Copyright 2021 by Jay Liu
the news reporter broadcasted in front of her house, ambulances and
police cars were already sitting on her yard. “A victim of
suicide,” was the verdict. Nothing more, nothing else. Though
her body had obviously been carried away I could still see her, sense
her presence, as if her soul was intertwined with mine, pulling me
into a distant reality.
rose on my skin, as I fiercely scratched my arms to dissuade the
feeling. My skin peeled to a blood red but I didn’t care. “It
wasn’t me,” I repeated to myself. “It wasn’t
me, it wasn’t me, it wasn’t me...”
kids at school would talk about it, for weeks, maybe even months. It
would be a scandal, especially for such a nice school; for such a
nice neighborhood. Everyone’s wonderful lives would be
temporarily suspended, put on a three day leave as they slowly tried
to forget the stain.
for Connie Owens’ house, even her street, she would never truly
alleviate. A bloody cloth thrown over its white pillared fences, you
could probably see her walking down the streets, clutching her rope,
called to me at night, through the doors of my wardrobe. I knew she
was there, standing behind its shut doors, peaking at me with those
ghoulish eyes of hers through the cracks.
the moonlight, the room got darker, foggier. My vision began to wane
and I could no longer see beyond the outer edges of my bed. I reached
to turn on my nightlight but a ghostly breeze stopped me dead in my
froze. My shoulders began shaking and my eyes watered but I couldn’t
move. I desperately wanted to call out, scream, but it was as if she
was choking me, blocking any air from escaping me.
Owens, I didn’t do it,” I croaked.
wasn’t me, please… it wasn’t me.”
began streaming down my face. Guilty tears, I knew it and so did she.
collapsed into the covers and I hid myself. From her or from shame, I
restless sleep appeased my terror but even in my dreams she found me.
came to me in our school uniform and murmured my name softly,
repeatedly until it became in synch with my racing heartbeat. She
embraced me tightly like a friend, then clutched my face with her
cold, pale hands, scratching my chest with the elongated nails only
the deceased possessed.
alone, so alone,” she whispered in my ear.
no longer possessed a face, only a smooth, featureless surface. Her
hair, a dirty brown, unkept and messy like her old school days were
falling in clumps. They piled on top of my face, my arms, and my
chest until all I could see and feel was that dirty brown.
life,” she whispered again in my ear.
often walked with the loner to and back from school. I never really
looked at her, as I didn’t really like her, but I stuck with
her because she was all I had.
was always chewing gum, the kind that blew into a bubble and popped
loudly. When she was done, she would spit it into a nearby creek and
we would sit by one of the benches, lost in our own thoughts.
kind of peace developed between us and these walks made me more
relaxed about school, about my life as a troubled youth. But she was
spiralling towards the opposite direction.
had an obsession with the online world, an insatiable craving for
attention. She would constantly post about every aspect of her life,
trying to appeal to the “culture,” taking hundreds of
photos of herself.
hung herself over every comment, whether good or bad, from somebody
familiar or unfamiliar, it always mattered. Over time she got worse.
half a year she became extremely thin, anorexic even. Her face paler,
her movements sluggish; she even stopped chewing bubble gum.
walks became quieter, no longer would I hear the timely pops of
a particularly large bubble bursting or her light skipping steps on
the pavement. We now walked slowly and painfully.
was too naïve. I didn’t want to believe what was in front
of me. And even when such thoughts entered my mind, I didn’t
want to talk with her for fear of her reaction. Wouldn’t she
just spite me for not minding my own business?
I was always able to feel her agony, even by the look of her eyes.
Her dark eyes which always shone were now unfocused. As if someone
was whispering unpleasant things in her ear.
I would feel conflicted, nearly on the verge of asking her the
necessary questions but unable to: as her vices seemed so hidden and
unseen from the reality, I lived in.
I let it be and she stood alone.
I woke up in Owens’ room, on top of her bed, in her abandoned
house. I don’t remember what lured me to be in here or how I
got in, but it didn’t really matter, I don’t remember
much now anyways.
it had nearly been three years since Owens’ parents left the
house, it was in complete disarray. A husk of its former self,
standing alone and empty.
yellow wallpaper which hung on every wall now looked stained and
dirty. It was after all a house of ghosts and former glories.
shivered as I instantly saw her reappear before me, precisely when I
woke up, every day of the week.
stretched out her thin arm and gestured for me to get up. So, I did
and followed her.
took me to the kitchen where I commenced my daily routine. Two eggs
for her, one for me, and four stripes of bacon.
hummed to myself as I heated the pan up and put a piece of butter in.
When everything was done, I set the plates and pushed one towards
her. She nodded her featureless gratitude and I began eating my
I finished, I looked towards her and found that once again she hadn’t
ok Owens?” She looked at me nodded again.
don’t have to worry anymore Owens, you’re not alone
anymore. It’s all better now.”
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher