I don’t really know what to say. It’s all a bit, unclear now. I don’t really know what to say.
Words, they’re strange things. How sounds that escape our mouths can have such an effect on people. How if you say the wrong words, everything can come crashing down. Or if you say the right words you could end up happy. Right words. They are truly strange, the things that make people happy. Sometimes it’s difficult to say the right thing, sometimes it’s the easiest thing in the world. I guess it’s all quite strange. Words, time, people, life. Something we don’t quite understand and yet it’s all part of everything we know. It’s strange to think about the universe. Sometimes it’s too much to think about because one can’t quite grasp the concept. It’s strange to think about how big it is and whether there is life in other places. Is there a God? One might wonder. It certainly feels like there must be something out there. Something bigger than us. Something better than us. But you can’t really be certain, can you? About why anything is the way it is. Why we are so small and the universe is so big. Why we hardly know anything about anything beyond our world. Why time is such a strange thing. How it seems to pass so slowly, and yet suddenly it’s gone. Why we don’t really know anything about time, we’ve just figured out how to control it. Or at least we comfort ourselves with the illusion of control so that we don’t feel completely and utterly useless. People in general are strange. How we think and do and how our thoughts aren’t necessarily connected to our actions. How we can go around thinking we know something, thinking we know right from wrong; only to find out it is the complete opposite. How do we know right from wrong? I mean, how can we? What may feel like no big deal to one person; may be very hurtful and horrible to another. How can we know how what we do will affect us later on? How can we know how it will affect others? Is there even right and wrong, good and bad? How can we really know? How can you know if you in fact really are a good person? How can I? Am I, good?
“Do I get a big bowl, Aunty?” Erica looks at me hopefully with her big, blue, sparkling eyes.
“Of course,” I say. “Everybody gets a big bowl when they’re at Aunty Jane’s.” I pour her a big bowl of coco puffs and watch her stuff her face like an eager little six-year-old should on a Saturday morning. I told Jim and Annie that I would watch her because I know how long it’s been since they’ve had a night out and I love my sister. Besides, Erica is the coolest, funniest little niece I could possibly ask for. We have lots of fun and that way I get to pour out all my motherly instincts, but still be the cool aunt who doesn’t always follow mommy and daddy’s rules.
She’s in the middle of telling me about how she likes to capture worms on the playground at school, when there’s a knock at the door. “That must be your parents coming to pick you up.” I say. “Oh no, I don’t wanna go home yet Auntie, I wanna stay here with you.” Erica whines. I open the door to a smiling couple. “Hi, Jane,” says my sister. “Come on Erica time to go home.” I say. She runs towards the door. On her way she trips and falls. The moment she hits the floor she screams bloody murder and I see tears stream down her face while she screams “Please!” “Oh my God, Erica, are you OK?” I ask as I help her up. “Of course I am Auntie,” she says and smiles. “I fall down all the time.” “Jane stop worrying, she’s six she’s gonna trip over her own feet sometimes.” says my sister with a smile. “Come on sweetie, say bye-bye to Auntie Jane.” “Bye-bye Auntie.” Erica waves at me on the way out the door. “Bye.” I say a little confused. I shut the door behind them.
“Mommy! Help! Please!” she cries. My filthy hands throw the handful of worms into a bowl and place it in front of her. Her scream fills my body with a tingling sensation, her cries for help like bathing in a pool of satisfaction.
She’s on the floor crawling, trying to reach the door. “Please Auntie!” she cries. But she’s too slow, so I step on and crush her already broken fingers. She screams bloody murder. I wake up screaming and panting, covered in sweat. The sun is seeping in through the curtains. It’s morning. I go to the kitchen to get myself some water to shake off my horrible night. What could have possibly triggered that?
I bend over the sink to drink from the tap when suddenly in the corner of my eye I notice something strange. I look up, and there sits Erica in her chair eating her cereal. “Good morning, Auntie.” She says and smiles. Suddenly she’s tied up to the chair. Her mouth stuffed with a dirty, bloody cloth. Her eye swollen and blue, her fingers misshapen, her face full of bruises and blood. And the bowl of cereal, is a bowl of worms. Then it goes back.
“Do I get a big bowl, Auntie?” she asks and looks at me with the same hopeful eyes as yesterday. “Erica, what are you doing here?” I ask, wondering if I’m still dreaming. “What do you mean?” she asks. “It’s Saturday. I came here yesterday because mommy and daddy were going out. Silly Auntie, don’t you remember?” she looks at me as if I’m the biggest idiot in the world. “No, of course I remember.” I laugh. “And yes, everybody gets a big bowl at Auntie Jane’s.”
It’s so weird how realistic that dream was. I really thought she had already been here and gone home. But it was all part of the dream. Funny.
Later on I send her home. She waves good bye and I wave back and she wanders off in the direction of my sister’s house. I shut the door behind me, and shake off my rather strange morning.
About an hour later I get a phone call from my sister. She’s in tears asking me if I know where Erica is. “Calm down Annie, she left here like an hour ago,” I say. “I’m sure she’s just walking slow.” “Jane, what are you talking about?” she asks me sounding even more worried. “No one’s seen her since yesterday, you know that.” “What? But she was just here.” I say. “No, that was yesterday. God, I swear ever since that asshole left something’s just been wrong in your head.” With that she hangs up. “What the hell was that all about?” I say. What asshole?
“Push! Push! Come on honey, you can do it!” Pain is shooting through my entire body. I’m pushing as hard as I possibly can. “Just one more now, Mrs. Wright.” Says the person in green in front of me. I scream with the last of my efforts and the pain stops. But I hear no crying like I expected. I see several people in green standing with their backs to me working hard on something. I look at the man next to me who suddenly looks very frightened. I feel chest pains like never before and tears that I have to struggle to hold back. “I’m sorry. He’s gone.” Says the man in green suddenly standing in front of me. “No!” I scream and fall to the floor. My husband holds me and we scream and cry together. I wake up from a knock at the door. Covered in sweat, I pick myself up off the couch to go answer the door. When I open the door two police men are standing there. “Ma’am, would you please come with us down to the station? We would like to ask you a few questions.” The one with the sunglasses says. Suddenly they barge in and head for my basement. I grab one of them and scream “No!” “Ma’am?” Says the other one looking funny at me. No one barged in. “Yes, I suppose.” I say not knowing what to make of all of this.
At the station the police men ask me questions about the last time I saw Erica and I tell them everything I know, or at least the parts I know were real. Somehow I drift off while they’re talking and suddenly I’m back in the dream. Erica is tied up, beaten, screaming and I’m filling the bowl with worms. I place it in front of her and say: “Everybody gets a big bowl at Auntie Jane’s.” She screams and continues to cry. That’s my favourite part, when the scream reaches its highest pitch. It sends such a sensational feeling through my body.
I snap back because suddenly the police men are grabbing me and holding me down. I see a man in white coming and then I feel a piercing pain in my lower back. Everything goes dark. Then I really snap back. The police men are looking at me funny. Obviously they’ve realised I’m not paying attention. “Ma’am?” the one with the sunglasses says. “We would appreciate if you could pay attention when we talk to you so as not to waste anybody’s time.” “I’m sorry officer,” I say. “I haven’t been getting much sleep lately.” They continue with the questions. At the end they drive me home and thank me for my time.
Flashes of white walls blind me. I see a door. It’s got a small square just above the centre. I feel like I’m being watched. I swear someone is spying on me. I can’t seem to move my arms. I struggle in vain. They’re stuck to my body. The flashes go on. White walls, a door, the agonizing feeling of constantly being watched. Stared at, like a caged animal, helpless and alone. My head aches as I slowly creep back into consciousness. As I force myself up off the couch I see my living room, but I swear something’s different. I wander into the kitchen to get some aspirin. Something feels weird here too. Like something is wrong or missing. I feel almost as if the laws of physics are being broken.
I throw my head back to swallow the aspirin and the flash hits me again. I fall to the floor and find myself once again surrounded by white walls and faced towards a door. Someone is definitely watching me. I scream as I once again have to struggle my arms free. Then it goes back. I’m lying on my kitchen floor and my headache is even worse now.
I pick myself up and my sister shoves me back down again. She looks devastated. “How could you?!” she screams and grabs my biggest kitchen knife. She points it in my direction and suddenly thrusts it down towards me. I roll away just in time and she cracks the floor tile instead. “I looked up to you!” she screams. “I trusted you!” I mean to ask her what she’s talking about, instead I find myself speaking in an unfamiliar voice: “Oh please, you know why. I lost everything! Why should you get what I deserve? Besides that brat got everything she deserved.” Tears are streaming down my face as I uncontrollably speak these dreadful words. Suddenly I find myself reaching for the gun in my back pocket. I point it at my little sister. “Jane what the hell is wrong with you?” she screams in tears. “Now you’ll get what you really deserve you little bitch!” I say and pull the trigger.
My mind flashes again and I see the white walls, the door, the little square at the top, the everlasting feeling of being watched and the helplessness of not being able to separate my arms from my body. It flashes again and my head aches more than ever. I see my hands covered in filth and holding a handful of worms. I stuff them in my nieces mouth and say “Everybody gets a big bowl at auntie Jane’s.” She screams and cries as I stuff them down her throat. She struggles for a bit as my hand sinks further and further down, until finally her body goes limp.
Another flash. Men in white grab me and hold me down as they stick needles in my body. I laugh uncontrollably at the pain before I pass out. Flash. White walls. A door. Eyes watching. Struggling. Screaming. Resisting. Laughing as tears stream.
Suddenly the white room is very clear. I hear voices from the other side of the door. It sounds like someone is having a private conversation I know I’m not supposed to hear. I listen anyway. “I’m afraid she was found guilty of killing both your daughter and your wife, Mr. Thompson. Her mental condition is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. The only comfort I have for you is that I assure you she can’t hurt anyone anymore. I’m very sorry for your loss.” Then I hear the sound of a man crying and for some reason it makes me smile.
But then I start to wonder. Was it me he was talking about? Could it have been? My mind flashes once more, and I remember everything. My child dying at birth. My husband leaving. Hating my sister for getting everything I wanted. Making Erica like me so I could get her alone. Torturing her in my basement. The police finding her dead. Murdering my sister. The men in white locking me away. Binding me to make sure I don’t harm anyone or myself. Enjoying it all.
I don’t really know what to say. It’s all a bit, unclear now. I don’t really know what to say.
Words, they’re strange things. How sounds that escape our mouths can have such an effect on people. How if you say the wrong words, everything can come crashing down. Or if you say the right words you could end up happy. Right words. They are truly strange, the things that make people happy. Sometimes it’s difficult to say the right thing, sometimes it’s the easiest thing in the world. I guess it’s all quite strange. Words, time, people, life. People in general are strange. How we think and do and how our thoughts aren’t necessarily connected to our actions. How we can go around thinking we know something, thinking we know right from wrong; only to find out it is the complete opposite. How do we know right from wrong? I mean, how can we? What may feel like no big deal to one person; may be very hurtful and horrible to another. How can we know how what we do will affect us later on? How can we know how it will affect others? Is there even right and wrong, good and bad? How can we really know? How can you know if you in fact really are a good person? How can I? Am I, good?