Everything takes on a different feel at night. The energy is calming, yet electrifying. And then it goes to another level when it's a neighborhood park. It's something about the jungle gym to her left and seeing children climb all the way to the top and scream with pure accomplishment, "Mom, look at me!" as if they conquered Mt. Everest, kiddie size that was infectious. Or maybe it's hearing the soft crunch of tiny feet racing across fresh mulch that puts a smile on Caroline McQueen's pale face. Or even the kids who sit in the very spot she's in pushing with all their might to soar higher and higher and to never come down. She feels at peace here during the day. But at night, at a time when most people would be sound asleep, there's a danger element. Any moment a police officer can cruise by and slap handcuffs on her wrists. It also might be the fact that she's sitting at the park with a complete stranger. But Caroline shakes the feeling and decides it's all a part of the excitement of being young.
The stranger is named Aria Trough. They're keeping each other company by describing chilling childhood stories. And as Caroline tells her story of how she got the dark, ragged scar ran across her cheek she notices the little twitches that Aria makes every time something gruesome is said. She also didn't know what to make of the minute ways that Aria's eyes would light up.
Aria shakes her head. "So he just ran up on you with a knife? Did anyone try to stop him?"
"My boyfriend did. He came out with two stab wounds. I've never been so scared in my life," Caroline answers.
"You're pretty brave for standing up for your sister," Aria sighs. "I wish I could've done something like that or even had a boyfriend to protect me."
Caroline's soft laugh gives way for the fear of reliving that night. "Don't say that. Sure, I was brave but I could've easily died. We are lucky to be alive."
Aria whispers, "I still wish I was a brave person like you."
"Why do you say that?"
"Maybe then I could go back home."
Caroline has a puzzled look, and Aria explains further, "It's the only way I could protect them."
Caroline becomes confused. "Protect them from what?"
"I want to protect them from my weird dreams and murderous hands." Aria wraps her hand over the other to intensely rub her hands together.
The low screeching sounds of the swings fill the silence. Caroline drags her feet in the sand beneath her deciding to ask what kind of dreams Aria has been having.
Simply Aria says, "I kill my family."
Her feet stop moving. Caroline's entire world seems to have stopped. And all the heat drains from her body. She questions herself that maybe she didn't even hear what Aria said clearly. But Aria continues to talk confirming everything.
"Every night is someone different. I know who they are or where I am, because everything is so vivid. So vivid. The first night was about a month ago and it was with my grandmother. I walk into her room, barely making a sound. There's a pinkish looking chair by her bed with one of her extra pillows. I grab it. Next thing I know I'm smashing it into her face. I keep it there until she's not struggling anymore.
"I remove the pillow. My dead grandmother's eyes are staring up at the ceiling. Then they slowly turn towards me. Her black eyes are glossy, kind of pale even, and her mouth slightly opens to whisper, 'Murderer.' That's when I wake up.
"My next dream has my brother and sister in it. I don't really remember what happened to them, even to this day. Hell, I don't even want to. But I can remember their screams; they were so loud, blood curling. They begged me to stop. But I couldn't.
"My last dream has my parents in it, which happened maybe a week ago. I could tell that I really wanted them to suffer because of the things I did to their bodies. I just had no remorse for my own parents."
Aria snaps out of her retelling and glances at Caroline. Her skin is so pale under the light post. Caroline can't stomach the thought of this being just a dream. There is no way. She wraps her dangly arms around herself in hopes of some type of warmth against the cool night air.
"I didn't mean to scare you. I just thought you wanted to hear my story after sharing yours." Aria twists around in the swing towards Caroline. "Please don't be scared. I have no one."
Her fists curl tightly around the metal chains. Her eyes try to shut out the reality she is now thrust in. And the fear that she had slowly melts out of her and she uses all of her strength to not explode in pure rage.
"You didn't scare me, but those are a little too detailed to be just dreams. And it's getting really late I- I gotta go."
Aria starts to plead, "You can't! I need you!"
"You don't know me. I could be a killer for all you know."
"But you're the only one I've ever told that to. You can't leave now."
For some crazy reason Caroline looks over into her eyes. Even in the minimal lighting she could see Aria is on the verge of tears. But there is something else twinkling inside of Aria's baby blues. It's something darker and much deeper than the tears Aria tries to hold back.
All Caroline wants to do is run back home, back into her warm bed with her boyfriend, and pretend none of this happened. But Caroline can't deny the fact that this girl beside her is crying out for help. She can't turn her back when that's the very thing she wished from her father that day.
So Caroline takes a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. "What do you want?"
"I want help. Your help."
"All you had were just dreams. As creepy as they are you didn't commit anything."
Aria remains silent. Again, something was nagging at Caroline about all this. "You didn't do anything right," she questioned.
It was Aria's turn to take a deep breath. "I may have killed someone."
Caroline opens her mouth to scream, but stops. Instead she stares at Aria bewildered.
"They knew too much! I couldn't let anyone find out about what I did."
Every hair on Caroline's body stands on edge, sweat begins to dampen her hands, and her body begins to shake. Nothing is making sense.
"What are you talking about?"
"Those dreams weren't just dreams. They are my reality, my nightmares, basically what consumes me. And you, Caroline know too much."
Caroline's slender hands grip themselves tighter on the chains, in some attempt to hold herself up. Her body still shakes. The sweat is now spreading to the rest of her fear stricken flesh. A bag somehow appears in the corner of her eyes and Aria's entire demeanor changes. No longer is she the scared little girl anymore. The darkest side of Aria that she tried to contain before is now out.
Something awakens in Caroline. Her limbs are itchy to escape. Little by little, she puts one leg slightly behind her. Caroline takes off running. But she never even makes it half way across the park.
Aria fires off two more shots. Then she whispers, "Good night my friend."
She would travel to another city, another state. Find someone to tell her story to. Her voice would be soft, dripping with innocence only to convince how harmless she is until the truth forces its way into their lives and death knocking so patiently at the door. When Aria is finished she would walk away from the empty field bursting with the foul taste of death with her head held high.
A/N: This is my first story to be published on here so I really want to know what you think. I do have specific questions if you do decide to review that I would love for you to answer:
Does it flow nicely?
Are you confused about anything?
Do the characters act believable to you?
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story!