Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Other · #1955725
A woman sees her reflection, but it's not her face... why is it so familiar?
|Written for "Invalid Item" |
The reflection in the mirror wasn’t mine. The woman looking back was older than I remembered. She looked tired. I touched her cheek… There was something familiar about her face. Something… I felt like I should know who she was. She wasn’t me. And yet she was.
“Good morning, Ronnie.”
“I frowned. “Veronica. I never liked Ronnie.”
The nurse’s smile faltered. “You go home today. I bet you’re excited.”
I shrugged. I didn’t remember home. How could I be excited? I turned back to the mirror. The woman was still there… the stranger.
Seventeen years earlier
“Ronnie, give me back my doll or I’m going to tell mother on you!”
“Don’t call me Ronnie. My name is Veronica.”
“Ronnie, Ronnie, sounds like Johnny.”
“Ronnie and Johnny sitting in a tree…”
“I said stop it!”
“Meghan Scarlett Bennington, you are the meanest person I know!”
“Ronnie, I’m telling mom you threw my doll in the mud. Ronnie… Ronnie! Where are you going, we aren’t supposed to cross the street.”
I looked towards the door. My sister stood there, holding a doll. I recognized it. Why had she kept it all these years. Her husband came in behind her, smiling. He was a police officer.
“Mom and dad are on their way up. They would have been here sooner, but mom’s doctor was being stubborn. Said flying was dangerous with her condition, so they had to drive.”
“You told me this yesterday.”
“Oh, I guess I forgot...”
“Why did they move away?”
“Oh, Ronnie…” She sat down next to me and put her arms around me. I flinched but she didn’t let go. “They never gave up hope. Mother always believed you were alive, even when they thought they’d found you once… she knew it wasn’t you.”
“Are you lost?”
“Well, aren’t you polite? Here, come with me.”
“I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.”
“I’m not a stranger. I’m a cop. Here, see my badge.”
“Are you arresting me?”
“Naw… I’m just going to take you back to your mommy and daddy. See here… my car.”
“It’s not a police car.”
“No, but that’s cuz I’m undercover. Come on, get in.”
“I don’t know… ow! Let go of me, that hurts!”
“Get inside and shut up.”
“You’re a bad policeman.”
“And you’re a bad girl, running away. Quit your crying.”
“Wha… what are you going to do with me?”
“I’m going to put you where all bad girls go… in a dark, dark hole.”
“I can’t imagine what she went through all those years.”
“I was here the day they brought her in. She was so frail. She couldn’t remember who she was… only being five when she disappeared.”
“I can’t even think about it. We were fighting that day. She ran away because of me…”
“Oh come now, stop it. It’s not your fault.”
“It bothers me though. He’s still out there. The man that took her.”
“They’ll find him.”
“That’s what my husband says. He was the lead detective on the case. He never gave up and he won’t now. I think that’s one of the reasons I fell in love with him. Still…she was in the dark all those years. Her description is inconsistent...”
They didn’t know I was listening. My sister was talking to the nurse. They were down the hall, but my ears were good. My eyesight, not so… the light still hurt my eyes. Maybe that’s why my face looks so strange. I remembered my nose being smaller. He’d hit it a lot though. Smashed my face against the floor. But that wasn’t as bad as the times he told me I really needed to be punished. When he’d make me kneel in front of him.
“Please stop. I promise I’ll be a good girl!”
“Oh, don’t worry about that, lamb. I like naughty little girls.”
“I want my mommy.”
“She doesn’t want you. She told me I could do whatever I wanted with you. I’m your parent now.”
“No… she wouldn’t do that.”
“She did. Now get down on your knees. You know what daddy likes.”
I curled up on the bed. I tried to remember my mother. I couldn’t. It had been so long. I cried. What was wrong with me? I wanted the dark again. I was a bad girl. People could see that when they looked at me.
I looked up. The woman was in a wheelchair. She pushed herself up and walked towards me, slowly. I worried she would fall, but she didn’t. She sat on the bed next to me and pulled me into her arms.
“I never gave up hope.”
I looked in the mirror. Our faces were pressed together. But now I knew why my reflection looked so familiar. It was my mother’s face looking back at me. Her hair was gray now, her face more wrinkled, but it was hers. I remembered now. My tears fell, mixing with hers.
It was a week after I went home, that I dared approach him. I’d known who he was, though I pretended otherwise. I was scared and I was afraid of what he would do if I told. But he had a daughter and I saw the look in her eye. She knew what daddy liked.
My sister’s husband was sitting at his computer when I walked in. He looked up. “Veronica, what are you doing?”
“I lied. I know who it was that took me.”
He frowned. “You do?”
I nodded. “Lying is bad.” I kneeled in front of him. “Bad girls need to be punished.” My fingers reached for his button.
His fingers twisted into my hair while I unzipped him. No one was home. He knew it was safe. He closed his eyes. “You know what daddy likes.”
Pulling the knife out from behind my back, I nodded. I did know what he liked, and I was going to cut it off.
Word Count: 999