Chapter 1 : It is Gone
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But the once bustling alley had deteriorated quickly over the passing years, and now windows were boarded up, and the front doors were decaying. Large OUT OF BUSINESS signs were plastered on top of each and every one of the shops. The alley was dark, and had the general air of being unkept. Trash was littered across the street. Mice scurried across the ground.
I groaned and sank to the ground, my face buried into my arms. My sundress got soaked in mud, but I didn’t care. My mother would have a fit if she saw me like this, getting my dress dirty. She would yell about having to waste precious money on water for cleaning my dress. But I didn’t care. I sighed as I saw a crushed sign lying on the ground, fluttering in the wind. It was for a new board game called Monopoly. I sighed and dug my toe further into the mud. Who had enough money for a board game? I certainly didn’t. Once upon a time, I was as rich as a queen, and now I was dirt poor.
It all started- was it only six years ago? It felt like ages. It all started only six years ago, when I was an innocent girl of eight. I hadn’t understood. I didn’t understand that my life was soon to be fallen into shambles. All I knew is that my father started yelling abuse at our radio one morning. I sat up rather quickly, since he never cursed like that.
He ranted on and on, something about the stock market crashing. I didn’t understand. We had always had a lot of money, with a fancy parlor, and we hosted fancy parties. My father owned a big company. So I didn’t understand what the problem was about money. That wasn’t a worry in our house.
Things slowly worsened over time. It began by not buying unnecessary things. I had pouted when I couldn’t ice cream; I cried and pleaded with my mother to but me a new sewing kit. I admired new, fashionable dresses in the shop windows, and begged her to buy them for me. She said no every time.
It was then, I suppose, when I realized things weren’t going right. My father started coming home with pursed lips and a short temper. The parties slowly stopped, and the parlor became thick with dust. Servants started being dismissed. When I was ten, my parents delivered grave news.
“Edith,” she began. I waited patiently, with my poise held high and my hands folded across my lap, the way I had been taught. “Your father and I have been thinking… this house is a bit too big for us, and we really don’t need it as much, so we were thinking about perhaps moving to a smaller house.”
“Mother!” I yelled in shock. All thoughts about dignity flew out the window. “You can’t! All my friends are here! I can’t leave them! What about this house? I’ve lived in it my entire life!” Many temper tantrums had ensued, but none of them could change the fact that I was moving.
I was miserable for many months. The summer that I was due to be eleven was spent in my room, which was a third of what it had previously been. Now, instead of living in the center of the grand city of Boston, I lived further out, where no glamour could be found. Our house was tiny, and it didn’t even have a parlor. I thought, since I was living in this smaller dingy house that didn’t cost nearly as much, I could buy things like ice cream again.
That was wrong. We had never been poorer. We were reduced to not even having a supply of cloth. Mother had to start making my dresses out of the fabric on flour bags. I refused them until my old dresses began to hurt, pinching me in places they hadn’t pinched before.
Our house didn’t have many things in it, since my father had sold off must of our valuable possessions to receive some money. I no longer had my fancy vanity, or my silver necklaces inside the jewelry box. This made me hate the house even more. On top of it, the house wasn’t kept up with cleaning very well. Mother, having been raised with proper dignity, was not taught servant chores like cleaning.
My father left the house frequently, looking for jobs. By the end of each day, he looked more and more weary, and the dark circles underneath his eyes became more and more pronounced. It was, indeed, the darkest hour.
But that was when the beacon of light shone through. One dreadful, rainy day, a short, fat woman walked up to our shabby place. She rapped on the door, and we invited her in, since we rarely got visitors these days.
She was from a place called The Salem Witches’ Institute, which, given the title, was a school for witches to be trained. She explained that I was one myself. My reaction, of course, was horror, since witchcraft was considered greatly evil. She, however, managed to calm me down and she offered me a place at her school. Since I had nothing left for me where I was currently, I reluctantly agreed.
Those years at Salem’s were the best years of my life. They only made it a boarding school since the stock market crashed, so my classmates and I got to pick out decorations. Classes were bliss, and I passed with the highest marks in our grade. We were all very close, and everyone was friendly, since the school only consisted of a few hundred students. The school burst with magic and strange and unexpected things. I learned quickly to like the school, and the three years that passed were full of more laughs than tears.
I should have known that it was all to good to last. When I returned, at the end of my third year, almost fourteen, the conditions had worsened greatly. In the past two years when I came back for the summer, it wasn’t great, but now it was downright dreadful. My parents were struggling to make a living.
It was then that they told me we were moving. At first, I wasn’t too concerned, since I would still be able to go to Salem. Then, however, they informed that they weren’t just moving somewhere else in Boston, they were moving to a whole other country. England, where my uncle lived. We would move in with him. Even though Salem was a boarding school, I couldn’t go to it, since Salem was in America, and I was to live in Boston. I had to go to a school called Hogwarts. What kind of name was that, anyway?
That was how I ended up sitting on the dirty cement of a dark and deserted alley, crying my heart out. I knew, without even looking at a mirror, that my face was streaked with mud, my hair was a tangled mess, my flowered sundress was splattered in mud, and there were tear stains lining my cheeks.
I didn’t care much about my appearance right now. All I cared about my beacon of light, my beloved home, was disappearing. That beacon of light was gone, and my world was being plunged into darkness.
It was gone.
This is my first attempt at a one-shot, so I would be delighted to know what you think! This is also the first time I have written in first person as well.
It is for CharlieDay's Decade Challenge!