Haunted by sorrow
"She is acting just like Stacy used to act and I don't understand her at all anymore,"her mother exclaimed, trying to hold her sorrow back. Her father hung his head and replied brokenly," do you think that maybe she is possessed or something? That she is thinking of committing suicide so she can be with her best friend again? I think we just need to hang in there. It hasn't been that long since Stacy....passed on and we need to keep strong for our daughter."
Jamie sat on the top steps, listening to every word her parents had spoken and clenched her hands into fists. How dare they try to figure her out? They would never in a million years understand what was going on with her and she knew it. Stacy was always near her, Jamie knew that because she heard her voice and has seen her countless times.
They must never know though. If they did...they would lock her up in a mental institution or worse. Jamie shuddered with cold and stood up. She headed back to her room and sat on her bed, waiting for Stacy.
Her lamp light flickered then went out completely and Jamie looked around."Stacy, are you here?"she whispered, letting her eyes adjust to the darkness of the room.
A soft breeze picked up out of nowhere and she saw an indentation on the bed next to her. She laid down and smiled, knowing her best friend was beside her. As Stacy came into view, Jamie smiled wickedly and said,"My parents seem to think that I am possessed, Stacy. Why do you think that is? Stacy smiled back at her friend and replied,"Well, maybe because you are possessed, Jamie. It is through you that I can live again." Jamie nodded, understanding what her friend was talking about. Stacy stood up and looked down at her best friend. Jamie stood as well and waited, staring back at Stacy and realizing what was about to happen next.
Feeling a cold chill go through her, Jamie shuddered and let her best friend enter her body so she can feel things and see things once again. Walking down the stairs the next morning, Jamie said good morning to her parents and sat down at the table. She ate eggs and toast with a cup of coffee, not realizing that her parents were staring at her dumbfounded. She stood up after eating, placed her dishes in the sink, then walked out of the house without saying another word.
Her parents looked at each other and said in unison,"Our daughter never drinks coffee and always says goodbye when she leaves the house. Stacy was the one who drank coffee and left without a word whenever she came over in the morning or stayed the night." Jamie headed to the park, walking swiftly towards the spot her and Stacy used to hang out at all the time.
Sitting down by the old weeping willow tree that provided shade and privacy, Stacy shimmered out of Jamie's body and floated about to sit beside her best friend. "You know there is way to bring me back, Jamie. Listen to the wind and it will tell you how to do it."
Jamie closed her eyes and listened to the wind like Stacy said to do and heard it whispering to her. After a few moments, she opened them and looked at Stacy, her eyes wide with shock and fear. "You mean I have to go after the creature that ended your life and almost cost me mine and destroy it so I can bring you back to life, Stacy?" Jamie asked, her emotions showing within her voice.
Stacy nodded sadly. "I know it will be very hard for you to go back to where we crashed, Jamie. But the only way I can come back is if you go and destroy that creature," she said quietly. Jamie stood up and looked down. "I am ready. If it will bring you back and make all of the pain I feel go away, I will find this creature and end its life like it ended yours," she replied.
Stacy smiled and wished with all of her might that she could hug her best friend. As she shimmered out of sight, Jamie sighed, understanding what she had to but trying hard to get the courage to pull it all together. She headed back to her home and went into her room, trying to think how to explain things to her parents.
They came upstairs a little while later and Jamie did her best to describe everything. Barely able to comprehend what their daughter was saying but also willing to help, they gave her the gun they kept in their night stand drawer and the twelve inch hunting knife that her father had in his closet. Her mother gave her the keys to the car and hugged her daughter before she left the house. "Be careful, Jamie. We love you and do not want to lose you," her mother said to her as she opened the front door. Her father had tears in his eyes as Jamie walked out and got into the car.
Taking a deep breath, she drove to the spot where the accident occurred and parked on the far side of the road near the trees. She said a prayer and climbed out, looking around her surroundings and memorizing where she walked so she could make it back to the car. As Jamie walked farther into the woods, she smelled something that made her gag.
Looking around while it was still sort of bright, she saw all around the bodies of animals mixed in with a few human remains. She choked and held her hand to her mouth and nose, trying to block out the stench that rose up from them. Knowing that she was on the right path, Jamie said a prayer as she walked deeper into the woods. Unsure of what would be awaiting her, she held the knife firmly in one hand and in the other, she held the gun, making sure the safety was off.
She leaned against a tree, listening for the slightest sound of the creature approaching. She did not have to wait long though. A few moments later, she looked up as she heard someone crying and saw the creature head towards the graveyard of bones. It seemed to be holding a child in its arms. "Oh my goodness,"she whispered softly to herself. "This is the thing I have to destroy?"
She raised the gun in the air and aimed it at the head of the creature. Once it set the child down, it stood straight up and she had a clear shot. She pulled the trigger three times and caught the creature clear in the back of the head. It stumbled to its enormous knees and Jamie lunged forward, the knife held securely in her other hand. With a clean stroke, she managed to cut its head off and kill it.
The child screamed in horror as the creature's head rolled toward her and the body crumpled to a putrid dust. Jamie picked up the child and cradling in her arms, she headed back to her car. Calming the child, she headed back to town and left her with the police. She said she found her in the woods while out walking and the police believed her, saying that the child was reported missing just last night and that her parents would be glad to have her back home, safe and sound.
Jamie drove to the cemetery before heading home, a place she has not been to since the day they buried Stacy. As a breeze began to blow, Jamie whispered a prayer and started to cry, wishing that her friend could be there with her right now and not laying in the ground. She started to think that the winds were wrong until she felt arms wrap around her shoulders.
Looking up with shock, she saw that it was Stacy hugging her! She cried tears of happiness and surprise and hugged her best friend back. "How are we going to explain this to everyone?" Jamie asked. Stacy grinned and said," We will tell them the truth. If they don't believe us, then it doesn't really matter. I am back and intend to stay away from dark roads and woods forever if I can."
Laughing together, they headed to the car and drove to Jamie's house to find that Stacy's parents had stopped over for a visit. When they walked into the house together, their mothers fainted in shock and their fathers started to bawl like babies. Jamie and Stacy walked over to them and hugged them tight, then helped wake their mothers.
They sat almost all night in the living room, Jamie and Stacy taking roundabout turns telling the whole story. A few days later, a news reporter stopped over and wrote the whole thing down, publishing it in the newspaper. Almost everyone knew there was something sinister in the woods, that is why they did their best to keep it secret. Jamie was the only one brave enough to face it and destroy it, thus bringing her best friend back to life.
Stacy declined her acceptance at the fashion school and ended up going to a simple college with Jamie. They both graduated with high honors and now own a quaint home in their town together, working at different jobs but still as close as sisters and best friends for life. They check in with their parents and let them know how everything is going at least three times a week. Those who pass the woods at night have not seen anything and feel safer now, knowing that the creature is now gone. Jamie no longer has nightmares and now that Stacy is back, the haunting sorrow that she felt for so long has dissipated into nothing. Their lives are filled with adventures and happiness and life.
Jamie's heart was pounding when she walked into that funeral home. She knew that what she was about to see would haunt her for the rest of her life. She had been there, and everyone in that room knew it, because they all turned around and stared at her, some not believing she had come. She knew it wasn't her fault that Stacy was lying in that casket, and she tried to keep telling herself the same thing the sheriff had told her that horrible night:"You're the lucky one, Jamie. Someone up there must love you." She didn't feel very loved at this moment.
Her mother took her by the hand, squeezing it reassuringly and entered the room with her. Everyone turned as she feared they would but the looks upon their faces were sympathetic. They did not blame her for the accident. Jamie walked up to the casket with her mother by her side and stared down at her best friend. With tears rolling down her pale cheeks, she leaned over and whispered, "I am sorry I couldn't save you, Stacy. I wish we never took that drive. Maybe then, you would still be here with us and that creature would not have ended your life. I will always miss you."
Sobs shook her body as she leaned down and gave Stacy a kiss on her cheek. Jamie turned to her mother and wrapped her arms around her, needing to feel the closeness and the love that she felt she had lost. Her mother held her close as she cried, knowing that what her daughter felt was something that she herself had never experienced.
Jamie's best friend was gone and there was no way to bring her back. Stacy's parents sat on chairs, holding onto each other and seemed to age with every minute that passed by. Taking a deep breath, Jamie walked over to them and knelt down. Stacy's mother brought her head up and looked at Jamie. "I wish Stacy was alive and standing here with us. She would always find a way to make you laugh no matter how angry or sad you were. I thank God that He took her quickly and made sure that at least one of our children was still here. You are not at fault, dear, and you could not have prevented it. We aren't angry with you and know that you tried to save our daughter's life."
Tears fell from Jamie's eyes as she replied softly, "I didn't try hard enough and I feel as though I failed you all somehow. If we had stayed home instead of going out that night, she would still be here and not gone from us as she is now."
Stacy's mother began to cry. Jamie didn't know what else to do, so she just walked away, her head down, her eyes cloudy. She sat beside her mother and her mother held her hand. The service began with minister reading from the Bible. Jamie closed her eyes and didn't hear a word that was said. All she could think of was how her life was so...wrong at this moment. It was not normal for beautiful, life-loving teenagers to lie in a casket, no longer beautiful, but mangled from a single night of horror. Jamie's mind drifted back to that night, and the memories of it came flooding back to her.....
"I promise, we'll be home by midnight and your parents won't be mad at you. You're Ms. Perfect, but they expect you to go out once in a while, Jamie." Stacy laughed at Jamie's shocked face. It was Tuesday night, a school night, and Jamie didn't want to go out. But Stacy felt they needed to celebrate- she had gotten accepted into fashion design school. Jamie didn't want to celebrate. Stacy going to fashion design school meant Jamie would be left in this run down little town, alone, attending the local university.
"If we go out and I get in trouble, I am going to say that you were the one who bullied me into sneaking out, Stacy, "Jamie said, grabbing her coat. Stacy just grinned at her and replied," So what else is new? We grew up together and you always said I bullied you into doing things you weren't supposed to do. Come on. You can mess with the radio if you want." Jamie stood up reluctantly, having a bad feeling about sneaking out. Stacy tugged her arm and half dragged her out of the house and to the car.
"Let's flip a coin and see who will drive, Jamie," Stacy said as she took a quarter out of her pocket." I call heads!" She flipped the coin in the air and when it landed, knelt down so she could see it better. Sure enough, it was heads which meant she got to drive. Jamie climbed into the passenger seat and turned on a rock music station as Stacy sat in the driver's seat. They pulled out of their driveway and headed towards town.
Jamie looked at her best friend and wondered why they were doing this. Stacy looked over real quick and said," Relax Jamie! We aren't going to get into any kind of trouble. I promise." Jamie shook her head and leaned back, watching the scenery fly by darkly in the night. As they got two miles toward town, something huge dove out into the road right in the path of their car. There was a thunderous noise as the car was struck by the huge thing and the last thing Stacy said was" Jamie, hold on to something!" The car flipped over and over, the girls screaming and trying to hold onto something. It finally stopped flipping when it crashed into a tree on the opposite side of the road. Bruised and bloody, Jamie reached over to check on Stacy. Her friend was leaning over the steering wheel, staring blankly at her. Jamie checked for a pulse and realized that her friend was gone. Sobbing uncontrollably, she kicked at the windshield and managed to climb out.
She then crawled on top of the mangled hood and reached in to pull her friend out. She tugged as hard as she could until she heard and felt the seatbelt give way and pulled Stacy out the window and laid her down on the ground. Whatever had crashed into the car was gone, probably in the woods by now and watching menacingly. Jamie shivered uncontrollably, feeling as though something was lurking in the shadows and watching her. She screamed for help and luckily a passerby heard her and stopped. When he rushed over and saw the two girls, he whispered a prayer and used his cellular phone to call 911.
Less than 10 minutes later, the ambulance had Stacy's body loaded in it, her body covered with a white sheet. The coroner had already pronounced her dead. A police officer was asking Jamie questions, and she did her best to answer them, but she just couldn't get passed the fact that Stacy was gone. Her best friend was dead. After he finished asking her his questions, he looked toward the ambulance and then back at her.
"You're the lucky one, Jamie. Someone up there must love you."
She could only stare past him, not saying anything. She didn't feel very lucky at that moment. Her parents had just arrived. Her mother ran to her, embracing her, and sobbing.
"Thank God you're all right! What happened?" Jamie couldn't say anything. She started to cry. Her father was looking at her, looking at the mangled car and looking toward the ambulance. Officer McNeill pulled her father aside and explained everything. Jamie watched as her father took all that information in, watched a flood of emotion continually change his face. He looked at her as Officer McNeill finished the story, and he had tears in his eyes. He walked over to her, hugged her, kissed her head and started to cry himself, quietly. He was relieved she was alive, horrified that she had to see her best friend die in such a violent way, and he was terrified and confused by the fact that something caused the accident that ended Stacy's life and nearly cost Jamie hers as well.
All through the night into the next morning, Jamie had nightmares. She saw herself stuck in the car and Stacy's corpse stumbled awkwardly up to her, begging for help. Each time that Stacy reached out to Jamie, Jamie woke up in a cold sweat. She refused to talk about what happened and why she had such dark circles under her eyes every morning. All she could think about was that strange thing that ran out in front of the car and nearly killed her. She kept seeing Stacy's mangled body and the creature lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce.
After the funeral, Jamie mainly kept close to herself, barely talking and not hanging out with anyone. When she went back to school, Jamie did her work, barely ate lunch and walked home alone every day. Her parents were starting to get really worried about her and tried to talk to her, but Jamie just shook her head and said sadly, "You wouldn't understand and I don't want to talk about it with anyone." Her parents had tears in their eyes as she headed up the stairs to her room.
Why had she been saved instead of Stacy? Stacy had her whole life ahead of her and what did she have? Nothing without her best friend in her life. Jamie curled up on her bed, feeling so depressed, she closed her eyes and wished that she was the one who had lost her life, not Stacy. Jamie knew that her best friend was gone, and yet is was so hard to accept it. Later on in the night, her mother came up and tried to get her to come down for dinner, but Jamie just shook her head and said quietly," I am not hungry, mom. I will eat later." Her mother nodded and walked out of the room, shutting the door softly behind her.
Jamie laid on her side and fell asleep, reliving the nightmare over and over again in her head. Sometime in the night, she woke up, soaking with sweat and tears. "Another night when I can't sleep," she said to herself, sitting up and sighing. She missed her friend dearly and wished with all of her might that she could have her back once again, but she knew it was impossible. Stacy was never going to come back and Jamie felt so torn by the sadness and guilt that she felt she could not live on earth without her best friend. What could she do about it though? Her parents would surely miss her if she ended her life on earth.
There must be a way to bring Stacy back somehow, she thought to herself. She decided to think about it for a while and hopefully come up with a way to bring her back. Precisely one month after the horrific accident and the funeral following it, Jamie decided to go for a drive in her mom's car. Shaking a little bit, she kept her eyes peeled and made sure that no one and nothing were too close to her car. She knew she was acting paranoid, but after what she had been through, she had a definite right to be.
When she got home that night, she handed her mother the keys and said,"The car is in good shape, mom. I just think it is better that I no longer drive. At least for a while that is." Her mother watched as she headed up the stairs slowly but carefully, her heart breaking for she knew that nothing in the world could ease her baby girl's pain.
Everyone at school tried to get Jamie to talk with them, to explain to them what she was feeling. Even her parents and family members tried to get her to talk about how she was feeling and what she was experiencing, but Jamie closed up like a clam shell, not wanting to say anything. She felt that If you said what you were feeling, the pain would magnify, not get better.
Her parents would stay up late at night when Jamie had gone to bed to discuss what to do about her.