Eyes of Fire

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
By Me and my friend Paige. A woman is haunted by her twin sister who she accidentally killed when they were young...

Submitted: March 11, 2008

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Submitted: March 11, 2008

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Eyes of Fire
By: Paige Welton and Kristyn D’Angiolillo
Block One
She knew she wasn’t supposed to be playing with the candle, but it kept drawing her in with its dancing flames casting shadows around the room and glowing orange in her eyes. So she did it anyway. She picked up a piece of paper and let the flaming wick at the end of the wax lick the corner of it. The fire grew rapidly and she panicked. Next thing she knew, the small piece of paper with the even smaller flame was on the floor and spreading.
She always wondered how something so tiny could grow so big and cause so much destruction. But cause it did. Instead of trying to put the fire out, she acted on impulse and ran. She yelled for her mom and dad who were asleep on the second floor in the room next to her and her sister’s. Her sister was still in their room, probably sleeping, but her parents came running asking what was wrong.
“Fire!” She yelled, “There’s a fire downstairs!”
Her twin sister never made it out. They tried to get to her but the fire had started right underneath the bedroom and so it was the first room on the second floor to go up in flames. When the firemen got there ten minutes later, the helpless family told them about the ten-year-old little girl on the second floor. They carried her out of the crumbling house soon after.
She died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, burn marks covering the better part of her face and body.
 
***
 
Erin rolled over in her small twin-sized bed. She looked at her bedside clock. 7:09. Crap!  She jumped out of the bed, startling her big gray cat. She mumbled, “Sorry, Smokey.” Then she ran into the bathroom to try to do something with her tangled mess of long black hair. Quickly throwing it up into a sloppy ponytail, she dashed back into her bedroom to find where she had put her hospital scrubs. She pulled them on as fast as she could and kept on moving, grabbing her bag on the way out of the door.
She jumped into her little Dodge Prius, fighting to get it to start. Finally, it roared to life and she was on her way to Sentara Hospital. Just as she pulled into a parking space, EMT’s were unloading a victim from the back of a crowded ambulance. She ran into the hospital right after the victim.
“Erin, you’ve gotta go in and help this girl. There was a fire. Get in there and check her vitals.” Her boss told her as she followed the EMT’s with the stretcher into an emergency room. As soon as they put the victim down on the hard hospital bed, she was stunned. Erin had seen many burn victims during her time as an intern at the hospital, but none like this girl. She was about thirteen years old and very pretty. However, the age is not what stunned Erin; it was the girl’s burns. The fire had left charred marks all over the girl’s face. All Erin could do was stand there and stare at the blackened scars that were distinct against the girl’s light skin. Erin was immediately reminded of her sister. Her sweet innocent sister who made it out of a fire with these same marks only to die in the back of a blaring ambulance. She stood there staring at the dying victim in horror as these images came flooding back to her.
“Erin Mitchell!” Erin snapped out of her shocked state and began running around the room frantically. “What do you think you are doing?!? You have to use your hands to check this girl out. Not magical brain powers. Get to work!”
“I’m sorry, Doc. I’m checking her heart right now. I’m sorry.” She said frantically and now embarrassed. Doc helped her hook the victim up and checked the girl’s vitals.
“What were you doing, Erin? I know you weren’t seriously trying to heal the girl with your mind, and if you were then you really need to lay off the superhero stories.”
“No, ma’am. I wasn’t. I was just remembering things I would rather forget.” Erin said this while staring at the victim, but then she had to turn away to hide her tears from her boss. Excusing herself, she left the room in a hurry. She had to get away from the girl. She had to get away from her memories. She ran to the bathroom and cried.
 
***
 
Erin… Erin… Erin… It’s me…
Erin bolted upright in her bed. She was covered in a cold sweat that had seeped through her entire comforter and mattress. She was breathing heavily as if she had just run a four minute mile. She looked at the clock beside her bed. 12:13. She had only been asleep for two hours and this was already the third time she had awoken from this dream. She remembered it clearly this time and it replayed in her head even though she was awake now. She left her sweat soaked bed to sleep on the couch the rest of the night. She was too tired to realize that the dream would just keep coming back.
She saw her house burning to the ground. Her parents were standing beside her, holding one another. Her mother was crying. They were both staring at the remnants of their lives. She knew what they were waiting for. She sees the fireman come out of the house with a bundled mess in his arms. Next, she’s in the back of a cramped, blaring ambulance on a short, bumpy trip to the nearest hospital. She is looking down at the charred remains of a human girl. At first, the girl looks like her burn patient from earlier that day, but the form quickly changes to the shape of her twin sister.  She can hear the faint beeping of the machine in the background keeping up with her sister’s heartbeat as it slowly gets louder and louder. The beeping slows and becomes one continuous strain of noise. She knows Emily has just died. Her parents look away, unable to bear the sight of their dead child any longer, but Erin keeps staring almost as if she’s intrigued by her abrupt end of life. Suddenly, her eyes fly open wide and her head turns so she’s staring right at her. The once kind, green orbs are now red and filled to the brim with hate. She calls out in a voice that resembles the sweet little girl she used to be, but it is now contorted with rage and loathing. Erin… Erin… It’s me… Remember me, Erin… She is surrounded by a ring of fire that encloses her in with her little sister. Erin… Erin… Erin… It’s me…
Erin’s eyes flew open in fear. She tried to take a deep breath, but something got in the way. For some reason she felt like she had an extra layer of weight across her. She coughed and spluttered, looking down at her body that was covered in the tiniest little gray slivers. She reached out and felt a layer of little grains covering her entire body from her neck down and also on the sofa. She reached behind her head to turn on the lamp. Light poured over her and she screamed. She was covered in little black and gray specks that would normally look like pepper, but Erin knew better. She was covered in ashes.
Trying to regain composure, she looked at her cat, Smokey, perched on the armrest opposite her head. She stared into his cool gray-blue eyes hoping for so sort of comfort. Her hope turned to cold-blooded fear as she watched his eyes change from calm silver to evil bright red. Erin…  She let out a hard, cold scream and then entered into the dark realm of unconsciousness.
 
***
 
“Erin. Erin.” Erin jerked awake when she felt a soft touch on her hand. Her eyes flew open and were met with the soothing sight of Doc. Doctor Anne Thompson was a tall olive skinned woman with dark brown hair and eyes. She was kind and understanding about most things as long as someone’s life wasn’t on the line. Then she was fierce and demanding; no one died on Doc’s watch.
Erin noticed she was covered in sweat again. She was instantly embarrassed when she realized her boss had found her like this, head resting on her hand that was still stretched out holding a now cold cup of coffee. She quickly got up, poured out the cold coffee and got a fresh cup.
“I’m sorry, Doc. I don’t know what came over me. I’ll get right back to work.” She apologized bustling around the lounge. Before Erin could leave, Doc grabbed her wrist and motioned for her to sit back down in the chair.
“What’s wrong Erin? I know you never fall asleep at work, but this is the third time.” Erin gave her a questioning look. No one had woken her earlier when she fell asleep. “Not everyone will wake a sleeping intern.” Doc explained, reading her thoughts before she continued. “You’ve gotta tell me what’s wrong. You’ve been acting strangely ever since yesterday when you froze in front of that burn victim.”
Erin decided she’d better tell the truth, or at least part of the truth.
“I’m sorry, Doc. The burn victim must have triggered memories I thought were long gone. I keep having the same strange dream. I had it at least four times last night and I’ve had it again the three times I was asleep here. I barely sleep because of them.” Doc nodded and Erin decided not to tell her the contents of her dream or the part about being covered in ashes. She wasn’t even sure herself if that was real. She also wasn’t about to tell Doc that her cat’s eyes were acting up too.
“Why don’t you finish your last three hours today and then take tomorrow off? You look like you need some rest. And don’t worry, as a friend, I won’t count it.”
“Thank you, Doc.” Erin then got up and went back to work, steaming coffee in hand and vividly haunting pictures floating in her mind.
 
***
 
She woke up the next morning after another fitful night of sleep. Smokey was lying at the end of the bed watching her. This was the first time she had seen him since the incident with the ashes. His eyes were gray-blue again, but in her mind they always returned to the bright red she had seen two nights ago. She still wasn’t sure if what she saw was actually real. It seemed real enough, but how could she be sure? She felt that if it was real, she was going crazy, and if it wasn’t real, she was still going crazy. She kept telling herself that it was just the long hospital hours finally catching up to her, but she knew it was more than that. It had something to do with Emily, she knew. Even after thirteen years she still blamed herself for her sister’s death. She wondered for a moment if her sister blamed her too, and was now haunting her for revenge. That’s impossible. Erin thought to herself. People can’t do that. That only happens in movies. As much as she wanted to believe to what she told herself, she couldn’t shake the feeling that her sister was watching her. She could never forget those cold, heartless eyes that were once filled with so much joy and laughter. As these thoughts kept endlessly circling around her mind, she realized she had to get out of her house and find something else to do.
She decided to spend the afternoon blowing a little steam at the local tennis courts. She hoped it would release some of her energy that had built up due to her newfound paranoia. She set up the ball machine and started hitting. With every hit she made, she tried to release some of her fear and anger. After hitting about three buckets full of balls she realized she wasn’t angry with anyone. Maybe I’m angry with myself for killing her. She thought to herself. This was the first thought she had had about her sister since she started playing. 
The last ball of the last bucket came flying out of the machine’s chute. It was perfectly aimed for Erin to hit. Erin mentally calculated the point of impact and started her swing for her racket to hit the ball. The ball came at her and she smacked it at exactly the right point. However, as soon as the outer edge of the ball hit the wires of the racket, both the ball and racket immediately went up in flames. Erin screamed and dropped the racket on the ground. As soon as the flaming racket hit the ground, an idle ball burst into flames. Then another ball started flaming. Soon, all the balls that Erin had hit were burning around her. She was too tired and scared to realize that the fire wasn’t spreading onto the court. Some of the flames were also licking the bottom edge of the net, but it too was staying whole with no signs of burning.  Erin’s fear and paranoia took over. She ran from the courts faster than she had ever run before. She jumped in her car and sped away, lucky not to get a ticket. 
 
***
 
Later that day, a couple showed up ready to play tennis on the empty courts. They stood at the gate staring out onto a court covered in randomly placed balls. They were whole, new, bright green balls. There was also a very nice, but rather worn looking racket lying on the ground. They heard the whir of the ball machine and wondered who had left it running. As they cleaned up the balls, they complained about young people always leaving messes on public courts and why someone would leave a perfectly good racket lying out on the ground.
 
***
 
Erin decided to go home and rest. She told herself that she just needed sleep and then she’d be fine and everything thing would stop going up in flames. She told herself this over and over, but she didn’t really believe it. She just needed an excuse so she didn’t sound ridiculously crazy. She ate some leftover pizza, watched a very happy movie that had nothing to do with fire, and then slept another full night of fitful dreams.
The next morning, she got up and went to work. Her dreams had prevented her from sleeping yet again, so her day went by in a stressful blur. She barely remembered anything later that day. She just did as she was told, avoided the burn victims to the best of her abilities, and tried to forget anything that had to do with her sister. She went home hoping there wouldn’t be any surprises for her. She just had to wait out one more day and then she could tell her friends all about it tomorrow at dinner.
When she got to her apartment, she trudged up the stairs, unlocked the door and was immediately hit with the fumes of something burning. There wasn’t any stench of smoke in the hallway, but the smell in the apartment itself could knock you over. Her mind immediately kicked into panicked awareness. She covered her nose and mouth with the front of her shirt and made her way deeper into the apartment. She wanted to find out what was burning. Why aren’t the alarms ringing? Why didn’t I smell the smoke before I got to the door? What the hell is happening? A million questions buzzed in her head and fueled her curiosity to find the fire.
She followed the strangely dull smoke into her kitchen where she was immediately stunned. She couldn’t even scream. There was one blank wall in her kitchen that had no major appliances on it. She had covered the wall with pictures in a sort of collage as soon as she moved in. Now, all of those pictures were on the ground. Glass from the frames was scattered everywhere and photographs were ripped. It looked as if someone had come in, taken all her pictures off the walls, and just dropped them. However, it wasn’t the broken pictures that shocked Erin the most. It was what replaced the pictures on the once bare wall. Erin now stared at flaming scorch marks and blackened stripes covering the white paint. Some were still spitting out orange and red flames that shot upward to lick the wall’s surface, but not to cause anymore damage. It was almost as if someone had instructed the flames to only come out of the designated stripes. What freaked Erin out even more was that the stripes were arranged in letters. These letters covered the wall from ceiling to floor for apparent emphasis. EMILY. Erin read the name over and over again in her mind. It was the name of her dead twin sister. The one she had killed thirteen years ago. The same one that was now haunting her in dreams and memories. EMILY. EMILY. Erin… Erin… Erin…It’s me… As Erin heard her name being called, her body crumpled to the floor and she once again entered into the dark world of unconsciousness.
 
***
Erin got up and got ready for work, doing her best to ignore the charred letters burned into her wall. The flames had stopped reaching out of the marks, but the black letters were still there, staring her down. She went through her day at work in a hazy blur. She fought with herself all day. She wanted to stay at work so she wouldn’t have to go home and be alone. But she wanted to leave work so she could meet her friends tonight and tell them everything that had been going on. She was slightly embarrassed about sharing her dreams with them. But she was more scared of her dreams than she was of her friend’s disapproval, so she decided to just come out with it. She thought maybe they could help her get over it and go back to running a normal life.
When she got off work, she refused to go home. She didn’t want to face the charred wall and she was also afraid of anything new she might find concerning her hot enemy of thirteen years. Instead of going home, she went shopping. She decided to stay in places where there were a lot of people. Maybe it doesn’t strike when I’m around people. But what is it? She stopped her mind from wandering too far into her newfound land of fear. She didn’t want to be paranoid or scared when she met her friends.
When it was time for her to go to the restaurant they were getting together at, she left the mall and drove to Ruby Tuesday’s. Jenny and Mike were already there and the three friends started their weekly gathering. Erin tried to act fairly normal, but it was impossible in her current state of being. She could only hope her friends wouldn’t notice any difference. She was wrong. They hadn’t even gotten appetizers yet, when Jenny asked her what was upsetting her.
“Nothing. I’m fine.” Erin said in an unsure voice.
“There is something wrong. Erin, I’ve known you for almost five years now. I know when something is wrong with you. What is it?” Jenny asked.
“Yeah. Now that you mention it, there is something wrong with her.” Mike piped up in a pathetically pleading tone. “C’mon tell us. Please.”
“Okay. Fine I’ll tell you. But you have to promise not to tell anyone and not to laugh. No comments until the end.” Erin said as sternly as she could.
“Okay.” Both of her friends said.
Erin saw the honesty in their eyes and told them her story. She told them everything that had happened since her first nightmare all the way up to the very dinner they were sharing. When she was done, Jenny and Mike stared at her in utter confusion and disbelief.
“You expect us to believe that?” Mike said incredulously.
“Yes I do. In fact I can prove it. Those charred marks on my wall from last night are still there. I can take you there after we eat and you can see them for yourselves.”
Jenny and Mike looked at each other for a moment of silent agreement. “Okay. We’ll come.” 1 finally said. “But you’d better not be playing with us.”
With that they finished their dinner without another word about Erin’s insane week. When they finished, they left the restaurant and Jenny and Mike followed Erin to her apartment. When they got to the building, they climbed the stairs to the third story because the elevator was currently under repair. Erin opened the door and was immediately hit with the faint, but familiar scent of recently burned wood. Her apartment had smelled like this since yesterday when the wall had burned. She was surprised that her friends didn’t say anything when they stepped in the door. Can’t they smell that? She wondered.
Erin quietly led her friends to her kitchen where the burn marks were still glaring at her. She silently stared at the charred black word on her wall. She expected to hear a ‘wow’ and a gasp of breath from her friends, but instead she got...
“Where is it?”
“Huh? What do you mean? It’s right here in front of you. The word ‘Emily’ is right there. Don’t you see it?”
“Erin, I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything there except a blank wall. I thought you had pictures on this wall. Where are they?” Jenny asked only slightly aware of her friend’s growing anger and fear.
“You don’t see them? The pictures are broken on the ground right at your feet. There are black charred letters burned into the wall right in front of you. And how can you not smell that reeking stench of smoke? It’s been here since yesterday.” Erin asked growing more freaked and scared by the second.
“I swear, Erin, I don’t see anything here. There are no pictures on the ground, no burns on the wall, and definitely no smell. The only thing I smell is your cat’s litter box. Sorry.” Mike said more aware of Erin’s growing fear.
Erin was on the brink of crying. She didn’t understand why her friend’s were lying to her about seeing it. She then saw the truth in their eyes. Maybe they really can’t see it. Erin thought to herself.
“I’m sorry, Erin. We really don’t see anything.”
“Yeah. Sorry. I wish I could stay, but I gotta get home.” Mike said sympathetically.
“I can’t stay either, but if you need anything just call. I’ll try to come by tomorrow to check up on you.” Jenny said. She went to hug Erin, but Erin just walked over to the sofa and lay down. As soon as she heard the door shut behind her friends she started to cry. She just wanted out of this nightmare that had grown to an immense size, but all she could do was fall asleep and inevitably enter her nightmares again.
 
***
Erin sat straight up in bed, gasping for breath, sweat pouring off of her face and running down her neck. Just another dream, she told herself, only a dream. She breathed deeply for a moment. Once she calmed down and reassured herself that what had happened in her dreams was not reality, she climbed out of the sinking mattress and dragged her trembling feet into the bathroom. There, she turned the sink on and splashed the water on her face. Looking up into her face in the mirror, a blood-curdling scream escaped her lips. Half of her face was completely covered in scars. Burn scars. Just like the ones that her sister had all over her face on that dreadful night thirteen years ago.
She quickly closed her eyes and tried to block the image of her scarred face from her mind. Pictures of her sister with burn marks covering half of her face flashed in her head. She fell back against the wall and slid down onto the floor, sobbing and crying Emily’s name.
“Emily!” she wailed. “Emily, please! Please!”
Eventually she cried herself to sleep right there on the bathroom floor.
***
Six hours later, her bloodshot, crusty eyes struggled to open. Erin peeled her cheek off of the cold tile. She sat up looking around her, confused. What happened to me? she thought. Then it all came back to her. The nightmare. The scars. The screaming.
She stumbled to her feet and ran the water in the shower. Quickly, she washed her hair and face and dried off. Throwing on some clothes and tying her mess of hair up, she grabbed her keys and hurried out of the door. She had to get out of the apartment. She desperately needed fresh air.
She set off at a brisk pace, en route to the Clearwater Bridge, a regular place for her to go when she was stressed. As she approached the bridge, she got a strange tingling sensation on the back of her neck. She quickened her steps. Her breathing sped up and her heart began to race. She started to run. Faster and faster she went. She looked over her shoulder to see if someone was chasing her but there was no one. When she turned to face forward, she came to an abrupt halt and stumbled a few steps backwards.
A small girl of about ten with curly, dark hair and deep green eyes was standing there, staring at her with the faintest hint of a smile on her beautifully young face. Emily.
Erin couldn’t breathe. She could hardly stand up straight. She leaned over and grabbed the side of the bridge for support. “Em… Em…”
The little girl’s smile grew wider.
“Em-Emily?” Erin finally stuttered out, not daring to believe that this was really happening.
“Yes.” said the little girl.
“How did you…how? It’s you. You’re the one who’s been doing these…these things to me, aren’t you?” Erin asked, making the connection.
“Who else?” Emily’s smile became wider still.
‘But-but…why?”
“Isn’t that obvious?” Emily spoke with a much older diction than the tone of her ten short years. It was eerie to hear a child speak with that much assuredness and calm. Erin just stared at her like she was crazy.
The wicked grin was gone from Emily's face in a flash of anger. “Are you that dense?” Must I explain everything to you?!”
Erin was taken aback. “I…I-”
“Thirteen years it’s been. Thirteen years ago today was the day I died. The day you killed me.” And with those last three words, Emily's eyes flashed a dangerous shade of fiery red.
A sudden heat crept up Erin's left leg. She looked down at it to see flames eating up the bottom of her sweats. She screamed at the top of her lungs and started to stamp her foot in a desperate attempt to put the fire out. But the flames only grew, spreading up to her knee, then to her thigh.
Her eyes darted around frantically, trying to find something that would end her misery. They fell on little Emily. The girl was just standing there with her arms folded across her chest, a determined smirk on her face, eyes flaming red.
Erin screamed again in agony. Tears streamed down her face. “I’m sorry!!!” she cried. “I’m so, so sorry! Please, Emily, I didn’t mean to!!”
In a final attempt to save herself, Erin scrambled up onto the edge of the bridge, took a deep, choking breath and jumped.
 
***
 
Emily Mitchell leaned over the edge of the Clearwater Bridge. “Sorry, sister,” she muttered. “But it’s a little too late for apologies.”
She stepped back and smiled at her craftiness, proud of herself for finally making her damned sister suffer and die.
Something rubbed against her leg. She looked down to see Smokey weaving in between her feet. She smiled again, reaching down to pick up the ashy gray cat. “Thank you, my pet,” she said. And then they both dissolved into smoke, floating up into the air, leaving a small pile of ashes in their wake.


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