This is as far as I went writing this in the past. I hope you guys like it and please don't hesitate to give feedback. Chapter 1
It was almost 8 pm and she was still dressing up, Alice didn't want to be late for her own party, which would start in about two hours. Her mother entered the room while she rummaged through the jewelry box, with more costume jewelry than else. "How come didn't I remember to buy something new?"
Her mother, Mariana, entered the room and with an emotional look said:
- You look so beautiful. Your dad and I are so proud of you. - Alice turned to her while trying on a faux golden necklace that matched her golden shoes. - All those years ago, when I saw your pinky face and fire-colored hair, I knew how brilliant you were going to be. Even though this isn’t the date that you came to this world, it was the day that you entered our lives for good, and for this, it will always be special. - During her heartfelt speech she put a rectangular velvet box in Alice’s hand, closing her fingers around it. Mariana left the room without saying anything else.
This may be a little confusing. See, Alice was adopted when she was around a year old. There were no trace of her parents and no record of her date of birth, so her parents registered her with the adoption date, her first day as their daughter. From a very young age she suspected that she was not their biological daughter, as her parents and their relatives had dark hair.
Her suspicions were confirmed at the age of ten, after an initial shock and a small identity crisis, as much as a loved ten year old can have, she realized that her genes didn’t affect their relationship at all, and they made sure she wouldn’t feel any different knowing this information. Still, she wanted to know more about the people who brought her into this world, if not for curiosity, but for a medical history. The only traces of her bio family were the hand-sewn baby clothes she was found in and a linen blanket.
She opened the box and it contained a beautiful set of a necklace and earrings, composed of tiny emeralds- they were so perfect that if she didn’t know better, she would think they were real-, that matched her outfit and red hair perfectly. She got ready and went downstairs to the living room of the apartment. Her parents looked so proud that she felt very grateful to be a part of their lives, but she also felt a lump in her throat, after all, she wasn’t perfect.
- Mom. Dad. I really don't know what to say, the jewelry is perfect. They were exactly what I needed to complete my outfit, and they look so realistic.
- They aren’t false darling - her father said, much to Alice’s surprise “they must be incredibly more expensive than several trips to France”.
- Sit here for a while. - Her mother sat on the big sofa, next to her father, and waved at the opposite armchair for her to sit down.
- These have waiting for you for many years, and we couldn’t think of a more special occasion that you turning 18 to give them to you. – Her mother started explaining -They were in the basket that you were found in as a baby. We only have them now because they didn’t think an abandoned child, with worn clothes, could possibly have anything of value with them. But they were very wrong. Your father was impressed with their beauty and asked for a jeweler to look at them. They are quite valuable. - Alice listened carefully, her curiosity about her origins emerging once again.
Moving uncomfortably in the chair, her father said:
- They are rightfully yours, I don't know how could someone just left them with a baby, so irresponsibly, imagine if the people who found and cared for you ever considered past the front and stole them? They shouldn’t have... – His voice tapered away as his wife interrupted him.
- No matter the past pumpkin, take care of them, they jewels are your bitrth inheritance. I don’t even think you should go with them to the party, we know you, young things, can be careless. - Alice reflected, but the thought of taking them off felt like she’d be bare naked. She cleared her throat before replying.
- Entendo a decisão de vocês de guardar isso até agora, mas gostaria que tivessem me contado antes... – respira fundo e engole as dúvidas e reclamações que queria dizer. - Irei com elas pra festa, mas prometo ter cuidado.
- I understand your decision to keep this from me this until now, but you should have told me before, I would have been careful... - she took a deep breath and swallowed hers doubts and complaints -, the same way I’ll be now. I promise to be careful at the party.
They journey to the country house was silent, her parents worried about their decisions and Alice distracted by the same thoughts she had a million times before, with new questions added. She was left at the main gate and walked to the house, fifty meters ahead. Her reflections were put on a pause - not that she would reach any conclusion - to focus in the party. Her friends had already prepared the snacks: pâtés, toast, bread, ham, salami, olives, cheese, cakes, even a bowl of guacamole, with plenty stored in the fridge to refill. Beverages were in the freezer, even some juice for the faint of heart -that’d usually be Alice.
Everyone looked at her in surprise, Luke kept his mouth open for a few seconds, Monique and Kate smiled, impressed with the change, as Alice usually wore jeans and all-stars. Louise looked at her with a suggestive face, with an eyebrow raised and Kyle was entering the room at the same time through the side door and dropped the bowl of doritos which he was holding, promptly slapped by Monique, and said:
- Wow, a princess has arrived and replaced our Alice. No, no, better yet, a goddess is shining upon us mortals. - Despite the underlying sarcastic tone, Kyle was really awestruck. The girls made silly jokes, but also praised her. She felt a mixture of shame and satisfaction.
Soon after the guests began to arrive, mostly 17-22 year olds. The gate was left open and Alice went to the door to talk with some of them, most of whom brought unexpected guests. After a while she figured the newcomers would find her themselves and she went outside to talk, listen to music and have fun.
A forested area of a few squared kilometers surrounded the house, with high walls around it, so it was quite safe. Sheila e Carlos, the twins’ parents, had inherited the country from their wealthy grandma and had a good income as lawyers that allowed them to maintain it. The kids often visited it with their friends, specially at the weekends and their parents allowed the party to happen there, so long as the house would be shining clean the day after and undamaged.
There was a grassy area around the house. The backyard had a garden with raw wooden benches and bamboo pergolas supporting all types of vines with flowers of different colors and passion fruit trees, which gave an ethereal, mystical air to the place, specially at night. Now it was full of flashing lights.
The left side comprised the pool area, composed of a huge pool, with intricate patterns drawn in the bottom in shades of blue, and lights coming out of the corners, illuminating the area. Several beach chairs were occupied by people drinking and some making out. In the opposite side of the house, the right side, a cemented area had a barbecue grill which was lit and a nice smell of roast meat filled the place.
The guests had access to the interior of the house and the three settings. From the number of unknown and little known faces, it was clear to Alice that a bunch of uninvited guests showed up, but the was so pleased she couldn’t care at the moment. Going up the stairs, which had mostly locked rooms, she bumped into a boy she recognized, but had never talked to. He looked at her:
- Oh, sorry. Hey. Happy birthday Alice. He leaned down and kissed her cheek, which made her slightly red. They talked for a while and, though he seemed nice, she dodged him to find her friends.
Gathered in the room Alice planned to sleep later, they looked at Louise which distributed five small squared of ‘paper’ among them. Monique got the Caterpillar and promptly complained that she wanted something less disgusting, to which Louise rolled her eyes, took it back and gave her the White Rabbit instead. Louise gave the Queen of Hearts to Kate and the Mad Hatter for Kyle, the Cheshire cat she got for herself. Alice, of course, was given Alice. Luke was offered the Knave of Hearts, but refused, as they all expected. He was curious where this was going, but afraid of the result.
They went back down and nothing seemed to change. All of sudden, Alice felt something different, it was if the noise of the electronic music it was playing became very distant, and the lights from the light globe in the ceiling had occupied her whole vision. It was a funny feeling, and her friends seemed to be in a similar place. Alice danced and danced. The guy she had met before in the stairs was next to her and she kissed him.
It was a most peculiar kiss. She closed her eyes but the lights didn’t go away. It was if all of her body was shrinking and stretching, repeatedly, weird but pleasant. As he pulled back to breath, Alice felt dizzy and decided to go sit on a bench in the garden. She didn’t wait for the boy to follow her.
After swinging in a hanging wooden bench for a while, which had some vines intertwined, it started to feel oddly familiar and distant at the same time, which she thought was stupid as she sat there frequently. To shake it off, she stood up and pulled someone who was on her side, without even looking at who, to the improvised dance floor to dance at pop music that was playing in that area. She enjoyed the sensation of the music almost disappearing in an instant and then exploding in his ears as if she was beside huge speakers.
After a while, she started to think there was whispers in the music, but they were not discernible. It was a bit scaring, so she went to the pool to try and find the girls to talk about the boy she kissed earlier. She found Luke instead.
- Are you okay?
- Are you okay? - He repeated louder, even though it appeared to be more distant.
- Yes, yes, I'll just rest for a while, there, in the pool. - She didn't look so good to him, and he went with her. Looking up for five hallucinating people was not easy. He felt responsible for the others, even though he was against the experience in the first place. Monique was already laid on her bed after being sick from mixing alcohol with drugs. They sat on an empty beach chair.
- You know, I'm feeling ... - she started to say, but stopped to lie on his lap. - ... strange today, as if some things had new but old meanings they had never had before.
He started stroking her hair, saying how this was normal because of anxieties for the birthday party and coming of age (also the illicit substances, but he left that part aside).
- Não, não é isso, agorinha mesmo eu tava no banco das vinhas e elas pareceram tão distantes, como se eu me lembrasse delas de uma outra forma... Isso é estúpido. – Ela se levantou de supetão, e diante de protestos, foi em direção ao outro lado da casa. Ele a estava seguindo, quando viu seu irmão quase agarrando uma menina ridícula de sua turma, então foi ajudá-lo e perdeu ela de vista.
- No, that's not it, just now I was on the garden bench and it seemed so far away, as if I remembered them in another way... That's stupid. - She got up suddenly, and in the face of protests, went towards the other side of the house. He was following her, when he saw his brother almost kissing a ridiculous girl from his class, so he went to help him out and lost sight of her.