The next morning, I was up before anyone else. Dressed in my “adventure outfit,” I headed out. I plodded through meadows and fields.
And scrambled across ditches.
I stumbled and slipped through rock-slides and dried up river-beds.
And then, after nearly half a day of almost non-stop journeying, I came to a forest; dark in most places, with shadows lurking here and there, and then bright stripes of sunlight that had wiggled through the dense pines. It gave the forest an eerie feel — like you were being watched. And then a faint, wispy voice murmured from somewhere in the woods, “Ro-o-o-se . . .”
“Glad to see you could make it!” Sylvia chirped to her friend, Annie, as she ran up the path.
“Do you have your disguise?” Sylvia asked. This was a vital part of her “plan.”
Annie held up an old, stained table cloth. “Will this do?”
Sylvia nodded. “We’ll make it work.”
Then she showed Annie her fiendishly clever disguise. “I’ll put it on right now. Do tell me if I look something other than myself, will you?”
Then she turned around (so she would have the element of surprise).
The brilliant, naughty little eight year-old put her disguise on and her friend considered it quite seriously.
Finally, though, she felt that if she didn’t laugh , she might explode. “You look like Ben and William Woods’ old cook lady!” she exclaimed in a fit of giggles.
Annie pulled the table-cloth over her head and stuck a funny pair of eye-glasses onto her face. “We both look like funny old women now!” she crowed in delight.
“Are those boot’s you’re wearing?” Annie asked curiously, once their gales of laughter had died down.
“Indeed they are,” Sylvia replied, lifting the edge of her dress so that her friend could have a good look at the beige, knee-high boots. “They’re an old pair of Rosilia’s riding boots that she’s long since grown out of.”
Annie gazed down at her own shiny-black T-strap shoes. “I don’t suppose my shoes will help me pass as an old, poor lady?”
“We’ll work around that,” Sylvia replied matter-of-factly.
And then she took Annie’s hand and together they ran in the direction that Rosilia had gone earlier that day.
Branches rustled and pine needles cracked. I spun around and around, eyes searching every shadow and tree branch. But I saw nothing; nothing other than the creepy forest. Branches swayed by some un-seen force. “Hello?” I called timidly.
And then a person stepped out into the clearing.
Except it wasn’t a normal person.
He was almost . . . see-through.
The person stood in front me and our eyes locked. He looked vaguely familiar.
He put his hand on my cheek and whispered, “Rose.” As his hand touched my face a weird tingly feeling started spreading up my cheek.
And that’s when it hit me.
This was a ghost. My father.
“I’ve been waiting six years for you,” Father said. “You know how I used to say that fourteen would be your year?”
“You are fourteen today. Tomorrow you will be fifteen. Today was the last day possible for me to tell you . . .” His eyes fixed on my locket.
“I love you.”
I tried to hug him as a tear trickled down my cheek. But he was a ghost — I couldn’t touch him. My arm passed right through him, but I said softly, “I love you too, Father.”
“And I love Anastasia and Sylvia,” he continued. “I love you, Rosilia, my daughter.”
And then he simply vanished. After six long years of heart-break and tears and longing, I finally got to see him one last time. I finally got to hear him say those three words that I dreamed of so often. “I love you.”
Two muffled voices arguing from behind a veil of low branches took me out of my emotional shock, at least for the time being.
I approached carefully. I parted the branches and found . . .
Two little beggar ladies, sitting side-by-side in the shade.
“O-o-o-h, hello, deary,” said one. “What brings you here?”
I stared blankly at her. “Umm . . .”
And then, “You look kind of familiar. Have I seen you before?”
They jumped and then the second one exclaimed, “Oh no, never! We’re quite new to these parts. From Boston, we are, we are . . .”
I turned around and headed back home, not giving the beggars another thought. All I was thinking of was my father.
When I arrived back home Mother was waiting for me in the courtyard.
She hugged me tightly. “I was worried, Rosilia,” she said. “I don’t know why I ever let you go . . .”
She smoothed out her skirt and asked, “Did you find anything? And are you hurt?”
“I’m fine, Mother,” I assured her.
“And did you find anything?”
I thought about what I could say. I found the ghost of my father in the forest? Yeah, that would go over well. Instead, I said, “No, not really.”
“I guess it was just something Henry made up,” she said briskly.
I dropped her gaze and mumbled, “He loves you.”
“Who?” she demanded.
Just then, Sylvia and her friend Annie skipped into the courtyard. The were clearly hiding something behind their backs.
Those old women in the forest . . . No, they were just beggars from Boston. Just beggars from Boston . . .
But for some reason or another, I didn’t quite believe that.
“Good afternoon, Mother, Rosilia!” Sylvia chirped. “Can Annie spend the night?”
“Good afternoon, girls,” Mother said. “And yes, Sylvia, Annie may spend the night.”
She turned to me. “And, Rosilia, please go to bed. You are certainly worn out from today’s adventure.”
Though it wasn’t even supper-time, I went to bed without arguing. I was that tired.
As soon as I got my room, I changed into my night gown and got into bed. Tears of joy streamed down my cheeks and onto the pillow. I had seen my father again . . .
And at that moment, I was happier than I had ever been in six years, since the day my father died.
Sylvia and Annie pattered into the room and stationed themselves on the bunk-beds. The stared at me, eyes bulging out of their heads in wonder.
Wow, that was a long part. 1048 words total xD The next part will be the FINALE, so stay tuned! Oh yeah, and here’s some bonus pics to end the post . . .