Conundrum (Chapter 2 – The girl in the attic)

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The Detective didn’t know what was happening. He was scared and confused.

“You look like a person I can trust; I think Doctor Firoz was wrong about you; he said you were pretty hideous but, what choice do I have. Well, I can’t let my sister be accused of something she didn’t do,” She said.

The Detective gulped and stayed tied to his seat, all frozen, “What do you mean, Angelyn? You are scaring me now. Normally I am not frightened, but you make me feel terrified. I don’t understand.” The Detective said, almost shivering.

“I am Angelyn’s twin sister; well, I ‘was.’ I was born with rare heart disease; even when the doctors said it would heal as I grow up, my daddy disagreed. He gave up on me so easily. He didn’t even let mommy know that I was alive. Instead, he lied. He lied I was born dead. He didn’t even let her see me. That night when mommy slept holding on to Angelyn, daddy carried me in a bassinet and left me in front of someone’s doorstep not so far from the hospital. I cried as loud as I could. He didn’t even turn back to look at me one last time. Nobody opened the door until the next morning. I was cold and frozen; I thought I would die. But I didn’t.” The new Angelyn sighed and continued, 

“The family accepted me with their whole heart. Mother and father were nice. They took care of me like I was their child. My parents realized I had some trouble with my heart when I was two. I was running behind mother, and I fainted. They were scared and rushed me to the hospital. By that time, my heart was weak. I was unable to breathe normally. The doctors asked to start treatment for it could save me. Father and mother tried everything; they spend their last penny on my treatment. When they couldn’t handle it anymore, they decided to abandon me. I still remember that day. Mother took me to the attic. I could see tears rolling down her cheek. She handed me a lollipop and made me lie on my cradle. She looked me in my eyes and said, ‘Mommy loves you, Cathy.’ and placed a kiss on my forehead. She stayed with me until I fell asleep. 

She closed the attic’s door behind her and left the house with their things packed and never returned. I died there when I was three, hungry, scared, and alone.” Tears rolled down Cathy’s cheeks. The Detective, who was frightened, felt empathy; he didn’t know what to say. He slowly patted Cathy’s shoulder. “I am sorry, Cathy, I am sorry that you had to go through all that.”

“Detective, let me take you there.”

Before he could respond, he was in a small dark place. As he explored the place, he found an empty cradle. He walked forward to have a closer look, “That’s where I lay. There were no remains of me. I guess some insects might have consumed me.” 

He heard some footsteps behind them. As he turned, he saw a little girl searching for something.

“That’s Kelly,” said Cathy. 

“Her family brought this house from the landlords years after my death. They didn’t know anything about me. Kelly was my only friend. She would often come to the attic, and we would spend time playing the tea party and hiding and seeking. Whenever she talked about me to her parents, they used to say I was her imaginary friend. So they simply called me ‘the girl in the attic .'”

Now they were back in the car again. She continued,

“It was Kelly’s 9th birthday. I was excited to meet her best friend she always talked about- Angelyn. As soon as she stepped into that attic to hide, I knew it was her; I knew she was my sister. Cathy introduced me to her, but I didn’t want to scare her, so I played along. That’s when I saw her moving towards the phone, ‘I should probably call my dad. He might be waiting for my call now.’ As soon as I heard she was going to call dad, I got furious; the anger that I buried inside me for years was unleashed. I asked Angelyn, ‘I need a favor from you.’

‘What is it, Cathy?’

‘I need you to let me in.’

‘I don’t understand.’

‘It’s just a game, Angelyn. Trust me. Just hold my hands and say, ‘I let you in.”

‘Okay, Cathy, I let you in.’

With her permission, I was inside her. Now I could use her for anything I wanted. As soon as I got there to call dad, I saw the phone already ringing. It was my mommy. I answered, saying I was Kelly. I came to know that Daddy was coming to pick Angelyn. All the anger inside of me grew, and I couldn’t control it. If he had never given up on me, I could have been alive. I could have been a sister, a daughter, and a friend and not an imaginary friend like ‘the girl in the attic.’ As he arrived, I didn’t waste my time convincing him to make me stay. I said bye to Kelly and hopped into the car. I stared at the man as he drove the car. I had all the tortures planned for him, but I wanted to know if he ever could love me.”

Now the Detective was inside a car. He saw a little girl sitting in the front seat while a man drove the car.

The little girl asked, “Daddy, do you love me?”

“Of course, my baby. I love you.”

“Daddy, would you love me if I had some disease or I was dying.”

“What are you saying, baby. I would have loved you, no matter what.”

“Then why did you have to abandon me?”

“Why would you say that I would never…” He couldn’t speak; he stared back at the little girl who sat beside him, “Why did you abandon me at that old house, daddy?” Now the little girl turned pale and dead. 

The man got terrified, and he ignored the road while a Food truck which came in the opposite direction collided with his car. Detective noticed that the little girl was calm now. A cloud of black smoke that surrounded the car carried the little girl away from the car. The man who was trapped inside the car screamed in pain; as he closed his eyes for the one last time, he held the little girl’s hands and cried, “I am sorry.”

“That’s all I wanted to hear, Detective. When he said he was sorry, it was too late. I wanted to kill him, but it was my anger that made me feel like that. Honestly, I didn’t want to. I regret scaring him. All I wanted was to be with them, like a family. I was sad that I didn’t talk for one whole year. I was scared to speak with mommy. I was afraid that I might end up hurting or killing her too. That’s when Mommy took us to Doctor Firoz; even though Angelyn saw her father die, I was also traumatized by the whole incident. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I decided to communicate with the Doctor. I narrated my story to the Doctor; at first, he didn’t believe me. He thought I was Angelyn’s split personality. I had to make him believe. One day when our mommy took us to the Doctor, he asked,

‘Don’t get me wrong, Mrs. Lionel, I need to ask you something about Angelyn.’

‘What is it, Doctor?’

‘Did Angelyn have a sister?’

Mommy was silent for a few seconds, ‘Yes, Doctor, in fact, a twin, but she was born dead. I didn’t even get to say goodbye.’ 

‘I am so sorry, Mrs. Lionel. Does Angelyn know about her sister,’

‘No, she doesn’t. We decided not to tell her. Why? Did she mention anything about that during treatment.’

‘No, it’s for knowing her history. Not important.’

That’s when the Doctor believed me. Even though he was scared to be around me initially, he realized I needed help as much as she did. I was so scared that Angelyn will find out about this someday, and she will be scared, but the Doctor helped me control myself in her in a way that will make her dominant. When I said Kelly was our best friend, as a favor, he said to our mommy that Kelly was a good influence to bring Angelyn back from the trauma. So, Kelly started to visit us. Slowly and slowly, I let Angelyn take up my place. She doesn’t know I exist within her. Kelly forgot Cathy as she grew up, but I was always with them. It didn’t matter whether they knew me or not; all that mattered was I was with them.”

Detective remembered what the Doctor said to him when he visited him the first time. When he assured him by saying, ‘Angelyn wouldn’t do this even in her unconscious mind,’ he meant both Angelyn and Cathy.

“So why are you back again, Cathy?”

“Why am I back? Well, for one, my best friend was murdered on the night she was about to say some shocking facts about my sister’s fiance, and I can’t stay silent when you suspect my sister when she doesn’t even know what happened that night.”

“But you said you let Angelyn in charge.”

“My sister sleeps anywhere she wants and can wake up as per her choice, but I don’t… when she sleeps, I take over. She was sleepy when Kelly called that night. I heard her saying there was something not right about Arthur within the murmurs, and honestly, I don’t even know what Angelyn sees in that guy. I knew it would be harmful to Angelyn to meet Kelly as Angelyn. So I decided to go. When I reached there, She was dead, and that man was standing right beside her. I saw Kelly’s soul trying to communicate, but I was forced to go when Angelyn woke up. She didn’t understand what was happening. That’s when she saw Arthur and Kelly. She was smart enough to call the police then, 

‘What have you done to her, Arthur?’ She shouted, ‘Arthur, for some reason, was quiet. He was soaked in blood. He just stood there smiling, and you know the rest of the story. Since he hasn’t said anything you suspect my sister. I understand that you need evidence.”

The Detective was confused, “If you are a ghost and you can communicate with me, why can’t Kelly communicate herself?”

“Kelly was murdered as an adult. I died as a baby, and even if I am a ghost, I can only possess my blood. If the adults could turn to ghosts and communicate to whoever they wanted, this world would have turned into a war field detective. They get angry and aggressive. So they are just spirits. If their purpose is over, they would be led to the light, and they would be in a better place.”

“So why are you still here?”

“That my Detective is another mystery to solve. I never got to see the light. When I spoke with the Doc, he said solving this mystery might lead me to the light. I want to find out why that bastard killed my best friend. I tell you, Detective; Ghosts are way better than humans. they are humane than most humans.” The Detective nodded in approval.

“So what are we going to do about Arthur?”

“I need you to take me to the place where Kelly was murdered. I am sure that she is there. She will help me know what she wanted to say about Arthur. Then you will have evidence to get him charged with murder.”

Detective nodded, “What if Angelyn wakes up in this process?”

“That’s one of my nightmares. I can handle it for some time. The Doctor taught me how to control it. So let’s hope she doesn’t wake up now.”

The Detective missed a road hump, and the car skidded; he lost control. Somehow he managed to gain back control and stopped the car safely.

“That was a close one. Are you alright, Cathy?”

“Cathy, who?” said Angelyn with her sleepy yawning eyes.

(To be continued…)

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