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Reads: 192

     I almost didn’t hear Keenan’s voice over the roar of the Baths.

“Clarisse,” he said. “We need to talk.”

Back still turned to him, I shook my head slowly. I felt fresh tears start long after they had dried before.

A blast of cold November wind rustled the trees. Not that I had anyone to blame but myself. I was dumb enough to go near water in the mountains. In the winter.

“You need to talk to someone about this,” he whispered.

I shook my head again. “I don’t want to.” I was surprised to hear how my voice sounded: lonely, shaky, scared. It was so out of character for me. To me, my voice always sounded confident, alive, and brave.

I felt a cold raindrop on the bridge of my nose, and I went cross-eyed to try and see it. Anything to distract me from what was really happening. What really was happening?

“Clarisse,” he said, his voice gently firm.

I whirled around to look at him, eyes still brimming with tears. “Do you honestly think I wish to know what that…thing was back there? I have never been more scared in my entire life, Keenan. You need to respect that. I need you to respect that.”

Instead of him getting mad, he pulled me into a tight hug. I buried my face into his shoulder, now losing it completely.

After a few minutes of this, he led me back to his truck. He put the key in the ignition, but he didn’t start it.

“You have questions.” It was said as a statement.

I looked at him, taking in the curly eyelashes, the bright green eyes, and the wavy blond-ish hair.

“And you have the answers?” I asked. He nodded.

“Well,” I said, “it looks like you have some explaining to do.

 

If it were up to me, I’d be gone. I’d consider Canada. Maybe Itay. Or France. Anywhere but here.

Even after my father’s death, my mother insisted we stay in the same house. I, personally, never would have done this. Too many memories. Not to mention, he was murdered in my mother’s bedroom.

It was a month into my sophomore year of high school. I usually got up by myself in the morning; my mom would get up shortly after me, my dad getting up just before I left for the bus.

My dad hadn’t felt good the night before his death. He claimed he had a headache, but the way he kept glancing at all of the windows, I wasn’t so sure.

That night, my dad had turned in early. My dad had always been a night owl, claiming the moon was his sun. He preferred to stay up until two in the morning catching up on the latest football, hockey, basketball, and baseball news. So when he clocked in at nine, we knew something was wrong.

I remember that morning so vividly.

I had walked quietly up the stairs, so I didn’t wake my dad, who was surely coming down with the flu. It was flu season, after all. So when I heard mumbling coming from his bedroom, I knew something was up.

I walked up to his door, which was cracked slightly. I laid a hand on it gently, opening it just a tad more. What I saw was my dad backed in the corner of his room. Standing before him was a tall man dressed in black. The man has a knife grasped tightly in his fist. Before my mind could comprehend this man could potentially hurt my father, before I could scream for help, the man swung his arm in one quick motion. He must have slit his throat, because in seconds the room was covered in blood. My dad crumpled to the ground, his lifeless blue eyes meeting mine.

I don’t remember screaming. But I must have, considering my mother ran up the stairs calling mine and my dad’s name. What had given it away the most that I had screamed, was when the guy in black turned and looked at me.

He didn’t have a face. His body was transparent, looking more like smoke than an actual solid. He stood about eight feet tall and moved without making a sound. The thing that freaked me out the most was when he heard my mom coming up the stairs, he vanished in thin air. He left nothing but the murder weapon.

When the cops showed up, they asked me a bunch of questions that I couldn’t answer, only because I had no idea how to explain that this man had no face and moved like steam. There was no way I could explain it. I couldn’t say, “Oh, yeah, the guy who just murdered my dad had no face and disappeared into thin air. Think you can find him?” If anything, that might either a) land me as the prime suspect or b) have me spend some quality time with my inner insanity in a padded cell.

So, I obviously couldn’t tell the cops about what I knew about the “man” who killed my dad. And that gave me more guilt and anxiety that I ever thought possible. I mean, I knew that there would be some guilt involved, but for the last six months I’ve had to lie to the police, my counselor, my mom, and myself. The killer couldn’t have been human, and I really wanted to believe he, at least, existed. I had told my counselor that his face looked like it was made of gas or smoke, but she only pooh-poohed and said, “Your subconscious is trying to block out the trauma that you’ve witnessed, so you’re creating a fake image in your mind of what you father’s killer looks like to you.”

But I knew my subconscious wasn’t saving me from my trauma by creating a fake man. I didn’t want to believe that there was a…demon attacking my father. That there was a demon in my house. That there was something strong enough out there that was strong enough to do harm to my father.

 


Submitted: February 12, 2013

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