I sat quietly in the boat. If this is hell, then so be it. The glistening waters looked like blood. It smelled like blood. It is blood. I could hear the wailing from beyond the gates of hell. A little girl was sitting peacefully at the other end of the boat. Her long black hair billowed in the wind. Strange, I could feel no wind. Yet, the boat was moving as though the winds are blowing on the sails. She turned to look at me. Her crimson eyes glinted. Who would have thought, that this girl, this innocent looking girl would be the end of me. This little girl would damn me to hell. I sighed. It was my choice. A choice I made out of desperation. I remember it well…
I was a happy child growing up. I had the perfect family. My father was a successful doctor and I had a loving mother. God even blessed us with a new baby brother. We had a big house facing the sea. I went to a good school and had good friends. Life was perfect until I was 15 years old. My father met a man. He was in his late 20's. He was very handsome and very charismatic. My father even brought him home and introduced him to my family. He said to call him Uncle Joe. During the course of one year, he became very close to my family and I loved him like my real uncle.
It was a stormy night. The rain fell heavily on the window panes. The lightning was orchestrating a wonderful light show. My father came home, soaked wet. I was waiting for him to tell him what I wanted for my birthday tomorrow. I went down and saw my mother with him in the living room. He looked distraught. My mother looked shocked. I listened in on their conversation.
"It's over. It's all over! He lied to us. He tricked me into signing that contract and now the clinic's gone. He sold my half of the share to my rival. He even changed the deed to our home, the house is his now. I trusted him! I treated him like one of my own!"
My mother was now consoling my father, "We didn't know this would happen. We'll get through. We always do. Come on. Let's get you out of these wet clothes."
I saw them standing up. I ran as fast as I could to my room. It was mind numbing. I sat huddled in the corner on my bed, crying. Uncle Joe, how could you! I looked at my room. All of this will be gone. My private school and my friends. I grabbed my teddy bear and cried. It'll all change now. Even if my mother's right; things will be okay, things would definitely change. I sobbed silently. The weather gods were still at war. In between the thunder and the rain, I heard my mother screaming for me. I ran out of my room and went straight to her room.
"What mother? Is everything okay?"
My mother was frantic, "Go get your brother. We're going to the hospital. I think your father's having a heart attack."
Those words struck a blow to my heart. Please god, let him be okay. I ran to the nursery and grabbed my four years old baby brother from his crib. My mother drove like mad to the hospital. My father looked very ill. He was grabbing his chest and he was panting. Sweats trickled down his forehead. I tried to whisper to him everything would be okay but Jamie's cry was making everything loud and noisy. After fifteen minutes, we reached the hospital. My father was immediately pushed into the ER. My mother went inside. I sat silently while holding a fast asleep Jamie in my lap. An hour passed by. My mother came out and sat beside me, "How's dad?" She took Jamie and put him on her lap, "No word yet. They told me to wait outside."
I didn't know how long I feel asleep. It felt like forever. I opened my eyes and saw the doctor walking towards us. He didn't look pleased. I prayed so hard in my heart for my father's safety. The doctor stopped in front of us, "Mrs. DuFrayne? May I have a word?" The doctor took my mother aside. What he said next to my mother broke her heart into a million pieces, "I'm sorry. Your husband didn't make it." Both my mother and I didn't say anything. She held back her tears and gave Jamie to me. "Umm, I see. So…can we go and see him for one last time?"
We walked slowly to the ER. Tears were running down my face. My mother was so composed; it makes you wonder what she was thinking. She pulled down the sheet and there he was, my father. He looked peaceful but he had a sad look on his face. Seeing him like that broke my heart. Jamie held out his hand, "Daddy. Wake up. Mie want home." I couldn't bear to see this anymore and ran outside. He can't be gone! My father cannot be dead!
The funeral was a simply one. Family and friends came to pay their last respects. The news of my father's death was the talk of the town, since he died right after he lost his practice. The crowd began to slowly lessen. Soon after a man in a black suit came up to my mother, "I'm sorry for your loss Mrs. DuFrayne. But I'm sorry. You have to vacate the premise. This house now belongs to Mr. Joseph Calzone." My mother stood there motionless, "Is there no way to prove that my husband was tricked into signing this contract?" The man from the bank only sighed, "There is nothing I can do ma'am. He signed the agreement and it's legally binding. There is no way to prove that he was tricked into signing that contract. Again, I am so sorry."
My mother took the court's document. She stared at the papers in disbelief. But, what else could we do? There is no way to prove that my father signed the documents under false pretences. We waited until all the guests have gone home. The house was empty. We stood in front of our home, the place where all the memories were made, and the house my father built. It's now gone, taken from us by a vulture. We went upstairs and packed our belongings. I helped my mother get Jamie ready and in just an hour we had all our things and were ready to leave.
It was so hard to set foot outside the house. So many memories were made here. My father's existence started and ended here. As we walked away from our home, tears were rolling down my cheeks. Goodbye my childhood…
It's has been two months since my father had passed away. We now live in a small cottage near the shore in a small fishing village. I still go to the same school. My mother insisted I and Jamie have the best education. She wanted to see Jamie and I become doctors, even if that means having two jobs. During the day, she works at the pier, helping a fishmonger. At night, she works at the bar in town. I hate to see her push herself like that. I offered to take on a part time job but she won't let me, saying that I need to focus on my studies.
I came back to school that fateful Friday. I heard violent coughing coming from the kitchen, "Mom? Is that you? Are you okay?" I went inside the kitchen. My mom looked pale and was wearing a sweater. She turned to look at me, "I'm fine honey, just having a fever. Go wash your face and hands. Lunch will be ready in 10 minutes." I did what I was told, albeit I was really worried about her. After fifteen minutes I came to the kitchen, "Mom? Mom? Where's the food? Mom?" I looked around but I don't see her anywhere. She must me out back, I thought to myself. I went through the back door. The wind was blowing strong today. All the sheets on the wire were billowing like mad. I called out to her again. Nothing. Where could she be? I stood there at the backyard. The sheet in front of me got blown of the wire. There she was, my mother, lying with her face on the ground, "Mom! Mom, are you okay?"
I ran as fast as I could to her. I turned her around. She was unconscious and blood was coming out of her mouth. Her lips were blue. I quickly ran to the neighbours and asked for help. Jamie was now in my arms sitting together in the ambulance. My mom still didn't wake up. Jamie was crying calling to his mother who won't answer. We finally reached the hospital. She was immediately reeled into the emergency room. I sat in the waiting room anxiously. Jamie fell asleep on my lap. It felt like re-living my nightmare. This was the very same place I sat two months ago when my father died.
The doctor came out and approached me, "Your mother has what we call a pneumothorax. Apart from that she's also having pneumonia. It looks like she didn't get any treatment for it. We need to perform surgery on her as soon as possible. You need to pay this bill and we'll get her admitted." The doctor handed me the bill. I look at the numbers, eight thousand dollars! Where am I going to find that amount of money in this short period of time? I held Jamie in my arms and went outside. Even if I sold everything we have in the house, I still won't make enough.
In the corner of my eyes, I saw a poster of someone I knew, Uncle Joe. He was now running my dad's clinic. I should try and ask for his help. He must help us; my mother is the only person I have left in this world. I rode a taxi and reached my old home, where he was living now. It looked the same, but feels different. You can no longer feel the love surrounding the house.
I rang the bell once, no answer. I rang it again. I heard footsteps coming down the stairs, "Hang on. Hang on!" He opened the door. He still looks the same, but somehow there's an evil glint in his eyes, "Amanda, what are you doing here?" My heart was pounding, anger and anxiety dancing together, "May I come in Uncle Joe? I need to talk to you." He looked at me and then at Jamie, "Sure, come in." I stepped inside the house. He had changed most of the furniture. There was a big portrait of him with his girlfriend hanging on the wall.
"What is it? Does your mother know you're here?" He said as soon as we sat down. "She's the reason I'm here. I need to borrow some money Uncle Joe, my mother is in the hospital." He looked surprised, "What's wrong with her?" I could only stare at my feet, "She has pneumothorax and pneumonia. She needs surgery and the hospital is asking for eight thousand dollars." He didn't say anything. He just leaned back into the sofa and smiled, "You do know that if you borrow, you need to pay me back?" His answer didn't come as a shock to me, "Yes, I know. I'll pay you back every month in instalments." He laughed, "Instalments? No, honey, I want it all lump sum." Tears began flowing down my face, "But I can't pay that much altogether."
He stood up and sat right next to me. He was now stroking Jamie's hair, "There are other ways to pay me back Amanda." I turned and looked at him, "What ways?" He smiled, "So naïve, my naïve Amanda. This way…" He leaned in to kiss me. I was so surprised; I pushed his face and stood up. "Mr. Calzone! I may need money but I will not disgrace my father by selling myself!" He laughed loudly and I could see his face turning red from all the laughter, "Disgrace? You filthy tramp! You have no honour in the first place. You came and find me didn't you?
"I did. It was my mistake. I always have considered you to be my true Uncle. But you turned out to be an evil person who destroyed my family."
I held Jamie tight in my arms and walked out of the house. I was proud of what I did, I'm sure my father would be too. As I was walking down the street, I saw Mr. Ire'ly. He was the fishmonger my mother worked for. He was waving at me, "Amanda! There you are. We heard about your mother. The villagers and I chipped in and we have eight thousand dollars! We better hurry to the hospital." Mr. Ire'ly took Jamie and me to the hospital in his car. We both ran to the reception to pay for the bill.
Before I could pay the admission fee, the doctor came to me, "There's no need for that I'm afraid. I'm sorry Miss DuFrayne, your mother passed away 10 minutes ago…" Those words echoed inside me. She can't be gone. She can't leave me alone here. "She can't be gone, Mr. Ire'ly. She won't leave me here alone with Jamie. You're lying to me doctor. Why are you lying?" The doctor looked at me, "I'm not lying, Miss DuFrayne. She really is gone. You can go see her in the ER." The doctor walked away. I felt empty. No one deserves this. Why God? Why me? Why us, Jamie and I?
We went home after the funeral. The villagers were kind enough to help pay for my mother's funeral. She was laid to rest next to my father. I put Jamie into his crib. How will I explain to him when he asks for his mother? I sat on my bed. What am I to do now? Should I quit school? It shatters my heart thinking of school. She always wanted me to be a doctor. If I quite school I will never be able to fulfil her wish, that I become a doctor. Mr. Ire'ly has offered me a part time job to help me pay the rent. I should finish school. The dim room made me sleepy. I hadn't slept since my mother died. The room began to fade…
"Amanda…Amanda…Open your eyes!"
My eyes fluttered open. At the end of my bed I saw a small little girl wearing a red kimono. She had long black shiny hair. I immediately sat up, "Who are you? How did you get in here?" The girl stood up. She was no taller than my shoulder. Her black hair flowed to her waist and her eyes, so red. She giggled, "I'm your friend. I've come to help you." I looked at her; she was swaying, dancing to herself. "Help? How will you help me? Can you bring my mother and father back? I don't think so." She smiled and this time there was something wicked in that smile, "I can send the soul of the man who did this to you, to hell…"
I was stunned, "How did you know about him?" She giggled, "I know lots of things. If you choose to accept my offer, everything from here will be easier for you." I stared at the little red-eyed girl, "You'll kill him for me? Would you do that?" She stood right in front of me and embraced my face, "No…I can't kill him. I can only take his soul and damn it to hell for eternity." I pushed her hand away, "What's the use in that. If you can't kill him then…" She interrupted before I could finish, "You, you will kill him!" What she said took me by surprise, "Me? I can't kill him!" She began to turn and walked away, "It's your choice. Don't regret it…" As she reached the doorway, I called to her, "Wait, if I decide to do this, to let you damn him to hell, from now on you'll make my life a lot better?" There it is again, that devious smile, "Of course. I promise…" My heart was thumping, "But how do I kill him and when?" The girl came closer, "Everything will be revealed when the time comes. If you agree, we'll shake hands now." My hands trembled. Lord, help me. I don't know what to do. I shook her hand. The minute I touched her skin, she smiled and I felt searing pain through my palms.
I woke up from the pain I felt. I looked at my palm, there's still a burn mark in the middle of my palm. That dream kept on replaying over and over again. It has been ten years since that fateful night, the night I met the Hell Girl. I could still feel the pain in my hand from time to time. She wasn't lying. After that night, things got better for me and Jamie. It turned out we had a long lost aunt who adopted us. We even had our names changed. She was a rich spinster living in France. We both moved to France and continued to study there. My mother got her wish, I am now a doctor. It's been 10 years and I was beginning to wonder when the perfect time would present itself. Sometimes, when I think of the things I have to do, I wished that I've never met that girl. But the luxury she promised helped me and Jamie tremendously. Maybe that day won't come. Maybe I don't have to kill him.
I got out of bed and got ready for work. I just started my residency at local hospital here in Paris. I drove my car through the streets of France. It was a slow start at work. I did the ward rounds where nothing remotely interesting happens. It's almost noon and I'm back behind the counters doing paperwork. Who knew medicine would be all work and no play. It wasn't until 3 hours later I was called to my superior's office. Apparently there was a big shot patient staying here. He has a condition called cardiomyopathy and needed medical attention. My boss wanted me to see things through. I took the clipboard and read the name, Joseph C. Hendrix.
I walked to his room. It was situated in block A, where all the elite patients are placed. I'm usually at block C and the change of atmosphere was making me nervous. Room 45E, this must be it. I knocked on the door. A deep voice gave me permission to come in. He was reading the paper and I couldn't see his face. I put down my clipboard and introduced myself, "Hello, Mr. Hendrix. I'll be your doctor. My name is…" Before I could properly introduce myself, he put down the paper. My heart was now thumping hard in my chest. It was him…Uncle Joe…
He smiled. God, how could this evil man look more handsome than he did 10 years ago? "I didn't catch your name doctor. I'm Joseph Hendrix," he stuck out his hand for a handshake. I thought to myself, this must be it…The right moment. I moved closer and shook his hand, "I'm Doctor Amanda Gusteau. Nice to meet you, Mr. Hendrix. Can I know what does the C stands for in your name?" He looked at me and smiled, "It is Calzone, as in the pizza. My, my . I've never seen such a beautiful doctor before." At that moment, I knew, this would be the way to finally get my revenge. I gave him a seductive smile, "Why thank you, Mr. Hendrix. You can call me Amanda." He nodded, "Amanda. Alright, Amanda it is. So doc, how am I today?"
I took a look at his charts. Everything looks alright, aside for a slightly elevated heart enzyme, "Everything looks good. You should take it easy and maybe go for walks in the park." He laughed, "Walks in the park? Though as fun as it might sound, it gets pretty lonely when you walk alone, Doc!" I took a seat on the chair next to the bed, "Maybe I could accompany you one day." He stopped laughing, "Well, I would love that very much. Why wait one day, why not this evening?" Now it was my turn to laugh, "Well, for one, you are my patient. It would be wrong." He wasn't going to give up easily, "Come on, Doc! You and me after work. It'll be fun." Things just keep going in my favour. I stood up, "Alright. I'll see you downstairs at 5.30p.m. Now I have to go and send your lab reports to my boss." I could feel his eyes staring at me. I closed the door behind me. He didn't recognize me! But I guess 10 years could change a girl. I was anxious for it to be 5.30p.m. I watched the clock on the wall constantly. I need to reel him in, get him hooked!
It was now 5.15p.m. I took my compact powder and gussied up, sprayed a little perfume here and there, just to smell nice. I also changed into a sexy sweater with a plunging neckline. I went downstairs and there he was, waiting by the entrance. He was wearing a green shirt with slacks, very debonair. We walked out to the park near the hospital. It was autumn and the leaves were beginning to fall. He was telling me all about his business and his humble beginnings. All this while I kept on remembering my parents and how they died because of him. I faked the entire laughs; I forced myself to smile and almost cried when he wanted to hold my hand. It was getting late and I don't want to get in trouble for taking a patient out of the hospital.
We made our way back to the hospital and I walked with him to his room, "Alright. You're home safe and sound. I must be going. It's getting late." He held my hand and brought it to his lips, "Thank you for taking me out for a walk. I feel much better now." I gave him a peck on the cheeks and quickly left the room. I needed a bath and fast! I never felt so disgusted in my entire life! I drove like mad and once home, I immediately ran into the shower. I was rubbing my skin so hard, trying to clean all the invisible grime of my body. I cried. I never felt so vulnerable my entire life. The shower did nothing to cleanse my guilt. I crawled up to bed and fell asleep.
It was Saturday morning. I had the day off. Jamie was at camp, so I had the house all to myself. I got up and took a long bath and started making breakfast. While frying the eggs, my phone rang, "Hello?" I immediately recognized the voice, "Hey, Doc! I hope I'm not interrupting. Was wondering, would you like to go out with me this afternoon for lunch?" I nearly choked. Boy, this guy moves fast! I thought for a minute, "Sure. But why don't you just come over to my place. I don't feel like going out today. I can cook you lunch." Words come out of my mouth out of nowhere. The voice on the other end seemed excited, "Okay! I'll see you then!"
After finishing up in the kitchen, I went to my room to get ready. I chose a red blouse with a pair of jeans. I tied my hair up and sprayed perfume. I cooked prawn ravioli with tomato sauce, hoping to tap in into his Italian heritage. At around 1.15p.m my door bell rang. I straightened myself out and opened the door. I couldn't see him behind the huge bouquet of roses, "Hello. May I come in?" I took the bouquet and invited him in. He took a look around the house. I poked my head through the kitchen doorway and called out to him, "Lunch's ready. I hope you like ravioli." He got up and made his way to the kitchen, "Hmm, smells nice. I meant you, not the food." He always knew how to charm people. We sat down and ate lunch talking about silly nothings. "Were you surprised I called? I was discharged today and I thought I'd come and see you." I put down my fork, "It's a pleasant surprise. I was just wondering how you got my mobile number." He smiled, "I had to pull some strings."
We've been going out for 2 months now. For the past two months I've been planning the most perfect plan. With him having cardiomyopathy, it made my plan a lot easier. Work was something I looked forward to that day. I was going to take some Digoxin home. I'm supposed to meet him tonight for dinner. Well, let's just say the prawns aren't the only thing that would be in the raviolis tonight. I've managed to gain his trust and sadly his love. That day was the day; I would finally get my revenge…
The boat began to rock. I looked up. I could see the gates of hell. The girl with red eyes was sitting peacefully on the boat, singing to herself, a song with haunting lyrics and deathly tunes. She looked at me and smiled, "I told you before. Do not regret your actions." I sighed. Regret. Yes, I have regrets. But not for killing him, no. My only regret is leaving Jamie alone. Sure my aunt is still with him but I was his last connection to our parents. Jamie, my poor baby brother, I'll miss you. I hope you have a wonderful life and continue on in heaven. My mind drifted off again to the day I finally got my revenge.
I was dressed to kill, a little black dress with pearls and earrings. I made sure Jamie was away with my aunt on an all expense paid trip to Jamaica. It was 8.30p.m. He'll be here any minute, I thought to myself. I poured some wine in the glasses and checked myself in the mirror. Soon after, the bell rang. He looked dashing as usual. He came in and sat at the sofa. I took the glasses and sat next to him. "You look beautiful tonight, very beautiful," he caressed my cheeks. I smiled and leaned to kiss him. Acting came natural to me; he didn't even know that kissing him revolts me. We talked for awhile. I looked at the clock, it was almost 9p.m. I got up to serve dinner. I took the Digoxin tablets in my purse and crushed them. Digoxin shouldn't be given to people with cardiomyopathy. It causes the heart to pump too fast and that's the last thing a weak heart needs. I sprinkled the fine powder on top of the ravioli together with grated Parmesan.
I took out the plates and serve his meal. I sat right across from him and watch him eat. "You're not eating?" he asked. I smiled, "I'm eating. It's just I like watching you eat. It makes me feel like I'm an accomplished cook." I watched him eat what would be his last meal. He finished the whole plate. We then made our way to the living room again. I started to notice the drug working, he was sweating. "Are you okay? You're sweating!" I pretended to care. He shrugged it off saying that it was humid. After a while he began to pant, "I don't feel so well. Maybe I need to lie down." I took him to my room and let him sleep on my bed. His heart was working on over drive and I want to be here to see it. After 10 minutes he got up and insisted that he be taken to the hospital.
I laughed. I laughed so hard, tears were coming out of my eyes, "Hospital? Why would I do that when I want you dead?" The horror in his face was priceless, "Dead? Why? What did I ever do to you?" Anger began to course through my veins, "What did you ever do to me? You really don't remember? I'm Amanda. Amanda DuFrayne! Yes the very same Amanda whose parents you killed!" He continued to pant and cough, "What did you do to me? What did you gave me?" I pushed him back on the bed, "You're not leaving!" We got in to a struggle. In all of that madness, he took the vase next to my bed and swung it at my head. Blood trickled from my forehead down to my cheeks. The pain was unbearable, but I held it out, to make sure he died. After what seemed like an eternity, he finally stopped moving. I checked for his pulse, he was definitely gone. I smiled then I laughed. I laughed and laughed. The pain was making my vision blurry. I sat, slumped in the corner of my room. I was losing a lot of blood.
I knew I was going to die. I cried remembering the time I spent with my family. I'm sorry Jamie, for I can't be here when you come back. The room was spinning. Suddenly, in the corner of my eye, I see that little girl again, dressed in red with her shiny black hair. She came and sat next to me, "I've come to complete my end of the bargain. He will now be taken to hell." I was losing consciousness fast but I heard what she said. "Take this doll and pull the cord. He will then be tossed into hell." I forced a smile, "And I'm going there with him, aren't I?" She stroked my head and whispered in my ear, "Yes, one soul for another. No regrets…" The room was getting darker. I felt cold, the coldest I've ever felt. My body was shaking. The room was fading away and it felt like my whole being was pulled into oblivion. Yes, I was going to hell…
Now here I am, on the boat with her, the Hell Girl. If this is hell, then so be it. The glistening waters looked like blood. It smelled like blood. It is blood. I could hear the wailing from beyond the gates of hell. Who would have thought, that this girl, this innocent looking girl would be the end of me. This little girl would damn me to hell. I sighed. It was my choice. A choice I made out of desperation…