Millers had arrived in the house yesterday evening and because of travelling all the way from New York to Indiana, all of them were so exhausted and sleepy that no one bothered to move even a suitcase to its right place. Leaving all the dirt and spider webs, everyone took a room and slept.
The new two-storey house looked pretty much like an abandoned junk of concrete. It had a big metal gate at the center, and a whole lot of space inside was a hall with three rooms.
”Wake up, Zan! ” Zan heard Mrs Miller in the dream. ”You should not be late for first day at school. ” Along with the shrill voice of his mother, he could smell a piquant smell which was very irritating to his nose. The top of his tounge was dry and he felt his hands perspire.
Zan was sleeping on a not-comfortable-at-all bed in one of the three rooms at the lower floor. Because there were only three rooms at that floor, his brother had to take one of the two on the upper floor.
”GET UP! ” he heard Mrs Millers sound again. The bonk of sweeper on his head made him realize that it was not a dream but Mrs Miller was really trying to wake him up. He was so surprised about the fact that it was morning already. It felt like he only laid down and fell into sleep, as fatigued as he was when they arrived into the house.
Reluctantly, he got out of the bed and went outside. The hall was filled with dust. It was not just on the floor but had accelerated into air so densely that it was difficult to breath. An averagely tall woman with black hair tied into a bun, dark brown eyes, mouth covered with a piece of cloth, Mrs Miller, was sweeping the floor, which was escalating the filth. ”Man! where are we living? A dersert? ” Zan cried and coughed the dust that just went into his mouth. ”This place is a mess. ”
”Go get ready for your school. ” Mrs Miller told him without looking at him.
”Are Dane and Linda going? ” He asked.
”No we could not afford the expenses for all three of you. ” She said coldly. ”We are trying to search for a job, your dad and I, we will find one soon. Zan took a look at the house. One thing he found strange, and cool at the same time, was that the house was pentagon instead of square. The furniture left there looked years old. He wondered where had his dad found such a place. In the other room Mr Miller was unpacking the cartons they had brought and was wiping the dirt off them with a cloth.
”Morning, Dad! ” He greeted.
A tall brunette man wearing glasses replied, ”Morning! Do you mind waking your brother and sister? We need bit of a help here. ” He said politely. Mr Miller was not as stern as Mrs Miller. Zan smilled and walked to the adjacent room where Linda was sleeping. The room was very much similar to his, only that the old gramophone was sitting at nightstand which he found kind of cool.
”Linda! Mom and Dad need help. Wake up! ” He patted her back very hard but she would not move even a finger, as if she had died. Linda was the laziest and grumpiest of three of the siblings. Her hair was black which she never combed or tied into anything decent. All her hair was scattered on the pillow, making Zan startled about whether her head was still there or the bacterias in her lousy hair decomposed it already.
”LINDA! ” The sound was so blaring that he heard his mother say, who heard him even outside of the room at the other edge of the hall, ”I am coming to think that she is probably dead. I have tried to wake her up so many times. ” Zan didn bother to touch her again and went off to Dane. The staircase was spiral which he found very satisfying for some reason. There were old leaves disseminated not just at the stairs but all over the house as if it just witnessed a storm.
Danes room was weirdest among all. Gramophones were resting on each nightstand put in circle near the edges of the room. There was no bed or any other furniture. Dane, a tall slender, mostly like Zan himself only that his hair was brown and kept it parted in center most of the time while Zans hair was black and gorgeously curly, was sleeping on the floor. He pittied him about how he had to sleep like this all alone on the whole floor. ”Dane, Are you gonna wake up yet? Moms calling. ” He didn respond. ”Dane! ” He called a bit Louder and heard a faint ”yeah? ” from him. ”Get up! ” He said yet again, exasperated. ”Coming. ” Zan shrugged and left.
Just as he was coming down the stairs, he noticed that more wilted leaves had appeared now or he was just a bit giddy yet due to tiresome travel. Anyways, he didn feel like pondering on it and assume things, so he went to get ready for first day of school.
The school had always been difficult for him and his siblings. His father had a lot of debts to pay and for a very long time, he was not able to. Mrs Miller started working as well and finally they, together, were free of bankruptcy. It had spread into the whole neighbourhood which was not surprising beacuse the mortgagee, with a gang would make a huge commotion outside their house. And so the whole school and the neighbourhood knew about it. Zan and his siblings were not spared at any moment of being bullied at school.
Zan was eldest of them all and was in sophomore year of highschool. Because of mocking and bullying, he would not go to school most days and if he did, his head would get drawn away to the bullies instead of the lectures.
The neighbours repugnant stares and whispers and the students eye-rollings was one of the reasons to move to Indiana. Indiana was much cheaper state so they could definitely survive there with a bit of struggle in the beginning. But it felt real nice to have gotten rid of taunts of a fallacious society finally, to Zan.
He was nervous, and excited at some point, to go to school. So he went to Mr Miller and ask him if hed get a dress and books unpacked. It took Mr Miller a few minutes to find that box but he eventually did so.
Zan undressed himself, took a bath, brushed his teeth and got dressed again, noticing his birthmark on the shoulder. It was like a cut made with knife. By now Dane had gotten downstairs and was helping his mother desultorily. When he saw Zan ready for school, he did not seem to have any regret on his face of not being able to go to school.
Zan picked his bag and left.
In the vicinity there were no houses but only a small, worn out hut which seemed abandoned too. No neighbour was the best thing about moving in there. But as he walked further, there were a few houses and the number went on increasing as he kept on taking more steps. However, they were too far away from his house to annoy him anyway.
The facade of school was not so big and marvellous as the one in New York, which satisfied him because, probably, most of the students would not be rich because the building was not seemingly suitable for rich people.
His leg twitched out of nervousness. Should I go in? Or be wise and run away? He thought.
”Fresher? ” A thin, and as tall as Zan, boy appeared from nowhere.
”Uh yes. ” Zan gulped a big lump in the throat.
”I am Matt. ” He was holding his hand out.
”Zan. Zan Miller. ” He, too, got his shivering hand and shook it with Matts.
”Come I will show you around untill the class starts. ” Matt offered. Zan found it so sweet of him and he was glad that he won look stupid and weird and get too much of attention. ”So where did you move in from? ”
”New York. ”
”Why would you move from New York to Indiana? ” He sounded confused more than surprised.
”Personal issues. ” Zan replied with a shrug.
”When did you move in here? ”
”Yesterday, only. ”
”Why did you choose this school, though? ”
”Because it was the nearest. ”
Matt seemed like a nice guy but trying to make talks- well that was a minus point. The school was pretty much as he had assumed; not so developed neither so deteriorated, just the average highschool. However, he liked it better than his old school in New York.
The bell rang announcing the start of first class. Zan felt so awkward walking into the calssroom with all the eyes at him. He tried not to look at them and sat beside Matt.
”Good Morning, students! ” The teacher announced his prescence. ”We have a new student today. ” And again all the eyes turned to him. ”Zan, would you like to introduce yourself? ”
Zan wished he could say no. He stood up and tried to remember his name. ”Hi! I am Zan Miller. We have moved from New York to Indiana with my family. Looking forward to have a great time here. ”
”You sure will, Zan. Thankyou! ” The teacher proceeded with his schedule. The class was pretty boring and so were the other classes after that one. Matt was very supportive through out the day. Zan was glad to have found someone comforting at school finally.
”So New York huh? ” A tall boy which Zan recognized from the class appeared just when they were stepping out of the school. ”So nerd Matt got a soul mate now? ” He was clearly a bully and Zan had had enough of them.
”Think as you please bud. We would not like to waste our time on dumbos. ” He grabbed Matt from the wrist and made the exit.
”That was good. ” Matt looked amazed and impressed. ”Do you think you are free in the evening? Would you like to hang out? ”
”Sure. You can help me catch up with the previous topics, too. ”
”Yes. That will be great. I will come pick you up. ” They exchanged addresses and made their ways to home.
Zan was so hopeful that the cleaning would have been completed, because he was so tired and drained that the very first thing he wanted to do was sleep.
When he entered inside, for a moment, he thought that he was in wrong house. Where was all the dirt and leaves and where did all that fragrance come from in place of the stench? The house looked way better and the pang of satisfaction rose inside him.
Mrs Miller was in the kitchen and Mr Miller had gone outside, probably in search of a job. Linda and Dane was in their own rooms too. Zan was so happy to run to his room. He took long steps and opened the door of his room. Dane was sitting on his bed.
”Hi, brother! ” Dane said with a smile. ”I shifted you on the upper floor. Thought you would like some solitude. Aren you the recluse. ” His smile annoyed Zan. ”No? Sorry, I supposed so. ” He raised his eyebrows and shrugged. There was nothing he could do. He rolled his eyes and went upstairs because the last thing he wanted to do was fight with Dane.
Throwing the backpack on one of the empty nightstands, he jumped onto the mattress, now placed between the gramophones, and closed his eyes.
Zan suddenly felt the urge to look at the gramophones more closely. He had always liked the old artefacts. He would never miss the trip to museums and art galleries. This obsession was not genetic apparently because no one else in the family had so.
When he brushed his fingers on the gramophone, it made a very soft sound. Zan stepped back, scared. He pushed the needle on the disc and it started making sound. After a second all the gramophones started making sounds with same resonance and beams of light emitting from each gramophone met at the center of the room, revealing a round opening to a basement.
Zan froze. It did not appear to be real. He was definitely hallucinating due to lack of sleep. From where were the gramophones even emitting the light?
Zan could not believe his eyes. What was happening? Had he slept and was having a dream? Should he dare to step onto the lift, that had just raised at the wide hole. Fire was falling from the brim of the hole. What if there was a ocean of fire down there? Or a utopia.. who knows?
He definitely was an adventurous guy and this might be a dream after all.
He decided to step in!