The Strange Shape of Anne's Grief Part 39
by Shane Migliavacca
The Strange Shape Of Anne's Grief chapter 39 Anne, Sam and Emily (II)
Sam screamed as she jumped backwards, the demonic girl lunging at her. Reacting faster then she thought possible, Sam slammed the bedroom door into her attacker’s head. Hitting her with a near comic cartoon thunk. Putting a small hole in the door. Wood splinters sticking out of the hole.
“Bitch!” Emily snarled.
Pushing the door open. It only took her seconds to recover. Sam had to fight the impulse to flee. It would mean turning her back to this thing in a girl’s skin.
“What have you done to Anne?” Sam said. Making up her mind to stand up to her.
“She’s sleeping off the little beating I gave her. She got off easy because she’s my sister. You I’m gonna hurt ba-”
A gunshot cut the rest off. Followed rapidly by a couple more. Sam was forgotten as Emily turned and ran for the staircase. Did the sheriff shoot Anne’s mom?
Sam went back into the bedroom. Her friend lay asleep under the blankets. In the dark, she hadn’t seen her there. Her friend did appear to be sleeping.
“Anne. Wake up!” Sam shook her, “C’mon.”
Anne stirred, mumbling something in her sleep.
“The hell is wrong with you?”
A roar of absolute pain emanated from the first floor. Sending chills down Sam’s spine.
Anne’s eyes snapped open. “Wha?” She turned over onto her back. Letting out a groan of pain. “Sam?”
“You’ve got to get up.” Then Sam thought about what Emily had said. How badly did she get beat up. “Can you get up?”
“Ow.” She sat up. “I think so.” She grabbed Sam’s hand. “Oh god…Emily.”
Sam could hear the sudden realization in her voice.
“Something happened and Emily went downstairs.” Sam said. Deciding to leave out that she’d heard gunshots. “The sheriff is downstairs.” She helped Anne to her feet. “We have to get out of here.”
“First I’ve got to get mom.”
She wanted to tell Anne that she thought her mom was insane. That she might have got shot. Instead she kept her mouth shut. Not wanting to hurt Anne any more then she’d been already. They made it to the stairs. From downstairs there was a gentle sobbing. For Sam it confirmed her fears. Anne must have realized herself as she rushed down the stairs. Sam following after her a step or two behind.
In the dinning room, Sam found Anne standing over Emily, who was cradling the body of Cheryl Marsten. A few feet away, the sheriff was sprawled in a pool of blood. Breathing heavy, barely alive.
“She’s dead.” Emily sobbed. “He killed her.”
Anne dropped to her knees. Taking her mom’s hand. “Momma.” She broke down into tears. Her body ravaged by grief heaved.
Sam was about to go to her friend, when she felt something touch her leg. The sheriff’s bloody hand flopped around, brushing against her. His mouth moved, his voice barely audible.
Sam knelt down.
“Take it.” He whispered. Pointing to his gun, a few feet away. “Run.”
Sam took in the scene around her. Anne and the thing claiming to be her sister both grieved over the body of Cheryl Marsten. The sheriff lay next to Sam in a expanding pool of blood. Dying from the gunshot wounds. He pointed at his gun again. Urging her to use it. Did he mean on Emily? Or to put him out of his misery?
What could she do? What should she do?
“What do you want me to do?” Sam asked.
She looked down at the sheriff. He coughed, spiting out some bloody spittle.
“Protect yourself.” He said.
His eyes fluttered before closing. He lay back on the floor. Sam wasn’t sure if he was dead. She tried finding his pulse. Sam wasn’t exactly sure how to find it.
Emily stood. Rage and grief distorted her damaged face. This motivated Sam to grab the gun. Emily straddled on the body of the sheriff. Grabbing him by his jacket and hauling him up. Making him cough loudly.
“You killed her!” She shook his body. “The only person…The only one that loved me.” She slapped his face repeatedly.
“Leave him alone.” Sam pointed the gun at her.
“Gonna shoot me Sammy?” She dropped the sheriff’s body. “Can you do it?”
Sam’s finger tightened on the trigger.
Emily crawled over to Sam on all fours. Crouching in front of her. “Think about this.” She touched the gun. “If I die…” She pointed to Anne. “…Does she?” Emily stood. “Go ahead if you want to take the chance.”
Sam backed away from Emily. Lowering the gun.
“Time to blow this pop stand.” Emily sprung up, walking out of the dinning room, singing.
“Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day. Sister wants to play.”
Sam raised the gun again. Aiming at Emily’s back. Was she right? If she killed her, would Anne die too? Sam felt weak. She couldn’t pull the trigger. Instead she went to Anne. Resting a hand on her friend’s shoulder.
“I’m sorry. Anne we should get out of here. Get help.”
Anne grumbled a few words through her tears. “Leave me alone.”
“Anne, I’m so sorry. Please come with me.”
Sam felt the anger in Anne’s voice cut her like a razor. She lifted her hand from her friend’s shoulder. She could try and drag her away, no doubt trying that would earn her a punch from Anne.
“A sunbeam, a sunbeam, Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.”
Sam felt cold fingers run down her back. That voice. Emily was still here somewhere. Sam had thought she’d left.
She looked at Anne. “Anne?”
There was nothing more she could do for her right now. So Sam walked out of the dinning room. She heard a splashing sound. Like a bucket of water hitting a wall. It was coming from the basement. Accompanied by Emily’s off key singing. The song had degenerated into just the same phrase over and over.
A sunbeam. A sunbeam.
Sam descended. The dreadful smell of something dead mixed with something all to familiar lingered in the stale basement air.
Emily stood emptying a metal gas can under the hanging body of a dead man. The walls and some boxes already soaked in gas. Finishing it off, she chucked it aside. Turning she saw Sam standing on the basement stairs.
“It’s all got to go Sammy. Burn it down and start over. Not even my idea, it’s Anne’s. She’s dreamed about burning this dump for years. I don’t even get to have anything of my own.”
If Sam wasn’t scared of her, she’d feel a bit sorry for Emily. “Why don’t you just go somewhere? Run away.”
“Oh, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. First I gotta cover my tracks.” She smiled. Her teeth shined in the dim light. “No witness.”
She charged at Sam, catching her off guard. Knocking Sam off her feet, the two crashed into the wood steps. Emily slashing at Sam with her fingernails. Sam swung the pistol, hitting Emily in the shoulder with the butt. This stopped Emily’s attack briefly. Using the break, Sam pushed her off. Sending her crashing into some boxes. Sam half crawled, half ran up the stairs, trying to escape.
Before she could reach the top, Emily recovered. Hatchet in hand she rushed up after Sam. Letting out a bloodcurdling scream. Sam swung the gun around. Instinct taking over she fired at Emily.
The world was over. Her mother was dead. Her father was dead. She’d limped along through daily life for the last five years. Because of her mother. Taking care of her and the house. Now she was gone and all Anne had left was this tomb. A mausoleum of sorrows. She heard Sam and Emily in the room with her. Sam came to her. Anne let her anger out. Lashing out. Taking her grief out on Sam. All Anne wanted now was for the world to leave her alone. Alone with her sorrow and pity.
She’d hated her mom. For keeping on her all the time about fixing things. For criticizing everything she did. For complaining about Luke all the time. But she’d always loved her deep within. Otherwise she’d never had stayed. Never would have put up with that shitty job.
Was all of this her fault? Or perhaps it was punishment. No. No, it was Emily’s fault. She’d brought the sheriff here with her insanity. Twisted her mother’s mind. If not for Emily, her mom wouldn’t be lying there dead. Anne rose up from the floor. A single thought dominated her mind.
Anne grabbed the largest knife she could find in the kitchen. A scream came from the basement followed by a gunshot.
The shot missed Emily. Striking the gas soaked floor. It ignited the fuel. Emily smacked the gun from Sam’s hand. Behind her the basement transformed into hell as the flames spread across the basement.
Emily smiled, hatchet ready to strike. Sam was defenseless now.
Emily laughed, relishing the slaughter that was to come.
“Bye, bye Sammy.”
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