Amazing Kids! Magazine

The House of Time

By Sasha Starovoitov, Connecticut

 

Hope Everton did not want to move to Fairfield. Actually, she was perfectly fine staying right where she used to be. She fit perfectly into the town of Jackson, New Hampshire. She really didn’t want to go anywhere else, or move anywhere else. Her friends, family, pets, and favorite memories were all made in New Hampshire. She loved where she was growing up. But, a 12-year old does not decide whether she doesn’t or does want to live here or there. Which is why, she ended up, after four hours of driving through forests and mountains and highways, in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Hope slammed the minivan door and looked around, a look of discontent on her face. She glared at the house standing in front of her. It was an ordinary house, but she found it revolting.

“See Hope? Isn’t this house nice? It’s not as bad as you thought it would be,” her mom told her.

“The window moldings are beautiful. Very high-quality too,” noted her dad.

Hope was not impressed. The window moldings were stupid. The house was an ugly shade of robin’s egg blue. The front door was a hideous color of brick red, the type of red that was really ugly, no matter what you did to it. She was determined to resent this house for everything it had done to her. It had taken her away from her friends, her real home, her town, and everything else that she cherished. She didn’t want to move here, but when her father’s work had stationed him here, she had to go too. “We are staying as a family,” her father had said. She remembered her friend’s words when she had told her the news.

“You’re moving? To a different state? This is awful Hope! It’s a crisis! What can we do?” Naomi had cried.

“I don’t know. There is no way that I can convince my parents not to move. My dad said we’re going no matter what.”

Naomi was deep in thought. She had an expression on her face that she got only when she was doing some deep thinking.

I know! You’ll come and live with me! You’ll run away! You can live with me, and we can be almost sisters!”

“Er… Naomi, that sounds like a great plan. But, umm, what will your parents say? I mean, they are nice and all, but I they will probably not let me live with you.”

Naomi’s gleeful expression fell. They sat on Hope’s bed and thought. How could they convince Naomi’s parents to let Hope live at their house for possibly ever? This question had stumped both of them. And so, unable to think of a solution to this problem, Hope had to move. She stared at the new house, absorbed in her flashback. She already missed Naomi. The red-and-blue friendship bracelet on her ankle made her ache for her best friend’s corny jokes and tinkling laugh.

“Let’s look inside! I’m bursting with curiosity to see what it looks like!” her mom said excitedly.

Hope sighed. Even though her parents had seen this house when they had driven down here a month ago, they were acting excited. “Hrmph,” she grunted and went after her mom to the front door. Her dad stuck a silver key into the lock and tried to turn it. The key wouldn’t budge.

“Honey, I think you’re putting the key in the wrong way,” Mrs. Everton suggested.

He tried to turn it the other way. He twisted, turned, and pushed the key every way possible, but it wouldn’t budge. Hope was bamboozled. How could the key not turn? She walked up the front steps to examine the lock. Each stair groaned as she put her foot on it. Hope bent down and examined the lock. Hope focused on the lock. There was nothing unusual about it. It was old and looked like it was once silver, but the years of rain and snow had made it a dull gray.

“I guess I’m going to have to go back to the real estate agency to get the right key. They must have given me the wrong one. Although it is strange, the envelope had our house number on it. Those realtors have to be more careful as to who they give keys,” grumbled Mr. Everton,” You can come with me if you want.”

“Yes, I think that would work out well. We can stop by the grocery store. The movers seem to be running late,” Hope’s mother chirped.

Hope got back into the car. She wasn’t in the mood to talk. She’d only been here for less than an hour and already she hated it. She stared out the car window. A tree, houses, neat gardens, wasn’t there anything interesting in this dreary town? Suddenly, as if by magic, a broken-down house came into view. They quickly whizzed by it before hope had a chance to take a closer look.

“What a nasty sight!”

“Yes they, really should clean up that dump.”

“I wonder if we can get the town to get rid of it.”

“We’ll have to see. That house is probably a health hazard.”

Hope heard her parents talk about the house. Why did they always insist on everything being perfect and clean? Her room, their yard, everything had to be new and shiny. Hope wondered what was in that house. She couldn’t get rid of the picture of the house in her mind. She absolutely needed to find out what was in there. This was probably the only interesting thing in this boring town. She knew that Naomi would have thought that this was amazing. Naomi loved a good mystery; anything creepy, mysterious, or suspicious had Naomi ready for an investigation in five minutes.

~

Hope woke up with a start. Panting heavily and shaking, she got out of her bed. After a series of dreams where she had entered a haunted house, she was feeling awful. She walked out of her bare new room and crept down the stairs. She walked into the kitchen and flung open the refrigerator. It was half empty, filled with groceries from her mom’s shopping spree last night. Mangoes, blueberries, coffee-flavored yogurt, strawberry jam, almond butter, cherry tomatoes, and pumpernickel bread were some of the odd foods that stood on the shelves. She grabbed a piece of bread and wolfed it down. Hope found a spare pen and started searching for the cardboard box that had been labeled Office Supplies. She hastily scribbled an excuse for being outside.

Out to see the neighborhood and see if there are any kids around. Already had breakfast. Mom, can you please buy more food? Be back soon!

                                   -Hope

There. She knew that her parents would lap that up. They would be delighted that she was making new “friends,” instead of moping around, thinking about her old ones. Actually, Hope had something very different in mind that she had to do. She opened the door and stepped out. The warm July breeze whipped her hair across her face. She ran down the driveway and up the street. She slowed down to a jog, breathing in the fresh smell of damp dirt and grass. It was July, but it didn’t feel hot at all. She jogged past a woman that was walking a fluffy mop dog. Hope started to walk and looked around, searching for an old house. She prayed that she wasn’t lost and that she had went down the route that her dad had driven on yesterday. She spotted a house with caved in windows, rickety doors, and cracked window panes. She walked down the overgrown path leading up to the creepy house. She walked up the steps and slowly opened the front door. Everything inside was old and creaky, covered in dust. What she saw surprised her. A little girl with wavy blond hair similar to Hope’s was sitting on a stool, sobbing like the world was going to end. Hope knelt down.

“Little girl, what’s wrong? Are you lost? Did you hurt yourself?”

“N-N-No!” the girl hiccupped.

“Are you sure? Where are your parents?”

This question made the girl go hysterical. Hope tried to calm her down, but had no success.

“Here, how about you come home with me and we’ll find your parents, okay?”

The little girl nodded.

“What’s your name?”

“Bella,” the little girl told Hope.

“Okay Bella, let’s go.”

Hope took Bella by the hand, leading her out of the house. Hope wondered who this “Bella” was. Why was she hiding in that house? She looked as if she was barely eight years old. Hope looked down at Bella. The strangest thing of all was how much Bella looked like Hope when she was eight years old. The blond hair, caramel eyes, and faded freckles were all features that Hope had had when she was younger. But Hope had always lived in New Hampshire. Perhaps, it was just a coincidence. Bella suddenly let out a shriek, and Hope snapped out of her thoughts. She looked down at Bella.

“What’s wrong?”

But Bella didn’t answer. She was running happily up to Hope’s house, a look of glee splashed onto her face. Hope ran after her. Bell threw open the door, and Hope ran inside right after her.

“Bella! Slow down!” Hope yelled as Bella ran into the dining room. Hope froze. Her parents were probably in there.

“Oho! Who’s this?” Hope heard her dad say. She walked into the dining room, where Bella stood, looking scared and petrified.

“Ummm… Mom, Dad, meet Bella. I was err… jogging and found her in an abandoned house. She was all alone.”

“Hope, we have to call the police!” her mother exclaimed. Bella stood in the midst of the hubbub, looking confused. She hadn’t said a word this whole time. Hope wondered if she could even say anything apart from her name. She noticed her parents exchange worried glances.

“Hope, how about you take Bella upstairs while your father and I call the police, okay?”

“Okey-Dokey. Bella, let’s go.”

Hope led Bella upstairs. Bella was skipping, a silly grin plastered over her face. She looked overjoyed to be here. They walked into Hope’s room and Bella jumped onto the bed.

“You are such a mystery, Bella. Why don’t you talk?”

Bella shook her head and smiled at Hope.

“You can’t say anything apart from your name, can you?”

Bella looked angry and shook her head.

“You can talk?”

Bella shook her head up and down, signaling a yes to Hope’s question.

Bella suddenly jumped up. She looked extremely worried. She tugged on Hope’s hand and led her downstairs. Once they reached the bottom of the stairs, Bella stopped. Hope stopped with her, curious about what was going on. She heard her parent’s urgent voices arguing with a policeman.

“No, really, sir, our daughter found this girl on the street while she was jogging!”

“A girl, you say? Can you show her to me?”

“Yes, yes, come with us,” Hope’s dad bumped into Hope and Bella, “Oh! They’re right here, my daughter is the older one with wavy blond hair and grey eyes, and err… what’s the other one’s name, Eleanor? Ah, yes, this is Bella. She’s the one we were telling you about.”

The sheriff looked worried. “We’ll have to bring the little one to the station. We have a file of missing children reports; she’ll probably be in there. Mr. and Mrs. Everton, you’ll have to come with us.”

Hope gave Bella’s hand a shake and led her down the hallway to the front door. The police car was parked in the driveway and Hope tried to usher in Bella. But she wouldn’t budge.

“Let’s go Bella, in the car you go,” as Hope heard her mom yell for them to hurry up.

Bella hesitantly took a few steps to the black-and-white car. “You can do it,” muttered Hope under her breath. And, just like that, Bella jumped into the car. The police car started to roll down the driveway, and Hope relaxed. That is, until she realized that Bella wasn’t buckled. “Bella, you are a handful! Buckle up!” Hope whispered. Bella sat there, and Hope had to reach over and buckle her up. She jumped when Bella’s excited shrieks pierced the air.

“Look! Look Hope!” Bella was pointing outside at the trees and houses.

“What, you’ve never seen this before? “ She whispered in a hushed tone, not wanting the sheriff to hear her. But Bella had already gone back to playing her “I don’t talk” silent game. Hope was baffled. She got the feeling that Bella was not just a plain 7-year old girl…

When Bella walked out of the police station, she was scared. It was only a matter of time before Hope realized who she was, and how much “Bella” resembled Hope. She’d have to pretend to be a 7-year old girl so they didn’t realize who she really was…

Hope walked out of the police station, not knowing what to do. Bella had “disappeared” almost 35 years ago. Her dad passed away because of a heart attack shortly after, and her mother had disappeared right after that event. The police station couldn’t do anything. They were just as clueless as everybody else. Bella was somehow the same age she was back in 1977. She had been seven years old for such a long time! They police station had called scientists, biologists, historians, who all said the same thing. “It can’t be the same girl,” they had all said, chuckling. The police had even tried to call the FBI! Nobody took them seriously. They all said that the police’s fingerprinting machine must have broken, it was just a likely coincidence.

When the Everton’s finally got home, Hope’s mom quickly set about to make a cup of tea for Mr. Everton. Hope trudged up the stairs, exhausted. So much had happened in one day. She opened the door and flopped onto the bed. But she couldn’t sleep. She sat up, restless. She looked in the cardboard boxes for her knitting needles. Hope had begun knitting when she nine, and ever since, she had stuck with it. She took out a ball of bright green yarn and began to knit a new scarf. The click-clack of the needles soothed her and she slowly fell into a rhythm.

“Hope?” a feeble voice sounded outside the door, accompanied by a few weak knocks.

“Come in!” Hope yelled.

The door creaked open, and Bella tiptoed in. Hope concentrated on her scarf.

“I’m scared Hope,” Bella whispered.

“I know Bella. I am too.”

Bella plopped down onto the bed. “Why are you scared?” Hope asked Bella. But Bella didn’t’ answer. She sat there, looking at Hope’s green scarf. It was as if she was in a trance. Hope decided that Bella was falling asleep, so she went downstairs. She weaved through the maze of boxes stacked in her room and went out. She went to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, but then closed it. She sighed and went back upstairs. When she went into her room, Bella was gone. She probably went into the living room to sleep on the couch, Hope thought sleepily. And with that thought in her head, she fell into a deep slumber.

Hope awoke to the sound of ringing telephones and stomping footsteps. She quickly jumped out of bed. She tiptoed out of her room and down the stairs. Her blond, wavy hair looked like a rat’s nest, so she quickly tugged it into a ponytail using a spare elastic she found on her wrist. When she walked into the kitchen, she was surprised to see her mother sobbing into a tissue.

“Mom?” she queried, worried that something had happened. Her mother’s fragile emotions left her deeply shaken by the tiniest events. Hope doubted that something really bad had happened. Her dad had probably dropped a dish and broke it. Still, Hope was worried.

“B-B-Bella disappeared!” Her mom wailed.

“What? Bella is… gone?”

Her dad walked into the room, his eyes creased with worry. “Hope, go and ask that neighbors if they have seen a little girl around,” he ordered.

Hope didn’t bother answering. She jammed her feet into her sneakers and ran down the cracked gray driveway. The wind whispered in her ear, silently chanting, “Hurry up, hurry up.” She quickened her pace and headed up the neighbor’s driveway. She was nervous-she didn’t even know who the neighbors were. She climbed up the old stone steps and knocked on the door. Somebody came and the door creaked open.

“What are you yung’ uns doin’ here at this ungodly hour! Mah beauty sleep is important yah’ know!”

Hope didn’t know how this woman could get any beauty sleep. There was nothing beautiful about her. She was old, older than old, she was ancient. Her skin looked like crinkled brown paper, and her eyes were old and squinted, as if she had been looking at the sun for way too long. Her hands had blue veins popping out, and her nails were round and dirty.

“Um… Ummm…,” Hope stammered, intimidated by the fierceness if this old lady.

“Speak up! I’m 92 years old, for Pete’s sake! Mah hearin’ isn’t as sharp as it used to be!” The old lady screamed at Hope.

“Have you seen a little girl around here? She has dirty-blond hair, medium height, about seven years old?”

“Stop mumbling!” The lady screamed in Hope’s face.

Suddenly, a man came up to the door.

“Mom, who is this young lady? Do you sell cookies?” he asked, suddenly turning to Hope.

“Ah…”

But the man interrupted her. “Because we don’t want any of your junk. We’re not a charity.”

“No…no…no…,” Hope stuttered. She’d never met anyone so rude, “Have you seen a girl around here? She has dirty blond hair, she’s about seven years old, and she’s not very tall?”

“I don’t understand what this yung’ un’ here is blabberin’ about!” the old lady screamed at her son.

“Mom, go. The news is on, with Sarah Smart, your favorite reporter, okay?”

The old lady hobbled away, mumbling something about that sneaky weatherman. The man turned back to Hope.

“No, I’m sorry, I haven’t seen anyone here.”

“Oh. Thank you anyway,” Hope said.

“By the way, my name is Mr. Walker. That was my mother. She’s old and grumpy in the mornings. I’m sorry she screamed at you.”

“It’s okay. Nice to meet you,” Hope mumbled, then turned away and down the steps.  She walked back in the direction of her house, but then kept going. She went up the other neighbor’s driveway. She walked up their steps and knocked on the door. She heard something fall, and then a rumpled, pudgy man opened the door.

“Whadya’ want? ‘Cuz I’m not buyin’ any of your Girl Scout junk. Kay? Now leave,” he mumbled, only opening his eyes a sliver. He started to close the door, but Hope swung out her arm and stopped him.

“Have you seen a little girl out here? She’s about seven years old.”

“Whaa? No. No girl. “

As he slammed the door in her face, Hope walked away, really puzzled. What did people in this neighborhood have against Girl Scouts? She trudged back home, her head hung low. What happened to Bella? Where was she now? She opened the door to her new house and heard laughter. She walked into the kitchen, and was greeted by Bella eating waffles and giggling.

“Oh my God! Where was she?” Hope exclaimed, her eyes wide with excitement.

“Oh, she was taking a walk,” said Hope’s mother,” What is it with you children and taking walks in the morning,” she wondered aloud.

“Er… I’ll just…ummm… go upstairs,” she told her mother.

Hope didn’t hear her mother’s answer as she bounded up the stairs. But halfway up, she decided to go back downstairs.

“Mom, I’m going to go take a walk,” she yelled over her shoulder.

“Okay Hope. Make sure to be back by lunch-time.”

Hope put on her muddy sneakers and went outside. She walked down the road and took a left. She took a path she remembered and ended up before a mossy path to a certain creepy house. She simply couldn’t contain her curiosity any longer. She hesitantly opened the door and peered inside. It smelled horrible, revolting even. But she walked on. Suddenly, the room was filled with a blinding multi-colored light. It faded, and Hope saw an awkward contraption. It was odd looking, with a screen and below it some numbers on a wheel.

“Welcome.”

Hope jumped and looked around, looking for the source of the metallic female voice. It seemed like it had come from the machine itself.

“Please choose a previous or future form to time travel in.”

Hope looked at the screen, where a bunch of girls were shown. She realized that all of these looked like versions of herself-only younger, or older. Hope saw a past version of herself that looked like Bella. She touched that picture, and out of the blue, the picture came to life, and popped up beside her.

“Please stand still for a moment.”

There was a zap, and Hope was suddenly shorter.

“Your present form will go around her everyday business while you, in your past form, are free to time travel anywhere.”

Hope was dumbfounded. Anywhere? Time travel? Hope felt dizzy with excitement and sat down on the floor. Her head was spinning from everything she had just found out. I can time travel, she thought, I can time travel anywhere I want.

“After each time portion spent, you will come back here.”

Hope looked at the numbers. 1977, she realized, was when “Bella” had disappeared. She touched 1977. A whirl of colors surrounded her as she spun around in midair.

Thunk! Hope landed on the ground in front of a house. She went in, and found two middle-age people sitting at a table.

“Hello,” said the curious people “Are you lost?”

“Um… Yes.” answered Hope/Bella. She knew that these were the people Bella had lived with before.

~

Two years had passed, and Hope was once again home in Fairfield, Connecticut. She was in the Time Travel House, as she had come to call it. She quickly covered up the machine and sat herself down on a chair, just as she remembered she was supposed to do. She heard a door squeak open and saw herself coming in. Hope quickly started to cry.  She didn’t want her actions to shift what had occurred in her past.

“What’s your name?”

“Bella.”

One comment

  1. Shannon Scofield /

    Wow that is an amazing story