Three ghosts for Anastasia
The little girl entered the bedroom, following her parents. Her little face was red and she tried to hold her tears when she saw her grandma lying in the bed, sleeping peacefully, while the color had already left her face.
“Grandma…” she whispered with broken voice and her mother brought a chair making her sit near her grandmother’s side, asking her to remain quiet and wait here, patting her head.
“Ok mummy, I will wait here.” And she blew her nose
“That’s my girl, we will be right back.” She said kissing her on the cheek, and she left the room.
It was quiet, really quiet as if the sound had disappeared and the girl looked at her grandmother. She was always smiling every time she and her parents were visiting her as also she used to tell the best stories and making the best cookies. In that thought new tears started to flow and the girl whipped them away.
Suddenly the temperature fell drastically and the girl started to feel the chill down to her spine. Looking around her she realized that everything had become darker until she turned her eyes across the other side of the bed; a man dressed in black, tall with black hair and eyes like onyx, was standing above her grandmother’s body, expressionless. He moved the long, silver scythe he had with him, cutting the old woman’s body in two.
“No!” the girl screamed but she realized that, on the spot he had cut, a faint glow, and then, a shining silver light appeared creating a small ball which was now floating above the dead woman’s body.
The man took the ball on his hands, touching it gently, and his clothes changed color, becoming white from black.
“No! Don’t take her with you!” the girl shouted and jumping from the chair, she grabbed the man’s clothes.
The man looked at the child astonished, without expecting anyone to see him. His face from surprised became calmer and he smiled to the child, touching her hair with his left hand.
“You are an interesting one, do you know that?”
Chapter 1: Anastasia with the golden eyes
Thessaloniki, 10 years later
Crap, why do I have to wake up like this every single morning?
“Anastasia! Wake up, you will be late!”
I try to stand up and I fall back to my bed, grabbing my pillow, ready to let myself sleep a little more. But where has my luck disappeared? My mum entered the room like a typhoon, making me wake up by opening the curtains of my bedroom.
“School is going to start at 8.15pm; do you really want to be late?”
“Ok, I am up already!” and I make my way to the bathroom.
Dressing quickly with jeans and a blue T-shirt, wearing my jumper above, I grab my bag ready to leave.
“Oh Ana! Let me see you!” my mum shouts from the kitchen and comes to my side, as I am trying to wear my sports shoes.
Pulling my blond, curly hair back she looks at my brown eyes, kissing me on the forehead.
“Have a good day and watch yourself.”
“Ok mum. Will you be here for lunch?”
“Unfortunately, I can’t. You dad will come in one hour and pick me up with the car. We will have to go to the office after all.”
“Ok, then see you later!” and taking a wide step I run out from the door.
My home is in Ano Poli; one of the most beautiful and classic areas in Thessaloniki. Located at the north of the city, the area has the most amazing view; the old walls and the mountain Olympus, far away across the sea. Well, my father fell in love with this city as also with my mother who lived here. He had come here from New York for an art exhibition and they met each other under the White Tower (talking about romance). And yes, as a half Greek and American I learned two languages but I am currently attending high school in here.
“Ana! Ana!” Helen’s voice comes from behind
“Good morning Helen!”
“Please don’t walk so fast, I can’t catch up with you!”
“It can’t be helped; we are going to be late!”
But this is not all; the ghost of her dead cat is flying around her shoulders, moving her ears, trying to make her owner look at her. And yes, that’s the one thing I can’t forget; I can see the ghosts of those who were left behind unable to move on as they have left unfinished businesses in the world of the living.
The cat crawled when she saw me and disappeared behind Helen’s shoulder.
“Where are you looking at?”
“I am sorry Helen, I haven’t eaten breakfast yet”
“Never mind that! Let’s go quickly!”
We run through the road until we reached the school. Located around a great old park this location is almost magical; and also it has less spirits wandering around here. Gladly the first three hours passed really quickly but now it was time for Gymnastics. Taking the basket ball I headed to the back small court. I was ready to shoot when I realized that I wasn’t alone; Helen’s cat had followed me and she was now looking at me at the edge of the stairs which were leading inside the main building.
“Hello, little one.” And the cat came closer, looking at me with her grey eyes.
I touched her invisible, to the others, head and I felt her growling softly under my palm.
“You know that she can’t see you. Isn’t it time to move on, little one?”
The cat licked my fingers and she disappeared into the ray of light which appeared above her. I knew that she had left; it is always like that, the feeling of someone who is leaving letting behind a bitter taste of sadness. I stood up and continued to throw the ball trying to shoot but I missed all the time.
“Hey, this is disappointing!”
“I am not in the mood today, John.”
My classmate and the president of our class, was standing behind me, enjoying my failure as a basketball player. And why was that? With his looks, brown hair and eyes, he had dazzled the half female population of the school. Only one had left. And yes, it was me, the “American girl”, the nickname I had obtained since junior high.
“Let me show you.”
“Be my guest, John.” And I threw the ball to him.
He moved quickly and jumped, throwing the ball and scoring in one shot. He took the ball in his hands and passed on me.
“Are you in for one game?” he asked with eyes full of mischief.
“If you keep your hands away, I would gladly play with you” I answered back, grinning with tease.
“Johny!” a cheerful voice was heard.
“Hey, Mary. What’s up?!”
“Please come and play with us! It’s time for volleyball!’
Mary with her short brown hair and charming green eyes had already grabbed John from his arm, pulling him away from the basketball court and me. Of course she threw me the glare don’t-you-dare-touching-him-bitch before she turns away but I had already waved my hand to them wishing good luck at the game.
The atmosphere changed quickly, as the wind blew making the trees move. Someone was angry and I had no choice but to go back inside the building. Helen and Christin, my other classmate, were sitting on the desks inside the classroom reading magazines when I entered. Helen was looking uneasy, as if something was missing.
Well, your cat moved on! I wanted to say this at least but it was forbidden.
“Ana! Come sit with us! We still have time until the bell rings”
“Sure. Hi Christin. Are you into the fashion again?”
“I would be glad if I could draw like this one day Anastasia!”
And truly she would become a great fashion designer; her drawings, consisted most of clothes and dresses were the best. She had also drawn clothes for me and Helen for the masquerade dance we were going to hold on February (but it still is September).
Listening to the bell, after half hour of chatting about clothes, I run out heading to the toilet, walking through the corridor until I entered the girl’s toilet. Mary and her gang were already inside, wearing their make up after the Gymnastics.
“Well, look who is here!”
“Hello Mary. Did you have fun at the volleyball?”
“Much better than you at the basketball, at least we weren’t playing alone. But there is something that bothers me; I saw you talking to yourself and touching the air as if you were patting something. What happened, Anastasia? Did you finally lose it?” and she begun laughing loudly with the rest of her gang.
Well, this wasn’t a first; since primary school I had to encounter this attitude, because of that, but she was a pain in the ass!
“Well Mary, do you really want to find out what I was doing?” I said feeling the anger consuming me until I saw the girls running outside the toilet afraid when they saw my eyes.
I turned and looked at myself in the mirror; my eyes instead of brown were now golden and really shiny although it was day.
“I look like a demon…” my image replied back to me and closed my eyes counting down from ten, calming myself.
When I got out Helen approached worried, saying that Mary told to the whole class that I was a monster.
“She said that you have golden eyes!”
“Do you see any golden eyes Helen? Come on, we both know that she is extravagating.”
“Well if you have golden eye contacts, buy me another one pair too! Then we can scare her again!” she said and laughed making me laugh too.
Helen truly was my best friend; she knew that sometimes I was getting spaced out (due to my really bad habit of staring the ghosts) but she knew that I was capable and a person to depend too. The proof? I helped her with her relationships and sadly they all ended broken…Well I can’t be proud of that but since junior high we passed a great time together.
Listening to the bell ringing after four hours of continuing lessons, I felt truly relieved. Finally school was over and now my favorite time had come.
“Library? Why would a fresh 18 years old girl like you go to the library?”
“Because my parents will be home rather late and there is also something I need to look for.”
“Again for your father’s work? Geez there’s no need to trouble you like that.”
“That’s fine I will be back home soon either way”
“Ok then. See you tomorrow!”
Rushing, through the road I pushed the door of the local library of Ano Poli. Heading to the librarian I asked her if there was anything new about the archaeology books I had asked three days ago.
“Luckily for you they have arrived. You will find them in the corridor three on the left side”
“Thank you so much.”
Finding an empty desk to sit I headed to the book shelves, touching the edges of the books.
A cold chill passed through my spine and there was not long before I realize that the ghost of a young boy was floating near me reading a fairytale of an old time. His clothes were old and dusty and his eyes were concentrated on his story.
“That’s a good story you are reading there” I whispered, trying not to draw the attention of the librarian.
The boy lifted his head and looked at me surprised.
“You can see me?”
“I can see you…do you like reading books that much?”
“I do but I can’t read a story that’s in here.”
So that’s why he can’t move on.
“What story is it? I can read it for you if you want.”
“You will? Thank you!” and he tried to hug me but he passed through my body, making me freeze from the chill his ghost body had.
“The story is called “Oliver Twist!”
“Charles Dickens then.” And I began looking at the shelves for a possible free copy.
When I found it, we sat together on the desk and I began murmuring the story on the boy, trying not making the librarian notice me. I don’t know how much time I read but when I raised my eyes, the sun had already set and the little boy looked at me happily and stroked the tufts of my curly hair.
“Thank you for keeping me company.”
“You’re welcome. What’s your name?”
“Well then Michael, have a safe trip and I really hope to see you again.”
“In another life maybe” and just like that he kissed me on the cheek and with a jump he disappeared in the light.
In the end I ended up borrowing three books about the art in the ancient Greece and Japan and I headed back home. Luckily, I saw my parent’s car already parked outside and I ran inside.
“Mum, Dad, I am home!”
“Ana! Where have you been? The sun has already set!” my mother always worried looked at me and then at the books.
“Sorry…” and I grinned, hugging her.
“Come on, go and change your clothes. It’s time for lunch. Oh and your father is at his study.”
Leaving my things on the bed and the books on the desk and heading out I rushed into my dad’s study; wooden with the scent of old books and paint I found him sitting on the desk, reading something truly focused. When he realized that I was standing beside him he almost jumped from surprise.
“Ana! Please don’t scare me like that, my child!”
I laughed at my father’s scared expression; he was always interesting working like that on old and forgotten objects, restoring them and keeping them safe.
“Sorry, but I didn’t see you all day. Did you have a hard time in work?”
“Just the usual; demanding costumers and those who even want an ancient text translated in Modern Greek or English. Truly they don’t understand the magic of the mysterious”
“Well, not everyone have your determination. Anyway, mum said that dinner is almost ready. Shall we go?”
He stood up and taking off his glasses, we headed to the kitchen, switching off the lights.
Sitting in the table, the headache came, making me feel like fainting. My eyes were blurring and the feeling of changing made me scared.
“No, not in front of my parents!” the thought consumed me and before my mum notices my pain, I got quickly up, saying that I wasn’t hungry and headed to my room, ignoring my mother’s voices. When I finally got into my room, I locked the door,changed into my pajamas and lied on my bed.
“Stop…please, don’t change like that!”
Closing my eyes I tried to count my breathing, relaxing myself. My body felt light for a moment and the atmosphere in the room became colder. I got up and looked at the shadow at the right side of my wardrobe. The window was closed and the light wasn’t turned on. The steps which were heard from the shadow became stronger and the man appeared from the shadow, having his shiny, silver scythe on his back, above his black long cape.