Mother's Escape

Just a story I wrote for a horror assignment. Not so much horror as sad.

Chapter 1

Goodbye

They told me she was dead, when they dragged me out of the house. They said, in fake-gentle tones, that she had had a disease, not one in her body, but her mind. They told me that she had wanted to escape. But she didn't escape, she wasn't sick, she was just dead. I knew she was dead.

The visitors kept coming, kept bringing their casseroles and condolences, like that traditional combination could make everything better. They never said "suicide". They never said "dead". They barely mentioned her, really, just told me they were sorry for my loss.

The dog and I curled up on her bed that night. We wrapped ourselves up in her soft blankets, laid our heads on her pillows, and pretended that it was close enough to her, that we were with her again. I kept waiting for her ghost, but she didn't show. She hasn't shown up yet, but I'm still waiting. She wouldn't make heaven, not that girl, and if she was going to haunt someone, it would be me.

It's been a year, but I still avoid windows and mirrors. Her ghost sometimes appears when I least expect it; on those mirrors in grocery stores, in glass that I thought was an open door. I've covered all the glass in her room, not wanting to see my reflection when I wake. I avoid my bedroom door, as well.

Finally, tonight around three, I realize that I have to go in there. Someone has to clean up; it's probably dusty and starting to smell. I don't bother putting on my robe, just pad down the hall to my room. I twist open the handle with no resistance; begin to push on the door when the handle falls out of my hand to the floor. The paramedics had broken it last year.

An icy draft pushes through the hole it leaves behind. I use my shoulder to shove the door open; it screams on the hinges and shudders. The blast of chill almost scares me away, but I steel myself to do this. I have to do this. So I turn on the flickering light.

The room is almost exactly as I left it that morning. My clothing is still lying strewn over my floor; my closet door is still ajar. It is filled with clothes I have not seen since that morning, now covered in cobwebs and dust. My window is still open, and the cold night air filling the room. The blood on the floor is burgundy old, and it brings me to my knees.

Footprints and wheel tracks crisscross the floor, from where desperate paramedics tried to save her life. A single razor blade lies three feet away from me, its edge crusted with blood and pain. I reach up; turn off the light.

There is no one to drag from the house, anymore. No one to tell that I am dead. No one to send casseroles, to avoid the word "suicide" or "death" in conversation with, to tell that you are sorry. So I reach out, grasp this little gift that she left me, this final piece of her. I reach into my pajama pocket, pull out a small possession that I refuse to let go.

I look directly at her sweet, aging face, as I grasp a crusted, dull blade. A quick stroke along the inside of my wrist brings just a superficial white line of pain. I drag the razor deeper, and add my fresh blood to her dry. Drag it deeper; carve a deliberate line. Drag it deeper, so deep that the pain crushes the little compact. Drag it deeper, and look down at my last chance to be with her.

I lay down in that icy room, my smile fractured in a splintered, tiny mirror. They won't find me for a while, I doubt. No one to miss me, really. The dog will find a way out. The last of us three to escape.

And finally, her ghost comes.

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