Story I wrote for a local contest
“Oh, you are finally here! I was worried you would not make it. Come sit down.” Louarn’s aunt pulled him into a hug. He could tell she was stressed, as always during the holiday months.
“Well, I finally managed to fix the car. Sorry for being so late.” He pecked her on the cheek and looked around the house, “And might I say that the house looks wonderful, perfect for a Christmas holiday.” His mother would try and hook him up on a blind date with someone she had met recently.
His aunt waved him into the living room. Then she went to check on the dinner. His mother sat on the couch. Louarn gave her a quick hug and a kiss before looking around the room. The walls were painted a pale blue, with Christmas lights and decorations hanging everywhere. Decorations covered the Christmas tree, almost completely covering up the plastic, green needles.
One item stood out the most, however, a polished, mahogany wood rocking chair. A faded red blanket hung across the back. The chair had been around for generations. Louarn could not guess as to why his aunt still had it. No one ever sat in it, the chair seemed to be only for decoration.
When he asked, she would only reply that it had been a gift for his great-grandfather, a thank you for trying to saving a child’s life. She dubbed it the “Christmas Chair” because of the date it had been given. Louarn was surprised at how well it looked for its age.
He could already hear his mother giving him a speech about why he did not have a girlfriend yet. Louarn did not bother to listen, tuning her out completely. He had heard all of the speech before, every holiday for the last seven years. Why did he not have a girlfriend yet, at twenty-five, he should be settling down by now.
“Louarn? Are you listening to me?” The room snapped back into focus, he had started to drift off.
“Yes mother,” he replied back automatically. The woman frowned but did not say a word. Instead, she stood up and went to help her sister in the kitchen.
Bored, Louarn glanced around the room, His eyes landed back onto the rocking chair. It seemed to be moving ever so gently. Louarn could not tell if it was really moving, or just his eyes playing tricks on him.
Intrigued, he moved closer, carefully observing the wooden chair. The chair rocked faster as he got closer. By the time Louarn stood directly in front of it, the chair looked as if someone had just gotten out of it. He felt a tingle of fear, but managed to assure himself it was the wind, or his aunt had gotten a pet and forgot to mention it.
Before he could investigate further, the door swung open wide, letting cold air creep into the room. A man walked into the room, accompanied by a little girl. Her blonde hair sat in a braid and she was biting her thumb. The girl’s eyes landed on Louarn and she broke into a wide grin.
“Louarn,” she cried enthusiastically, rushing into his arms. Smiling, he picked her up and swung her around.
“How is my favorite cousin doing today?” Without waiting for her reply, he stepped back, observing her. “My, my Danny, aren’t you just growing up fast. I might have to glue cinderblocks to your head to make you stop.” Giggling, the girl covered up her head.
James walked over, narrowing his brown eyes onto Louarn, blonde hair almost crackling with electricity. “Lou, how many times do I have to tell you to stop calling her Danny? Her name is Danielle.” Louarn chose to ignore the hostility in his relative’s tone. He was not sure what made the man hate him so.
“Danny, Danielle, what’s the difference,” Louarn replied lightly, “I swear James; you are nothing like you used to be.” Louarn ruffled Danny’s hair and walked back to the couch, sighing heavily, so much for a Christmas spirit. One family member would be playing matchmaker and another would be sending him dark glares throughout the night.
The rest of Christmas Eve night passed by slowly, almost painfully; Louarn’s mother and aunt talked about wonderful girls they had met while James glared daggers at him throughout the night. Danny would glance longingly at the presents they would open in the morning. She had begged her father to let her open one early, but he refused.
Around eleven, Louarn decided he was done. Wishing everyone a good night, he walked through the halls until he made it to the guest room. As the door opened, Louarn noticed that his bag was on the opposite wall he had placed it on. It looked as if someone had taken it and thrown it while it was open. A trail of clothes and bathroom items led from one wall to the other.
“Very mature James. A great example for Danny,” he muttered to himself, picking up the items on the floor. Not bothering to place the items back neatly into his bag, Louarn tossed them on top and promised himself to do it tomorrow. No doubt Danny would be up bright and early to open presents, but James would most likely just mess it up again after everything was picked up.
As he crawled under the blankets, Louarn failed to notice the door slowly creaking open.
“Presents! Yay, time for presents,” Danny’s voice echoed from the living room. Louarn smiled at Danny’s excitement. She had much more energy than anyone else in the house. As promised, she waited until seven in the morning to wake everyone up, even though Danny had more than likely been up for hours.
Louarn reached up and stretched his arms, only to feel a sharp pain near his wrist. Jerking his arm back sharply, he inspected the wound. A deep cut ran down the middle of his arm, almost from the wrist to the elbow. Blood poured out of the wound in waves, Louarn felt dizzy watching the red liquid slide down from his arm to the bright white sheets.
With Louarn’s mind clouded by shock and pain, he focused on searching his bed for what caused the bloody gash. Within a short time, he found it. A black switchblade rested just above his pillow, blade opened. He stared at it for a few minutes, trying to comprehend the sight.
“Louarn? Are you coming? It’s time for presents,” Danny’s knocking and shouts snapped Louarn out of his confusion. Shouting that he would be out after a quick shower, he hurried to the bathroom connected to the guest room. He did not want everyone to worry about what had happened.
His first thought was to get the blood to stop. Grabbing a towel, Louarn wrapped it tightly around the cut. After ten minutes, he started to panic when the blood did not slow. He grabbed another towel and increased the pressure, elevating his arm on the bathroom counter.
When the blood had successfully slowed down to a full stop, he stood up. Louarn just finished cleaning his arm and slipping on a long-sleeved shirt when he realized Danny had been knocking the whole time.
“Are you almost done, Louarn? Grandma said we can’t open the presents until you come out. Louarn?” It took him a moment before he could respond. He said that it would just take a few more minutes and he would be out to open presents.
As Danny raced excitedly down the hallway, Louarn grabbed all of the sheets and the dirty towels and threw them behind the bathroom door. He would figure out what to do with them after opening some presents. The sight of all the blood made him dizzy.
Making sure the wound could not be seen under his shirt, Louarn walked down the hall. His mind focused on the switchblade. Why had the knife been on his bed in the first place? He did not own a knife; neither did his aunt or mom. It had not been on his bed last night, so how did it get there?
Louarn barely noticed as he sat on the couch in his aunt’s living room. Presents were passed back and forth, yet he stayed in a haze. Who could have done such a thing?
“Louarn, dear, are you alright? You seem a little pale,” his aunt remarked.
Instantly, Louarn looked up, “I am fine. Just feeling a little sick, is all.” Behind his aunt was James. Louarn’s eyes narrowed. Could James have really done such a thing? Louarn knew that he hated him, but could it be so extreme?
Trying not to make a scene, Louarn stood up and walked out of the room, mumbling something about how thirsty he felt. He stormed off to his room, trying not to punch a wall.
In front of his door he froze. The switchblade was stuck in the door, the metal almost halfway through the flimsy wood. Panicking, Louarn struggled to pull it out. Once it came free, he hurried into his room.
Staring blankly at the sight, the knife fell, narrowly missing his foot. The bloody towels and sheets that had been hidden behind the door were now strung up over the room. Holding them up were more switchblades, all the exact same as the one by his foot.
He bit back a scream. The sight was disturbing. Some of the blood had not yet dried, and dripped onto the floor, leaving bloody puddles. Louarn felt too sick to stay in the room any longer. He rushed back out of the bedroom and slammed the door shut, leaning on the frame for support.
His mother heard the noise. She and everyone else rushed to see what the problem was. Without asking her son the problem, Louarn’s mother burst into the room. Once her mind comprehended the sight, she let out a terrified wail. The others let out a gasp of shock themselves.
Louarn grabbed Danny’s arm and covered her eyes from the sight. She did not struggle, but held on tighter, shaking with fear.
“Who could have done such a thing,” his aunt asked, gaining her voice back first. Seeing his accusatory glance cast towards James, she gently pulled her sister and Danielle back into the living room. Louarn could faintly hear his aunt coaxing the little girl with more presents.
Having also noted the glare sent in his direction, James boiled. “You think I did this?”
Louarn stood up, feeling less faint. “Who else could it be? You seem to be the only one in the house to hate my guts. I can’t believe you hate me so much as to do something as this.” Louarn gestured towards the bedroom. He choked on his next words as he glanced around. The bedroom had changed. The sheets were pulled aside to show an open wall. And on that wall, was a message.
‘The truth cannot be hidden. I refuse to stay silent any longer. Tell the truth!’
Louarn paled; the words were drawn in a dark red, dripping substance.
Emotionless, James turned to face his younger cousin. “I must have done that in the few seconds you were not looking, right?”
Louarn opened and closed his mouth a few times before he could speak again. “Then who could have done it? This is the only way to get into the room. And what does it mean by telling the truth? I have not done anything!”
James gave him a droll stare. Before Louarn could respond, his aunt burst into the room.
“The chair, it’s on fire! What is going on,” she cried. James and Louarn quickly responded, rushing to the room to put out the fire. James grabbed a fire extinguisher resting on the wall. In the living room, they were met with anguished cries.
James gasped, looking towards the engulfed chair. In the seat sat a little girl. Her thin brown hair fell out in clumps and her skin burst open like an overfilled balloon. Oozing liquid poured from the marks. Her stone grey eyes met Louarn’s frightened blue ones and never left.
“You did this to me! How could you. My daddy trusted you, he believed you were coming to save me, but you were the one that killed me. And now, after all these years, you come back. Why? Why won’t you leave me to die in peace?” The girl scratched at her face, leaving deep cuts one her pale skin. She continued to cry and rock herself on the burning chair.
All eyes turned on Louarn. He stood their speechless. What could this girl possibly be talking about? He had never murdered anyone, never even thought about murdering someone.
“Answer me,” the girl cried in agony.
“I-I don’t know what you mean. I haven’t killed anyone.” Louarn was now trembling in fear.
“You still deny the truth? After you betrayed your best friend? After you betrayed his daughter? After you killed me?” The girl leapt up suddenly, grabbing Louarn’s throat and squeezing, she pulled him down to the ground. Louarn could not break free of the deathly strong grip, no matter how hard he tried. He could see that the wound on his arm had opened again, blood soaking through the shirt.
Louarn looked around, silently begging for help, only to find that no one else was in the room. Everyone had vanished, even James and Danny.
He could feel blackness creeping up. His throat burned from pain. The girl no longer gripped his neck, but something still squeezed. She sat again in the rocking chair, crying out and demanding answers.
“That is enough, Izobelle! He isn’t the man you think he is.” Suddenly, the wails stopped. Everything grew silent. Louarn realized he could breathe again. Dropping to his knees, he sucked in as much air as he could, struggling to grasp what had happened.
“How could you defend him,” the girl, Izobelle, now stood in front of James. Her hate-filled eyes now trained on only him. Danny stood behind, clutching a piece of paper in her hands.
“Because, I know who you are. You are the girl in this picture, right,” Danny said softly. She was shaking from fear, but managed to hold out the picture in her hands. The brown haired girl grasped it immediately. Her gaze softened for a moment when she looked at the picture.
“Yes, and that is my daddy, in the middle. The one on the left is Mr. Smith. He was my daddy’s best friend. He took care of me when daddy was busy with work. I liked him he seemed so nice.” Her voice trailed off and her eyes grew dark again, “but then he killed me, and lied to my daddy.” She thrust the picture back at Danny, who flinched.
“Don’t you see? That man over there is the same one as in the picture. He is the man that killed me, and then pretended he tried to save me. He told my daddy that someone had kidnapped me. Mr. Smith said he tried his hardest to fight him, but the man managed to take me anyway. He lied, why did he kill me? Why did he lie?” The girl fell to the floor, sobbing. Danielle, no longer as scared, moved closer and patted her back.
“I know that the man killed you. But it is not the same man as over there. That man is my daddy’s cousin. He could never hurt anybody. Daddy told me he used to cry when one of his pets died. I think the man in the picture is Louarn’s great-grandfather. I know they look alike, but they aren’t. Can you please forgive him?”
The girl looked up. She sniffed and wiped at her eyes. Her body started changing, looking more like the girl in the picture. “Then where is that man, and my daddy?”
Danny frowned, “You daddy is probably waiting for you. I don’t know about Mr. Smith, but he is probably dead now too. You should go and find your daddy; he must be waiting to see you.” Danny held out another item in her hand. It was her favorite stuffed animal, a pink elephant.
“Take it. Ginko will give you good luck, and help you find your daddy.” The girl sniffed again and gingerly grabbed the animal, hugging it to her chest. She thanked the girl and walked over to Louarn, who still knelt on the floor, struggling for air.
“I am sorry mister. I did not mean to hurt you. I thought you were the bad man. Please forgive me.”
Louarn managed to smile. “Of course, I understand. Now, I would listen to Danny and find your dad. He must be worried about you.” The girl nodded eagerly and vanished, taking the burning chair with her.
James walked over and helped Louarn up. While they were walking, Louarn could not help but to ask the same question he had been asking himself for months.
“Are you ever going to tell me what I did to make you so very angry at your younger cousin?”
James smiled and shook his head, “I think we are even now.”
“Louarn come look! They are really pretty!” Louarn groaned and tried to pull his arm away from Danny.
“Wasn’t Christmas yesterday?”
She huffed impatiently, “yes. But we have a late present. You need to come see it.” Groaning, Louarn crawled out of bed and followed the girl to the living room. Standing in the center was the old mahogany chair, softly rocking back and forth. On the chair was a small package, wrapped up in a white sheet.
“See? It’s from Izobelle!” Louarn walked over and picked up the card sitting on top. In messy, child-like handwriting were two simple words.
I wrote this for a contest. I didn't win, but I got an honorable mention!