Hathaway Brown School
Instructor: Candace Hisey
"It is not real," her mother always told her. "It's all in your head," her father would say. Who knew it would take her looking at their dead bodies to finally realize it.
3 hours earlier
The voices didn't stop, no matter how hard Shelly tried. "Don't you want to make it to the abode of God, the promised land, the heavenly kingdom?", One asked. She figured the grocery store wouldn't be the best place to answer it aloud, so she merely mumbled a "yes." "Excuse me, ma'am are you ready to check out?" She shook herself out of her thoughts and answered swiftly, "Yes, I'm sorry, just one of those days." "I get it, we all have them.". The cashier gave a soothing smile and chuckled. If only she knew, Shelly thought. After thanking her, Shelly hurried out of the door. "Those masks could be contaminated now," the voice says. Once she was out the door she shifted to the wall and grabbed three clean masks. After precisely counting the exact time it took to put the mask on, Shelly started her route home. The walk home didn't go as well as she thought it would. Usually the voices would calm down when she was in a relaxed state, but today felt different. Today felt weird.
40 minutes later
She searches for the key, unlocks the door and softly steps in the house, careful not to wake her roommate, who's faintly snoring on the couch. Masey was a family friend who Shelly had grown up with. They moved in together the day they both turned eighteen. It's not like Masey wanted to, but Shelly's parents did offer to pay her part of the rent if she promised to keep an eye on her until she got a good therapist. Two years later and Shelly had found one…then another…then three more, so Masey just agreed to stay until it didn't work out for them anymore. Besides, they did enjoy each other's company every now and then. Shelly walked over the pile of shoes that lay at the door and headed to her room to calm herself… and the voices. Her first therapist, Jane, had taught her this strategy. "Try to do something creative." she replayed Jane's voice in her head. Pulling a ball of blue yarn and two knitting needles out the bin, Shelly sighed. "You're going to feel better after this." she attempted to convince herself. "No you won't, you need to make it to Heaven if you want to feel satisfied ever again, and knitting won't get you there!" A voice blared in her head. "Yes, I will!" Shelly shouted, not realizing it was aloud. She continued her task and slowly felt herself drift away from her ever so crowded mind. It wasn't until she heard Masey stirring that she snapped back to reality and realized a neatly knitted blue scarf sat in her lap. She tossed it in the bin of others and headed back to the living room to apologize to Masey for waking her up.
1 hour later
After seeing Masey off to work, Shelly picked up the phone and dialed her mother's number. She had dinner with them that evening and felt the urge to confirm they were still having it… for the fourth time. Her parents claimed they didn't see each other as often as they should, they said their relationship was like that of strangers. She tried to explain, tried to tell them it was the voices that kept her away. They pulled her from being too close with anyone like a stingy child who doesn't want to share his toys. They never got it though. They always thought she was being dramatic, or too emotional. She called her mother three times, not because she wanted her to pick up that badly but she needed to call three times because three felt like a lucky number and God forbid she called an unlucky number of times. "Dang it, no answer." she whispered to herself and went on to call her father. It rang twice and then a faint "hello" answered. "Hi dad!" Shelly said, pleased he'd picked up the first call. "What's up sweetie?" he replied, "Just wondering if we're still on for dinner?" Shelly asked blissfully. "Honey, this is your fourth time calling today, yes we are still coming to dinner." he said, sounding quite bothered. "Sorry, I had to confirm, this is the last time, I promise." she said apologetically. "It's alright sweetie, see you in a bit." "Bye dad." There was a moment of awkward silence then the call ended.
20 minutes later
When the doorbell rang for the second time Shelly stopped her pacing around the kitchen and swiftly headed to the door. Her parents had been already standing outside for three minutes, 52 seconds and 38000 milliseconds, too much longer and that would be four minutes and today four seemed like an unlucky number. She swung the door open and quickly motioned for them to come inside, counting each second leading up to the four minutes. "Fifty-six, fifty-seven, fifty-eight, please hurry." she cried out worryingly. Her parents shared a startled glance and hurried in. Once their feet were touching the door mat, Shelly let out a sigh of relief and reached for the bags of Chinese food in their hands. "They need to take their jackets off before they take another step, they could be hiding a weapon." a voice whispered in her head. "Stay on the rug." she ordered. After setting the food on the table, she asked in a stern and urgent voice "Could you take your jackets?", "It's quite cold in here, maybe if you turned the heat on." her mother said, legs shivering. "You know I can't do that, right?" Shelly asked, offended that her mother would ask for something that could result in a respiratory infection if the vent happened to be dirty. Her parents saw her distraught face and sighed, accepting that they'd just have to be cold to eat.
50 minutes later
They had finished dinner a while ago, well Shelly's parents did. A voice in her head wouldn't stop nagging her about the fact the food could be undercooked. "Shelly, honey please eat something." her mother said concerned. "I ate earlier, I'm fine really, tell me more about your new job." She figured this would give them something to talk about since the dinner had been quite silent. "Oh sweetie, it's wonderful!" her mother said joyfully. She talked some more, rambled on about this and that, while her father sat content watching the two interact.
5 minutes later
"Alright, I think we're going to get going," her father announced. "Yes it is getting a little late, we are certainly past our bedtime." her mother chuckled. "Thank you for coming guys, this was awesome!" she exclaimed. "No love, thank you for having us." her father said, smiling upon his face. They were heading for the door when it happened, when the voice said it. "Kill them." it demanded, low but aggressive. "Excuse me?" Shelly questioned it. "You heard me, kill them, how else will you make it to heaven, it's the only way?" it asked back. Another voice chimed in, "Shelly just do it, sacrifice them." Before she knew there were thousands, no millions of voice screaming at her to murder her parents. She spaced out for what seemed like forever, only to wake up holding a knife covered in a red, sticky liquid, a sweaty forehead and her parents bodies lying in the hallway. "Blood." she thought, "that was the red, sticky liquid." and her parents were dead. "No!" she cried out, the scream echoing through the hollow-walled house. She had to fix this, she pushed down on each of their chests, harder each time. "Please, come back, I'm sorry, this wasn't supposed to happen." she said through sobs. She heard sirens in the distance, "Had I called the police?" she questioned herself.
"Ma'am, I'm going to need you to put the knife down." an officer demanded at her doorway. "Wh- what did I do?" she argued. "You killed your parents, what's your name?" he asked, confused as to how she didn't know what she had done. "No, no I didn't do that, my name is Shelly Doorsel and I didn't kill my parents, I could- wouldn't.". He whispered something into his walkie- talkie about back up. "Well Shelly, I'm officer Lionel, can you tell me what happened here, did someone harm you all?". It all came rushing back too soon How could I have been so stupid? She thought. "I did it." Shelly said slowly, "I killed my parents, but I can't go to jail, I didn't mean it, I tried to bring them back, please." "Shelly, why don't you put the knife down and come down to the station with me, we'll get this sorted out." Officer Lionel said with an attempt to coerce Shelly out of the house. "O-ok, as long as you know I'm not a murderer, I swear!" she cried out, her face red from sobbing and palms sweaty with anxiety. She slowly dropped the knife, hearing the clank of it hitting the hard marble floor. She let her knees hit the floor and stared off in the distance watching neighbors gather around her front yard. "What have I gotten myself into and what am I going to do about it?" she questioned herself. "Ok, ma'am, let's get you out of here." Officer Lionel said, cuffing her hands.