Children's Stories

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


Alan and Nila Rovers were a pair of siblings who could feel what each other was feeling, but this ability hadn't ended even when one of them had passed away.

Submitted: May 20, 2014

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Submitted: May 20, 2014

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Prologue

 

A long time ago, there was a quiet town where the sky was white at all seasons and times. Few miles away from the town, there stood a large house where two children and an old woman lived in it. The two children named Nila and Alan were told once by the woman in her mid-fifties named Matilda that they were adopted by her from an orphanage in a faraway city when they were only babies with eyes shut like newborn piglets.

 

One night, Nila wouldn't shut her eyes; she couldn't sleep. Lying on her wooden bed mattress, her eyes stared straight at the wooden ceiling. Noises of furnitures moving keep coming from upstairs, where Matilda's room was at. The other wooden bed in Nila and Alan's bedroom was empty. She knew that Alan was brought upstairs again. Squeezing her hands onto her ears, she got up from her bed and ran out of the room; trying to find a place where the noise wouldn't come into her ears. At the same time, feeling scared and worried for Alan. It was too dark in the house for her to see where she was going so she got out a candlestick from a drawer in their bedroom and lit it with a match. She ran around the house from one corner to another but the noise seemed to be following her, growing louder with every step she ran. She came in front of a stairway which she never noticed before in the house then stretched out her arm holding the candlestick in front of her to the stairway and saw that it led down to a door. She walked down through the stairway, opened the door, it felt really heavy for her but she managed, and closed it behind her. Then everything was silent as if time had halted.

 

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Nila's Story

 

 

1 The Repetitive Cycle

 

Nila held up her tears as she applied some ointment onto her little brother's body. The seven-year old boy's body was covered in gray and purple bruises, with wounds here and there. His eyes looked as if they belonged to a dead person. She could feel her brother's sorrow and numbness just like they belonged to her. The two of them could always feel what each other were feeling ever since Alan was born a year later than Nila. It was this connection that made Nila wanting to run away from the noises every time Alan was brought upstairs. Each day passed by as Nila's urge of wanting run away from the house grew larger and larger.

Every Monday noon, Matilda would dial the grocery shops in town to have them deliver groceries to the house, paying double tips for the deliverance so the family would never have to go out. That day, it was Monday and the deliveryman came at two o'clock in the noon like usual. Doorbells at the top corner of the front door tackled each other making a merry ringing sound like those you hear at Christmas time. Nila called out to answer the deliveryman and opened the door for him. She handed him the money that Matilda had left on an end table and took the bags of groceries from him. She could never quite see the deliveryman's face every time he came so she never knew how he looked like. He would always use something to cover up his face which was most likely that no one in town ever saw. This week he wore a blue hood covering his face, last week it was an extremely large black hat, and at other weeks it was another thing.

Nila was thinking about what could be done to stop Matilda's abuse when she suddenly tripped while walking to the kitchen holding the bags of groceries on her arms. Tomatoes, cabbages, and other vegetables from the grocery bags flew into the air at the same moment as she was about to fall onto the floor face-forward. 'Don't fall!' she thought to herself. Then almost instantly, the vegetables, the grocery bags, and herself stopped falling and floated in mid-air, looking as if they were hanging from invisible strings coming from the ceiling. She picked down the vegetables still floating in the air and put them back into the grocery bags. After having everything settled in the kitchen, she felt as though she hadn't slept for days, which was probably true. She used what energy she had left inside her to walk back to the bedroom and fell asleep on her bed.

Nila was woken up by the noises of furnitures moving coming from upstairs in the middle of the night again. She got worried for Alan then ran towards the staircase which led to the second floor. She hesitated when she thought if she could rescue Alan from Matilda's abuse this time. The noises of furnitures moving grew louder and the feeling of wanting to run away from the noise oozed up in Nila again. Her legs were shaking because Alan shared his fear with her. At last, she took a step backward from the staircase and turned away. She felt as though her body was being controlled by anything but herself. She ran again, trying to find a place where she wouldn't hear the noise. She remembered the stairway which led down to a dark room and how silent it was when she went inside; she ran to that stairway and opened the heavy door again. It was pitch black inside but she stepped into the room feeling safer than anywhere else for the time being, and shut the door behind her again. Finally, it was silent, and she felt at peace.

The next morning, Nila was sleeping on the floor in the middle of the house. Her hands still on her ears and her body crouched into a small circle. She wondered how she got there as the last place she remembered she went to was the dark room beneath the stairway. In fact, she couldn't even remember how she got out of it the first time she went inside the room, or how many nights she had been like this. She daydreamed for hours on the floor and analyzed that she might had dream-walked out of the dark room after she went in there.

“Breakfast!!” a harsh and loud voice yelled out from the second floor, it was Matilda.

'Oh gee', Nila thought. She got up and went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for the three like she usually did before. It was because if she didn't do as Matilda told, the punishment would be heavier bruises and wounds on Alan, which was what Nila wouldn't want to happen most.

To save the time used on cooking so that Matilda wouldn't have more to fuss about, she used her powers that she used last time to help her to cook. Sending eggs, hams, forks, knives, and plates flying around the air in the kitchen with a snap of a finger.

Alan came into the dining room right on time when Nila finished cooking breakfast. Nila didn't even have to look at him to know that he had more bruises on his body than last time. The three of them, including Matilda, had their breakfast in silence. Morning sunlight coming through windows in the dining room shed onto their dining table. From afar, they seemed like any other family in town or the one you knew next door from your own.

 

 

 

 

2 The Ways

 

After breakfast, the two children played Scrabble while Matilda read old newspapers on the living chair by the fireplace. Alan's fingers were shaking as he placed a letter 'B' onto the game board; veins inside his arm were most likely congested by his own bruises. Nila held Alan's arm to stop him from placing tiles onto the game board then shoved away all the tiles that were previously on it. She put her index finger in front of her lips, hinting Alan not to alert Matilda who had her nose behind newspapers. Then picked out some tiles and placed them onto the game board one by one, spelling four lines of words. Alan read them:

DO YOU

WANT TO

RUNAWAY

FROM HERE

Alan searched inside the bag of tiles and picked out two pieces of tiles from it. He put one tile on top of the last letter in the four lines, the other one below it. Making the word “YES” in vertical.

Nila grabbed some tiles and made a few words again. This time it read:

ARE YOU READY

Alan answered with the same two tiles he used before, making a “YES” with the second letter of the last word that Nila made.

The girl glanced at Matilda for the last time, making sure she was busy with her newspapers. Then she grabbed the boy's hand and dashed towards the front door. She hadn't noticed that the door was already opened, which was quite an unusual thing for this house. Both Nila and Alan went outside the house for the first time, but they hadn't the time to stop and wonder at the views outside the house - Matilda was already coming out after them.

The children ran along on a stone road. There seemed to have no other way as the whole place was an ocean of fir trees. Nila guessed that the road might lead to the town because she saw the deliveryman walking this way every week he left. After running on the road for about ten minutes, they could still see Matilda behind them. The old woman wasn't even gasping to breath after all that running, quite unusual for her age.

Quite unexpectedly, the children saw someone standing on the way in front of them, in the middle of a crossroad. Nila seemed to recognize this person. 'He's wearing a clown's hat covering his face this time, how funny!' she thought, but fear rose inside her the next moment as she thought that the deliveryman would probably stop them and turn them out to Matilda for even more bonus tips that she paid him. There was no going back either way as Matilda was still behind them. The children finally ran up to the center of the the crossroad where the deliveryman stood at. They greeted him when they met. Nila had an idea as she looked at the man's gigantic clown's hat. She got out her favorite toy mask from her dress pocket and showed it to the man. The man seemed uninterested for he hadn't moved for a bit (They couldn't really tell for they couldn't see his face). Nila put on the toy mask on herself, took it off, then tried to hand the mask to the man. Her hand reaching near enough to the man so he could see it under his hat's crack. He took it from her, then turned around from the children. He took off his own clown's hat and wore the toy mask that Nila gave him then turned back around. It was too small for him but still covered the center part of his face, it even had two holes that he could see through from, unlike those hats or hoods that he used to wear that covered his whole face.

The deliveryman then offered to help the children. To their surprise, he already knew that they were running away from Matilda. He asked the children to snuggle into his large coat and stand back behind him in a straight line and they did so. The man now looked like a hunchback with two humps (the children) on his back. His legs were large enough that if you looked at him from the front side, you wouldn't even see the children's legs that were actually behind them. He took off his toy mask and slipped it into his coat's pocket then put on back his clown's hat so Matilda wouldn't be suspicious when she saw him. Matilda was coming up to the crossroad so the deliveryman told the children not to move their legs or body. She came up to him and asked if he saw two children who came by.

He nodded and pointed to the road on the far right with his finger.

Matilda beamed at the man and said that if he told the truth she will offer him ten bronze coins.

Inside his coat, Nila got worried that he would accept her offer and sell them out for money that she slumped her body a bit to the left. Matilda noticed that and beamed even more at the man with narrowed eyes. Neither of the children or the man dared to move or blink an eye anymore at the moment.

Then Matilda spurted out some swearing words and called the man a freak for he was a hunchback and had a moving hump. As if not wanted to stay for a few more minutes with the man, she moved along to the road on the far right with her cane, mumbling and grunting swearing words as she went.

The children waited until Matilda disappeared into the bends and curves of the long road then came out from the man's large coat. They giggled because their trick, which seemed quite silly to begin with, actually worked on Matilda, who blinded herself because of her own narrow-mindedness.

They thanked the deliveryman, hugging him on the waist as they did, the man hugged back. The children felt warmth from the hug; they had never been hugged or hugged anyone during the days when they lived at Matilda's house. Nor was the deliveryman, the townspeople never wanted to go near him, not to mention hugging.

The man stepped away to the road on the far right, blocking its way, and gestured the children to move on. Leaving them to choose between the road in front of them or the road on the far left.

Alan pulled Nila to the road on the left and so that way they went.

 

 

 

3 Final Destination

 

Nila and Alan didn't know where the road would lead to and had no intention going to the town. They only wanted to walk any road in front of them and stay together no matter where they went at this moment. The road seemed endlessly long but aside from that, they could have plenty of time to wonder at the views of the outside world that in the past could only be seen in the windows in Matilda's house. Nila stared curiously at the sky for she had never looked up upon it; it was always a wooden ceiling that she looked up at. She watched as the sky kept changing colors. From yellow to pink, from pink to marine blue, then from marine blue to purple and so on. She didn't know the sky was like this before when she looked out the windows in Matilda's house; the sky was always white at all times there. She began to wonder if it was typical for the sky to constantly change colors, or if the sky she saw from the windows when she was in Matilda's house was just different from this one.

Autumn leaves from trees alongside the road were falling, covering up the ground the children were walking on like finishing a jigsaw puzzle. The brown leaves were so crispy that they would crack beneath the children's foot as they walked on it. The children started playing with the leaves, stomping them on purpose just to make them crack. They raked up leaves with their foot, kicking a bunch of leaves onto each other and laughed when leaves got stuck on the other person's hair; having fun like any other kid should have. The road still seemed so long like there was no end to it. Gradually, the weather became colder but the children couldn't feel it. And then, little white dots began falling from the sky. Dead leaves that they were walking on became an inch of snow. Trees alongside the road became leafless, its branches covered up in snow. The children watched in awe at this environmental change that seemed magical in their eyes. They felt they knew so little about the outside world and it was so different from what they imagined or read from books.

The children finally saw a building at the end of the road. The building was linked to a railway track where a worker was shoving away snow with a rake. They went into the building. The train station was so empty that they could hear their own footsteps echo back at them. A white train with dark wooden edges waited in idle beside the platform. The children tried to get on the train as they had no intention to go anywhere else but were stopped by a man who stood next to the train door.

“Welcome aboard. But to come aboard, you must first have a ticket,” the man said.

“Can't you make us an exception please, Sire? We have come a long way and had lost all our pennies to it,” Nila asked him.

“Oh you need not any pennies to get yourself a ticket here,” he chuckled.

“How then, Sire, do I get one?” Nila asked.

“That, my little lady, is up to you to find out,” he replied.

The children wandered around the building looking for a ticket agent but there was none. They wandered outside near the entrance of the train station. There was a woman sitting on a bench by the building wall. Faint chiming sounds were coming from a music box that the woman held between her hands. Nila thought she had heard its melody somewhere before but couldn't recall. Not knowing why, she went to the woman on the bench and sat next to her. She looked at the woman, the woman looked about twenty to thirty years old and wore really heavy make up on her face.

“Do you like this music?” the woman spoke, asking about the music from the music box.

“Yes,” Nila answered.

“This music box was made by my husband as a gift for our first baby,” she continued talking about the music box.

“Is it a famous music?” Nila asked because she wondered why she felt familiar with its melody.

“No, not much people had heard it as this is the only music box in the world that plays it,” the woman said, then she glanced over at Nila and continued, “You look like her. But our daughter should be at least thirty years old now, wherever she is. My husband died in a year after she was born then I got really sick after that. I wanted our children to have a happier life, I left them in an orphanage so they could grow up in a better family.”

She handed the music box to Nila and said, “You can keep this if you like it because I'll be leaving this place soon.”

Nila took the music box from her and thanked her for it.

“You're welcome,” the woman smiled then messed up Nila's hair with her hand. She left the bench then waved goodbye at Nila before she went inside the train station.

Nila took a deep breath, white smoke came out along with her breath, then looked at the train ticket in her hand. The music box that the woman gave her had just turned into a ticket after she left. She felt that she had understood what the man meant by “up to you to find out” now.

She waved the ticker cheerily at Alan. He smiled back at her. The children walked back into the train station and gave the ticket to the man next to the train door.

“There's ya ticket. We have a long journey to travel later, so try to make yourself comfortable in there,” the man said as he winked at the children.

The train door shut behind them, then started to speed up slowly as clouds of smoke emitted from its chimney top. Nila sat on one of the benches that were of polished dark wood, lined in a single column against sides of the train wall. She turned her body to face the train windows and looked out, into the sky that was ever changing colors; this time it changed to indigo. She felt as though her life was about to turn to a whole new leaf after the train would reach its destination, where Matilda could never find them; she had never been so hopeful about something before. She turned back into the train, expecting Alan to be beside her, but no one was on the train except for herself. Staring into an empty space in the train, she slowly began to smile very faintly. She knew all along that no one was next to her on her journey. What she saw was just what she felt. She closed her eyes and heard nothing but the sound of train traveling on tracks sinking deeply into her heart. At last, her heart felt lighter than anytime else she had in her lifetime.

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Alan's Story

 

 

1 Truth

 

Esther Carson returned home in London after three days of investigation work for a case in Iceland which needed assistant from their department. She felt tired of all the socializing with people she was new to, not because she was not a good socializer - She loved talking to people, and getting to know how different persons would feel and respond to specific situations, but because she could hardly get the kind of response that she wanted from them. She massaged the bridge of her nose then turned on the television in the living room. A newscaster in the midnight news report was reporting about the case which she had took part of the investigation when she was in Iceland.

“...The owner of the house had discovered burnt remnants of a child in her house's basement. According to medical examiners, the corpse had been inside the basement for at least thirty years as of now...”

Esther didn't want to hear the news anymore so she turned off the television then went into the bathroom for a bath. Steaming hot water rushed into the bathtub. She lied down into the water in the tub then tilted her head back, trying to relax her mind, but images of the child's burnt corpse she saw in Iceland recurred in her mind as she tried. Back in the house in Iceland, light from the house shone into its basement like moonlight glowing into a black hole that swallowed any light that goes into it. The burnt corpse of a child lied beneath a stairway inside the basement. Its hands were stuck onto it ears because of the burning; its body crouched into a small circle lying on the ground. Flies were buzzing in the air and smell was indescribable.

Imitating the posture of the corpse, Esther placed her hands onto her ears, then sank herself into the water in the tub; overfilled water spilled onto the bathroom floor. She wanted to get a feel of what the corpse was possibly feeling right before it died. But she didn't get any insights except almost drowning herself from it and got back up into the air after a few seconds.

Esther got woken up by a phone call the next morning, she got up from her queen sized bed that she slept alone on and picked up the phone.

“Hello?”

“Looks like we've got a new angle on the case. Guess who we found who had a relation with the corpse?” the voice on the phone said.

“Thanks for waking me up, Trevor. Who is it?”

“Anytime. It's Stephen Myer,” the voice answered.

“Stephen Myer?”

“Yes. The Stephen Myer, author of bestselling memoirs on child abuse based on his own experience.”

“I see. I'm coming in a few minutes. See you later,” She hung up the phone and started getting herself ready for another day's work.

The next day, Esther was driving in her car with Stephen Myer's home address written on a sticky note in her hand. Specks of rain were sliding down on her car's rear windows so she couldn't see very well from them. She drove around looking for a signpost with the street name from Myer's home address. After a while of searching on the roadway, she stopped her car on the roadside near Stephen Myer's house. She looked out from her car windows and saw Stephen Myer on his front yard playing swing with his five-year old son in the rain. He looked just slightly different from his picture on the inside of the back of his book. His wife came out into the front yard and called them back into the house. His son groaned but followed his dad back into the house, then they shut the front door behind them. Esther stepped out of her car; she went to their front door and pressed on the door bell. Stephen Myer's wife answered the door. She was used to seeing strangers at their house's front steps, especially those looking for her husband. Several journalists and child abuse prevention groups had visited them after her husband's non-fiction book started selling out. Only this time the visitor's purpose was a bit different from the ones that came before.

Almost an hour later, Stephen Myer was in the police investigation department being questioned for the case of his sister's corpse that was found in the basement of the house that he had lived in in Iceland. According to what Trevor had investigated, they were the first family to live in that house.

“Your sister's news was on TV two nights ago. Why didn't you come here and report yourself?” Esther began questioning him.

“To speak the truth, I knew that was my sister there right when I saw the news clips on TV. I made up my mind to pick up her corpse tomorrow but you've reached me first.”

“Didn't you know what happened to your sister thirty years ago?”

“There was a time that I noticed my sister was missing in the house. I wanted to look for her but the woman who adopted us took me to London, where she was sued on child harm by neighbors who discovered her abuse on me, very shortly afterwards. She might knew at that time what happened to my sister, that would make an explanation why she moved away from the house afterwards, fearing that she would be responsible for it. But nobody really knows now.”

Esther understood what he meant. The woman who adopted the two children thirty years ago had went into an asylum after she was sued. Twelve years later, committed suicide in there. That was what Esther got after tracking down the first owner of the house. She was the woman that Stephen Myer mentioned in his book as the person who abused him in his childhood.

The case was about to close; the death was either an accident, a suicide, or even if it was a murder case, the murderer had passed away already. How would a seven-year old boy at that time possibly kill his own sister?

“I see. Do you have anything you would like add in to what happened in the house thirty years ago?” Esther asked.

“My sister, when she was alive, was a really sensitive person. There were times when she would cry just looking at the bruises on me when I was a child. I really regret her death,” he said.

Esther ended the questioning and thanked him for his time. She gave him a ride home afterwards, after that drove to a local restaurant herself. Then drove back to her house after finishing her dinner at the restaurant.

 

 

 

2 Arrival

 

Stephen Myer arrived at the pier in Iceland. Never in his life would he think of going back to this land where his inner darkness rooted from if it weren't to pick up his sister's corpse. Years and years that he had tried to get advantages out of his childhood history which he had learned from a long time could earn him sympathetic benefits from some so-called compassionate society people. Everything, including writing his 290-page memoir that could sum up in a few words: 'I had a rare, disturbing, and how I got through it, so you could too', went smoothly under his plan. The book was a disguise for him for the truth hidden behind of him was that he never got through the shadow his childhood left him, all the positive messages he'd written in his memoir were written just to fit into what society needed for money. The discovery of his sister's corpse was a flaw in his plan; it came to him like a speeding car which hit a vain and bald woman whose wig got thrown away during the crash. The guilt that he didn't want to admit he had in all these years got thrown into the spotlight.

A map of Iceland happened to be the one thing that Stephen Myer needed to get to the place where the police had placed his sister's corpse. He got out the map of the present day Iceland, read it for a while then started to head to the police department. Even though he grew up in Iceland, the only time he went out as he remembered was when the woman who adopted him brought him to move to London. He couldn't find the right way to the police department for a few times but managed to get there at last.

In the police department, Stephen Myer talked to an officer about the retrieving of his sister's corpse. With his eyes on the officer's lips, he acknowledged that the officer had said that the person who could be in charge of found corpses was out playing trumpet for the town's marching band and would only be back an hour later. And so, he decided to take a walk around then return to the police department after an hour. When he reached out for the door handle, the officer tapped on his shoulder saying that he had called for him a few times. Stephen Myer apologized and explained himself that he had a hearing problem: he couldn't hear at all. The officer's expression seemed a little startled. He said that it was about to snow outside then borrowed Stephen Myer a black umbrella. Stephen Myer thanked him and went out. It was snowing a little out there and the sky seemed grayish-white. Gusts of winds were blowing breezily against the snow but he wouldn't hear any of the sounds they made. The air felt crisply cool on his face. He opened the umbrella and began taking a walk to nowhere.

Consciousness was the only thing telling him where to go, but he was not conscious of where he was at. He walked and walked even more to find the fir trees around him and the stone road he walked on becoming familiar. He had been here before, although he couldn't remember when exactly.

The stone road was a one-way road, with not too much bends or curves. It was a place that would make someone wonder what would be there at the end of the road. Maybe there would be a swimming pool? A fish-meat factory? Or even a small model airplane that got left behind after it crashed onto the middle of nowhere? Perhaps a two-storey wooden house that only exists in this story and its writer is most appropriate for what Stephen Myer would find at the end of the road.

And that was what Stephen Myer found at the end of the road. The wooden house that he used to live in in the old times when he was a child. The house had a garden in its front yard which didn't use to be there when he lived there thirty years ago. The environment seemed to change so much that he could hardly recognize the house from what it used to look like in the past. Snow stopped falling for a while, the sky above this house still looked dully white like it always did when Stephen Myer and his sister lived here. It seemed almost a miracle that plants in this house's garden could actually grow so healthily under the especial weather around this house.

Stephen Myer felt dazed and surprised at the same time, for his legs had brought him to the house of his most unfavorable childhood memories without himself knowing. He was more shocked, though, that the place didn't bring him any difficult feelings or anxiety as he thought it would before.

When his daze cleared up from his mind, he walked up to the front door of the house and pressed on the doorbell and wondered which sort of person the new owner of the house was like to create such changes to this house. The sound of the doorbell still sounded the same as before – merrily ringing bells like those you hear at Christmas time.

A woman of about fifty to sixty years old answered to the doorbell and came up to open the front door. She had long and already gray hair in her age and wore an interesting silver circle enclosing a star shape hanging from a handmade-like necklace piece on her neck. He began talking to the woman and merely introduced himself and mentioned the case of the corpse, which she had uncovered in the basement of this house, which the news had reported about three nights ago.

The woman whose name was Salas Raven, as if she knew that someone would come for the case one day, invited Stephen Myer into the house saying that she wanted to show him some things related to the case. Again, the inside of the house had changed so much that Stephen Myer found it hard to resemble it with the same house he lived in thirty years ago. He sat down on a sofa in the living room as Salas Raven placed a cup of tea on a table in front of the sofa for him, then she got out a brown envelope from a drawer in another room.

From the brown envelope, she got out a pile of photographs and placed them on the table as well, asking him to take a look at them. He did as she asked. The photographs showed various kitchenwares flying around inside the kitchen of this house. Dates on the photographs showed that they were taken on every year starting from five years ago on the same month and day.

She gave him an explanation on the photographs, saying that they were taken when the spirit of the corpse found in the house was cooking breakfast and making forks, knives, and plates fly around in the air, an event she noticed that occurred in the house every year on the same day.

Stephen Myer felt awed and not sure whether to believe her or not. Such photographs could be made easily with a few clicks on an image editing program in a computer. But he had another point that made him feel stranger about their conversation: he didn't tell her that the corpse found in this house had a blood relation with him, yet why would she tell him that his sister possibly still existed somewhere?

“I hope her spirit could be set free from whatever that might be keeping her here,” that was all she said and walked upstairs to her room, where in the past used to be the room of Stephen Myer's guardian.

 

Stephen Myer was walking down the street back to the police department. He had excused himself from Salas Raven's house when he noticed that already an hour more had passed away. He felt that what the lady told him back in the house was not totally out of nowhere, though he had never been a superstitious person when he was in London. Deep down inside of him always knew that his sister had still lived on in somewhere else.

Beginning from the moment that Stephen Myer was born, he and his sister had been sharing one world of feelings and feelings only. Through this connection, the siblings were gifted the ability that would make them feel each other's feelings at the exact same time that they were felt. Their world of feelings had only appeared in Stephen Myer's dreams after he moved to London. Every time he woke up after a dream, he would forget that he had a dream at all. This gifted ability hadn't been taken away even after the fire had taken away his sister's life.

 

It was still snowing hard on his way to the police department. Countless dots of snow fell onto the black umbrella which he had borrowed from the officer an hour ago. His feet was buried under inches of snow lying on the ground. Fierce wind blew from the south to his back along with snow as though pushing him to walk forward and arrive onto the further road. The whole environment seemed like a silent chaos to him. Snow seemed to be blowing at all directions. Tiny shop signs were swinging around from their hangers looking like they were about to get blown away.

He was not one man who would feel anxious in the middle of unheard chaos, even if there was a possibility that the safety of his life would be on jeopardy. For there were times when he felt that sorrow and despair had overcame fear of death when he was a child that he had wished he could meet it back then. It was not that he didn't care about his life, but if he really would die one day in an accident or right now in this snowstorm, then he would know that his time was up which would be a fact that he wanted his family to accept no matter how uncalled for it was at that time. And that was what Stephen Myer was thinking before he realized that he had arrived at the police department.

He pushed open the building's glass door. A few officers turned their heads to him and looked at him in wonder as he entered into the building from the storm outside.

“Can you believe that? A hurricane sweeping past here of all places. Never even heard of that. What's gone wrong with weather these days?” one officer watching the weather's report said out loud. No one had time to answer him as a voice on their walkie-talkies called in and reported about a family car that was being trapped in the storm. Two policemen doubled up and went out for the trapped family car, walking past Stephen Myer, and leaving the department.

“You're back. I'm relieved to see you made it through the snowstorm. Not too safe to be out in this weather we're having,” the officer who has talked to Stephen Myer earlier said to him.

 

 

 

 

3 Stephen's Story

 

Stephen Myer nodded at the officer after taking a while to lipread him then asked him if the officer who was in charge of the burnt corpse's case returned or not. He was referred to the officer who talked about the weather earlier. He had returned from the marching band right after Stephen left the police station. Stephen was introduced to the officer whose name that Stephen knew now was Georg. He explained to Georg the reason why he was here and showed the papers he got back in London to him.

A while later, they were waiting by the crematory as Stephen's sister's corpse got burned into ashes in it. The moment that Stephen saw his sister's corpse a while ago was heart-moving. He felt tragic just having to look at her burnt corpse that looked so feeble and weak that he could sense and visualize the process of his sister's burning. Watching his sister's corpse burning in the crematory somehow gave him a feeling of security, that his sister finally found her way back to somewhere she supposing belonged to.

After the process of the cremation was done, Stephen held the urn of his sister's bone ashes and tried to walk out of the building into the stormy and chilly atmosphere. He had to stay one more night here for the ships to London were out of service due to the weather and would have to wait till the weather gets better to leave Iceland. Stephen felt his stomach growling in hunger. He had forgotten that he hadn't eaten in the whole day but he doubt that he would have the appetite to finish a meal. Just across from the street, there was a restaurant. Its outer design seemed quite special to Stephen. He went inside it. The atmosphere inside the restaurant was pretty cozy making anyone liking to stay in it especially in a weather like this outside. He made an order to a waitress. Somebody else went into the restaurant and Stephen noticed that it was Salas Raven. The old woman's long silver hair had been blown all over her face and she tried to push her hair back behind her ears as she entered the restaurant. Stephen nodded at her as he caught Salas's eyes on him. Salas nodded back and took a seat at the same table Stephen was sitting at.

“There was something I forgot to give you a look at,” she said in front of him so he could lip read her.

“It's inside of my house, I didn't bring it with me. Would you like to come by my house again to see it?” she asked.

Stephen asked her what it was and Salas answered that it was something that might had belonged to his sister, abandoned inside the house after she died.

“You can even stay the night at the house if you can't find a place to stay for the night in this weather. You are most welcomed by me,” she said warmly.

“Is that okay? Then I would most likely do so,” Stephen said. He had not brought enough money for a night at a hotel and banks were closed at this time of the day.

“Of course.”

After they finished their meal, they waited until the wind seemed a bit weaker to go out again. After a while, they were walking back to the house together. Salas Raven got out the keys to the house and opened the front door. As Stephen went through the front door into the house after Salas Raven, he felt a breeze of wind which blew onto him from the front door to outside of the house. A sense of odd familiarity came to him and he turned his back to look at where the wind blew at. Seeing just the air and the front garden of the house, he turned back to the house and stepped into it.

That night, Stephen had a shower before going to sleep in the room where he and his sister used to sleep in. The memories that were left to him in this house seemed to be recalled while he lied on the bed with his eyes closed. Stephen thought that he wouldn't be able to fall asleep but he did after such a hectic day.

Stephen was having a dream. In the dream, he saw his sister and his childhood self walking through a very long path. Trees alongside the path changed from season to another season as they walked. He and his sister were playing with autumn leaves then with snow. They saw at the end of the path a train station. Then Stephen woke up. He remembered that he had a dream but couldn't recall what had happened in it at all. He realized that it was already morning time so he went out from the room and saw Salas Raven cooking breakfast in the kitchen.

“Good morning,” said Stephen.

“Oh, you're up. Good morning. Mind to have some fried eggs and ham?” said Salas.

“Sure, I won't mind,” replied Stephen.

After they finished having breakfast, Salas got out the item which she said might had belonged to Stephen's sister. She handed it to Stephen. He realized that the item was a music box that he had never seen before. On the rear side of the music box carved the words: For Nila Rovers, our first child.

“I think you should be the one to keep it now,” said Salas.

“Thank you,” said Stephen.

“Don't mention it,” said Salas with a smile.

* * *

Stephen Myer waited at the pier for the ship back to London. The cloud seemed heavy in the dark sky and there was no snow falling. He gazed into the horizon. Light from the sun over the horizon reflected onto clouds covering it in a bluish shade. He felt comfortable with his own heart, like a teenager who had finished crying out repressed tears from wounds created in a long time ago which most of the events he may had long forgotten. The forgotten events in his memory that were recalled few days ago in the house where they were given. He tried to open the music box he received from Salas Raven. The music box opened and showed a figure of a dancer and a piano with another figure playing on it. Melodic chimes came out from the music box. Stephen Myer couldn't believe his ears. He had heard the music coming out from the music box, despite his thirty years of deafness. It was the most beautiful music he had ever heard. A drop of tear fell down from his cheek onto his lap.

* * *

It was a cold January day in a cemetery in London. Leafless tree branches seemed blacker than usual amidst the grayish white sky in the cemetery. A funeral was being held in there. Stephen Myer was standing next to his sister's gravestone. Letters carved on his sister's gravestone read:

R.I.P.

In Memory of Nila Rovers

Beloved Sister

Stephen Myer stepped towards the grave then placed a white flower next to the gravestone; police related to the case and the new owner of their old house who attended the funeral followed along after him. He had never forgotten the night when his sister, Nila Rovers, burnt herself. Why it happened was a secret in his heart and would be buried along with his sister's bone ashes into her grave forever.

A suicidal and depressing little boy he was in his childhood, that was what Stephen Myer never wrote about in his non-fiction book which he wrote about himself. Burning himself was what he felt he always wanted to do at times when he was being abused. His sister and him had always felt each other's feelings ever since they could remember. What he was feeling at that moment his sister would feel it too, vice versa. She was a kind sister who loved her only remaining family in the world. When she went into the basement of the house because of the fear, she knew that her brother wanted to burn himself in the abuse session of the woman who adopted them. Therefore, she lit herself with the speck of fire glimmering on the candlestick she was holding. Fire began burning on her body ablaze; her brother two floors above her felt it as though it were burning his skin, meat, and bones. She was dying and he felt like death was coming near him. Blood was trickling down from his ears. And then it was over. His suicide wish had been fulfilled by her, so he would wish no more for death. Light shimmered into his eyes for once again in a few times. Two years later after he had moved to London, his name was changed to Stephen Myer and had used it ever since.

The memorial funeral of his sister was finished. Stephen Myer waited for everyone else to leave the funeral then knelt in front of the gravestone.

'Goodbye, my dear sister.'

That was the last time he felt what his sister was feeling.

He left the funeral last and walked down into the pavement from the cemetery.

 

* * *

 

Nila turned her head around. She thought she had felt Alan somewhere around her for a second, but the train was all empty except for herself.

“Goodbye,” she whispered to herself, then the train traveled into an space of pure white light where no one else other than those who been there knows what place it is.


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