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I was amazed how quickly my dad found a new house for us after he was told where his job was headed. I never really try to understand what anyone want...

PREVIEW: Jack in the Box

September 13, 2018

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Residual Haunting, Part One

Monday, April 23, 2018

I retrieve the evidence from my mother’s murder Christmas Day. A day I’d been expecting to spend visiting my mother and seeing my bratty kid sister and all of us sitting down and having a meal together like a good family should. Instead, I’m picking up a box of items that had been covered in blood or used to help kill my Mom or Julie.

 

Sitting in my Jetta, I feel a tear roll down my cheek as I stare ahead, not bothering to leave from a parked position.

 

From what the dispatch recording sounded like, Julie had called saying someone had stabbed Mom. She’d hung up the phone, despite the dispatchers attempts to keep her on the line. The police officers had arrived on the scene and found a mess. They didn’t go into details as I was still messed up over everything, but Mom must have been working at her sewing table when Julie entered the room.

 

And then stabbed Mom nineteen times with a pair of iron shears. I’d been the one to identify both bodies. The look on Julie’s face was… unnerving. Her face pulled back in a perpetual grin, her eyes wide open… I hadn’t been able to speak at first but had finally rasped out that it was indeed my sister.

 

They were ruling it as a suicide, as they’d found her, dressed in her little blue dress, spread out on the bed with the iron shears shoved through her chest from behind. They think she propped them up and then climbed to the edge of the bed, before falling backwards on them. She hadn’t hit anything vital, so my maniacal little sister got to bleed to death over what the coroner said would have taken an hour, the cold steel growing warm in the pooling blood within her chest.

I’d vomited when he’d told me that, making my way to a trash can.

 

He’d waited, calmly, and asked if I knew if my sister and mother had been fighting. I’d told him no, and asked how sure he was that my sister killed my mother.

 

“All of the stab wounds were made striking down, but don’t go too deep,” the coroner said, walking into his office and away from the… bodies. “We found your mother in her chair in front of a sewing machine, which was still running, so we think she was caught off guard. Most likely the majority of the wounds were post mortem.”

 

I stare at the shears, the rusty iron shears that sit on the table in an evidence bag. They’re about eighteen inches long, used for making dresses. Hell, they’d been used to make my homecoming dress, my prom dress… they were going to be used on my wedding dress, one day. Not now. Now they would be going into the trash.

 

Sitting in my seat, I look over at the cardboard box that holds the goods the police had taken from the scene of the murder; the shears, a doll my sister had been holding, my mother’s cross necklace and diamond stud earrings. A score of other small, trivial things… I slam the lid down on the box and pop my car into reverse, intent on getting home before traffic hits.

 

It’s a long drive from Worley back to Savannah, and I really didn’t feel like thinking along the way, so I popped on the radio and turned it up, drowning out the thoughts welling up in my head as I merge onto the highway.

 

Three hours later I unlock my apartment door and walk in with the box, setting it on the couch before turning to close the door.

 

Which is already closed.

 

Huh.

 

Oh well, the wind must’ve caught it. I take off my shoes and leave them by the door, my Japanese heritage snapping at me for even thinking of walking around in the house with shoes on. Padding into the living room in socks, I drop down onto the couch with the box and turn off the television that was left on. My roommate loves television and watches anime all the time, questioning me on things about shows as if I would have some insight just because I’m Asian.

 

Opening the box I cry a little when I fetch Mom’s necklace and earrings, and when I pulled out the small plastic doll Julie was so fond of. It was a small girl, maybe six inches tall and movable while in her little dress, always ready to strike a pose. I set the doll aside on a small end table and try the necklace, grasping the cold metal cross as it fell to rest between my breasts.

 

“What the…?” I say aloud, feeling that the cross had been bent. Bending it straight once more, I jump a little when the plastic doll falls to the floor, smacking the hardwood floor loud enough to make me shriek a little.

 

“Stupid doll!” I swear, picking it up. I walk over to a nook that my roommate Kelly had, full of figurines and dolls, and shove it right in the middle. “Here, have a new home!”

 

I pad over to the kitchen and open of the fridge, looking for something to eat. I have plenty of choices as Kelly just went on a run it looks like, and settle for a couple peanut butter sandwiches. While I begin making them I turn on the radio and listen to a new song from a band I like, turning it up loud so that I can just get lost in the music.

 

But something strange happens. When I turn up the radio using the dial, the television turns on, the animated adventures of some goofy looking kid on a motorcycle playing across the screen, the volume turned way up. I rush into the living room to the television itself and turn down the volume, before turning off the television manually, seeing as the remote is obviously not trustworthy. I nearly scream as I see in the reflection of the monitor a rough shape sitting on the couch, one that isn’t there when I spin around.

 

Heaving and gasping for air, I hold my chest as I try and slow my heart rate down to acceptable levels. Staring at the couch, I walk over slowly and scoop up the remote, pulling off the back and slipping the batteries out so that it won’t happen again, dropping them in my jean shorts pocket. I walk a few steps away from the television before turning and looking at it again, expecting it to turn on despite the lack of batteries in the remote.

 

I almost laugh to myself.

 

“God I need a beer,” I say to myself, moving back into the kitchen. I pull open the pantry and grab the peanut butter jar and set it on the island in the kitchen next to the fruit bowl atop the cutting board, before turning to find where Kelly stashed the bread.

 

Grabbing the white bread from atop the fridge, I turn and find the peanut butter jar missing, just the butter knife sitting with another one, crossing each other like a miniature x. I pick up the knives and put one up while looking for the peanut butter (which is in the fridge of all places) before making my sandwiches. The music stops and goes to another, slower song, prompting me to reach out with my leg, I hit the radio button with my toe, turning it off, before I push the CD button, flipping in a Nickelback CD that Kelly and I love.

 

“My girlfriends - a dick magnet!” I sing, shaking my hips to the rhythm as I reach up into the cabinet for a plate to hold my sandwiches. I lick my fingers as I pull down a plate, closing the cabinet just as I see a flicker of movement out of the corner of my eye.

 

Looking back at the kitchen island, I see that my sandwiches are gone! Looking around, I see that they’ve been stacked on the floor behind it. Growling, I pick them up and wipe away a stray dust bunny before I bite into one. I let out a little meep as I bite into something sharp, pulling back as

 

I see that my sandwich is full of rusty nails. Blinking, I feel that one has pierced the roof of my mouth, where blood is slowly beginning to pool. Reaching into my mouth, I don’t find a nail, or blood… just saliva. Looking at the sandwich, I just see peanut butter and bread, no nails.

I look up at the ceiling. “I’m getting that beer.”

 

Dropping onto the couch with my beer and sandwiches I moan loudly as I eat the first sandwich in three bites, chewing loudly as I just sit there and listen to the music. I reach over to the dining room table, a low black wood and plastic affair, where I pick up the bottle opener. I move to open the bottle but find the bottle cap gone. Looking around, I see it sitting on the low table at the edge. Did I already open my beer? I take an experimental sip, savoring the malty dark flavor before chugging a few gulps. I come up for air and look at the box beside me, thinking of the other things sitting inside it right now.

 

Like the shears.

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