“Never...forget...” A familiar voice said. And though it was very noisy, those two words were the only things I heard. And then...Red. All red. Different shades of red, too. There was nothing but it. There was nothing but memories...and once they faded there was nothing left.
I awoke on a slightly uncomfortable bed. In front of me was a mirror, but I did not see my reflection. I saw a little redheaded girl around the age of 8. Not only did this confuse me, it frightened me. Who was I?
This question was pointless. There was nothing I was able to answer it with.
“HURRY UP, WE DON’T HAVE ALL DAY!” screamed a angry, frustrated voice. I then realized it was I who was being yelled at. But why? What could I have done? I decided not to make this voice angrier, and looked in the little white dresser. I gasped. Red. My only memory. My only past. In the tiny dresser there was a small red dress. I hid it at the very bottom.
I ran down the old wooden stairs. I was being pushed out the door, I realized. To school? I didn’t think so. And once the pushing ended I was pulled. Pulled into somewhere dark, somewhere frightening. And I wasn’t alone.
Sitting next to me in the dark was...a boy? He looked around 13.
“H-h-hello?” My young-sounding voice stuttered.
No reply. Why wouldn’t he reply?
“Hello...?” I was suddenly even more frightened.
Still no reply.
”...I’m scared...” I whispered into the dark.
“Me too.” replied a quiet voice.
“Where is this?” I asked, shocked he actually replied that time.
“I don’t know. I can’t remember anything...who are you? What’s your name?” he asked the exact question I asked myself. Who was I?
“I don’t know. Who are you?” I turned and faced him.
“I don’t know either.” he confessed.
But I had a feeling he did know…
I had a feeling he was lying.
It was midnight in Downtown Vancouver. I was walking my beautiful Eva to the park. Her dark brown hair was straightened with a little red butterfly clip in it. Red was her favorite color.
“Oh, it’s beautiful!” she said, staring at the full, bright moon in the dark sky.
“So are you.” I replied, staring into her big dark brown eyes. She blushed.
“So, what do you think of the-”
Suddenly, the sound of a gunshot echoed once, twice, and three times. And so did her scream as the pool of blood around her grew bigger. She was dying. And I couldn’t help because so was I.
I managed to whisper one last thing to her:
I woke up in a small dark room in a body far too tiny to be my own. What was happening, I did not know, but that wasn’t what I was worried about. I was worried about her. Eva. What happened to her? Where is she now? I started panicking. Suddenly, a girl with bright red hair was thrown into the room. She could tell she wasn’t alone.
“H-h-hello?” She stuttered.
I didn’t reply.
“Hello...?” she seemed frightened.
I still did not reply. My mouth was sewn shut.
“Me too.” I replied. It was only a whisper.
“Where is this?”
“I don’t know. I can’t remember anything...who are you? What’s your name?” Lies. I could remember. I knew who she was. But I was too shocked.
“I don’t know. Who are you??” She turned to me and asked.
“I don’t know either.” I lied once again.
She didn’t believe me…
But most importantly…
She forgot me.
I sat there in silence, daydreaming with nothing to daydream with. Which turned into remembering with only one thing to remember. Which turned into crying. And crying. And crying. And I knew I had lost my reality. Lost my mind, perhaps. I wanted to die… but if I did, wouldn’t I just keep on reliving? Is that how life works? It seemed that way. But life it’s self seemed far away. Very far away. Red. All red. It just might be the only colour in this universe. The colour of blood...the colour of love...what else was there?
It was almost pitch black, yet I could still see the writing on the wall in front of me. Had it been there just a second ago? I didn’t think so… It read:
Just like an acrostic poem. And guess what colour it was… The only colour.
Next to me was my beautiful Eva… and she was crying. I knew I had to get her out of here… but how? Was there a way to escape? Why were we here anyway? None of it made sense. But it didn’t have to. I already had my plan…
It wasn’t difficult to see “the boy” (I did not know his name) staring at me with a concerned face through my uncontrollable, never-ending tears. They fell to the ground one my one, ruining my little light blue jeans. Not that I cared. Why was I crying so much? Was it just this small fragile body trying to adjust to the real, cruel world, or was it just me, felling helpless? I hated feeling helpless. But that wasn’t what I was concentrating on. I was concentrating on the writing on the wall. Something about it made me scared...of losing someone. But I had no one to lose. Nothing. No memories. So why should it frighten me? I was not sure, but I was very curious.
A man walked through the big heavy doors. I could not see his face, but he looked...gentle? I did not trust this man. He seemed fake.
“Hello.” said his calm, almost robotic voice. I curled up in a ball. The boy stiffened. He looked like he was about to say something, but he remained silent.
“You two. You are not supposed to remember.” Remember? I didn’t remember anything.
“You’ll get it soon enough.” his voice now a bit more aggravated. Was he talking to me? I thought so.
“You know who she is?” asked the man. He was now talking to the boy. He was the only person talking. I didn’t think he’d get a reply. And he didn’t.
“Stay here.” the man said, his voice even angrier then before.
“I have an idea.” said the boy once the man had left the room.
“What’s your idea, then?” Eva asked quietly. She seemed curious.
“I noticed there’s no noise coming from the hallway. It’s most likely an abandoned building. There’s no furniture or anything. Just cement floors and walls. We could easily sneak out. It would be difficult, but worth a shot, right?" She thought about for a minute and then replied.
“Okay. But I’m trusting you...”
“Come! Let’s go, before he comes back!” I said, taking her small fragile hand. The big heavy door was wide open… That man must have thought we were too frightened to try escaping. Eva and I tiptoed through the halls, occasionally whispering to each other. We made it through the hallway and to the front door. It was closed and it was heavy. It would surely make noise.
“Listen, when we open the door it will make noise and the guy will know we’re escaping, so when I shut it behind us and say ‘run’, I need you to run as fast as you can, got it?” I whispered. Eva nodded and I opened the door. I tried to close it slowly so it wouldn’t make too much noise, but it didn’t make much of a difference.
“Run!” I said, grabbed her hand and running at full speed. She had no trouble keeping up.
We were running at the speed of light through the rain and wind. Although we knew we had been running for at least ten minutes and we had gotten away, we kept going. I wasn’t sure where we were, but there was lots of buildings and people… All of the sudden, the boy paused. And he just stood there for a couple of minutes. This confused me. Weren’t we supposed to be running away? Then he started running even faster towards a young woman with light curly blonde hair and blue eyes. He stared at her for a few seconds and she stared back.
“Tara...” he finally said.
“Umm, do I know you...?” she asked.
“It’s me, Michael!”
“You aren’t being funny. I’m not stupid, you know. Or maybe you don’t considering the fact that you aren’t very smart yourself, making fun of me. Who do you think you are?” She replied, angry.
“I’m serious, Tara! Let me explain… Please!” The boy begged.
And before I knew it we were sitting in a stranger’s apartement.
“So… are you going to explain this all or should I just continue wondering why my dead brother has come back as a 13-year-old?” Tara said. The boy took a deep breath and began explaining. I noticed Tara’s daughter hiding behind the wall listening in on the conversation.
“So once I saw you, Tara, all my memories came back at once. It was the weirdest thing. I remembered my name was Michael and that you were my cousin, I remembered everything!” continued the boy. He turned to me. “And I remembered you were my girlfriend and soon-to-be-fiancé.”
My eyes grew wide. He took another deep breath. “Your name was Eva Williams. You were an author and you were becoming very popular and making lots of money. I was going to propose to you the night we were shot.”
Soon-to-be-fiancé? Was he joking? Tara grinned. To break the silence, Michael asked “So are you going to explain why you have a nine-year-old daughter at the age of....”
“26, and no, I’m not. But I am going to ask you-well, more like force you-to stay with us here.” Tara replied.
“Like, live here?” He raised his eyebrows.
“Yeah...” She said. Michael turned to me. I shrugged.
“Well, we don’t have anywhere else to live...” He replied smiling. Tara smiled back, and I couldn’t help smiling myself. We had a home.
Kayla’s room was light purple with a bunk bed and a big window. Everything was organized and she barely had any toys. I wasn’t surprised; she didn’t seem interested in that stuff anyway. We had talked to each other a little, and I explained to her what had happened. She seemed very interested and after she started writing in a notebook. I tried to look over her shoulder to see what she was writing, but it didn’t work. All I saw was her pale hand holding the pen and black writing on lined paper. I could not make out the letters. I sighed and turned away.
It was now 9:30pm and Kayla was falling asleep so all the lights were off. I tried to fall asleep too, but I couldn’t. I kept thinking about what Michael said. Soon-to-be-fiancé. I barely knew him and know he was saying we were once in love? This was all so confusing for me…
At about 1:30am I got up and walked into the living room. There lay Michael, eyes wide open.
“I can’t fall asleep.” I whispered in the dark. He nodded.
“Me neither.” I sat down on the side of the couch. He pulled me onto his lap. We sat in silence and soon enough fell asleep.
One day, after getting some ice-cream, Michael took my hand and walked me across the street to a park. He always held my hand, but it wasn’t in a “I’m going to hold your hand because your just a little kid so you’re going to hurt yourself if I don’t” kind of way. It was more of a...well I’m not sure exactly, but I had a small feeling in the back of my head that Michael still had feelings for me. I was not sure if I still had feelings for him though. I never really thought about it. Okay, that was a lie. I did think about it. A lot. But I never made a decision. After we had crossed the street, Michael just stood there for a second. I wondered why he was taking me to the park. Didn’t he know I wasn’t interested in playing on the monkey bars? I looked up at him.
“This is where we died.” he told me. Though his face did not look sad, but he looked like he missed someone...or something. I didn’t say anything.
“Come, let’s go home.” he said, taking my hand as we crossed the street, again. I followed silently.
When we had been living with Tara for about 2 weeks, she came back from dropping of Kayla without leaving to work right away and said she needed to talk to us. We sat in the living, just like last time. She looked very, very serious, which was very, very unlike her. But everyone wasn’t acting like themselves lately. I was almost positive I wasn’t this quiet before I died. I never really talked much, and though I had no memories of what I used to be like, it seemed strange to me. Tara stared at us for a moment and finally, she started talking.
“As you two know, I do have a life. I have friends, I have a job, and I have a kid. I can’t keep you guys here, people will start wondering why I have two kids they’ve never see who’s names are the same as my dead cousin and his dead girlfriend. So, you’ll be living with my friend Seth. He doesn’t know who you are or anything. All I told him was that I needed him to take care of some kids. He knows how you guys died, so you’ll have to go by fake names. Olivia and Aidan Miller. You’ll be brother and sister. If anyone asks, Seth is your uncle. Eva, you’re in 3rd grade and Michael you’re in 7th. Got it?” We nodded.
“So we’ll be leaving in 10 minutes. Go get ready!”
I put on an old pair of jeans and a old grey sweatshirt Kayla had given me. I walked out of the washroom after brushing my hair and saw Michael standing there, his dark brown hair all messy. I giggled.
“What?” he asked.
“Okay then. Let’s go.” he said, taking my hand of course.
We sat in the car mostly in silence, with the occasional question from Michael. Finally, we parked in front of a small light blue house. Tara walked us up the few steps to the door and began ringing the door bell repeatedly. I sighed and finally after the 15th ring a man with emerald green eyes and dirty blonde hair opened the door.
“You are just so annoying.” he joked. Tara ignored him.
“Here’s the kids. Take good care of them.” she said with a worried look on her face.
“Yeah, I just wish you’d tell me who they are...”
“That doesn’t matter, Seth. All you need to know is that if anyone asks, you’re their uncle. And their names. Olivia and Aidan Miller. And call me every once and a while, please!” Tara replied, talking quickly. She hugged us goodbye and left. Michael, Seth, and I stood there for a few moments, not sure what to say.
“So, I’ll show you to you’re rooms?” Seth said as he began walking up the stairs. We followed.
It wasn’t long until our “first” day of school. While I was getting ready, I reached in my jacket pocket to find the necklace Seth bought me on the weekend. He figured we needed stuff to wear so he took us to a huge mall called Metrotown. Instead of my necklace, I pulled out a small piece of paper. It read:
She ran and ran, but there was nowhere to go
Her breath was heavy, her feet were slow
Came up from behind, he wouldn’t let go
She died last night, body found by the road
Your mother is gone, Eva. Next is your brother. And then there’s you.
I tried everything to figure out what these numbers meant. Finally, after a few minutes, it made sense. I remembered the writing on the wall, Relive Every Death, and I remembered that 23:54 on a 24 hour clock means 11:54pm. That must be some sort of clue.
I stuffed the piece of paper in my right jean pocket, took a deep breath, and put my shoes on. Two minutes later, Michael came to the door too. We walked across the street where all the kids were in line in front of their teachers outside.
The day passed quickly. No one really talked to me and at lunch I thought about what I was going to do. How I was going to get to this strangers house? What was I going to say?
When the bell rung at 3 ‘o clock the teacher rushed us out of the classroom saying she had an important meeting. She was young and skinny with thin brown hair with she was constantly twirling. She always looked tired and stressed out. Trying not to make her even more stressed out, I hurried out the door. I walked through the hallway almost robotically until I reached the front doors which I had to use all my strength just to push open. I disliked being weak. I ran over to Michael and we walked home.
“Michael?” I said, breaking the abnormally comfortable silence. He looked down.
“I had a brother, right? What was his name?”
“Um, Matthew, I think. Why?”
“Just wondering.” I replied, looking up at the cloudy sky. It was January and the snow had recently melted. All there was left was slush.
I figured 11:30pm would be a good time to sneak out of the house if my brother was supposed to die at 11:54pm, so after pretending to fall asleep and closing my door, I grabbed the phone book and began searching for Matthew Williams. It didn’t take long to find him. Quickly and quietly, I grabbed a pen and copied it down into a small notebook before slowly opening the door and leaving the house.
It was pretty dark out. Some of the street lights flickered as I walked down the street to the bus stop. Once I got on, the tired middle-aged bus driver surprisingly and thankfully didn’t ask me where my parents were or anything like that. I sat down in one of the many empty seats and sang softly to myself a song I had once heard play on the radio.
Eventually, I got off the bus and pulled out the crumpled piece of paper with the address. Before I had the chance to read it, I accidently dropped it and the wind blew it away. I began running after the small piece of paper, and soon enough it fell to the ground right in front of a doorstep. I picked it up and read the address. 2354. It matched the address of the old white house I was now standing in front of. I took a deep breath and knocked. A man who looked about 50 with grey-blond hair to his ears and almost silver eyes opened the door.
“Are you Matthew Williams?” I asked him.
“Yes.” He replied, raising his eyebrows.
“I’ve come here to warn you. Can I come in?” He nodded and looked at me confused. I wiped my wet winter boots on the carpet in the front before entering the house. I noticed there was little furniture, and none of it matched. He seemed very poor.
“You see, I got a message, from a killer, saying you are going to die in about...10 minutes.” I continued. His eyes grew wide.
“Really? Well thankyou for warning me, but sadly I can’t do anything about it.” He replied, sitting down on the couch.
“But, you have to do something!” I panicked. He stood up.
“Then I’ll do this.”
He then pushed me onto the wall and pulled out a gun. And then, of course, I went unconscious.
At about 11:30pm I heard someone leave the house. Curious, I turned off the TV in my room and went downstairs. I could see Eva putting on her boots and gloves. She stuffed a piece of paper in her pocket and left the house. I waited for a few seconds before putting my shoes on and following her. Eventually, she arrived at a bus stop. I knew if I went on the same bus as her she would see me, so I ran after the bus, following it. It was hard, but the bus driver was slow and lazy. When she got off the bus she ran towards an old white house. I hid in the bushes until I heard a gunshot. The door wasn’t locked and so I went right in. There stood Eva’s older brother Matthew, holding a gun. Next to him lay Eva, against the wall, unconscious.
“What do you want from us!?” I screamed at him. “What is your problem!? Why would you do this to her!?”
He stared at me with angry eyes. I stared back.
“All my life, it’s always been about her. She was always the favourite child. Always the talented child. They always listened to whatever she had to say, my parents. Me? Oh no, they don’t care about me. Not the slightest bit. So, when you two went to celebrate her new novel 13 years ago, I knew I had to kill her. But you were there, so I had to kill you too. No one ever believed me when I said I was physic. No one believed I could read minds. ‘I don’t have time for your non-sense, Matthew’ my parents would say. But it’s true. And when I heard the thoughts of two children who had all those memories, I knew you were both reborn. So I kidnapped both of you, and I brought you to an abandoned building. I erased the memories of your current lives accidently when I was trying to erase those of your past lives. I screwed it all up. So I sent Eva a message saying ‘I’m going to kill your brother’ and she believed it. She came here to save me. It was the perfect trap. And so now, it’s almost the exact same thing. Reliving the same death, huh?” His quiet whispers slowly turned into yelling, and then back into whispers. He held the gun out, aiming it towards me. Right when he was about to shoot, the police came in. Apparently the neighbors heard yelling and gunshots and called 911. For that I was very thankful.
I sat on the hospital bed as Michael and I discussed what had happened. After a few seconds of nothing-left-to-say silence, I sat up.
“Michael, I think…I still love.” I confessed. He stared at me with wide eyes before replying.
“Eva, I know I’ve always loved you”
And then nothing else mattered.