When I get bored, I go through the box.
Traveling the small distance to the other side of my room, I went to my closet and, opening it, I pulled out a small, white box. Opening the lid, I plunged my hand in, grabbing one of the slip of paper from the many others inside. I closed my eyes and pressed the piece of paper to my forehead.
* * *
Everything was a bright color, whites and light blues and pinks all covering the area. My hand was in my mother’s, warmed by her heat as we stood looking for a seat. I breathed a gasp of wonder simultaneously as my father stood from among the many rows of white chairs and waved towards us. My mother began to walk towards him, though I refused to move as I was still taking in the view.
“Come on, sweetie,” my mother cooed sweetly as she gentle tugged at my hand. I cocked my head towards her and smiled.
“Okay, Mommy,” I said as I walked behind her. We shimmied into the row where my father had stood, and my mother sat beside him.
“There are only two seats,” she commented once she observed the coats and purses reserving seats on either side of my parents.
“That’s alright—Honey, come sit on Daddy’s lap.” I scrambled onto the chair that my father occupied and placed myself onto his lap, smoothing the skirt of my dress once I was situated.
“Mommy, what’s going on?” I asked when I heard music begin to waft from the band, the harmonies reaching my ears.
“The ceremony’s starting for your Aunty to get married. See, here she comes. Isn’t she pretty?” I nodded my head vigorously in response to my mother’s whispers. My aunt was dressed elegantly, her white dress flowing gloriously on her body. At the time, I didn’t understand what it meant to get married, but now, I realized that the man who married my aunt was truly lucky to love someone as beautiful as my aunt.
The rest of the ceremony went on flawlessly; the music flowing beauteously and in perfect tone while every event was conducted in a perfectly exquisite fashion. I danced with my mother and danced with my father and danced with both, standing in between the two as they danced. Though I was young, the day had been wondrous.
* * *
A smile dappled my lips as I recalled other distant memories, taking joy in the times when I was a young girl still living with my parents. I dropped the piece of paper back into the box.
But I felt greedy.
Swishing the papers around as to get a new one, I pulled out another slip of paper and once again placed it to my forehead.
I stared down at the small hands raised in front of me, ones that were dripping with the red substance. My body shook, and so did the hands. My hands.
Eyes widening, I quickly looked around the room, running out into the next one to escape the horror of blood painting the walls. But it was no use. Everywhere I looked, blood plastered the walls, creating odd shapes with the splatter it made. Behind me, my footsteps remained as putrid, dark splotches.
I ran to the doors, trying to thrust them open, to break open windows, to escape. My brown hair swished with the movement of my head, though stuck to my face. Using my clean knuckle, I brushed it away.
My knuckle was now covered in blood. My blood? Who knows. But it was there, haunting me. Terrorizing me.
Oh, the blood.
Once again, I ran, though escape was futile, and only more horrors came. But I ran, and I came to something I feared more. A corpse.
Pools of blood.
I collapsed beside the body, my eyes flickering across the face of the victim. It was all too familiar.
"Mommy?" The voice came from my throat, using my voice, scaring me more.
"Mommy!" The words ripped from my tightened throat.
Scrambling to my feet, I ran away from the carcass. I ran from the truth, the pain, the sadness.
My feet brought me to another room, this one still drowning in blood. There was a lump in the floor, some unceremonious heap of something. Possibly someone.
“No, Daddy, why?” I croaked in disbelief, as I stepped towards what used to contain my father’s soul. I put my hands on his shoulder and shook him, as if he was still alive and doing nothing more than sleeping. My tears dripped onto his cheek, and I knew everything was futile. I stood and ran, trying to think of some logically excuse that defied their deaths.
Suddenly, my mind flashed forward a realization. “Aunty! Aunty!” I screamed as I ran to the guest room, where my visiting aunt was staying. I ran as if finding her could make all right, as if she could rewrite my parents’ deaths. Once I reached the door blocking me from my last hope, I was reluctant to open it. My aunt could help, couldn’t she?
“Aunty, help Mommy! Help Daddy, too!” I sobbed as I entered the room. Here, as well, blood stained the walls and bed, where the last of my aunt laid. I placed my hands upon the mattress as I climbed up.
“Help… Help Aunty, too.” I cried into her back, the shirt beneath my hands miraculously cleanse of the horrific blood. As I cried, I wonder many things. Why? Why the ones I love? Why leave me? Why tonight? Why?
I stayed there, weeping pitifully into her shirt until dawn broke. No sleep graced my mind, and I was left conscious in the terrifying night as I waited for the sun. Light finally broke across the horizon and flooded the room, where, instead of feeling warm relief in the light, I felt horror at the amounts of blood. In the dark, I could not see the hand prints on the walls, the puddles hiding in the shadows, the locks of severed hair, removed from the scalp in a one-sided fight. Darkness had kept it all hidden, and filled me with worry and fear of the unknown, paranoia. Daylight filled me with horrid of what was before me.
* * *
I clutched my hands to my head, rocking back and forth in a comforting position, trying to relieve the fear, the mental pain.
A memory, only a memory.
My hands shook, hovering in front of my face as I looked at what was written on the piece of paper. July 15, 2000.
I was seven then, and now I am twenty, thirteen years later. I am haunted by that night as I have been for the last thirteen years. That was the last thing I ever expected to happen: the killer came bearing no grudge, the police had said. He was only filled with bloodlust and the desire for death.
I hovered my hand over the box, dropping the paper back in. Pushing my trembling hand forward, I faltered, and reeled it back to my body, which was also trembling. I wanted another memory to take my mind off of that one, one like the first memory, but I was too afraid to grab another, for fear it would be like the last one. Picking up the box, I put it away. Tonight, I knew I would be plagued with insomnia; I would not sleep.
I have a box. It's filled with memories of mine. When I get bored, I go to it. Sometimes I come back joyful. Other times sad. And sometimes, like this, truly shaken.
I have my box.
And I am terrified of my box.