My Ghost Mom's Horror Book - Chapter 1 The Lonely Mother
An Xin lowered her head with her hands in her pockets, her feet stomping on the ground in her new red shoes. She grunted and frowned, looking very unhappy. The little girl who had just turned to the age of twelve had sorrows written on her face.
No wonder An Xin was sad. Although she was going to live with her biological mother, she had always stayed with her father when her parents divorced ten years ago. For some unknown reason, An Xin’s mother had only met her twice in these ten years, and each visit was in a hurry. Therefore, she considered her mother as a stranger. Anyone who had to leave the family they had always lived with for a stranger would not be happy.
An Xin stopped stomping on the floor after her toes started to ache because of the pain. She looked up to her father, who was busy packing their luggage and asked, “Daddy, do I have to stay with mom?”
“Honey, I don’t want to leave you either. But daddy is going out for three years. Staying with your mother is the best thing to do, and the only thing that will make daddy feel safe about your whereabouts.” An Xin’s father replied as he put the folded laundry into the suitcase.
An Xin muttered in a small voice, “She doesn’t even love me…”
Her father stopped what he was doing, sighed, and turned to look at An Xin tenderly, “She does love you, An Xin.”
“Is that so? I don’t feel like it.” An Xin stubbornly challenged his father, “When was the last time she visited me? It’s been almost two years, hasn’t it? I even forget what she looks like.”
“She has some difficulties, honey. You’ll understand when you grow up,” her father replied and came over to pat An Xin’s head, “Mom lives in a quiet and beautiful place, you’ll love it there.”
An Xin lowered her head, and tears started to form in his eyes, “Maybe,” she whispered.
He then bent down and gently embraced her daughter in his arms, “Honey, daddy will often call you, and we can also chat online. Three years isn’t that long, and you can spend some time with your mom. When daddy comes back, I’ll bring you home as soon as possible. Don’t be sad, okay?”
An Xin nodded and gave a low muffled sniff. Her father raised his hand to pat her head again, then walked back to the closet. An Xin stood still for a moment before heading towards the end of the hallway. The warm and bright afternoon sunlight fell through the tall windows onto the brown wooden floor, creating a clear boundary between light and dark.
An Xin stepped under the sunlight and crouched down to the massive globe in front of the window. She stretched out her fingers and ran them over the globe, looking for the place her father would be traveling to. Her fingers moved across the blue sphere for a moment before stopping at an African country. An Xin looked at the tiny country pressed under her fingertip, and she moved her gaze to the country she was in, which had the shape of a rooster.
For the next three years, she and her father would be so far apart from each other. As she stared at the globe, she began to feel sad again. Why did his company have to send him to such a faraway country? She exhaled and spun the globe hard. The spinning blue spear made An Xin dizzy.
The next morning. An Xin was called out from her bed by her father. After breakfast, she went to the airport with her father, and An Xin was still a little blur even after she went into the plane. Two hours later, she stood on the land of an unfamiliar city.
An Xin’s father dragged her pink suitcase in one hand and held her in his other hand, and the two walked out of the airport together. Among the crowds, An Xin spotted her mother right away. It wasn’t because her mother’s appearance was outstanding, but because her mother had a unique temperament out of place compared to the people there that separated her from everyone. Although she stood in the middle of a crowd, it looked like she was standing alone in the wilderness.
The conversation between them was short and polite, and most of the topic they talked about was about An Xin. Soon afterward, An Xin sat in her mother’s car, and she waved goodbye to her father. Tears finally fell as she watched his figure on the road’s side, getting farther and farther away until he was no longer visible.
The car soon left the small, old city, and after half an hour on the highway, they arrived at a bumpy road. Although the road was in poor condition, the scenery on both sides was gorgeous. On one side were rolling hills covered with lush trees and small buildings with gray tiles and white walls passed by them. On the other side, there were large tracts of farmland with green and young seedlings that seemed to stretch as far as the sky.
Looking out the car window at the refreshing scenery, An Xin was feeling much better. She and her mother hadn’t spoken a word after they left the airport, and An Xin didn’t know what to say to her while her mother remained silent the whole ride. She rolled down the window halfway, and the cool breeze instantly whipped her face and tickled her hair.
After about an hour of driving on this road, the car entered a narrow gravel paved road. The road was not only lined with farmland, but there were also a lot of fruit groves, mostly were orange trees. An Xin fully rolled down the window, and she leaned on it. The orange trees bored small, green fruits that made one’s mouth feel sour just by looking at it. An Xin breathed in the unique fragrance of mother nature and the fruity scent of the oranges. It smelled so good.
After more than half an hour of driving along the fruit groves, houses began to appear on both sides of the road. Most of these houses were two- or three-story buildings with courtyards and were exceptionally well built. It was evident that the people living here were significantly wealthy at first glance. In front of these small buildings were rectangular flower beds made of mansory and planted with many green plants and flowers. The colors were so beautiful and very pleasing to the eye.
An Xin initially thought that her mother’s home was one of these buildings. However, the car drove out of the area, heading higher and further into the remote mountains. Tall evergreen trees replaced the fruit groves on both sides of the road. These trees were so thickly branched that they almost completely obscured the sky above the road, and the area around them became dark. The wind blowing into the car became cold, and An Xin rolled the window back up. She looked somewhat uneasy at the blue mountains and turned around to ask her mother, “Mom, how much longer till we arrive?”
Her mother looked at her from the back mirror and said in an expressionless, faint voice, “We’re almost there.” Her mother’s voice was just the same from her memories, flat, low, and no emotions whatsoever. It seemed that she didn’t miss her daughter, whom she hadn’t seen for two years. An Xin bit her lips and turned to look out the window, no longer asking any questions.
After another twenty minutes driving on the winding mountain road, they arrived somewhere close to the top of the mountain. In the distance, An Xin saw an old three-story house standing on sloping land. The walls of the house were unpainted and untiled, making the house look naked on the outside. The walls were also covered with dark green Boston ivy and at the bottom side of the walls grew a strange kind of yellow-green plants with broad leaves.
“This must be mom’s house.” An Xin thought to herself.
Sure enough, the car stopped in a small clearing in front of the red brick building. An Xin’s mother turned off the engine and took the keys, signaling An Xin to get out of the car.
Dragging her pink suitcase, she followed her mother while taking a good look at the house she would be living in for the next three years. From the outside, this house looked much more extensive and older than the buildings that she had seen before. Although it was a bit shabby, An Xin could tell that the materials used to build this house was excellent. There was an area at the back of the house enclosed by a rusty iron fence. It looked like a small garden, but there were hardly any flowers to be seen. Only two or three shrubs were there.
An Xin’s mother pushed open the door and walked into the large, empty living room. The furniture was outdated and old, but the most striking one was the massive fireplace built against the wall with enough space for three An Xin to get in. The gray masonry of the fireplace became blackish gray after years of burning. Her mother walked towards the fireplace and sat down on a rattan rocking chair and said to An Xin, “Your room is the last room on the right upstairs. Come down for dinner in an hour.”
An Xin hesitated and said, “Aren’t you going to take me up there.”
“Go on your own.” Her mother said and closed her eyes. She leaned back and rocked the chair gently like she wasn’t going to care about An Xin anymore.
An Xin stopped talking and dragged her suitcase to the wide wooden staircase at the side of the living room. Her suitcase was heavy, and it took all her strength to get it up to the second floor, and she was sweating profusely. Standing on the dark brown wooden floor, she took note of her surroundings. The staircase beside her led to the third floor, where the windows were small, and the room was dimly lit. All she could see up there was pure darkness. The stairs were spacious and empty, with no furnishing whatsoever, except for a few gray paintings hanging on the tan walls. There seemed to be quite a few rooms because there were three or four reddish-brown wooden doors on the left and right.
An Xin went to the last door on the right. She gripped the brass doorknob and gave it a gentle twist before entering the room. The room was instantly revealed to An Xin. It was big, old, and a terrible first impression. Although the furniture was complete, it was not the color and style that a little girl would like. It looked more like an antique room. She walked inside and closed the door, standing in such a dark and gloomy space. An Xin felt like she wanted to cry. Such a big empty house, such a cold mother, and she had to stay with them for the next three years. Thinking about this was enough to make An Xin feel sad.
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