Remember When (Suggestions?)
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 2
Chapter 2

“Again, I’m sorry,” the boy apologized. “But—may I ask what your name is?” He seemed dazzled by me.

“I cannot stop you from asking,” I replied. I bit my tongue. The sarcasm was coming out once again. I decided I did not care. Though, the thought of being cruel to this young man made me choke on air.

“Would you give me a response though?”

He had already caught on to my indifference. “You could try your luck.”

His lips curled into a smile. “I like mysteries. How about I give you your own name until I can figure out your real one? Sound like a plan?” He was shockingly friendly.

I was stunned by his idea. Little did I consider even this. “That isn’t up to me, now is it?”

“Brilliant, then,” he said contently. “I think I’ll call you Melancholy.”

“Melancholy?” I said taken aback. “What kind of a name is that?”

“It isn’t,” he said simply. “It’s what you are, though. You have an essence of sadness that washes over those who are around you, but makes the surroundings more vivid.” A pause. “Also, because you remind me of someone who once went through so much it would have driven anyone mad. That was the strongest person I’ve ever known.”

“What did they he do that was so great?”

She,” I was corrected. He sat down on the steps. “What didn’t she do? She…she explored, she loved everything, she wouldn’t go down without a fight, and she never ceased to amaze me.” Slowly, I sat on the concrete, still wary of the boy atop the steps. Alright, if he moves, I find a weapon. “She went through so much. You’d weep if you knew. You’d weep if you could go into her mind.”

We were both silent. I was pondering what he said. I was considering what to say next. “What was her name?” I finally settled on.

Pause.

“Tornado.”

Blood stopped pumping through my system as my heart momentarily froze. “What did you say your name was?” I ignored the fact that my voice trembled.

“Oh, I’m Gabriel Kenward,” Gabriel said softly. “I live right here on the second floor.”

“Gabe?” I uncontrollably muttered.

“Yeah, call me that, please.”

Tears were welling up in my blue eyes and I was glad that my bangs covered most of them. I had a best friend called Gabriel Kenward a few years ago. He had black hair, clear, wise eyes and pasty skin that seemed to have been painted on him. This Gabriel Kenward resembled that boy only with a broader structure, taller figure and no baby fat. If it was the same Gabe, then I was horrified and thrilled, but if it wasn’t, then I was relieved and disappointed.

“Excuse me,” I stood and walked closer to the stairs. His eyebrow raised in curiosity. “How long have you lived here?”

“Almost eighteen years, Ma’am.”

“And when will it be eighteen years, exactly?”

“January the 16th, Miss Melancholy, Ma’am. On the date of my birth.”

It is definitely Gabriel. I still recall brilliant birthday parties just a few blocks away at the dock. “I see.” The cab pulled up at the corner and there was a honking.

“Why were you here?” Gabe asked.

“I was visiting Mrs. Knapp.”

“You know her?”

“You could say that.” I rushed to the bushes to pick my bags so I could return myself to Hawaii.

“And you only barely know her?” He questioned when he saw all the luggage I was carrying.

“She was taking me in for some time. I think I’ll just head back to Hawaii, though.”

“Hey, Melancholy, don’t leave. We were just getting to know each other.” My cheeks splashed red and I thanked the gods for nighttime. I couldn’t resist smiling sadly and saying farewell.

Long and hard I thought that night. I strolled around the forgotten village of Salem. The town was still rich in culture, with most of the buildings preserved from the colonies, and with little of the landscape harmed. I moved towards the dock, just around the corner from the cemetery. The view of the water soothed my aching mind and burning flesh.

Gabe hasn’t moved yet. If he hasn’t, then who’s to say the others have? It’s not like they’ll recognize me, though. Gabriel at least didn’t. So, why didn’t I just tell him who I was? I still knew I wouldn’t tell anyone else at Salem Academy my real name. I would create a new one to register with. I could arrange that, just a few strings to pull.

The water of the Atlantic Ocean was a deep blue, almost black, with the reflection of the full moon over the waves. I wanted to dip myself in the cool liquid, but there was a somber feeling to the space. And something was tugging at my chest. Oh god. I shut my eyes tightly, praying, praying uselessly for Hecate to let me remember the remainder of the night and my thoughts. As I said, it was useless.

Morning of who-knows-what-day came and I arose from a clean white bed. I had made myself back to the hotel after the night at the dock apparently. Shit, I thought. Grandma has been alone for who knows how long now. Hopefully she hasn’t killed herself trying to open a jar. I rubbed my throbbing head and patted down a bed head.

Quickly, I showered and reddened my lips with lipstick and gloss and slipped into a strapless little black dress, laced boots and short lace gloves. I caught sight of my reflection in a mirror as I gathered my belongings and headed out the hotel door.

“Ready to take on the same people when you’ve completely changed?” I asked myself. It should be as easy as being new. Not even Gabriel had recognized me, so what is the chance that anyone else will? I shook my head as if it would make my sea of thoughts dissolve. I need to get to Maxine.

The cab was waiting for me as it had been requested. I quickly jumped in and arrived at the colonial within minutes. I knocked on the door and was answered by an annoyed scream calling to see who was at the door.

“Maxine! Open up, it’s your mo'opuna wahine so hurry up!” I replied tiredly.

The door opened quickly and an elderly woman with tan skin and a gray bob cut came out. “My granddaughter has fallen dead, for your information. She died in a car crash a few days ago.”

“What?” I muttered momentarily confused. “No, I’m not Ophelia. I am Tornado.”

“Torna?” She looked me over, untrusting of my words. “What is your mother’s name? Your father’s?”

“Lana Knapp. She was married to Arthur Fletcher. Kept her own last name because of family tradition.” I shrugged and hoped she wouldn’t pursue a suspicion. She welcomed me inside instead.

“You may remain downstairs in the cellar,” said Maxine. “Use up the entire space. I do not care. It was meant for a visitor’s privacy.”

“Basically you are giving me my own home,” I uttered. “Thank you.” She nodded sharply and began up the spiral staircase leading to the basement. “Grandma—”

Maxine,” she said loudly. “You are to direct me with my own name. I love you, but I do not like the term of grandma. I don’t think it’s very appropriate.”

“What do you mean?”

Maxine waved away the question. “What did you want, dear?”

“Could you please not call me Tornado, or Torna, or your granddaughter for that matter? At least in public don’t. I’m taking on a new name. Starting fresh. I’d appreciate it if you would help.”

Her lips puckered as she pondered. “How should I address you then?”

It was my turn to ponder. I did not ponder for long. A name was already burned into my thought process. “Lithia Redd, if you would.”

“Lithia,” Maxine repeated, slightly disgusted. “What an odd name for a pretty young lady. Then again, with that startling appearance of yours, I can't be too surprised.” She left quickly.

“She’s mad,” I told myself. She’ll forget all about me being her granddaughter in the morning—no, not even. By six o’clock this afternoon. I can tell her that I am her nurse, makes good enough sense since the past one recently moved from Salem. Yes, I’ll introduce myself as Lithia Redd. That should stay engraved in her skull. Now, just to make a few calls to get the paperwork for my new identity and everything will go according to plan. I picked my phone and began dialing. Someone picked up.

“Charles, it’s Tornado Knapp.”

“Torna? Is it really? It’s been so long,” the voice responded.

“It sure has.”

“What can I do for you?”

“Approximately how quickly can you reach Salem?”

Within fifteen hours, Charles Sanders was sitting on the white loveseat in the corner of the basement. He was still puzzled as to why he was sitting in Salem, Massachusetts when he should be working in L.A. I didn’t address that at first. Things should be all business, but I haven’t seen Charles in years. Some quick chit chat would be nice.

“You’re looking well, Charles,” I said, studying him. Tall, a boyish facial structure, tan skin, yellow hair like wheat, and eyes like blue sapphires. He was as dashing as ever.

“As are you, Torna,” he said with a grin. “How have you been?”

“As usual. Coffee?”

“With heavy cream, if you would.” I asked him how his life had been. “It’s been nice. Crimes are fun to solve. Ever since they promoted me to private detective, everyone is a suspect and everything is critic to my investigations.”

“That doesn’t seem very fun. More annoying than anything.”

“It can be, I suppose. Didn’t you want this job, though?”

“No,” I handed him a cup of coffee as I sipped some blackberry tea. “Medicine is much more appealing. I can cut people open.” He turned a little green and asked me what I wanted to master. “Morgue. Nobody cries from pain and nobody can die because of me. I get to see the inside of people without it being called homicide.” His hand came to stroke his head. A headache.

“You’re different.”

“Very different,” I had to agree.

Charles sipped his coffee. “Why did you call me over?”

“Why did you come?” He shot me a tedious look. “Sorry, it’s a habit. I need to discuss legal matters with you.”

“I don’t work in the government, Torna—”

“No, but you have many, many connections.” Charles exhaled, but gestured for me to continue. “I would like for you to create a new identity for me. You know how they do in witness protection programs?” He nodded and his eyes narrowed as he considered my words.

“Why do you want to do that?”

“With both my parents dead and my previous life nearly dissolved, I think that it would be nice to start fresh.”

Charles’s eyes widened and he leaned forward with a sympathetic expression. “Lana is dead? Since when?”

“Only a few days ago—but let’s not get off subject. Will you do this for me?”

“I can try.” Out of his coat, Charles pulled a Nokia. Before dialing, he asked, “Why do you want a new identity and not to simply change your name?”

“Because, if I change my name, my records remain the same as does my social security. But, if I get a new identity, then it would take someone much more skilled to see that I am not really who I claim to be.”

“I suppose that’s thought out enough. There are many flaws, but I’m sure you’ll figure your way out of those jams.” I nodded and he continued to dialing. “What name would you take over?”

“Lithia Redd.”

“Fits,” was all he said before finally making the call. This lasted little over twenty minutes, so in the meantime, I made lunch. By the time, Charles was through, I was serving him some flounder with a side of fresh cucumbers. “Always so classy,” Charles complimented. I grinned.

“What did they say?”

“They agreed. Paperwork will take a few months.”

“Isn’t there a way for things to go by quicker?”

“I can try. Let’s discuss details in the meantime.”

I knew the process wouldn’t take long. It was one of the reasons why I had chosen to call Charles. He got things done.

 

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