Phiony and the Mysterious Door

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Phiony is curious and she eavesdrops on her Dad's conversation hoping that he will get a big bonus check so she can go to the beach... but things don't always go according to the plan.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - The Promotion

Submitted: July 11, 2017

Reads: 157

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Submitted: July 11, 2017

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Phiony heard the phone ringing.

She dashed off her bed and ran to the door, opening it slightly-- just enough so that her ears could pick up the sound waves and transmit them to her brain. Phiony’s curiosity led to this bad habit every time she heard a ring tone. Phiony told her friends that if you ever wanted to know something you weren't supposed to, just listen to the conversations that your parents had on the phone--this was the time that they were most vulnerable and they tended to take the skeletons out of the closet when the door should have been securely shut and locked with the key being thrown away in the biggest dump yard one could find.

“Hello,” came the common greeting in the English language from a masculine voice. It was Phiony’s dad, Phil. He was a middle age man with an outdated mustache. He was also really thin--Phiony thought he was too thin for a man of his age, but Phil disagreed. He said it was because he ate healthily and his constant motivation in life made him that way. Phiony always laughed…not knowing whether he was joking or telling the truth.

Phiony inched her ears closer to hear better.

“May I ask who is calling,” Phil said. After a short pause, which Phiony presumed was the caller telling him his name, Phil spoke again. “Mr. Atelier, please forgive me. I didn’t recognize your voice. It’s been a long time.” She could hear her dad’s footsteps as he began to pace in the downstairs living room.

Phiony’s eyes widened at the name of the caller. Did he say Mr. Atelier? Mr.Atelier was the CEO of Atelier Foods and Drinks, the company her dad worked at for the last twenty-five years after he graduated from high school. If Mr. Atelier was calling, then it meant something big was about to happen because every time he contacted him, it was always for a big promotion or job bonus, and if it was the latter, Phiony’s dad would get tons of money for the family to go to Myrtle Beach along the East Coast and swim in the Atlantic Ocean like Phiony had wanted to do for many years. It was always on top of her bucket list. She had yet to see the blue, sparkling ocean let alone feel its warm waters wrapping around her.

“My wife and daughter are doing fine,” Phil said. “Philida is still working as a nurse at the local hospital, and Phiony is starting high school after summer break ends. Both are extremely well if I may say so myself.”

Phiony smiled when she heard her dad say that. He wasn’t lying. Phiony made the honor roll for the first time since she had been attending middle school and it took all her brainpower to ace every test that stood in her way.

Phil’s steps began to falter. Phiony forced the door open and made her way to the top of the stairs. She carefully descended each stair-- making sure not to cause the eighth step to creak loudly. She didn’t want to announce her eavesdropping to the whole world. When she was halfway down the stairs, she could make out her dad’s silhouette against the wall thanks to the well-placed lamp and lighting in the living room.

“The company has been doing great,” Phil responded to Atelier. “The sales have increased ten-fold since the same time last year and I predict that by the end of the the year we will have sold over fifty million products with a total revenue of one-hundred million dollars.” He paused and stopped pacing. “Even better,” he said excitedly, “our marketing has been doing an outstanding job with ads and television commercials.”

Phiony hung on to every word like words to paper. She didn't understand most of it because sales and marketing seemed uninteresting and too much work to invest one’s time in but her father did it so she couldn’t complain about it in front of him. She made her way down the last few flight of stairs--her mom came out of the dining room to her right.

“There you are,” Philida said happily, looking up at Phiony. “Not only do you have sharp ears, but you also have a sharp nose to know that dinner is done. We are having steak and baked macaroni.” She turned around and disappeared back into the kitchen leaving Phiony gasping for air as the sudden appearance of her mom took all the breath from her lungs and sent her heart beating out of her chest. Was her mom being serious or had she been caught? She took several deep breaths to gain her composure back.

Philida and Phiony both share the same exact features like most daughters and mothers. They both have charcoal black hair and blue eyes. Philida’s skin was tan due to age but Phiony’s skin was a smooth, shiny white because she was fifteen-- still young. They both have the same short nose. The only two features that Phiony shares with her dad is his wide eyes, instead of the thin eyes that her mom possesses, and that she is skinny…but not too skinny.

Phiony descended the last step with a jump and peeked into the living room. Her dad was facing the wall still talking to Mr. Atelier about the company. She turned her gaze from him and headed to the dining room where the smell of fresh food was filling the air. The steaming steak and bright yellow baked macaroni were on a big plate in the middle of the table followed by three smaller plates surrounding it. Phiony pulled her chair back and sat.

“Mr. Atelier has called your dad,” Philida said while taking her seat, “as I’m sure you already knew considering you were eavesdropping.” She poked a steak with a knife and put it on her plate and then smiled at Phiony. “I know exactly what you were doing on those stairs. It seems you still haven’t outgrown that bad habit of yours nor do I ever think you will. Your curiosity is too strong for you to overcome…it’s going to land you into trouble one day--mark my words.” She laughed.

Phiony ignored the comment. She hated getting caught. “Any idea why Mr. Atelier is calling.” She grabbed a steak and began to cut a small slice.

“Don’t know,” Philida said, her mouth full of macaroni. “I’m supposing he’s getting another big bonus check.”

“Can we finally go to the beach if he does?” Phiony replied getting excited. She put the small piece of steak in her mouth and begin to chew happily.

“I’ll talk to your dad and see if he will agree, but you know how he feels about places with water.” She sighed. “A man at that age who still can’t swim is just ridiculous. I hope he never slips into a lake--it will be the end of him.”

Phiony forked some macaroni and put it on her plate. She knew about her dad’s inability to swim, which was the main reason why they didn’t go to the beach last year when he received a large bonus from Mr. Atelier. Instead, they went to New Orleans to enjoy the French architecture, delicious beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde, and the street cars, which was the same thing as a train in the middle of the road. Shouldn’t it be called a train car? Phiony thought New Orleans had been boring but her parents had the time of their lives.

Just as Phiony was about to fill her mouth with some macaroni, she heard her dad’s footsteps coming from the living room. He entered the dining room, his face was lit up like a boy who just got a video game system for Christmas. Phiony knew that whatever conversation he had with Mr. Atelier had a great outcome because his expression was usually bland.

“Good news, I expect,” Philida said as Phil took a seat and put a steak on his plate.

“I wouldn’t call it good news,” Phil replied. Phiony twisted her face in confusion. If it wasn’t good news then why was he smiling? It didn’t take long for her answer. “I would call it the news of a lifetime.” He picked up his steak, put it to his mouth, and dropped it. His hands were shaking from pure happiness. “I’ve been promoted to Co-President of Atelier Foods and Drinks.” He squealed like a mouse when he said that. He pumped up his fist and punched the air.

Phiony dropped her steak just like her Phil.

“Dad,”Phiony started, “that’s awesome. Doesn’t that mean that you’re one position away from being CEO?” Phiony had always remembered her dad saying that in order for him to accomplish his dreams of being CEO of a company he would need to climb the ladder. Her dad talked about the ladder so much that she knew all the work positions of the company. 

“Smart girl,” Phil said, picking up his steak again. “With this position, I just have to wait for Mr. Atelier to retire or croak, whichever comes first, and the CEO chair will have my name engraved in it.” He laughed.

Phiony was imagining her father sitting in an expensive leather chair with a mahogany desk. His hands were behind his head and his legs were up on the desk as he marveled how he ruled over everyone while making mega bucks.

“Honey,” Philida said in horror as Phil talked about Mr. Atelier croaking. “I know you are excited but let's not go on about waiting for someone to die before we can take their position.”

“Sorry, dear,” Phil apologized, putting another piece of steak in his mouth.

Phiony looked at her dad. “Does this mean that you will get paid enough money so we can finally go to the beach.”

Phil choked on the steak at the thought of going to the beach. He grabbed a glass of water and took a big gulp. “About that.”

Phiony swallowed hard at those two words. When you put about that together, it was usually preceded by information that was not good. Of course, she figured her dad would say that they wouldn’t be going to the beach but to some other boring city like New Orleans.

“I was going to tell you later but I think now is the best time.” Phil took another gulp of water to clear his throat and down the steak that had entered the wrong pipe. “In order for me to take the position, I had to agree to move to Corvallis, Oregon where the headquarters are located.”

Philida shot him a look.

“We’re moving,” she exasperated. “You didn’t make the decision without consulting your wife first, did you?”

Phil’s expression changed to sorrow and he looked at his steak. Sweat started to appear on his forehead.

“About that,” Phil said again. “I already agreed. The moving trucks will be here in three days.”

“You what,” Philida shouted, jumping from her chair. Phiony’s mind turned blank after hearing they would be moving. She stared at the uneaten food on her plate.

Phil put his hands up. “Listen, I figured since you are a nurse you would easily be able to procure a position at a hospital in Corvallis.” He pointed a finger at Phiony. “As for Phiony, she’s still young so she has nothing to worry about.”

Phiony jumped up at those words just like her mom.

“What are you talking about, Dad?” she said furiously. “I do have to worry about things. I have two childhood friends that I will never be able to see again because we will be over 2,000 miles away in some forest-infested state. I’m going to have to make new friends all over again and that’s if I can even make friends-- and did you forget that I’m attending my first year of high school, too.” She slammed her fist on the table, rattling the plates and glass cups. “How could you forget about all of that? I can’t believe that you would make such a rash move just for your stupid lousy dream without thinking of me and my mom’s feelings.”

Phil winced as every word pierced his body like a sharp dagger. “I was thinking about your feelings. It’s just--my dream is very important to me and you know that. Every since I was a tad little boy it’s always been my fantasy to make it to the top of a large corporate chain.”

Phiony rolled her eyes. “All you ever talk about is your dreams but is it really worth it if it means destroying other people in the process, especially family.” Her face was turning red from anger and she scooped up some bits of macaroni and threw them at her dad’s face--little yellow streaks ran down his cheeks as the food slid down and fell to the floor with a soft splat.

“What did you do that for?” Philida said in disbelief at the sudden turn of events.

Phiony didn’t reply. She exited the dining room, went up the stairs two steps at a time, and ran into her bedroom. She slammed the door with a tremendous force that sent a loud bang ringing through the house along with a nail falling from a hinge joint.

A couple of hours passed and Phiony was still on her bed, staring at the ceiling in utter shock at the quick turn of events. One minute she was listening to her dad’s conversation and imagining going to the beach, the next minute she was being told that he accepted the job promotion and they would be moving to Oregon. The speed at which the events unfolded was too fast. She didn’t know if she should be happy that her dad was going to make loads of money or sad that she would never see her childhood friends again.

Phiony looked at her cell phone on her desk and the screen lit up--signaling that a message had been received. Exhausted, she used all her strength to get off the bed and made her way to the desk. She looked at the screen and it said “new message from Ashley”. She flicked the screen and read the IM.

Victoria and I were wondering if you wanted to meet at Kane’s Ice Cream Parlor tomorrow for some, you know, ice cream at 12:30. We figured since the temperature is supposed to reach 90 degrees that it will help cool us down from the intense heat wave the past couple of days. Also, my mom gave me some hefty allowance for helping her with cleaning the house and my grandparents farm in Moore, and Victoria received some inheritance when her uncle passed away last month. We are going to the mall to shop for some new clothes for the upcoming school year. Anyway, wanna meet up?

Phiony read the message but didn’t reply. She had no way of telling her friends that this may be the last time they hung out together. She reread the part where it said they would be going shopping for the new school year and Phiony shook her head solemnly. There was no way she would be able to do that part. She tossed the phone back on the desk and woke up her computer from sleep mode. A quick glance at the time told her it was way past midnight but she wasn’t tired--her brain was running a million thoughts. There was no way she would be able to sleep.

Corvallis, Oregon.

That was the name of the city where he said the new job was located. Since this would be her new home, she needed to gather all the intel she could before the big move. Using the search bar, she inputted the city name and tapped enter. The page loaded. She scrolled down and found that the website thebigbookofknowledge.org had a hit. Phiony loved this website because it displayed tons of useful information on over a million different things ranging from animals, countries, types of flowers, laws, and just about anything else that one could imagine. It was also useful for curing boredom and those pesky projects that teachers love slapping her with at the most unexpected times.

Phiony viewed the Table of Contents--listed were history, geography, media, and education. She imagined that each one would be important to read but when her eyes came across education, her curiosity began to peak. There was more than one time when Phiony had searched her own city on the website and viewed the education tab, which listed all the school and colleges in the vicinity. She was able to read about her own elementary and middle school--including its history, sports, famous people, and demographics. Maybe she could find the name of the high school she would be attending? She clicked the word, transporting her to all the current schools further down the web page.

Travany High School.

That was the name of the only high school listed. In a small city like Corvallis, it was common for there to exist only one high school to serve the municipal. Phiony knew that a city named Corvallis would have a low population compared to a well-known city like Miami. She never even heard the word until tonight. The name was highlighted blue that meant it had its own separate page.

She clicked it.

There was only one sentence.

Travany High School is the one place every student wants to go to for education- Zekay Travany (Founder and Principal).

  Phiony narrowed her eyes and reread the single sentence. Usually, pages on thebigbookofknowledge.org had so much information to digest that it would take a couple of minutes to read it all--this only took five seconds. Her curiosity flourished again and she knew what she had to do. She was a pro when it came to finding things. She nodded her head and flexed her fingers. When on the prowl to find more information, you go to Zoogle.com-- and that’s exactly what she did.

There was only one search result and it was from the website she just came from. She clicked the pictures tab. Nothing. Videos. Nothing. Was there really no information about this school? Phiony recalled that even though her elementary school didn’t have a page on thebigbookofknowledge.org, it still had a search result for the school board. Was is common not to have information on a certain school?

Phiony shut down the computer, disappointed that she was unable to get any new data. She clambered into her bed, going under the covers like a turtle sticking its head into its shell. That one sentence she read was hitting the replay button in her brain over and over. What did the principal mean? Why did they even have a page for Travany High School if there was no real information to read? What was so great about the school that every student wanted to go there? The only real reason Phiony wanted to go to school was for friends and a high school diploma.

That night, Phiony stayed up for another two hours before she was able to calm her mind and get some rest.

***

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Phiony opened her eyes and saw the bright sun rays piercing her bedroom. She didn’t remember falling asleep and she wanted to go back to dream world. She turned over and closed her eyes but no sooner had she done that…

Knock. Knock. Knock.

“You awake in there,” Phil said, his voice barely audible because he was speaking too low-- probably scared that Phiony would open the door and throw macaroni at his face again like last night.

Phiony groaned. “What do you want?” She didn’t forget about yesterday’s events--she was still angry at her dad.

“Can I come in and talk to you right quick,” he replied, a little louder this time-- relieved that his daughter wasn’t too mad…yet.

Phiony climbed off her bed and walked lazily to the door, opening it to allow her father in. She sat on the edge of her bed while her dad made his way to the desk chair.

Just as soon as he sat down, he looked at Phiony with a worried face. “Look, I know you are angry with me and you have all the right in the world to be. As a father, it’s my duty to look after my family and provide them with the greatest support that I can while also making myself happy in the process.” Phiony shook her head not wanting to believe a word of it. “Becoming CEO is a big deal to me--to you, it may be small, but you will understand when you are older that dreams are the one thing you live for…sometimes sacrifices have to be made.”

“And let me guess,” Phiony retorted, “the sacrifice that had to be made was me losing my friends.”

“Exactly--no, that was not the sacrifice…not even close. The sacrifice is that we all have to move from our hometown--the place where we all grew up and shared memories together. My mom and dad--your grandparents-- are all being left behind. Who knows how often we will see them? You going to a new school and losing friends may seem like a big deal to you, but to me, seeing my family only once or twice a year is heart-wrenching.”

Phiony wanted to counter-attack his statement but she couldn’t. He was right--she was being selfish over something trivial when she wouldn’t be able to see her grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles for what may be several years. She let out a long sigh.

“Sorry about yesterday, dad,” she apologized, knowing this was the right thing to do. “There was so much that was happening in such a small amount of time that I couldn’t think straight. My mind went blank and I didn’t know what to do. I should have never blamed it on you. You were just looking out for all of us.”

Phil smiled. He went to Phiony and put his hand around her shoulders. “I know things are moving quick. We have to pack all of our things in the next three days.” Phiony tensed up. “I know you have your own priorities so you leave the packing to me. Go meet with your friends and hang out--let those last memories be special.” He put his hands in his pocket, withdrew his wallet, and opened it up. “Hold out your hand.”

Phiony didn’t know what her father was doing but when he took out his wallet, she knew it had to be good. When she held out her hands, he put a $100 dollar bill in her palms. She stared at it in disbelief.

“For me.”

“All yours to spend on whatever you want. It’s a gift from me to you for being such an amazing daughter.” He lifted himself off the bed and headed to the door. “Get dressed and go hang out with your friends-- but promise me one thing.”

Phiony dragged her eyes away from the dollar bill.

“What’s that?”

“Promise me that you will be the best person you can become no matter the hardships that may lay in your path and you will create dreams that one day will become a reality.”

Phiony nodded.

“I promise.”

Phil smirked and closed the door shut. As soon as his footsteps became inaudible, she jumped out of bed and did a victory dance. Money was happiness. Some would call it the root of all evil. The cellphone laid on the desk and she suddenly remembered that she didn’t reply to Ashley’s message last night about going out. She turned on the phone--the digital clock displayed 11:30, and replied to the message with a short sentence.

“I’ll be there.”


© Copyright 2017 R. C. Ferrell. All rights reserved.

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