This is a very, very dark story.
It encompasses years of parental neglect, substance abuse, manipulation, control, fraud, and murder.
I do not intend to sugarcoat this story. I do not intend to write about a perfect girl, or a perfect world. I also do not intend to write about an evil girl who kills people for no reason.
It has always been my goal to humanise those who we see as monsters. Saria is a complex person, with a very complex mind.
This story is a psychological thriller, but it is so much more than just blood and gore.
It is a story of family, of sisterhood, of fighting through the worse, of pain, of loss, of the choices we make and of how they affect the people around us.
This is a story of humanity, told through the eyes of someone struggling to hold onto hers.
Please enjoy. I welcome any and all constructive feedback. The first chapter will be published within the week. Please do note that this is a first draft. I will be editing the story in-full once it is completed. As it stands, though, I am looking for any constructive criticism I can get.
All Rights Reserved.
Any similarity to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
June 08, 2013
Before I write our story, let me explain why I've chosen to tell it. And - perhaps even more importantly - let me explain why I've chosen to tell it to you, of all people.
I suppose, really, there's two reasons for it. First, it's giving me something to focus on while I'm locked up. Serving life without parole is, as I'm sure you can guess, not the most entertaining way to spend one's time. Between the constant, boring therapy sessions they've subjected me to, and the countless long hours spent staring at the dull grey wall of my cell (which could do with another coat of paint, by the way), it wouldn't take long for whatever sanity I have left to start slowly slipping away.
That's where these letters come in, Lili. See, they'll give me the chance to leave this place, if only through my words. Writing to you will bring me back to that time when you and I were together, a time when I wasn't the monster the world sees me as now. A time when things may not have been perfect, but I still had the chance to make them so.
But why am I writing to you, little sister? After all, you already know our story. You know the plot. You know the setting. You know the characters. You know how it ends.
Or do you?
I've realized something, Liliana. In the six months I've been here, I've become little more than a statistic. I'm the monster who killed eighteen people, the psychopath who doesn't feel love for anyone but herself. If you could watch T.V, you'd see my face plastered all over the screen.
I am a sensation, sis. I am news.
But... I don't feel real. For so long, I've let people label me. They have a plethora of names for me. Psychopath, monster, evil, heartless. I've become a lot of things to a lot of people, but I'm not me. Not anymore.
That's why these letters are addressed to you and you alone, Lili. To you, I was just Saria. I have always been Saria. You were the only person who never labelled me, who never judged me, and who always loved me. No matter what they say, I was your sister, I am your sister, and nothing can change that.
You gave me everything, my little flower. The least I could do is give you everything in return.
So, here goes, Lil. I'm going to write our story, down to the last detail. Everything that happened, exactly as it happened. No more secrets, no more lies. Not for the world, but for you.
Because, to the world, I owe nothing, but to you, Liliana, I owe the world.
Let's start on a day we'll both remember; October 9th, 2004.
We'd been back in school a month by then, and for me, the initial excitement that comes with being a senior had long since died down. I knew I would eventually leave Rosedale High at the end of the year, but I also resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to spend the next nine months walking the same dingy halls, attending the same boring classes, and surrounded by the same unimportant people.
So, to say I was bored that day as I stood in front of my locker, rooting around for my notebook and supplies for third-period English, would be an understatement.
I'd just finished closing the door when Taylor Kingsley, one of the few people in Rosedale I considered worth talking to, approached me. She was carrying a copy of Hamlet under her arm, and had one headphone wedged firmly into her ear.
I swear, Lili, I never saw her without those damn headphones. Were they glued into her skull or what?
Anyway. Taylor leaned her back against the lockers, looking about as disinterested as I felt.
"You have English next?" she asked, looking at my notebook.
"Mhm." I nodded.
"Careful," she warned, "Ms. Jacobs is in one of her moods again. Handing out detentions like they're frickin' Skittles or something. Charlie's on like her third this month from her or something."
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. Saying that Ms. Jacobs was in a mood was on par with saying that there were clouds in the sky. The old bitch always had her panties in a twist over something. You're lucky she retired before your senior year.
Taylor brushed a stray strand of black hair behind her ear. "Anyway, I gotta go. I've got this big Algebra test today and I really can't be late. See you at lunch?"
"Sure," I smiled.
I made it to English in record time, and took my seat in the back. That day, we were studying George Orwell's Animal Farm. Riveting stuff, Lili, seriously. Made even more exciting by listening to Ms. Jacobs' oh-so-monotone voice reading it out to us.
I pretended to be interested, nodding along in all the right places. Being that I sat right next to the window, it would have been easy for me to get distracted, but I knew that would have been a bad idea. Ms. Jacobs' had eyes like a hawk, you see, and she could spot people slacking off a mile away. And I could seriously do without getting put into detention.
The first half of the class passed by just like any other. Ms. Jacobs' read, and we took notes. Occasionally she'd stop and ask someone to continue reading where she'd left off, just in case they weren't paying attention. Daniel Cole got caught about three times, the idiot.
Then, just as Ms. Jacobs' was finishing up another chapter, there was a knock at the classroom door.
Ms. Jacobs' sighed, and pinched the bridge of her nose. "One moment, class," she said, placing her book face-down on the table as she went to answer the door.
The moment she stepped outside, the whispers started. "Who's that?" Everyone wanted to know. Followed, obviously, by "What do they want?"
A few minutes later, the door opened again, and everyone got their answer. Standing next to Ms. Jacobs' was Mrs. Levin, the homely old secretary that had been in Rosedale since I was a kindergartener.
"Saria," Ms. Jacobs called. "The principal wishes to speak to you. Take your things and follow Mrs. Levin to the office."
I slid out of my seat, stuffing my books and pencil case into my bag, and slinging it over my shoulder. Everyone was staring at me, looking as confused about this whole scenario as I felt.
I rarely got called to the office. I mean, I didn't have a perfect track-record, or anything. There had been times when I'd gotten detention before. It wasn't like getting into trouble was anything new for me. But the thing is, sis, it had only ever gone as far as detentions. Nobody got called to the principal unless it was something serious.
Mrs. Levin didn't say a word to me as she led me down the hall, her patented black heels clicking against the floor. When we finally reached Mr. Mitchell's' office, she pushed the door open without even bothering to knock.
"Mr. Mitchell?" she asked. "Saria is here to see you."
He looked up, his features grave. "Thank you, Mrs. Levin."
That was her cue to leave, obviously. She nodded once, shooting an unreadable glance in my direction, and bustled back out the door.
"Take a seat, Saria."
I nodded, and sat in one of the hard chairs across from his desk. I was still confused as all hell as to what was happening. Had I done something? Was I about to get suspended? Expelled? Had I been blamed for some shit I didn't do? There were a million different 'what-if' scenarios running through my head, each one worse than the last.
"Your sister had a very severe panic attack this morning, Saria," said Mr. Mitchell. "She's been taken to the nurse's office."
I froze. I was shocked, Lili. With all the possibilities for why I'd been called to the office, something like this had never even occured to me. You had never, ever had a panic attack at school. You were always so strong behind these walls. The only person who had ever gotten to see you break down was me.
"Is..." My throat was dry. I coughed, clearing it. "Is she okay?"
Mr. Mitchell nodded. "She's fine, honey. She's just a little shaken up and upset. But the thing is, Saria, we've tried to contact your parents to come and bring her home, but we haven't been able to get through to either of them."
Ha. Big shock there, right, Lil? Mom was probably off getting her nails done, and Dad was probably passed out on the couch or something. Nothing new there.
"I... I don't understand, sir," I said. "What does this have to do with me?"
"Well... I wouldn't normally do this, Saria. We like parents to be contacted immediately when a child falls ill. But since neither your mother nor your father seem to be available right now, I've spoken to Ms. Chandler, and she agrees it would be best if you were to go and pick your sister up yourself. I've left a voicemail with your parents to let them know the situation. In any case, I think it would be best if you were excused from your remaining classes to go collect your sister. I'll write you a note to give to her school nurse."
All I could do was nod. There were so many emotions running through my mind at that moment it was hard to process them all. I was angry, confused, sad, guilty - all at the same time.
You were the only one who'd ever made me feel so much, little sister. You still are.
Within twenty minutes, I'd promised Mr. Mitchell I would catch up on any homework I missed, left his office, and made my way across the courtyard to your school.
It was a good thing that, even though you were in eighth grade, our schools were in the same vicinity. Only a few yards walk away.
I didn't even bother to knock when I reached the nurse's office. I just threw the door open, and stepped inside.
You were sitting on the edge of the examination table, your skinny legs dangling off the edge. Your eyes were red and puffy, and your blonde pigtails were matted. Your cheeks were flushed, like you'd just run a marathon.
The nurse cleared her throat. She was a tall, almost stick-thin woman, with cropped brown hair and hazel-coloured eyes. Not exactly what you'd picture when you hear the name 'school nurse.' Nonetheless, she seemed quite peeved that I'd barged into her office without so much as an "excuse me."
"And you are...?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Saria Abrams." I stepped forward. You were looking right at me now, and smiling just slightly through your tears. "I'm here to take Liliana home."
She didn't say anything. So then, I pulled out the note Mr. Mitchell had written me and said, "I'm her sister." That was kind of stating the obvious, really. With our blonde hair, blue eyes, and similar features, any moron could tell we were related.
The nurse read over the note for a few minutes. "Uh-huh. Yep. That's fine. I just need to write Lili a sick-note so she can take tomorrow off. Then you can leave."
She disappeared into another room, and I sat down beside you. "Come here, my little flower," I said, holding my arms out.
You turned to me, your eyes shining. I pulled you onto my lap, shushing you, rocking you.
"S-Saria," you whimpered. "Saria, I didn't... I... I'm so-"
I cut you off, running my fingers through your hair. "Shh, Lili, it's okay. I'm here now. Everything's okay."
You had been about to apologise for something that was in no way your fault, and I was not going to let that happen.
I held you at arms-length, wiping the loose strands of hair back from your sticky face. "What happened, Lil?"
But you just shook your head, and buried your face back in my chest. That was a clear signal that, whatever had brought this on, you didn't want to talk about it. You were trembling, clinging to my shirt like a baby clings to its mother.
So I just held you, as we waited for the nurse to let us leave, humming soothingly under my breath. I told you it was going to be okay, that whatever had happened, we would get through it. I told you I was here now, and told you not to worry. I told you a million things, not knowing if I believed any of them.
There were still questions in the back of my mind. What had upset you so much that you'd had a panic attack over it? Why were you so upset? Why didn't you want to talk to me about it?
With all this uncertainty, I began to doubt if everything truly was okay. But I told you it was. Because I loved you, and I wanted to make you feel better. I wanted to comfort you, even if I didn't truly believe my words of comfort myself.
I loved you, Lili. I loved you, and I still do. I'll prove that to you, I promise.
In the next chapter, the reason for Liliana's panic attack is revealed, and we see another glimpse into the sister's home lives. Please comment, rate, subscribe and contact me with any questions you may have. Feedback always very much encouraged.