After my mother had passed away, I was hoping things would be better from then on, having happier times, but I learned quickly that happiness would be a thing of the past after we enter Kinsley Manor. It wasn't even four days after my mother's funeral, that Jasper and I were to be driven off to our aunt's house. An aunt, whom we have never seen nor heard of until the reading of our mother's final testaments. Now that I think of it, we never heard from her family, only my father's. Even after his accident we still kept in touch with them, so why have us brought to an aunt we never met before?
The cab driver drove up a long road, leading to vastly large home, it had dark red bricks, three stories in the middle, then had two one story parts on the side of the house. It had statues of angels, and in the garden, and two gargoyles that welcomed you as you walked up to the stairs leading into the house. Before we went in, I took a look at Jasper and told him to straighten up his black hair, that we should look nice for our first impression. "It's not black Alyssa, its just a really dark brown."
"Either way we have to look our best. I hope she likes us." The two of us look at each other, standing on the porch waiting to see who would be the one to knock on the door. "Fine, I'll do it!" I banged on the lion head door knocker. A large man, around his sixties I would guess, answered the door. "Hi, my name is Alyssa Dahl, and this is my brother Jasper. We're Gertrude's niece and nephew." The tall man told us to come in, that we were late. He lead us into what I assumed was the living room. It was a dark red color, very large, like the rest of the house, filled with lots of old things. A portrait of a man in a woman standing behind a handsome looking man with light brown hair like mine, hung above the fireplace. I assumed it was our aunt, and uncle.
"Ah, there you two are. John, you should have brought them into the bedroom. Oh, well. You're here now." A rather thin, middle aged woman, with almost black hair like Jasper's, came into the room. She had wheeled in an elderly woman as well. "I am your aunt Gertrude, and this is my mother Charlotte. Your grandmother."
"My name is Jasper, this is my..."
"I know who you two are, we don't allow just anyone in this household you know." Grandmother Charlotte snapped at my brother. "It's been a long time since children have been in our presence so let me lay down the rules for you. There will be no running or screaming under this roof, no loud laughter, you will act like civilized human beings, everyday at four we have our bible reading, and young lady you will need to change your appearance."
She darted her eyes at me. "My appearance, what's wrong with it?" Grandmother told me that any girl, especially one of fourteen, who shows her ankles is bound to be on a train to hell. I think I just got off that train.
"You will also have your daily chores, starting tomorrow. Today you can rest up, get your belongs settled in, and we eat dinner at six o'clock. On the dot. John, show them to their rooms now, will you? Aunt Gertrude had the butler show us to our rooms. Jasper's room was right across from my mine, so we weren't far away. That seemed like the only good thing so far.
The days have turned into weeks since we've arrived. Gertrude went to their church to get me some clothing she thought we would be better appropriate for me. I still hate the thought of wearing this green sweater, it had lost bulk in it. Grandmother sent John to get us for supper, and when Jasper was walking with me down to dinner I told him if he laughed at my outfit he'd lose an arm.
"Dear god, we thank you for this food, and day you have given us. Let us not forget what we are here to be thankful for. Amen." We all bowed our heads in prayer. It was a very nice supper too, a turkey in the middle, potatoes, yams, gravy the works! "Now, as tradition we should say what we are thankful for." We have done that at the other dinners, why tonight? Then it hit me, it's Thanksgiving, of course! Jasper and I haven't been out of the house in two weeks I've completely lost track.
"I'm thankful for this beautiful home, and the warming company of family." I lied when it was finally my turn. We ate our thanksgiving dinner in silence like usual, I saw that Grandmother Charlotte was reaching for some hot coffee. "Oh let me help you with that." I reached over to hand the cup to her, but it fell out of my hands and onto her legs. "Oh! I am so sorry!"
"You idiot, look what a mess you made!" Gertrude shouted at me. I kept apologizing to my Grandmother, but she just gave me a grim look.
"How are you not burned? The coffee must of have been steaming."
"I'm fine, except now my good skirt is now ruined. I guess I should tell you why my legs aren't burned."
Gertrude tried to butt in. "Mother don't, you don't need to explain anything to her."
"Quiet Gerty, Alyssa you want to know why they aren't burned? Fine. Many years ago, when I was young and pretty I was on top of the world. I had been Virginia's biggest ballet star, that was until I had been in a horrible car crash that lost me my legs. I could never dance again, but I learned it was God's way of punishing me for all the sinful things I did during my youth. Now I pay the price."
You could see the sadness in her eyes, the first emotion I've seen from her since I've arrived. Gertrude had me go to my room without the rest of my supper or dessert. When I was heading up the staircase and head down the long hallway, John the butler stopped me. At first he didn't do anything, he just stared at me with those dark green eyes. "You look just like your mother, so young and pretty hair. Is that her perfume as well?" He reached for my arm, pulled me close and sniffed my perfume. "You're so beautiful he whispered in my ear."
"Get off me!" His grip got tighter on my arm. John pulled me closer, started rubbing his fingers through my hair, and touching my body. "Get off me you freak!" I turned around quickly, and bite his hand. He let go of me and I ran for my room. He ran after me, not giving me a chance to shut the door. He forced me onto the bed , covering my mouth, and telling me how much my mother loved doing this with him. It was horrible, and I don't wish to go into further detail. When he was done with me, he left the room, leaving me with an aching body, and tears in my eyes.
"Jasper?" I wanted to see if he was awake when I went into his room. He sat up in his bed, took one look at me and rushed over to me. I told him what had happened, what John had done to me.
"We should the Grandmother, or Gertrude. They have to listen, he raped you!"
"They won't listen, not to me. Everything I do is sinful to them, I'll get blamed I know it. Can I sleep in her tonight? I don't want to be alone tonight." Jasper and I slept in the same bed that night, I always felt safe with him.
My eyes weren't even open yet when Gertrude came into the room to yell at me. "Ah! Just as I thought, you were throwing yourself on men after all, and your own brother for christ's sake!" Gertrude was in the doorway along the John by her side. She told us to get out of the bed immediately. "John, I'm sorry I didn't believe that she was throwing herself on you. Now I see that a whore will lay with anyone! You think you're so pretty don't you? You're mother had the same thoughts, then she ran off with that Logan bastard!"
"Don't talk about father like that you evil witch!" Jasper shouted at our aunt who stood firmly. She told him to keep his mouth closed when in the presence of an elder, unless he is asked a question. "She didn't throw herself at him, he raped her!"
"Don't you lie for her! You, girl, come with me. I WILL make sure you don't try to flirt with anyone again!" I told her I didn't want to be anywhere alone with her. "Now! Come here, don't make this harder than it needs to be!" Jasper tried to stand between us, but Gertrude had the butler hold him in restrain. Gertrude grabbed me by the hair, and dragged me into the bathroom connected to Jasper's room. She threw me on the ground, and grabbed a pair of scissors. Gertrude didn't even care that when she grabbed my hair again, she almost pulled it out. The scissors went this way and that way.
I watched as locks of my hair fell to the ground. I couldn't do anything but cry.