|The Other Me
Author: Meisha Nicole PM
Named after her deceased sister, Kate suffered at the hands of her mother until, one day, she tried to kill her. Over ten years later, she's still struggling to overcome her past demons while also fighting the voice in the back of her head that just won't go away.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Suspense - Words: 10,393 - Published: 11-14-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3074387
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Happy birthday, Kathryn!"
Peaking tentatively behind the corner, she smiled nervously and looked at her mother who was holding a small cake with her name written on it. "Mom, is that really for me?"
"Of course it is, Kathryn. Who else would it be for?"
Written on the cake was Katherine and it made her frown. It wasn't how she spelled her name but her mother did this every year on her birthday. She never used her spelling and instead used her sister's.
"Well don't keep hiding there. Come out and have some cake!"
Grinning slightly, she finally worked up the nerve to run into the room and up to her mother. Sitting down in the chair pulled out for her, she reached for a napkin and smiled at her mother. "Thanks, mom."
"How old are you today, sweetie?" she asked with a teasing smile as she pulled out the candles.
Her mother paused when she said the number and out of the corner of her eye, Kathryn noticed her fingers trembling. "Yes, that's right. This year it's eleven candles and not ten."
"Mom are you alright?"
"I'm fine, Katie."
"Mom, I'm not Katie. My nickname is Kate."
"I can't believe you finally made it to your eleventh birthday, Katie. I never thought I'd see this day after your father and I lost you but here you are. I just can't believe…"
Watching as her mother broke out into a fit of sobs, she reached over to lay a hand on her mother's arm as she gently shook her. "Mom, what's wrong?!"
"I'm just happy, Katie."
"I'm not, Katie! I'm Kate."
"Katherine," her mother warned. "Stop that silly talk."
"My name is K-A-T-H-R-Y-N and you say it Kath-er-in! It is not Kath-er-een!"
"Why would you say that to me? That is incredibly hurtful."
Watching her mother tense, she pushed herself away from the table and stood. "Mom, I'm not Katie. She died."
"Of course, she did Kate. Why are you bringing that up on your birthday?"
Trembling, she let her mother coax her into sitting back into the chair and was startled by the sudden mood change but she was used to it. "Are you okay, mom?"
"Yes, Kate now blow out your candles."
Smiling nervously, she closed her eyes after her mother had lit the candles. Leaning forward, she held a deep breath and then let it out after making a wish.
"Did you make a wish?"
Kate nodded with a smile. "Yes. Can I have some cake now?"
"We'll both have a piece of cake."
Watching her mother cut the cake, she smiled softly at her. "When is dad coming to pick us up?"
Her mother paused. "Pick us up?"
"Remember dad said he was taking us out to eat? It's my birthday dinner!" she said excitedly.
"I said no. We are not going out anywhere, Katie. I lost you once and I won't lose you again."
"I am not Katie and I want to go out! It's not fair I always have to stay inside and walk everywhere!"
"Be quiet, Katie!"
"It's Kate!" she cried as she stood up from the chair. Glancing at the window when she heard the horn beep, she knew it was her father and started to run towards the door.
"Kate! Katie! No!"
Crying out when her mother grabbed her by the arm, she turned around just in time to see a knife coming down at her. "Mom!"
"I can't lose you like that again, Katie."
Screaming as the knife entered her body, she stared up at her mother with blurred vision, tears running down her cheeks as the knife left and then reentered. "Mom…" she choked out.
"I won't let you leave me! I won't!" her mother screamed as she raised the knife up to stab her a third time and before she could… she woke up.
Sitting up in bed, she let out a loud scream. Opening her eyes, she gasped for air and rolled out of bed and onto the floor. Managing to stumble to her feet, she made a beeline for the bathroom and swung the door open. Standing in front of the mirror, she lifted up her shirt and ran a finger over the two thick scars on her stomach.
For a moment she saw them welling up with blood and she had to blink a few times to erase the image. Trembling, she pressed harder on them and once she was satisfied that there was nothing there and that they were closed up, she ran to the toilet.
Gasping as she crouched down, she retched until she finally brought up the remainder of her dinner from the previous night. Shakily, she pushed herself to her feet and walked over to the sink to rise out her mouth. Once she was done, she paused to look in the mirror and wiped the remaining vomit off the corner of her mouth.
She then made sure to avert her faze from the mirror because if she stared to long she would see the other girl and she hated it when she came out. All she brought was trouble.
The last time she had a dream about her mother it had been nearly three weeks ago. It was around the time she started her new mediation but apparently it wasn't working because this one seemed as vivid as the last. Slipping underneath the blanket, she hugged her pillow to her body and closed her eyes but as soon as she did flashes of her mother screaming at her caused her to cry out.
It was going to be one of those nights where she didn't get any sleep and there was nothing she could do about it except take one of her sleeping pills but it made her feel like a zombie. After a few minutes, she decided she couldn't stand to deal with it anymore and decided to take the pills because it was easier that way.
The next morning was her the weekly visit with her psychiatrist and she shifted nervously in the waiting room as she tried to resist the urge to run out of the office. She never had a good luck with therapists and she would prefer to avoid them if she could.
"Coming," she muttered.
Standing up, she headed into the office and sat in her usual spot. She'd been seeing this one for over eight months now but she still felt uncomfortable.
"Morning, Kate. How are you doing today?"
"Did you sleep all right?"
"I had another nightmare."
She sighed. "My mother and the incident."
"What about Katherine? Have you been seeing her again?"
"No, but I didn't look in the mirror."
"What about hearing her? Have you heard her?"
Kate shook her head. "I tried setting up those boundary things you suggested last visit and they worked but only to a certain extent. She still tries to bypass them."
"Do you think I could speak with Katherine?"
She shook her head. "I'd rather not. If she comes out it will be difficult for me to regain control."
"That's fine. Maybe next time."
"Maybe but don't count on it."
Dr. White was the only one who had ever treated Katherine like a separate being (still created by her mind) rather than just a delusion. She wasn't sure what to think about her. After her mother was put away, she started seeing and hearing her. The older she got the worse it got and now she was afraid to look at her reflection.
Sometimes, she didn't know what was real. She might be just a figment of her imagination but she might not. It was hard to tell what was what and when she got like that, she became very scared.
"Kate, when do you want to see me next?"
"Tuesday of next week like usual. Why do you ask?"
He smiled. "I want you to be in control of this."
Nodding, she took her card and walked out quickly to her. Once in her car, she stopped when her phone started to ring. "Dad, I can't talk."
"Kate, I was only wondering if you wanted to get together this weekend. It's been over four months since we last saw each other."
"I'll see if I have free time."
Hanging up, she drove home and felt emotionally exhausted the second she stepped into her apartment. Briefly she thought about calling her father but she couldn't talk to him. He thought she was crazy and was against her going out on her own. With the help of disability she was able to live on her own but it wasn't easy.
Boundaries this and boundaries that. Your therapist is a quack.
Swallowing, she closed her eyes and violently shook her head. "Shut up! I want you to go away!"
I will be with you until you no longer need me.
"I don't need you!"
Be that as it may but I am here to stay.
Finally, she agreed to go out with her father but she met him in a café and was determined to spend as little time with him as possible. "I can't stay long, dad. I have to get home and finish up my homework for class."
"How is school?"
"All right but I'm only taking two classes this semester."
"Maybe if you came back home…"
"I don't want too," she spat. "I can take care of myself."
Her father shifted in his seat and seemed to bow his head slightly. It was as if he felt defeated. "I know that sweetheart. I'm only concerned about you."
He never seemed concerned before. Where was he when his darling wife forced you to be a virtual replacement? Or better yet where was he when she nearly stabbed you to death?
Biting down on her bottom lip, she fished in her purse for a pill bottle and quickly popped two in her mouth. After swallowing her water, she saw her father looking at her with a deep frown marring his features.
"What is it you took?"
"Medicine so drop it. It's really none of your business."
The dinner was awkward but there was nothing she could do about it. She tried to keep up contact with her father every few months because he did worry about her. Still, there was a part of her that didn't care if he worried because he had sat by for years while her mother lived out her sick fantasy.
"I really am happy to see you today. Do you have any idea what you want to major in?"
She shrugged. "I don't really know yet. My advisor says I should just take it day by day for a while."
When they parted, she gave him an awkward hug and took off as quick as possible. Shifting, in her seat, she took a deep breath and cast a glance in the car mirror. Satisfied when she only saw herself, she headed home and knew she would have to recharge again.
It was easier to avoid her father because being around him brought up all those memories. He had sat back and let her mother use her as a replacement for the sister she had never met. She was forced to wear her clothes, play with her toys, and sleep in the same room with the same sheets.
She and Katherine looked alike but not completely. It was easy to tell they were sisters but you had to look closely. It might've been the reason why her mother would sometimes daze out and just stare at her with this strange look on her face. Dressing them alike and forcing her to be named after their first born wasn't enough because she could never be Katherine. She was Kathryn but often she found herself questioning her identity.
Katherine was just a figment of her imagination… a hallucination if you will. She knew this but no matter how many times she repeated this to herself, the voice never went away. The dead sister that she never met had been a part of her since the incident with her mother. Medication helped but it only muted her temporarily and after it wore off she would hear her again.
"Kate, I was wondering if you would be willing to discuss something we've only touched upon."
She frowned at Dr. White. "Do you mean my mother?"
"Yes, I was hoping we could touch on that subject."
"I don't see why we need to touch on it at all. I haven't seen her in twelve years and she is no longer a part of my life."
"What about Katherine? Didn't she come around the time this happened?"
"Then I think it's something worth touching on."
"Well what do you want me to say?" Kate snapped. "The bitch was crazy and tried to use me to fill a void. There is nothing to discuss."
"Have you ever spoken to her?"
"My dad told me she wrote letters but he never opened them and threw them away the second we got them."
"Were you ever curious?"
"No," she spat. "My entire life she used me. I was supposed to be Katherine ver. 2.0. The clever name change was just for show. I was intended to be the second Katherine but I'm Kathryn and I couldn't be like her. It was why she hurt me."
You were never good enough for her. All she saw was me but things aren't always as they seem, Kate.
"Is she speaking to you again?"
Kate nodded and winced. "The pills can't shut her out completely."
"That's not our goal here, Kate."
"Tell me what our goal is then, Dr. White."
"We want to try to eliminate the need for this split personality, hallucination, or whatever you want to call her. To get to that point though, we need to figure out why you still have her."
"You want to talk to her."
"I would like too."
"I don't know if that is possible."
"Whenever you're ready, Kate. Remember it's all up to you."
She made an appointment for next week and left Dr. White's office quickly. The voice didn't make herself known and for that she was grateful. Sometimes, she needed a break and this was one of those days.
Your doctor is a joke. There is no need to separate us because I will never allow it. I need you and you need me for the time being.
"I don't need you for anything."
You do. How else would you have gotten through these past twelve years? Our father certainly wasn't any help.
Before the incident her father turned a blind eye. He never said anything when her mother dressed her in his deceased daughter's clothes or made her sleep in the same bed… and the same sheets. He saw it but he preferred to turn pretend it wasn't happening and she suffered for it.
"Dad has tried to make up for it. He's sorry he ever let it get to that point."
He likes to turn a blind eye to everything.
"What do you mean?"
You know what I mean. Open your eyes, Kate.
"Boundary lines," she chanted to herself as she slipped off the bed and yanked open the drawer to her night stand. Pulling out a bottle, she dumped two pills into her hand and shoved them into her mouth. There was dozens of medications she had been on and over the years she had hoarded them. Sometimes, she needed more than the regular dose because she couldn't take listening to her all the time.
Would sending a letter to her mother really end all this? Dr. White seemed to imply it would but she didn't know if she could do it. The last time she had seen her was in the courtroom. Trembling, she pointed a finger and said she was the one who hurt her. All her mother had done was stare at her with this blank expression and then she jumped out of her seat and started screaming for Katie.
It was always Katie this and Katie that. To be honest, she felt like nothing but the shadow of her older sister and now she had even taken over her mind.
"I'm not you and I never will be!" she screamed, grabbing her pillow and holding it over her mouth as she screamed until her throat felt raw.
The sound of a banging on her door alerted her and she recognized it as the voice of her neighbor. She was shouting and complaining.
"Fuck off," she croaked out, not caring about anyone around her at this point. She was exhausted and only wanted to sleep. Tempted to take her sleeping pills, she decided against it. Suicide, believe it or not, wasn't something she was interested in. She had attempted it twice before but there was this tiny will to live. If it got squashed out then maybe but for now she wanted to try this living thing. It was just more difficult than she imagined it would be.
"You keep it up and I'll be lodging a complaint!" the old woman shouted, banging on the door once more before she was left alone.
"Go ahead. I've had worse done to me."
Laughing, she curled up under the covers and slept until her phone started to ring. "Hello?" she answered groggily.
"Hey sweetie. It's dad. I was just checking in on you."
"I'm fine, dad."
The conversations were always kept brief and she was off the phone in approximately thirty seconds but she didn't care because talking to her ad was more effort than she wanted to expel.
Falling asleep, her dreams were filled with thoughts of her mother and it was safe to say she didn't sleep a wink that night.
The week that followed was tolerable but sometimes she had her bad days and the day before her next therapy appointment she had one of her bad ones.
In her dream that started it all she was in a car with her mother in the front seat. Looking in the rearview mirror, she saw someone similar looking but not herself looking back. It was Katherine.
"Mom wants to make it up to you, Katie. She's sorry for hurting you," her mother said.
"No, mom. You can't make it up to me and I'm not keeping quiet anymore."
Her mother's hands tensed on the steering wheel. "Katie, don't be rash now."
There was more arguing but it became blurred and then there was this sudden pain. Thrashing in bed, she woke up screaming and rolled out of bed, not caring about the pain in her knees as she ran into the bathroom.
Trembling, she threw water onto her face and stared into her mirror which was covered with a towel. Most times she couldn't stand to look at her reflection. It made her feel sick to her stomach and when she saw Katherine she wanted to hurt herself.
The dream she was when her sister had died. It had been a car crash that nearly took the life of her mother as well. Her father told her after the car crash she hadn't been right and her mother always told her she was supposed to die with Katie that day. They were supposed to be in heaven together.
It was the same line she fed her when she attempted to stab her to death. If her father hadn't walked in then it would've been over for her but she still despised the man to a certain extent. He had tried to do everything that was possible to make it up to her but there was no way he could. For years he stood around and pretended nothing was happening until the very worse possibility came about.
Stumbling out of her bedroom, she laid down in her bed where she spent most of her days. It was no wonder she was slowly failing her classes. Even if she was only taking two, she couldn't seem to keep up with them because every waking thought was centered on her past. There wasn't anything she would've given to move on but for twelve years she had been trying and she still failed.
"Did you have a bad night?" Dr. White asked the next morning and she nodded.
"I dreamt about Katie's death."
"That's interesting. Do you dream about it often?"
"Do you know the details surrounding her death?"
"My mother told my things from her perspective but you can imagine how warped that was and my father doesn't like to talk about it. All the pictures and anything to do with Katie he boxed up and locked away in trunk in the attack."
"He never talks about her?"
"It's like she never existed to him."
"For some people it's easier to ignore things in our past. Do you feel betrayed that your father doesn't talk about her?"
"I… don't know. I resent her because I'll never be as good as her but I also want to know more. She was my sister."
"Maybe the Katherine you invented is just that. She's a way for you to experience being with your sister."
"She's a huge bitch though."
Dr. White chuckled. "All your thoughts about her are tainted with your mother's influence. If you were able to see her from a different perspective, it might change things."
"She may go away?"
"This is a slow process Kate but it would be a start."
She sighed. "I don't know where to start. My dad always shuts me down when I bring her up."
"Then you need to sit down with him and try to make him understand."
"And if he won't?"
"Talk to another family member if possible."
Kate didn't know how that was possible. No one in her family talked about Katie. It was as if she had never existed and she wondered if that would've happened if she had been the one to die.
"So is that my assignment for the week, Dr. White?"
"If you want it to be then it is. It's all up to you though, Kate."
Huffing, she nodded and took her leave at the end of her forty five minutes. Muttering a quick goodbye to the receptionist, she went out to her car and tried to think about what he had said. Talking to her father might give her some insight on Katie but he almost always shut her down when she brought her up. There wasn't any way to get him to talk about her deceased sister but he was always trying to make things right so if she brought that up it might work.
"Dad, can I come see you?"
He had sounded surprised when she called him and then seemed to stutter after she asked to see him. "Sure, sweetheart. Where do you want to meet?"
"I'll come to the house."
It hadn't been the house she had grown up in. After the incident, her father brought her all way across the country and now only lived about an hour away from him currently.
"Are you sure sweetheart?"
"I'll whip us up something to eat then! It will be a treat to see you."
She never came by the house and it was rare for her to initiate any phone calls to him. Part of him must've been thinking that something was up and that she wanted something but that didn't matter to her.
If this was going to get her to stop seeing Katie then she had to try. She wanted to finally have some semblance of a normal life and the only way she was going to do that was if she got rid of the voice and the hallucinations once and for all.
"Dad, I need you to tell me about Katie."
The reaction was immediate. He frowned and then pushed away from her. "There is no need to discuss such things."
"My psychiatrist thinks it might help me get closer to recovery."
"There is nothing to discuss."
"She is always a part of me. Dr. White says it's my way of coping with what happened and if I can figure out how she was and learn about her then maybe I can put her behind me."
"Then your psychiatrist needs help! Reopening old wounds is not going to help anyone."
Dad always was willing to play the ignorant idiot. He does it so well, don't you think Kate?
"I should've known you would be like this. You always want to pretend that nothing happened with mom, Katie, and pretty much anything bad."
"Sweetheart that is never my intention. I don't want to bring up bad memories for you!"
"No, dad you mean for you."
"Wait!" he called out when she turned to leave. Swallowing, he took her hand and tried not to show he was hurt when she yanked it back. "In the attic I have a box full of Katie's things."
"Katie's things were my things. Did you forget?"
He winced. "Pictures and videos I mean. When you're finished, we'll have dinner and I'll answer any questions you have."
Dropping her bag, she nodded and made her way up the stairs and then to the attic. In the far corner of the rarely used room, she found a trunk and quickly opened it. Sitting on the floor, she was hesitant to look in it.
For years Katie had been nothing but an enigma to her. She had only seen a handful of pictures because her mother had never kept many of them up. While she tried to make her Katie, it appeared that she couldn't stand a constant reminder of her first daughter. She didn't understand it but she never wanted to try and understand her mother.
The first thing she opened was an album and there were pictures of Katie who looked so much like her. There were the normal baby and childhood pictures along with family photos. The pictures stopped at age ten and she noticed that there seemed to be a lingering sadness in Katie's eyes as she became older.
A baby blanket and some clothes were a part of the items in the trunk. Growing up, she had worn most of Katie's clothes because her mother had been meticulous in keeping every item that belonged to her first daughter.
She shook as she looked over the items and nearly vomited when she saw the smiling face of her mother. All the pictures taken with her had been destroyed. After they moved, her father tried to pretend as if the woman didn't exist and while he thought it would help her all it did was make her worse. Pretending she never existed didn't help. What she needed was… well she didn't know and that was why she was doing this.
Mom and me. We look so happy and there's oblivious dad. We almost look like the perfect family.
"Shut up. You're not real."
What's with the sudden defiance? I thought you were beginning to accept me.
"Boundaries…" she shouted.
Boundaries won't stop me. You need to see the truth.
Ripping open the photo album, she screamed and tore three of the pictures before she was finally able to stop herself. Finally, she went downstairs and sat at the table, visibly shaken but she would persist and wouldn't stop. "What was Katie like? I can only get so much from the pictures."
"She was a normal, happy child."
"There was never any indication she could be capable of such things. She was always attentive to Katie and the relationship was strained at times but it always appeared normal."
Nothing she got from her father would be helpful and she went home feeling defeated. There had to be something she could do.
For now, however, she couldn't think of a thing.
"Kate you're wearing this to school that is final."
"Mommy, I don't want to wear Katie's old clothes. I want new ones."
"Katie don't be silly. These are your clothes."
"Mommy, I'm Kate."
"That's what I said, Kate. Now get dressed. We don't want you to be late."
She found herself in her usual position after having such a dream. Hunched over the toilet, she threw up the contents of her stomach and rested her forehead against her arm. Her mother had slipped in and out of thinking that she was Katie which led to a confusing and painful childhood. She wanted to leave it all behind but no matter how hard she tried, she always found herself back in the same place.
"So how did it go?"
"My dad wasn't much help," she told Dr. White the next afternoon. "I went through some of Katie's things and he told me some stories but I still hear her."
"Kate, we can't expect this to be a quick fix and you know that. It's going to take time."
"So what do I do?"
"Look at some more pictures with your dad and get him to talk more if you can. Get to know Katie as a person separate from you."
"It's hard when she's wearing the same clothes you did."
Dr. White frowned. "Then speaking with your father is even more important."
"I think you're out of your mind here. I don't know how this is going to help. I want rid of the voice but I don't know how much longer I can do this."
"Then we'll back pedal a bit. Maybe this was all too soon."
Huffing, she left the appointment with Dr. White and felt even more confused and lost then she had before. Her doctor was trying but she felt like the more time that passed the more she became a lost cause.
Instead of driving home this time, she decided to stop at the bar across the street from her place. She wasn't good with people but sometimes the urge to drink came about. It was another way to drown out her problems when things got real tough and she couldn't resist the pull of it. The idea of being able to become numb to everything made her thrilled because it wasn't often she could experience such a thing.
In the past, she had nearly killed herself with drinking too much. It had been when she was seventeen and afterward her father almost didn't want to let her out of the house because he was afraid something may happen.
Looking up when she heard her name called, she managed to force a smile when she saw someone from high school she had known. "Alexa, I'm surprised to see you here."
They had been hesitant friends after they met in detention. Kate had always been closed off and Alexa was closer to her then she was to Alexa. The two of them had parted on strange terms after Alexa kissed her at graduation. She reacted by recoiling and things had never been the same after that.
It's disgusting. Why would you want her touch?
"Be quiet. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries!" she whispered underneath her breath.
"Huh?" Alexa asked as she slid closer to her.
"I just wanted to know how you've been."
"Good. I just finished with college. I graduated in nursing actually."
Kate nodded. "Interesting. I still have yet to figure out what I want to do. I probably never will."
Taking a swig of her drink, she felt her head buzzing but the weight slowly lifting off her shoulders. The voice was gone and everything felt free and happy. It was the loveliest feeling.
"Kate, you can barely stand. Do you live close by?"
"Across the street. I can manage to find my way."
"Let me take you. Please? I wouldn't feel right if you tried to find your way over there by yourself."
Kate laughed. "I'm sure I could find my way. It isn't the first time I've done this before."
Alexa seemed to be determined to take her home so she allowed her. Stumbling into her apartment, she let her place her on the couch but as she went to pull away she pulled the woman towards her. "Alexa, I wasn't a very good friend in the past and I should apologize for that. I'm just to fucked up to be friends with anyone," she muttered as she yanked her down
She could feel the woman stiffen on top of her but quickly she kissed her. Slamming her lips over Alexa's, she slipped her tongue into her mouth and traced her hand down her body.
"I really don't think we should be doing this," Alexa muttered between kisses as she started to slip a hand up Kate's shirt. "We haven't talked in years and your drunk."
"I don't see you stopping."
When a hand brushed the underside of her breast she let out a gasp and then she stopped suddenly, stiffening as she felt the hand reach further inside her shirt. "No." she said.
No. Stop. Don't let her do it. Please. Stop.
The voice cried out and then so did she after a shaky breath. "Stop it! Get the hell off me!" she screamed, giving Alexa a shove as she scrambled up on the couch.
"Kate, you said it was all right. What is wrong with you?!"
"Get the fuck out!"
She stayed where she was until she heard her front door slam and then she broke down crying. This had happened the few times she tried to get intimate with someone. It would start out well and then she would start to freak out. Katie never appreciated it either.
Screaming at the top of her lungs, she reached for something glass on her coffee table and threw it right at the door. "You'll always be screwed up. Always!"
You're just not ready. First you have to remember.
"Like you care about me!"
As long as I get to the ultimate goal in the end what does it matter if I care about you a little?
She was sick of deciphering the messages and what she was talking about. All she could do was curl up on the cough into a small ball. Banging her fists against the couch, she sobbed and screamed until she couldn't anymore. When she was finished, she just laid there, eyes wide and staring blankly up at the ceiling.
One event had changed her life so drastically. Life before it had been difficult and confusing but she hoped one day she could overcome it. The voice just kept getting worse and so did she.
Pushing herself off the couch, she stumbled into the bathroom and grabbed her razor. Holding it over her wrists, she pressed down and then let out a scream as she threw the razor away from her. It bounced against the wall and she collapsed to the floor, crying again.
She wanted so badly to kill herself but there was something keeping her going. She wanted more for herself but she didn't know if she could keep fighting.
It took a while but somehow she picked herself up off the floor and stumbled out of the bathroom. Leaning against the wall, she swallowed and found her way to her bedroom as her mind raced, a plan formulating.
Tomorrow she would take her car and drive back to where it all happened. The only way to take charge of this was to go back home. Her home had long been sold but she would talk to anyone she could to find out more about her mother and especially Katie. She had too if she was going to find any answers and get rid of this voice once in for all.
She was willing to put herself through hell to be free.
"Kate will you please call me? You haven't answered my calls for two days."
"Three days now. Are you all right? I went by your apartment but no one answers. Please call me."
"Kate, I'm calling the police if you don't contact me by tonight. I'm really worried about you."
She wished her father would just leave her alone. Grabbing her phone after the last call, she dialed his number and sighed. "Dad, I'm fine."
"Where are you?"
"I just needed to head out of town for a while."
"Kate, this isn't like you."
"I don't even know who I am, dad!" she snapped. "I'll be back as soon as I can. If you can bother to remember I am an adult and can make my own decisions."
Hanging up, she turned off her phone so her father wouldn't fall her again. The last thing she wanted to do was talk with her father because he was going to be against anything she did. In her mind, deep down at least, she knew he wanted to keep her safe but this wasn't the way.
After her breakdown the previous night, she had gotten in her car and started driving. Her goal was the other end of the country and to be specific, she was heading back to her home town. Kate didn't know if anything was going to happen when she saw her childhood town and home. The place probably had another family living inside but she had to go try and see it.
The voice seemed to be getting worse. She tried to ignore it but she kept her taunting. All she wanted to do was try and live a normal life and if this didn't work, she would try again. Thinking of ending things made her stomach drop but if it was the only thing she could do then she was going to try it.
This is a good thing, Kate. It will bring everything to a close.
"You're right because hopefully you'll be gone and I won't have to speak to you ever again."
You can't get rid of me until you know everything. I can't rest until it is done.
"What are you talking about?!"
Kate screamed, slamming down on her steering wheel as she nearly swerved the car. Shaking, she got back into the right lane and ignored the honking of the other cars. They didn't matter.
Driving across the country took longer than she wanted. It took a little less than two days but she had to stop and get a room at a motel so it took longer than she wanted it too.
Finally, she entered the state that her old town was located it and she felt her stomach churning. At one point she had to stop because she became sick but she knew she had to keep going. If anything Kate was determined.
"Cooperstown," Kate whispered underneath her breath and as she drove through it memories ran through her mind. Her mother preferred to keep her by her side but she still had some good memories that her mother hadn't managed to taint.
It was a short drive to her childhood home or at least it should've been. She purposely took the longer route because she was blatantly trying to buy time but she got there eventually. It was the house at the end of the block and it appeared like a quaint little thing with two stories and a decent sized yard. For Kate it evoked completely different feelings.
Parking her car on the other side of the street, she saw a for sale sign in front of the house. People were going in and out like it was nothing.
"Are you here for the open house?"
Jumping when someone addressed her, she nodded and picked up the brochure before heading inside. Kate wasn't sure what she could except as she entered the house. Looking to the side, she saw the dining room and had to steady herself against the wall as memories came flowing back to her.
"Mommy, no," she whimpered as she felt a knife slide into her body. "No."
Snapping out of it when she heard murmurs she straightened herself and ignored the look people were giving her as she made her way away from the dining room and through the first floor of the house.
No matter how many times you cry out she won't stop. She never does.
Heading upstairs, her breathing felt shallow and Kate clutched her head for a moment. This was supposed to help but so far she felt worse. Still, she wouldn't turn around because she had come this far and if anything she was a stubborn woman.
Almost there, Kate.
Turning, she found herself stopping when she arrived at the foot of her bedroom. Better yet, it was Katie's bedroom. It had never been hers.
"Mom?" she whispered, the bedroom seemingly flickering before her eyes.
Suddenly the inside looked exactly the way it had over a decade ago but the girl sitting at the desk wasn't her. The hair was a shade darker.
"Ready for bed, sweetie?" her mom called out as she entered the room and the girl before her seemed to tense as this played out before her eyes.
"Mom, please no. I don't want too."
The girl's words caused her to take a step forward.
"Katie, please. Don't you want to make mommy happy?"
"Then climb into bed."
The scene suddenly faded but the girl didn't. Kate didn't notice the door slamming shut behind her as she fell to the floor, head throbbing. Kate had said those same words to her mom but she never stopped. At the end of it she would always whisper "You're such a good girl Katie" and then kiss her gently.
You have to remember. I'm so proud you came all this way.
"I don't want too. I forgot for a reason!"
"I want to forget so badly too but with every step I take I remember what she did to me."
Kate ears picked up on the voice but that wasn't right. The childlike voice was always in her head. Why was she hearing it out loud? "No, no, no. You're not real."
"Look up, Kate."
Sobbing, she looked up reluctantly and saw a young girl standing on the other side of the room. She was dressed and looked like a child but her eyes told a different story. They were full of malice and hatred and made Kate struggle to her feet and yank on the doorknob.
"Do you know how hard I've worked to get to this point? I'm not letting you go now."
"This is a delusion. It's all it is," she chanted, crying out when a force knocked her off her feet.
"I am real little sister."
"No. You're a voice. That's all."
Katie smirked. "It's all I could manage with my being stuck here and all after the car crash. When you nearly died, I saw a chance but I missed it. I could only make a small connection with you but now you're here and I can finally do it."
"You're dead! You died over twenty years ago!"
"No thanks to that woman who birthed us and I will get her back for what she did."
"Mom didn't kill you!"
"She intended for us to both die in that crash. I've showed you the memories so you know what I'm talking about and I won't let her get away with what she did to me. To us."
"Move on. You need to move on," Kate choked out as the girl started to advance. She didn't want to believe this was real but every time she told herself to wake up, she couldn't.
"I can't move on until she is gone. Everything I have done is with the thought in mind that she'll suffer. You were a causality in the end but when you've been dead for as long as I have you learn not to care."
Her sister continued to move towards her and as she did scenes flashed through her mind.
"Mom wants to make it up to you, Katie. She's sorry for hurting you," her mother said.
"No, mom. You can't make it up to me and I'm not keeping quiet anymore."
Her mother's hands tensed on the steering wheel. "Katie, don't be rash now."
"I'm telling daddy."
"I can't live without you, Katie. If you tell then you'll be taken from me and I won't allow that."
She watched through Katie's eyes as her mother swerved the car and pressed her foot down on the gas. It faded out just as she was about to hit a tree but it didn't fail to rattle her and leave tears streaming down her face as she became hysterical.
"The bitch was the one who lived and not me. Ironic isn't it?"
"What are you trying to do?"
"I'm going to kill her but I need your help to even get that far."
"No! I don't want this. I wanted to get better. You're not real!"
"Kate, we have been through this…"
Pushing herself to her feet, she banged on the door, screaming at the top of her lungs as she begged for someone to help her. "Please help me!"
"Be quiet!" Katie shouted and she sounded like the child she appeared to be.
Thrown to the floor again, the door was rattling but all Kate could focus on was Katie leaning towards her. Suddenly, her sister embraced her tightly, pressing her lips to the side of her head. "No one can help either of us. We're much to damaged for that."
There this white, hot blinding pain and she fell back, her head hitting the floor. Vision blurring, she came to when she heard footsteps and loud voices all around her. "Mm…" she whimpered as she pushed herself into a sitting position.
"Miss, are you all right? You were screaming and then you fainted."
Allowing an older couple to help her to her feet, she swayed back and forth and blinked a few times in order to clear her vision. "I'm f-fine," she stuttered out, her head throbbing as she stumbled out of the room. She heard the whispers of everyone around her and a few people reached out to her to help her but she shrugged them off.
Once she made it to her car, she practically threw open the door and herself inside the driver's seat. Looking in the rearview mirror, she winced at the sight of her face. She looked a mess but she saw her reflection and no one else's but that was normal. Nothing that happened in there was real. It was all one big delusion because things like that just didn't happen. Her sister had been dead for years and that had only been a figment of her imagination.
"You're not real!" she screamed, slamming her hands down on her steering wheel as she started the car. It was difficult for her to focus on driving but she managed to get down to the end of the block when there was a sudden pain in her head.
Gasping, she slammed her foot down on the breaks and whimpered as she closed her eyes. Resting her head on the steering wheel, she heard the sound of someone honking but she wasn't able to focus on it. All Kate could concentrate was the blinding pain in her head that kept getting worse with each passing second. Then, all of a sudden, she felt herself fading. It was almost like she was falling asleep but not quite.
"Sleep, Kate. You don't need to be awake for this," Katie cooed, stretching her (or rather Kate's arms) as she looked in the mirror.
A voice moaned in her head but then there was nothing which left her in control.
"Time to go see, Mommy."
Bane Hospital was where her mother had been placed after she was declared legally insane at her trial. It had been much of one to be honest and the woman had spent the past twenty years or so locked away. Never had Kate been to see her and neither had her father who had divorced her as soon as he was able. Due to the lack of visitors, the security guards raised brow at the sight of Kate.
"You're here to see, Helen Anders?"
"Yes, I'm Kate Wiles, her daughter."
"Her daughter? Oh."
"I know it's a shock but my psychiatrist believes it will be therapeutic for me to see her at least once for some type of closure or something."
"Sign here and I'll buzz you in I once I check it over with the doctor in charge of her ward."
It took nearly twenty minutes but she was given permission to go through and did so, a smile playing on her lips. The room was located on the exact end of the hall and the guard gave her a sympathetic look before unlocking the door and letting her inside.
Inside the room sat a thin, pale woman with dark brown hair heavily streaked with grey. A thick nightgown hung off her frame and she sat in a chair, back turned to the door.
"Helen, you have a visitor."
The woman didn't turn and only made a humming sound.
Nodding to the guard that she was fine, he shrugged and left, closing the door behind him as he waited outside. Taking a step forward, she waited for the woman to turn around but she kept her gaze straight ahead, back turned towards her.
The woman tensed but didn't look around.
"Mom, I came all this way to see you. Don't I at least get a hello?"
There was still no response but she did shift a little and it appeared as if she was partly glancing over her shoulder.
"It's me, mom. It's Katie."
Finally, the woman turned around and stood up. The years hadn't been kind to her and she looked older than her fifty some odd years.
"Katie? Is that really you?"
"Yes, mom it's me."
"I thought I would never see you again."
Trembling, the woman stepped forward and placed a hand on her cheek. "Katie."
Inside, Kate was screaming, watching this scene play out before her and she couldn't do anything to stop it. "Mom, I'm so happy to see you again. It's been so long."
"I know!" she sobbed.
"We were supposed to die together, remember? Why did you break your promise?"
"You said to me 'Katie we'll be together forever. I'll never leave you'. Do you remember?"
Feeling a hand on cup her face, Kate let out a loud scream and used what willpower she didn't know she had to shove her mother away from her and take back control. Katie was knocked to the back of her mind and she could feel her anger but she ignored it.
"No, you stay away from me. I am Kate and you can keep rotting in here like the psychotic bitch you are!"
"Katie, your right!" Helen sobbed as she pushed herself to her feet. "We were supposed to die together. I'm so sorry I failed you…"
Banging on the door, she shoved her way out the second the guard opened the door and made her way down the hall.
You can't do this. Turn around! I was so close!
Clenching her fists, she walked out of the building and into her car. It was taking every ounce of strength to make sure Katie didn't take over again but apparently what she had done had exhausted her energy or for now at least.
Kate, you're making a bad decision. Don't you want revenge after all she's done?
"Shut the fuck up. Just shut up! I'm done! I just want to go home!"
She drove home with tears in her eyes and practically threw herself into the hotel room. After one last night she would be leaving because Kate knew she was in no shape to drive home in this state.
"Dad, I'll be home tomorrow," she muttered into her phone when she called him after she had calm down some. He hadn't picked up but she left a voice mail to let him know she was all right. "… and I love you."
This entire trip had been a mistake. She still didn't know what happened in that house but Katie was a part of her now. Somewhere inside she was hiding and lurking but she had to do whatever it took to sever that link.
I told you I won't leave until that bitch has paid for what she had done.
"Stop this. I don't care anymore and I can't live this way."
Curling up on the bed, Kate sobbed herself to sleep and thought of suicide again. If she did it… it would really all be over and Katie couldn't use her anymore. The thoughts ran through her mind but before she could really consider it, she fell asleep due to exhaustion.
In her dream, she could see flashes of her mother and the visit had scared her more than she thought. The woman looked so different from the last time she had seen her but her eyes were the same. Those cold, dark brown eyes that always seemed to look right though her and see another person entirely. It left her waking up several times and shaking violently before she succumbed to exhaustion one more time.
The sound of glass being broken caused her to snap awake instantly. Opening her eyes, she stumbled out of bed and walked slowly to the bathroom where she heard the sound and when she looked in she saw a rock had been thrown through the window but there was nothing else.
"Like I need this…" Kate muttered, trying to control her trembling as she picked up the rock and examined the window but in her haste to do so she failed to notice a figure moving behind the shower curtain.
"I found you, Katie."
Turning around, Kate dropped the rock and cried out when the shower curtain was pulled back and her mother stepped out. "H-How did find me? You're locked up."
"The visitors log said you were staying here. I had to kill that poor guard and nurse but you gave me the will to fight back, Katie because finally we're going to be together again my sweet little girl."
Making a beeline for the door, her hair was grabbed and her body yanked backwards. Throwing her arm out, she managed to hit her mother in the side and managed to get out of the bathroom before she tackled her.
"Katie, calm down! This is for the best!"
With her no longer being a child, Kate fought back until a knife was held against her throat.
"I'm not Katie. I am Kate."
"I'm sorry for everything I did to you, Katie. Losing you was the hardest thing to face and it pained me to know we couldn't be together but now we can!"
It was as if she had never existed in her mother's world. Somewhere along the way Katie had replaced her completely and she felt anger she thought she had ridden herself up growing inside her.
Yes, hold onto that Kate. She needs to suffer because even after all this time she didn't even think of you. It's like what she didn't matter. All you were was a replacement for me. A copy at best.
"Your right," Kate whispered.
Let me help. I can end this once and for all.
She was making a deal with the devil but she nodded, eyes rolling to the back of her head as she relinquished control of her body to Katie.
"I love you, Katie."
"Do you mom?"
"Of course and now we can be together forever."
"Yes, we'll be together forever in a place daddy will never be able to get to us. It will be just the two of us."
Helen sobbed and her grip faltered on the knife. "Yes!"
"The years we suffered without one another won't be for nothing."
She nodded, eyes swelling with tears.
Finally, Katie saw her chance and backhanded the woman, the blow sending her flying. Standing she reached kicked the knife out of the way and stared down at the stunned woman.
"Katie?" she whispered, the sight of Kate flickering. The image of her grown daughter was replaced by a ten year old Katie and she lay there, frozen and confused as Katie advanced.
"What's wrong mommy? I thought you wanted to die with me."
Helen struggled to get up but seemed to be pinned by some invisible force. "Katie, I don't understand!"
"For years I was stuck in that house watching you live your life while I was trapped like some rat! Then you dared to replace me. She wore my clothes, slept in my bed, and virtually became me which was the worst of all!"
"Then you tried to kill her and I could talk to Kate. She didn't want it but it was a chance and so I waited. I've been waiting so long the time seemed to blend together but then Kate stepped into the house and I knew it was my chance."
"Katie, I love you…" her mother sobbed out as hands wrapped around her neck.
"You love me? You don't know what love is" she hissed. "Was it love when you hit me or when you came into my room at night? Was it love when you murdered me or what about when you inflicted the same on your second daughter?"
"Face it, mommy. You don't know what love is and you know what? I don't love you and we won't be together."
Helen gasped, clawing at the child's hands but the rage she had been harboring for years gave her the strength to squeeze until her hands fell to her sides.
"Bye, Mommy," Katie whispered, leaning down to place a kiss on her lips.
Then Kate saw nothing but blackness.
When she woke up, she was close to panic until she heard a familiar voice.
"Kate, you're awake!"
"Dad?" she whispered groggily. "What happened?"
"You're in the hospital."
"Two days. I thought you weren't going to wake up."
"W… what happened?"
He hesitated. "Your mother broke out and killed two people in the process. The hospital is on shutdown and being investigated as to how that could even happen…"
"I remember. She came to the hotel and tried to kill me."
"When the police found you, you were on the ground unconscious and your mother was death. She had been strangled but the police know it was self-defense. I guarantee that no charges will be brought up against you."
Closing her eyes, images of that night flashed in her mind and she gasped, wanting to push them to the back of her mind. "Is she really gone?"
"Yes, Kate. She is."
"Dad, I love you."
He smiled, tears falling down his cheeks as he leaned forward to kiss her forehead. "Do you need anything?"
"Something to eat?"
"I'll be right back."
For once in her life, she felt like it was finally over and she cried but it was one of relief.
"She can't hurt you again."
Blinking, she looked around the room and saw Katie standing at the foot of her bed, wearing the same clothes she had been wearing when she saw her in the house. Quickly she tensed. "You're real."
"You… killed mom."
Kate closed her eyes and nodded. "I understand. You need closure."
"Finally, you can move on Katie. I heard what you said about being trapped but you're not trapped anymore. Neither am I."
She frowned. "What?"
"I can't move on yet."
Katie smiled and walked closer to the bed. Leaning over, she moved so her mouth was close to her ear. "Daddy knew what was going on and he did nothing. He hasn't paid for what he did and I'll make sure he will."
Her eyes widened and she looked over to see her father walking back into the hospital room. "No!"
Beside her, Katie grinned. "Soon, Kate. It will all be over soon."