A Haunting

by Isabel Perez-Vega

The fight from the previous day haunted her mind - she replayed what was said and what should have been said, every word a dagger to her heart. She regretted crying in front of him, but she lost complete control over her emotions once her father spat out his malignant and prejudiced views. Never before had she realized that one person could be that ignorant, be so hateful. His seething anger licked at her thoughts like a wildfire and every shout bruised her already fragile state. She could feel herself falling through the cracks in her psyche, losing herself to the void. The idea of the infinite black sea of gloom and desolation tired her as she gazed up at the dull, white ceiling. Drowsiness burdened her eyes and a yawn escaped her pale lips. Deciding to give in to the nagging need to sleep, she glanced at her phone one last time. As expected, there were no new messages. Which, of course, was to be expected. Friends sent messages, and she had none. She plugged her phone into the charger, ignoring the vibrations as she placed it under her pillow. She wrapped her superhero blanket around her, snuggled into her solidarity and closed her eyes, allowing the easiness of sleep to engulf her.
As she was lulled into the final stages of sleep, a sort of unease trickled down her spine, prickling her senses. She shivered as her eyes fluttered open and her breath caught in her throat. The unnerving feeling of being watched clung to her as her lungs lightly grasped for air. It wasn’t until her vision adjusted that she noticed the strange figure at the foot of the bed. Involuntarily, she yanked her blanket up over her nose, leaving it just low enough to peer at what appeared to be a young, decrepit girl. The Girl wore no clothing, and her flesh was ghastly and lurid, with vibrant wounds scattered across her body like flowers in a vast meadow, and just as colorful. Deep, red welts danced from her toes to her cheeks, smooth lines similar to paint strokes on a canvas. Bruises bloomed on her face, legs, and arms, swelling with the colors of darkest night sky. Her lips were sewn shut, her skin translucent, and her dark hair seemed endless. What perturbed her most about the Girl were the black holes where her eyes should have been, and how she grinned with such malice and contempt. She wanted to scream and to run, yet she was paralyzed by her fear, and, to her surprise, curiosity. This Girl could almost be a reflection of her – at least, of how she felt.
The room darkened around the Girl and murk tainted the air. She watched her saunter to the head of the bed, gazed up at the malevolent smirk engraved on her cold, stony face. Slender, clammy fingers caressed her throat, ceasing her breath and will. It felt as though a brick had smashed her airway, but she did not mind. Closing her eyes for the final time, she relaxed her struggling lungs and aching neck. Take me with you, I’m ready for this, a feeble voice inside screamed. Like a drop of dye in water, the darkness spread through her within seconds. Her existence seemed to be bobbing ever gently down into the void.
Much like the cliché, the conclusion to her story was filled with old memories. Her father’s stern, detached face glared down at her, his venomous words belittling her more with every passing day. Concern and confusion washed over her mother’s face, and her sister stood next to her with an aura of indifference.
Time was no longer a solid line; all that was, is and would be occurred at once. She saw her empty room and her blanket tossed on the floor, and heard the water running through the ajar bathroom door. Her mother was crying in their living room, adorned in all black attire. An endless stream of family and friends offered food or floral arrangements to her, only to be shooed out of sight by the father. The strangers blended together like faceless sheep, giving their fake condolences to her parents. A pang on fury vibrated through her as she heard her father repeat, “I just don’t understand why,” like a scratched record, over and over, “it happened out of nowhere.” The sheep nodded in unison before vanishing back out of importance. Her sister didn’t even bother with the pleasantries as she lazed about on the couch. The extent of her efforts ended at her knee-length black dress. Apathy oozed from her distant eyes, the whole situation had gotten old.
The film was reaching its end and the final scene was playing out. Warmth rushed over her as the tub filled around her. Dipping her head under the water, she rather enjoyed the comforting silence. She had worked herself up for this very moment, and she didn’t need to hesitate any longer. The cold blade sliced down like a hot knife through butter. Roses blossomed within the water until the whole lake was transformed into the majestic ruby droplets. Rain clouds gathered above her rose garden and let loose the divine water of the heavens. Not one ray of sunlight could pierce through, and her temperature plummeted. The rain started to freeze, hail crashed and snow swayed down toward her. She had never realized such beauty was possible, and it amazed her.

She could finally breathe.