The alarm clock rang. The girl, lying in her bed rolled over and tossed a pillow on top of the obnoxious screeching sound blaring from the box.
It was a very typical teenage girl’s room. Big fluffy pillows with unicorns on the pillow case. White sheets with a very thick comforter wrapping her up in warmth. Next to the bed was a little night stand. There was an old fashioned bell alarm clock frantically ringing on top of the stand, smothered by a pillow.
Looking around the room it was very nice. An expensive stereo on the dresser, itself made out of a hard wood, carved with engravings. It was a very antique looking dresser. Very elaborate, very old and obviously very expensive. There were posters hanging on the walls of all the latest pop singers and movies a teenager would find interesting. The spacious bedroom was cluttered with all manner of expensive clothing tossed to and fro.
The girl was days away from her 18th birthday. She was having mixed feelings about it. Both of her parents were dead. She had been living in the mansion of her uncle, a famous football start she never really knew much growing up. Her dad had never been that close to his brothers. Melody moved her after her dad went crazy and murdered her mother right before shooting himself in the head. It was one of the worst days in her entire life. As much as she tried not to think about it, it was always on her mind.
“Melody, breakfast darling come and get it!” aunt Britney yelled up the stairs.
Melody had been raised in a broken home. Her parents were divorced when she was just nine-years-old. Her mother didn’t make a ton of money so they lived in a small house together. She didn’t see her dad much the five years between him walking out of her life to the night he returned just to kill her mother and ship her off to live with her uncle.
She had been raised her entire life in Montana. Moving across the country to Vermont was not her favorite thing to do but she was glad to put some distance between her and her past.
“Melody, child would you get up and get your breakfast before it gets cold?” aunt Britney said as she poked her head into the bedroom of the teenage girl.
“I’m not hungry. Why can’t I sleep?” Melody asked. She was tired from a long night of partying. Of course, she didn’t want her uptight aunt or distant uncle to know what she was doing with her nights. She just wanted to get through this summer to her first semester of college so she could begin her own life.
“Melody, darling, you have to eat. Your body needs nutrients in order to sustain itself. Then we go to the tennis courts and exercise our bodies. You need to take better care of yourself,” aunt
Britney was saying as she walked over to the night stand to shut off the alarm’s muffled ringing.
“Come on down this instant. And do a better job keeping your room clean child, honestly this is a pigsty.” aunt Britney said.
“What’s the difference, the maid cleans it up anyways?” Melody snapped.
“The difference is you need to learn to take better care of yourself sweetheart. The maid makes your bed and does your laundry, she shouldn’t have to pick up your toys and things off the floor. You can neatly tuck the dirty clothes into the hamper for her honestly. It’s not like she doesn’t work hard enough as it is,” aunt Britney said.
“Well, if you were so concerned with her welfare why don’t you pay her more? I mean as rich as you people are it makes me sick how cheap you can be. We were never cheap growing up.”
Melody said as she crawled out of bed, slipped her bunny slippers on and scuffled towards the breakfast nook.
“Please, darling, your mother lived within her means, as did your father. But you surely cannot expect me to explain the finer points of social class or economics to a child I mean honestly,” aunt Britney said.
As she walked past her maid she said to Melody, “working class people need to respect their place in life as much as us privileged folks do. If I didn’t spend money at the boutiques on clothes, those women wouldn’t have jobs to feed their illegitimate children. Lord knows we pay enough in taxes for the lazy bums to infest our welfare system as it is. You will learn this stuff when you get off to college,” aunt Britney said.
“Whatever. Hi Suzie, sorry about the mess. Aunt Britney said you’re a bum and it’s my job to teach you to clean up after me so you respect and fear rich people,” Melody said.
“No worries miss. I am just happy to have a job,” Suzie said as she scurried into the girls bedroom to clean it up.
Melody walked down the breakfast nook where she ate her morning meal. It was never enough. Aunt Britney only let her have a half slice of grapefruit and a single bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. It wasn’t even real cream cheese is was some sort of diet soy stuff Melody hated. Her aunt was also getting onto her about eating healthy and staying fit. She was always hungry after her aunt’s tiny breakfasts. It wasn’t that big of a deal, she’d just sneak off and grab a breakfast burrito when her aunt wasn’t looking.
Melody didn’t want to act like one of those ungrateful brats. She was happy her uncle took her in and that he happened to have a lot of money. She just felt really uncomfortable with the luxurious lifestyle her aunt and uncle enjoyed. Sure it was nice to have money but she detested the way they treated people with less money as inferior. It was not the way Melody was raised.
“Salutations lovely Thompson ladies, how is life treating my most fabulous Britney and her lovely niece this fine morning?” asked Manuel Benefficio, Melody’s private tutor and aunt Britney’s biggest butt kisser.
“Manuel, darling it’s so good to see you up and at it. Would you please talk some sense into this travesty my dear husband brought into our lives, she’s giving me a migraine with the way she treats the staff like equals and gives me lip every time I remind her of our place, it’s quite exhausting,” aunt Britney said.
“Well, if you treated your staff like people and paid them a living wage maybe they would have better self-esteem and would do a better job?” Melody snapped licking the soy crap off her bagel.
“Oh no, dear, do not begin a sentence with the word well. Frankly, with all the effort we put into your schooling, helping you get into a fine university this fall to hear you flippantly disregard your grammar is indeed as your aunt says, a travesty. Likewise, a child of your own who has yet to experience life properly, with such an incomplete education, you hardly have the capability of forming such opinions,” Manuel said.
He snatched the bagel out of her hands.
“Manners my child. You will be attending a very fine university in the fall. Your peers will most assuredly ravage your attempts to socialize should you behave like such an uncouth individual,” Manuel said.
“I can’t sit here for this, I have to head off to the tennis court. Melody you should really care to join me once you have completed your morning chores, Manuel darling later,” aunt Britney said as she left.
Manuel turned his attention to the Melody.
“Have you spent your morning reading up on current events? Where is the newspaper?” Manuel asked.
Melody shrugged, putting her knees up on the table as she leaned back, nibbling on a cold bagel to replace the one he snatched from her.
“Fair enough child. I will put on the television. You can see what passes for journalism through the lens of your local news cast. Be mindful of the world around you child,” Manuel said
Under her breath Melody mumbled to herself, “I’m not a child.”
In national news we turn to a story on the west coast. Authorities are seeking help from the community in locating a woman who recently escaped from a local mental health facility. The woman, named Ashley Taylor, escaped from Cedar Hills Mental Health Center Tuesday evening.
Local authorities say Taylor is a very dangerous woman.
“She is a convicted killer. The woman brutally stabbed her husband to death with her daughter tied up to a chair forcing her to watch. The suspect is considered a danger to herself and anyone she comes in contact with,” a doctor said to the newscaster.
“I know that woman! That’s the crazy girl my dad went to see in the mental hospital the night he killed my mother before he shot himself dead,” Melody exclaimed.
“Child, that is not a news story for you to concern yourself with. Let’s see what the national broadcasters are talking about,” Manuel said.
“No! Don’t change the channel. Please. I want to see this. That woman, she is like the very reason my dad went nuts. I don’t even know anything about her but I swear to you there is something about her that made my dad go crazy,” Melody said.
Against his better judgment Manuel let the newscast play. In the back of her mind Melody knew that woman was the key to her mother’s death. She made a decision she was going to run away. If she could get to the town where her parents grew up she had a feeling she might be able to find that woman and ask her point blank what she did to her dad.
Melody knew it wasn’t going to be easy ditching Manuel. But she had a plan.
“Manuel, listen since my 18th birthday is coming up I was thinking about having one of those life adventures you always tell me about. I’d like to take a bus to Mexico and spend a weekend in a dive motel. Can you help me make that happen? Like cover for me while I am gone tell my aunt and uncle I am doing some community service project with friends and will be gone for the weekend? I need to get away for a few days before I go off to college,” she pleaded with her tutor.
Despite his harsh demeanor in front of her aunt, Manuel had always taken her side on these things.
“Oh child, I’ve seen that look in the eyes of many a woman. I know better than to try to talk you out of this. I will come up with a cover story. You do what you need to do. Just promise me you will take care of yourself. And child, no need to lie to me, I know you are going back home. I wouldn’t expect anything less from you.” Manuel said as he hugged the girl.
“Go, I will take care of things here. I will buy you a plane ticket and drive you to the airport myself,”