(shall edit and upload this properly in the future)
There were once two sisters with delightful curled black hair. One was named Rebecca, and the other was Jacqueline. Both were raised by their traditionalist mother and father, who insisted they wore what their idea of prim and proper ladies clothes, adorned with rose scented bows, and stayed very rational in their intentions, which they did... up until the unfortunate night of the accident. As is the stereotypical issue with all siblings, Rebecca was the sweet, flower picking, book reading child, who adored spending time with her mother and father and therefore earned the higher opinion from them than Jacqueline.
Jacqueline condemned herself to distrust as she was the more aggressive and mentally disturbed of the two, which the parents stubbornly refused to acknowledge might have been due to lecherous relatives. Doctors often apportioned her night terrors and violent mood swings to a genetic disorder. Neither of the siblings made and kept many friends, as the mother and father were too conservative and strict to have 'reckless acquaintances' visiting and spoiling the home that they took such a pride in.
In short, the two girls were extremely lonely.
On a usual day you might find the mother doing daily chores and the two girls at school, while the father worked at the local bank. However, he was present on the day of the accident, which happened on a Sunday - a peaceful day that you would most likely find a normal family spending time together. Jacqueline in particular, at this point in her life, spent most of her time alone. Rebecca would while away an hour or two speaking with her mother and father daily, while Jacqueline spent her time in her room. What her mother and father failed to notice in their own fearful ignorance of this child is that she was much more special than they could have ever imagined. For she had the ability to travel out of her physical body, at night when she was sleeping... and it was this particular talent that led to their unfortunate demise.
On the night of Sunday 13th October, 1951, two days before the twins' eighteenth birthday, Jacqueline and Rebecca Lovelady prepared to go to bed. They shared rooms next to each other with an adjoining door, as both girls refused to share a room with each other since they began sleeping in beds. Jacqueline said her nightly prayers as her mother's eyes burned into her back, ensuring she did, and put herself bed. Silently she wished for a friend to talk to other than her dolls.
Looking out of the window next to her bed, Jacqueline began to slowly fade in and out of sleep as her eyes grew heavy. The garden below was empty and dark, with only moonlight creating long shadows from the trees. The autumn breeze caused the branches to rap loudly against her window, startling her out of dozing. As her eyes were open, she was already transfixed on something that set her heart racing. A long dark figure, with outstretched hands, and poised as if he was curtsying, in the shadow of the trees. A thick mist had set over the garden. Jacqueline looked away and rubbed her eyes to check she wasn't dreaming, but it had gone. She lit a match and set alight the candle on her bedside table. She even thought of calling mother, but knew it would be too easy a reason for mother to send her to the institution she had heard her and father talking about in hushed voices. Sighing, as she checked every silhouette in the garden, and concluded her mind must have been playing tricks on her.
"Good, evening, Jacqueline.
I heard you calling for a friend. Here I am."
The pure shock of hearing the deep voice close to her ear stunned Jacqueline into silence. It took her a few seconds to gather the courage to face the other way. The more visible appearance of the silhouette, who was now sat in the rocking chair facing her bed, was sinister up close indeed. Obscured by shadow, bar a few brilliant red patterns decorating his face, illuminated by the flame. But his voice held an unusually calming quality.
Finding her tongue, Jacqueline immediately sat upright.
"But... I wished for that... in my mind? How could you hear me?" Jacqueline gasped.
"I have a way of hearing the most unique and wonderful of human... I mean, individuals" the creature said, putting one leg over the other and resting his arms on them. He rocked back and forth in this surreally casual way, and it almost made Jacqueline laugh. There was a slight difference in the hue of the room, she noticed, it had an eerie blue tint to it, as did the light from the candle.
"And why, my dear, if it is a friend you want, it is a friend you shall have. I can offer you such services, but.. you must first do a favour for me"
"And what would that be?" Jacqueline asked in return, tentatively. His ominous appearance put Jacqueline on her guard even though she felt more inclined to trust him with his charming and friendly demeanour.
"Just for you to, simply... come and walk with me!" The ghoul said, rising, and theatrically extending his obsidian arm to Jacqueline and outstretching his talon garnished fingers. Jacqueline felt a hint of doubt twinging at her stomach.
"Just a walk? Why something so insignificant?" she asked.
"Perhaps it is to you, my dear, but I feel sharing even a short journey to somewhere one does not know the way, is quite a precious favour indeed... in terms of friendship. It requires more trust than one might realise. It is far easier to get lost here than you might think"
Jacqueline half smiled as she went over it in her mind.
'You got what you wished for... what is the worst that could happen? He promised to find you a friend... and what hope is there you'll find one at home?', said the voice inside her head. She agreed with it. Jacqueline climbed out of her bed, shivering in her nightgown, took the candle with one hand, and the radiating hand of the creature with the other.
"But first, may I ask... where is here?", Jacqueline probed, as he led her down the stairs to the front porch.
"Here? This is your house! Surely you know your own home" the creature exclaimed with a laugh.
"No. I know this physically is quite the same as my own home... but it feels different. I couldn't hear Rebecca snoring through the wall. We must be somewhere else."
"Astute one, aren't you? This is a plane for those who can walk in dreams. The enlightened. Perfectly safe. You will find many friends here, if you look carefully enough", the creature reassured.
Opening the front door, he gestured for Jacqueline to exit first and took her hand again. She followed his lead into the endless mist surrounding the outside of the house.
With each step that she took further away from the house, a feeling of sickness in Jacqueline became more and more overwhelming. The heat from the hand she was holding worsened violently as they moved further into the thick cloudy fog until it began to feel like she was holding a searing hot pipe.
"I'm not sure I can do this!" Jacqueline cried at the entity clutching her wrist, dragging her forward into the mist. The demon looked back at her, but this time with a wicked glint in his eye, and his smile widened inhumanly.
"Oh but you must, Jacqueline! Then we can talk and play forever! Such good friends we will be!" he trailed off into a chorus of bellowing laughter which echoed into the surrounding nothing. Jacqueline, gasping in panic, fear and pain, ripped her hand away from the demon's iron grip. He turned around as she did so, and glared with blazing fire-like eyes. Jacqueline wasted no time to escape the fury that was about to rip her to shreds and fled into the mist as fast as her flimsy legs could carry her.
Jacqueline realised as she ran, she had already been lost from the moment she left the house. She screamed in a frustrated rage at her stupidity, and for ignoring how her mother had always told her never to trust strangers.
Somewhere, the entity roared with laughter, made vows to find her again for lunch... then vanished. Jacqueline was alone, in the sea of pale grey, without any idea of how to find her way back home.
Back at the home of the Loveladys', a girl rose from her bed.
It was 1:58 pm, and she had been sleeping all day. But Jacqueline wasn't there.
The hollow shell dressed itself in its Sunday best; a sweet white dress with frills and bows, and spritzed on some floral perfume before taking itself into the study, where the father kept his guns.
It sat down at the desk, loaded the shotgun, cleaned the end with a cloth and began the journey to the living room where her family were about to die. The distant whistling of the father as he read the newspaper, and the slow tick of the grandfather clock, accompanied Jacqueline's near silent footsteps.
The family barely noticed her absence as she spent so much time alone.
In fact, the mother is so surprised, she starts from her ironing, seeing her daughter finally coming out to socialise without provocation.
The smile suddenly fell at the blank, dead look in the daughter's eyes, and the shotgun directed at her chest. There was a tremendous crash as a round was fired. The impact sent the mother flying backwards into the mantelpiece and the photo frames, shattering them. Her pearl necklace broke and scattered about the floor, trailing red. The scream from Rebecca accompanied the shower of falling shards as she returned from the kitchen. A tray of fairy cakes fell from her hands, down in the growing pool of blood from the gaping wound. She flung herself onto the couch to avoid the shot which splintered the door frame instead of her ribcage. Paralysed as her eyes met with her mother's face, half buried in the blood drenched rug, Rebecca found herself unable to move.
Another spatter covered Jacqueline's dress and her neat cream lace up boots.
The father, who had walked out as Jacqueline walked in, returned to the living room. Still holding the newspaper in his hands, he began to inquire about the noise.
"Jacqueline, again! What have I said about using the guns for killing spiders?!"
His voice fell as he looked up from the newspaper. The gun was not directed at the floor or the ceiling, but the centre of his chest. The wind was knocked out of him and the damask wallpaper behind him ran deep scarlet. Jacqueline's face was sprayed, and blood dripped into the creases of her blank smile. After carefully moving the bodies and sitting them upright on the couch, the shell turned the gun on itself.
Later that evening, a neighbour who had come over to deliver some cards and gifts for the twins' birthday and saw through the window, the corpses sat together, mouths eerily fixed into smiles.
There was much confusion at how the doors and windows had all been locked from the inside, leaving only Jacqueline as the sole murderer. Given that she had shot herself in the head and her corpse was placed next to her family... but somehow also had used her own blood and pieces of her own brain to spell "quality time" on her bedroom wall.
While the police were looking through evidence, one found an entry in the mother's diary which had been left out on the side. The end of it read, 'I wish for one day where we can all be a family again'. The policeman looked over at the bodies sat smiling with their wounds still glistening, and shook his head.
Before he turned back, he could have sworn one of them blinked.
Written by Abigail Lewis
Copyright July 2014 Abigail Lewis