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The Disappearance of Willie Anderson

Rating: PG-13

“Willie Anderson! Willie Anderson! Where are you?”

“I’m here. Can’t you or hear me?”

Willie Anderson disappeared in front of everyone’s eyes. First he was there and then he wasn’t. It seems impossible, it should be impossible, it IS impossible but it happened to Willie Anderson. His mother would cry all day making her look older then she was, she refused to leave their house, so no one would ask questions. She didn’t want to hear the reasons, and his father forced to look after her. Willie’s dad rarely left her side and everyone knows why, he was scared she’d disappear too. But everyone knew it wouldn’t be in the same way as Willie Anderson.

It was dark outside. The streets were empty. Every house on the block was unlit, not a car on the road but from a distance on Burnet Avenue, flashes of light appeared, flashes of light coming from the only White House on the street and aiming for the house opposite it.

When the morning came, the empty streets filled with people getting in their cars to get their day started but the White House on Burnet Avenue always woke up the latest, if you were having a bad day then maybe you’d see Mr. and Mrs. Anderson get into their rusty blue Volkswagen, which took ages to start up like them, or maybe you’d see Willie Anderson strolling behind them late for school.

That White House and the family that lived inside it, became the talk of Rutland. Everyone had something to say about the strange family, some of it true but most of it false but everyone was as curious as the next. Fix sated by the difference and the mystery.

Not even the neighbors of the Andersons knew a thing about them but Mrs. Convert was   snooping about trying to find something new to tell her girly friends at the best salon in Rutland. She was nosy but you can’t find a town anywhere that doesn’t have one like her. She was a collectible you didn’t want but had to have but that was before Willie Anderson disappeared because when he disappeared so did her voice and her snooping, so when she is at the best salon in Rutland she’s only there for a quick trim. Some of the town says it’s a good thing and others like her don’t say a word anymore.

At school Willie Anderson sat alone and never spoke to anyone but everyone knew who he was and when he walked past them they stared. If they had a class with him they were curious if he’d speak and the way he looked never concentrating on what the teacher said. Some girls in school had an obsession with him, found him to be the most stunning boy they’d ever seen. What secrets did he keep, those girls wondered. Those girls secretly wished he came back because the other guys couldn’t compare to him and those girls will never find any better in Rutland and wished they knew him and that he never disappeared. Those girls feared marrying one of those boring boys and birthing boring children and working at a boring job until they died from boredom one day.

Willie Anderson didn’t have any friends at school; it wasn’t because he didn’t want any, which is what everyone thought but why he never had any will always be an unanswered question to the people in Rutland, maybe even a few who live outside it. Every evening of every night Willie Anderson’s White House would have flashes of light coming out the window on the top of his house aiming for the house opposite it. That’s where I live.

Every town has its secrets, and it’s true because Rutland looked like every other town, but the things that went on here were abnormal and the term seemed right especially after Willie Anderson disappeared. The things that happen in our town no one seemed to get their heads around not even Mr Wiltshire who was known as the smartest man in town.

Mr. Wiltshire lives alone in a small hut like house, which is a dingy brown on the end of Burnet Avenue, stinking up our street with fumes. His love for science and inventing things got in the way to the point many neighbors weren’t happy but most felt sorry for him but soon after Willie Anderson’s disappearance no one spoke to him, everyone despised him and he is constantly around the Andersons house making sure Mrs. Anderson is alright. They let him inside but no one ever knew what they said or did in that White House.

Willie Anderson used to go to Mr Wiltshire’s house everyday after school to help him with his projects, he used to get paid to clean and sweep his floor as his parents thought Willie Anderson would benefit from being around him, and he wouldn’t say a word, he just do the work then leave, everyday from 4 till 5, never later, never earlier.

Everyday at five o clock you would see Willie Anderson running down Burnet Avenue to his big White House with puddles outside the front door, as the Andersons had a leaky pipe on the top of their roof. It’s surprising there wasn’t a lake outside their house, as the pipe had dripped for years but they never fixed it. Most people assumed Willie Anderson would slip on the puddles, as he always ran fast but he never slipped, there wasn’t even a skid, which made the neighbors more intrigued by him and his family.

Every house on Burnet Avenue was clean cut with sharp edged lawns that looked like green carpet and the neighbors took pride in the way their houses and front gardens looked and every summer they had a chance to compete in a street party. It was the one time you got to speak to your neighbors properly instead of just nodding at them when you saw them or they saw you carrying in grocery bags from the trunk of your car which wasn’t a rusty Volkswagen like the Far-fields owned but a nicer car. That’s when I talked to Willie Anderson for the first time and realized he was amazing and smart, maybe smarter than Mr. Wiltshire because he spoke Latin, and French, and Italian even though he never traveled anywhere just to school and home. Willie Anderson did big math problems in his head without writing calculations on paper and he didn’t know how or why he could all that but he always could. Then Willie Anderson disappeared in front of everyone at the biggest event of the year, the street party, that everyone tried to make sure was so perfect but they didn’t succeed.

There are many stories about that street party that no one can keep up with them. Every one has a different story but each story ends up having the same conclusion, there are very few people in town or outside it who has a different ending to the event that took place and there are only four people who know the full story but what every one knows is Willie Anderson’s disappearance was an accident whether they admit it or not, what only few people know is Willie Anderson isn’t dead and is still around, living in our town.

Every day the town wakes up as normal, rushing around getting into their cars to get their day started, not knowing whether it will be normal or abnormal and every day that old rusty blue Volkswagen stays parked outside the White House, and every neighbor is curious but scared about the truth that if they knew, they’d keep the secret from themselves but some one has to tell the truth; other wise they might grow like a balloon, fly high in the sky and burst with guilt, and self-pity because they weren’t brave enough to believe the fact that Rutland isn’t perfect or normal as every one makes it out to be.

Greg Mc-Given was one of those boys who could eat huge amounts but stay slim as a pencil. He was a rebel and a player. He knew how to have fun and looked good at the same time, he didn’t care for rules this was why most girls liked him. His parents had stopped worrying about him, not that they were his real parents. Adopted at birth and finding out at the age of ten screwed up his head, so no wonder he was rebellious but his adopted parents loved him and his real mother thought about him every night when she went to bed and every morning when she woke up in a town outside Rutland.

Greg was the only person Willie Anderson would allow to sit next to him at lunch. Greg would talk to him, Willie would never say a word, only the occasional nod but the way Greg talked to him was if Willie was responding and there was a conversation between them. Every one could see that Greg had a special connection with Willie whether they understood it or not; either way Greg was Willie’s friend. I wanted to be his friend too but my parents told me to stay away from Willie Anderson and not speak to him again or I would get something from him. That’s why it wasn’t too hard to believe when Greg’s skinny body grew to the size of a balloon and flew high into the sky and burst in front of everyone a week after Willie Anderson’s disappearance just as every one was getting back into things the normal way. See my parents said to me, you don’t want to float away and explode like Greg.

On top of Greg’s grave stone, is lots of letters from his adopted parents saying how much they loved him, letters from his real mother explaining why she gave him away as well as the girls obsessed by his rebellious charms and one other letter, tucked under all those letters as that person didn’t want anyone else to see it let alone find it, that letter is now in my room under my mattress. Only read by my eyes and Greg’s from a boy that disappeared not so long ago. Willie Anderson disappearing a year ago and Rutland is still as abnormal as ever, and the people still curious and confused by the goings on that occur here.

Everything seems normal from the outside that was what everyone thought of Julie and Roger the most perfect couple in school. Every girl wishing she could find another Roger. They always laughed together whenever you saw them but when Willie Anderson disappeared that was when people saw the inside and the inside was not pretty like the outside. On the outside the couple were good-looking and happy but the inside was different. Julie showed up with black eyes covered by a lot of make up, so the girls no longer felt jealous of Julie but felt sorry for her, Julie never could speak up, she liked to make out everything was perfect with them but after Willie Anderson disappeared Julie lost her voice, Roger scared her so badly that it disappeared along side Willie Anderson.

People say Willie Anderson stole Julie’s voice, hoping it would reveal the truth about Roger. Whether or not that’s true, the fact still stands that after Willie Anderson disappeared, Every ones faces looked so shocked by what Roger had done to Julie and realizing that it wasn’t the first time. Roger has left town now, nobody knows where to apart from the few.

What also became clearer during the summer of Willie’s Anderson’s disappearance was that Cindy Lee the class geek, who nobody liked, and lived a boring life sucking up to teachers and studying every night. Now she wasn’t ugly but she wasn’t exactly pretty so when people found out she was with some one, people were shocked, since no one expected any boy would like her. It was something that made her noticed and not just because she was with a guy but because of the guy she was with. Peter Shaw was the quarter back on Rutland’s high school’s football team, and he was worshiped because of it, so when he turned up at school with Cindy Lee, hand in hand, people didn’t know what to think. Peter and Cindy Lee hold hands when they walk down the hallways and kiss during lunch, and she cheers the loudest when he scores a touchdown in a game. After all that, people still don’t know what to think.

My parents decided twenty years ago to move into the house opposite the White House on Burnet Avenue. Three years later I was born. They thought I was the best thing that ever happen to them and still do since about a year and a half after they moved into our house, they were told they couldn’t have a child, although they were upset and still loved each other so much they didn’t care. My guess is it was through all their loving because nine months after they were told my mom became pregnant with me. Some people didn’t know what to think.

Willie Anderson decided not to be here any longer but I know he is because everything that happens in town is because of him, and that’s why Rutland loves him, but it’s a pity that it is not openly spoken because maybe, just maybe, he might be standing for real in front of the Far-field’s big White House carrying in groceries from the trunk of their rusty blue Volkswagen if we said it aloud, Willie Anderson, we love you.

Val Valdez - Enthusiastic Lifelong Learner and Writer