Struck Me

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Chapter Fourteen

We arrive at Heather's small, wooden house that is located behind a neighborhood and a bunch of trees.

She doesn't say a word to me as I follow her into the house. When she turns on the light to her living room, it doesn't make much of a difference from the darkness that consumed her house.

The house smells like rotting wood and old candles.

I sit down on her itchy, brown couch and look around the room. A small television sat on top of a brown drawer. Behind the television was a photograph of Heather with my grandma, mother, and a man that I did not recognize. I stoop up so I could examine it more. I wonder when this picture was taken.

"I don't have cable so the TV doesn't work," Heather says, making me jump.

I turn around and look at her as she places a stack of blankets that look just as intolerable to sleep with as her sofa does on the coffee table.

I don't know what to say to her, I have so many questions that I know she's going to refuse to answer.

"Who is this guy in the picture?" I ask.

She walks over to me to examine it. "Hmm.. I don't remember."

I find it strange that she doesn't remember but I don't want to question her any further.

She walks to her kitchen which radiates the most light in the entire house.

"Are you hungry, Oliver? Do you want anything to eat or drink?" She asks as I follow her into the kitchen.

"No, it's almost 3:00 in the morning."

She shrugs her shoulders and takes a sip out of her mug.

"Where were you?" I ask while stealing the mug from her hands.

"Oli, give me my tea back!" She whines, attempting to be playful.

"Just stop! Where were you this past week? You are freaking me out because you're pretending like I am crazy because you apparently have no idea what I'm talking about!"

She grabs the mug from my hands and takes another sip while continuing to keep her gaze on me.

"I don't think you're crazy," she says.

"Well what have you been up to this past week?" Maybe if I try to rephrase things she will answer some of my curiosities.

"I've been at home cleaning and working. I had a lot of clients this week wanting to come in for readings. Hey, maybe you could do a tarot card reading some time!"

I continue to think of other ways I could ask her questions so hopefully she could give me some sort of vague answer. Maybe it could help me figure out everything my mom wanted to tell me.

"Do you remember going to the hospital with me and Justin?" I ask.

"Of course, Oli. I'm not crazy. Justin is so sweet but you two get freaked out so easily," she says while smiling at me.

"What happened to you after me and him ran off? We saw you talking to something."

"I think you just let your own fear get to your head because that didn't happen."

"Okay well I kept texting and calling you after that and you didn't respond to any of them. Grandma also tried calling you and you didn't answer her either."

She shrugs her shoulders again and takes another sip of her tea. I feel like there isn't anything to drink in her cup at this point.

"I didn't want to deal with my mom so I didn't respond to her."

"This is so useless! If you don't want to tell me the truth, fine. But don't lie to me and try to convince me that I imagined everything that happened!"

"I'm not trying to convince you of anything, Oli. I'm only telling you my side of the story."

"Well it's bullshit! Grandma said she went to your house and you weren't here."

She ignored me and smiles into her mug.

The more anger that grew inside of me, the more calm she remained. She seems to be enjoying my frustration.

"How have you been since your mom passed? I know it must be hard," Heather says while reaching for my hand.

I quickly pull my hand away from her and laugh at the act that she's putting on for me.

"I'm not talking about this. I want to sleep."

"Very well. I left some extra blankets by the couch. We can stop by your house tomorrow to grab more of your things."

She turns off the kitchen light leaving me in complete darkness.

I make my way back to the living room and sit in the dark for a while. I don't want to be here. I hate Heather. I hate how she's trying to make me feel crazy just so she can cover up whatever the hell she went through.

I miss my mom. I wish she was still here; if I never visited Heather last week I feel as though none of this would have happened, even though Heather had no control of the tree's fate that morning.

I look at my phone and it's almost 4:00 in the morning.

I keep thinking of that photograph that Heather has with my mom and how she lied about that too. At least I think she did. How could she not remember who that guy was? I wonder if my mother knew him.

I use my phone light to look at the picture again and smile when I see my mother's smiling face in the photo. I decide to take a picture of it on my phone and lay down on the couch.

It's been a long night and I'm glad I am not going to school tomorrow.

I stare into the long, dark hallway of that gives me chills the more I stare at it. I decide to ignore my thoughts and close my eyes.

Heather's sofa is incredibly uncomfortable and I toss and turn until I finally lay on my back and sigh in frustration. I might not get any sleep tonight.

My mind wanders back to the hallway and nearly jump at the sight of what looks like Heather sitting criss cross on the floor.

"Heather?" I whisper to the figure.

She doesn't respond.

The figure continues to stare at me. I can swear it's Heather, but what is she doing? Why would she be sitting on the floor and why isn't she saying anything?"

She doesn't move the rest of the night and I pull the itchy, weighted blanket over my head and close my eyes and try to think of anything else besides Heather staring right at me.

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