The Strange Shape of Anne's Grief Part 28
by Shane Migliavacca
The Strange Shape of Anne's Grief chapter 28 Anne (VII)
After rushing out of 32 Maple Street, heart pounding, gasping for air, Anne had to calm Sam down as well as herself, after seeing her run out of the house full tilt. She’d told her only about the homeless dude scaring her and nothing else that had transpired. Anne didn’t even fully understand it enough anyway. Was the old guy just a rambling drunk? Or was he talking about something more?
A ghost. He was taking about a ghost.
No. That’s stupid.
Your sister’s ghost is in that house? Anne had to admit, she’d seen some fucked up things in the last few months. A ghost though, that was pushing it. Regardless, she had more important things to worry about. Mom and work. Besides this trip had exhausted her. All Anne wanted to do was go home and sleep. The drive home was mostly in silence as thoughts about what she’d say to her mother dominated her thinking. She had to know the whole story and her mom was the only one alive who could tell it.
Unless you go back and talk to the ghost.
Shut up! There’s no goddamn such thing.
By the time they returned to Frostwood dusk was taking hold. Anne dropped Sam off. Again she tried to get Anne to stay at her place. Declining with a smile, again. She felt bad having to turn her friend down another time. Depending on how things went with her mom, she might be taking Sam up on the offer soon. Heading home she wondered if confronting her mom was the way to go. Anne hadn’t told her mom about the trip. There was the possibility of just letting it go and go back to the way things were. She couldn’t let it go though. There was just too much there that needed answers. The door had been opened and there was no closing it.
Back there at the house Anne had a flash of memory standing at the bedroom door. Her and Emily. That writing in the closet. Emily wrote that. And that photo. Emily was jealous of her. She could recall Emily taking that horse toy. Taunting her with her. The one she’d found at her father’s grave. Somebody had left it there. She’d chased them and they’d got away.
Who? The same person she’d met in the alley. That’s who. The same person she feared killed Carol.
She’s dead. A ghost. No. No. No.
Don’t think like that. What if she isn’t dead? That’s just as crazy. It made more sense then a ghost or being cursed like Sam’s grandmother had told her. Anne laughed to herself. She felt cursed. Life kept taking everything away from her. Somebody didn’t like her. How else could she explain it.
Pulling up to the house, it was lit up per the usual. Lights on in nearly every room. Mom loved running up the electric bill. The furnace was going full force as Anne opened the front door. Feeling the heat on her face. Coming home now stung every time. She expected Luke to be waiting there like he always had. A big dumb grin on his face. She took that pain, using it to fuel what needed to be done next.
Her mom was sitting in the dinning room playing solitaire. The small black and white TV setting on small end table was on. The evening news providing background noise to her mother’s game. She set the cards down and looked up at her daughter.
“I’ve got the pork roast cooking.”
Anne could smell the cooking meat. It was too bad she wouldn’t be able to enjoy the meal. Her stomach was already in knots.
“How was work?”
Anne could feel it coming. “I didn’t go.”
“Oh? You didn’t? Where were you? Something wrong?”
No turning back. “I was in Pottersville.”
Her mother’s expression darkened. “What were you doing there?”
“Finding out things.”
Anne reached into her jacket, pulling out Emily’s birth certificate. She slapped it down on the table, sending the playing cards flying from the force. Her mother briefly glanced at the paper, her shoulders slumping.
“Why?” She asked. Her voice sounded tired, defeated.
“Where you ever going to tell me?” Anne felt her face blush. Embarrassed by her anger.
She looked at her daughter sad-eyed. “I’m not a perfect person. I’m not without sin. I wanted to protect you. I didn’t want my little angel to hurt. I tried my best. Did what I thought was the right thing.”
“Hurt? Didn’t I deserve to know I have a sister mom?”
Her mother put a hand to her forehead. “Had one.”
“I know Emily’s dead. I went to her grave. But I can’t remember her. I try to pull these fragments of memories out and they slip away. Every time. You’ve got to tell me what happened. It’s driving me crazy. Not knowing.”
“You have to understand honey, Emily was our first and we spoiled her. Then we had you and we did the same. You have to know, your father and I loved you both. As Emily got older, she became jealous of you. The attention we gave you. And she took it out on you. I blamed myself for what happened for so long. For not taking the time to tell her how much I really loved her.”
Anne felt her anger start to burn out, replaced by a sense of dread as she hung on her mother’s words Tears rolling down the woman’s checks as she spoke. Her voice cracking.
“it was that damn horse. She took it. Taunted you with it. Then one day…It was an accident really.” She stopped. Her face pained at the memory.
“What happened?” Anne asked. Her voice had a pleading tone.
“I only know what you told me after. Emily was taunting you with that horse. You got so mad, you pushed her. Emily fell…hit her head on a rock.”
Anne felt her knees weaken. She pulled out a chair, nearly collapsing into it. She’d killed Emily. It was her fault. All this time she’d wanted to know. Now she did and it made her sick inside.
“I wanted to keep you from going through that pain again. You were hurting so badly afterwards. You wouldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, didn’t talk to anyone. We took you to some doctors. They helped you…forget.”
“What did they do to me?”
“It was an experimental procedure. They buried them. Locked them away.”
Anne didn’t say anymore. What was there to say? Instead she got up, went to the bathroom and washed her face. She felt numb. She was a murderer. There was nothing else to say. Due to her memories being locked away, she felt removed from it. There was a sense of guilt. It felt like it belonged to somebody else.
What was the cliche about wanting to wake up from a bad dream? That’s what this felt like. But, there was no reprieve here. There was no sigh of relief when you realized you’d only dreamed that horrible thing.
They ate dinner in silence. The roast was good. Anne couldn’t believe her appetite, despite what she’d learned she was hungry. Food was always a comfort for he in times of distress. So much so, she was surprised she didn’t weigh a ton.
Anne could see her mother wanted to talk to her, but held back. After Anne washed the dishes. Her mother stood in the doorway a few minutes. Watching her.
“I-I never stopped loving you. I only wanted to spare you any pain. It’s been so hard knowing what I was keeping from you. Your my little girl.” She touched Anne’s arm, causing her to flinch.
Anne set the dish she’d been drying. “I’m leaving.”
Walking past her mother Anne went up to her room. She took a beat up duffle bag from the closet, cramming a bunch of her clothes into it. Something in the corner caught her eye. Sitting on the rug, Luke’s favorite toy. A ragged looking raccoon chew toy. Picking it up, Anne stared at it. The emptiness of his loss was too much to bear with all the rest. She stuffed the toy in the bag. His memory hurt, yet she needed to hang onto it. She couldn’t forget him as she had with Emily.
She wanted to cry, to let herself breakdown into sobbing heap, curling up on the bed. If she did though, it’d just slow her down. She might consider staying. She needed to get out of the house now, like Sam had been telling her all along. Put some distance and some days between her and everything. Clear her head and decide what to do next. Sam could help her get perspective on the situation.
Anne thought about her dad’s stuff in the attic. And the stuff in her room. She hated the idea of leaving any of it behind. There was no way she could take it all with her. She’d have to come back for it. She didn’t think her mom would throw it out. She’d better not.
Anne was surprised her mother wasn’t waiting for her downstairs. Blocking the way as she’d done on Halloween. As she descended her mom called to her from the living room. “Where are you going?” There was no anger in her voice. She simply sounded curious.
“To Sam’s.” Anne could have left it at that, but added. “I’ll be back tomorrow after work.”
Her mother sat on the couch watching TV. “Okay. Have fun honey.”
That was such a weird thing to say. “I’ll see you later then.”
She left wanting to say more without having the words to say them.
Showing up an hour later at Sam’s. Anne sat in her truck. The light was on in Sam’s apartment. Climbing the stairs Anne felt ashamed. Going to her best friend like this. It wasn’t her problem. Did she really want to unload it all on her? She needed to. There was no other way. She couldn’t handle it alone. As much as she felt like she should. She stopped at the top of the stairs. How much would she tell Sam. Would her friend turn her away if she knew the truth of what Anne had done.
I was a child when it happened. It was an accident.
Was it? How could she know. Her memories of it were taken from her. Locked in some small corner of her brain.
Anne picked a run down shack. Setting in a far end of her brain. A huge chain with a padlock across the door. The memories wanted to spill out, only the door was tightly locked. The key lost.
She could be a murder and there was no way of knowing.
back to Horror