When Alice meets beautiful Maisie Kolan, things take an obsessive turn for the worst.
|The worst pain a human being can feel is the death of a loved one.
That’s what my mother always told me, that is. In a dark kind of way, I think it was her way of assuring me that if I could survive that, I could survive anything. Though, sometimes I think it was also her way of warning me that no matter how awful I was feeling, it could, and would, be worse. Whenever I scraped my knee or got into a fight with a friend, she’d always grab me by the shoulder, just enough to pinch, and tell me over and over and over again.
The worst pain a human being can feel is the death of a loved one.
She was wrong of course, death was nowhere near inferior, I would know. My mother died the week of my 15th birthday. I had been celebrating at my dad’s place since my actual birthday would be at her’s. I had just finished blowing out the candle when we got the call. It was nothing interesting, she wasn’t murdered, it wasn’t a tragic accident or anything, but she had died.
They said it was unexpected, a huge surprise. It’s all bullshit, you can’t stick someone with a thousand needles and pump them full of drugs and not expect them to die. Cancer is what they say causes death, but we all know what really causes it.
I never believed in much. I never believed in God, or reincarnation. When I was younger I never believed her when my mom told me about Santa, the tooth fairy or the monsters under my bed. Even though I was young, I was very logical, and those things were just too illogical for me to even consider believing. I remember always acting like I did because I thought my mom believed it all and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I thought that the reason she always became so excited during Christmas or Easter was because she truly believed that something magical was going to happen. I didn’t realize that it was just something adults told their kids so that they’d be good during the holidays until much later in my life. But my mom was perpetually ecstatic, it was so contagious that I couldn’t help but be excited too, even though I knew it was just another day. I’m pretty sure my mom died thinking I still believed in everything like that. I never had the nerve to tell her I’d grown up, not to mention that I’d been lying to her all those years.
The worst pain a human being can feel is the death of a loved one.
Those were her last words.
My head shot up as I screamed back, “Congratulations, you know my name!”
Dr. Aran Reilly sat in what almost looked like shock. It was the first time that words became existent from me in almost three days, and apparently he’d already grown used to it. His eyes narrowed, the look he gave me when he was trying to be tough but knew he was at a loss. I’d grown familiar to this look, I’d grown familiar to all of his looks, he was one of the most predictable people I’d ever met. One glance and I knew everything that was going through that ditzy little mind of his. Every thought, every emotion, every strain.
There was no escaping me.
Shaking his head, he stood up, walked towards the window and opened it a strong breeze swept through the room and I couldn’t hold the shiver that ran down my brittle boned body.
“You know what would be fun? A nice walk by the lake. The beginning of Autumn, the leaves just starting to turn color, the grass so green. Can you see it? A beautiful day.”
From my chair I looked where he was gesturing. It was the first time I’d seen outside the facility for almost four months. It was bright, really bright, so bright that I could barely see anything but light. Though, I could see it. I saw the trees, the flowers, the grass, I saw everything.
“I see dying plants and fleeting animals.” I pouted, knowing he loved taunting me with the outside world.
“You’re not looking close enough.”
“I’m looking pretty close.”
“Then perhaps you’re looking too closely. Take a step back, live in your surroundings instead of examining them. Sometimes with death comes beauty.”
“Oooh, so deep.” I chuckled, crossing my legs.
“I’m serious,” He reached out his hand, “Come on, stand up and go look.”
I made an unconscious sound from the back of my throat, if a scowl had a sound, that would’ve been it. My mom hated scowling. In all honesty, she hated a lot of things. Me being left alone was one but look at me now.
You’d laugh if I told you my mother was a hoverer. You’d laugh and say you could relate because all mothers hover. But my mom was a special kind of anxious. Since I had been born, I had never been left unsupervised. The longest time was when I was at a friend’s house and her mom had left us to make lunch. It was only a mere half hour, but my mom had a fit about it and never let me go to their house again. As a child, I never really minded it, I liked the attention. I liked knowing that no matter what, I would always have somebody there for me. My mom and I had a special bond, I mean, we had the normal mother-daughter bond, but ours was different. I felt like I could trust her, she could never do me wrong.
“I find it hilarious that you think I’d ever touch something so disgusting.”
He only chuckled, “You’re words strike me like a feather, you're not as tough as you think.”
“Look at that, a therapist telling his patient that she’s weak. I’ve seen everything. Now are we going to talk about my dead mother or not?” I practically purred.
“On the contrary,” He returned in the same voice, “I thought we could talk about something else for a change.”
He flipped a page in his nutcase journal until my name in bold came up, “Like Maisie Kolan.”
Maisie Kolan. The very name was like a punch with an iron pole.
I chuckled, “Maisie? Who’s she?”
He flipped through a few more pages before sighing, “According to this, she was your lover.”
I couldn’t help but stifle a laugh, of course that was what they called her.
As a young woman, I of course dreamt of finding the one. Falling in love, getting married, settling down and having kids, and then eventually dying beside them. Then I met Maisie.
Her eyes were the one thing that always stuck in my mind, a blue like you’ve never seen before. They were the first thing I noticed about her, and the thing I loved most. She too, took a long time to accept what we had, and it almost didn’t happen. Almost.
Maisie was still young, maybe not so innocent, but young. She wasn’t as ready as I was, that I could understand. What I couldn’t understand, and don’t to this day, is why she did what she did. This next part, the part where she threw it all in my face and spat at my efforts, that was the worst pain I have ever felt in my twenty-four years of living.
She told me she was sick of the dark. She always blamed everything on the dark. She looked me in the face and told me that I should let her go, that if you truly love someone, you should stop clipping their wings and give them the freedom they deserve. The next day she came over like she always did, and she told me she loved me. It had been the first time in weeks, so I let her back in.
Not even a week later it all started over. We were discussing college, and she told me she would go wherever I went, until where I was going rejected her. She became upset that I didn’t stick with her, and go to one of the other schools that had accepted her. The thing was, I’d wanted to go to that school my entire life, which I attempted to explain. She slapped me straight across the face and tried to scream at the top of her lungs, but her voice failed her. She blamed that on the dark too.
She told me I was evil, I was a shitty human being, she didn’t love me. How could anyone love someone so terrible? Her blue eyes filled with tears, and she looked at me with the gaze of a wounded puppy. And it almost worked. I almost gave in, and I almost let her go. But her words were stuck bouncing around in my brain and it was deafening. To have all the work you have done for someone thrown aside and called garbage, to have your love laughed at and ridiculed by the person you thought ruled the world, that was deafening. So, I couldn’t let her go, not when she was so angry, and so riled up, not when she was swearing on her own life that one day, one day she would be free. Even if it cost her everything.
“Maisie Kolan was not my lover.” I said after a while, my eyes deadlocked on his.
“Oh? Why don’t you tell me more then. Make me understand.” He replied, not even looking at me anymore, doodling away in his little book.
I continued my gaze, which had begun to turn into a stare, “She was a selfish human being, Aran. Sure, we shared the bed a few times, but she was nothing to me. When she disappeared, I felt absolutely nothing.”
And it was partly true. There was nothing more I wanted that day, than to run up those stairs, deadbolt the door, and burn the house down. That was how angry she had made me. But my love for her stopped me from burning all my bridges and forced me to think about the coincidences my actions would have. So instead, I hurt her, like she hurt me.
Aran stood, closing his notebook and taking off his thin rimmed glasses, “Alright then, our time is almost up. If that’s all you have to add, you’re free to leave. I’ll see you next week, Ms. Anders.”
I stood along with him, the way we acted alongside each other was almost business like, “Have a nice day.”
And that was it, the end of our session, the end of my day. I drove home, put my keys on the table, and made my way to the basement.
“Sweetheart? I’m home.”
I turned on the small TV in the corner, and the CD started playing. It was showing the first press release since she went missing. Two years ago, and counting. She doesn’t know how much things have changed in the real world, the damage her family has suffered, the way her friends and loved ones have moved on and dealt with her disappearance.
“They aren’t looking for you anymore, Maisie. They think you ran away, and I think they’re finally starting to deal with the fact that they will never see their reckless little girl again.”
She refused to take her eyes away from the screen, deadlocked on the crying image of her devastated mother and father. They were pleading with the world to return their little girl, only 16 years old, safe to them, safe and sound. Most of their press releases were the same, pleading for their little girl to be returned to them. I had talked to them once, her parents, they had told me so much about her, about the investigation, and helped me save Maisie, from being found. Because I love her, and she doesn’t deserve to have those people telling her how she isn’t the girl they thought she was.
I still remember the first time I saw her. It was a year before I decided to make her mine. She was fifteen, and I twenty-one. I was grabbing a bite to eat with my boyfriend at the time, when she and her friends walked into the small and dainty café. The girls didn’t notice me, or my boyfriend, but we both noticed them. They were all beautiful, and innocent like no one would believe.
Jason and I broke up that afternoon, we both had our eye on a certain blonde, blue eyed angel. I tried to tell him that he wasn’t going to be able to win the heart of a school girl, not when he, was an accountant who always had his nose in a book. He gave up after a month of stalking the girl. But me, I was entranced. I had managed to convince myself that the fight wasn’t futile, and that, if I played my cards right, I would be the luckiest girl in the world. And now here I was, Maisie by my side, and the world still oblivious.
“They love me and they will still be looking for me! I’m their little girl!” Maisie whispered into her knees, chanting it over and over until she had the strength to look me in the eye and state it clearly.
The CD kept going, I had only stuck three different pleas on there. And then there was the fourth video, where they were thanking the police and everyone else who had tried to help because they had found a charred body, with the last seen location, and a setup that they believed the man who kidnapped her had gotten bored and decided to change pace.
I saw her heart break when she saw the coldness between her parents, the emptiness in their eyes and hearts, and the defeat laced into their words. I also saw the last little bit of strength disappear from her own blue eyes, and although I knew that it would make this all ultimately easier, I knew those blue eyes would never be the blue eyes I fell in love with, ever again.
“Let me go Alice. Please. Let me choose to love you in my own way and time, I can’t breathe down here, I just can’t! It’s driving me crazy, all this darkness with my thoughts and no room to let a little light in because you control everything. That’s not love. Love is showing people that you care, not binding their hands behind them so they can’t move away. Love is telling the person how you feel, not forcing them to feel the exact same way. Love is about acceptance, not about killing someone’s soul and molding it to fit person you want them to be. You don’t love me Ally, you don’t even love yourself. How could you possibly love me?” Maisie pulled at her long dirty hair in desperation, she knew she had to get out of the cabin, but there was nothing she could do.
I stared at her, I could feel the tears brewing and somewhere inside me, I knew she was right. I didn’t love myself, but that didn’t mean I didn’t love her. A long silence filled the dusty basement. All the air was sucked out and the two females as they stared at each other, one in desperation and one in fear. No moves were made, the board was silently empty. The board was staying empty. I stood quickly and took the stairs two at a time, my vision was blurring and my heart was sinking as if the weight of an anchor was taking it underwater. The large wooden door slammed behind me and the bolt slid shut under the force of my slim hand. I slammed my eyes shut, and switched the switch that I had installed for emergencies only.
I heard her scream, loud and terrified. She took the stairs as quick as I had, chasing the air that was quickly dissipating. Her fists beat against the large door, and I could feel her tears hitting the concrete steps. Her words were begged, and she pleaded with me to open the door, to let her breathe. What she didn’t know, was that she wasn’t the only one without air. If I opened the door, it wasn’t going to save her because I didn’t have any air either. The whole house was under lockdown, suffocating itself, becoming a horror story.
The last thing I heard was her pleading with me, crying for one last chance. And her face was the last thing in my mind, before I slipped into empty black. It wouldn’t be long now, we would both slip into sleep, and ascend to the heavens above. We didn’t get the time we wanted, but we had more than some. And I couldn’t complain with that.
It was a half hour before someone realized something was wrong with the house next door. Large metal plates covered the windows, doors, ceiling pipes and the chimney, there was no way for air to enter the bland concrete house. It was another hour before anyone made it to the scene, and an hour after that before the house system was shut down.
There were so many questions floating around the country that day. Was Alice the captor, or was it all orchestrated for the male the police believed it to be, so he could escape and keep living his life. No one ever found the truth. There was no closure for Maisie’s family, there was no hope for the parents and siblings to find out what happened. Everything was wiped away, gone and deleted. As if it never happened.
As if Maisie had never existed.