A past life I don't remember much from before they died, just a few gleams really, a memory of a classroom comes to my mind when ever I try to remember where I came from, a classroom in some school somewhere in Ireland then there is one of a dog barking next to the schoolyard, I remember that the dogs name was Chuck, but I have no other memory of him, there are a few memories of two adult faces, probably my parents, but there are no specific details of them though. However I do remember Anastasia, I think she was my sister, or my twin sister to be exact. We were nothing alike though, she had red hair and blue eyes, she was the nicest little girl anyone had ever known, and she would always do as she was told, she would always eat all of her vegetables and keep her room tidy, I guess you could say that she was the kind of child every parent would love to have. I was completely another story, I used to have brown eyes and brown hair, my appearance has changed now though, my hair is pitch black now, and my eyes are a light shade of grey, I think my father had something to do with making me so unrecognisable. My behaviour was always different from hers too, and for some reason I would always get into trouble, and I was never lucky enough to get away with anything, I always had to take whichever punishment that came with my actions. We were nothing alike, but we got along fine, we used to be like two sides of the same coin.
The year was 1959, only one more month and then it would be 1960. It was just an ordinary day, the only thing different from the day before was that the first snow of the season had fallen during the night, and I knew that I would not be able to enjoy it with my sister, because I would be stuck in detention in the afternoon. There is nothing quite like snow in Ireland, sure snow is the same wheatear it falls in Russia or in Canada or in any other part of the world, but the atmosphere the snow creates in Ireland is somehow entirely different and much more magnificent than anything snow could ever create anywhere else in the world, it seems like the snow makes time stand still for a few hours, and all worries seem to go away, or at least it seemed like that to me when I was seven years old. I always loved snow when I was a lad, but then again what child does not like snow. I remember going downstairs after I had woken up, Anastasia was already sitting at the kitchen table, she was waiting for the person standing by the stove to give her some breakfast. I sat down besides her, I remember that she smiled at me, one more tooth was missing from her usually so perfect smile, she had lost it during the night, it was the third one she had lost this month, and I thought that if she kept loosing her teeth like this she wouldn't have any left by Christmas. I had only lost one since August, but it didn't matter, because I had lost more then she had when we were six. I don't remember having any breakfast or getting dressed or any other little things from the everyday life, but I guess our parents fed us and dressed us and rushed to get us ready for school, just like most other families in the world I guess, but I can't be sure of it. The next thing I remember is probably one of the shortest memories I have, I sat in a classroom and Anastasia sat in the other end of the classroom, then the shape of a man came into the classroom, the shape had a deep voice and it told me to go to room where detention was held, I looked back as I left the classroom, and saw Anastasia wave at me and she was smiling her almost toothless smile. That was the last time I ever saw that almost toothless smile. Anastasia died that same afternoon, she was just sitting in our parents car minding her own business, but whoever drove the car lost control of it, and ended up in the wrong lane, I guess the truck, driving in the other direction, was unable to stop because of the snow, first snow of the season, it is a little ironic is it not? My favourite thing in the world ended up being the reason that my family died.
I was sure that Anastasia was still alive though, people tried to convince me that she was not, and that I needed to let go of the past, but I chose to trust my own two brown eyes, I probably would not have if I knew more about the ways of the world like I do now, if I knew things which humans do not usually understand, but I did not know more than most seven year olds at the time, so I believed what I saw. She would appear from time to time as if nothing had ever happened, as if she had just been to the bathroom and now she was back, but she was not quite the same anymore, she would speak as if she was ten years older than I was, and she would tell me things, complex things, things I would not figure out what meant till years later. I remember sitting in a car on the way to the funeral, I was looking out the window, I could see a dog bark next to the school: "his name is Chuck" I turned my head to see that Anastasia was back again, but I did not remember the car stopping. "He barks because his owner is never at home, and he is tired of always being stuck in a leach" she said to me, then she smiled but none of her teeth were missing anymore, they had all been replaced with a set of perfect new white teeth. She asked me if I knew where we were going, I only nodded, because I had noticed that the woman who was taking care of me, became un easy when I spoke to Anastasia, I remember being confused by it, but who would not be a bit freaked out by a seven year old who kept talking to his invincible sister, who everyone else clamed to be dead. Anastasia was gone again by the time I got to the cemetery, there were three coffins, two were big and made of brown oak, one was smaller, it was exactly my size so I guess they made the coffin a litter larger the necessary, they had also painted it white, and there were little pink flowers around the edges, I think that she would have liked it if she had seen it before she started changing. People cried at the funeral, but I remember that I did not, not that I was not sad, I was actually heartbroken but there was something else as well, but I did not know what it was, I am still not entirely sure what that other feeling has been, it might have been loneliness maybe, or regret perhaps, it might even have been hate but I am not sure who I hated, I did not hate the man who drove the truck, nor did I hate my parents for driving the way they did. I started thinking about my feelings, there was nothing else to do really since I was not interested in listening to the sobbing people, and the reverent who kept mumbling away, about how much my family would be missed by many people and other stuff like that, as if he would know anything about that. I thought about it for a wile, but the answer never came to me, for a moment I thought that I hated the shape back in the classroom for making me stay behind so that I could not share my families feath, then I started hating the woman who was taking care of me, and the reverent, and even God.
Anastasia was waiting for me when I got back to the car, her hair was almost white now, she just sat there on the backseat, looking down at her feet, and I could see that something was bothering her, she looked up when I got into the car. She asked me how the sermon was, I shook my shoulders a bit, I was not sure how to answer her question, but she got my point, she was the other side of my coin after all. She turned at me again: "Liam, I have to tell you something" she looked worried, I had never seen her like this before, and truth to be told it frightened me a little. "I can't stay here Liam" she said to me: "I'm changing to fast, I thought that I would have more time, but I don't, and I don't belong here anymore, I'm not a ghost you know, so I can't hunt you forever, I just wanted to make sure that they were taking care of you before I left, that's all, I really have to go soon, and you'll probably never see me again." at first I felt like someone had just reached down my throat with a knife, and started stabbing it into my heart, then I could feel an unbearable pain it in my gut, as if my stomach was filled with hungry snakes, who were trying to chew their way out of my body, and on top of that I started feeling like someone was splitting me in half, my entire body was in agonizing pain, and no one had even touched me. This pain was so much different, and somehow so much worse then the pain you get from a saying goodbye to a lover, this pain went so much deeper than that can ever do. I had never felt like that before, and luckily I have never been so unfortunate to feel like that again, or at least not yet. "Are you alright Liam?" Anastasia asked me, but I could not answer, I was afraid that the snakes would attack her if I opened my mouth, "It'll be better like this, you have to trust me" she said, but how did she know that, how could she possibly know anything about how things would be if we were not together. However she knew what she had to do, so she disappeared right then and there, and that was the last time I ever saw her.
Barely two years after Anastasia and our parents had died, I had already lived with five different foster families, the first of them was alright, the Swartz family, but then misses Swartz was diagnosed with highly progressed breast cancer, and they decided that it would be better for me if I got another foster family rather then watching her die. Then I was sent to the Harris family, that was the one where they would hit me if I spoke out of term as they called it, but the truth is that they would hit me if I even spoke at all. Then came the Jones family, than were worse then the Harris family, mister and misses Jones said that they knew how to party, but the truth was that they knew it way to well, they would go out every afternoon, and than they would usually not come home till the next morning, mister Jones did not like to be home before it was at least five o'clock in the morning. I also started hearing the two voices wile I lived with mister and misses Jones, many lonely nights will do that to a child, one of the voices was very deep and soothing, the other was mysterious and echoed a little when it spoke, as if it was standing inside a gigantic cave. I do not know why the Jones decided to let me go, but after them it was the McPhill family, they had a son, his name was Patrick and he was twelve years old. Patrick McPhill had trouble channelling his anger, his parents thought that that seemed to change as soon as I moved in, probably because he started channelling his anger at me. Patrick McPhill once broke my left arm and three of my ribs, the nurses in the hospital was the reason I was sent on to the next family, to the former doctor Brown. Doctor Brown was a woman, and she liked to experiment, especially on her foster children which she had four of, though I was filled with all sorts of pills so often, that I never even learned the names of the other three children. The voices started getting louder when I lived with doctor Brown, they started telling me what to do, they helped me through my time in doctor Browns house, they would remind me that I had to do these simple things that the pills made me forget, they told me to go to the bathroom, and to eat and to drink. One day the voices told me to go out, so I did, I went out wile doctor Brown was at work, I left all of my things, because the voices had not told me to bring anything, or how long I would be gone. When I got outside the voices told me to walk, so I did, I still do not know how long I walked, but I woke up in a forest one morning, I did not know how long I had been in the forest, I still do not know, but my mind was starting to clear up now, and I noticed that I had blood on my clots and smeared around my mouth, a few hours after that, my head was clear as glass again, but the voices were still there, still telling me what to do and when to do it, and at that moment they were telling me to walk, so I did, and just as the voices had told me to stop, I could see that I was by a road. The police found me a little later, but I would not tell them who my legal guardian was, so they took me back to the station with them. Doctor Brown went to prison some days after the police had found me in the forest, and I got a new foster family, the Jefferson family, their daughter had committed suicide a few years before Anastasia had died, the voices told me about it, she had simply had enough of this world, so she slit her wrists, that was what they told me. Misses Jefferson was a pro when it came to pretending that everything was alright, mister Jefferson was a pro at making sure that nothing was ever alright. In a way I guess you could say that he had had enough of this world as well, he just chose to deal with it in a slightly different way than his daughter did. Mister Jefferson was the worst of all of them, he had a little of mister Harris in him, and a little of Patrick McPhill as well, sometimes he even reminded me a little of mister Jones. But mister Jefferson was in truth entirely different from any of my other foster parents, mister Jefferson loved me, just not the way any child should ever be loved, he would come to check if I was alright at night, wile his dear wife pretended to be fast asleep in the next room. In the beginning I did not understand, why he would not just beat me up like everyone else, but he was to evil to be satisfied with giving me lashing, so instead he would wound both my pride and my self esteem, wile he was giving me a lashing. The things he did to me were unbearable, but at least the voices were still there, they helped me through it, thought me how to ignore it wile it was happening, and how to forget it as soon as it was over, though I did never really forget, I just hid it away, showed it into the back of my head, but my head was not very big, and the back of it was even smaller, so eventually I had enough. When I could not take anymore, I asked the voices to make the pain go away, if anyone knew how, then it would be them. The voices asked me if I remembered what mister and misses Jefferson's daughter had done, and the answer was clear to me at once, it was so obvious, I did not have to endure anything really, I knew how to make everything go away now. The voices told me to go to the bathroom, so I did, then I took one of mister Jefferson's razors from his drawer, I remember that I wondered if this meant that I would get to see Anastasia again, I would like to be with her again, and even though I knew that this was going to hurt a hell of a lot, I remember thinking, that it would be a cheap prize to pay to be able to make the coin whole again. I could hear the voices beginning to mumble around me, they did not make much sense when I could hear them all at once like this, I wonder what they were arguing about, was that was not what they had in mind when they told me to go to the bathroom, but then one of them suddenly became louder than the others, "cut!" the loud voice told me, it was the mysterious one, the one that echoed a little as if it was inside a gigantic cave, and as always I did as I was told.
I could feel the blade cut through my skin, it felt cold like ice, and for a moment I thought that the snakes I had felt when Anastasia left, were back in my stomach, then the deep voice started shouting at the other one, but I could not understand a word it said, the mysterious voice was calmer then I had ever heard it before, it was speaking quietly, the way a mother speaks to a child when she is putting it to sleep, but there was something else in the voice as well, it sounded a little triumphing, as if it had just won a game of some sort. My stomach feel as bad, as I could feel the blood run down my hands, I could hear it dripping onto the bathroom tile, and I tried to concentrate on the sound of the drop landing on the tile, rather then concentrating on the arguing voices, it was hard, they were so loud now that it hurt my head. I could not feel my legs anymore, so I had to sit down, I looked at the back of my hand, it was very pale now, and I could still feel the snakes, but my head caught my attention, it felt like it was going to explode soon, because of the voices, who shouted more words, I could not understand at each other, words such as "puer" and "laedere" and "malus" words which made no sense to me at the time. I wanted them to stop shouting, but I was to tired to tell them, to tired to speak, I felt my eyelids drop, I had never noticed how heavy they really were, I could not open them again, I was not strong enough, but I did not keep trying, because when my eyes were shut, the snakes in my stomach were asleep as well, and I liked it when the were asleep. The voices started fainting away along with the sound of the dripping. Everything was so quiet, and I have never felt as safe as I did when I decided to join the snakes, to go to sleep.