Chapter One: Silent Night
It was a cold, and misty night where the twins lived. All of the townspeople were sleeping, except for two. Jessamine was busy putting her hair in curlers, while quietly - but beautifully - singing along to her favorite song. She rolled another strand of her blond hair and rolled it into the curler, and then she was finished with her curlers. Jess was very excited about the eighteenth birthday that she shared with her sister, Anabella, which was coming up a week and a half from now. Anabella had insisted that she did not want a party, that Jess could have one, but Anabella would be better off without one. Anabella had wanted to just stay in her room, which, oddly enough, she had been doing a lot of lately. But, Jess didn’t question her twin sister. Anabella had always been the less-social one; she seemed to have social anxiety. Jess was the opposite. She loved talking, and she loved people. She was kind of like those cliche cheerleaders in the movies, except Jess was nice.
Jess finished with putting the colorful curlers in her hair and looked down at her chipped, bitten-down nails. She had a bad habit of biting her nails, which resulted in her having to repaint her nails almost every day. Sighing, Jess got her nail polish box out, and picked a dark, navy blue color, and began to paint them. It was about eleven o’clock, and Jess looked out her window, just in time to see a flashing, blinding bolt of lighting. She counted: one, two, three, four. . .At five, thunder rumbled and shook the house. Their little brother, whom they had adopted (for their mother, but that is a story yet to come), began to cry. Jess waited, to see if Anabella was up, and wondered if Anabella would calm their little brother, or if Jess would have to stop painting her nails to go and soothe Trenton.
After a few minutes passed of Trenton still crying, Jess finally stood up, carefully setting her nail polish back down. Her nails were still wet, but if Anabella wasn’t going to calm their little brother down, someone had to. Jess grabbed a Kleenex and dried her nails. So much for painting them. She thought to herself. She finally made it to Trenton’s room and sat on his bed next to him. “What’s wrong Trenton? Why isn’t Anabella here to calm you down?” Trenton sniffled, remaining quiet, shaking in his blankets.
He rubbed his eyes and Jess pulled his hands away from his eyes. “Don’t, that will only make them worse, just please tell me what’s wrong.”
Trenton sniffled again, before finally taking a deep breath. “Well… The... The loud booms outside remember me of my daddy who used to beat me up…”
Jess gasped, completely remembering all that happened to Trenton. She grabbed Trenton’s shoulder and held onto him. “It’s alright Trenton… He can’t hurt you anymore.”
Trenton nodded and squeezed the small blue elephant plushie that he had on his bed. Jess kissed Trenton’s forehead, hugging him.
After a while, when Jess had rocked Trenton to sleep, Jess got up and went back to her room. She finished painting her nails, then looked at the clock. Midnight. Should she go and check on her twin sister, Anabella? Or should she go to bed, and plan for the surprise party that was coming up?
It was a hard decision.
Jess sighed and stared at her nails, it wouldn’t hurt to check up on Anabella, besides, she wanted to know why Anabella didn’t go check up on Trenton. Reaching Anabella’s door, Jess knocked on her door, with no response.
Jess pressed her ear against Anabella’s door, she could hear a type of music playing. Jazz-like music, but it was weirdly corrupted and static-y.
She knocked on the door again, but this time even louder. “Anabella? Are you up?” Jess grunted and twisted the doorknob. The door cracked open with a loud squeaking sound. Confused, Jess fully opened the door and covered her mouth. Candles were scattered in almost a star-shaped form. “Anabella?” She looked around, the heads of dolls were hanging on the ceiling. Finally, she noticed Anabella, but she didn’t look like Anabella. A dark figure, almost ghost-like. “Anabella…? What are you doing?” Jess put her hand on Anabella’s shoulder.
Anabella’s eyes flashed open. Jess stumbled backward, gasping.
Anabella’s eyes were not the green that they used to be, they were a deep, dark red that seemed to be trying to suck Jess in - or, even worse, hypnotize her! Jess studied Anabella’s facial features, trembling, and saw that she looked, oddly enough, angrily calm. Maybe she was sleepwalking. . .or sleep sitting. . .Yes, that’s probably it! I shouldn’t have woken her up, though. . . Thoughts raced through Jess’s head, and she didn’t know what to do - let alone what was happening.
Jess stepped backwards, unsure of how to help the situation, so, instead, she left Anabella alone in her room, and went to her own room, to go to sleep.
Though, once she reached her own room she couldn’t help but to worry what was wrong with Anabella. Jess never believed in demons, or people getting possessed. So she hoped that Anabella was just sleep-sitting.
Although, Jess remembered being told by her second grade teacher that you should never wake up someone who is sleep-walking or sitting. She was tempted to go back into Anabella’s room, but instead she laid down in her own bed, listening to the whistles of the wind outdoors. Closing her eyelids to try to sleep, Jess finally felt herself drifting. Please, please, please, please, don’t have a nightmare. Not like last night, please. I’ll do anything. . .
She didn’t get to finish that thought - she fell asleep, pleading with her brain to allow her to have a good dream.
The sky was covered with a cloudy fog, making the sun invisible. Jess walked through the park, listening to the birds chirping. The flowers gently swayed in the wind. But, something was off. All of the people around in the park were black figures, she could hear them talking, but it was all muffled. She saw a person sitting on one of the benches all alone. So she decided to go over to them. She sat on the bench awkwardly. The figure was speaking, but she couldn’t understand what it was saying. She tapped the cold shoulder of the stone-like figure. The figure’s head slowly turned to face her. The white eyes had opened and closed. “Uh.. Hello, my name is Jess.”
The figure blankly stared at her. She awkwardly pulled her gaze away from the figure. She felt something breathing on her back, so she quickly turned back around. She gasped as she backed away. The figure was so close to her, and it’s eyes were red. She backed away so far that she fell off of the bench. Landing with a thud. She quickly got back to her feet and looked around. Her eyes widened. All of the figures were now staring at her, all eyes red and on her. She felt herself shaking. She stepped on her own foot to finally give her the pride to begin running with all she had. She ran out of the park, afraid to look behind her. But she was so tempted.
She looked back, screaming from the sight. All of the figures were after her crawling, quickly. They all had a large smile on their faces that made them look much more of a threat. They had sharp teeth, if she wasn’t careful she would be dead meat. She looked ahead and continued running. The ground was shaking from underneath her. She had tears underneath her eyes, trying to control them. She continued running, but she was running so fast that she couldn’t stop. She tried to stop, but failed. A figure, much, much, much, bigger than the others had its mouth wide open. She screamed in terror as she tried to stop running, but instead ran into the large mouth.
Jess sat up straight in bed, panting. She was drenched in cold sweat, and was terrified. She heard a little noise, kind of like, click, clack, and she knew it had to be Anabella. She looked around her room, pulling her knees up to her chest and rocking herself back and forth. Thoughts raced through her head, and finally, she ran out of the room, and into Anabella’s room. Her sister sat on her bed, reading a book in the lamp’s dim lighting.
“Anabella, I-I had the worst nightmare ever. . .can you help me feel better or something?”
Anabella sat the book down on her bed. “Sure, I guess I could try. What was it about?”
Jess pulled her legs on Anabella’s bed, until she was completely on the bed. “Well… Honestly I’m not completely sure. I was in the park that our parents met-” Jessamine began.
“Don’t. Mention… Our parents…” Anabella interrupted.
“Oh.. Right, s-sorry. But… Anyways, I was in the park. And all of the people were black figures, and at first it was peaceful. I sat on a bench next to one of these figures. I said hello to it… I looked away, then it appeared closer causing me to back away and fall off.” Jess paused. She looked over at the book Anabella sat down.
She shook her head then continued. “Once, once I stood up, all of the figures were staring at me… With red eyes. I began running, and then… I looked back. They were all crawling after me. I was running so fast that I couldn’t stop. And… Then, I ran into a large figure’s mouth.” Jess wiped her forehead that had cold sweat dripping from it.
Anabella was interested - to tell the truth, she’d rather have a nightmare than a “good dream”. To her, good dreams were nightmares. There was just something about them that made her smile a bit. She shook her head and glanced back at her twin sister. “Oh, that’s awful! How terrible and horrific - I cannot even begin to imagine how you must be feeling!” Anabella leaned forward and hugged her sister. “It’s okay, Jess, it was just a dream. Just a dream. That could never happen - it defies the law of physics.”
Anabella backed away a bit to give Jess her personal space. Jess looked down at her hands, they were trembling. “I… I guess you’re right… But, it just felt… So real.” Jess grabbed her knees and pulled them as close as she could. Anabella continued to stay silent. Maybe she didn’t know what to say? “Well… Sometimes… Most of the time, nightmares, and dreams… It Feels real.” Anabella was at a loss for words. “Have you never had a nightmare like me?”
Jess looked at Anabella’s pale reflection. “I.. Uhm, it’s more like me having dreams that feel like nightmares.” She went quiet. Jess and Anabella sat in silence. Jess opened her mouth, but all that came out was a small whine. Anabella reached for her book once again. She opened it back to the page that she had her bookmark in. Jess peered over and moved close enough to Anabella so she could read with her.
Anabella sighed, and began to read aloud, softly, so she wouldn’t wake Trenton up. “The grey clouds filled the sky, a loud boom from thunder, then rain. The rain was peaceful. As it always was, the children of the moon watched as the rain fell down to Earth, and touched the soft, now wet soil. Eri, a young girl with beautiful golden locks, was outside in her raincoat and boots. She was humming a song while running in the rain. Trying, yet failing, she fell into the mud. With a loud splat she fell into a large muddy puddle. She groaned in annoyance. She stood up, letting the mud run down her raincoat. “Eri!! Come back for dinner!!” Eri whined, she promised her mother that she wouldn’t fall into the mud because she would be careful. Her leg was bleeding from the new small scrap that was on her lower leg. “Owiee… Oww..” She ran back to the cottage, she had no idea how noticeable the blood was. She was greeted by her mother and the front door. Her mother looked at her leg. “What happened dear Eri! You promised me to not get hurt!” Eri sighed and took off her boots before entering the house. Her mother grabbed the raincoat and pulled it off. Setting it outside on the small swing-bench that they had, along with the boots.” Anabella looked over at Jess, she was now resting her head on Anabella’s shoulder. Her eyes half-closed, Anabella flipped to the next page, then continued to read. “Eri came into the house with a small limp, her mother picked her small fragile body and placed her on the wooden seat at the dining table. “Stay there, let me get the home-made mixture and bandages out for you my love.” The mother walked away. Eri sat carefully on the seat, staring at her leg that was now dripping with blood. I didn’t realize that I was bleeding that badly. She thought to herself.” Anabella paused again, this time she smiled slightly. “The mother came back with all of the supplies, she carefully dabbed Eri’s leg, then she put on the home-made medicine for scrapes and scratches. Carefully placing the home-made bandage that she made on her leg. The mother caressed her chin. “There you go my dear.” Eri went to her room, and laid in her bed, quickly falling asleep.” Anabella placed her bookmark back into her book. She closed her book and placed it on her nightstand. She dimmed the light next to her bed, and carefully laid Jess down, then she laid down herself and pulled the sheets up, so that they would cover both her and Jess. It was windy outside, cold wind flowed in from the extremely small cracks in the walls. Jess was already fast asleep. Anabella turned off her lamp completely, before she fell asleep as well.
Jess awoke the next morning. The telephone was ringing, and she heard Trenton yell for Jess because Anabella was in the bathroom.
Yawning, Jess stretched and went downstairs.
She took the phone off of the hook and said: “H-hello?”
“Jess, darling! I’ve missed you.” A deep voice said cheerily.
Jessamine gasped and stumbled backwards. “O-oh my - ANABELLA!”
Anabella bounded downstairs. “What? What is it? What’s wrong? Oh, yeah - do you want to finish the book with me tonight? Y’know, after he’s asleep? And -”
“Anabella! Listen to me!” Jess handed Anabella the phone and shrank slowly to the ground.
Anabella shrugged, but then she took the phone. “Hello? This is Anabella.” Anabella heard some static, but then she heard the voice. “Hello Anabella! I’ve missed you as well!” Anabella dropped the phone on the ground. Jess grunted, but she grabbed the phone and handed it to Anabella again. “Anabella? Anabella are you still there?”
Anabella made a sound of agreement. “Yeah, yeah I’m here.” Anabella looked at the ground and gave a dirty look. “Listen. What do you want?” Anabella’s mood changed.
“Well… I was just checking up on you guys, I wanted to see how my girls are doing!”
Anabella squeezed the phone hard. She was about to break it. “I’m sorry. But we don’t want you in our lives.”
She heard him sigh. “Come on, give your old man a break… I’m different.”
Jess stood up and grabbed the phone. She snapped. “YOU’RE DIFFERENT!? YOU CHANGED AFTER MOTHER DIED! WE HATE YOU AND NEVER WANT TO HEAR OR SEE YOU EVER AGAIN!” Jess shoved the phone back into Anabella’s hands. She fell to the ground and began to sob.
Anabella had a straight face, she always knew how to control her emotions. Or at least keep them in until she gets to her own room and is alone. “This is the end of our conversation. Goodbye, Richard.” Anabella hung up, she sat down.
She sat right next to Jess, putting her arm around her, trying to make Jess feel safe.
“It’s okay, Jess. . .he’s done this before, he’ll do it again. There’s no stopping him, unless we buy a Caller ID, but, then again, those are expensive.”
Jess sniffed and nodded. “I know, I know. . .Hey, where’s Trenton? Trenton? Trenton!”
Anabella stood up and pulled Jess up from the ground. “Trenton?” The two went to his room. He wasn’t there.
“Why isn’t he in his room?” Jess squeezed her sister’s hand.
“I’m not sure, Jess.” Anabella and Jess explored the whole house. He was nowhere to be found.
They checked the front door, and to their surprise, it was unlocked. “Oh.. No, no, no… Trenton….” Jess released Anabella’s hand, she fell to the ground and grabbed her knees.
Anabella sighed and opened the door, and they saw Trenton, sitting down on the driveway, staring intently. . .at a frog.
“Trenton!” Jess said happily, and ran over to him.
“Shh! You’re scaring him!” Trenton stood up, protecting the frog. “It’s okay, Hoppy.”
“Hoppy?” Anabella asked, looking a bit confused.
“Yeah, Hoppy.” He murmured something into the frog’s face, and the frog croaked. “I’ve been out here talking to him.”
“Talking to him?”
“Yes, Anabella! Quit repeating after me! Ugh!” Trenton groaned, stomping inside with his frog.
“Wait, Trenton - do not take that frog inside!” Jess ordered, glaring at Anabella.
“Too late!” Trenton yelled, slamming the door behind him.
“What’s gotten into him?” Jess asked, rubbing her forehead. “He’s never this rude. And talking to a frog? He’s much too old to believe in that still!”
“Jess, he’s still a little kid. A child. He’s not as old as us - not even close. It’s just a phase.” Anabella said, against her better judgement.
I believe you, Trenton, Anabella thought, whisking herself inside. I believe you.
“Life is full of lies, people will need to learn how to spot out the lies and see the truth.”