The Other Side – Chapter 3 – Water Works
It’s Izzy’s first day at her father’s house and she is mesmerised by the garden statue. All goes well until everyone comes home! Harmony is up to her old tricks again and her younger sister, Melissa seems to be following in her footsteps. A prank makes Izzy’s blood boil.
A cold draft on Izzy’s legs sent a chill over her body. Half awake, half asleep, her eyes still closed she fumbled for the duvet. She found it and pulled it over her chest and moved into the foetal position.
“I-z-z-y!” a voice whispered.
“Hmm, What’s up,” she mumbled, hugging the duvet tighter, drifting back to sleep.
“Izzy! it’s half past eleven, would you like me to cook you breakfast before we leave, darling? Or would prefer cereal? We have to take the girls to ballet in forty minutes,” Siobhan said shaking her arm slightly.
“Umm, err…cereal please!”
“Okay, I will put it all out on the breakfast bar for you before we leave! The front door key is behind the coffee maker. We’ll be home in three hours or just after, darling. Bye for now.”
“Okay,” replied Izzy half asleep, her mouth felt like cardboard. “Laters.”
How could they get up this early? It should be banned, especially on a Saturday and Sunday morning! Weekends were for sleep ins and chilling!. She yawned and pulled the duvet tighter around her opening her eyes squinted at the strong sunlight that peeked through the curtains. They rippled beneath the soft breeze. No wonder she felt a chill, the window was open a few inches. Siobhan had probably opened it when she came in to ask her about breakfast.
Izzy got out of bed and walked over to the window to close it and looked outside.
“Wow! What a garden, and that statue! It’s huge!” she said out loud.
She stood there for a few minutes taking in the view. The garden was half the size of a football pitch! It’s neatly kept borders splashed with a rainbow of coloured shrubs and flowers in full summer glory. In the middle of the garden was a statue of a mother and child. The white stone glistened in the sunshine.
“Breakfast time it is,” she said feeling slightly excited at the prospect of being alone.
Izzy put her ¾ length dressing gown on over her pyjama short set. There was still felt a nip in the air. Fast paced footsteps on the stairs made her turn round. She opened the door quickly, but there was no sign of Harmony or Melissa. A door slammed on the second floor, then more fast paced footsteps, seconds later she heard another door shut.
She ran down the stairs, hoping to catch a glimpse of the girls, but there was no one there. She hurried until she reached the kitchen, but it was empty. She looked round and saw two boxes of cereal, a bowl and spoon on the breakfast bar. Another door slammed shut and she jumped. She made her way through the dining room, then into the lounge and looked out the window. There was no one there, but she heard a car in the lane. They must have just left she thought and shrugged walking back through the house to the kitchen. She sighed in relief know that she would have three hours of peace to herself. Great! She thought looking at the kitchen clock, they won’t be back until three o’clock!
She made a bowl of breakfast, then slid open the patio doors and went outside. The air felt warm on her skin as she sat down by the patio table, under the shade of the red umbrella.
Izzy took in the view of the picturesque garden as she spooned in each mouthful.
The grass was short and borders were perfectly straight. The earth recently turned over without a single weed. Flowers and shrubs were in bloom, but she had no idea what most of them were. Although she could smell the delicate perfume of the roses and the sweetness of the lavender.
It reminded her of home. Her mum loved their garden, which was a slabbed courtyard. They had a small border, but not on the scale of this garden. Most of the plants were in pots on the floor. A few hanging baskets were dotted around the walls. Woodland animal ornaments scattered between the pots. It was small and quaint, but it was home.
Mum would adore a garden like this and love the huge magnolia tree with it’s cream and pink flowers. She had always wanted one but didn’t have space. An olive tree resided in their courtyard. It was there when they moved in ten years ago. When her mum’s divorce became final.
The statue really stood out in the garden. No wonder they had bought the house. The outside was as beautiful as inside! Why would anyone want to sell a house as stunning as this!
She walked barefoot across the grass, which felt as thick and soft as the carpet in the lounge.
As she walked closer she could see the detail of the statue and noticed it was a fountain. The woman wore a toga that draped tightly across her large breasts. It clung to her her petite waist, and flowed down to her ankles. She looked down at a young child around seven years old, gently touching her face. The child’s chin resting on her mother’s fingertips as she looked up to her. The little girl wore a similar toga, no sleeves, which rested on each shoulder, but stopped at her knees. The folds of their togas were the exact replica of material carved in stone. The sculptor had captured the beauty of mother and child artistically well. Izzy run her fingers over the white stone that was warm to touch. She stared up at the mother’s face. It almost looked as if she was smiling slightly. The sun’s strong rays were playing tricks with her eyes.
The fountain would be great to sketch. When the school holidays ended her art project had to be completed, ready to present to the college. If she was good enough she would be accepted. This would be perfect. It would also be different to draw, she liked a challenge. It would be a change from the portraits she drew and the graffiti work she did for the local youth club. She tore herself away from the fountain and looked around part of the garden. This was sunbathing weather, time to go and change out of her pj’s. Izzy glanced up at the house and saw someone inside her bedroom walk past the window, which was now wide open.
Maybe they had come back and she hadn’t heard them. She walked back into the house.
“Hey! Sorry I was in the garden,” Izzy called out, looking in the two main rooms, but they were empty. She made her way back through the house and up the two flights of stairs.
The bedroom door was wide open. Strange! She thought she had shut it. Maybe not! It was another one of her mum’s pet hates apart from lights being left on. Izzy changed into a crop top and denim shorts and went over to close the window a little. She slipped on a small pool of water beneath the window sill and swore under her breath. She got up, grabbed a towel from the ensuite and cleaned it up. The bedroom door slammed shut, making her jump. She muttered under her breath and shut the window. The summer breeze must be catching the door for it it slam, she thought.
The house was still empty as she went back outside. The suns rays beat down. It wasn’t long before she felt her skin prickling with the heat. Tan time! She walked over to the fountain and lay down on the grass, pulling her shoulder straps down. This is what holidays were made of, sun, silence and serenity! Awesome. The birds sang in the magnolia tree and several lawnmowers hummed in the background. If the next few weeks could stay like this she would be happy! but it was doubtful. She felt her legs burning. Beads of sweat formed on her forehead and above her top lip.
The birds callings were soothing and Izzy listened to their rhythmic tunes. Their songs were beautiful. The natural sound they made were relaxing. She breathed slowly and felt herself drifting off to sleep. A child’s cry interrupted her thoughts. It sounded like a young child, around Micha’s sister age of eight. Her cry would be one she didn’t forget. The local kids bullied her because of her skin colour! She sat up and listened. The cry seemed to be for help. Izzy couldn’t pinpoint what direction it was coming from. It seemed to be carried along with the Summer breeze. She looked around.
“Hello? Are you okay?” Izzy called out. “What’s wrong?”
There was no answer.
“Are you hurt? Where are you?”
There was no reply and the crying faded and nature’s sounds returned.
Izzy listened a little longer, but she didn’t hear anymore of the child’s cries. She lay down feeling confused. Why was the child crying? Who was it? And where was he or she?
Maybe the child had fallen in a nearby garden or was having a tantrum! Kids could be such actors!
Time to tan! She lay back on the grass and got herself comfortable and listened to nature. The birds calls were as relaxing as a lullaby and she soon fell asleep.
Izzy didn’t hear the car’s tyres crunch across the gravel.
Harmony and Melissa stared at Izzy from the patio doors and smiled.
The sisters crept outside and stood either side of Izzy with loaded water guns in each hand. They squeezed the triggers, drenching her. They laughed as they fired the water at different parts of her body! Izzy yelled, then coughed and spluttered as water soaked her face and hair.
“NOW! Shouted Harmony.
As Izzy wiped her eyes, she looked at them from an upside down angle she saw them pick up a bucket.
She screamed as the cold water drenched her body and gasped, moving her wet hair away from her face. Izzy scrambled to her feet and chased them towards the house.
Their laughter filled the garden as they ran towards the patio doors.
“You wait til I catch you, you little…”
She stopped abruptly at Siobhan laughing in the doorway.
“Izzy, it’s just a bit of fun, it’s only water! There’s no harm done. Siobhan protested. “They’re playing, it’s what sisters do!
“They’re not my sisters!” Izzy declared. “I’m an only child.”
“They’re your step-sisters,” Siobhan replied.
Izzy glared, shivering. “To me they will always be Harmony and Melissa.”
“That’s fine, but they’re still your step-sisters, through marriage!”
“Well I wish they weren’t!!”
Siobhan glared, her lips pursed “Wait there and I will get you a towel. You will slip on the floor as wet as you are!”
Izzy stood on the patio, hugging herself for warmth, her teeth chattering. The water dripped off her auburn hair, onto her shoulders and slid down her slim figure to the concrete slabs.
Siobhan’ heels clicked across the tiled floor. She held three towels in her hand, then lay one on the floor. “Stand on this!” she said sharply, wrapping another around her shoulders. “And dry your hair,” she said handing Izzy a smaller towel.
“Thanks.” Izzy replied, snatching the small towel from her grip.
“Lunch will be at Two O’clock.” Siobhan announced.
Two O’ clock already! Izzy muttered looking at the kitchen clock. The hands confirming Siobhan’s words.
Ballet classes must have been cut shorter. Izzy thought. Do I have to suffer you all so soon!
The freezing water from the bucket consumed her body. She felt like she was standing naked in the Antarctic. The feeling soon washed away under the warmth of the shower. She walked into the bedroom and shivered. The window was wide open and another pool of water lay beneath her window sill.
Izzy heard whispers outside her bedroom and fast paced footsteps. She rushed forward, holding the bath towel around her and opened the door, and saw a small figure at the bottom of the stairs, just before it disappeared around the corner.
“You little bitches want to play? Let the games begin! Izzy muttered closing the bedroom door. “I’m so not in the mood for you!”