Engulfed by darkness, the freezing water seared over my skin. My lungs were screaming in protest, bursting, tearing, and hysterically shrieking for me to (no matter how I do it) get out of the water! I tried to call, to cry for help but, no sound escaped my lips. I could see the light, swimming and swirling above me through the murky, black. The flickering image of her face, laughing at me. I could tell what she was thinking: " Aww... has little Cressie got herself into trouble, again? Mummy won't like the state of your clothes, when you get home. 'Have you been a silly, little girl again?' She'll ask. Because, that is all you are. A silly, stupid little girl who thinks she's better than her older sister!" And at that last thought, of the blonde girl with steely eyes (with no emotion) clear in my eyes, everything went black.
I fought my way back to reality. Gasping, I sat up (my hair sodden and dripping) confused. Water lapped at my skin, But not in a cold, harsh way, warm and comforting. Soap suds clung to my hair and white, glossy tiles covered the walls. I sighed in relief. I was in the bath and I must have fallen asleep.
Shaking off that intense prickling feeling along my spine, I got out of the bathtub (figuring that nothing bad could happen to me whilst I wasn't in a vulnerable position) and watched the steam rise into nothingness for a moment.
Mari had not ventured out of her room since this morning, persistently playing heavy metal on top volume through her stereo. I can't blame her. Denny was the arse hole here, but even I couldn't overlook the fact that me and Mum were the only ones keeping quiet about our dislike for the place. I guess we all have our own way of dealing with feelings. Feelings that well up inside you and threaten to break out in the form of crying, screaming, stress and anger. Terrible, terrible anger and when it has happened to you once, you are almost certain to do it again. The fire starts small, then burns and burns, eating away at your insides turning other feelings to ash on its way up.
Me? I just buried them deep under my subconscious, leaving only a dull, emotionless, blank exterior. It was my shell, my cocoon that I built up gradually (over the years) until I was sure no one could reach me. It was my way of dealing with problems, of keeping my worries at bay when Mum would drink.
Creaking across the rotting floorboards, I crept over to mine and Mari's room where I entered, carefully. My sister was sat, slumped over her knees in the corner of the room, her back facing me. "Mari?" I whispered, the ghost of my hushed voice hanging in the air between us, unanswered. "Mari, are you OK?" Very suddenly, she spun around to face me, her eyes starred with tears, ready to fall. I recoiled slightly in shock, Mari never cried, as she gave hoarse gasp and turned back around, shaking. Padding over to where she sat, I said: "He's an arsehole, Mari- Ignore him and all the stupid, sensible, lovey dovey things he says to make us a 'family'"
"He's ripped this family apart!" She sobbed, wheezing, her heavy eye make-up running.
"This is all his fault! Why can't he just fucking clear off and leave us alone?" her purple hair was tousled and unruly, as if she had slept for days without bothering to comb it. I touched her shoulder. " Come on, Mari this family was already in shreds before he came along. I know he inter fears and annoys us, and that's what we could change. He's not worth the attention. Leave him, block him out, make him see what you think of him. You're strong, Marigold. And you have to know it!" My sister dragged an arm across her eyes, smudging her make-up severely.
"Yes... yes, but..." She turned away. "It's so stupid, I know, but I feel as though there is something in this house..." I shivered, so did my sister feel it too? But I laughed it off.
"What, like a trapped bird or something?" She shook her head, frowning.
"No. Not like that, something that wonders around, cold, dark..." Loosing her train of thought, Mari swallowed in the pressing silence. I started shaking. She could feel it, she felt it aswell! "But, I mean it can't be anything, can it?" She eyed me uncertainly. "Right?" I shook my head.
"No, no. Of course not. You're just hearing creaks and feeling draughts, I mean look at this house! It's falling apart!"
I wriggled into bed, later that night, feeling warm, sleepy but not reassured that the sleep to come was deep and free of nightmares...
"You're such a coward, Cressida!" She came up close, grabbing me round the throat. "If you don't give me that charm now," My sister took hold of the silver rocking-horse necklace, twisting it tight around my neck. "I am going to strangle you with it!" I could feel the veins in my throat pulsing wildly, as her grip got tighter. Spluttering, I tried to plead with her. "Please, Jen, no... I ... can't ... breathe ..." The scarlet liquid dribbled down my collar.A look of surprised guilt, flashed across my sister's face. She let go. I fell to the ground, regurgitating more blood mingled with vomit, just as mother called us for dinner and Jen disappeared down the stairs, with a look of shrewd triumph. I was sinking, plummeting towards my death. The scene had dissolved around me, bubbling upwards in a shimmering, crystal balloon leaving me alone to drown in peace. Seeing my eyes reflected back at me from all around, I was surrounded by glimmering bubbles. Blue, wide eyes, tangled vivid hair that swirled around my pale face. That face, the face of a child. The face that once smiled and played in the poppy fields. The face which cried and called for Mama but was never to be heard. Not mine. I touched it, those blue, blank, drowned eyes. Not mine...
The scream that followed, woke me up. But, I wasn't out of my dream.