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16 Missing Trail 1

    Mother doesn't seem to care. Soon, I wake up with extreme pain in my head. It's dizzy and still blurry. The blood dried in my head. I look at the mirror and seeing myself as a total mess. I have been unconscious for a long time. When I check the clock, it is midnight already. I thought, mother will destroy this door and skin me alive, but there is no sign of someone trying to go in.

    'Alska!' I open the door and rush to her room. But, I stop when I see mother sitting quietly on the couch. She stares at me with her piercing eye. She gives a very satisfied smile. "You're going to kill me, aren't you?" I ask her. She shrugs.

    "Maybe," she drinks her wine with a familiar eye inside of it. She does that while keeping an eye contact with me. "This is the kitten eye. Turns out, even a cat has a better taste than a male's eye." She grins. "Don't worry, I already treat your sister, you don't break her bone. But you appalled me, I wish I was there."

    "What do you mean 'appalled'?"

    "The wound you put to Alska is appalling. You stepped on her, don't you? You kick her in the stomach, right?" she describes everything that I did to Alska. I nod. However, I'm not nervous at all. It's my fault if mother kills me here.

    However, mother is unarmed. She doesn't have her usual knife in her hand, in fact, she doesn't look angry at all. I don't understand. I smacked her precious child until she is too weak to move. Where's the knife in my face?

    "Where's Alska now?"

    "She is sleeping," mother replies. She drinks the wine and bites the cat eye to half. "You need to treat your head, it looks bad."

    "This is nothing, mother," I leave her to visit Alska's room. I open the door very slowly. Alska is bandaged around her waist, there is no blood, but the wound looks awful. I sit beside her, and I caress her face and a word just spouted slowly. "Sorry."

    "Mmm... I'm sorry, Big Andra..." I'm startled when she starts talking. But she is just talking in her dream. I feel guilty, but I lost control when I see Alska killed Diana's kitten easily. She has the eyes of... someone evil and my anger boiled to the peak when I see that piercing eye.

    I know that sorry isn't enough. I need to redeem myself, but what kind of thing she needs? Another gift? She'll be frightened if there is another kitten in this house. It breaks my heart seeing my sister with wounds everywhere. It's even sadder when you know the bully is yourself. I leave her room and close the door.

    I take the first aid kit in the shelf and treat myself. It hurt when I touch it. I overdo it, I guess. Mother moves closer to me and snatches the first aid kit from my hand. "Let me treat you," I stare at her suspiciously. Knowing my mother, I bet there is a knife or something dangerous in her sleepwear. She will kill me for sure.

    "What will you do? Stab me?" I ask directly. She treats the wound in my head with ease, as she is a trained surgeon, but what irks me is her kind gesture to me. What on the earth does she hide inside her head? She is unpredictable.

    "I won't," she replies shortly. She covers my wound with bandages. After all that treatment, she is done, and I'm still alive. I thought there would be a big knife planted in my forehead, or in my eye. Surprisingly, she treats me as a normal human. "I cooked something for you and Alska. I put it on the dining table."

    "... So, do you want to poison me?" I ask her again.

    "Why do I need to poison you?" she giggles, "Alska will be okay."

    "What are you hiding from me, mother?"

    "Hiding? I don't hide anything," she stands from the couch and leaving to her room, "Andra, you know me inside out," she says. She closes her door, leaving me alone in this living room. I look at the food she cooked in the dining table. She cooked a vegetable soup. I check every single vegetable she put into it. When I taste it, it's just a regular soup, nothing doubtful about it.

    The soup is not warm. Probably, she cooked it hours before. But it reminds me of a cooking that I haven't taste for a long time. An actual food made by mother. Even if that food is just a simple cold vegetable soup, it's still the best I can ever get from her. I do the dishes and end this night with an eerie smile on my face.

    ----

    Alska is as happy as always. Although she can't move her body for now, she is happy when I come inside her room. She hugs me and tells me she regrets her action for destroying the gift I gave to her. I hug her too, but when I also said that I'm sorry for my action to her, she cries horrifically.

    "You don't need to say sorry, Big Andra..." she says while wiping her tears, "I'm a bad girl, I should not destroy your gift..."

    I keep my mouth shut when she cries and keep telling me how such a bad girl she is, for destroying a wonderful gift. She only craves more scars inside my heart. She makes me feel even guiltier. I'm such a terrible sister. What kind of evil that latched into me when I stomp my little sister. But at least, Alska isn't mad.

    I skip school for a week due to my head injury. I'm afraid everyone in that place will see me strangely when they see these bandages around my head, especially Joseph. I don't know what to do with my personal feeling. But I go to school today, after bandages have been unwrapped from my head. However, the visible mark is still there, so I use a cap to cover it.

    As what I expected, Joseph is in front of the gate, standing like an idiot and waiting for me to go to school. He always texts me, and his text is always the same. He asks me whether I'm going to school or not. I never reply any of his text, but my mind wanders around and asking myself, why don't I want to answer the text from someone I love?

    Watching him waiting for me hurts my head even more. His unique and attractive face, his neat style and everything so average Joe-y that I've always loved from him, it hurts me. I want to be close to him. When he asked me to go on a date, I would unquestionably accept that. I haven't lost a single bit of admiration and love that I have for him. But why I'm trying to avoid him? Is it because my grief and guilt to Diana?

    "Andra?" he draws near and attempts to walk beside me. I don't talk to him or looking at his face.

    "Where were you? Is there something?"

    "It is-I'm okay," I answer him shortly after I sit on my chair.

    "You sure? Why are you wearing a cap?"

    "Nothing. You don't need to worry..."

    He stops asking when the teacher arrives. People seem to not care about me since none of them ask about my condition except Joseph. At lunch, Joseph eats in my table. He eats his usual vegemite with everything. I can't eat my food. It is uncomfortable when there is a man you love staring at you this close. I want to make him stop looking at me. But I understand his reason, he just seeks for the truth.

    Again, he waits for me in front of the school gate with his scooter. I stay in the classroom for an hour after the school ended, just to make sure I don't meet him. He is persistent.

    "Andra, I can give you a ride."

    "You don't need to," I say, while walking way from him. He follows me with his scooter. Every time I say that I don't need his help, he keeps following me patiently and ignoring any rejection I give to him. "Okay, just... stop asking me about anything..." I say. He gives a big smile and hands me one helmet.

    When I ride his scooter, I have this feeling of peace that I missed. I let my woes fly away by the wind, and I lean my head to his back. I can't resist the urge to be this close to him. I know it's really bad that I let my guard down. But... I want to stop worrying for a moment. He has the same perfume that I liked. But, when we arrive at the front gate of my residence, all the woes hit me back, and my worries are even bigger than before. I get off the scooter and leave Joseph behind, but he shouts at me. "Andra, wait!"

    I freeze in my position. I don't have any guts to turn back and look at his face. I have a bad feeling about this, a dangerous one. "I-I love you, Andra."

    At this moment, I don't know what should I do. My body is quickly frozen by fear, yet melted by the warm feeling of love. I don't know how I should answer that. This is so sudden that I can't think straight. I want to be with him, someone who actually wants me. But...

    "Don't say that..." I say it. Something opposite from what's inside my head, but my tongue move by its own.

    "But I want you to-"

    "I beg you, don't say that..."

    "Andra...?" I can hear his step slowly approaching me.

    "Don't say that!" I can feel my voice become heavier. My heart pumps faster and harder. I want to run from him. I want him to leave me.

    So I do what my body wanted. I run as fast as my fear pushes me. I dare not look back because I might stop and embrace the weak feeling I have. I stop running after I reach Mrs. Dowle's blue house. I'm out of breath, but I still want to run away from him.

    'What am I doing?'

    'I... love him.'

    'But why do I run?'

    I can't find any answer. I just run. I don't want him to be near me, or be involved around me. I'm afraid of my feeling. I hide from the feeling I crave since my birth.

    'Your love is wrong.'
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