Only Child

A shrill scream shattered the peace of the silent night air. The source of the scream’s rushed footsteps echoed in the dark hallway. As I strolled over to the struggling girl, I could smell the fresh paint of the gymnasium just a few yards away. The girl was pitiful really, roughly yanking on the door handle and sobbing into the wooden frame. 

“Please, please, please… I didn’t do anything wrong! I promise I won’t tell a soul, just let me go!” she frantically repeated, like a song stuck on a loop. Her voice sounded so far away in my ears during those moments, like she was whispering to me on the other side of a vault. I could feel my frustration bubbling when she kept repeating her mantra but I couldn’t understand a word she said. The only sound I could really recall was the soft squeaks of my shoes against the linoleum ground and the ticking of the partially off-the-mark clock. 

A thump pulled me out of my thoughts and I looked around to see her on the ground, crouched against the door in a heap. From the looks of it, she’d slid down the door and finally given up on our game of chase. Resisting the urge to cringe at the thorns that pierced her scalp from our dash in the woods, I pulled the knife from my pocket and made my way closer. My quick strides carried me to her huddled form within seconds. In a lightning-fast movement, my hand burrowed the knife deep into her chest, and this time I could hear her. A drawn-out cry of agony escaped her as I pulled the knife from her spinal cord and she slowly fell limp against the ground, face-down. Blood trickled down the knife and fell onto the ground in inky, black drops, which vastly contrasted with the off-white tiles. 

My curiosity overtook me as I wondered what about this girl had disturbed me so much. Maybe it was her inky black hair that seemed like a black hole against the white tile. Maybe it was her pale skin dusted with freckles that matched so closely to my own. Maybe it was her grating desperation to escape from me. Maybe it was how she’d pled her innocence in such a grating tone that it was almost incomprehensible to not dispose of such a voice. I decided to give into my curiosity and used my ankle as a lever to flip the corpse over onto its back. 

My pupils blew and my breaths shortened as I looked into a reflection of myself. Our entire beings mirrored each other. Our only flaw was that Cara was always so willing to leave me behind. When we had friends over she always stole the spotlight, making me known as nothing more than her twin. Always the last to be regarded, even when our parents tried to make me feel like more than her shadow, I saw how their eyes dimmed when they realized it was me. Their eyes showed pity, which only made my own shine with malice. The last straw had been when she’d left the back gate open and my dog escaped onto the street. When our parents broke the news, I knew. She’d done it intentionally, there was no faking the pride she hid behind the false tears that lined her eyes. She’d stolen my closest friend and finally I drew the line.

A loud bang sounded as the school doors slammed open and the school alarm screeched around me. My head turned to the source of the noise so quickly I got whiplash and before I could see anything at the door, my eyes opened to the familiar ceiling. The same smell of my childhood bedroom was intimate in the air. I was left with only one thought as I threw the sheets off of my body, I’m so glad I’m an only child.

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1 Comment

  • Juhi Arora

    This is amazing writing and also gives me the chills.

    February 5, 2023 at 9:42 am
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