The terrorous screams wake me from my daze. Everything around me looks psychadelic. Like a bad Acid trip. The house I'm in looks familiar. Then I realize it was the house we lived in before mom got committed. Another scream. It sounds familiar. I run into the kitchen and through the glass windows in the door, I see my mom in the living room, holding my sister down to the ground with one hand--ready to decapitate her with the Steak Knife in the other. I'm frozen. They see me staring at them. My sister screams for me to help as my mom brings the knife closer to her throat. I run and try to open the door--it won't open. I try Jimmying the door, I lock and unlock it so many times. I yank, bang, slam, I even try breaking the glass with anything heavy--it won't budge. Not the door. Not the glass. Nothing works. All I can do is stand there helplessly and watch my sister, just as helpless, die in front of my eyes. The closer the knife gets to her, the louder she screams. Tears pour out of my eyes like overflown flower pots on rainy days. The knife finally reaches her throat when I feel a jolt through my body.
I gasp when I see my sister, Olivia--Liv for short--standing over me with a pillow. I sigh, blink, rub my eyes to get them in focus, "It was just a dream," I say groggily.
"Heh! Try a nightmare. You were practically convulsing."
One hand on my eye I ask, "Why the pillow?"
"I tried shaking you. Didn't work. Then I tried yelling."
"Didn't work," we say in unison.
"THEN, I thought I'd try a pitcher of ice water, but given the fact that it's Winter," she points out the window, "and 21 degrees outside I decided not to risk you getting Hypothermia," she lifts the pillow up, "this was the safest option."
A tired smile crosses my face, "Thanks for not punching me."
Her eyes shift to the ceiling, "Huh. Funny enough, I didn't even think of that."
We have a nice chuckle. Then she throws the pillow at me, "Now hurry up and get dressed. We're gonna be late!"
For school. Hooray.
We manage to leave the house early enough to make it to school just in time. On our walk over there, Liv brings up the moment before she woke me up, "So, what was your dream about?"
"I'm sorry--nightmare," she pokes her tongue out at me.
I stare down at the sidewalk, "Mom."
She stops me in my tracks, "What?"
I've told her too much already. I start to walk again, "Come on, we're gonna be late."
She stops me again. "Well, what happened? What did she say?," she frantically asks.
"Would you relax? It was a dream, not a message from beyond the grave." We start up again, "And besides, why do you ask if you don't care?"
"I don't care."
"Then don't ask."
We walk in silence for a minute. Then she blurts out, "At least tell me what it was about!"
"I don't think that's a good idea."
She smacks my arm, "Oliver!" She begs. I stare blankly at her. She gives me those heart-wrenching sad puppy-dog eyes. I give in.
"Fine," I say as we start up once more.
"We lived back in the old house, " I continue.
"Were we little?"
"No. We were the age we are now."
"Oh. So, then what happened?"
"I went downstairs 'cause I heard a noise. But I only made it to the kitchen."
"I only made it there because the door to the living room was locked--well, more than locked--I tried everything to break it down, but nothing worked."
"Ha! Why so desperate to get to the living room--afraid to miss your Looney Toons?" She asks with such a joyous grin on her face, I know what I tell her next will turn her into stone.
"I saw Mom. And you." I can't tell her. Don't tell her. We're at the last stoplight before school, maybe I can stall her until we get there. She presses the big metal button on the pole and we wait.
"So?" She asks, "What about me and mom?"
Stalling is already an epic fail, now I have to tell her no matter how it will make her feel. I stare her square in the eye and as serious as possible I say, "She tried to kill you."
And there she is--The Stone of The Ice Queen. I just know she's going to be moody all day now. We hear cars honking and realize it's our turn to walk. She says nothing when we cross the street. Or when we get to the other side. Either her mind is really blank or my telepathy is switched off right now because I can't even hear her thoughts. Oh. I should probably mention--I actually have telepathy. I can't read everybody's mind--just Liv and my Mom's. Ever since my Mom became mute it's been the only way I can communicate with her, which is fortunate for me because I actually get to hear her voice when nobody else does. She was committed to a mental institution after a real bad Schizophrenic blackout.
We were ten years old, my dad had left us a year earlier and my mom started abusing her meds. Then stopped. Then started again, and then stopped. The last time she stopped taking them all together was the straw that broke the camel's back. She would have outrageous episodes--I can't even count on my hands and toes how many times she'd been escorted home by the cops. Then one day, I came home to find my Mom strangling and dragging and throwing Olivia around like a Rag Doll. I tried to stop her, but she was too strong for me. So I called the cops. There was a moment--when I was struggling to get her off of Olivia--where I looked into her eyes and saw pure evil--pure hatred. She kept calling Liv a liar, a whore and telling her that she deserved to be executed for what she'd done, but since nobody's doing anything about it, SHE WILL. I realized then, that the person that once was my mother. . .was no more.
When the cops showed up, Liv and I told them what happened and what meds Mom was, or wasn't, taking. They took mercy on her by only committing her to an asylum. That was when she became mute. She herself was so terrified by what she'd done, she could never bring herself to speak again. She felt nothing she could say would ever make up for what she did to Liv. You can't re-write the past--that was the last thing she verbally said to me. Liv agrees. After that, we moved in with my Aunt and Uncle--Lily, Mom's little sister, and her husband Jack. Two years later, they had a son--my cousin, Logan. I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I hated living with them or that I'm so unhappy. I'm really not. But, at times I can't help but wish Mom could be more involved in our lives, and then I sit there and blame myself because it's MY fault she's in a loony bin while her only children are out living and enjoying life without her. Liv feels none of this though. She hates Mom for what she did. Blackout or not, she still hasn't forgiven Mom or visited her. Of the seven years that she's been committed, Liv hasn't gone to see her ONCE. Not a phone call. Not a letter. No attempt to communicate whatsoever. She doesn't care to. Or so she says.
We finally get to the front of the school, the silence is killing me. I turn to her, "I'm sorry, Liv." I say as quiet as possible so the strangers walking past us and going through their lockers don't hear me.
She doesn't look at me, "No, It's my own fault. I shouldnt've asked." She then leaves me stranded in the main entrance as she departs for her first class of the day.
Finally, lunch. Hopefully some food and guy time will help me stop worrying about Olivia. I get in line, get my food and spot Connor and Simon three tables down from where I'm standing. On my way to my seat my eyes wander to all the other people at all the other tables. I look left--nothing interesting. I look right--a whole 'nother story. My sister's sitting at one of the tables in the corner with her friends Emily, Mia--and her boyfriend, River. She still looks pretty upset. She's stirring her food around, but not eating anything. Emily and Mia are talking to each other, and River looks like he's trying to figure out what her deal is.
I hear someone from the side of me say, "Hey Creeper!" It's Connor, "Sit down before someone sees you like that."
Just as I'm sitting down our fourth wheel, Evan, comes rushing at us, bumping into the table and almost dropping his food.
"Did you guys hear?!" He asks ecstatically.
The three of us say, "Hear what?"
He sits down, "Mr. Warner got arrested last night!"
Connor, Simon and I don't believe this for a second.
"Mr. Warner? Our History teacher?" Simon asks, unconvinced.
I chime in, "Dude, he's like, Seventy-years-old."
"Oli, " I hate when he calls me that, "I swear to you, I saw it all with my own eyes!"
Simon becomes strangely furious at Evan's alleged sighting, "This is ridiculous!" He angrily stands up, "You're lying!"
"Dude, chill out. It's not a big deal." Connor says.
"Not a big deal?!"
"Yeah, " I say, "it probably wasn't even him. Could just be a look-alike, right Evan?"
He doesn't even give Evan a chance to answer, "Yeah. Right, EVAN!" He's so mad that you can see his chest heaving up and down.
Evan looks just as shocked as Connor and I do that Simon's so mad about this. About it being Mr. Warner.
He nods and quietly says, "Yeah."
Then we all watch as Angry Simon storms off.
"What's his deal?" Connor says.
I reply, "Who knows?"
Evan then continues to tell us his version of how he saw Mr. Warner get arrested when a vision of pure, angelic perfection catches my eye. It's Juliette Owens. She's walking to her friends table with her food tray in tow, but all I see is her and for a moment it feels as if everything's in slow motion and we're the only people around.
"Oli!" Evan snaps at me.
I shake off my daze, "I was listening."
"Bull." Connor says, "I saw you staring at Juliette!"
They get these goofy smiles on their faces.
"Stop." I beg.
Connor says, "Man, you've had a crush on her since Freshman year. Why dont you just ask her out already?"
I start stirring my food around like Liv was earlier, "She's too good for me."
I hear Connor about to, hopefully say different, but then he says, "Hey Olivia."
I look up just as Olivia and River are going to put their trays away. She still looks pretty bummed, but says "Hi" back to us anyway.
"Hey Oliver." River says.
"Hey." I say back.
Then they continue on their way out.
Connor chimes up again, "I don't get what she sees in him. He's rude. And he's always got a problem with someone."
"Yeah, " Evan says, "Hey Oli, How do you know him again?"
I sigh because I really don't feel like explaining for a millionth time, "Our Moms were best friends, pregnant with all of us at the same time and so, we practically grew up together."