The Price of Doubt

Taylor Cielo

The feeling of moving into a new home was nothing new; it wasn't my first time. We relocated every six months, because nothing satisfied my mother. She wasn't the type to settle- she was one of those people that could never be pleased. If something wasn't perfect, she wouldn't take it; that included pets, boyfriends, my grades, and homes.

I was used to her liking to move, yet this house was so unlike her. Usually, she would move us into a small, bright apartment or trailer. This house was so large, clearly too big for just us two. It was about triple the size of a normal home. The darkness was a factor, too. She said it made her comfortable, that something about it called her towards it. I was glad for her happiness, but it gave me an awful feeling, almost as if there was something that the house was hiding.

My first night spent in the house was not pleasant. I couldn't sleep a all, because I kept thinking that something would jump out of a corner and eat me; I saw eyes in every corner; I would be convinced there was a serial killer waiting for me in my mind whenever I was alone. I knew something was wrong with the house, but no one listened to me. Mom thought that I was just upset about moving again. I think the day after she said she didn't believe me is when the voice started.

Her name was Haylie. At least, that's what I called her, because she answered to it. She never left me alone. She criticized everything I did, always in my mind, telling me what to do; sort of like the sister I never had, except her voice was everywhere. She drowned others out, so I couldn't listen to anything anyone said. All I heard was Haylie's voice, twenty-four seven. I became depressed because I was isolated with the person I hated most.

Haylie had a rebel's soul and attitude, which meant she hated adults. Whenever I attempted to talk to a teacher or parent, she wouldn't let me listen, and I became irate. Haylie was the reason my grades plummeted. Since I couldn't focus on anyone's words, I just didn't comprehend what I should have been taught.

When my mom saw my grades, she freaked out, trying to find whatever help she could. She hired tutors; she got me a therapist; she tried homeschooling me. Nothing was enough, and no matter what she did, I didn't understand anything. I couldn't do anything anymore, because whenever I did, Haylie would yell and scream at me, telling me that I did something wrong, or that the person trying to help me would eventually let me down or hurt me.

The only times that Haylie left me alone was when I was reading a book she liked, writing, or listening to music. That's how my mother figured out how to get me therapy. She had my therapist, Mrs. Hodgins, write me notes to communicate. We only had one session, though.

"Hello, Taylor, how are you doing today?" she asked.

"I'm as I usually am, Mrs. Hodgins." I replied.

"And how would that be?" she asked.

"That voice, Mrs. Hodgins. I don't think I can stand much more of her."

"More of who? More of your mother?"

"No. More of Haylie."

"Explain to me more about Haylie."

I told her everything. After she finished reading it, she stood up, gave the note to my mother, and walked out. Mom took a few minutes to read over it. She grew extremely pale, grabbing me by the arm and forcing me into the car. Haylie's voice resurfaced loudly.

"WHY DID YOU TELL THEM ABOUT ME? I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SECRET! YOU RUINED IT! YOU RUINED ME! YOU'LL PAY!" she screamed.

An extreme amount of pain suddenly struck my head. It felt as if I'd just been shot. I started crying, quiet at first, then extremely loud. I screamed for mercy, the pain surreal. I'd never felt that kind of pain before. I remember, when I was ten, I broke my arm by falling off of a tree I'd been climbing. I had thought that the pain was so intense, and that I'd never feel anything worse. That broken arm felt like a tickle compared to the pain I was going through in that car.

As soon as the car pulled in to the hospital parking lot, doctors grabbed me out of the car, holding me down onto a gurney while I writhed in pain, screaming, kicking at everyone that tried coming near me; in the end, I gave two doctors black eyes and one a broken nose. They put me in a straightjacket, tying me down to get an MRI. They gave me a shot, and I was asleep instantly.

When I woke up, I was in a room alone. Looking around, I realized that I was three doors down from any other patient. I looked into the hallway to see a doctor talking to my mom. She started crying. I decided I wanted to go back to sleep.

It was a tumor. A large, complicated one that wrapped around every important part of my brain. There was no medicine they could use. No clinical trials they were trying out. No special treatments that we could afford. There was nothing they could do but watch me die. There was nothing I could do but die on this lemon-scented hospital bed.

The last thing I said to my mom before I died:

"I told you the house gave me an uneasy feeling."

The last thing I heard the doctor say:

"Don't listen to her. It's just the tumor talking. It wasn't the house's fault. It was the cancer."

The doctor's words made me unreasonably angry.

I screamed one last time.

I saw my mom start to cry, and then everything went white.

When I woke up, I was in the house. I couldn't hear Haylie anymore. It was so quiet; so peacefully quiet, and when I looked around, I realized how different the house was. There was completely different furniture, different people's possession. This wasn't my house. What was I doing here?

I looked down, realizing my translucent skin. The door opened to a smiling couple walking in with their dog. I hid behind the sofa, studying the couple. Then, I realized something: it was the doctor from the hospital. It was the doctor that doubted my sense of presence in my house. So, was this my deserved revenge? Fate's way to get even with people for things they've done?

Who was I to mess with fate?

I knocked a glass vase off the dining room table, beginning to laugh like a maniac as the doctor's wife screamed.

Well, I thought with a laugh, this should be fun.