The first time I met you, I knew from that you were the one that would be my one best friend forever. I thought that we would always be close like sister and grow up together. I now know the truth and came to terms that we can never be friends. Don’t think just because I can’t be your friend, doesn’t mean that I hate you; it’s just for some reason we can’t be close to each other.
It’s so unfair that I must stop being the friend that you’ve come to love. I enjoy the time that I spent with you and your family. I like you so much, my dearest Butterfly; it’s just that I can’t be your friend. Why would a poor, wretched girl like me deserve to be your friend? I don’t hate you, Butterfly. Please forgive me for cutting our friendship so short.
You have a wonderful free-spirit, and a strong-will that is unbreakable. I hope no one in this world takes away your freedom to live your life. I’m sorry for being weak, Sweetie. I wish I was like you, I wish I could have your life. When you read this letter, don’t come to visit me; I won’t be there. I’ve given you, T.R. and Jordan a few things to remember me by.
Sweet, Butterfly, I shall always remember you for your smile and your heart. I’ll never hold you in my arms again or hold your sweet angelic face. I will never again read the books in my room or greet Mr. Quidame and drink hot chocolate with him on a winter’s day. What I’ll miss is my brother’s sense of humor and my parents’ sweet kisses and hugs.
See you at the crossroads, my Butterfly. Parting is such sweet sorrow. Goodnight.
Anna’s letter sent a chill through my body. The letter was creepy to the core. It wasn’t like Anna to write a letter that was frightening. Daddy stepped inside my room and came over to my bed.
“Butterfly, it’s late,” Daddy said, “it’s time for bed.”
“Daddy, I—“ I stammered.
Daddy took the letter from my hands. “Butterfly, please go to bed. You can tell me what’s on your mind in the morning.”
I obeyed Daddy as he went out the door with my letter. I removed my shoes, socks and clothes. I snuggled under the cover, and went to sleep. In the dawn, I was haunted by Anna’s letter.
Cousin Ray called me from upstairs. By my cousin’s tone, it was an important matter he wanted to ask me about. I finished taking a shower and was getting dressed into a pair of new clothes. I rushed downstairs to see what my cousin wanted. I got to the den and I saw Vladimir standing next to Cousin Ray and Daddy. Daddy was holding Anna’s letter in his hand. Vladimir was shaking, trying not to cry. Cousin Ray was comforting him. Cousin Ray turned to me and started to speak.
“Butterfly,” he began, “something happened to Anna. She’s gone missing.
“Missing? What do you mean?” I responded, alarmed.
Vladimir spoke up for my cousin, “my sister’s missing. I woke up this morning to go to work. I went to check up on my sister. I opened the door calling her name, thinking she was still in bed. I went inside and her bed was made up and there were boxes full of her things and a note with instructions on which boxes to give away to whom. You know Anna, so I came over to ask if you can help me find her. I mean, Anna’s a good kid. She would never run away. If I had something to do to make her run away… oh God!”
Vladimir broke down and sobbed. He got a hold of himself and continued. “Anna’s my only sister. Our parents are overseas in a war and I had been working and had been too busy to spend time with her. She has no one to turn to. I’ve been fighting with her a lot and she took it hard.”
“Don’t worry, Vladimir. I’m sure your sister will come back home.” Cousin Ray told him. “We’ll find her.”
Miss Carla gave Vladimir a glass of water as Daddy handed Cousin Ray Anna’s letter. Cousin Ray read the letter twice and began making plans to find Anna. T.R. and Jordan had a worried look posted on their faces. I sat between them on the couch.
“Don’t worry, Anna will be alright,” I told them. “She just went out somewhere to chill. She’ll be back safe and sound.” I hugged T.R. and Jordan, praying that Anna will return home.
That afternoon Cousin Ray began the search to look for Anna. Cousin Ray and Vladimir rode their bikes and search around the neighborhood. An hour went by. Cousin Ray and Vladimir returned back to the house, empty-handed.
“We looked everywhere for her,” Vladimir said, “we asked everybody if they seen her, but no one hasn’t seen her all morning.”
Cousin Ray added, “I know Anna so much. It isn’t like her to run away like this. I don’t know what would possess her to leave.”
As Anna’s disappearance started to unravel, Vladimir gave a revelation on why Anna would run away. Two years ago Anna’s parents moved to Orangeburg to get away from the city. Anna didn’t want to go with them, saying that the city had more choices to offer, and that she didn’t want to leave school. For some reason, they made Anna go with them when she had relatives that she could stay with. Ever since they moved here, Anna was unhappy and depressed. Anna often wrote poems about wanting to go into a deep sleep and never wanting to wake up.
It was in the same words of the letter that Anna had written. A chilling image flashed into my mind on where Anna was.
“We have to get to the mansion,” I cried, “I know Anna went there! We have to go!”
“Let’s go!” Cousin Ray said, rushing out the door. Vladimir and I rushed out the door behind Cousin Ray. We hopped into Cousin Ray’s car and drove like mad to the mansion. Although I was not the most religious teenager in America, I was praying to God that we would find Anna inside. Anna would be there on the front porch swing, eating a peach and smiling. Or she would be swinging on the swing on the magnolia branch.
We got to the mansion and jumped out of the car. Cousin Ray opened the front gate and went through the yard. Vladimir called, “Anna! Anna Knight!” As we walked around to the back yard, I saw the magnolia tree where the swing was. Cousin Ray went to the tree and stood dead at what he saw. Vladimir and I saw that the rope on the swing had been cut off.
“My sister might be inside,” Vladimir pointed out.
We called out Anna’s name loud as we could.
Anna! Anna! Anna Knight!
Cousin Ray broke through the back door and led us inside. We searched inside the mansion looking for Anna. I went over to the stairwell and started going slowly up the steps. “Anna?” I called softly. “Are you up there?” I went upward on the steps until I came to the top. I trotted down the hallway, until I came to the door in front of me. “Anna?” I answered once more. I placed my hand on the doorknob and gave it a half-turn. I pushed the door opened and stepped inside.
In the room there was a smell of fresh death lingering in the air. I heard the buzzing of flies feasting on a dish of the rotting feast. I looked upward and saw the body of a young girl hanging on the beam of the ceiling. The girl was in her pajamas and had her red hair cut short. Her body was facing the window that had sunlight shinning from the outside. I knew at the moment who the girl was. My heart fell all the way to the floor.
“Nooo! No! Oh, God! Anna!” I was screaming and crying, thinking it was just a bad dream. Cousin Ray and Vladimir burst into the room where I was and were horrified at the same thing that I saw. Vladimir sobbed and cried out in vain. Cousin Ray spotted a knife on the floor that Anna used to cut the rope on the swing. Cousin Ray picked up the knife and set the chair upward. My cousin tried hard not to cry, although the tears were rolling down on his face.
Cousin Ray stood up on the chair and began cutting the rope.
To be continued/Stay Tuned!