Those days were bleak and somber.
My mother would exclusively care for my baby sister, providing her with all of the bare necessities a baby would need. At least, far better than she had ever provided for me. In her coal eyes, the first born was always seen as more of a curse than as a blessing. I would frequently overhear her praying at odd times of the day and of the night. Praying to someone or something that I had no idea even existed. But I knew she was praying. I knew this because of the way her frail hands were either pressed together or holding rosary beads. Sometimes she would squeeze her rosary so hard she would puncture her palms, letting her old blood coat the beads a deep red.
Her favorite time to speak with these unseen figures were always at midnight during heavy rain storms. Once I gathered enough courage to finally spy on her, I sneaked down the dark upstairs hallway and stood outside of her bedroom door. The wind was always harsh which worked in my favor by muffling the echoing sounds of my footsteps.
The perfect cover.
Pressing my ear to the door I would hear her say things, strange things. Things that didn't make it seem like she was very happy with whoever it was she was speaking to. Things that would dim the candle lights and invite the the cruelest of raindrops to bang against the frail doors and windows. The house was old and always appeared sick and cold. Dark and empty. My mother would continue her conversation as I would shiver in place, listening. I quickly came to realize that these things I was hearing my mother say, these haunting and insidious notions of vile hate and obsessive fear; words that held no place for love, no place for hope not even room for a smile. Words that didn't belong in this world, or in any other. Yet, everything she was saying seemed to have something in common.
These disturbing words...they were about me.
As I awoke from the dream, something didn’t feel right.
I was back at home, shivering beneath the wool covers of my queen sized bed. I knew I shouldn’t be here, but I didn’t care - so I removed myself from the tangled mess of musty blankets and pillows and made my way to the bedroom door.
Something didn’t smell right.
My nostrils began to burn as if I was sniffing actual lines of fire. After the burning stopped, the rancid scent of burning flesh took over at the helm as the kamikaze commander of this decomposing ship of horrible aromas. Rotten winds pushed the vessel down the irritated walls of my parched throat and wrecked itself along the shores of my empty stomach. The hull cracked, creating gaping holes in the bilge which released its fermented poison.
It took everything not to throw up. But I held it together, took a deep breath, cupped my hands over my mouth and forced the door open. The hallway was dark, except for a dying candle, flickering pathetically at the opposite end. It seemed, with every slow step I took, the candle lost a breath - by the time I finally reached the end of hallway, the flame was nothing but a pathetic stream of grey smoke, quickly disappearing as it rose.
Something didn’t sound right.
At first I thought it was an animal. It sounded like an animal being savagely ripped apart, alive. Yet, as soon as it came, it stopped. The silence in between the screams was more terrifying than the screaming itself.
Then it was back, this time, sounding different. It sounded human...