I-V-A-N

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic


A woman who killed a fellow woman, but she has no memory of it. She unveils a mystery surrounding herself and is all the more bewildered at her memories. Follow her in this thrilling short story
with twists that will leave you haunted.

Submitted: June 02, 2018

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Submitted: June 02, 2018

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Chapter 1

 

Her hand was holding a kitchen knife. She let out a cry and the knife clanged to the tiled floor. Blood was flowing, and it was flowing from a woman that laid sprawled on the ground at an awkward angle. Her eyes grew wide, as she denied the reality. She only remembered walking to the bar she frequents and downing a glass of colourless liquid. The events that occurred at the time in between then and now was blank. Wobbly, she stood up and tried to regain her composure. “It can’t be me… I have to find out what happened.” She staggered out of the pink room, where the body lay beside the table, a white carnation in the vase. The acrid smell of burnt waffles filled her nose as she made her way past the kitchen, pausing momentarily to get her bearings. She heard a creak, but she attributed it to her state of delusion. Staring at the reflection of herself in the mirror by the doorway, she checked for proof of a murder. Satisfied with her appearance, she grasped the door handle and left the house hurriedly.

 

The first action, she decided, was to get to the bar to try to regain her memory. Perhaps it was the key to everything. She scans the dingy bar, with the outdated club song playing in the background. Nothing popped out to her. It was just as it always was. She orders the same drink and stares hard at it. A man sits beside her, ordering a drink of his own. She paid no heed to him, observing the glass a moment more, before gulping it down. The bartender leaves to clean a booth. Then a voice cut through her thinking. A sudden command jolted her, and she fell into darkness. In her delirious state, she awoke and fell back asleep sporadically, on command.

 

Chapter 2

 

When she finally got control back over her actions and mind, she could not recall what transpired while she was blacked out. She shook herself awake. She needed to start recalling the murder. “The effects of the drink is similar to the first time. Surely, this is a good sign.” She thought to herself. She glanced at the man beside her and said, “Love, let’s go.” The bartender looked at her and the man weirdly. “Huh, I didn’t know you were together, Greta.” Her boyfriend stared hard at the bartender, and he shrugged, going back to wiping the glasses. Greta stood up and retraced her footsteps out of the pub. And then visualised her next action. All this while, it was as though she was out of her body, viewing herself walking towards, the house, towards the murder scene. She saw herself pulling out a knife from where she had concealed it with her cardigan and plunging the knife towards the woman, towards her beating heart. In her delirious state, she did not think how she gained access to the house, or how she knew the house.

 

And then her soul seemed to return and she was back, outside the bar. Her heart was palpitating, and a cold sweat had formed on her forehead. Her Boyfriend stared straight ahead. “Come on, let’s go. I’m sure your Father can help.” Dumbly, she nodded and walked ahead as an image of a glowing face flashed through her mind.

 

“Greta, I’ll be out here waiting. I’ll go get some coffee while you two catch up.”

 

Chapter 3

 

The house looked unfamiliar. It was the right address, but it differed vastly from her memory. The swing on the lawn was replaced with a dying old birch tree, surrounded by overgrown weeds.

 

Gingerly, she knocked. The panelling was stripping and the sky blue paint was fading. An invisible mark remained on the door where her hand connected with the wood. A heartbeat passed, and another ten. She contemplated turning back, but it was impossible. She would not have such a chance again, considering the situation she was in. The lock unbolted, and half a face loomed. Sunken cheeks, glazed eyes greeted her. They were features of a stranger, but on them lay a phantom of her father’s face. Her world felt like it turned upside down. Her house was devoid of life, her father, a mere skeleton, similarly lifeless. “What do you want?” a gruff voice stabbed at her. In her imagination, she had thought that he would have welcomed her and fretted over her. Her father had been a cheerful and carefree man, throwing her up in the sky and catching her when she was small, and even tearing at the thought of his darling daughter getting a boyfriend. The reality was a complete stun to her. It was as if, it was a completely different person and the memories she had were someone else's. But it could not be, for she felt each and every memory vividly. His eyes brushed across her body, a hint of recognition flickered through his eyes. “Dad, it’s me, I really need your help. I… I… killed someone.” He guffawed. “Look, I don’t know why you’ve come looking for me, but we’re not related. It was just acting, okay? I was just following instructions, so your problems are not my concern. Sorry kid, you’ve made a wasted trip.” he slurred.

 

He shut the door. Greta tried to push at the closed door, as though she was pushing against the wave of reality that was crashing down on her. Tears streamed down her face. Had he deceived her? Why did he? Everything did not make sense, she had the memories to prove, why else would they be so intimate and close since a long time ago? Why else would she have a memory of such a place, albeit the changes?

 

Chapter 4

 

She wiped her face and sniffed, taking one last look at the house she had called home for the last 28 years. Or was it never? She no longer knew. Her head reeled with the amount of information flooding her mind from the last 4 hours. Stumbling towards the car, her eyes widened. Her Boyfriend was being led into a police car. In her crazed state, she ran towards the patrol car but she was left in dust as the car sped away. Her legs gave way and she kneeled on the ground, bawling her lungs out. She was losing everything she cherished and loved, and her sanity was barely clinging by a thread to herself. It made her incredibly risk-taking and lost as she took the wheels, driving south, to wherever it might be. A ear-piercing siren cut through the fog in her mind, getting her to see that it was a patrol car blaring its taunt at her. She sniffled, and shook her head clear. A sign was depicting an exit to a cliff overlooking the sea in 5 kilometres. It brought back memories of her and her boyfriend. It was their favourite haunt and it was always secluded. If they were to reunite, that would be the place to go. She hoped that he would know too.

 

At the scenic outlook, she stopped the car and got out. Breathing in the salty air, puffins flew around her and the waves crashed into the rock outcrop. Doubt began nibbling at her. What if he did not make it out? What if they were still interrogating him? What if he did not think of coming here? Worse still, what if he did not bother trying to find her? She would be left utterly and absolutely alone. She did not think she could handle it. Hugging herself, she looked vacantly at the expense of blue sky and blue sea.

 

Chapter 5

 

Moments later, tyres grappling at the gravel sounded and a light painted a shadow of her on the ground. She whipped her head to look at the car, her eyes filled with hope. The lights turned off, and her eyes dilated. Her vision was still trying to adjust, when out stepped her boyfriend. As he walked closer, she only realized that it was in fact not him. They were of similar builds, but this man was wearing glasses and looked every part an educated man with good prospects. The opposite of her boyfriend. It was obvious he was there for her, for he was staring at her intensely. She bounded towards her car in a bid to get there before the man could get to her. But his two lanky legs made easy work of closing the distance between them, inserting himself in the path between the woman and her escape vehicle. “Hi, I’m Doctor De’Souza. Ivan told me to help you.” Relief soared through her, her boyfriend had not left her after all. She could trust this guy.

 

“What happened? You know, in the pink room with the poster bed. It was you and her in the room, wasn’t it? Do you remember the sheep fur on the ground and the carnation in the vase? Smell the waffles being prepared. Tell me what went down then.” His crisp voice cut through her hazy mind, as though she was trained to tune to it.

 

“It was the voice” she screamed. “I didn’t mean to kill, but the voice wouldn't stop, it wouldn’t stop, until the women stopped fighting, until she stopped breathing. And then it stopped.” Her face relaxed, and the lips seemed to twitch up. “No, Greta, it was you. You’re only trying to dissociate yourself. It was you who plunged the knife into her and you killed someone innocent. Greta, it’s not too late. You can pay for your mistakes. Think of how she must have suffered, before her life was extinguished, because of you.” She shook her head, not wanting to accept it. It just needed a little more, to push her over the edge. “Greta, you, are the reason why she had to die. Are you sure she deserved that?” a glint reflected off the glasses. Greta looked unsure again, as her head shook a little, as though she was trying to persuade herself. But she thought of Ivan, and how they had promised to live together and have a family. “But Ivan’s waiting for me, I can just forget about this and we can live together happily.” The Doctor seemed to weigh his options and said, “Look Greta, there never was an Ivan. You made him up. There’s no such person okay?” “But he is real! This is his car!” Greta gestured towards the beat up orange car. Doctor De’Souza raised his eyebrow, and Greta, fuming, went towards the driver’s side to obtain car registration which was under Ivan’s name. Triumphantly, she raised it in the air. The Doctor took it from her, and pointed her eyes towards the name of the car owner. Greta Parker. The internal scale tipped, and when her eyes were raised back up, tears pooled in her eyes and she mumbled, “No.” Her body seemed to cave into itself, like as though she was a vulnerable child. She turned back and looked down, into the crashing waves that angrily crashed into the cliff. Looking back at the doctor, she took a step back. And another. Until she was met with the caress of the ocean wind that whipped her down to the frothy whites and sapphire blue.

 

The doctor removed his specs, and wiped them, cleaning it of the dust that had gathered. “She deserved it, and you too had to go. I am not sorry, for I was your salvation as you were mine. You weren’t dead, but you weren’t alive either. You were just a ghost with a beating heart."

 

 

Backstory

 

Vian walked briskly to a house painted sky blue, his hands in his pockets, as clouds emerged from his lips. It was a cold day but the derelict residence and its neighbours added more to the chilling atmosphere. But Vian paid no heed for he had a mission that was of such atrocity and unfathomable, he was ashamed. It lasted only a second before he steeled himself. It would be better for everyone. Tackling the mouldy and creaky steps, he stood before a wooden door. Readjusting his sunglasses and mask, he rang the doorbell. No tinny and grating sound and Vian resorted to knocking. Still, there was no answer. Just as Vian was about to leave, a gruff voice sounded, “What the hell do you want from me?” An eye was staring at him through the letter plate. He cleared his throat and took out a piece of paper, lifting it so that the eyes could see the symbols. The eyes scanned and bulged, before disappearing. It reappeared again, when the door was wide open. It revealed a emaciated frame and gaunt face that seemed older than the age he supposedly was. His face was full of sores and scabs. Bruises and scratch marks could be seen on his arms and legs. Vian smirked behind his mask, he could see a desperate man who would be willing to heed his orders just to survive. “I need you to act.”

 

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Vian was sitting on the couch, counting the seconds. One, two, three… He stared at the woman with luscious red hair, who he often saw a side-profile of, when she was sleeping. She was cooking waffles for breakfast in her sanctuary, where her talents best showed. When the second hand reached 47, Vian stood up and announced. “Honey, I’m going to get the news and check for letters.” The woman, as though under a spell, continued humming and hovered over the cooking pan. The door lock trilled its proclamation that the door has been unlocked. Vian released the handle, as its soft close ability of the door worked its magic but a folded section of mat wedged the door open. Vian walked 5 metres to his designated spot, lurking in the darkness behind a bedroom door as he awaited his plan to unfold. At 58, faint footsteps could be heard. At 60, it was showtime.
 

However, one small issue had not been in the plan. The red-head had stepped into the pink room for reasons unknown to Vian. Vian held his breath, afraid that his plans had come to naught and that his efforts were about to be toppled like a house of cards. It was pure luck, that the bedroom entrance lay in full view of whoever stepped through the main entrance. Like a drone zoned in on a target, Greta pushed with purpose towards the unaware woman, who had her back towards Greta. When the red-head turned back around, she stood still. As the knife stabbed forward, the redhead pleaded and tried to push the oncoming sharp edge away. Scratching at Greta, she punched and grappled, but the knife still found its target. One second and it was over as the knife made a clean entrance and exit through the flesh. The redhead moaning as her life seeped out.  Still in the shadows, Vian had witnessed none of this, but he could hear the clang of the knife and the mumbling of Greta. This alarmed Vian as she should not have been speaking. Thinking that the sight must have jolted her conscious he had to follow her. The door creaked as Vian slightly changed his position. He cursed under his breath and hoped Greta did not hear.

 

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Vian could see Greta entering the pub, The Blacksheep, a street in front of him. It was fortunate Greta was a simple girl, going back to her usual place. When he entered, he could see that she had ordered the same drink. Easily, he worked out her plan, scoffing a little at her attempt. Sliding to the seat beside her, he waited for the chance to play according to her plan. Spotting the opportune moment when the bartender left and Greta downed the drink, he whispered, “As you listen to my voice, you can start to focus your attention inside. As your attention focuses inward, your unconscious mind begins to take you into a trance. As you breathe in and out, you will notice an ever-deepening comfort starting to develop. And the more you relax, the more comfortable you feel…” Vian snapped his fingers and commanded, “Sleep!” “When you awake, I will be your boyfriend, Ivan, and we will leave this place. You will find back your memory of the murder and then, we go to your father’s place. At the count of three, you will awake. One, two, three!”

 

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

“It would be a better idea if I stayed in the car, in case the man recognises me…” Vian thought to himself, coercing Greta to meet the addict herself. A shrill buzz rang. His head snapped to the portable electronic contraption. The display showed an Unknown Number. Vian picked it up. “Hello? Is this Vian De’Souza? This is the police, we would like you to identify a body. " Vian played his part of a bewildered and worried victim perfectly, agreeing to do so. He got out of the car and carefully removed any trace of him from the car. Gazing at Greta at the door, he turned and walked away. A police cruiser had arrived at the end of the street, just as he had asked them to. Walking towards it, he steeled himself, preparing himself to put up a show. The officer got out to escort him inside the vehicle.

 

At the station, they showed him a sterling-silver ring that was white-gold plated encapsulating a pure brilliance Zirconia. He stroked it and pretended to come to a realisation. Mouth agape, he stared at them, his eyes willing them to not be about to say what he thought they would. The officers looked down and shook their head. A muffled whimper escaped his lips, which trembled. With each breath he took, an onslaught of tears threatened to overtake him. "I want to see her."

 

Taking in her lifeless form, Vian's body shuddered, and he asked for privacy. The officers gladly obliged. He leaned close to the redhead, and whispered, "Sorry Charlotte, but it had to be done." His hands brushed her golden red hair. Staining his face with tears, he left the mortuary.

 

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It was good Greta was a fool, who did not ponder about the anomalies. Otherwise, this plan might not have come to fruition as well as it did. Greta had always spent her money at the pub, with no relatives who cared about her. It made her the perfect target. With no relations, her disappearing would not be questioned. Nor would Vian being with her raise any alarms. “Vagabonds, they do have their uses at times.” scoffed Vian. Getting that addict to pose as her dad would make her more susceptible to the ‘memories’ inserted by Vian. It was an extra step, Vian did not think it would really work, but surprisingly, she was so willing. And when the truth was revealed, she was crushed, and confused. Another aid to his plan to influence Greta that he never was beside her. By making Ivan just a voice, Greta undoubtedly would be feeling utterly alone. So much, that she would take the jump.

 

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"My condolences. I'm so sorry about your wife." "She was a great woman." "She will be sorely missed." Vian put up a good show, accepting the sincerity of those who had attended her funeral. At the end of the humble gathering, he was led to an office, an officer already seated with the piece of paper Vian had planned so hard to get. He could already picture what he would do with all the riches. Playing the part of her husband was a chore. Now that he had what he wanted, he would be a free man, free to spend however he wanted and live the life he always wanted. "Mr De'Souza, please have a seat. It was a sudden death indeed, your wife did not have a chance to write a will. I have with me a record of all her properties. As with the law, you will inherit all the personal property and belongings of Charlotte De'Souza, and the whole of the estate with interest from the date of death."

 

-END-


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