Tragic accidents are happening to Maria's family, but...are they really accidents?
| “Come on May, we have to get to your swimming lessons by 8 o’clock,” I called to my daughter, who was still in the bathroom.
“Coming Mommy.” She called back. I heard the toilet flush and my 6 year old daughter came toddling out, a big grin on her face. She had remembered to flush the toilet this time.
“Good job!” I congratulated her. “Now go run along to Daddy, I have to pack up your things.”
“Yes Mommy,” She said and skipped happily to where my husband was, leaning against the car door, a big smile on his face as May ran into his arms. He twirled her around and winked at me.
I smiled. That was one reason why I’d married him. He was such a joker. I turned to the swimming bag at my feet and started shoving swimming equipment in it. Goggles, towel, underwear, all went in. As I reached for her flippers, I saw a spider sitting on the bag. Disgusted, I tried shooing it away. It didn’t budge. With an exasperated sigh, I reached for a swatter.
“Honey! You’d better hurry; we’ve got around 10 minutes to get there!” A voice called.
“Coming!” I said.
I looked back at the spider. It was gone.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It was autumn and the leaves were red, yellow and orange. In these kinds of weather, cool and beautiful, my husband and I loved to go outside with May and have some family time. Today, we took May outside to a little park surrounded by a forest with a path leading to the outside world. We laughed and joked as we walked leisurely through the woods, watching the colorful leaves fall and spiral to the ground. As we got closer to the park, May ran forward ahead of us, eager to get there first. It was a peaceful and quiet little park with only two benches and half a dozen swings.
She giggled as she leapt onto a swing and began to move her legs, trying to go up. My husband, Jacob, watched and shouted out encouragements as May got some altitude. I smiled.
“Do you need any help sugar-cube?” I asked.
“Yes Mommy.” May giggled. “Higher! Higher!”
I got behind her and pushed lightly. She giggled with delight. I pushed her a bit harder. She shrieked. But it wasn’t a shriek of happiness. It was a shriek of surprise. I immediately stopped and looked at her.
“What is it? Did I push too hard?” I asked with worry.
She shook her little head. “I felt like something was cutting into me.” She said. “Like those sharp net wire things, except it was thinner but still hurt.” I looked at Jacob incredulously. He shrugged.
“Alright, do you want to continue?” I asked, not knowing what to make of this.
“Yes! Yes!” She exclaimed excitedly.
I pushed her again and again, making sure not to let her go up too high. May told me to push her higher, higher, HIGHER. I pushed her higher and then when she screamed out, “High so I touch the sky Mommy!” I pushed her so that she went further than I usually pushed her. Then the naked woods echoed with a scream. A scream that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
May screamed. And then there was blood on the leaves and on the swings and on May. May swung back to me and I caught her, only to pull away again and scream. I stared in horror at my daughter. The front half of her body was all cut up. It was as if some invisible string had wound itself around May and cut into her flesh as I had pushed her farther away than the restraint line. It was horrible. The cuts were deep, it went all the way to her bones and she screamed and screamed. Jacob was already talking on the phone, screaming and yelling. But he didn’t see the worst part. He didn’t see May’s mouth, the way her mouth was cut so that her jaws hung all the down to her chin.
I sobbed into my sleeve, not knowing what to do. There was so much blood and her eyes were wide and staring, and her jaws were bouncing on her chin as she continued to swing. The last thing I saw before I blacked out was a glimmer of something that looked like a spider web and a spider, the same one as the one that swimming day, sitting on her forehead and carving 3 numbers. 6, 6 and 6.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The funeral was torture. Seeing the little innocent body in a casket was so sad and frightening. Whenever I saw my daughter, I only saw the bloody, cut up version of her. The image haunted my every move and every memory. When my daughter was lowered into the ground, I could only think of relief, relief that I didn’t have to look upon her body again and see the open, staring eyes and the gaping mouth with the numbers 6, 6 and 6 carved on her forehead.
Jacob held me as I cried. I cried for my daughter, the young, innocent child. And I cried in fear as images of her body kept bouncing back into my mind. As the funeral came to an end, I quickly rushed to our car, which waited for us in the parking lot. Jacob cried out and ran after me.
When he caught up, he hugged me to keep me from running any further and held me. I cried, sobbed, shook and shivered. He didn’t know the real reason. No one but me. I calmed down long enough to get into the car and sit quietly for the whole journey home. Who had done that to my daughter? Or what had done that to my daughter?
2 months later, my life was almost back to normal. Almost. But not quite. Now and then I had a nightmare with the image of the numbers 666 being carved into my daughter and cuts that dug deeper than the bones and sliced right through her. I always woke up screaming and Jacob would hold me tight, murmuring comforting words. He knew part of my nightmares, but he didn’t know about the numbers.
It was time to visit our daughter’s grave. I dressed up in my most formal winter clothing and stepped into the car. The drive there was silent. Jacob and I were both in deep thought.
When we arrived at the cemetery, we walked through the snow covered ground towards the place where our daughter’s body was lying, frozen in the ground. I bent down and swept away the snow on the tombstone and laid two white carnations in front of it, then stood up. My faithful husband put an arm around my waist and we leaned against each other, each one of us seeking comfort and love. We had only each other now (besides my parents) and we needed one another more than ever.
“I’d really like a stroll through the woods again, Maria.” He said quietly. “I really need to remember and get some peace and quiet into me.”
“Alright.” I said, even though I was itching to say no.
We drove back to the place where, 2 months ago, our daughter had walked blissfully with us, laughing and skipping happily. The park appeared and I suddenly wanted to stop walking, turn around and walk away, but I continued for my husband. Here, he could imagine that we were all still together and having fun, as a family. But of course, that would never happen again.
The police had obviously cleaned everything up. There was one less swing though, probably because they couldn’t wipe off the blood stains. Here, memories flooded back into my mind. Laughter, giggles, shrieks, screams…the scream…I heard it again. The scream that never got erased from my mind. Except this scream was lower-pitched and manlier. It sounded as if…I spun around. My husband was on the snow covered leaves, screaming as a whole colony of ants started crawling out of the surface and started swarming over him.
“Jacob!” I screamed. I couldn’t believe what was happening.
“Stay back!” He cried and started swatting at the millions of ants that started to bite him, cling to him, and crawl about him. Every ant he killed was quickly replaced and there were too many of them to avoid now. I stifled a scream as the ants swarmed up his body and onto his head. He opened his mouth to scream. But no sound came out, because the ants crawled into his open mouth and ears and nostrils and bit off every piece of flesh available. They crawled into his intestines and throat, tearing out flesh and gnawing his very bones. They left his eyes untouched. His eyes were wide and staring, just like May’s eyes as she died. I screamed until the police arrived.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The funeral was again torture. I kept seeing the replay of Jacob’s face, as the ants crawled into his mouth and ears and nose. It was so horrifying, as horrifying as May’s death. The priest droned on and on and finally, it was done. Friends expressed their sympathy and then I was gone, driving just below the speed limit and keeping as sane as possible. When I got home, I shut the door and began packing up. No way was I living in a house that had once inhabited live people who died horribly.
In my search for everything I needed, I found my husband’s watch, standing on the side table. I looked at the time and screamed. It read 6:66.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~When I was done packing, I was still shivering with fear. 666. The devil’s number. I had seen it carved onto my daughter’s deceased and bloody head and I had now seen it on my deceased eaten husband’s watch. But what did it mean? I shivered and walked out the door without a second glance. I went straight to the airport and bought a ticket. Waiting 3 hours was an agony, but at last, the plane arrived. I flew all the way to Arizona, where my parents lived.
When I got there, they greeted me with big hugs and sympathy. They took me in and slowly, day by day, I recovered. It took 3 months. When I did recover, my parents decided that we should celebrate. So, we planned a family camping trip. The day came and we had everything packed up and ready to go. My mother tsked at the state of my hair and quickly grabbed a comb and led me into the bathroom. She combed my hair until it was straight and tidy, making me look glamorous. Then she stopped and looked at me adoringly. I smiled at her.
“I love you Maria dear.” She said. “I have so much pride in having you.”
“Thank you mother.” I said.
She smiled and we both got into the car.
“That took you long enough.” My father joked. “I’m already starving.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We were at our site and our tents were up as night fell. Father decided to create a big bonfire so we collected sticks and logs here and there and made a fire. We sat by the warm and comforting glow of the flames and shared jokes and stories of happy times. The flames died down a bit, so mother walked forward with a log or two to increase the flames. Suddenly, she wasn’t by the fire anymore. Father and I looked up…to see mother dangling upside down on a rope attached to a tree. Her head was inches away from the dying flames.
“Don’t let go of the…” But I was too late. Surprised, mother let go of the two logs in her hands and the logs burst into flames and onto her hair. She screamed as the fire licked her face and caught onto her clothes. I was screaming. Again. For the third time this year at something horrible. Her skin was getting burned like wood, blackening and peeling off. I don’t remember what happened next, but I managed to call the police.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Back in my parents’ home I tried to comfort my father, who was in shock. This wasn’t good for one his age. The police had arrived too late to save my mother and my father had watched his soul mate getting burned alive. It was enough for anyone to go into mental shock. He told me he needed a bit of time alone. I agreed. I knew how it felt.
After 2 hours, I went to check on him. I screamed yet again. My father was dead, hanging from a rope suspended from a hook in the ceiling. His neck was broken and twisted in a strange angle. His eyes were wide and staring…just like May’s and Jacob’s. I screamed again. This couldn’t be happening. Then and there I had to get away. But before I turned around, I glimpsed something in his hand. A piece of paper. I opened his palm shakily and un-crumpled to paper. On it was a picture of my mother and the numbers 666 barely perceptible in the background, surrounded with fire.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~On the road I was speeding. I was going nowhere, but I couldn’t stay anywhere either. The horrible deaths of my family were making me go crazy. I had to get away. As I drove along a road that had trees at the sides, I saw a truck in front of me. Move, I thought fiercely. Get the fuck out of my way. I slowed down though, but still going quite fast. Then I saw them in the mirror. I saw my husband beside me in the mirror. I saw my mom and dad in the back seat and my daughter in the bumper seat at the back. They were all looking at me through the mirror, smiling…
I looked onto the road and saw that the truck had stopped suddenly. I swore and pressed down on the car’s brake. Not fast enough. The car rammed into the truck. But I wasn’t dead…yet. But I saw it coming, the sharp and pointy spike that headed for my face. I looked at the smiling faces of my deceased family and swore at them…right before the spike contacted my face.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The police were at the scene again. They had found the car and the dead driver. They also found her father, who had of course suicided. They were all bemused at how her family had died one by one. One of the police officers at the scene was examining the cars. He bent down to observe the license plate. He frowned thoughtfully. The license plate read: FFF 666.