This is the first short story that I will post on my blog! Now, because it is the halloween season I figured I’d go a little ghosty, dark, mysterious…not that it’s very spooky or anything. Anyways, this is going to be the first part of a short story….no, I haven’t written the other parts so I have no idea how long it will be at the end but probably one, two or three more posts. I’m not sure.
All work is produced by me and is my work alone. Do not steal or copy any of my work. All characters are products of my imagination unless otherwise stated.
Without further ado, “Even After Death.”
Today is the first day that the old lady has actually reacted to me in any way, shape or form.
She’s been here for a while and when I say here, I mean here. The same place, on the corner of Autumn and Rose. She has arrived by the time I wake up every day and doesn’t leave until after I go to sleep. Or maybe she doesn’t leave at all. But because I know that everyone has to survive on something I know that that can’t be true.
Every single day she just stands there, watching. Her heels dig into the soil of the flower gardens that Mrs. Rethelson planted several years back when her husband died from cancer and I keep expecting the widow to come out and yell at her–the flower gardens are her pride and joy–but she never does even when she comes out to tend to the blooms.
I have an underlying suspicion that the lady’s eyes are following me.
But that can’t be right. Why me? Why in this house of fifteen children, two parents, three dogs and a cat and a whole staff of servants? Why would I be of any interest in this old lady? I…I am nobody.
But today, when I’m out in the yards with Lettuce, my favorite of the dogs, I swear that she winks at me.
Lettuce turns and barks at the old lady, loudly and fiercely, and the two begin a staring contest. The woman’s mouth is pressed into a flat line and her wispy hair flies this way and that, struggling to escape from the hood that’s pulled over her head. I wish she’d take the hood off. I wish I were able to see her face a little more clearly.
I sigh and turn back to playing fetch with Lettuce.
The door to the house opens and my younger half-brother comes tumbling out, along with the two other dogs, Bacon and Tomato. The two race each other down the steps to the yard–really I should say three because Jackson valiantly tries to keep up–and practically barrel into me in their haste to get to Lettuce. I drop the slobber-covered ball I had been just about to throw and let the dogs fight over it. It vanishes into a pile that is part teeth, part fluff and mostly slobber.
“Mommy says that you need to get inside and get cleaned up for the party,” Jackson tells me, still not having broken out of the habit of calling his mother ‘mommy’ despite the fact that he’s nine years old.
I suppress another sigh and turn to our sprawling house. “Tell Katarine that I’ll be there in a minute.”
“-Or I’ll tell her that it was you who ate that chocolate she was looking for,” I talk over him.
He swallows and runs inside as fast as he came out.
I take a deep breath and, in a moment of recklessness, cross the street to where the old lady waits, her arms crossed over her chest and her foot tapping. I bite my lip–she’s impatient, but for what? It’s not like she told me to be here or something.
“He’s been waiting for a while, Senna.”
“Who’s Senna?” I ask softly. The name sounds familiar but…I can’t place it. Where do I know it from.
Her fingers close around my arm. They’re cold and send shivers up my spine but I can’t back away. Something seems to be holding me here and I don’t know what.
“You, my dear. You are S–” she’s broken off as someone rams into us wildly, jostling her hand from my arm and pushing her to the ground. I gasp in surprise, breathing deeply as if I’ve been underwater for a long time. I didn’t even realize I’d stopped breathing. I rub my arm where the lady was holding it. It stings and the cold feeling remains even though the sun shines down on me as strong as ever. In front of me, the lady is struggling to get up and a tall girl stands over her.
“Leave her alone, Aunty Mortem. You can’t take her,” the girl says. She holds something in her hand–a necklace, which she brandishes at the old lady. The amulet on the string glows faintly and the lady cries out in pain. “I said, leave her alone!”
“You cannot hide her from me forever, Mors Fur! She will come eventually.”
“Not if I can help it.” The girl not so much speaks as snarls. Her dark brown hair practically trembles as she throws the necklace at the lady, who shrieks and seems to dissolve into the sidewalk, one moment there, the next gone. The necklace clatters to the concrete. The cold feeling up my spine vanishes.
“Hey,” the girl says, bending down to pick up the necklace. I’m finally able to get a good look at her. She’s a few inches taller than me, with hair so dark it’s almost black tied up in a ponytail. Her skin is a golden brown color and her eyes are even darker than her hair so that it looks like she doesn’t even have irises–only pupils.
I might make a little squeaking sound in the back of my throat as she walks towards me with the necklace–I’m not sure. She holds the amulet out to me and I back away. Why is she giving me this? What is it? And what did it do to the lady.”
“Senna, please–” she thrusts it towards me again. “Take it. It will protect you.”
That’s the second time I’ve heard the name Senna today. Who are they? And why…why does everyone think it’s me? I’m not Senna. I’m…I’m…no.
I can’t remember my own name.
I look up at the girl, my eyes darting down to the necklace before looking up at her again. “I don’t know what’s going on.” She bites her lip. “Explain to me now or I’ll run away and tell everyone that you killed an old lady.”
Her eyes widen and grow watery as if she’s about to cry. The necklace falls to the ground and she falls to her knees beside it. “Senna…” she whispers. “You really don’t remember?”
“Remember what?” I ask sharply. “And why do you keep calling me that? That’s not my name.” I don’t tell her that I have no idea what my name really is.
She claps a hand over her mouth. “That is your name. Your name is Senna. It’s been too long already, you’re losing it. You’re losing your memories.”
“The memories of your death.” I think a tear trickles down her cheek but I can’t feel sure. It’s only after I watch the drop that might be a tear or might be rain–though the sky is perfectly clear–that I comprehend her words.
“My…my death?” I must have heard wrong. I’m not dead, I’m standing right here. And ghosts aren’t real.
‘Yes, Senna. Your death.”
I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m dead. The words beat through my head, rising and falling like a wave on a beach.
And then everything goes black.
To be continued…