“I had just turned seven when I experienced the first symptoms. The day that happened, I was in my room, I had just finished dinner and I was sitting on my bed, reading a book and looking at the illustrations, when suddenly I heard a voice that I didn’t know exactly where it came from. It was a woman’s voice, soft and melodic, and it was strangely familiar to me even though I was absolutely sure I had never heard it in my life.
I got out of bed and pushed the chair in front of the desk to take it to the window, waiting to see where that voice came from calling my name, maybe it was my neighbor, Mrs. Carter, she had always been very kind to me, I think that more than normal although I have never known why. Anyway... I didn’t see anyone, nothing unusual happened in my town.
My room was on the first floor and from up there I could see the entire garden, the houses of my neighbors and the cars that were parked along the street... and exactly that was the only thing I saw, dimmed by the dim lights of lampposts.
The voice called me once more, warning me that I was looking in the wrong place and crying out that I shouldn’t only open my eyes, but also my mind.
Confused and intrigued, I climbed down from the chair, opened my bedroom door trying not to make a noise so as not to wake my father or my sister, and walked along the corridor.
I stopped for a moment, my heart was pounding and I felt the restlessness take over me, because the voice came from a pale but very beautiful woman who was sitting on the stairs that led to the lower floor. I didn’t know who that woman was or what she was doing in my house, however, when my feet reacted taking a few steps in her direction, a kind of inner peace that I didn’t remember ever feeling, it urged me to approach her. That woman only wanted me to tell her if I had a happy life, if my father took good care of me, if he and my sister were happy...
I told her everything being as precise as I could and when she was satisfied, she walked me to my bed, tucked me in and kissed me on the forehead before disappearing, leaving inside me a great feeling of emptiness.
I didn’t understand who that woman was or why she had asked me so many questions, I was too young to understand, but there was something about her that gave me confidence, that I shouldn’t question that evocation.
The next day, when I woke up and ran down the stairs to go to the delicious aroma of my father’s pancakes, I saw that same woman again, but she seemed totally different, she looked happy, radiant and was hugging my father in one of the portraits hanging on the wall downstairs. It was there that I realized that the woman who had visited me was my mother, the same one who had died shortly after I was born.
That same night I saw my mother again, although she no longer resembled the evocation I had seen the night before, she had changed, her face was much more emaciated, her paleness had become accentuated, as well as her dark circles and she had cuts on her wrists from which blood emanated, leaving a crimson path wherever her walked. I followed her despite the fact that fear had almost paralyzed me, I wanted to ask her why she had changed, why she looked so ghostly different, so macabre, but my mother didn’t want to hear me, she just went down the stairs and disappeared through the door.
I wanted to open the door, but when I turned the key I discovered that my father had also put two more locks to which I didn’t arrive and the noise I made when trying to open the door woke him up, he took me in his arms and cradled me as if I had had a nightmare.
When I was old enough to get out of bed alone, I started to sleepwalk at night, I suppose when my father saw me, he thought that this was happening to me again and perhaps for that reason he didn’t question my actions.
I saw my mother a few more times and every time I did, she was more putrid and decomposed, that led me to be interested in the entities, I wanted to know if what was happening to my mother was normal and if there was any way to stop that advancement before she disappeared over time. The funny thing is that, with all the questions that circulated in my mind, there was no trace of the most important: did ghosts exist or was it all the product of my imagination?
For some reason, my mother seemed nervous, she began to point the door at me, she wanted to get me out of the house, but she didn’t want to or couldn’t tell me the reason for her sudden change.
Over the years, my behavior was transforming and all the joy that my childish heart could harbor, was withering until I became a taciturn young woman who barely left her room.
When I turned twelve, after leaving the party that my father and sister had prepared with so much care and affection, I locked myself in my room and plunged back into the only book I used to read over and over again, a book that my mother had shown me on one of her visits.
I never told my father what was happening, at that age it’s not that people my age communicate a lot with their parents, but if they don’t do it with banal issues, I wasn’t going to tell my father that I was seeing my mother at night and, logically, he became overly concerned until he concluded that I should see a specialist.
On my first visit, the doctor acted like he was my best friend, so I understood that this was just a form of pressure and I saw that hiding the relationship I was having with my mother was going to be impossible because I was going to have to visit that man until they found out what was happening to me, so I decided to cut time and tell everything. I didn’t want to waste time or continue visiting him, that man gave me a bad feeling.
After an exhaustive examination, the doctor came to the absurd conclusion that I suffered psychosis and he was sure that, with the passage of time, I would become aggressive towards the people around me and myself...
That scared my father, it was then when he told me that my mother also suffered from that horrible disease, he told me that he was afraid for me, he didn’t want the same thing that had happened to my mother to happen to me, he didn’t want me to commit suicide as she did… Then he decided that the best thing for me was to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital, he assured me that I would have the best care, that they would monitor me to make sure that the disease didn’t progress or worsen.
The day I entered that whitish-walled jail was the day my horrible nightmares began…”
ʽHow long have you been having those nightmares?ʼ Dr. Valentine asked, looking her solemnly, after she had jotted down something in a notepad.
Olivia folded the paper in her hands and grimaced as she ran her memory through her most painful memories. When she found the answer, she inhaled a large amount of air through her nose, held it for a couple of seconds, and began to expel it slowly.
ʽUntil I got out of the hospital, I think the nightmares were the result of all the medications they forced me to takeʼ she admitted.
The doctor nodded with a flat smile on her face and plunged back into her notebook to continue pointing.
ʽYou told me that you had a relapse recently, right?ʼ The doctor seemed interested, but deep down, Olivia knew it was nothing more than professionalism and coldness wrapped in a layer of kindness and sweetness, like a caramel with a sour jelly inside.
Despite what was swarming in her mind and what she thought about the doctor, she had come to her with a purpose, so she sincerely agreed and licked her lips with the tip of her tongue.
ʽYes, recently my roommate said I woke up early in the morning and tried to leave the houseʼ she began to explain slowly. ʽShe returned from a party when she saw me leave my room, said that my eyes were open but that I didn’t respond to stimuli and that I wanted, by all means, to leave the house.ʼ
ʽYour friends is... Celeste Barroso, right?ʼ
ʽShe helped me back to bed and told me everything in the morning.ʼ
ʽWhat do you think could have triggered the nightmares again?ʼ The doctor questioned as she pointed, then crossed her legs and looked at her carefully, waiting for her answer.
ʽMy father’s death…ʼ