The haunting scream echoed through the abandoned hall, traveling relentlessly until it reached me, again. I woke up with a start, fighting back a wave of tears and clutching the only comfort I had left in this world, my locket. It was the only thing I had left of her, everything that had meant anything to me had seemed to perish in what seemed like a matter of minutes...The phantom screams of agony still surrounded me, trying to pull me back to them. During the waking hours, the screams and visions did not haunt me as they did in the night, they preyed on me in my sleeping hours, filtering into my dreams until they consumed me, until they showed me every unimaginable horror. They were inexorable, and had been since that fatal day. Trying to calm my erratic breathing, I clambered shakily out of bed, attempting to block out the wails of the dead. I needed to stop this, I needed to find a way to make it end. In the months that had gone by they plagued me, and it had all started with one person. I closed my eyes against the idea that had surfaced in my mind, the idea that had been there since that day, but I needed to do this, I need it to stop I thought more forcefully. So it was decided. I was going to visit my sister. I walked through the vacant streets, the moonlight reflecting off the glistening pavement, I clutched my coat closer to my body, protecting myself from the onslaught of the wind and rain as it crashed powerfully into me. The wind whistled through the trees as I walked, my head down looking at the pavement, afraid to face the buildings surrounding me, the buildings that held so many memories, memories of my childhood, memories of a time when everything was good, when there were more smiles than tears, when happiness was the only thing I knew. I had never believed in ghost stories, the stories that were told on Halloween, they had all seemed silly to me, I separated myself from them, uncaring and disbelieving. I laughed bitterly to myself, if only I had known. I slowed my pace, I knew it wasn't the best of ideas, coming out here at this ungodly hour of the night but the phantom screams of the long lost haunted me in the place I dared call home, I knew the horrors that surrounded them, that now surrounded me. The unrelenting invisible pull that guided me towards her...my sisters' grave. My long blonde hair was blowing chaotically in the wind, whipping across my face as if attacking me, or warning me I thought to myself. I discarded the thought, shaking my head at the inaneness of it. As I walked through the winding streets I stared purposefully ahead all the while holding the locket as if it was my lifeline, and I suppose it was, it was the only piece of my family I had left. There was a time when my parents, myself and Lily made up the perfect, happy family, and I recall how that had all gone to hell in the space of a year. I remember watching the flames as they teasingly licked at my home before devouring it completely. Everything in it, including my parents was gone, leaving myself and Lily only with the memory of them. I remember the way Lily and I stood there hand in hand watching the horror unfurl, after that it was just us left to pick up the pieces, to try to put our lives back together and for a while it worked, until I lost her too. I lowered my eyes as I rounded the corner, I was here, I took a deep breath and followed the graveled trail to my sisters grave. I stared unseeingly at the name engraved in the all too familiar headstone, the headstone that had been an unwelcome yet regular image that appeared in my dreams, I bit down on my lip trying to keep my tears at bay, and realised I was clutching my locket in a death grip, with that realisation I could feel the barriers I had built in my mind breaking, slithers of memories leaking through, the memories that I had tried to bury in the dark recesses of my mind coming to life. I closed my eyes against the memories that flooded me, taking me under, to a place I had never intended to visit, not again. Her screams the wide eyed desperate look that was soon replaced with pain and suffering as she clutched my hand in a...a death grip, I sobbed uncontrollably remembering her desperate but futile attempt to escape,while a never ending stream of tears ran down my face. I was too late and now I could do nothing but sit beside the one person who I had left, as she died. Movement in the corner or my eye captured my attention, it was a person, a girl, her raven black hair billowed behind her. I noticed the icy blue fabric of her knee length dress was tattered and streaked with blood. I had a small almost unrecognizable feeling that the dress was familiar, feeling like my heart was about to jump out of my chest I looked up, the girl had a pasty complexion with dark, almost black circles under her eyes, her mouth was open in a silent scream, with fat tears rolling relentlessly down her cheeks, her eyes told a story of unendurable pain. And it clicked. I felt my breath whoosh out of my mouth, my heartbeat picked up double time, my skin turned cold, all the while tears still rolling down my cheeks in an unending flow of loss as I recognised the person in front of me. I recognised her hair, her face, her dress, the same expression frozen as it was the night she died. My sister.
© Copyright 2016 Meg Smith. All rights reserved.