An almost heavenly light pierced through the antiquated windows and into the living room, chasing away any remnants of darkness left over from the night.
The natural light of the morning had lit up the pale walls, chairs, and the maroon couch Karen was asleep on.
Once the light made its way through the shadows to her eyelids, she slowly raised them up like an automatic garage door ready to let the car out.
Though, the only thing Karen wanted to let out was a scream.
“What the…” she paused to look around the brightly lit living room. “How did I get here?”
It was a fair question considering the last place she remembered being was in the bedroom. She heard the incessant knocking once more and then…
Her mind was blank.
What happened after that?
She raised her body up to look around, but that’s when it hit.
“Ohhhh my God!!”
Her head was throbbing. She had never suffered a headache like this before. Should she go to the hospital? she wondered.
That was out of the question, there’s no way she could afford an ambulance. There also wasn’t any way she could drive in her state, either.
Karen placed both feet on the ground and stood up. The blood rushed to her head making her dizzy. She wobbled around in a perfect circle and crashed back on the couch.
Karen awoke again to her cell phone vibrating on the living room table. Still on the couch, she reached over and grabbed it to silence it.
She glanced at the screen that read “Sissy,” reconsidered and answered it just in time.
“Hey,” she said in an exhausted voice.
“Whoa dude, what’s up with you? And what was up with that three in the mornin’ phone call? Did you sleep-call me?” Cathy laughed at her own joke, but was actually serious about it.
“I don’t know what’s going on, Cath. I can’t remember what happened last night, then I woke up on the couch,” she listed and paused for a second.
“And you remember those crazy headaches I used to get as a kid?”
“Uhh, yeah, I guess so.”
“They’re back. But even worse, I think.”
Karen recalled being in her bed with her mom next to her. Her mom would get a hand towel damp with warm water and put it, folded, on her forehead. She remembered how good it felt.
Not just the towel, but being taken care of like that. She wished for it.
“Wow, that is crazy. Hey, I was going to come over a little later, but you want me to come now?” asked Cathy.
Karen closed her eyes like it was too good to be true. “Please, Sis. I need you.”
She cracked a sob in the last syllable. Once Cathy hung up, Karen started to bawl hysterically.
She had no idea why she felt this way, or why what happened had happened, or even if it had happened.
Thinking about it wasn’t helping, so she tried to fall back asleep. To much avail, she was asleep in no time.
“So, tell me what happened,” said Cathy.
Karen could smell the fresh tea she just made. She handed Karen a warm cup. She watched the steam dance like an apparition above it then took a slow sip.
“Well, at first there was this knocking on what I first thought was the front door which had woken me up… “ She continued the story of the previous night to Cathy.
Cathy had been silent throughout Karen’s terrifying night. She looked as though she was in a state of paralysis with eyes wide and unblinking.
She eventually snapped out of it as Karen asked if she was alright.
“Yes… it’s just… I know what you mean,” she said.
Cathy then began to tell her sister of her nightmare growing up.
While living in the house with her parents and a little Karen, Cathy was playing on the tire swing out in the front yard. It was just her, Karen and her mom.
Her dad was on a business trip and wouldn’t be back for a few days, he had said. But normally, he would stay longer than what he would tell them. This had always made their mother angry.
She wanted to know when he was supposed to be back home, so she leapt off the swing and headed around the house to find Mom.
She was walking right next to the house while she peered through the dirty windows. Inside, was the living room and what looked like a man standing in the middle. She couldn’t tell who it was.
It was just blackness.
The dark figure stood there. Cathy couldn’t see any eyes or mouth, but she knew it was watching her. Watching her walk slowly around the house.
“Mom?” She yelled. “Dad?”
As she came around the house, it would still face her without moving. At first, she didn’t know what to think, but now since her mom wasn’t answering, she was trembling.
When she arrived at the side door, she could still see it through the door’s window, still staring st her.
Cathy opened the door as fast as she could and without looking at it, she ran to the opposite room next to the kitchen.
There, washing dishes in the kitchen was her mother.
She ran up beside her. “Mommy, there’s someone standing in the living room.”
Of course her mom was alarmed, but she didn’t show it. Especially when she took Cathy to the living room and saw nothing.
“God, you’re pale,” her mom said. “And you’re sweating.”
She put her hand on Cathy’s forehead and held it there.
“But I swear mom!” Cathy argued, but to no avail. Her mother was buying it.
That was just the beginning of it, though
The next time, Cathy had been lying in her warm bed reading a book. She was lying on her right side with her back to the lamp that sat on a bedside table.
That’s when she got a weird feeling. Not just that someone was there, she could sense someone was very close to her.
She put her book down and flipped over towards her light.
With her widened eyes, she was staring at a black figure crouched down next to the bed. Its face level with hers. She couldn’t see its eyes but knew they were in a dead-stare with hers.
It slowly tilted its head as if it was examining her. Looking into her innocent soul
The shadowy figure then gently stood up, took one more look at Cathy then walked towards her closet. Without even opening the door, it had simply walked through it.
That’s all she had remembered from that night. So when Karen mentioned a shadowy figure, tears gently rolled down her pink cheeks.
Karen was shocked at first, but then she understood. Her sister had seen it, too.
They held each other in their arms. There love for each other had grown so much stronger now that they’ve shared their dark secrets to one another.