I took a deep breath and slowly made my way up the driveway, finally stopping once I’d reached the glass front door. The cloudy sky and thick forest trees that surrounded the house didn’t allow for any natural light to shine through the pane glass windows, and as I put my hands up to the door and peered inside, the dim living room gave off a cold, unwelcoming feeling. White sheets covered the furniture, keeping Esme’s pristine furnishings free from dust, and works of art that better belonged in a museum, not in an unoccupied house in Forks, Washington, hung from the interior walls. The entire scene was reminiscent of all those stereotypical haunted house stories, and I was the idiot teenager determined to get inside.
Knowing my family wasn’t the type to leave a key under the mat, I stepped back, readying myself to scale the house up to the second floor and hopefully find an unlocked window, when the latch clicked and the front door creaked open slightly. I gasped in surprise. It’s unlocked. Could Carlisle have had it left open for me?
Without any hesitation, I reached for the doorknob, pushing it open the rest of the way, and slowly stepped in the doorway. A bouquet of scents swirled in the air around me, flooding my mind with thoughts of my family. How, after all this time, the house could still smell exactly as it did the day we left was beyond me, but I doubted that any of the other houses we’d lived in since held as many ghosts as this one.
I stepped inside farther, shutting the door behind me, and looked over the large living room and to the top of the staircase. Almost immediately, the painful memories that I had spent my entire life trying to forget returned, unwanted and unwelcomed: the horrific screams; my mother holding me right after I was born; being taken out of her arms and not understanding why; my father looking down at me and kissing my forehead, trying to comfort me. Guilt and regret twisted their painful knot in my gut, and I grabbed hold of the staircase banister, splintering the wood underneath my fingers as I fought to once again push away the blame I’d always felt for killing my mother.