Instructor: Abby Chew
A small, wiry teenage girl stands alone in front of a small gravestone in the cemetery clad in nothing but a black, short-sleeved dress. The girl stands with her arms at her sides in no attempt to protect herself from the elements as pellets of rain cause goosebumps to erupt on her pale skin and she ignores the brewing clouds overhead enveloping the land in darkness. She pays no attention to the wind viciously blowing through her brunette locks as her focus stays on the names on the gravestone: "Emma and James Meyers." Her loving parents; were her loving parents.
A tear begins to trickle down her cheek as she remembers the fire that destroyed her house in Detroit along with the lives of her parents. The screams of pain continue to echo in her ears and the guilt that she feels from saving herself weighs heavily on her chest. She is now left with all of the searing memories of their time together as a family, remembering all of the times she gossiped with her mother about boys and made jokes with her father. Those days were brutally ripped away from her, and she would give anything to get them back.
After their deaths, she and her boyfriend, Edgar, moved to Sleepy Hollow to have a fresh start. Edgar treated her well at the beginning. He had always listened to her, spent time with her, and was a pillar of support for her after she decided to have her parent's funeral in Sleepy Hallow—until a certain point. A couple of weeks after they moved in together, she began to notice that he was distancing himself from her. Their weekly walks together grew less frequent, and he left the house often and for longer periods. There were so many signs that he had been giving off, but she ignored them in hopes that they were fiction. As of this morning, they were not fiction. She woke up to find all of their things gone along with Edgar himself. There was no note left for her, but she could come to her own conclusion.
She was now completely alone. No family, friends, or boyfriend. She had no money, assets, or home as all of that had originally belonged to Edgar. It seemed as if her fate was to live and die alone.
The thought causes new tears to well in her eyes as they begin to mix with the rain and a choked sob manages to escape her lips. Flashes of memories fly through her mind's eye; a group hug with her mother and father, being tucked in at night, swimming in the lake with Edgar, her house burning, the burial ceremony, and finally, waking up alone. She drops to her knees in front of the gravestone letting out a guttural scream, memories progressively becoming too painful for her to bear.
"Why me?" the teenager screeches, pressing her hands to her temples harshly. She ignores the sting of her knees hitting the ground and the stain of mud on her dress and continues to sob loudly until she feels a cold hand lift her chin. The girl opens her eyes slowly, only to meet a pair of emerald eyes identical to her own. She is now faced with another girl who looks exactly like her and wears the same clothes as her. Words struggle to leave her lips.
"This isn't real."
"Isn't it, Mallory?" the other Mallory, the possible hallucination, questions, maintaining eye contact. Her grip loosens, allowing her thumb to brush away stray tears. "To answer your earlier question, I don't know. But it seems like the only people that will understand what we've been through are—us."
"This isn't real!" Mallory insists, "I'm finally going crazy." She refuses to believe the fact that another Mallory standing before her is real, but she couldn't deny how nice it was to be comforted, even if it was from herself. It has been so long.
"You believe whatever you want to believe. You can't deny that I'm here right now, but I'm here to help."
The figure speaks so calmly, completely contrasting how Mallory feels which makes her wonder how she could conjure up such a vivid dream, or nightmare.
"How are you supposed to help me!" she snaps, "You're not even real, you have no idea what I've been through!"
"Oh, but I do. I am you, remember? Can't you tell?" she pauses to take a breath. "I know your pain because I am your pain. I have felt every drop of grief that your mind creates. Do you ever wonder why you feel numb or disconnected sometimes? That's me. I take your pain away." The girl meets the eyes of the original, hoping to get a reaction out of her. A sinister smile takes over her features as she watches Mallory tearfully form a response.
"What's stopping you now?"
"I can help you." Mallory stares disbelievingly at her double, but keeps silent, waiting for her to continue. "Don't you feel angry about Edgar?"
"How is this relevant?" Mallory bites, gritting her teeth. She feels defensive yet the anger she feels for Edgar still brims within the surface.
"You know what I mean. I can feel your anger, your loneliness, and your wish for a better life. Don't you want him to pay?" The double's smile increases as she makes eye contact with the original. She sees her actually considering her question, watching silently as she bites her lip and breaks eye contact. This is exactly what she wants to see.
"I mean sure I do, but I don't want to hurt him—"
"Sure, you don't."
"What?" Mallory becomes confused at the patronizing tone. She freezes when the double struts towards her, squeezing her shoulder lightly.
"How many times do I have to tell you? I know you. I know your thoughts, feelings, desires, everything. I know what you really want. I can feel it, too, so don't even attempt to lie to me." She cuts herself off to shake Mallory's shoulders lightly. "Just tell me, please. I want to help you—"
"I want him to feel the same way as me!" Mallory wails, more tears forming rivers down her cheeks. She continues in a whisper. "I want him to hurt." The double eyes her carefully, the same sinister smirk forming on her lips as she lifts a hand to brush away tears.
"I know. Let me take over."
"What do you mean?"
"Let me take over. I told you that I was a part of you right? Give me the front and I'll find him and talk to him. I'll make sure he knows your pain."
"Umm." Mallory takes a minute to contemplate her offer. It sounds entirely wrong, to give someone else full autonomy of her body, but she was giving it to herself. She could trust herself; she only wants to help her. The idea of someone else taking away the agony she feels right now is very tempting. "Okay."
"Good." The double's sneer becomes unsettling to Mallory, but she doesn't have time to clarify anything before her body goes limp and her vision goes dark.
After what feels like minutes, Mallory slowly peels her eyes open only to be met with inky blackness, she almost believes herself to be dead until she notices a light coming from her right. The teenager slowly stands on shaky legs stumbling over to what seems like a window. She looks through and notices her parent's gravestone along with the rest of the graveyard and the window seems to move as if they were a pair of eyes. That's when Mallory realizes that they are eyes, as she quickly remembers her previous conversation.
"Let me out!" She slams her hands against the window harshly, tears filling her eyes. She did not want this to happen. The girl internally hopes that all of this is just a hallucination, a dream.
"Shut up, you're giving me a headache." Her own voice echoes throughout the dark void.
"Let. Me. Out."
"No can do. You gave me permission; I just did as you said."
"You manipulated me!"
"Maybe, but not completely. You'll see."
"Why are you letting me see, why not leave me in the dark?" Mallory startles at the sound of a wicked laugh permeating the silence.
"Because I want you to see what I'm going to do."
Before Mallory can protest, she watches her double begin to move through the graveyard, expertly moving past the gravestones through the thick fog that somehow managed to appear. She leaves the graveyard and walks on the dirt road, passing two stone statues with deer heads, glancing over at the fog glazing over the wooden houses that stood so close together, and noticing how the evergreen trees of the woods nearby make the town seem even smaller. The town was dark and quiet with the only light coming from the candles inside the houses creating an eerie glow. The double kept walking until she came upon a small, wooden, Victorian-style home. Edgar's old place.
"What are we doing here?" Mallory growls, hoping she could hear her. The teen receives no response as she sees her double enter the house, immediately gravitating towards the kitchen. She rummages through the kitchen until she holds a large, kitchen knife in her hands, moving it back and forth in her hands. Mallory somehow feels no pain as her double tests the sharpness of the knife on her own hand, apathetically watching the blood form on her palm.
"What are you doing?" She again receives no response, only a small snicker.
The double seemingly moves on from the knife as she puts it in her pocket and strides over to the living room, eyes scanning across the space until they settle on the candle on the windowsill. Her interest in the candle begins to worry Mallory.
"What are you doing!" she repeats shakily. "Answer me, damn it!"
In response, the double holds the candle in front of her eyes, allowing Mallory to see it, and then drops the candle on the floor, watching the fire spread. She begins to laugh hysterically, prancing over to the other candle and knocking it over as well.
Mallory bangs her hands on the window, "Stop it! Please stop! Please!"
"This is what he deserves."
The girl continues to move through the house, making sure to knock over every candle in sight, until the heat and smoke fill her lungs, coughing profusely. She stumbles out of the house and turns around to face it, grinning madly as the flames rapidly rise higher and higher.
"Why? Why did you do this?" Mallory's tone sounds defeated, resigned to her fate.
The sinister smile reappears on the double's face, "You know what I think? I think that even you are capable of doing bad things; you just needed a little push. You do realize that I am you right? I think—"
"I. Am. Not. You. You did this not me."
"We'll see about that." After that, she cuts off her connection to Mallory. She can no longer feel her banging inside her head and she can finally think. The teen glances back at the fire and briefly feels Mallory's grief, remembering the fire that killed their parents. She winces at the thought, but it only strengthens her resolve. Her hand grasps at the knife in her pocket, pulling it out slowly along with a small slip of paper that she found in the kitchen with Edgar's handwriting:
Amityville, New York. Train leaves at 8 am.
After reading it slowly, the girl crumples it up and puts it back into her pocket, focusing on the knife in her hand. While turning it over, she takes a second to glance at her reflection, only to notice that her reflection suddenly has wetness coating her cheeks.
"It's okay, Mallory." She whispers aloud, "I'll kill the bastard for the both of us." The knife immediately goes back into her pocket, and she starts walking toward the train station, leaving the raging fire in her wake.