It was a fifteen-minute walk to the old abandoned house. Once there, I studied it. An old house, gray in color. Most of the paint had shed off it, exposing nothing but brick. The windows were cracked while some were completely broken. The place, even though old and worn out, somehow looked alive. With a little effort, anyone could live here again. It wasn’t falling apart, it just needed some care.
“I found you!”
My heart bolted out of my chest when I heard someone from inside of the house yelling. I then heard laughter as someone yelled out, “I found you!” once again.
I couldn’t believe it. There were people inside playing hide and seek! Well, I was guessing they were playing that. A smile grew on my face. I continued to listen to them play their game. I waited for over ten minutes, just listening.
Just then, two laughing boys and one girl came into view but stopped when they saw me. A small little covered in dirt ran back into the house.
“Violet! Someone’s here,” he yelled.
While the rest of them looked young, another girl around my age came out of the house. She looked at me like she had seen a ghost. I waved my hand. “It’s okay. I’m cool. Just came to check out the place because I was bored.”
“What’s your name?” The so-called Violet asked. Her face was extremely pale. There was no expression on her face at all. Her hair was a fading brown, stopping at her shoulders. Her hair was curly and uncombed, stopping at her shoulders.
“Emily,” I said as I continued to study her. She wore a sweater and sweat pants, which struck me as odd, due to the warm weather of summer.
“Come join us,” Violet said while smiling.
The other kids laughed and welcomed me as I walked up the rickety stairs. They started to introduce themselves to me. While I continued to look at her, a boy jumped out in front of me, ultimately blocking my view of Violet.
He held his hand out to me. “I’m Tate. I’m ten years old. How old are you?” he asked.
“Hello, Tate. And I’m fourteen,” I said, shaking his hand.
The other girl walked up to me. She was super bubbly. “Ha! I’m Caroline, and I be eleven years young!” she exclaimed in a voice that made her sound like the cowgirl, Jesse, off the movie Toy Story 2. “And this be my brother, Jasper.” She grabbed the other boy, who looked extremely shy.
Jasper’s hands were in his pockets, and his hair kind of hid his eyes from plain sight. He didn’t say anything. Caroline punched his shoulder. “He’s just a bit shy, but he’s the coolest guy you’ve ever done met.”
“How old is he?” I asked her.
To my surprise, he answered for himself. “Sixteen,” he said. I was shocked, mainly because I was about a foot taller than he was.
“Where are you coming from, miss?” Caroline asked in a loud voice.
I pointed over to the mansion. “Over there,” I said. “With the Harmon’s.”
All smiles disappeared. Jasper and Violet looked at each other. “Should I-” Jasper was caught off by his sister.
“Wow! That big ol’ fancy house,” Carolina said while linking her hands together and shutting her eyes. “I’d give a whole cow to live in a place like that.”
“It’s not all that great,” I assured.
“It’s probably lonely over there. Living in a big house in the middle of nowhere,” Violet said. Just like that, she was smiling at me again.
I smiled back. Finally, someone who understood. “Exactly,” I said.
Jasper walked up next to Violet. “We gotta go now.” He turned to face me. “It was nice meeting you, Emily,” he said. Tate and Caroline followed behind Jasper while waving goodbye to me. I waved back.
Soon, it was just Violet and me standing there, watching the others go. I looked at her, smiling awkwardly as she stared at me.
“So, you never mentioned how old you were,” I said.
Violet chuckled. “I’m also fourteen,” she said.
There were a few seconds of silence between us before she asked another question. “I didn’t know the Harmon’s had another daughter,” she said.
“They adopted us. My brother Caleb and I have been living with them for a month and a half now,” I said, turning to face her. “Did you know their daughter?”
She shook her head. She walked over to a broken chair that I hadn’t noticed before and sat down. I took a seat on the concrete, hoping that it was still stable underneath me.
“I’ve seen her around before,” she replied.
“What do you think happened to her?” I asked.
Violet sighed. “Maybe she ran off. Maybe she wasn’t happy.” Before I could say anything, she started speaking again. “I bet it gets lonely over there. You should join us here. You’re welcome to stay if you like. We have food and drinks and beds,” she offered with a smile.
Then it hit me. She lived here. “Do you live here?” I asked.
She nodded proudly. “Yes, I do.” It seemed she was happy about that. “It’s perfect for games like hide and seek,” Violet said, looking past me. “It’s my favorite game.”
My face lit up with joy. “That’s my favorite game too!” I chirped. She looked at me before leaning her head back in the chair and staring at the sun that was slowly setting.
“I’m glad to hear that,” she said with a smile.
Hide & Seek © Copyright Jakayla Toney.