Every night I hear the screams of my sister. I lay awake and at 12:03am exactly, the screams start up again. I take a shaky breath while the tears prick the corners of my eyes. A lump forms at the back of my throat. My body spams with shivers, convulsing up and down, while I sweat out my soul. The darkness consuming me like a hungry beast waiting for its prey. I push back the covers and place both my feet on the floor, so cold it could be a corpse. I robotically walk over to my dresser and put on my night gown. I slowly start to skulk over to my door. I stop with my pale hand hovering over the handle. For a moment, everything is peaceful, and then reality comes crashing down around me. The silence is disturbed by the screams that echo around the hollow house, just as my guilt echoes around my hollow body.
I stand at the door that separates me and my sister. I close my eyes and concentrate hard on reality. To let go of reality is to let go of life, and I can’t do that, not to her. I walk through the door and into the room occupied by my sister. I yearn to touch her, to hug her, to comfort her. I sit in the Victorian style armchair next to her bed. I look around the room but darkness consumes too much to see anything properly. I don’t even know if she knows I’m here. If she does, she doesn’t show any signs of knowing. I can make out a dresser at the end of her bed with a single picture frame in the centre. I can’t see the picture but I remember what picture it is. It is a picture of me and her at the zoo. I look down at the body in the bed. At least she has stopped screaming. It’s like this every night, like it’s wired into her, into me. She screams, I come, she stops, and I don’t even know when or why, she just stops. I stare down at my sister’s closed pale eyelids and tears threaten to come again, wetting my cheeks, reddening my eyes. I leave the seat and hover over her bed. Go to sleep, little angel. Night has come, safely rest. Dawn will come, bringing safety, so close your eyes, and let yourself rest. I comb my fingers through her lush hair, so golden it could have come from God himself. I stroke harder, but I can’t feel anything. A pang of guilt hits my gut like an arrow, and I’m transported to that dreadful night two years ago.
My parents have just left for the movies and left me in charge of Annabelle. Great! I’m sitting here on my settee, scrolling through photos on my newsfeed of Sam Herbert’s party. I was invited and very much looking forward to it until I found out I had to look after Annabelle. I hadn’t long sent her to bed before she started screaming. This was routine for me. She had nightmares every night, and every night she would wake up screaming. I took a deep, angered breath and stomped upstairs and into the second room on the left. Her bright pink walls were enough to give anyone nightmares.
I had finally gotten her off to sleep. I had changed into a black lace dress and I was putting on some black heels with ruby skulls on. I slipped out of the door and onto the night stricken driveway. I don’t have any keys so I couldn’t lock the doors, but I’m sure she’ll be fine. I am off to Sam Herbert’s party.
A cold winter’s breeze whips through my hair, bringing it up from fantastic curls to a fumbling mess on top of my head. I drag my phone out of my pocket to look at the time. It read 9:30. I was only half an hour late.
I was about five minutes away from the party when I heard a twig snap. I swirled around and was faced with… nothing? I turned back the other way to continue with walking, but this time I was faced with a fierce monster, as tall as a building, with claws instead of fingers and rubies instead of eyes. Okay, maybe a little exaggerated, but he was a good half a foot taller than me and his eyes gleamed with hatred and thinking back, his smile was more of a snarl, like a wild animal. I didn’t know him, and I was glad I didn’t. When he snarled, you could see the golden tooth at the back reflecting the light. He reached out with a diseased-ridden hand and grabbed the hem of my dress and pulled me into the overgrown grass. He shoved me to the ground and placed his hands around my neck. A squeal managed to escape my slowly constricting throat. I wiggled and managed to break his grip enough to slither away. I backed up against a tree. I managed to let a scream rip through me and break free before he clambered up and jumped onto me, cutting off any sound. He jammed his hands around my face and stared intently into my eyes. He snarled again, and with a quick, swift movement to the left, my neck clicked and broke.
I looked down at the floor. I could feel a warm hand on my arm, but I didn’t feel real at all. The warmth moved up to my neck where it hovered for a second. I looked at the officer’s pale face. He shook his head. I can’t be dead! I can’t! I sat up and looked down to the floor behind me and my heart stopped. A body lay on the ground, eyes closed. She was small and young and fragile and she was deadly still. Her blonde hair hugging her shoulders crying out for its owner. She was white as a corpse. She was me! I am dead, but how can I be thinking, feeling, and now sinking? And then I got it. I am a ghost. I. AM. A. GHOST! I stood up, looking at my body, and at the police, and my parent’s grief stricken faces, and at the gawping crowd, and last of all, I looked at the shell that used to be me. Used to. I turned and walked away, tears in my eyes.
I had left my sister in her room about an hour ago when she finished screaming. I sat on the end of my bed. I have to let the past go and think about the future, but it’s so lonely. There is no one else to talk to and the living doesn’t even know I’m here. Why couldn’t you just let me die, God? Is this Hell? Is he punishing me for leaving Annabelle? This is eternal torture, seeing your loved ones but you can’t speak or feel them. It’s like a film that goes on forever. This is it. This is me, and this is never the end!
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