Moonlight filtered through the stained glass windows and fell upon the figure of a sleeping girl, splashing on her skin fragments of colors. At a glance, all would seem peaceful, serene even, but if one would look closer, they would see not all was as it seemed. Restless eyes moved behind closed lids and hands clenched the blankets on her as Dawn lay prone on the ground, trapped in another nightmare.
I push open the painted door, stepping into the house. All is quiet, as per normal yet- What is this foreboding I feel? Echoes of my footsteps ring in my ears as I walk up towards my father's balcony, school bag in my hand. It's weight seems to pull me back with each step, as if saying- warning me not to continue down this route. I do not heed it's warning for at that blissful moment in time, I was so blessedly ignorant. Oh, if only I could return to that state now!
Now I stand before a plain wooden door, raising my hand to knock on it. Knock, knock knock. I do not realize it at that time, bur each knock mirrors the beating of my anxious heart.
There is no answer.
My throat seems to have dried up as I call for my father, my voice uncharacteristically hoarse. There is still no answer. I place my clammy palms on the door and push. To no surprise, the door is unlocked. My father has always been a man of little secrets, but I would come to find that it was not true.
His room is bare save for his dressing table, which bears a pristine white envelope with my name on it. Yet, I do not pick it up immediately. My eyes are transfixed by the walls, the bare empty walls. Everything is so wrong. Where are all the beautiful paintings? Where are the random sketches? Where is his easel? I throw open his closet to find it barren, just like his room.
I have so many questions, and all the answers I crave seem to be in that envelope. Heart pounding in anticipation, (or was it trepidation?) I pick up the envelope and unfold the flap, pouring the contents out into my hand. First comes a beautiful copper paintbrush with silver bristles that are like silk to touch, and then it is followed by a sheet of paper folded around a twenty dollar bill. The paper reads:
"My dearest daughter.
Please forgive my sudden absence and hasty departure. I seem to have run out of inspiration to paint, so I have made the decision to return to Plymouth. You, however, will reside in a lodging for teenagers and children till I return. A man will be by to pick you up shortly. Enclosed is a very special brush, please do keep it with you at all times.
I love you,
A cry escapes from my throat as I clutch the letter to my chest, an agonizing sense of betrayal falling upon me. There is a knock on the door, interrupting my grief.
I didn't even have time to pack.
In the moonlight, her hand finds the paintbrush, and her fingers curl around it.