By the time I stumbled back to my car, it was dark. That meant I had been out of my senses, lying amidst the trees in that lonely thicket for hours.
I felt disoriented and scared. A kind of panic had begun to set in on me. Because in my heart-of-hearts, I now knew the truth.
I had killed my parents.
That also meant I had killed that man last night.
As I started up my car, I was stuck with the realisation, I was a murderer.
But they can never prove it, a voice inside me said.
How does that matter? You are dangerous. You should be tested, you should be isolated from normal people, another voice said.
I took a deep breath. The second voice made sense. It was the voice of the part of me that was sane. If there was such a part. I needed to turn myself in. But before that, I needed some answers.
I drove straight home. My aunt was cooking. My stomach lurched. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat.
She seemed relieved to see me. ‘Sit down’, she said firmly. ‘I made soup.’
‘No’. I said adamantly. ‘I’m not hungry Aunt Emma, I need some answers.’
My aunt looked up expectantly. But did I see a flicker of emotion pass through her?
‘I need to know what happened to my parents. I never asked and you never told me. Nobody did. How did they die?’
My aunt looked hurt, as though the entire world she had created for us had suddenly crashed down around her. And it had.
We both stood silently for a few seconds. Then she sighed and came away from the stove. ‘Sit down’, she insisted. So I sat.
‘It was inexplicable what happened. The cause of death was never determined. It was as if their organs burst to shreds inside them and then ruptured through the skin. There were no wounds from the outside.’
My heart was pounding against my chest now. But I had expected a similar answer. Then I noticed that my aunt was looking at me strangely. It was as if she knew.
‘There is more’, my aunt continued reluctantly. ‘When your father was a toddler, his family was vacationing in the winters when your grandparents died mysteriously. Well apparently, there was a fire and someone close by saved your father but later on, it was discovered that your grandparents were dead before the fire reached them. They were covered in blood.’ She concluded.
My own blood was cold by this time. I looked down and saw that I had goose bumps. I looked up and there it was; behind my aunt- the apparition or whatever of my dad’s toddler. I could tell from its expression, that I knew what it knew now.
And that was what it had wanted me to know.
‘Help me’, it had said to me last night. And then somebody had died. An innocent man who happened to be nearby. Somebody who had nothing to do with this strange curse that my father had passed on to me. Who knows how he had got it? Had it been passed down through generations? But I had never dug up my family history. Hadn’t anyone else?
I focused back into the room. The apparition was gone. But my aunt was still there, surveying me in bewilderment.
And that was when I realised.
‘You need to leave!’ I told her.
‘What is it?’, she asked, frightened.
‘You need to leave this house now aunt Emma! Get as far away as possible.’
‘But…I am not leaving you alone!’ she insisted.
‘Don’t argue with me aunt. Please…you need to go.’
She sensed the urgency in my voice. I knew then that she trusted me. She turned to leave but I knew it was too late. I had seen it reflect in her eyes. Seen my demon reflect in her eyes.
‘No!’ I shouted, but it was too late. I leapt towards her but there was furniture in the way. Her back was towards me but she stood still and erect.
And then she began to fall. Like a replay from last night, I watched in horror as her body twisted and turned on its way to the floor. I knew what was happening. I was causing it.
I should have turned away but there was no point now. Her blood was already staining the carpet beneath. Her body had already fallen.
I stood at a distance, surveying the pool of blood accumulate around her. Today I did not faint. I was no longer that person. The truth had transformed me.
I watched as the blood trickled down her legs and softly spread on the surface of the carpet. I knew exactly how that blood felt; what its texture was like, how it smelt. Strangely, this thought now brought a smile to my face. The period of wonderment was over.
But now I knew I had to leave quickly. The thought of turning myself in had vanished in the moments I had spent staring at my dead aunt. There was so much more to the world. And I could be anonymous now.
I could be anyone. A grin tugged the corner of my lips at this thought and warmth spread through my body.