"I've got news for you, Honey. I've been already been to hell. I don't plan on going back."


1. Doppelgänger

We're not twins, Aria and me. No, the relationship we have is much darker. Yes, we looked alike and acted alike. That's because we were closer than anybody would ever be able to imagine. Aria is the darkest parts of myself; my doppelgänger.

Let me preface my story by saying I am not a believer. People are born. They get old. They die. That's how it goes. There are no mysterious side paths or witchery. And just to prove this fact to my friends, Tom, a Senior, and Corinne, a Freshman, the brother and sister duo from down the road, I invited them on an overnight stay at the local haunted house, Applegate Manor.

Applegate Manor had been long been abandoned. It's last inhabitants had lived there during the Civil War. They were bootleggers. Squatters. There were stories from long ago that the place was haunted in the most horrible ways.

It was said that if you'd go into the first story bathroom and stare into the cracked mirror, you could see an image of how you would die. In the third story kitchen, you could hear crying and screaming late at night from the woman of the home, who had allegedly been shot by her husband. It was said that when you went into the manor, your body doubled; tripled even in some cases. An if you were ever so unfortunate as to come across your look alike, you would be deceased within the next five years.

I knew I would get a kick out of watching my friends' terror. It wasn't real. Apparently I was the only one in town who thought it this, though.

Henryville, Indiana was a small town full of superstitions. Most of the people living there today, including my friends Tom and Corinne, we're the descendants of the first Founding Families. Some of the elderly people of the town actually took part in a Founder's Council, which was basically a community club that helped keep some of the oldest traditions of Henryville alive, like the Maple Syrup Festival, The Fireman's Parade, and of course, the town's ghost stories.

Applegate wasn't the only supposedly haunted place in town. The library and school were both supposedly haunted, but I had never heard what from. I had heard that if you crossed the old toll bridge at a certain time of night, you would find a quarter on the ground. When you bent to pick it up, you would see the face of a dead woman floating in midair when you stood back up.

I didn't put any stock into it, obviously. I was not a Henryville native. I am a born and raised Georgia girl. Obviously, in Warner Robins, Georgia, a rather Christian township by today's standards, I wouldn't have been introduced to such things. Now I found it implausible and almost laughable to be perfectly honest.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Corinne asked, staring up in fright at the ominous four-story building. The tacky, olive green shutters blew in the breeze and the rusted, white swing on the porch was swaying, giving off a slight creaking sound.

"Well, if you're scared, you can go home. Tom and I are staying." I muttered, stepping over the threshold. I didn't even have to bother breaking a lock. The glass to the front door had been smashed to bits and was currently lying in splintered bits across the floor underneath my feet.

"No, I'm fine. Are you sure this isn't breaking and entering?" Corinne asked. I saw her subconsciously loop her arm through her brother's, feeling the need to be close to another human body.

"It isn't breaking and entering because no one has lived here in over a hundred years. Now we need to pick somewhere to set up camp." I pointed out, handing my flashlight off to Tom and dropping my backpack to the ground, "This looks like just a good a spot as any."

We hastily unrolled our sleeping bags on the cold wooden floor and set our gas lamp before us. One thing I hadn't considered was the fact that The Fall in Indiana tended to be rather chilly. This particular evening had managed to fall a few degrees below freezing. I hadn't exactly factored in the fact that the Manor didn't have electricity.

"I bet it's warmer on the top level." Tom suggested, after nearly thirty minutes of huddling around the tiny lamp for a bit of warmth. We gathered up our things and made our way up the stairs and into a room I presumed to be a bedroom.

As much as I did not believe, this place was definitely pretty eerie. It ha a creepy feel to it that just made it feel as if someone were looking over your shoulder.

"C - can we go back down, please?" Corinne asked, her voice shaking.

"No way!" her brother chided, flipping back down on top of his sleeping bag, "It's like twenty degrees warmer up here."

That was the weird thing. From the stairwell to this room the temperature had increased dramatically. I figured it was just some weird insulation problem or something.

Corinne held her peace and gradually, we all became a little more comfortable, "This place is kind of cool. I'm going to have a look around." Tom said excitedly, jumping to his feet and grabbing one of the many flash lights we had brought along with us.

"I'll go with you!" I responded, jumping to my feet as well.

I didn't really give it another thought until we were half way down the hall and Corinne shrieked, "You're leaving me here alone?"

"You'll be fine," I promised, "Come find us if you get scared."

"This is so cool," Tom muttered, as we walked past the mantle on the first floor, which was still set with a few meaningless trinkets. An old Ceramic horse, some dolls and old photographs. None of it was particularly special.

"I bet Corinne would like these. She's always had a niche for History." Tom said, fascinated by what seemed to be a particular family portrait, "Hey, Corinne!" he called, snatching the piece up off the mantle.

She came gliding around the corner silently, a disinterested look on her face, "What is it?" she asked, her voice coming out monotonously.

"Check this out!" Tom commanded, thrusting the drawing into her hands. She gave it a single look and then peered back up at him, the same bored look in her eyes.

All of a sudden the look of excitement dropped from Tom's features. His face went void of color as he muttered under his breath, "Holy shit." before grabbing at my arm and running for the nearest bathroom, slamming the door behind us, locking it for good measure, "That's not Corinne," he whispered into the darkness, "Corinne has blue eyes. That girl - her eyes were as black as night."

"Are you saying - "

"We just saw Corinne's doppelgänger." he cried, taking hold of my hand, shock taking him over.

Suddenly I realized his voice was coming from the other side of the room. He wasn't the one holding my hand, stroking my wrist, "Tom, turn the flashlight on NOW!" I shrieked.

When he did, I found myself face to face, not with Tom or Corinne, but with the most horrific face I had ever seen in my life. It was clearly a woman but her hair was long, gray, and stringy. Her eyes were sunken in and raven black. She had one scraggly tooth that seemed to be hanging on by a thread in the center of her mouth. The one thing that was impossible to miss was the gaping gun shot wound in the middle of her forehead, "Holy Hell." I gasped, jumping to my feet, watching the old woman topple over. She wasn't quite a ghost. She was completely solid, not translucent, but she was also very obviously dead. There was no way she could be a - Zombie?

There was a shriek from the opposite side of the house and Tom and I shared a petrified glance before taking off in its direction. We went bursting into the door of the fourth floor bedroom we had left nearly thirty minutes ago, to see Corinne cowering in a corner. She was in the fetal position behind the large armchair in the corner, hiding within the depths of her own sleeping. She was sobbing furiously, grasping the holy water that she had brought with her.

A whole lot of help that's doing us. I thought to myself as Tom took off to the corner to envelop his little sister in his arms and lift her up bridal style.

"It's okay," he murmured to her, trying to bring her down from her hysterics, even though his legs were visibly shaking as well, "We're going hom -" he froze in his position, staring past me into the doorway, "Rebekah, do not move." he whispered.

I was like a statue, refusing to so much as take a breath. I felt cold fingers on my shoulder and saw Corinne bury her face in Tom's chest to keep from having to watch what was happening.

I heard heavy heel clicks on the floor beside. Just like that, I was looking into a mirror. For the most part. The girl in front of me was my height. She ha my hair color, all of my features, right down to the identical clothing we wore. There was one discrepancy though, that nearly made me gasp in shock. Her eyes were as dark as night.

The look of shock was still on my face as hers took on an expression of what could only be expressed as glee, "Hello, Rebekah," she chided, "It's nice to see you again."

"Again?" I gasped, trying to prevent myself from showing any emotion at all. I needed to seem as disinterested as Corinne's doppelgänger had in order to get out of this.

"Yes, silly! Again! This may be the first time you've seen me, but I've known you for nearly seventeen years."

"How is it that I've never seen you?" I asked in shock.

"You HAVE seen me! I can't believe you don't remember! I was your imaginary friend from kindergarten to second grade. Then in fifth grade, when you wanted to be an author, I was that little voice in the back of your mind, telling you what to write. I was in your dream telling you to wake up the night the tornado hit your old house . We had some good times together."

"Prove it!" I screamed, shocked when my voice jumped a couple octaves. I knew she couldn't be lying. She knew too much about me! It wasn't exactly public knowledge that my family left Warner Robins because our home was destroyed by a tornado.

She didn't even have to think about it. She recited the poem like it hadn't been twelve years ago that I - she - we - had written it,

"Every single recital and every single show,
Mrs. L tells us to dance for someone that we know,
play for someone you love,
Play for someone you hate,
With all of this considered,
My steps will not be late,
So when I pirouette off the floor
And I'm about to say adieu
Just know that when I'm dancing-"

"Dad, I'm dancing just for you." I finished. In utter astonishment, "How did you know that? I wrote that for my dad when I was in first grade!"

"I was there with you, Bekah."

"Who are you?" I gasped, in utter shock that she could actually prove herself to be a legit ghost.

"Oh, I'm not a ghost!" she let out a little, feminine giggle that made me cringe, "I'm Aria. Your doppelgänger. I'm here to make your life a living hell."

"Are you going to kill me?" I asked, suddenly ultra aware of how much I valued my life.

"Of course not, Silly," the way she said it made the bile rise in my throat, but I wasn't about to voice my discomfort, "I'm going to let you go and continue to play with you until you die."

"Why don't you just kill me yourself? Why don't you just get it over with?" I asked, suddenly feeling a bit of bravery overcome me.

"Because, Bekah, when you die; I die. The whole deal is that whatever you are, I am the opposite. If you are the perfect goody-two-shoes, I'll be the devil child. If you go to Heaven, I go to Hell. And guess what, I've already been to Hell. It isn't that great. I got a second chance when I was sent back to Earth, and I get a second Judgement Day. That means that if I manage to turn you into what I am now, I go to Heaven. You go to Hell. And maybe someday, you'll be able to come back as some other person and start the whole cycle over again."

"You are one crazy bitch." I murmured.

"Only as crazy as you make me," she gave us a dark glare, and then motioned toward the door, "You can leave now."

Without another word, Tom, carrying Corinne, and I all went running out the door and then over the threshold of the house. I jumped into the passenger seat of Tom's car and we drove back to my house where the three of us curled up into a corner where we stayed completely conscious, reliving the hours we had spent in the town spoon house. Needless to say, now I definitely believed.

From that day forward, I saw Aria whenever I had to make a monumental decision. She was there when I applied for my Juilliard scholarship. She was there when I was initiated as District Governor for Key Club International. She never said anything and she wasn't always in person. Sometimes she was just the little voice in the back of my mind, but she was slowly driving me crazy, and we were both jut waiting for the day when I finally snap.


Thanks for reading. Even if you hated it, comment and let me know what you think so I can update and fix things! Many thanks!

P.S. This is loosely based in ghost stories from my town. I an a firm believer in the Paranormal, so this topic was right up my alley.

Thanks for Reading and Commenting!
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