The Seamstress (COMPLETED)

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Summary

In the woods behind a lone house, there dwells a woman--a Seamstress... who needs help. So when Electra and Zinnia Jouvempes come to stay with their aunt for winter break, she takes her chance--not knowing that, unlike all the others she'd viciously torn from their families, these two would be her ending. And as Electra navigates through a painful mess of talking cats, cloaked beings in the woods, and a ghost, she must make a terrible decision--should she kill one to save another?

Genre:
Horror / Thriller
Author:
svara_narasiah
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
29
Rating:
4.8 14 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

Aunt Queenie

A smile of glee adorns the woman’s face as she peers out from behind a trash can, her eyes following the vehicle that quickly zooms past. “I know it’s you,” she whispers, reaching up to stroke the black needle around her throat. “I can smell you.”

“Welcome home.”


Orange sky bleeds into blue as I look outside. We’re driving past houses with fenced backyards, blankets of snow covering the rooftops and ground. Numerous footprints mark the white piles, but in some places it’s smooth as chiseled stone. I gaze at it in wonder; in Florida, where we live, we never get snow, and this is the first time I’m seeing it up close.


“It’s so pretty,” Zinnia says from beside me. I turn my head away from the window and frown at her. Besides being stuck in a long car ride without any form of entertainment save for a deck of cards, I’ve had to spend it with my older sister; her dyed ombre locks gently rest against her shoulders, clear blue eyes like diamonds admiring the winter scenery. She’s 15--two years older than me--and perfect, so perfect that sometimes I want to pull out my hair from the frustration of it.

My eyes drift down to the small crystal necklace she’s wearing--the necklace she got as a reward for "outstanding grades." I would have gotten one too, but unfortunately stupidity and ignorance are my main personality traits.

I stick my tongue out at her.

“She stuck her tongue out at me!” Zinnia complains.

I hear my dad sigh. “Electra...” he says warningly. “We keep our tongues in our mouths.”

If I had a penny for every time he’s said that during our car ride, I’d be able to afford a plane ticket and go back home, because that’s the only thing I want right now. To go home.

“We’re here,” my dad says as we pull into the driveway of a tiny house surrounded by thin shrubbery. As far as I can tell, there isn’t even a second story. “Time to get out.”

I push open the door and step outside. The chill hits me even through the three jackets I’m wearing, but at least I can stretch my legs. Zinnia circles around the car, handing me my backpack as I stare at the house.

“Huh. There are woods over there,” Zinnia says, pointing to the faint silhouette of trees behind the house.

“Maybe you’ll go hiking,” my dad says, lifting our suitcases from the trunk. He yawns, then walks up to the front door. I quickly trail behind him.

He rings the doorbell. It makes a weird noise, like dun-hmm-dun, and an entire minute passes.

“Shouldn’t we ring ag--” I start. Then the door opens, and a middle-aged woman steps out, wearing a pink dress and a grey cardigan, her frizzy brown hair in a messy bun. Eyeliner is smudged around her chocolate-brown eyes, as if she put it on hastily and without a mirror. Thin lips stretch into a smile and she spreads her arms wide, wrapping my dad in a hug.

“Tor!” she exclaims. “I’ve missed you!”

My dad chuckles at his sister. “I’ve missed you too,” he says. “You look... different. Much older.”

Aunt Queenie rubs her eyes, smearing the eyeliner even more. “Well, it has been 14 years,” she says. “Ohh, and these must be my beautiful nieces!” She goes over to Zinnia and gathers her in what looks like a bone-crushing hug. Zinnia winces.

Then she comes for me, and I grind my teeth as we hug. “So grown up!” she cries, pulling back and looking at my face. She pinches my cheeks.

Hmph.

“I saw Zinnia when she was a baby, but never you! I’m so glad to have you here for winter break,” she says earnestly. She looks up at my dad. “Won’t you come in for a cup of hot chocolate? I made a whole pot before you came.”

My dad rolls our suitcases up the doorstep, an apologetic look on his face. “Unfortunately not,” he says. “I have to get to the airport quickly. I have several meetings tomorrow.”

He’s going to leave us so quickly?

Aunt Queenie nods. “Of course,” she says. “And what about Shauna? She isn’t coming with you?” she asks, referring to my mom.

My dad shakes his head. “She’s going to Canada with some of her friends,” he says. “Alone time, apparently.” He looks at his watch, then gathers me into a tight hug. “Be good,” he whispers.

I nod into his neck. He lets go of me too quickly, then gathers Zinnia into his arms and whispers something to her. Is he hugging her longer than he hugged me?

Anything I get, she always gets more.

After giving Aunt Queenie a quick embrace he walks back to his car. “Have fun!” he shouts, waving. “I’ll be back in three weeks!”

Slowly Zinnia and I wave at him until his car backs away, disappearing into the sunset.

I jump when Aunt Queenie rests her hand on my shoulder. “Well, that leaves more hot chocolate for us,” she says cheerfully. “Come inside!”


I do have to give Aunt Queenie some credit, because she makes really good hot chocolate. I try not to sip too loud as I look around her kitchen. It’s cosy and warm, with brick walls and wooden counters. The only strange things are the bits of fabric and unfinished clothing strewn around. I can see five pincushions and strings of yarn hanging off the handle of the fridge, and two boots next to the sink.

Aunt Queenie must really like sewing.

“I didn’t get a chance to clean up before you came,” Aunt Queenie says. As she bends down something comes loose from her dress and I see she’s wearing a strange necklace. When she gets up I observe it’s a long black needle.

I wonder if she ever pokes her neck, wearing that.

She catches me staring and hastily stuffs it down her front. Then she clears her throat.

“I like your necklace,” Zinnia says, trying to break the awkward silence. But I can tell from her face she doesn’t like it at all.

Aunt Queenie lets out a small laugh. “Thank you. It was a gift from my grandmother,” she says.

The sun sets by the time we finish eating our dinner--cold spaghetti--and Aunt Queenie ushers us out of the kitchen, giving us a short tour of her house. First there’s the living room, which has two orange plaid couches and a small TV. There are even more pieces of fabric here, on the floor and couches. The bathroom is tiny, with a fishbowl on top of the toilet. On closer inspection I realise with slight revulsion that the floating goldfish inside is dead. “Oh,” Aunt Queenie says. “I forgot to flush him. I’ll do that later. Come, let’s go to your room!”

Room?

I know I should have expected it, what with the house being so small, but as I stare at the tiny excuse of a bedroom, I wish Aunt Queenie had at least given me and Zinnia separate beds. Instead we have to share a small twin-sized bed, with three blankets and two pillows.

At least there isn’t any fabric in here.

“It’s already nighttime,” Aunt Queenie says. “Time to sleep. Oh, and--” She steps closer. “Don’t touch any of the fabric or sewing equipment around the house, hm? Not unless I say so.”

Then she leaves the room, and after changing into pyjamas Zinnia and I climb into bed. She reaches over and switches off the light. I shiver from the cold; our clothes aren’t very warm.

“I don’t like it here,” I say, turning around to face Zinnia.

“Like it or not, we’re staying,” she replies glumly, pulling the blankets closer. Annoyed, I tugged them back. “For three whole weeks.”

“And I don’t like Aunt Queenie,” I say firmly.

There’s silence for a few moments. Then Zinnia sighs. “Neither do I,” she admits.

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