Secrets never stay buried for long. Sometimes they die unnoticed. What is lost isn’t known, so how can you find it? My mother must have lived by that code, because the skeleton’s in her closet were hollywood style. Her death didn’t take me by surprise, she had cancer for a while and the second relapse spread, treatment was limited.
Death, knowing it’s coming is never quite the preparation of going through the ‘stuff’ that is long forgotten. Here I sat in the attic a month after the funeral, looking through a box of documents and pictures not believing what I was seeing. A picture of me, but it wasn’t me because I was in the picture too. At first I thought it was double exposure on the first picture, it was taken in the 70’s. Camera and film then are not quite the same as in our digital age. The next picture was clear, there I was sitting on my father’s right knee and my look-alike sitting on the left knee. Turning the photo over it only showed the year.
Manic, I went through the photos in a hurry, the main difference in my look-alike was the eyes. It was seriousness and vacancy in those eyes, strange. Did I have a twin? In a whispered tone, “Find me and complete you.” The dormer rattled and a whistled, giving me a shiver. I was hearing things in my head. I shook it off, it was only the wind.
In a stained box near the corner seemingly part of the roof structure. It seemed out-of-place and separated from the rest of the boxes. Maybe it was a sign of more information.
Ding Dong, knock knock.
Hurrying down the ladder and rushing to the front door, out of breath I opened it to find a Ironman, a Vampire, a Princess and Harry Potter.
“Trick-or-Treat.” They all said in unison.
Smiling, I placed candy in their bags. “Happy Halloween.” Waving to their parents on the sidewalk, I shut the door. No sooner had I gotten back upstairs did the door bell ring again. Once the candy was distributed yet again, I decided to place the bowl outside for the kids to take what they wanted. I had to see what was in the stained box in the attic.
When I tugged on the stained box it rubbed on my shirt giving off a tint of color. The box held tight, it was like the house didn’t want to let it go. I took the box out of the attic to view it in proper light.
In my mother’s wing backed chair, I sat down and saw the red stains more clearly. Stains usually dry over time, even blood, but this had a wetness to them. Wiping my hands on my jeans, I opened the box eagerly. It was full of documents and pictures along with some clothes that where those of a young girls, mine? There were no stains on anything inside the box, which was unreal most cardboard boxes soaked up wetness and carried it throughout.
The first picture I picked up was of my father and my look-alike. They looked happy and were dressed up for a holiday or church. I missed my father, he died when I was a young teen in a car accident. My mother was so distraught that, she wouldn’t allow me to see him at the funeral home. At his grave staring at the coffin, doubting he was in there, I never really said goodbye. My mother became more strict if that was even possible after his death. It was just me and her, until now.
Next I pulled out a file folder with several official looking certificates. One was my father’s death certificate, and one for Brianna O’Malley on the 31st of October 1977. Birth date was same as mine. My heart racing, tears at the edge of my eyes threatening to spill. Had I lost something I wasn’t aware I had? My sister? Died at the age of five.
How could I not remember? How could my mother not talk about her to me, my twin, her daughter? I pushed aside the file folder of death and settled on a medical chart. I opened the chart and read diagnosis of mental instability. Scanning the handwriting I saw mentally delayed in social skills, exaggerated temper. I dug further in the box and found a doll, Raggedy Ann, it mirrored one I had except it had lots of repairs of holes and re-attachment of limbs. It had seen better days, a sign of Brianna’s instability from the medical chart?
Putting all the pieces from the box into a new box to preserve them. The door bell startled me from my thoughts. Grabbing a new candy bowl I opened the door, to an apparition in the darkness resembling a little girl.
My voice shaking, “Brianna?”
Nodding, she rushed through me and yelled, “Your fault!”
I dropped the candy bowl and spilled the contents everywhere. I shut the door, and heard near my ear “Find me and complete you.” Blackness consumed me.
The morning light urged my eyes open and I found myself in the wing backed chair. My neck strained and my lower back smarting in the position I slept. I stood and rubbed my eyes to clear my vision. Halloween certainly played a trick on me, my mother’s haunted house.
I heard the creak of the stairs, before I saw my look-alike come into the living room and walk past me to the chair. It was the stained box. This felt like deja vu.
She didn’t answer me, it was like she didn’t hear me. Looking over her shoulder she pulled out the file folder with my father’s and my death certificate? That was my name!
Looking down at my dress, I straightened my eyelet ruffles of my skirt hem and flipped my long hair behind my shoulders. My black patent leather Mary Jane’s where in perfect condition. I skipped toward the front door and rang the door bell. Sometimes nightmares needed to be relived.
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I hope you enjoyed my flash fiction/short story. It’s written from featured fiction prompt #35 for horror. My first time attempting this genre, not sure I accomplished it? I had fun and was inspired by the prompt – tis the season 🙂
All comments welcome, likes adored and sharing is caring. Check out the other Feature Fiction entries and vote this weekend!
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