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The Trigger

When the Past comes Back

By Christina Nelson Published about a month ago 11 min read
Top Story - January 2024
The Trigger
Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash

My parents, Marcus and Elly sat in the police station for hours. They answered questions, showed texts and calls. They had wallet pictures and missing posters on hand. They were frantic. I wasn't there, I was at home of course. But I saw them when they left.

Had it really been 15 years?

Myla disappeared so long ago it's so hard to believe. My parents received a phone call and in that moment their faces could have blended in with the peeling wall paint. They ran out of the house so fast you would have thought there would be a cartoon hole in the door.

I went into my room and looked around. Picked up all of the pictures I could just so I could look at them. Myla's smile was so bright. Her eyes were even brighter. 15 years ago, she was captain of the softball team. Star pitcher and shortstop. She was co-captain of the volleyball team. She was the school's best digger. Best digger in the state actually. Straight A student and on the dean's list. She was smart and resourceful. She wanted to go into Neurobiology. And then one weekend she went on a trip and never came back.

15 Years Ago

Myla was on her way out the door. Her mom made a huge breakfast which she thought was kind of weird. Her mother never made breakfast, let alone a huge breakfast like this. There were eggs, pancakes, toast, cinnamon rolls, bacon, sausage and grits with two gallons of orange juice on the table.

"What's this?" she asked

Her mom was getting milk out of the fridge and turned around with a huge smile on her face,

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" she yelled as she ran to give her daughter the biggest hug, still holding the milk.

Myla was so busy with school and sports that she completely forgot what day it was. She hugged her mother back and decided to slow down and take in what her mother had made her. Her father came down with several gifts and balloons singing the birthday song completely out of tune.

Myla laughed and gave him a hug as well, helping put the gifts on the side table.

"So? It is your 16th birthday! What do you want to do? And don't say go to school." He smiled as they all sat down at the table. Myla could hear footsteps running down the hall and stood up to great what was making them. Of course it was her little sister Leena. She was about 10 and had a drawing in her hand that she had been working on all night.

Leena and Myla were practically inseparable. Wherever Myla went, Leena wasn't too far behind. And today was no different. Leena wanted to spend the whole day with her sister and didn't want her to go to school. While it would break her perfect attendance record, Myla couldn't resist the small blue eyes in front of her. So she allowed her parents to call her out of school for the day.

It was actually great timing because today was Friday. Myla was too excited to give a real answer but she sat and enjoyed her birthday breakfast and gifts with her family. They laughed and told jokes and she checked her phone and socials to see all the birthday wishes pouring in. It was a great day already.

Myla actually had time to relax so she took her things to her room while her parents cleaned the kitchen. She peeked in on Leena who was falling asleep in her room to cartoons and she smiled knowing she was about to do the exact same. She put all her stuff on her desk and sat on her bed, kicking her shoes off.

She got comfy and started replying to texts and picture posts before finally falling asleep. When she woke up she saw Leena standing in her doorway with her stuffed bunny. Myla motioned for her to come lay with her and Leena was happy to oblige. Myla turned on the TV and they started watching cartoons together before their mother came into the room.

"Camping?" she asked sitting on the opposite side of the bed smiling at both of the girls.

"Wait really? Like camping camping or going to the cabin?" Myla asked sitting up.

"We can camp at the cabin" her mother laughed as she stood up. Myla nodded her head as she accepted the offer. A camping trip for her birthday weekend sounded like a dream.

Elly walked into her room and saw Marcus packing a duffle bag separate from his suitcase. He looked over at his wife who simply nodded and smiled. It was going to be an interesting weekend indeed.

As the family got up the next morning and started piling into the car, Myla noticed a car on the street she wasn't familiar with. It was a silver sedan but she couldn't tell what kind. She nudged her dad who only took a small peek and went back to the house to make sure everything valuable was put up and away as well as making sure all of the doors and windows were locked.

While still inside he placed a call to a couple of the neighbors to make them aware of the strange car as well before happily going out to his own vehicle and driving his family off to the cabin.

The family listened to music, played car games and eventually the girls were in the back sleep. Elly looked at her husband and held his hand while it was resting on the gear shift. Marcus smiled and took a glance in the rearview. Upon seeing the same silver sedan just behind them, he slowly started to speed up. Elly could sense something was wrong but didn't want to ask. She simply let go of his hand, checked on the girls and gave him an approving nod.

Marcus began weaving in between cars, keeping an eye on the car following close behind. He finally pulled up on the side of an 18-wheeler and got in front of it. There was a car similar to theirs that was also in front of the truck. When a turn came up, the car in front of them turned and the mystery sedan followed it.

Marcus took a silent sigh of relief and turned the music up as he smiled over at his wife. It was weird indeed. But why was it happening? They didn't want it to ruin their trip so they left it out of anymore car conversations. The girls woke up here and there but mainly stayed asleep.

Once they got to the cabin, the girls were wide awake and looking around through the window at where they would be for the weekend. They hadn't been to the cabin in a few years so they were all very excited. Myla was especially excited because it was something she had in common with her dad. Marcus unpacked the car and Elly helped the girls get settled into their rooms.

While the girls unpacked, Elly met Marcus back at the car. Myla went to the front door and could only hear every couple of words but mainly their conversation was all whispers which she thought was kind of weird.

"Myla? What's wrong?" Elly asked when she saw Myla's shoulder in the doorway.

"Oh, nothing! I was just wondering if we brought the pots and pans for the kitchen, I was going to start unpacking in there." she lied.

Elly smiled and nodded and pulled out the container marked kitchen. Myla picked it up with ease and walked back into the cabin, pausing at the door and then continuing in when her mother waved her on. Marcus shared a look of concern and pulled out the last 2 duffle bags before following their daughter inside.

That night they had a little family birthday party, played party games and even went swimming in the lake. Marcus tucked in Leena and stopped by Myla's room and promised her a morning of fishing. Her favorite activity when they came to the cabin. In their room Marcus and Elly unpacked one of the duffle bags. It contained all of the gifts they either purchased for Myla or got from family members and friends to give to her over the weekend.

They snuck and put all the gifts by her door for her to either wake up to or whenever she came out to get something to drink or go to the bathroom she'd be able to grab them.

When they went back to their room Elly pulled out the other duffle bag. Across the bed she put out rope, wire, a net, a hammer and a couple of saws. Marcus pulled out some garbage bags and some duct tape. They each took a deep sigh and looked at each other, nodding.

Later on in the night, Marcus walked to the kitchen for a glass of water. He noticed the gifts were gone and smiled. While filling up his glass he looked out the window and his eyes were met with another set of eyes. Human. He called for Elly and grabbed the shotgun off the wall by the door.

After Elly put the girls in the back room, she grabbed the rifle from under the bed and went to join her husband. After about 30 minutes of searching, they went back to the cabin to find Myla was nowhere to be found and Leena was asleep. Marcus and Elly called the police and went back out to search for her. That was the last night she had been seen by her parents, her sister and in general.

Back in the Present (15 years to the day)

Myla's birthday was yesterday. Today, they received the phone call that rocked their otherwise semi-perfect world they made for themselves.

"Hi Mom. Hi Dad. Hope you've been doing well for yourselves, after all this time."

My mom practically fainted on the kitchen floor and my father threw the phone into the sink in a panic. Once he was able to help my mom get herself together they paced around the kitchen. My dad throwing dishes everywhere in frustration.

It had been 15 years after all. All that time they spent perfecting the story of the man in the car. The man in the window. The chase. Locking the daughters in the room for safety. Admitting they had weapons that had been at the cabin for years. The crocodile tears.

When in reality, while Leena was sleeping they lured Myla out of her room with her birthday gifts, suffocated her with the rope her father had packed in the extra duffle bag and dumped her body in the lake.

They didn't have it in them to cut her up. It was just supposed to be an experiment anyway. They just wanted to see if they could do it. At least, that's the conversation they were having at the car. It was all but solidified when they discovered Myla was listening.

But how much did she really hear?

They were 100% sure they killed her. But there she was, on their phone. Apparently they never felt the need to change their number.

I heard it all. But what they didn't know is that while I was unconscious when I got thrown into the lake, I was certainly not dead. Like I learned when I slipped away from girl scouts to a survivalist camp, I held my breath for as long as I could and swam down towards the bottom. The cold water woke me up almost instantly.

I knew what they wanted. Just didn't know why. When they left and went back into the cabin, I swam across the lake to a neighboring cabin. The family that owned it saw me and helped me. They insisted on taking me back but I begged for them to listen.

When my parents started their pity party and unnecessary search, the family knew I wasn't lying. They helped me change my look, change my name and raised me for the past 15 years. I put this plan in motion that same night. I don't even care if they get arrested really, but they will know, you can't get rid of me that way.

Leena was the first one I called. We cried together and she sent me the keys to the house. I was there when they left. I called from the big bush by the living room window. I started rearranging the furniture and had the couch turned towards the door.

Leena came in first. Right on time. She said mom and dad were 5 minutes away. I decided at the last minute that scaring them just wasn't enough anymore. She and I sat together on the couch. Legs crossed. Holding hands. In my right hand I had a nice surprise.

Marcus and Elly. My amazingly idiotic and wannabe murderous parents walked through the door. And before they could even say take their first deep breath...

There was the smile. And then there was the trigger.


About the Creator

Christina Nelson

I started writing when i was in the 3rd grade. That's when i discovered I had an overactive imagination. I'm currently trying to publish 2 books, hopefully I can improve my writing here before I hit the big leagues in writing.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insight

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (4)

Sign in to comment
  • Naveed about a month ago

    Well-deserved congratulations for your work—keep it up!

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Yikes! This was so good! I love the twists and turns.

  • Dana Crandellabout a month ago

    Sweet revenge. Seems like to easy an end for them, though. Congratulations!

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