray with six steaming cinnamon. Her mitts I noticed has a printed smiley's on them.
"Madoka!" I hollered surprise while my stomach protested louder than ever. "What are you doing here?" Madoka's visit made Naru cranky. But we still love her because she's one of the people that can manipulate Naru using only her index finger.
She opened her mouth to answer, while juggling the tray on face so I inched my eager fingers on them, but Naru immerged with the biggest scowl I have ever seen. He looked like a child on tantrums.
"Mai, we're leaving!" He stormed.
I groaned loudly, following him. I heard Madoka called us good luck.
Just save me those cinnamons! I wanted to yell back but I was afraid to irritate baby Naru further.
I skulked next to Naru while we were walking. Both of his hands are on his coat's pocket and his red lips are pursed into a straight line. I wouldn't even dare to ask him where are we going. He must have felt me staring at him, probably mesmerized by the way his hair danced on the cold breeze, and turned his eyes on mine. His piercing blue eyes almost made me stopped on my track. The wind was knocked down on my lungs as his expression go back to his old expression deprive self.
"W-where are we going?" I stuttered, blushing madly.
"To the library." He answered staring up ahead. "I need a quiet place to research."
I smiled guessing the reason of Madoka's visit. She found out about Naru's odd behavior and now she's interfering. I wonder who told her? Probably Masako or Lin. And that reminded me of my promise to Masako. This will be a perfect timing, I told myself. But he accepted the Nishikiri High case didn't he? The whole point of me talking to Naru is to get him back on track. A promise is still a promise that's why I decided to tell him. I was about to ask him then but I got destructed when we passed a stray cat scurrying an overflowing trash can. The cat stared at us probably wondering if we were going to share its meal. Its eyes reminded me of someone who has exactly that yellow cat-like eyes.
"Naru, I saw Charles on the other day."
"Charles?" He creases the skin between his eyebrows. "What is he doing here?"
"I don't know either." I scowled wondering the same and my regret that I didn't have the time to ask him. "He was looking for a job in the bookstore I was working on."
"A job huh?" It must be my imagination but I saw a small smile on Naru's lips.
A silence passes but we didn't feel the need to fill it with words.
"Mai, are you ok? You look pale."I almost fell on the ground when I accidentally trod on a pebble. I looked up on Naru making sure he's the one who asked me that question. He's waiting gaze convinced me.
He didn't say anything again until we reached the library. I followed him like a loyal puppy and saw him pulled down books after books of mythologies and folklores of different nations. I helped him carry some of them and set it down on a table. He asked me to roam around freely until he calls me because he needed a typist. Luckily I brought my backpack which contains my book research. I pulled it down and saw how bad the saliva smudges are. On literature section, I found out that there are tons of books about The Diary of Alexandra Harty. Summaries in different era, meaning behind this books, theories on why the book is non-existent anymore, theories if the book is real or not. I groaned.
"Curious about The Diary of Alexandra Harty are you my child?"
I jumped in fright when an old man suddenly spoke beside me.