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It was autumn when our father bought the old isolated Victorian home that our mother and him had always dreamt about. Inside it creaked with every step little Lyla took when we entered the house for the first time. The stairs were even more talkative as we made our way up to what was now our new bedroom. Lyla pushed open the door lightly as we stood there in the doorway. Her drawings from our first day of second grade were held tightly to her chest.
It had been several months since the severe schizophrenia had taken our mothers life. Our father hadn’t truly spoken to us since. Lyla didn’t understand why he wouldn’t even glance in our direction anymore. At night though I would watch our father drink his despair away. I was aware of the resemblance Lyla and I had to our mother that bothered him so much. The gray eyes and the straight light brown hair, how the slender features that were equally proportioned on our face.
We stepped into the room as the movers continued in and out of the house. The walls were a silent gray. The large window in front of us was the only source of light. This room scared and intimidated Lyla progressively with every tiny step. She began to crinkle our drawings that she still held so tightly, she squeezed them even closer hoping to erase her fear with the sound they made. It irritated me that she was so timid and weak.
“Lyla!” Called our father. This pleased Lyla to hear her name from our fathers lips. The now slightly deteriorating papers fell from her hands and were spread all across our bedroom floor, all but one. I was forced to race downstairs nearly tripping several times. Lyla was such a klutz which equally annoyed me.
We stepped silently into the kitchen. Our father’s back faced us as he watched the movers hustle around. His tall slender body with slouched shoulders matched his tiered eyes when Lyla’s faint voice got his attention.
“Go get your things out of the truck, I don’t want to have to get them in the middle of the night when you realize you need something.” He didn’t look at us, just stared above our heads as if to speak to someone who wasn’t there. Lyla nodded her head in response, her light eyes watched her feet as she exited the house to the car.
The first night in our bedroom was cold. Lyla shook from the cold breeze that repeatedly found it’s way into the covers that we were so tightly wrapped in. I was a prisoner here. Lyla slowly fell unconscious.
When I awoke the clock read 12:01 AM. I slowly got out from the covers and made my way down the stairs, to see my fathers way of pain relief progress. Through the railing of the stairs I could see the coffee table in the living room and an already empty Whiskey bottle. Another full one was making its way to my sad excuse for a father’s mouth. I slowly continued down the stairs until I stood in the doorway of the living room. His drunken expression was puzzled.
“What are you doing up so late what’s wrong with you child?” He asked abruptly.
I just stood there, a smug expression upon my face. He looked even more confused now. “Lyla? You’re so drunk you can’t even tell the difference between us. Lyla’s so timid, weak and so pitifully naive.” I knew what I was saying didn’t make the least bit of sense to his drunken mind. “It’s both your fault my mom died, it’s both your fault she was never here for Christmas’s or birthdays.” He was angry now and I was glad. His hand found my face with intense force, knocking me to the ground. I stared maliciously into his hollow gaze.
“You’re a pathetic drunk and you’ll pay for this daddy.”
I could hear him screaming as I watched the house shoot up in flames. I just stood there from a distance, my pin straight Carmel hair stroking my cold face in the smoldering breeze. I could hear the crackles of the flames as they burned everything that stood in their path. A grin spread across my face. The sun was starting to appear over the horizon with yellow and orange tones to match my vexation.
Sirens were screaming toward the billow of smoke in the sky.
When all was left were burnt remains I walked forward to find our teddy bear burnt charcoal black on one side and only slightly ruined on the other. I stared deep into it’s futile eyes.
The room’s white desolate walls surrounded me in emptiness. I looked up engaging my eyes to see the doctors pale gaze.
“Hanna could you allow Lyla to speak with me for a moment?” He asked with hesitation.
“Doctor you don’t understand, Lyla’s no longer part of me.” I replied with a sigh of relief. Our drawing from that first day of second grade was still held tightly to my chest. The doctor reached over and slipped it gently from my grasp. The grin returned to my face as he studied the exhausted drawing of the body of two heads.