Fourteen-year-old Electra sat perched on the edge of her chair facing the small group that sat cross legged on her bed.
‘It happened a long time ago’, she began, ‘but it seems like yesterday—probably because I’ve told the story so often. The only reason why I tell the story is because it’s why my family is the way it is. You see, we are a family with roots. Oh, you think your families has roots too? Okay, let me explain what REAL ancestry means.’
Electra put the empty popcorn bowl on the floor before continuing.
‘In 1801, my great, great, great, great grandfather, built this house. He had been a pirate ever since he ran away to sea and became a captain’s cabin boy. The ship was called the Black Raven… its captain’s name was..’
‘Electra! Will you please stop telling that tale.’
‘Aw…Dad. Why not? It sure beats the real story.’
‘There’s nothing wrong with our family’s history, or your family home. And, don’t forget the reason why you were named Electra.’
Sandy, one of the girls at the pyjama party, bounced off the bed. ‘Tell us, Mr Chapman. We really want to know about your house and your family.’
The other girls joined in the pleading.
Electra stood and took the freshly made popcorn from her father, pointed the bowl toward her chair where she had just been sitting, and motioned him to take over the narration.
‘Electra was right about the year. That’s when the house was built, but that’s where the truth of her story finishes.’ He waited for Sandy and his daughter to join the other girls on the bed. Electra passed the popcorn round before he continued.
‘Basically, my father wanted to save this house from being bulldozed. The locals wanted it demolished for safety reasons. He pleaded his case and renovated it. It’s been our family home since I was a boy. There are a few rooms that have never been restored but it’s stable.’
Sandy stared at nothing in particular. ‘You mean those rooms could be haunted?’
Electra burst out laughing. ‘You must be kidding.’
‘Please continue’, one of the girls requested, her eyes focusing on Electra’s father and ignoring his daughter’s outburst.
‘No, the house is not haunted—not that I know of. The rooms have just never been needed. There’s no great mystery, only the history gets a bit confusing. A few generations back the family lost most of their fortune and the house was left empty for years.’
Sandy looked puzzled. ‘Is that it? Electra, I think it’s a great story. Tell us Mr Chapman how did Electra get her name.’
‘It’s not all that interesting,’ Electra commented casually, wriggled back against the bed board and stuffed popcorn into her mouth.
Her father paused and took a moment to continue. ‘Electra’s mother was beautiful. She had red hair…’
‘That explains your hair,’ Sandy teased.
Electra pushed Sandy playfully off the bed, causing Sandy to squeal and the others to laugh.
‘She died in child birth’, he continued unperturbed. A hush filled the room before he continued. ‘I didn’t know what I would do or how I would bring up our little girl on my own. I brought her back here to my family home where my parents helped until they passed away. Not only was Electra born with red hair but she looked like she had a shock that caused her hair to frizz. Her grandmother named her. Over time her hair lost its frizz… but the name stuck. Her hair still reminds me of her mother.’
He stood and left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
The girls remained speechless. Electra climbed off the bed and placed the popcorn on her desk before anyone spoke.
Sandy followed Electra and stood behind her, hesitating before speaking. ‘You’ve never told me the real story. Why wouldn’t anyone like the true story about your family and this house?’
Electra turned; her eyes glistened with tears. ‘I wish I knew my mother but I do know a lot about her. Dad and my grandparents made sure I knew everything about her. Every birthday I tell my pirate story so I don’t get sad. I guess I didn’t realize, until today, just how sad my dad gets.’
The girls gathered around their friend for a group hug. ‘Your family sounds wonderful,’ Sandy exclaimed. ‘Your family home is beautiful. Why don’t we ask your dad to show us around?’
Electra smiled and wiped her eyes. ‘That’s sounds like a great idea. Maybe we’ll find some pirate ghosts or some lost treasure’, she added with a giggle. She took Sandy by the hand and led the girls from her room in search of an adventure.
© Chrissy Siggee
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Archived in: Teen Reading