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Mama’s Watching You

Sarah sprints through the woodlands, jumping over the fallen trees; ducking under the hanging vines and running in line with scurrying animals.

The spirits in her mind are still uncontrollable. The mumbling whispers occasionally overpowered by the cries of a hurting spirit.

A certain spirit’s cries stood out to Sarah, whilst she was sat next to the trickling river running past her abandoned shack.

‘My daughter has been alone in the countryside; she never knew what happened to me. Since she was fourteen she has fended for herself. She has no family, I was her only family.’

The spirit told Sarah where to find her. On an old farm only a mile from her shack.

Sarah comes to the outskirts of the woods. She ducks down and kneels behind a tree trunk. Resting her palm against its uneven, coarse surface, she looks from both sides of the trunk and out onto a field where the horses roam, flicking their stranded tails. Their necks arch whilst their lips browse the grass and their yellow teeth chomp on the grass.

She looks past the horses and sees a white house on the top of the slope, separated by a wooden fence surrounding the house.

Sarah sprints from the tree line and over the uneven grass, straining her thighs and bony knees. Her heels hit her buttocks as she bounds over the serrated surface.

As her eyes search her surroundings, she stares into the shining black eyes of the horses she passes.

Sarah jumps over the fence and walks towards the house. She runs up to the side wall and pins her back against it, looking back towards the field and woodland.

Sarah slowly stands on her tip-toes and looks through the window into the sitting room of the house. The room contains two armchairs facing a portable TV, a cupboard full of antiques and a set of drawers with picture-less frames on the top. Sarah slips her fingers under the window and pushes it open. She pulls herself up on the window ledge and leans her head into the house, listening in. With no sounds within the house, she slowly drops herself onto the old flattened green carpet.

Sarah stands upright and closes her eyes, placing her palms by her sides. She asks the spirit in her mind to come forward, to confirm whether she’s in the right house.

The jumbled whispering continues. Sarah waits, trying to make out the whispers sounding like prayers. She hears a thud upstairs. The whispers disappear. Her eyes open and she walks over to the antiques which are mostly blades and handguns. There’s another thud upstairs, followed by footsteps. Sarah looks over to the picture frames. The footsteps come down the stairs and approach Sarah’s position.

‘It’s the house of my daughter Tammy.’ A female voice says.

Sarah pauses. ‘What do you want me to do?’ She says in her mind.

‘I need to get something for Tammy and to tell her I am watching over her. Go into the kitchen, walk through it and go upstairs.’

Sarah walks into the kitchen, her feet making creaking sounds on the floorboards under the carpet. She strides through the kitchen, entering the dining room and back around to the front door and the bottom of the stairs.

As Sarah pokes her head around the corner, back into the sitting room, she sees the back of a woman and her brunette ponytail dangling down her back, she is staring at the open window. Hesitantly, she shuffles her feet and slams the window shut.

Sarah tip-toes up the stairs, hearing Tammy’s footsteps move into the kitchen.

Sarah stays on her tip-toes as she listens to the voice.

‘My room was at the end on the left. Go there.’

Sarah walks to the door and as she pushes the handle down it is stiff. The whispers begin to jumble again. ‘No. Come back.’ Sarah shouts in her mind. But she doesn’t come back. The whispers speak faster as Tammy jogs up the stairs. Sarah backs into another room and rolls under the bed.

As she faces the underside of the mattress, she hears Tammy enter the room. The heels of her boots scrape the floor. The whispers begin to shout. Sarah covers her mouth, muting her cries as her nose and ears begin to bleed.

Tammy shuffles to the side of the bed, opening the wardrobe. She slams the wardrobe shut. Sarah’s legs flinch, knocking the floor and making the floorboards creek. Tammy’s feet slowly turn away from the wardrobe and face the bed.

Sarah holds her breath and the spirits become silent. Tammy kneels down onto the floor, her knees lean on the clumps of dust. Her palm rests flat on the floor, revealing her chewed, dirty nails. Her hand moves as she picks something up off the floor. The glint of a necklace disappears as Tammy lifts it out of Sarah’s sight.

Tammy stands up and walks out of the room. Sarah pulls her hand away from her mouth and wipes the blood from her face. She is breathless.

The voice enters her head. ‘Get to my room.’

Sarah rolls from under the bed and stands in the doorway, facing the locked door of the spirit’s old room. Tammy’s quieter footsteps are now downstairs.

Sarah goes to the door and looks at the pieces of chipped white paint on the floor. The key is in the keyhole.

The lock makes a dry clunk sound and the door opens. Sarah pushes her way into the musky stench. The black painted windows allow shafts of sunlight to come through, highlighting the particles of dust floating.

‘Go to my bed. Lift up my mattress and there you will see a picture of me and Tammy.’

Sarah goes to the bed and finds the photo.

‘Now, go downstairs into the kitchen. Stick the picture on the fridge and use her alphabet fridge magnets to say mama’s watching you.’

Sarah walks out of the room, leaving the door open behind her. At the top of the stairs she listens out for Tammy.

Reaching the bottom, Sarah looks into the sitting room and then the dining room.

Sarah goes through the dining room and pokes her head around the corner into the kitchen. Looking out onto the back garden, she sees Tammy sitting on the grass, her hands hanging limply in front of her face, studying the necklace.

Sarah crosses to the small fridge and uses the lettered fridge magnets to spell out ‘mama’s watching you’, then uses another fridge magnet to pin the photo of Tammy and her mother next to the message.

Sarah looks back out into the garden to see Tammy coming back towards the house. Sarah runs towards the front door and pulls it open and waits.

She hears Tammy close the back door. The spirits begin to whisper wildly, all overlapping each other as they say: ‘No one can know your secret.’

Tammy squeals and Sarah hears her in the kitchen as she bursts into tears. Sarah walks out of the front door, letting it slam behind her.

Jumping over the fence, she runs to the woodlands. She hears the echo of the front door slam, followed by a number of gunshots. Tammy’s shouting is hard to hear as the spirits’ whispers drown out her cries.

Sarah reaches the tree line and looks back at Tammy, who’s kneeling down on the grass. Sarah runs back through the woods to her shack.

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