The Strange Shape of Anne's Grief Part 35
by Shane Migliavacca
The Strange Shape Of Anne's Grief chapter 35 Anne (IX)
The bad weather made getting to the cemetery difficult to say the least. Anne wasn’t going to let that stop her. Her father had always been her source of guidance. Even after his death. She often imagined what her father’s advice would be in a given situation. She knew his advice would be now. He’d want her to forgive mom.
“She was doing her best.” He’d say.
Trudging through the snow it appeared Old Ralph hadn’t done his job clearing out the snow. Or he didn’t bother. Honestly all the bad weather they were getting Anne wouldn’t bother if she was in his place. Kneeling down, Anne cleared the snow off her father’s gravestone. She said a little prayer. She wasn’t religious, yet the idea that her father was somewhere else, somewhere better brought some comfort. Anne found herself being able to let go a lot of her old hatreds. Her old grudges. She’d harbored so much hate towards the doctors who’d taken care of her father and in her eyes failed him. For so long she’d let that boil under the surface. It was time to let it go, along with the betrayal she felt from being sent away by her mom.
Instead she thought back to the last time they’d been happy together as a family.
The trip to the museum in Albany. The summer before they’d found out her dad was sick. The four of them had went one Sunday, Sam tagging along. They’d started out early that morning. Sam sleeping over Saturday night. Of course they’d stayed up late watching god awful movies.
They’d had an amazing time that day. It’d been a hot day, with a cool breeze providing some relief. They’d stopped at a couple garage sales on the way. Mom wanting to look for knick·knacks to add to her collection. By the time they’d got to the museum the air conditioning felt like heaven. Anne had bought a couple cool posters there featuring the dinosaur exhibit. She still had them somewhere rolled up in the attic. They adorned her bedroom wall for a few years.
She sighed. That trip also marked the last time the world seemed good. That winter her father had started to get sick, shortly afterwards he was diagnosed with cancer. After that the family, her world, everything fell apart. Years five later and Anne still hadn’t been able to put her life back together. Now with everything else that was happening, what she’d found out, she doubted it ever would be right again. The world was a shattered mirror with pieces missing. Impossible to fix.
Anne touched the cold marble. As if she was touching her father in some way. She wasn’t sure how long she knelt there, lost in her thoughts till finally she stood. Brushing snow from her jeans.
Anne didn’t know what she expected to pulling down the driveway towards home. It wasn’t like the house could have crumbled to the ground like the House of Usher or anything. She’d only been gone a couple of days. Her mother was more then capable of handling the place on her own, whether she knew it or not. Yet Anne couldn’t get the image of her mother lying dead somewhere in the house from her mind. Anne would find her dead in there. Dead because she’d left her.
No! Stop that!
Walking towards the house Anne stopped. Partly covered by the fresh snowfall were tire tracks and footprints. A set ran from where a car had parked off towards the side of the house. Another set appeared to come from the front door to the car. Who’d been here? Mr. Jurgens might have dropped by. He’d never give up trying to get a date with her mom. Hopefully her mom didn’t bitch at him too much this time. Anne looked around. Had he worked on anything while he was here? Didn’t look like it out here. Maybe mom needed something fixed inside the house.
Anne started to unlock the door, stopping when she realized it was already unlocked. Now that was strange. Her mother never left the door unlocked when she was here alone. Anne’s chest grew heavy. Emily has been here. Pushing open the front door, she rushed into the house.
“Mom?” Anne called out. Fear in her voice.
There was no answer. She had to be okay. She had to be. “You upstairs mom?” She looked up at the second floor. Hoping to see her standing there like always.
Nothing. Anne headed towards the kitchen. She could be making herself some lunch. What she found in the dinning room filled her with utter terror. Blood smeared on the floor and walls. Was that a finger under the table? The smell of rot hung in the air. The smell of something dead.
She felt a wave of panic coming. Her mind wanted to shut down. Her breathing became heavy. Her mom was dead. There was no doubt. The wave of panic was followed by nausea.
The sight of all the blood and the smell was too much. Anne lost the big breakfast Sam had made. Vomiting it up on the floor. Gripping the side of the table as she felt her body shutter. The world spinning around her. A cold sweat dampening her hair.
The sound was loud, piercing the silence of the house. Anne composed her self, listening.
A faucet? No, wasn’t coming from the kitchen.
It was coming from below her…The basement. There hadn’t been an leaky pipes down there for some time. Unless that’s why Mr. Jurgens had been here. It was a possibility.
A trail of blood, something being dragged lead to the basement door just outside the kitchen. A body. Anne approached the door with trepidation. Fearful of what she’d find down there. She turned the door knob, yanking it open. The door always stuck. Someday she’d have to remember to oil it.
Anne clicked the light on. A dim light cast shadows on the floor below. She descended. Gripping the rough wood railing. Careful not to slip on the blood drenched steps. The furnace rumbled to life. Sounding like some great beast awakened from an ancient slumber. The cracked stone floor was stained with blood. She followed it to a damp corner. There hanging upside down, partially covered in shadows hung a body. The features hidden in darkness. Anne searched the shadows. Emily could be anywhere down here, watching, waiting to attack.
Her boots scuffed on the stone floor as she forced herself to go to the body. She had to see. Had to know. Her foot hit a metal basin under the body. A bit of blood splashed on her boot. Making Anne back up in disgust.
She grabbed the body. Pulling the face into the light. It was a young man. She didn’t recognize him. His face covered in a mask of blood. A large jagged cut ran across his throat. He wore a deputies’ uniform. There was another large wound on his chest. What was he doing here? Had that been his car that left the tracks in the snow?
Anne felt sick again. Turning from the body she vomited in the corner. Her body heaved until there was nothing left in her stomach.
It wasn’t mom. Thank god. She felt ashamed of her relief. This poor man had been murdered. And she felt good it wasn’t anybody she knew. Anne backed towards the stairs. Just because her mom wasn’t down didn’t mean she wasn’t…Dead.
She’d have to go upstairs.
Anne thought about calling the sheriff first. No she had to look, see for herself before telling them. Anne went up, fully expecting for her world to come crashing down around her with what she’d find up there. This was punishment for what she’d done. Vengeance come home to roost.
Bloody bare footprints marked the way. Anne followed them to the door of the upstairs bathroom. The door stood slightly ajar. Anne took a deep breath and pushed it open. The tiled floor once light blue was now colored crimson. A large metal bucket sat by the tub. Blood drying on it’s rim. Anne stepped into the bathroom. A bloody hand print visible on the tub’s side.
She didn’t want to look at what was in the tub. By all rights she should have turned and ran out of the house. Drive as fast as she could to the sheriff’s. Instead she crept closer. In the tub lie a nude body. The face submerged in the crimson bath. Anne breathing became heavy. She had to know. Her hand trembled as she reached for the body. Then Anne stopped. No, she couldn’t touch it. She stood there. Hovering, unable to do what she must.
Leave. Run, Call the cops.
Before she could move a hand rose from the blood. Gripping the side of the tub. As the body sat up, Anne felt the world slip out from under her. Blackness engulfing everything as her mind shut down.
Anne felt a hand touch her. Her eyes opened slowly. Her mother stood over her smiling. They were in the living room. She felt the couch under her. Had it been a bad dream?
“Finally awake honey?” mom said. Brushing the hair from Anne’s face. “How do you feel? You took quite a spill.”
“What happened?” The back of her head felt sore. Anne rubbed it, feeling a bump under her hair.
“You blacked out.” She sat down on the edge of the couch. “It must have been too much for you.”
“Oh god, mom we have to get out of here.” Anne tried sitting up. Her mother trying to keep her down.
“Don’t worry. It’ll be all right. We’re together now.”
“A big happy family sis.”
Anne sat up. Almost pushing her mom from the couch. Standing in the doorway was Emily. Running a towel trough her long white hair. Wearing one of Anne’s bathrobes.
“Happy to see me?”
Anne tried to lunge at her, her mother stepping between them.
“She’s not, is she?” Emily pouted.
“Baby, Anne just needs to get used to all this.”
Anne wanted to scream. How could her mother act like this monster was part of their family.
“She’s a killer mom. A psychopath.”
“A killer? Me? Everything I did I did to live. I never wanted this, to be alive. To live like this is hell.”
Anne pushed her mother aside. She grabbed at this thing in front of her, a mockery of life. Only to have her mother grab her from behind, attempting to restrain her.
“If your here to punish me, get it over with, just don’t hurt anybody else.”
“I hurt them? Me? Every thing I did you wanted. Every sick thing I did, you thought. Every fucked up thing I feel, you felt. You made me. You brought me into this shitty world. All of it’s your fault.”
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