'She was here

She was here

She was here, and she was real. And every bit of him lit up like an alleyway in the night. Bright lights fired off in his head, their chorus heavenly as the dust from the old streetlamps being blown away so ferociously as they lit up in him so brightly. He found the cacophony in him being slowly tuned, instruments that no longer sounded out of place sounding sweetly as they transformed from wails and howls to a consistent, synchronized hum – for once, the noises were now music. As his lips pushed gently on hers a small tingle crackled ever so lovingly around in his head, and the isolation, the loneliness that had made its home in his body was being suddenly forced out.'

The cascade of clicks and clacks from the machine reverberated softly as Cheryl's fingers moved across the typeface, her face slightly shadowed from the dim light of her lamp. Her cheeks scrunched in effort as she struggled to elicit the correct words needed to facilitate the scenario she was trying desperately to elucidate. The mechanical symphony bounced off the walls as her fingers finally stopped and her room fell into silence again. She slumped back in her chair, her eyes stared at the words on the paper, as if trying to draw some proper meaning from them as she read what she had typed over and over. Letting out a small sigh, her fingers removed the cigarette from her mouth as she quietly blew smoke into the atmosphere. She watched as it wafted, and found herself fascinated at the slow, meticulous movements the lines were making as they tumbled again and again in the air like some drunken fight.

She drew another small drag before placing the cigarette back in the ashtray, and her eyes found themselves once again fixated on the words on the paper, patiently waiting for Cheryl to commence with the world she was trying to weave together. Perhaps it was an effort to please herself, maybe her father, maybe even someone that was dumb enough to believe she had any legitimate credibility as a writer and would find themselves with a slight grin on their face as they read in bewilderment, but Cheryl had found that writing was one of the few key pleasures she had in day to day life. Two years ago, she had many other avenues to find happiness but ever since the time she spent in what she could only describe as 'some freaky hell,' it had left her squeezed of all the happiness and naivete she once strongly clung to. She may have only been a child then, but it was more than enough to force her to adapt more debilitating responsibilities. She found herself saying goodbye to the little girl she knew, and in the process she had aged at least one hundred years. Now, at the tender age of one hundred and nineteen, she found herself depleted of every resource she once looked to and grasping in the proverbial dark for something warm and alive. And in doing so she had found at least one other person that meant anything to her and the possessions of a father that no longer inhabited this earth.

She pondered briefly if this was something else she had inherited from her old man in his passing. After all, writing was only for bored housewives and novelists. She enjoyed reading, and even occasionally flipped a few pages of her dad's works in part amusement and part reverence, but the idea of writing – of pouring her thoughts out on paper was...cliche. The writer's daughter taking up the family business?

"Yeah, right..." Cheryl's words dispersed across the ivory keys and into the dark below, seeking shelter and comfort from such perverse notions. A slight smile tugged at the corner of her lips as she sat in bemusement, wondering what her old man would think at the sight of his little girl picking away at his favorite typewriter. She found herself mouthing sentiments she would have expected. 'I'm proud of you,' 'Here, let me show you some tips.' and her fingers found their way back onto the keys as she continued. Somewhere, off in the distant landscape of her memories, she quietly swore she could hear his voice, bubbling up to the forefront of her mind until the low tone of his voice made an impression and lasted for several minutes. 'That's my girl.' Cheryl smiled.

A knock at the front door was just the excuse Cheryl needed to get something to drink from the kitchen. She passed by her cabinet, and in doing so unerringly cast a small gaze at the mirror. It was still taped, it would always be taped. When her and her surrogate guardian moved into the new place some months ago the first order of business was to tape up the mirror that came with the new furniture he had bought for her. It wasn't possible to get it without the accessory, so she made damn sure when it arrived she would never have to see herself. There was something about mirrors that always made her nervous, and the time spent in that town only cemented said fear. It had played on her emotions at every chance, and there was one time in that one hospital when she could have sworn the person she saw in that one mirror…

Cheryl's lips let out a small 'No' as she shook the memory from her and mentally uttered a small curse in the hopes she'd lock away such tragedy forever. She longed for the day when her mind would eventually forget what she saw, what she heard, what she experienced. She longed for the day she would forget the girl she was and all that would be left would be her, would be Cheryl. It was a name her father had given her, but in their frequent vagrancy she had gone by something else. For nearly seven years she adopted the name as one would an identity and it shielded her from things that existed in the world that shouldn't. Things and people that defied all logic. She had only a minute grasp on the truth of the terror that haunted her in her past, but it was more than enough to make her jump at shadows cast by their misshapen figures. There were no names, only whispers and a scream she could barely register as her own. Maybe. She once believed her other self was enough to guard her. She once believed her father would save her. She once believed.

The knock at the door became louder. "Hold on, I'm coming!" she yelled at the entity on the other side. She wondered if he had forgotten something and had to come home early to retrieve whatever it was. A few steps later she was at the front door of the apartment, not bothering to change into something more appropriate. Her pajamas were enough for whomever it was on the other side, probably him anyways. She unlocked the latch and pulled open the door slightly.

"What did you forget, Douglas..." her words trailed off as she got a glimpse at the figure outside her door, and realized it wasn't the surly man she had come to call family. There, a small framed figure stood outside. The light overhead shadowed just enough of her face that Cheryl couldn't make out who it was at first, until she lifted her head and Cheryl felt her heart nearly jump out of her chest. Her bangs, short and brunette weren't unfamiliar to Cheryl – she had her hair like that when she was younger. Cheryl immediately clutched her chest to see if she was wearing the amulet her father gave her, but it wasn't there. This was real, and this girl had stepped out of some past she desperately wished had gone up in flames. Every bit of her that crystallized into the essence of someone she used to be was standing at her door, beckoning invitation like some dreaded creature that had come to drag her back to hell.

The girl's eyes shifted along the floor for a moment before they met Cheryl's, and she brushed a lock of hair from her face. Her freckles belied a childish nature. Her lips parted as she spoke. "Heather?"

Her eyes, her voice, her voice that was coming out of this other person. It wasn't possible, it was not possible. But here she was. She was here, and she was real. Cheryl struggled to find the right words. Alessa simply smiled.