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Curse as Old as Time

A Curse as Old as Time

“Mommy and Daddy are always fighting. I don’t know what they argue about though. Yet when they’re with me, they seem like they still love each other,” Chloe tells Jane, the psychiatrist, while sitting in the big blue bean bag that enfolds around her making it so you can only see her shoulders and her head. Jane takes Chloe’s hand and gives it a gentle squeeze encouraging Chloe to continue relaying what has happened the past week. “It’s when Mommy and Daddy argue that Marty plays hide and go seek with me. He always wins though.” Chloe says happily. Being happy, a rarity for her is almost becoming a usual occurrence when she talks about Marty. That’s not something Jane will skip in her notes for today’s session.
“Who’s Marty, Chloe?” The psychiatrist asks after writing down what Chloe just told her. When Chloe doesn’t respond immediately Jane pauses her note taking to prod Chloe again. Chloe however, is staring off into space. She looks totally lost in oblivion and unaware of her surroundings. Her surroundings, designed to soothe even the most bothered soul and keep their feet firmly on planet earth, include the blue bean bag, a desk with papers thrown helter-skelter over it, a flat screen TV, and a nice comfy but sophisticated armchair currently occupied by Jane, seem to do nothing to keep Chloe grounded.
“Who’s Marty?” Jane questioned again. Chloe looked at Jane as if she was clueless. As if everyone should know Marty.
Chloe paused a moment before responding. “He’s my cousin. He came down for a visit and he’s leaving tomorrow,” Chloe said while looking off into the distance not entirely there. It seemed like she was reading from a script but rather than question it, the psychiatrist let it slide.

A knock ended their session. With a promise to return next week, Chloe left looking somewhat at peace with everything, a total new high point for schizophrenia. Jane hurriedly scribbled down a medicine on a prescription paper. This should keep Marty away Jane thinks. She faxes the prescription to Chloe’s mom and adds a note telling her this will keep her subconscious at bay.
Meanwhile on the other side of the wall, Chloe looked to her side as the door sounded shut.
“You did splendid!” a voice said next to her belonging to her “cousin” Marty. Invisible to everyone but Chloe, Marty was Chloe’s ultimate friend. He could never play with anyone but her and she felt safe and secure, another rarity.
“Thanks Marty!” Chloe responded cheerily moving in to give him a hug. No thoughts to the observers who weren’t inconspicuous about their judging eyes. Already you could see the revolting thoughts swirling in their heads. Even to the most level minded and least critical person would have trouble not jumping to conclusions upon seeing a five year old having a chat with the air and giving it a hug.

“Chloe take this. Jane says it will help get rid of the cold you have,” Theresa, Chloe’s mother, instructs as she sets the tablet on the table after arriving home. The pill is supposed to make the monsters go away. That’s the only reason I am letting her them, Theresa reminds herself. The tablet, the size an eighty-eight year old woman would take to stop her unremitting health decline, looks enormous to her. It seems wrong and unjust for a five year old to take such a pill even if it does control the disease’s symptoms.

Chloe takes the pill obediently and displays no trouble taking the over-sized pill. By now, she should be a pro at taking pills in general. Imagine what this could lead towards: over-using the prescribed pills, overdosing pain medicine. The list never ends… Chloe’s mother contemplates before removing herself from the room to prevent Chloe from seeing her mother have a panic attack over the medicine.
Chloe looks for Marty and her other friends only she has the special privilege of being able to see but they seem unpredictably absent from the rest of the day’s activities much to Chloe’s disappointment. Chloe is as sane as any schizophrenic on drugs is normal. Her normal mood swings were lacking which left the family of two a relatively normal day, which is much preferred to Chloe’s severe moods caused by her imaginary friends as she tells her mom.

By the next day, Chloe was anxious to see Marty. She was bored having only her mom to play with. Marty was much more imaginative. He often thought of new kinds of games such as hop the bunny where instead of jumping over people like in leapfrog you have to jump over obstacles. Even a game of checkers with Marty is a million times more fun than the original version allowed for.
Breakfast came and went. With the pill in her system, Chloe was a normal kid. Able to learn, play, and do any housework her mother desired for her to do. The day was monotonous for Chloe. Chloe was used to extravagant places to visit with her friends and puzzles and anything any child could ever ask for. In cold hard reality though, no friends were around leaving Chloe to her mother’s devices.
A week later and the pill finally out of her system Marty finally made an appearance after Chloe’s appointment with her psychiatrist who was pleasantly surprised to find Chloe no longer mentioning Marty. Needless to say, Chloe was ecstatic to have her friend back again. She couldn’t wait to have “real” fun again. Marty on the other hand had other ideas.
“Marty, where were you last night and the rest of the week? I missed you! Mommy’s fun to play with but she doesn’t have your imagination,” Chloe says to Marty excitedly.
“Chloe, do you know why I wasn’t here? The pill you took last week makes me go away. They think I’m your imagination and that I’m hurting you,” Marty calmly says to her.
“Who are they?” Chloe quietly asks her friend.
Marty answers without hesitating, “Your mommy and Jane the psychiatrist.”
“But…But…But,” Chloe stutters trying to find a way to refute what Marty is saying but comes up with nothing.
“Do you want me to be here all the time like old times, Chloe, or do you want me to go away so you can play with your mommy all day?” Marty says hoping and knowing her answer will not be the latter choice.
“You know I want you to be here all the time! You’re my best friend! I’d die without you!” Chloe exclaims.
“If that’s what you want then you have to stop taking the pill Jane gave you last week. Moreover, you cannot tell her anyone about me anymore. When your mommy gives you the pill put it underneath your tongue but act like you swallowed it anyways and then spit it out when your mommy’s not looking and stash it in a sock that you don’t wear often,” Marty says to her.

Chloe agrees to the plan of course. Anything to get her best friend back. Is he worth lying to Mommy? Chloe ponders the question no longer then it takes a hummingbird to flap its wings once. Of course, Marty is worth it! She wonders why she even questioned his worth. Friends are worth gold but best friends are priceless. At least that’s what Mommy tells her.

Each week Chloe reports to Jane on what happens throughout the week excluding Marty of course. Theresa never suspected a thing but really, she was never in the room when Chloe was supposedly taking her pill. Over the weeks, Marty and Chloe’s relationship changed. Marty became paranoid about the monsters and Chloe, young and naïve, tried to help his paranoia. When she rid Marty of it, however she absorbed it. Soon she was too scared to sleep in her own bed without her mommy or Marty.

June 17, 2012 was a rainy dreary day unlike the day before when the sun seemed to engulf everything in its rays and heat. Stuck inside Chloe and Marty were bored. An extremely atypical thing in itself seeing as there is always something to explore or invent.
“Chloe come down and eat!” Theresa hollered from the kitchen. When Chloe was done eating Theresa said, “I need to make a cake so don’t jump around okay? It’s for Jane. Her birthday is tomorrow you know. We should give her a card too, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, but can I have the leftover icing and batter?” questioned an eager Chloe. Making a cake and wasting the extras just seemed wasteful and cruel to her.
“Of course buttercup now go take a nap while I make this and if you’re especially good you can help me icing the cake,” Theresa bargained as she searched the cabinets and fridge for the ingredients.

Chloe obediently ran to her room and dove under the covers of her bed falling asleep almost instantly.

Twenty minutes later Theresa makes her way downstairs. She yawns and stretches in a cat-like manner. As she gets to the kitchen the timer’s loud, obnoxious beeping signals that the cake is cooked and ready to take out of the oven. She grabs a pair of oven mitts, opens the oven, and greeted with an unimaginable reek and smoke thick enough to obscure her vision. When she regains the ability to see, the display is something from her worst nightmare. Too shocked to do anything, Theresa stands immobilized by the sight of her once beautiful daughter’s skin scorched to the bone in some places.

A slight movement Chloe’s hand electrified Theresa back to life. She’s not dead! Theresa’s mind screams to her. Not yet anyway Theresa reminds her self scornfully. She reaches for her daughter and at the last moment recoils back from the severe heat radiating off Chloe’s skin. There’s no way this is happening. She can’t be alive. That’s inhumanly possible. Theresa ponders this as she reaches down to pick up the dropped oven mitts. Putting the oven mitts on her hands she realizes she grabbed two left handed ones. Not caring enough to get a right handed one Theresa looks into the oven. Her arms already outstretched for Chloe, fumble against themselves as she feels a stab in her lower back. Theresa falls to the floor with a moan and reaches back attempting to reach the knife. The knife’s owner on the other hand was already pulling it out of her. Theresa rolled onto her side to try to fend off her attacker but failing miserably as she screams in agony when the knife puncture the skin just above her left breast puncturing her heart. She could feel the life slowly ebb out of her not letting her escape this world painless. Every nerve in her body seemed to be electrified and burning in agony. Lying there waiting for her life to end was all she could. The last thing she saw was her beautiful, beautiful daughter standing there with an evil smirk on her charred and blackened face.
“I love you,” she said as she felt her final strength leaving. Her chest rose and she seemed to become statue like in her rigid posture with her green eyes open and only showing love for her daughter, which brought her so great joy.
“I told you I could do it,” Chloe muttered to Marty as she withdrew the knife from her mother.
“Maybe but I still don’t think you can swallow all the pills at once,” Marty snapped back. When Chloe ran to her room and her back was turned Marty grinned as if he had just won the lottery. Returning moments later, Chloe barreled down the stairs with seven pills in her little five-year-old hands.
“Here you take half, and I’ll take the other half,” Chloe said holding out some to Marty.
“That’s not part of the dare Chloe. You have to take all the pills not me,” an annoyed Marty replied.
“Fine, watch this! I’ll take them all at once too!” Chloe excitedly took on the challenge and stuffed all seven of the pills in her mouth. In one large swallow, she stared at Marty proudly knowing she had met his expectations of her. She didn’t even need a drink of water! That should count as a bonus.
“Congrats I didn’t think you would do it but you proved me wrong twice in one night!” Marty said to Chloe as her eyes closed drowsily.
“Marty! What’s happening to me? I feel like a slug and my arms and legs feel like they are cement. What’s wrong with me? My head hurts, Marty. My fingers feel like tiny needles are stuck in them and won’t come out. Marty! Marty! Help me! The monsters, the monsters, they’re back! No stop they’re coming after me. Please, please! Don’t eat me! Marty tell them to go away! They’re scaring me! No don’t…no stop that hurts… Mommy!” Chloe yells in despair as she feels the pills making their way through her body and infiltrating her brain.
“Mommy help me! Stop them Mommy! Get up! Get up! Why are you not getting up! No, stop! Don’t touch her,” Chloe hollered at the army of monsters gathering around her. She covered Theresa’s body with her own in an attempt to keep the monsters away.
“Here Chloe! Use this just point the pointed edge at yourself right here,” Marty points to her heart, “and then just let me do the rest of the work. It’s only way to save you and your mommy.”
“What about you though Marty? What’s going to happen to you?” Chloe asked innocently whilst holding the knife in her hand looking ready to puncture her heart at Marty’s request.
“I’ll be fine Chloe don’t worry,” Marty said as he turned his back to look at the approaching herd of monsters of every shape, color, and form. When he turned around, he met face first with the knife Chloe was supposed to have used to kill herself. The knife dug into his skull and even though it didn’t hurt the surprise on his face was almost enough to make Chloe feel a little guilty. Almost.
As Marty bled to death, Chloe realized more monsters were gathering. It seemed like an ocean of blues, oranges, and purples monsters. Chloe closed her eyes as the monsters gathered around her. She felt her nerves frying and she laid there welcoming the pain without uttering a scream.
I’m going to close my eyes for a moment and picture Mommy but then I’m going to open them so I don’t fall asleep Chloe promised herself. As she closed her eyes all the pain went away. Ok maybe a little nap will not kill me.
When Chloe opened her eyes again she wasn’t in her kitchen. Chloe felt around her and her hand encountered wood and.
“Ssh, Chloe you need to go back to sleep now,” Marty said.
“But…but I killed you! I watched you die!” Chloe exclaimed.
“Yes I know which is why you need to lie down and rest. I’ll see you on the other side,” Marty disappeared as he said goodbye.
Obediently Chloe closed her eyes and felt herself relax and fall into slumber not plagued by monsters or nightmares for the first time in what felt like forever.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

MegaSock said...
Mar. 3, 2013 at 10:22 am:
WOW, was not expecting the oven part... I never would have thought that imaginary friends were out to get you... But anyway, I love Thriller and Mysteries so much, you did a fantastic job! Are you planning to write more?
 
poppypappypoppet replied...
Mar. 3, 2013 at 8:42 pm :
Do you mean like write more on this story? I've been trying to come up with a way to make this particular story into a novel but I can't seem to figure out how.
 
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