It all started with a fortune cookie. I was stuck eating dinner with my parents on a Friday night and cracking open a fortune cookie was pretty much the main event in an otherwise lame dinner.
I was grounded. Again. Sadly, I couldn’t even remember which of my many offenses had earned me two weeks of solitary confinement this time around. I think it might have had something to do with me getting caught making out with Cameron Thomson while we were on that last church retreat. Yeah, that whole indiscretion didn’t go over so well considering the pastor overseeing the retreat was my dad.
“Grace, you haven’t even touched your Kung Pao chicken,” my mother nagged when she saw me wrestling with the plastic wrapper on the fortune cookie.
“Not hungry.” I’ve found that less is more with my parents. I typically try to keep my responses under 3 words. This not only drives them insane, it saves my breath. Not like they actually listen to me anyways.
I like to keep track of the number of words I say to them in any given day; it’s a little game I play with myself just to stay sane. If I counted these last two words I was up to a grand total of 7 for the day today. Not bad.
“The Lord has bestowed his bounty on us, Grace. You choose to offend Him by ignoring his gifts?” My dad always talked to me like he was preaching to his congregation or maybe composing another chapter of the Bible. Either way, it wasn’t exactly conducive to a normal father/daughter chat.
This time, I chose to ignore him completely and continued unwrapping my fortune cookie. Ooh, that brings my word count total down to 6. I subtracted a word whenever I ignored them. Kept things competitive.
I cracked open the smooth cookie and pulled out the thin white paper. It listed my lucky number as 7 and it said, “The roses bloomed in Orkney.”
I threw down my cookie and stormed away from the table. WTF fortune cookie manufacturer? That was the worst fortune I’d ever seen. What did it even mean? That stupid fortune cookie was all I had to look forward to all night long and now I was stuck with my stupid parents in our stupid house with nothing to do all night long.
God, my life sucked.
Since my bedroom was on the first floor and I didn’t have any stairs to stomp up, I had to settle for slamming the door to my bedroom. I collapsed on my so-pink-it looked-like-someone-puked-Pepto-Bismal-all-over-it bed and immediately opened my MacBook.
The only thing that might salvage this night was an e-mail from the boy. The boy was Cameron Thomson. Yes, the very same Cameron Thomson who had gotten me grounded in the first place. Gorgeous, inappropriate, drug loving, school hating, he was pretty much a walking, talking embodiment of every parents’ nightmare.
I loved him.
There were no e-mails from Cameron waiting in my Gmail, but there was something else. A message from Anonymous@yahoo.com. I figured it was spam, but I felt my fingers click on the e-mail anyways. The e-mail was only one line long.
“The roses bloomed in Orkney.”
I slammed my MacBook shut, hands shaking. This was getting weird.
My cell phone buzzed on my desk and I jumped nearly as high as I used to when my brother would hide in the shower, leaping out screaming the second I started washing my face.
I had a new text. I already knew what it was going to say, even before my shaking hands opened the message.
“The roses bloomed in Orkney.”
I sunk back in my bed, fear racing through my body. Something was wrong. I had no idea what the message meant, but it couldn’t be anything good. My parents. I’d break all my rules and tell them. They had to believe me, I had proof.
I heard a knock at my window and before the scream could even leave my throat he was in my room.
I let out a huge sigh of relief. “You’re never going to believe what happened to me tonight…”
But before I could even finish the sentence he grabbed me, and threw me down on the bed. That’s when I saw the knife and heard him hiss.“The roses bloomed in Orkney.”