The following is of a horror and thriller genre. Recommended 16 and over, per Inkitt's guidelines.
My best friend Milly was the best.
She had long curly red curls that sprinkled down to her minute waist, and big brown doe eyes with huge eyelashes. She had a cute button nose, and big, full pouty lips that framed her face. She always wore summer dresses, beautiful dresses that matched the freckles dotted around her pale face. She had bracelets around her ankles, and, if she wasn’t wearing flip-flops, was barefoot.
Milly was my only friend. She had a long name. Michigan Eleanor Crystal Princess, and like her almost-last name (which I usually referred to as her last name, as she never told me what her surname actually was), she looked like a princess too. She didn’t like her name though, and wanted to be called Milly. When I was annoyed I would call her Michigan, and she would flare up. If I was really really annoyed I called her by her full name. She hated when I said it, as I said it as if she was a royal queen and I her loyal servant. I let the words roll on my tongue, “Michigan Eleanor Crystal Princess!” I would say it in a sweet tone, but it sounded mocking. I was good at sounding mocking when I wanted to be, and good at mimicking her voice, which even sounded like a princess’s.
I was bullied at school, so no-one was my friend there. Milly didn’t go to my school. We always met at the park and at my house.
She never showed me her house, and she never told me about her family. From what I guessed her parents disliked her, which would explain why she was barefoot, or that they did not worry about her nor care whether she was there or not. By the way she dressed, summer dresses even in the coldest temperatures, I made a hazy guess that she wanted attention from them.
It was always me and my family. Me and my problems. She never spoke about herself, only to say things like, “I want an ice-cream.” and “I feel quite cold.” She never really opened up to me, though I frequently opened up to her.
When she was annoyed with me, she’d say my full name, “Courtney Elizabeth Cumberdale!” in a rich, layered tone. Her voice was always like that, smooth and slick, with that faint edge of excitement and relief, like a lawyer who knows they’re going to win a case against their enemy or a case they’d bet their life on.
She had striking features, and when she spoke it was like they were highlighted, as if brightened by her words. This distracted me from finding out more about her, and it didn’t help that she changed the subject every time I asked her about her life.
Milly influenced me.
She was hard to refuse, and when she turned those eyes on you and batted them, you knew she would get what she wanted. I could never resist going along with what she suggested.
Once she told me to burn down Mrs. Crutchlow’s shed. Mrs. Crutchlow was a mean old crone who spanked the children she despised. She had graying hair in a rolled bun. Milly often made fun of it. She kept badgering me. I refused to. That was the first time I’d ever said no to Milly.
She turned those eyes on me and I melted. So I did it.
She stood there and watched me as I poured the oily gasoline all over the shed. I did the roof first and worked my way down. When I finished the outside I began the inside. The inside walls were coated first, then the top. The floor was last, and I did the door. I even covered the brass doorknob. Then I stepped outside of it. Milly clapped as I struck the match. I stared at it, heart thumping in my ears, and then I brushed it against the door’s frame. The door didn’t set alight, but when I stepped back a sudden flame sprung up. Milly grabbed my arm and pulled me back and we watched the fire take over the whole shed as it traveled up the walls. A light turned on in the house and I dropped the gasoline as Milly dragged me behind her as we ran to my house to curl up for a sleepover. We laughed as she pulled me there.
We didn’t stop giggling even when we were in my bedroom, lying down and popping Tic-Tacs. I remember she laughed and laughed.
Milly told me things, things I never really would’ve found out if she hadn’t been there to tell them to me. Things like brown icing stunts your growth and that if you dye your hair you’re more likely to live to two hundred. I believed her. She was very convincing, and there was always something in her voice when she was telling me things like that.
She was quite short, shorter than me, and I was very short. Her hair was always in an elaborate style, and reached her waist. I sometimes called her Merida, to tease her.
She looked as innocent as your typical six-year-old kid, but she had mood swings and tantrums and ways to wrap you around her little finger.
Another time she demanded another thing. I refused to stab Mrs. Sanisha, and when I said that, Milly’s eyes flashed, but she let it go. I did disable her burglar alarm and steal her silver. When she heard the clink of breaking china (my fault), Milly glared at me and I muttered apologies. Then there was the padding of Mrs. Sanisha’s footsteps. I began to freak out and for a second Milly disappeared from in front of me, I was so scared. “Milly?” I whispered. Then she swam back into view, tugging me away to leave.
We ran, and Mrs. Sanisha never knew. She never suspected us, still giving us little sweets and muffins.
And we never told her.
The best part about school was coming home and seeing Molly there, a summer dress in and her hair glinting in the sunshine. I thought of her during school and occasionally she would meet me at the school gates, if she was really bored.
I walked home from school - it wasn’t long or exhausting, it was simply a ten-minute walk straight and a left turn at the fourth oak tree.
And my mum was always ready for me at home. She’d always have a snack ready, and if Milly hadn’t met me at school she'd be waiting for me to finish eating outside then we’d go play. If she had met me I wouldn’t eat my snack and my mum would get angry, but not too angry. She never hit me or anything. And it wasn’t Milly’s fault either, I just got too distracted by her to eat.
Milly was the best - all those appointments I had to go to, she stuck by my side. She waited for me, waited until they’d finished. She stayed with me.
She always has.
My daughter runs in, and picks up the Snickers bar I’ve left out for her. She rips it open and begins eating the chocolate. She gives me a thumbs up when she finishes, and pops the wrapper in the trash. She dashes out the door without explaining where she’s going.
I call after her. . . she doesn’t hear. As she races away I lean out the window. She’s smiling and nodding, and her mouth opens. She speaks and I slump. She never talks anymore. Those countless appointments, all those psychiatrists. . . they didn’t help. My daughter doesn’t speak. She only speaks to Milly.
Her imaginary friend.
I watch as Courtney relaxes. Her shoulders come down from her shoulders. Her faces looks. . . free. I wish I could make her look like that.
Shrugging my shoulders, I begin making dinner - I’ll make Courtney’s favourite, lasagna.
“Time to come back in, Courtney!” I yell. No matter how far away she is, she always comes back when I shout for her. It could take up to 20 minutes, which is why I shout for her now as I finish off the decoration of the heated lasagna. I pile them onto plates and spread them out, and lay the table.
Maybe Courtney isn’t coming back. Maybe she didn’t hear me. She’s done this before, “staying over at Milly’s house” last week. She slept in someone’s shed, but the person didn’t mind. She might be doing that again, Who knows where she is. She always appears by 7 the next morning though, and her school starts at 8, so she’s always ready by schooltime.
I find myself drifting off to sleep. Courtney still isn’t back, but she’ll be here tomorrow. I know it.
She always is.
Telltale signs of someone other than me being here, and Courtney’s sandals at the door. She must have left for school now - she’s a sensible girl, when it comes to school.
Police Chief Browning
A nasty case, this. Thank goodness the girl has her name on the tag in her shirt. It’s funny, I’m sure this girl isn’t from our neighborhood, unless she lives with the Bakers, who I’m not friendly with. . . or she lives in the abandoned house at the top of the hill. Most probably the former. Ashley Baker isn’t the most friendly. She lets her child run around - is it her child? I can’t tell. What colour hair does her child have?
I ’ll call in at the Bakers household in an hour. Just need to phrase what to say.
5:00pm, 26th March
The bridge is slightly sticky on my sandals as I race along it, her running beside me. She laughs, and so do I, always following her lead. We reach the edge of the bridge and take off our sandals at a dare she gives me, and she does it too. I relax as we drift to the very tip of the bridge, and her hands stretch out and reach my back and lace together. . . they push me, hard - a sudden collision, her palms pushing my flesh. I stumble, and fall over the railing. Her face finds mine as I fall and her eyes shine with spite and I know my face must be full of something - betrayal.
The floor finds me and a blinding pain runs through me but then I can’t -
It’s a surprise to hear the knock - and it’s Browning. He looks uncomfortable and then he’s telling me about a child - a dead child. Pushed off a railing. I tell him it can’t be mine, she’s at school. And he shakes his head and says no she’s not she didn’t go to school and everything spins, once, twice, thrice and I say no she must be here look her shoes are here she was wearing them last night and tears are spilling down my face and Browning shows me pictures of the body and it’s her her her it’s my Courtney my Courtney dead and I can’t breathe -
Browning tells me she was pushed by a girl around the same age as her and do I know anyone like that, with red hair and the stupidest thing comes out my mouth - I say Milly. Who’s Milly?, he says and I shake my head as I say Courtney’s imaginary friend.
And then I say it was always a bit strange and I tell him the story of Courtney’s birth. They told me I was having twins and I did - one was Courtney and the second one was alive too ,until it stopped breathing two minutes later and we didn’t know why, only that the two babies wee alone together for 10 seconds. Milly died - that’s what we were going to call her. And we always wondered what happened - did Courtney somehow kill Milly? but they said it wasn’t possible - it’s still a mystery now.
And Browning shakes his head and apologizes for my loss.
It’s later, and I dream. I dream of a girl called Milly smiling, and then I see a death - my Courtney’s death. And then Milly turns to me and grins and I see her hands reach out to me.
The room is still. Just the dead body of Ashley Baker, and a bloodstained window give away the peace. The body has been strangled., and the window doesn’t just have blood on it randomly - the blood spells something.
Rest in peace mother
And on Ashley’s stomach MILLY is painted in red.