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The Haunting Part II
Eleven years later, and Elizabeth had her seventeenth birthday. Over the past eleven years, Elizabeth had been through so much. Her and her mother, Claire, had moved to a small town in New Hampshire after Elizabeth's incident when she was only six years old. That was the day that changed everything.
Eleven Years Ago
Claire's heart began pounding, as she turned around to look at what her daughter was pointing at. There was nothing there. Claire turned back to face her daughter. She could feel the tears beginning to sting the backs of her eyes, and her throat swelling shut. “Honey, there's nothing there,” Claire said calmly. But Elizabeth just sat there, unmoving and completely still.
The next morning, she was released from the hospital. Claire was exhausted. She wore sweat pants and a gray sweatshirt from college. The same college that she had met Elizabeth's father at. Her hair was in a knotty ponytail, and her eyes were red and swollen from crying all night. Claire had brought Elizabeth a pair of jeans, a long sleeved t-shirt, and she had pulled her hair back into a neat ponytail. Claire grabbed her daughter's hand and led her out to the car. “Mommy, are we going home?” Elizabeth asked. “No, Sweetie. We are going on a trip,” Claire answered. “Where to?” It took a few minutes until Claire finally replied, “New Hampshire.”
“Do you love me?” Elizabeth asked, as she rolled onto her side and faced Matt. Matt was a year older than her, and a senior at Salem Falls High School. Elizabeth and Matt had been dating for five months, and they were the most popular couple at their school. “Of course I do,” Matt laughed. “Why wouldn't I?” Elizabeth felt her stomach drop at this question. Thoughts of her horrible childhood filled her head, and the thought of anyone finding out made her sick. “No reason,” she answered as she kissed Matt on the lips.
Elizabeth did anything and everything to fit in with the popular crowd, and she succeeded. She was an honors student, she wore all the right clothes and make-up, her hair was long, dark brown, and straightened, and she hung out with all the right people. Most girls at her school were jealous of her and her group of friends; Haley, Maddilyne, Sabrina, and Jordan. These girls were known as the popular, perfect, pretty girls. They hung out with all the jocks; Tyler, Matt, Daniel, John, Logan, and all of the guys like that.
Everyone in Salem Falls thought that Elizabeth had it all, and she did. The only thing they didn't know, was what she had to go through to get there.
Eight Years Ago
Elizabeth's eyes began to slowly open. Her head hurt so bad. Where was she? She sat up in bed, and realized that it was not hers. She looked around the room. She was in the hospital. No one was around, and the only sound was a beeping sound coming from the monitor next to her. Just then, a doctor came into the room. She looked terrified, realizing that Elizabeth was awake. “Where's my mom?” Elizabeth asked in a small voice. The doctor walked up to the side of the bed.
“Elizabeth, do you remember anything from last night?” Elizabeth thought for a minute. The only thing she could recall was the dark figure standing in the corner of her room, like he did every night. “No,” Elizabeth answered. “You and your mom were in a bad car accident, and when we asked you what happened, you said it was all his fault.”
Elizabeth and Matt walked inside Elizabeth's house. It was 1:15 AM, and she was supposed to be home at 12:30. “Be quiet,” Elizabeth whispered as she led Matt to her room. They tip-toed up the wooden staircase, and into Elizabeth's neon pink and zebra print room. She walked over to her king size bed and plopped down, propping herself up on one elbow. “So, are you gonna be in trouble?” Matt asked as he lied down next to her. “Probably not. But even if I am, it was all worth it,” Elizabeth said, smiling. “Very true,” Matt said as he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her. Elizabeth buried her face in his neck, and pretended not to see the dark figure with red eyes.
“Elizabeth June! You should know better!” Claire yelled at her daughter.
“Mom! I'm seventeen years old!”
“I'm old enough to have my boyfriend stay the night!”
“Do you want to end up alone and pregnant like me?!”
Elizabeth could feel her face growing hot. Claire never brought up her father. The only time he was ever even mentioned was when Elizabeth was fifteen. She had worked up the courage to ask her mom for more information about her father. The only things that she learned was his name was Greg, he was two year older than Claire, he was a lawyer, and he had not wanted Elizabeth. He was too focused on his career, and he begged Claire to get an abortion. When Claire refused, he left her and went to South Carolina.
The tears began to sting Elizabeth's eyes, and she could feel them spilling over her cheeks. “I hate you!” She yelled as she ran up the stairs and slammed her bedroom door, shutting Claire out of her life.
Claire sat down on the couch in the living room and began aimlessly flipping through the channels on TV. It wasn't Elizabeth's fault that she acted this way. Claire knew this. It had been a long seventeen years for Claire and her daughter, and they had struggled every step of the way. She had tried and tried to help Elizabeth along the way, but nothing worked. And now Elizabeth had Matt, which meant that she no longer needed her mom. Claire lied down, and told herself that everything was okay. She lied to herself until it was true, until sleep took her away to another world.
One Year Ago
Claire drove to the hospital without thinking. She took this route almost everyday, but she knew today would be her last. Claire's mother, Cara, was only 58 years old, but she had been battling a brain tumor for a year now. The doctor had called Claire that morning, and told her in the nicest way possible that her mother was dying. Claire had woke up Elizabeth to tag along to the hospital. She had called the high school to tell them that Elizabeth would not be there. They drove silently to the hospital, and walked in together without a word. Claire walked the familiar path to Cara's room. She walked in and saw a nurse at the bedside, checking Cara's vitals and making her comfortable, although she was unconscious. Claire sat down beside her mom, and began talking to her like she always did. “Mom, do you remember the time you and Dad took me and Justin to Disney World? I do,” Claire said. She sighed, feeling the tears ready to come out. “Or the day that Elizabeth was born? You held her more that day than I did.” Claire wished that her mom could answer her, but she knew that she couldn't. “I love you, Mom,” Claire said, as she kissed her mother goodbye.
It was five days until Christmas, and Claire felt like she still had so much to do. She had wanted to take flowers to her parents' graves, wrap her niece and nephew's gifts, and so much more. Yet, she had no motivation. Elizabeth had been quiet the past couple days, and she hadn't been home lately. Claire sighed. They had been through so much, and her little girl no longer wanted her in her life. This nearly killed Claire, but she didn't show it.
One Moth After Christmas
Elizabeth had conspicuously stolen her best friend, Maddilyne's dad's sleeping pills. It had taken her nearly three months to accumulate a total of 20. She knew that taking 20 pills, and her only weighing 107 pounds, would do the trick. It had been a long and hard seventeen years. For was long as she could remember, the black figure had been telling her that she was not good enough, and she believed it. Just then, Claire walked into her daughter's room. “Honey, I'm leaving for work, have a good day at school, okay?” “Okay, bye Mom,” Elizabeth answered. “I love you,” Claire said, as she shut the bedroom door, completely clueless of what was about to happen. Elizabeth turned back to the small pile of pills. She put them in her mouth one by one, and instructed herself to swallow. The light around her fading and knowing what was next, Elizabeth lied down on the floor, and watched her life flash before her eyes.
Four Hours Later
Claire began to really panic. Matt had called her at work to tell her that Elizabeth had not shown up at school. Claire dealt with drug and alcohol abusers everyday, but today she left her clients hanging, needing her counseling, but she needed her daughter. She grabbed her car keys and rushed out into the cold air to her car. As soon as she pulled into the driveway, she knew something was wrong. Elizabeth's purple grand am was still sitting in the driveway, and all the lights in the house were off. Claire ran to the house and threw open the front door. “Elizabeth!” She screamed. She ran up the stairs and into the familiar pink and zebra print bedroom. What she saw next was something that she would always see when she closed her eyes from now on. “Elizabeth!” She shrieked. Elizabeth's fragile body lied still on the floor. Hard as stone, cold as ice. Claire ran downstairs, screaming at the top of her lungs and crying hysterically as she dialed 911.
The ambulance showed up at Claire's house. They pronounced Elizabeth dead at the scene. It took four officers to hold Claire down as one of the paramedics gave her a sedative shot. There were tons of people at Claire's house, just as confused and hurt as she was. Her brother, Justin had arrived, although he lived an hour away. Matt had showed up with his and Elizabeth's friends, sobbing hysterically and asking the same question as everyone else. Why?
2 Months Later
It had been two months since the death of her daughter. Claire had moved to a different house on the other side of Salem Falls. She had began to see a guy named Alex. He was a great guy, and he understood Claire. Losing Elizabeth had been the hardest thing Claire ever went through. There were still so many questions she had, but no one could answer them for her.
The days dragged on, and they seemed like years. Elizabeth's memory still lived on. Her friends still talked about her as if she were still there. Claire had even taken Elizabeth's things with her to the new house. She painted one of the rooms bright pink and put all of Elizabeth's belongings in there. On Elizabeth's eighteenth birthday, Claire made a triple chocolate cake, and set out a piece of cake at Elizabeth's spot at the table.
Eventually, Claire began to smile again. She knew it was what Elizabeth wanted. She hated the black figure so much. She knew that it had everything to do with Elizabeth's death.
Claire sat in the bathtub, full of hot water. Red welts rose on her skin and her heart pounded so hard she thought it might explode. Seeing the red fill the bathtub quicker than the water had, Claire began to panic, and then she totally relaxed. She closed her eyes. Shadows of Elizabeth as a little girl filled her head. Everything was golden, so beautiful. “It'll be okay, Mommy,” Elizabeth said as she grabbed Claire's hand. And they walked the path of golden rocks and shells and sand. Forever.