If These Walls Could Talk, What Would they Say?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
One of my first, and best, but hardest to explain. A supernatural thriller about loss, the emptiness left by it, and the inevitable revenge with a twist.

Submitted: July 01, 2008

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Submitted: July 01, 2008

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If These Walls Could Talk, What would they Say…
A short story by Joshua Fraga
 
It is sad how sometimes, how the happiest feeling you could every possibly have, could bring you the deepest sorrow imaginable. Sadder still, millions of people deal with this curse every waking minute of their day. Sometimes it haunts them in their dreams. Such is the situation of a poor soul by the name of Sandra Quinney. Mournfully her happiest feeling came from a single memory, the birth of her beautiful 7.5 pound baby daughter, Grace. She had many other loving memories of her, but that was the one that stood out strongest among them all. The first time her little Gracie opened her eyes and saw her mother. She was so beautiful ,she remembered, like a new born angel. Her eyes were the kind of azure blue color you could only see at the tip of the highest mountain, above the clouds, were the soft blue color looks the most pure. Pure. That was the perfect word to describe Grace. She would have grown up and made both of her parents proud. She would have had her first kiss, graduated high school. From there she would have went away to college, and met her first and only true love. She would graduate and marry, and have three children, two boys and a girl named Sandra after her mother who always stood by her. This is how her live could have been, that is, is she was still alive today.
After Gracie was born, Sandra and her loving husband Ethan were on top of the world. They had been trying for eight months before Sandra conceived. They saw Grace as their little miracle. You see, they each wanted a girl, and they each got what they wanted. Life was bliss for them. At the time they lived in a one bedroom apartment it was enough room for Ethan and Sandra, but not with a baby. So after several months, Sandra’s uncle had a house he owned in a nice crime free neighbor hood and he game it to them, he called it a later baby shower gift. It wasn’t much, but they didn’t need much, they were living on love.
The day they moved in things could feel like they could go any better. There was more than enough room for the baby, and to top it off, Sandra’s uncle said they could have a pet. Still, they decided to wait, till Grace was older. They also met their neighbor, a recently divorced lawyer named Adam. He was friends with Sandra’s uncle, he said they met at an office party. Her uncle mentioned he was in real estate and Adam mentioned the house. Since then they stayed pretty close. He was a real nice guy, about 6’3”, dark brown hair, clean shaven, well dressed, he was a nice guy. He even helped them unpack their belongings. Years would go by and they would keep a friendly relationship with their family friend. When times were tough, he would let Sandra borrow what ever she needed. When it came to friends, he was defiantly always there. I guess that is where the problems started.
Time passed, as it always does, it is as inevitable as the passing of clouds and wind. But unluckily, clouds and wind don’t always make a good combination. Four years had passed, and the time between Ethan and Sandra was on a constant slippery slope. They were constantly arguing that there was never enough money. Ethan would continuously argue that Grace was the reason they were so broke, but Sandra knew he was hiding something. Soon he became increasingly jealous of the time Adam and his wife were spending together, saying they were getting, “to close”. It seemed what ever secret Ethan had, it consumed him. Causing him to miss milestones in Gracie’s life like her first steps, and even her first words. It wasn’t long before she learned to ask, “Where’s Daddy?” a question that her mother on some lonely nights couldn’t answer. Yet she always had a shoulder to cry on, Adam, her next door neighbor. Any feeling she had for him, if any, she knew she could not, she would not, act on them. As much as she hated what her husband was becoming, she still loved him. You can’t choose who you love.
She decided, to try to lighten the mood around the house by getting a pet. A kitten to be more exact. Pure white fur, pure as the driven snow, Grace took to her immediately. “What are we going to name her?” she asked her mother exicitedly.
“Anything my baby wants!” she answer, Gracie hopped up and down in a circle squeaking like a little mouse out of excitement. “What’s it gonna be then?”
“Hmmmm….” She thought, her little face wrinkled with concentration, her chin resting on her right first as if in deep thought. “Something pretty mommy.”
“You should give her a name that means something.” Sandra said as she got down on her knees to pet the small kitten sitting on the floor. Then as of the sudden Grace’s eight lit up like there was a light bulb switched on in her tiny little head.
“Mommy… what does my name mean?” she said with the most curious tone in her voice.
“Grace?” Sandra stood up and paused for a moment as she looked at Gracie’s hopeful stare. “Grace means ‘unconditional love’.”
Grace looked puzzled at her smiling mother, “Mommy? What does ‘um-com-diss-in-al’ mean?”
Sandra laughed, “You mean ‘unconditional’ sweetie.” Gracie giggled at her own sillyness, “And it means: to love, no matter what.”
“No matter what?” repeated Grace.
“No matter what.” Sandra smiled as Grace hugged her at the knee.
“Then that will be her name, the prettiest name in the whole, entire world. Grace.” She finished, sounding very proud of herself.
“Well, okay then, Grace it is.” She said as she picked her laughing daughter up and embraced her in her arms. “Now we gotta get her a bowl to eat out of, I’ll even show you how to write the name on it.”
Gracie threw arms in the air and exclaimed, “Yea!” as her voice slowly disappeared and all the images turned to black. Sandra opened her eyes as she held the cat’s plastic food dish in her hands, the word ‘GRACE’ crudely written on it in permanent marker. It was just another memory of her daughter, that miserably gets more and more real every day.
 
 
Time didn’t seen natural to Sandra anymore, things had seemed to slow down since the disappearance of her little angel two years ago. She vanished at the age of six, she would be the age of eight right now, if she was still breathing, the optimism of that was not high. A lot of things had changed since eight short years ago. Sandra was no longer living in her uncle’s house, she lived next door, with her new husband. And her name was not Quinney anymore, it was Haddock, as in Adam Haddock. After Grace was gone, the stress on marriage was to great, and it broke, Ethan and Sandra split. Ethan being watched closely by the police.
One day Ethan was picking Grace up from her dance class, but she never came out of the class room. Ethan dropped her off fifteen minutes early, it would be the last time he said he would see her. Her instructor testified that she never came into class that night. Right away the police looked into Ethan’s back story. It turned out Ethan did have a secret, he liked to gamble, especially on sports games. Apparently around the time Grace vanished Ethan was into a loan shark for $30,000 he certainly did not have. Then when Sandra told them about how he blamed their daughter for being broke, the detectives took little time piecing it together. They were trying to prove that Ethan a desperate enough to give his own flesh and blood away to pay the debt or get an extension. Of course he denied every bit of it, but Sandra could never look at him in the same way again. One day, he disappeared, no note, no phone call, no nothing. Adam was there to pick up the pieces.
He put posters up in the neighborhood, hand out fliers, but to no avail. No one came forward to help. Sandra felt hopeless. She clung to her cat, graced by the name of her daughter. Soon she turned to Adam for comfort, then it became more and they got married a year and a half after the disappearance. Most people said she married Adam because of how caring he was during this whole ordeal, but deep down, Sandra knew she didn’t want to be alone. Of course she had her cat, which at first was not very fond of her new husband, but soon would always watch him while he was eating, just purring away. So it seemed Adam and the cat Gracie were beginning to get along. It was strange though, during dinner it would jump into the middle of the table a just watch Adam eat his meal, almost begging. Except when Adam would be nice and try to feed her from the table, she would refuse him every time. Strange the way cats act sometimes, loving you one moment, loathing you the next.
Over the next half year nothing much changed in Sandra, that is except for her dreams. Each one of her daughter becoming more vivid. Adam wanted her to share her feelings with him but he was noticing she was becoming more and more detached. She would spend hours in the attic while Adam was at work looking through her old keepsakes of Grace, with the now grown cat, always on her heels. “Little Gracie” as she called her was always there for her, they say animals can tell when are feeling down, and they always try to cheer you up. Little Gracie was no different, except on occasion she would rummage under the house.
Sandra was now pregnant with her second child, this one from Adam, he is ecstatic, and she is happy as well, but it only dulls the pain of her loss. Adam is doing all he can to make her feel “human” again, but things just aren’t that easy sometimes. That is why she keeps her memories of Grace in the attic, because the pain could at times, be to horrible to bare. Still she was always drawn to that room, that box, that place were she kept her memories safe. Yes, safe, that was why she was there today.
She sat on her knees, tears already beginning to whelp up a the mere sight of the small wooden box. She opened it up, they were all sorts of little bit of memorabilia in small box. Her favorite was a small box which at one time held a small locket with a picture of her and Ethan in it that they gave to Grace a week before the disappearance. She took the object in her hands and it was like she was instantly transported to the time she gave the box to Grace…
Suddenly she was in her old house, and Grace was holding the small velvet box with a bow. She was smiling a exclaiming things, and al this time Sandra was becoming more and more aware that this didn’t feel like a regular memory, it seemed more real. “Thank you mommy!” she yelled, “Can I open it?”
“Of course you can baby.” She slowly began to open to box after removing the ribbon and she screamed in delight. “I love it!” she said opening the silver heart-shaped locket.
“It’s so I can be with you always.” Sandra said. The word almost echoing in her head. She wrote the same words two on a piece of paper laying on the steps with her pink crayon. She smiled and gave it to her.
“I’m gonna be with you always too mommy. I love you. I’m gonna always wear it” Said the sweet girls voice as it echoed of into the distance. And she always did, to the day of the disappearance. Again everything began to fade to black and Sandra was back in the attic clutching the velvet box, tears cascading down her face. What had happened? It was so real. Then she saw a small piece of paper Grace had drawn a purple horse on, she set the box down and cautiously picked up the paper. She stared at it for a second. Nothing. Then and idea came into her head, she closed her eyes and focused on the paper and when she opened them she was staring at gracing on the floor coloring when she was two, drawing the picture she had in to box. Grace looked up at her and said, “Look at… da… purple horse-“ and like that the vision was gone as soon as Sandra dropped the paper. She ran out of the attic, down the stairs and to the living room. Panting, she was trying to go over the events that just happened again in her head. ‘Those were just memories right? Just, strong memories? But…. ‘ She could not understand what had happened. How can something like this just happen? Things like this don’t just happen. She had to try it again. She reached down to the supple leather of Adams brown couch that sat in the living room.
Again when she touched it, nothing, but then she focused- as if through a blaze of white light she was taken to the same room except the couch was moved against the far wall, it was dim and candles were lit. To her surprise, before her very eyes she watched a happily married Adam making love to his not yet divorced wife. She let the leather go as if it were burning her hands and with a dark quickness she was back in her living room. She was beginning to understand, if she touched an object and focused, she could see the last strong memory that was attached to the object. But why, had the loss of child opened her eyes up in a way that never could be done otherwise? Little Gracie cuddled her legs, purring like a motor. Sandra breathed and grasped her new wedding ring, se was instantly transported to the French restraint where Adam proposed. She let go of the ring and ran up to the attic, franticly grabbing her child’s things, reliving every possible memory she could. She collapsed on the floor exhausted yet blissful, this was the fullest she had felt in a long time. But how to tell Adam? How would he react? Telling Adam was such a big problem, she knew the only solution, don’t speak a word of it.
 
Four month had passes, and Adam noticed the nice change in Sandra, she was smiling, whistling, even singing. He was very busy in his office doing his legal work, he even began to take most of his lunched and dinners in there. Most of the time his only company was the cat. He spent most hours alone until bed when he would make love to his no passionate wife who was now beginning to show her pregnancy. Yes all was going well with Sandra’s new gift, that is until she found the locket.
One day, Little Gracie went missing, which was not uncommon, but when she returned she had something shiny around her neck. It twinkled in the light as she pranced through the cat door, as if looking for Sandra. She was in the kitchen when the cute cat brushed against her leg. She picked the cat up as usual until she saw it. The very same locket Grace wore when she vanished. With a trembling hand she removed it from the cat’s neck, and clutched it in her hand. She set the cat down, and contemplated what she was about to do. She didn’t want to but she had to, she had to see the last memory attached to the locket. So she closed her eyes and braced herself.
In a flash of white light and echoing voices she was transported to the day of the disappearance. Ethan was dropping her off at class. They were in front of the school. “Bye Daddy! I love you!” Grace’s voice echoed as he began to drive away, but he stopped, and put the car in reverse to back up to her.
“You almost forgot this Gracie.” Ethan said as he held out the shiny locket, smiling.
“Thanks, Dad, I love you.” She said.
“I love you to kiddo, head right in okay?”
“Sure.” She echoed as he drove away. He was telling the truth, he did drop her off that day. They to her horror, another car came up and opened the door. Grace smiled and waved. She said “Hello.” When the scene cut away to somewhere in the woods where she was screaming through duct tap covering her mouth. Her assailant was dragging her by her hair as the rocks and broken limbs bruised and cut her delicate face. She could see every single scratch and score that marred the little child. There was nothing for Sandra to do, all she could do was watch as some man was pulling her little angel’s hair out, dragging her to some little shed. Sandra could no stop gasping and crying at the sight she was seeing. Her seemingly lifeless body tumble against the ground beneath her, her pretty pink tights, not smeared with blood. Grace now appeared unconscious from shock as she was being dragged to the door of the shack, that is where the locket was broke off her neck, snagged on a rock. Then again, everything faded out to Sandra standing in her kitchen, clutching her daughter’s locket with white knuckles, paralyzed, with an emotion that could never be described in words. Her eyes began to swell with large tears, her emotion so wild, she felt she was about to lose her sanity.
She was only a child, a baby, her baby. How could anyone do this to a baby. She never harmed anyone, she just wanted to dance. That’s all, just dance. It was her bliss, the one thing that made her wake up in the morning with a smile on her little face. Now it was gone, she was gone, someone took her, and she wasn’t coming back, no matter how much Sandra would hope and pray, she new it would never happen. Who could do such a thing? For the first time ever in her life she felt rage build up inside of her, deep down from a place in her soul she never knew existed. ‘She would find this person’ she thought to herself, ‘there is no place they could hide, man or woman’. She knew that the love that she and her daughter shared was strong enough to withstand even death, but she did not know how she was going to find killer.
Just then she heard a loud thud come from the upstairs office, the thud that could only be the sound of a human body. In a frantic hurry she ran up the stairs, slipping on the last step as she turned right into her husband’s office to find him collapsed on his office floor, Little Gracie laying next to him, as if watching over him. Sandra was in dismay, frenzied she grabbed for the phone on her husbands desk. As if things could get no worse, this happens. She fumbles 9-1-1 into the phone, all the time asking God, “Why do you do this to me?” and “I just can’t take this anymore!”.
“911. What is your emergency?” the operator answers.
“It’s my husband.” cried Sandra, “I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but he’s not moving.”
“Ma’am, stay calm, we have an ambulance coming your way now.” Assured the operator, “We have your address from your phone number, just remain calm.”
“Why is this happening to me! WHY!” Sandra shrieked in a desperate yell. “I can’t loose him! I’m pregnant!”
“Well, that’s a good thing ma’am. Don’t worry, we will do all we can for your husband… Ma’am? Ma’am are you there?” You could hear the dispatcher’s voice coming from the receiver hanging of the desk. Sandra had fainted, her eyes swelled shut with tears of agony.
 
When she came to, the paramedics had already taken Adam. She was feeling light headed, but she was still upset. This was too much for her to bear for one day. The paramedics asked if she wanted to go to the hospital, she said no, she could bear to see her husband right now, not knowing if he is going to live or die. So the paramedics left, and again, Sandra was left in the house, alone with only her thoughts, only her memories. “Graaaacie.” She called out, her little companion was no where to be found. She decided to get the box. She ran up to the ladder that gave way to the dark attic. She grabbed the box with both hand and took it to her husband’s office. She sat in his large leather chair as she opened the box and began to touch everything in it. She must have been there for hours, sitting at the desk, reliving each and every loving memory she had of her daughter. When night fell she collapsed and fell back into the comfortable chair, mentally exhausted, yet she apparently wasn’t done focusing. For the exact moment her hands touched the chair she saw a memory, not of hers or Grace’s, but of Adam. It was him sitting in the chair, he was talking to himself. “God she is so beautiful. Damn that she had a husband… and a kid. I want her so bad.” He rocked back and forth as if in thought. “If only she would leave him… but she would never… unless…” And his eyes almost turned dark when he realized some grim decision. Just then, like a wave of darkness, Sandra was back in the chair. What had she seen? Adam? No! It couldn’t be. She was pregnant with his child. He could not have. Could he? She had to know. She went around harried touching everything of Adams that she could, find all sorts of memories, from his childhood, his wife, his divorce, but nothing of Grace. But then she fixed her eyes on Adam’s key chain hanging on the ring by the door. With a determined grip she took the keys in hand…
She was transported to his car, the passenger door opened up and it was Grace, waving hello from in front of the dance school. She was dressed in her little pink tights and her favorite Care Bear t-shirt. She saw flashes of her getting in the car, and getting buckled up. “Where are we going?” Grace’s voice echoed.
“We’re going to meet mommy out by the lake for camping.” Adam answered back.
“Yay!” echoed Grace’s small voice.
Then the images changed from inside the car, to outside the car, parked in the woods somewhere. Adam was alone, smoking a cigarette, he had his keys in hand as he looked around. Sandra could see what looked like a small tool shed in the distance. Adam walked his way around the car to the trunk and used the keys to unlock it. Nothing could prepare Sandra for what she saw next, her little angel, bound and gagged with duct tape, laying next to a shovel crammed in the trunk of Adam’s car. Sandra dropped the keys out of shock, her eyes wide open with fear, and disgust. She had not only known the killer personally, but made love to him night after night, making herself his wife taken in the name of sin. Yet, she froze again, she realized she had recognized something from the memory, something she could have missed but didn’t, the shovel. She remember seeing it piled under tools and boxes in the garage. She ran to the heap.
On her knees she tore the pile of tools. Till she found it, laying on the concrete floor of the garage. With shaking hands she picked up the shovel by the wooden handle. She squeezed it firmly and closed her eyes. She was taken to a drak place where she could hear muffled cries of pain. It was Grace, Adam had beat her, and now was standing over her with the shovel. He grasped the shovel be the handle with both hands and raised it above his head, he looked Grace in the eyes as she cried and begged for mercy through the duct tape, screaming, “But I thought you loved me!” through the gag. Adam didn’t even blink as he brought the spade over the shovel over her head only once at first, then again, and again till the was nothing. Then he brought the shovel to his side, and with a very pleased look on his face he calmly said, now all I need to do is burn the little bitch.” And with that feeling of pure hate and disgust she dropped the shovel. It was time Sandra paid Adam one last visit to the hospital.
The drive seem instantaneous, she was at the hospital before she even knew it. She parked in the emergency area, and ran into the hospital franticly looking for her ill husband. It was ironic, she was there for one reason, and one reason only, she knew it, and she also knew they would take her directly to Adam. She ran to the nurses at the desk, “Where is my husband?! Where is Adam Haddock?! Tell me! I need to know!” just then she was silenced by a hand being placed on left shoulder. A calm voice came next.
“Mrs. Haddock? Mrs. Adam Haddock?” the voice asked. She turned to see a tall doctor with a head full of grey hair, and his spectacles resting on the tip of his nose.
“Yes, that’s me. Where is he?!” shouted Sandra, desperation in her voice.
“I’m sorry, but there was nothing we could do.” Said the doctor shaking his head. “He’s gone.”
Puzzled, Sandra said the only word that came to mind, “What?”
 
She was taken to a small office. She was offered a seat but she said she would rather stand. The doctor sat at his desk, and took a deep breath, “Toxoplasmosis.”
“Excuse me?” Sandra asked.
“Toxoplasmosis, that it what killed your husband.” answered the doctor.
“What is that?”
“Well,” the doctor took a deep breath, “it’s a condition where the patient develops an abscess in brain. It’s not to uncommon, but it was probably extremely painful. It’s like a seize of the brain.”
“Oh my God, what could have caused it?”
“Well, for toxoplasmosis there really only one cause.”
“Which would be?” said Sandra with an impatient tone.
“Feline feces.” The doctor finally let out. “You know, cat poop.”
“Thank you doctor, I know what feces are.” She said as if she had taken offense.
“I’m sorry,” the doctor apologized, “Do you have a cat?”
“Yes”
“Did Adam do his share of cleaning the litter box?”
“No.” Sandra said bewildered, “she goes outside.”
“Well feces must have gotten into his food some how, on more than one occasion. Did you and your husband get along?” And the doctor gave her a strange look.
“Are suggesting?!” Sandra exclaimed.
“No, no, no. I just felt I needed to ask.”
“We were fine, I loved him.” She said very believably.
“Well then I’m sorry for you loss.” And he patted her on the shoulder and walked out of the office. So it was done, he died. Just not by her hands, but by the hands, or should I say paws of Little Gracie. She didn’t know if the cat some how knew, or if the spirit of her dead child resided in the small animal, but she did know one thing, that the cat watched Adam finish every meal. But how did Little Gracie get the locket, she figured she would never know, maybe that is where she would disappear days at a time, she was looking for the locket. But that was absurd, but as absurd that the cat shit in Adams every meal without him knowing. She felt for the time a feeling of relief, she had finally found out what happened to her angel, her soul can finally rest. So what if know one would ever know what he did, Sandra knew, and that was enough. It was finally over, but her relief quickly turned to grief when she touched her belly, the very place she was carrying his baby. What could she do, get an abortion and kill the baby of the man who killed her baby? Would that make her any better than him? She sat in the lonely hospital caressing her womb through her blouse, contemplating her next move… I guess the final question is easy, just the answer is not. If you found yourself in Sandra’s shoes, what would you do?
 
 


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