I noticed the untitled document sitting on my screen at quarter to 12 last night.
I wondered briefly what it may be doing there
and why I had created it
Why I left it alone on my screen
I was tired, however
It had been a long day
I was ready to leave the document untouched for a while longer until the morning
But my hand swayed toward the icon
on the unopened document
The light from the blank page stung my eyes
and I wondered still
for what reason
I had created the document
Was it for a note I was going to make to myself
Or perhaps a place to document another idea for a story
Or maybe it had always been there
I stared at the page for a long time
not turning my gaze away from the Untitled Document for a minute
Not wasting a minute to discover why it was created
And as I stared, the light began to change and I saw everything
I saw letters floating around the page
and so many things
but never the answer
to why it sat alone
on my computer
When my aunt first moved into my house, I thought everything would be alright. She was nice, I guess; I mean, I never got to know her very well, and I thought this would be a good way to connect with her.
Before she came, though, my mom started acting really weird-- she would stay up all night pacing around the kitchen. And she just kept baking pies. I know that she would bake when she was nervous, but this was, like, constantly-- at least 10 pies a night. Cherry, apple, walnut, pumpkin, pecan. Anything you could think of. I mean I knew that it would be hard having her husband’s flighty sister stay in her home office on a futon, but I didn’t think it would be this hard on her. Believe me, pies were a big deal around this house. I didn’t even want to think about what she would be like when Joan was actually here.
And when she actually got here, it was just as I expected: the obvious avoiding... the false, empty smiles... the harsh whispering between me and my parents that would abruptly stop when Joan walked in.
I felt bad that we were basically ostracizing her to her little bedroom. So I took it upon myself to go and talk to her a few days after she was all settled in.
I went up and knocked on the door that was usually my mom's home office and it creaked open, clearly unlocked.
“Oh, sorry, Aunt Joan. Um... can I come in?”
She quickly responded: “Yeah, one sec, Georgia.” I heard rustling from behind the door; I guessed she was throwing her suitcase under her bed or something. “Alright, Hon, come in.”
It was kind of weird being invited into a room in my own house, but I mean, whatever. So I walked in, and that’s when things started getting really weird. There was this massive doll just, sitting there on the dresser. I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it in any other situation, but this time I was taken aback by it-- because it was an exact replica of my mother.
Well, at first glance it was my mother. But the more I looked at it, I realised it didn’t look like her at all-- at least not real life her. This doll was my mother as a completely flawless being, completed with high cheekbones (as opposed to my mothers rounder ones), neatly combed and dark flowing hair (she usually just wore it up in a big clip), dark, almost black, brooding glass eyes (my mom's were more of a hazel) and plump, painted red lips (mom never wore makeup). Now I’m not saying that my mom isn’t as good looking as this doll, but man, there was just something captivating about it.
Joan noticed me staring.
“Oh, don’t mind her,” she laughed. I laughed too, wondering if I should ask why the doll looked so much like an apparition of my mother. But I didn’t, I just kept quiet. “So, what are you up to right now? Just snooping around?” she continued.
“Oh, no, I just wanted to make sure you had settled in okay over the past couple of days. Nothing really important.” Until I walked in, that is. I so wanted to ask about the doll; just, like, its name or something. I needed to ask some unsuspicious question to get more information. “So you’re okay, then?” I finished awkwardly, electing to drop the subject of the doll.
“Yes, yes, just fine. Did you enjoy dinner last night?” she asked, seeming to want to keep the conversation going.
“Oh, yeah, no, it was really good! Was that Grandma’s recipe?” I remembered the warm, hearty taste of the mince pies she had made us and secretly wished she was cooking again tonight.
“Who other’s could it be?” She laughed loudly, and I copied, although I didn’t find it that funny, but I didn’t want to be rude. Joan seemed to laugh after a lot of things she said. “So you really don’t need anything?”
I scratched the back of my neck looking quickly back at the doll, then back at her as I responded: “No, yeah, just checking up on you. Let me know if you need anything, ‘kay?”
She nodded slowly. “You’ve got my word.”
I turned around to walk out and go to my when suddenly I felt a cold, bony hand grip my upper arm.
“Where are you going? I wasn’t done catching up.”
It wasn’t until Miss Sheffield had already let her hands fall from Cyrus’s neck that she had fully grasped what she had done. Never had there been a more proud woman than she, and never had there been a more shocked woman.
These mixed emotions stirred around in Miss Sheffield's heart, surfacing and dying down again, recollecting and then leaving.
This strength and dominance that Miss Sheffield never before knew she possessed overwhelmed her, and a faint giggle of delight interrupted the silence of the room.
Miss Sheffield was a small girl of the age 15, maintaining a strict posture despite the frailty of her bones. Dirty blonde hair, earlier held back in a tidy knot, now draped her face in wisps, almost appearing to look like cobwebs in the faint candlelight.
And her smile; oh, her smile could make the world’s plights seem like an insignificant worriment. There is truly something spectacular in the innocent smile of a young person. There is pure alleviation and joy in the smile of this virtuous soul. And in Miss Sheffield’s smile, there seemed to be the answer to everything good in Life.
And so when Cyrus, her beloved betrothed, told her that hers was one that could make the dead walk again, she wanted to know if this was true.
Last time you spoke to me, my love, it was two winters past.
You held me to your bedside with an unyielding grasp
You watched me with your close eyes, rendering me immobile
And you turned my heart to stone, my love, more and more every night.
Selfishly I used to wish every day would be your last.
One night, I thought that your light had finally dimmed
But I was wrong, my love, and when I awoke the next day, you were still with your body
All I wanted was to watch your weak ember surrender
All I wanted was for you to finally die
And I was going to help you do so
It was strange, my love, when you spoke for the first time in days
For the only words you spoke were of joy
Did you even realize, my love, that I have never felt joy?
That you kept me from this feeling of bliss?
And so I was ready for you to have no joy
And after I had finally made you leave, my love
Nothing but a smoldering fire provided light in your gray room.
My last memory is of my shoes. My favorite pair of white and yellow striped keds, spattered in spots of blood here and there from the gunshot in my chest.
It hurt like hell, but I wouldn’t say it was too intolerable.
I did cry though. I spent a pretty good deal of money to buy those shoes. I was pretty disappointed that I would never get those stains out.
And so that was what my death felt like. I felt like that was really the only significant thing about it. Well, that and the date-- August 23th, 1993, 12:03 a.m. I thought it was interesting that everything ended in a 3.
See, Ironic stuff always happened to me. Hearing the exact song on the radio I was thinking about. Seeing a word I had just learned everywhere the next day. Meeting someone with the same name as me-- Lisa, by the way (sorry I didn’t tell you sooner-- it slipped my mind).
But nothing ever happened that had anything to do with time. Time seemed to not like me very much. It always seemed to be against me. And it still is, even in my death-- time has let memories of me and my story wash away.
Basically all I’ve become since my funeral is a “popular teenage girl with an untimely death.” Then a newspaper article. And then a campfire story brought up every three years or so, if I’m lucky.
I guess that’s why I’m finally coming back.
Look. If you wanna know the truth... I was actually killed on a dare... dared by me.
See, in a book, me, my killer (Sophie), and our one other friend Ashley read that if you perform this one crazy voodoo ritual, you could come back to life and live forever and rule the world and shit. So I dared Sophie to shoot me with my dad’s gun.
I guess it was a pretty rash decision. But of course, at the time, I thought we would be coming back right away.
I made sure that Sophie was going to kill herself afterwards, first, of course, or else it wouldn’t work. There had to be two deaths, or something. I don’t know. The wording was weird. So she did-- shot herself right in the temple.
And Ashley did the rest of the ritual, with the weird-ass chants and the smelly herbs and everything. And nothing happened. Right away, nothing happened, that is.
I was buried, and since then, everything has been black.
It’s been 5 years now... And I think its starting finally. Yesterday, I felt my fingertips again. I couldn’t see them, but I could feel them, feel the cotton sheet under my body, the moist air, the wood of the coffin that surrounded me.
It’s been a week since I felt my fingertips. Today, I moved my arms and my legs. Geez, I can’t wait for the day when I can bust my ass out of here.
A month since I moved my arms and legs. Today, I heard for the first time in 5 years. I heard Ashley’s voice, muffled somewhat from the six feet of packed dirt and grass and shit, but it was Ashley’s voice.
“Lisa. Holy shit, Lisa. Jesus. You screwed up... my entire life. Both of you bitches. Your stupid ass couldn’t read the whole damn passage of the book could you. You just couldn’t do it.”
I hear her continuing on, but I block her out as I rack my brain for the memory of that book. Hard. Like, the hardest I have ever in my life... or whatever you want to call it. And then the images floated into my mind, of the yellowed pages, the messy typewriter text, the images explaining how these rituals are supposed to work. And then the one line from the middle of the passage came to mind.
The deceased shall be the ruler of their death, body, and grave. And nowhere on that damned page did it speak of life after death. No where did it hint at a redemption. Of a throne.
It spoke of ruling your own damn little box.
And so I felt my fingertips, and so I felt my toes, and so I felt my stomach growling in hunger, and so I felt my throat, dry and coarse from years of decay and damp air. And I felt my arms, and my legs. And I felt my mind. And I felt my agony. And I felt my screams rising out of my chest, never to be heard for the rest of eternity, muffled under the six feet of goddamn earth.