Conundrum (Chapter 3 – Confronting the Past)

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Angelyn took some time to understand where she was. She stared at the Detective and asked, “Where are you taking me, Detective? I already told you the things I know.”

The Detective realized that Cathy was not there anymore. “Oh my, not now.” He said to himself.

“You don’t understand, Angelyn.”

“Do you care to explain?” Her face turned red with a fretful whimper.

“I am… I was…”

Cathy couldn’t stay silent anymore. Meeting Angelyn was one of her greatest fear. She did know she had to face her sooner or later, but this is too soon. This was not how she imagined meeting her, but if she doesn’t, it will end here. 

“You are here because of me…” said Cathy. Detective and Angelyn looked around the car to see from where the voice has emerged.

Suddenly a voice so faint said, “Look in the mirror.”

The Detective and Angelyn turned their face towards the car’s rearview mirror. Angelyn couldn’t believe what she saw. There sat a little girl in the back seat of the car. Angelyn turned back in surprise, but she couldn’t find the little girl inside the car. She stared back at the mirror again. The faint voice said again, “You won’t find me there, Angelyn. I am a ghost.”

Angelyn didn’t know what was happening. Her aloofness made Cathy feel distant. “There is no such thing as a ghost. Who are you? What do you want from me?”

“I am not here to hurt you. I am your sister, Cathy.”

“I do not have a sister.” Angelyn ranted.

“Hmm… Mommy didn’t tell you because she thought I was born dead.” Cathy tried to stay calm.

“I don’t understand. Please tell me I am dreaming, Detective.” 

“No, you are not. She is right,” said Detective 

Then the Detective said, “Let me take you to the Doctor. If anybody can help you understand the situation, that’s him.”

“Dr. Firoz Ahmed? He thinks I have a sister?”

“He knows much more.” said the reflection in the mirror. 

Detective took them to the clinic. The Doctor was surprised to see him back at his clinic, “Good morning, Detective; what brings you here?”

Then he saw Angelyn coming out of the car. “What happened? Why is she here?”

“Long story short. I know about Cathy, and we have a problem with Angelyn; she is not taking this well.”

The Doctor understood what was going on. He asked them to come in. As she sat on the couch, she said, “Doctor, the detective, and a little girl, probably my hallucination said I have a sister, is that true?”

The Doctor took a deep breath, “Yes.”

Angelyn was silent for some time, “Why didn’t mommy tell me about her?”

The Doctor narrated the whole story to her. Angelyn couldn’t believe that her sister has been with her for years. Everyone around her was lying to her. She felt betrayed.

“Your mother doesn’t know that her husband abandoned their daughter. She didn’t even get to say goodbye to her.”

Angelyn now stood up and moved towards the mirror. She saw the little girl again staring back at her with her tender eyes, “I am sorry, Angelyn. I should have told you before, and trust me, this is not how I planned to tell you but didn’t know any other way to be with my family.”

Angelyn face turned red with anger, “You could have told me before. Now, after all these years… I thought I was crazy for sometime when I blacked out and remembered nothing. You… you made me look like a fool in front of everyone. You made me a suspect in front of the police for my best friend’s murder. It was silly that I didn’t know how I got there. It was always you who put me in trouble. I wish you stay dead and never came back. If you had stayed dead, Daddy would have still been alive. I am sorry. I need to go home. I can’t help a murderer.”

“But I… .”

“Please, I need some time. This changes everything… I need to go home. Detective, please take me back home.”

Cathy’s worst fear has come true. Her sister rejected her, and now she can’t save Angelyn or her best friend. “See, Doctor, I hurt everyone I love. It was better if I had stayed silent.” She said as she saw the Detective helplessly following Angelyn towards the car. 

“Cathy, give her some time. She needs time to comprehend everything. She will come around.”

Cathy sighed and disappeared from the mirror. “I am never going to the light, I guess,” Cathy said to herself and sighed.

Now the Detective was in the car with Angelyn, “Angelyn, you need to help Cathy, at least think about your best friend, Kelly. Cathy says she can help me get evidence to prove Arthur is the killer.”

Angelyn said nothing for some time.

“Tell me, Detective. Would you be aright if you come to know that you were possessed by a ghost, for god knows how many years, who used you and made you a fool in front of others while you blacked out and missed everything? Do you know how it feels? Do you know how it feels to be lied to? Every damn time that happened, everyone called me a liar. Look where that bought me, a suspect of my best friend’s murder. I want to help Kelly, but I need some time.”

The Detective didn’t try to convince her again. He dropped her home as she got off the car; he said, “Cathy is not a murderer. She just wanted to confront her father, but things got messy…” Angelyn nodded her head and went inside. When Mrs. Lionel saw her at home, she inquired, “You didn’t go to work today, Angelyn?”

“Change of plans, Mommy.” She knew something was bothering her daughter, but she didn’t interfere. Angelyn was not a little girl now. If she wants to share something with her mother, she would tell her when she is ready. 

Angelyn went to her room, stared at the photograph taken on Kelly’s 9th birthday. She tried to remember the face she saw in the reflection. Yes, it did look like her- a three-year-old version of this nine-year-old girl. She sighed and laid down on her bed. “Kelly, I am sorry.”

She slowly drifted to sleep. She was in a beautiful dream. Kelly and Angelyn were playing Hide and seek. She saw a familiar little girl; Kelly introduced her, “Angelyn, this is Cathy.” The little girl stared at her for a very long time smiling. Suddenly the old memories started to rush in. she remembered how she gave her permission. She knew a part of her always knew Cathy’s existence but ignored it. 

Suddenly the memories faded and she was in a dark room. She saw a girl in the corner of the room. The place looked familiar, but she couldn’t remember where it was. She called out Kelly’s name. Nobody responded. She moved forward and patted on the girl’s shoulder. The girl, with her bloody face, raised her face, placed her two palms on Angelyn’s face, and cried, “Help me!” Angelyn screamed in fear. “You are not Kelly,” Angelyn called out Kelly’s name again. This time Kelly came, “Save us, Angelyn, before it’s too late.” 

“Us?” Angelyn asked, surprised. “Save us,” said Kelly again.

Angelyn woke up from her sleep. It was not just Kelly who needed her help. There were more. She tried to remember the other girl she saw in her dream. Even though the girl looked familiar, she couldn’t remember where she saw her. She gave up. 

She decided to put some things from the past in the dustbin. First, she decided to delete her photographs with Arthur. So she started to scroll down her phone; she pressed her finger on the photographs and tried to view them again for the one last time. Her eyes suddenly lightened up when she came across a photograph. It was taken at Arthur’s house. The darkroom she saw in her dream the previous night looked similar to Arthur’s living room. She also noticed the photograph hanging on the wall behind them in the photograph, “Yes, I knew I had seen her somewhere.” It was the girl she saw in her dream the other night.

It was a photograph of the girl; when Angelyn had asked him who she was, Arthur said it was his sister, little Kiara Vinson, but she looked nothing like him. He didn’t show her any pictures of his parents. She didn’t feel like asking him, for he had already said how he lost his parents in a tragic accident. Going back to the memories, she realized that she was blinded by love. She didn’t even doubt him for a minute. “I can’t believe I trusted that man.” 

She searched Kiara Vinson on her Facebook and found a profile with a couple’s photograph. She saw how the groom looked very familiar. She zoomed in and found it was actually Arthur with his hair colored in blonde and his eyes very blue. He looked very different. He was not tagged in the picture. She remembered what he said about social networking sites when they first met, “I don’t use this kind of stuff. What I am looking for is a real connection, not ‘pretentious friendships’ “

“Damn it!” Angelyn raved and punched the table.

“Who is Arthur?!” Angelyn asked as she looked into the mirror.

(To be continued…)

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