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It was a frosty night, a thick layer of fog clouding apartment windows. The streets were quieter than usual in Philadelphia. It seemed like the earth had taken a brake from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Inside one of the hazy windows, an ordinary college student slept. She was lying in bed, a river of blankets surrounding her, creating a haven against the cold. She opened her eyes suddenly, waking from a strange dream she’d had. She looked around and found her alarm clock. In red tint, the time 3:30 blinked harshly at her. Groaning, she rolled over on the bed, closing her eyes again. Her arm extended, hitting something hard. She gasped and jolted up. Looking down next to her she found a body, molded and rotting with a mangled expression on its half skeleton face. She tried not to scream, knowing what was happening. She turned around and flicked on the bedside lamp.
The body disappeared. She sighed, thankful that her hallucination was over. She got out of bed slowly and tiptoed to the bathroom. She turned on the faucet and washed her face. She stared at herself in the mirror, soothing whispers in her mind calming her down. She turned off the light and walked back to bed.
The blinking red light was now set at 3:40. Ten whole minutes had gone by, ten minutes of sleep wasted. Flicking the lamp off, she got into bed quietly and covered herself with the now cool sheets. Good, there isn’t another body lying next to you, it‘s over. Calm down and go to sleep. She coaxed herself, but her mind was unwilling to shut down. She knew that this was that second hallucination she’d had that week. And it was only Wednesday. Something had to be done, her medication was obviously not working as well as it had months ago. She was getting worse. Her mind finally stopped racing and she was able to take deep breathes that led her once again to sleep.
An eternity later, the alarm sounded. It was seven in the morning. Julie groaned and hit the clock, silencing it. She was tired, barely getting enough sleep after the delusion. Thankfully, it was a Saturday, so she didn’t have to go to work. She lifted her head and pushed herself up. Her eyes barely open, she saw a figure to her right. Sitting on the edge of the bed was her mom. She was watching her, caressing her blanket covered legs. She was looking at Julie, eyes paled to match her skin. The smell of death lingered in the air.
“Good morning, sweetheart.” Her mom said. Julie smiled, hearing the words whispered in her head. Julie smiled, missing her mother. She knew it was crazy to miss her mother when she was sitting right there, but a figment of her mind was much different than her real mother. Still, she was there, hallucination or not.
“Morning, mommy. I miss you.”
“I know honey, I miss you too. How’s your father?”
“Drunk, most likely.” Julie scoffed. She hadn't talked to or seen her father in years. Her father had drank ever since her mother passed away of cancer and never let go of the bottle. He had hit Julie repeatedly during his stupor, making her frightened of him.
“I’m sorry honey. I wish I could take care of you both. My, how you’ve grown. You’re beautiful.”
“Oh, mom. I love you.” Julie whispered. A single tear made its way down her cheek. Her mother’s hand left the covers and wiped the tear away. Julie shuddered, the feel of the ice cold skin sweeping her face. Julie closed her eyes and heard her mom whispered that she loved her too. She opened her eyes and her mom had vanished, no trace of her ever being there. Her head pounded, as it usually did after a hallucination.
She stood up, legs weak, and sighed. She loved seeing her mom, missed her so much. But seeing her so much was making her weaker every time. Julie walked over to the bathroom and shut the door. She sighed and turned on the faucet. Staring at herself in the mirror, she realized how dead her eyes were. They were hazel, but lately they looked dull. She remembered how she looked like when she was seventeen, how alive her face was. Her hair was raven, her complexion was a creamy peach color. That was a handful of years ago. Now her hair had gone limp and her skin had paled. She knew it was because of the hallucinations, they were killing her from the inside. Sick of what she was seeing, she yanked open the medicine cabinet and took out her pill bottle. She took two with faucet water and washed her face, hoping that her prescription would stop her mind from conjuring up the delusions.
After drying her face with a nearby towel, the little girl was sitting on the edge of the tub, legs crossed. Julie jumped a little, but regained her breath. The little girl smiled, looking at her intensely. Her eyes were two black holes burned into her face. Her skin was pale blue, patches of bone showing.
“What are you doing here Samantha?” Julie asked. Samantha hadn’t come to her in months.
“Just came here to talk, Jules.” Samantha said, the familiar British twang in her voice. She smiled sweetly. Julie groaned softly and closed her eyes. She counted to ten, turned around and left the bathroom. She walked out of her room and into the kitchen, glancing at the clock. It was nine in the morning. Two hours had been spent, and all she had done was wash her face. Frustrated, she walked by the living room and spotted Samantha sitting on the couch, frowning.
“How are you, Julie?” Samantha said. The whisper crept its way up Julie’s spine and into her mind. She gasped, the whisper hitting her hard. Julie stopped dead in her tracks and clenched her ears. Her head throbbed, like knives had stabbed her ears. What was Samantha doing? The pain was horrible, but she didn’t know how Sam could do this. She was getting stronger, and it scared Julie.
“Stop it Samantha. Please, it hurts…”
“Now why would I stop? You hurt me, I’m just letting you feel what I went through.” Samantha whispered into her ear, now standing right next to her. Julie whimpered, pleading for it to end, but Samantha only chuckled. Julie’s legs gave out and she fell on the living room carpet, crumpled.
“Samantha, stop. Please, stop it.” Julie begged, barely getting the words out. Julie was crying now, but Samantha didn't stop.
“Why, big sister? Why should I stop your suffering when you killed me?” Samantha practically screamed in her head, making Julie moan in pain. She shook her head.
“I didn’t kill you Samantha. I loved you. I still love you…”
“You liar. You never loved me. Ever.”
“I did…” Julie whimpered. Her ears suddenly stopped throbbing and her eyes opened slowly. She supported herself with her elbows and panted. She looked down and saw Samantha’s feet in front of her, soaked Mary Janes and dirty white socks all she could see. She got on her knees with tears in her eyes. Samantha was gone. Julie sighed with relief, glad she had left. She got up slowly, propping herself up with the nearby coffee table.
Julie walked slowly to the kitchen, holding on to her head with one hand. She opened the refrigerator and grabbed a beer. She cracked open and drank a mouthful of the ice cold beverage. It made her feel better instantly. She half smiled and went back to her bedroom. On her way, her cell phone began to ring. She walked hurriedly to it, but by the time she got there, the ringing ended. Julie flipped it open and a picture of her best friend Eliza popped up. She cracked a smile and decided to call her later on. Closing the phone, she sat down on her bed and covered herself with her blanket and began to think of Samantha.
Her mind went back to the day it happened. Samantha, her little adopted sister, and Julie were sitting on their dock back home. Samantha was at the tender age of twelve, and Julie was sixteen. That summer was the first one being in Julie’s family, and Julie tried to make her feel welcome. She decided to take her new sister to their dock so they could talk and get to know each other. They were having such a great time that they had stayed out till after dinner. It was getting late, so Julie had told her new sister that they had better go back in. As Julie made her way up the dock, talking and talking, she hadn’t realized that Samantha wasn’t following her. She went back to get her, but she wasn’t there. Julie had started panicking and called her name out time after time. She ran to the house and told her father and they went back to look for the little girl.
After endless hours of searching, the police had found her body at the bottom of the river, lifeless. She was wearing a pink dress with black Mary Janes. It was concluded that she had, obviously, drowned. They held a funeral the next week, but Julie never went. She became depressed, and that was when Samantha started coming to her, getting more aggressive each time.
Julie snapped back, sobbing. She had always blamed herself for the death of her sister, but she knew she didn’t kill her. No matter what Samantha said, she knew that she didn’t kill her. Samantha’s head began to throb again and she took another swig of her beer. She kept taking sips of beer until it was all gone. Julie was never a big drinker, and she was drunk by the time it was gone. Julie fell sideways, crying still. She closed her eyes and fell asleep.
When she woke up, Samantha was back. She was standing at the end of the bed, waiting patiently. She waved sweetly and smiled. Julie always loved her sissy’s smile. Missed it so much, but now when she smiled, it looked twisted and evil. It scared her terribly. She took the blankets off clumsily, tipsy now, and crawled to her sister.
“Sammy, I’m so sorry. I should have watched over you. I’m so sorry.” Julie whispered. Samantha didn’t move. She stood there, as lifeless as she was six years ago, looking at her. Julie looked at her, remembering what she had looked like before she had become this monster. Samantha finally moved and walked into the bathroom. She came back walking slowly, something in hand. She went back to her original position and opened her hand. An old razor that Julie had had when she was seventeen was resting in her palm. Julie looked up at her, terrified. She hadn't seen that razor since she tried to stop when she left home. She was still struggling to quit, but the urge had gone down.
“Just in case you might need it tonight.” Samantha smiled and threw the razor on the bed next to Julie. She walked out of the room and didn’t look back. Julie whimpered and grabbed the razor. She slithered off the bed, falling onto the floor. Crying and crawling she went into the bathroom and closed the door, without locking it. She sat by the bathtub, holding onto the razor blade, her safe haven from all the things she had taken over the years. She closed her eyes and started humming the song her mom had sung to her when she was a little girl. Julie had never been more afraid in her entire life, but she began to think of how blissful it would be if she was dead. No more pain or sorrow. She smiled and brought the razor to the fatal point and began to end herself. She kept humming, whimpering along the way.
“Keep going, sissy. Finish it.” Samantha’s voice whispered in her ear. Julie gasped and did as her sister said, pleasing her after failing to do so years ago. She cried out and opened her eyes. Samantha was sitting in front of her, on top of the closed toilet seat. She wasn’t pale, or soaked, or dead. Her sissy was sitting just as beautiful as she was the moment before she had died. Her eyes were the vibrant green as before and her skin was smooth. She reached out to Julie, and held her hand. It was warm, not freezing. Julie kissed her baby sister’s hand, knowing they’d be together soon. Julie looked up and smiled sweetly. Samantha was almost gone, just like Julie.
“I’m sorry Sammy, I’m sorry…”
It was a frosty night, a thick layer of fog clouding apartment windows. The streets were quieter than usual in Philadelphia. It seemed like the earth had taken a brake from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Inside one of the hazy windows, lay Julie, forever resting.